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The Thrill Is Gone: Gear & Tone

 

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The Thrill Is Gone

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The guitar tone that is used for this song plays a huge part in the overall aesthetic, but it's important to remember that most of B.B. King's tone comes from how he plays - mainly how hard or soft he picks the different notes and also where he picks the notes. If he picked up your guitar as it is right now I'm sure he could make it sound like him, without changing a thing. That being said his basic tone comes from a Gibson 335 guitar on the bridge pickup, going straight into a somewhat clean sounding tube amp with quite a bit of reverb. The amp volume is loud, but he generally uses a soft attack which gives him a very unique tone and lots of power, when he then eventually picks a note with a harder attack.

So with the gear you have, the most important thing is to keep your tone clean and use the bridge pickup. Then you add a lot of reverb if you have it - just enough that it's very noticeable without sounding extreme. If you add too much it starts sounding like surf guitar, which won't work well for this song. Turn the amp up loud and use the soft attack and you'll be good to go!

For the jazzy, supporting rhythm guitar, I'm also going to use my Gibson 335, but now I'll be on the warm sounding neck pickup. On the studio version of the song, this guitar part was most likely played on a bigger hollow-body jazz guitar, commonly referred to as a "jazz box". But you can play it on any guitar if you just switch to the neck pickup. This tone is completely clean with little to no reverb.