Classic Tone Uncovered: Exploring the Tone of My Heroes!


Any guitarist will tell you that nothing molds you more as a player than the artists who you draw influence from. When you look up to someone (or a group) there is a certain electricity they elicit, and when you catch that spark, it can ignite your passion for your art in a way that nothing else can. Over the years your tastes may change but it’s always a good thing to remember those artists that have had the biggest impact on your humble beginnings as a player. For me, the group that was pivotal in my development as a guitarist (and a songwriter for that matter) was the legendary 80’s hard rock band Stryper. Not only did they deliver music with a positive message but they delivered it ferociously with intense musicianship.

When I was 14 years old, and had been playing guitar for about 2 years and was actually starting to get pretty good, I knew quite a few songs from their catalog. During a trip to The Dove Awards in Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting the band. A few days into the week-long convention we were attending, I got the surprise of a lifetime. Seems my Dad told guitarist Oz Fox that I was a little shredder and boasted how well I played the bands music, so not long after that, Oz walked up to me and asked if I’d be down for a jam session. Less than 24 hours later, he was in my hotel room teaching me licks from their upcoming album In God We Trust. More than 20 years later, while touring with Head (ex-KoRn) I got to meet drummer Robert Sweets wife and talk with Robert on the phone. Also, much to my surprise, my hero Oz Fox was at the show taking pictures of me rocking out while sporting their t-shirt. Those experiences reaffirmed for me that the men I drew inspiration from for so many years, still carry the integrity they aspired to change the world with in their early days.


In early 2011 the boys in yellow and black hit us hard with The Covering, a collection of the songs that influenced them as young artists hitting the scene. Not only is it one of their best records to date but one of the most critically acclaimed cover records ever released, covering the gamut from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath as well as a dozen other shred classics and a solid original embracing their roots entitled God.

After nearly 30 years of rocking (about 25 or more of which I have partaken in) Stryper continues to encourage change while holding steadfast to their convictions and sharing more than just a message. Now they are sharing the secrets of their amazing classic tone.

Check out this video of singer/guitarist Michael Sweet exploring the secrets behind the sound of Stryper.

Check out this killer video and remember this, when in a slump, return to your roots, recharge, and keep the fires burning!


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  • Stryper was a band I followed from the begining being a christian metal guitarist back in the day when christian rock was a underground thing with bands like rez and servant-sweet comfort and darrell mansfield.
    The first album release had a heavy motley sound to it but stryper remixed this album-and it really lost it’s tone.
    soldiers under command and the albums to follow have some great tone on them-if anything check out the older music for great tonage for those who don’t know this bands history-great stuff.

  • SVH

    Thanks for the reply! Yeah the Christian Rock scene was so underground back then so it was awesome to see a band like Stryper hit the mainstream! Check out The Covering too if ya haven’t, it’s pretty amazing!

  • Robbieguitars

    Stryper Did Rock it and Inspired many Christians or not Christians, They worked to get a positive message out while Driving the beat through your body and did a Good job , God certainly Blessed them as artist , Carry on Stryper MY best to you and your families.
    Sincerely Robbieguitars

  • Great article, love Stryper!

  • Scott Duncan

    I saw them a couple years ago and was blown away. Their new sound and gear was absolutely crushing. I was kind of disappointed with Michael’s change of main guitar, but, still sounds great. I to have listened to them since the 80’s and it’s great to see them starting to get into the bigger venues again.

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