Guitar Zen: The Art of STEREO!!!

Stereo and then some… is there ever too many Marshall Amps?!

The Audience is Listening

For years, playing the electric guitar meant simply plugging into an amp, cranking it up, and rockin’ out! But these days, there are so many ways to expand the sound that is delivered from your axe via that little guitar cable to a vast array of effects and hi-tech amp & cabinet simulators, that can transform any guitar into a wall of THX-like surround sound!

Although there are several products that will give you a “stereo” sound, there are a few ways to run your guitar rig in stereo and there are some pretty cool things you can do with your effects when running in a stereo setup.

Double Your Tone

For example: On a recent tour with Red, Disciple and Silverline, I got to check out some pretty well designed stereo guitar rigs. In talking with Disciple guitarist Andrew, he showed me how he runs two amp heads that power two 4×12 cabs each and he puts a small millisecond delay on one amp and it further enhances the stereo effect of the 2 amps running simultaneously. This is just one of many cool things that you can do when running stereo, so here are a few easy ways to get you started in STEREO:

It Doesn’t Co$t Much

There are a few cheap options that could be picked up at a Radio Shack or Guitar Center. You could find either an adapter or a cable that runs out of your guitar or pedals (1/4 inch Male) and splits into 2 mono (1/4 in Female) output jacks. Then you can run a cable to each amp. Another option is an A/B switch that will allow you to switch between amps or run them together at the same time. This is the best option for a clean signal with ease of use, especially in a live situation.

Once you have your guitar blaring in stereo you can do all sorts of good stuff like:

Run one amp distorted and one amp clean.

Blend one amp with effects and one amp running dry

Experiment with stereo panning of delays, reverb, and chorus effects

Try different EQ settings for each amp to blend 2 layers of unique tone

Try moving the amps apart from each other a bit to fill the area with a wider stereo blend

There are many other options to run stereo and expand the width and depth of your tone and overall sound. So give one of these in-expensive options a try and see how far you can expand YOUR sound!

Scott “SVH” Von Heldt is a staff writer for SMG. Scott is currently the lead guitarist for Brian “Head” Welch (ex-Korn) and has worked with members of White Zombie, Cirque Du Soliel and many others. In late 2008 he released the first book of his Mystic Art of Self-Discovery series entitled Mind Over Metal: The Musician’s Guide to Mental Mastery.


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