Dial In 5 Classic Tones on the HT-20R MkII

5 Classic Riffs, 5 Classic Tones

We are putting the HT20 mkii through its paces to see if it can re-create some classic guitar tones from iconic riffs.

All the tones in this video were a guitar plugged directly into the amplifier with no pedals. The gain and reverb are all from the HT20. The amp was mic’d with an Aston Origin Condenser microphone about an inch from the speaker grille.

All the tones in this video are attempts to get close and are not exact replacements for the exact artist rig. All the tones were recorded with the master volume of the amp set to 1, the overdrive channel volume at 9 to push the preamp and the 20w mode engaged.

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit Score
Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit Score Panel

Kurt Cobain’s rig was centred around a Mesa Boogie pre-amp and Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinets with a Boss DS1 pushing the front end. The recorded tone is a huge, wall of drive with a lot of fatness.

To get close to this tone I used a Strat on the middle pickup position with the HT20 set on the overdrive channels first voice. The ISF was pushed totally to the left to give the mid frequencies a more American response. The gain is set to 6.

The EQ was set with the bass on 3, mid on 4 and treble on 7. There is just a touch of reverb applied to add a little space to the tone.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Californication

Red Hot Chilli Peppers Californication Score
Red Hot Chilli Peppers Californication Panel

Josh Frusciante used a huge range of amps over the years, but he’s most often seen with a combination of Fender and Marshall amps behind him and although he tours with a lot of guitars, his association with the Stratocaster is probably his biggest.

I used a Strat in the neck position for this track. Although this track is a clean tone, to keep the warmth of the original I used the overdrive channel on voice 1 with the gain dropped to 2, and I also rolled the guitar’s volume pot back to 8 to take some of the bite out.

The ISF was set straight up the middle to get a blend between a US and UK style mid frequency and the EQ was set with the bass and middle on 7 and the treble on 6.

The studio version of this track is totally dry, so there is no reverb here at all.

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze

Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze Score
Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze Panel

Hendrix’s tone on Purple Haze is a tricky one to nail down without pedals. The original was recorded with a Fuzz Face into the front of a 100w Marshall stack. The tone I went for here doesn’t sound EXACTLY like Purple Haze, but it puts you in the tonal ballpark of Hendrix and captures a Hendrix vibe.

Once again, I went with a Strat in the neck position with the first voice of the overdrive channel and the gain set to 6. The ISF was all the way to the right side to capture that British mid sound. The bass was set to 6, the mid pushed to 9 and the treble on 7. Hendrix had a very mid focused tone from his usual amp choices.

Queen – Tie Your Mother Down

Queen Tie Your Mother Down Score
Queen Tie Your Mother Down Panel

Brian May is a man with many tones that people try to capture and recreate, and he’s a tough one to crack. His usual rig of a wall of screaming Vox AC30’s and his homemade Red Special guitar is always going to be tough for anyone to recreate.

I went with a Telecaster on the bridge pickup to get as close to the twang of the Burns single coils in his own guitar.

Brian often ran a treble booster into the front of his AC30s to hit the front end harder, so I’ve pushed the gain to 9 here on the first voice of the overdrive channel and set the ISF all the way to the right.

The EQ is set with the bass on 6, the mid on 9 and the treble on 5. The brightness of Brian’s tone varies from song to song and this particular track happens to be a bit more rocky so you can get away with a little less top end but if you feel the need to push that further you could do so.

The reverb is set at 4 for a big, roomy rock sound.

Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O Mine

Guns N Roses Sweet Child O Mine Score
Guns N Roses Sweet Child O Mine Panel

One of the most recognised guitar introductions of all time is coupled with one of the worlds most recognised guitar tones. Slash is a guitarist that you know simply by his tone. That drive, silky lead tone that dominates every Guns N Roses hit.

The original was recorded with a Marshall JCM 800 and a 1959 spec Gibson Les Paul copy that was custom built for Slash so for this video I’ve pulled out my Epiphone Les Paul Standard and put it into the neck position.

The gain is set to 9 on the first voice of the overdrive channel with the ISF all the way to the British side. The EQ is set with the bass at 7, the mid at 5 and the treble on 3. Slash did not use a lot of top end, but he got a lot of bite from the brighter PAF style pickups in his Les Paul coupled with his hard-hitting playing style.

The combination of this EQ setting gain level and neck humbucker tones will create that creamy lead sound that Slash has been staying faithful to for over 30 years.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.

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