Balance Your High Gain

By Alex Skolnick

Rock amps these days have a channel that offers a ‘high gain’ or ‘lead’ channel. But most commonly its still not enough for a  professional sound – one powerful enough for crunchy rhythms and saturated enough for leads. The other option is a distortion box which turns a clean signal into dirty…however, that’s usually not enough gain either. And of course, a cranked distortion box through a cranked ‘lead channel’ will be too much saturation. The solution? Use the lead channel, but blend the gain of the amp with the gain of your favorite distortion stomp box with a good balance. In other words, don’t crank the gain of the ‘lead channel’ all the way, and don’t crank the gain of the stomp box all the way. Start with them both on low and give or take until you have a good blend. The right gain balance between stomp box and amp can lead to a great tone.

Alex Skolnick leads a double life as the leader of a jazz group, the Alex Skolnick Trio, and as the lead guitarist for the long-running metal band Testament.

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