The SRV Tone

I got a question from a reader asking how the SRV tone is made:

I was wondering if you could let me know what tone Stevie ray uses while he plays. Any special pick up? What type of effects also?

A great question, Here's the deal, Stevie played clean, real clean. He used almost no pedals, sometimes a tube screamer, but only for level. And of course he used a wah pedal for Hendrix type stuff, and later on two wah's together for the awesome sustain he got on "Life without you", the you tube version on a television show called "Caravan".

The problem with getting his sound is that he has tremendous tube overdrive. His amps were on eleven, and if you own any kind of Fender Blackface amp, or even a blues junior, or Deluxe, you can get that tone, but your ears will bleed, and your neighbors will shoot you. You need a small tube amp, five watts or less, a parametric equalizer, setting the mids and highs low, and the bass high, crank the amp, and you'll get close.

Pickups on his guitars were early 60's late 50's single coil on up. Really any Tex mex, Texas special, 69 pickups, or generic single coil will be in the ball park. And of course practice, practice, and when you're sick of practicing, practice some more.

Good Luck,JB

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If you have any questions regarding electric guitar modifications, building, setup, amplifiers, etc. send me an email All questions are appreciated, and often lead to new ideas for additional content. I do my best to get back as soon as possible, Thanks, J.B.