How I Make One Guitar Sound Like an Army

by John Engelbert
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at 2:59pm

As the singer/guitarist in Swedish rock duo Johnossi, John Engelbert knows a thing or two about filling up space with a six string. You can hear Engelbert's work on Johnossi's new release, Transitions.

In the meantime, read his tips to maximize your own guitar sound (and check the video for "Into the Wild") below.

I could speak for hours about guitar tones...but I'm not going to! Instead here's a short list of how you can make one guitar sound like an army.

01. PLAY HARD AS F---. This is the most important thing. Don't strum like a chicken. Strum like a beast!

02. USE THICK STRINGS. It may seem obvious, but with thick strings, like .013-.056., you have to play hard as f--- (see above) in order to tame the feedback.

03. CRANK UP THE AMP VOLUME. Don't leave all the volume for the sound guy to decide, because he's probably a pussy when it comes to cranking it up. A lot of output from the main source is always good.

04. KNOW YOUR PEDALS. Figure out how to use your pedals...and don't be afraid to really turn up the volume. If your clean tone is high as f--- on the amp, an Ibanez Tube Screamer with the volume set to max will sound amazing.

05. TRICK OUT YOUR SOUND. It's crucial to develop your own little secret trick that makes you sound like you...and don't ever tell anyone about it.

john-amps.jpg

My main amps (pictured above) are a Music Man 410 Sixty-Five (Most people think the Fender Super Reverb sounds better, but I prefer this one) and a Marshall Super Lead head through a vintage 412 Celestion cabinet.

My main guitar is a very rare Lag acoustic from 2001-2002. Only five were ever made, and I own four. Note that I play acoustic guitar with an acoustic guitar pickup through amps, pedals and all. It sounds like an electric guitar but with a unique sound.

For our first three records I only used the Lag acoustics. For our latest record I started to use a 1957 blonde Kay Barney Kessel electric guitar. The Barney Kessel pickups have a really unique fat warm tone I love.

Last but not least, here are my pedalboards:

pedals1.jpg

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Watch the video for Johnossi's "Into the Wild" below: