I love to hear from website visitors. Ask a me question about Guitar Tone. Tell me what you would like to see in a Live Guitar Tone Clinic. What do you want to see in the next DVD? I can usually respond in 24 hours. Email Don at tonesecrets@me.com.

17 comments so far

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  1. Hi Don-I have purchased your DVD and awaiting its arrival.My question is: Is there a differance in tubes 6L6,EL34,EL84 to make a noticeable differance in your tone?

  2. I have a vox tonelab le. I was looking for help in getting the eric johnson and evh tone.



  3. Thanks for purchasing the DVD!

    Yes, there are big differences in those tubes. Generally there are also big differences in the amp designs that use each tube.

    Here’s a basic run down:

    6L6: These are the tubes that are associated with early fender tweed amps. Their sound is slightly gritty with a cool top end chime. Also look into 6V6’s. Most commonly used in country, blues 50’s and roots rock

    EL84: These tubes are associated with Fender Blackface amps. These are generally a very clean bright sound. Also found in some Vox amps. These are common in Jazz, Country, Blues, Pop, and R&B.

    EL34: These tubes are most common in the big 50 and 100 watt British amps like Marshalls. These tubes have a full range and fat and warm tone. Most commonly heard in hard rock and metal.

    There is also differences in the manufacturer of the tubes. These differences are more subtle but very important to some players.

    Hope this helps!


  4. Hi Dave,

    Sorry for the late reply. I am still learning my way around websites etc. There is a lot of content on the web for specific artist tones. Search Eric. Johnson: Vox Tone Lab. The right patch program and gear can get you in the neighborhood. The truth is that a lot of tone is in your fingers and mind. It is very difficult to sound like another artist. Just like you can never perfectly imitate someone else’s speaking voice. It is, however, important to study how they combined gear and knowledge to get their unique sound. The one thing that great players to to get that great tone is devote a great deal of time and energy understanding exactly what gear they need and work to master the gear they use. My first DVD will help you if you have just begun you search and are interested in how to combine different elements to get different sounds. If you are already know which gear you should use for a given situation and are familiar with effects chains and choices wait for the next one.

  5. EL84: These tubes are associated with Fender Blackface amps. These are generally a very clean bright sound. Also found in some Vox amps. These are common in Jazz, Country, Blues, Pop, and R&B.”

    This is just a correction for Don. I have never heard of EL84 tubes used in blackface Fenders…ever. Found in some VOX amps? That’s more like ALL the VOX amps! AC15…powered by EL84s. AC30…again, EL84s. AC4…AC10…Only recently has there been an exception with more modern VOX models that featured an EL34-based power section.
    Blackface Fenders are the sounds of 6L6s and 6V6s…just saying.

  6. I just watched your tone secrets vol 1. Loved the history portion of the dvd. When is Volume 2 coming out. this is GOLD!

  7. Hello, you will have these lossons in spanish, my english very bad

  8. Again, EL84 ‘s are the tubes used in VOX amps (save for a recent EL34-based model). Blackface Fenders use 6L6’s and 6V6’s. I commented on this a while back…can’t help notice you never posted it. No one will hate on you for admitting you had your facts wrong. At least you’re trying to help folks on their tone quest…very noble & appreciated. Just get the facts straight please, good sir…

  9. Hello Don. I received your DVD today, and I find it beautiful. Thank you very much. I wait impatiently Volume 2.

  10. hello don,
    i just discovered your website, and your DVD, because it’s very difficult out here (colombia) to get good advice about guitar tone, most teachers tell you how to play, but don’t like to discuss about how to make the playing more hearable if you know what i mean…
    i consider myself a technical/death/thrash/speed metal player, but i also like to play some nice hendrix, zeppelin, queen now and then… the thing is that i haven’t been able to find that sweet distortion that makes you wanna start a fight, but without to much overdrive… i mean, i own a line 6 PodXT live and i’ve been tweeking it for almost three years now, but still can’t make it… the closet thing i’ve achieved to the sound i wanna get is with guitar then gate with a threshold at -55 db and decay of 22%, then a screamer with dist: 2.5, gain:6, Tone: 70, then an optional sine chorus, then a Marshall JCM2000 with 4×12 1968 green 25s cab, amp settings are: drive 10, Bass: 9, mid: 5, treb: 7, presence 5, vol: 8, then a compressor: threshold: 40, and gain: 10, then the EQ, (i think the problem is there, i still dont know how to tweek it yet…) in the 205 freq a gain of 5.0, in the freq 550 gain:7.2, freq 800 gain: -8.4, freq 7.0k, gain: 0.0….. so…. what do you think about it… or if you could give me advice of how to get all the buzz off the distortion, i dont know if you get me, kinda difficult to explain….

    i hope you can help me pleeaasee!!
    i beforehand thank you very much!
    Daniel Calderón

    PS: a DVD should have the step-by-step how to ensemble your guitar sound, from choosing out front the best amps out there, from buying the best, versatile guitar, to getting the right effects and making them sound as you wish (it’s complicated to set-up a delay well for example)

  11. Hi,

    My name is Felipe and I live in Brazil. I wonder if you also delivers to Brazil?

    thank you

  12. Sorry about my english.
    I should know if you also delivers to Brazil?

  13. Yes, We Deliver to Brazil. Thanks for your interest.


  14. EL 84 are common on recent Fender Pro Jr Amps. It is a wonderful and affordable amp. Yes, most vintage and current Fender tube use 6L6’s and 6V6’s.


  15. You are Correct! My Mistake! EL 84’s are not availible in Blackface Fenders. Fender does make a very nice Pro Jr. with El-84’s/


  16. Thanks for the question. I haven’t considered making the DVD in Spanish. I’ll put some thought into how to approach this.


  17. Thanks for your interest! The best place to connect is through my group on Facebook called Guitar Tone Secrets. The group includes members form all over the world. The only rule is no selling!