Gibson’s Classic Tone Tip: Gary Moore
Have you ever tried to play like one of your guitar heroes, but weren’t able to get your tone quite right? Allow us to lend a hand. Straight from the Gibson archives, “Gibson’s Classic Tone Tip” can help you sound just like some of music’s biggest stars and greatest legends. In this installment, we’re featuring one of the legendary guitar heroes: Gary Moore. Whether solo or with Thin Lizzy, Moore can claim undisputedly great blues and rock tones. You can achieve both of them with the help of this guide.
Gary Moore (check out the new Gary Moore Signature Les Paul BFG) may just be one of the most underrated guitar players in modern history. He has received his share of accolades, but in my opinion, not as much as he deserves.
The great thing about the Belfast-native is the unpredictability of his music. He can put out a blues album, rock, metal or whatever else he wants and it will be great. For guitar players, it’s also recognizable. Not just for style, but tone too. Moore has an enviable tone that is thick and rich, no matter the genre he’s playing.
I would love to see more guitar players learning from Moore’s long history as a guitar player than some of today’s (insert your favorite overrated guitar player here) guitar players. The fact is there is a lot you can learn from Moore.
Looking at his influences, it’s no wonder that Moore has great tone – how about Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and Peter Green. He would later even dedicate a blues album to Green.
Moore put out his first solo album, Grinding Stone in 1973. His first albums were considered rock and roll, but throughout his career he would switch genres many times, always showing fans his versatility.
Moore has been a big Gibson fan over the years, playing an SG, a 1959 Gibson Les Paul Heritage Cherry Sunburst and a Gibson Les Paul Junior. Listening to his tone, it should come as no surprise that he’s spent the majority of his career playing through a Marshall. And there’s probably no better combination for blues and rock guitar than a Gibson and Marshall together.
Moore’s effects have stayed pretty constant throughout the years with delays, overdrives and an Ibanez Tube Screamer. The Tube Screamer is a nice versatile pedal for both blues and rock, and one I like to use in software too.
Usually I’ll do one tone for these articles, but this week, I’m going to do two. I’ll do one tone for Moore’s blues tone and another for his rock tone. I’ll be using Line 6’s POD Farm software to make Moore’s tones.
Download Gary Moore’s Line 6 Rock Tone
I tried several amps when making Moore’s rock tone. POD Farm has quite a few good high-gain amps, but when it comes right down to it, I took my cue from Moore himself. I chose a Marshall JCM800 modeled amp.
The settings for the amp are Gain 9; Bass 8; Middle 7; Treble 8; Presence 4; Volume 8. I used the 4x12 1978 Brit Celest T-75s with a 57 Mic, off axis.
I know that Moore himself uses an Ibanez Tube Screamer and Line 6 includes a really good model of the Screamer in its software, but I chose to go with Classic Distortion instead. I tried the Screamer, but it just didn’t give me the type of punch I was looking for with the JCM800.
Settings for the Classic Distortion are Drive 46 percent; Gain 77 percent; and Tone 57 percent.
The last thing I added to this tone is a ‘Lux Spring Reverb. Settings for this classic sounding reverb are Dwell 6.5; Tone 3; Mix 4.5.
That’s it for the rock tone. I think it sounds like a nice classic rock tone, but with a little extra Gary Moore punch added in. Oh yeah, I put in a Noise Gate as well. With a high-gain tone like this, you’ll definitely want to have a gate on the front end.
Download Gary Moore’s Line Blues Tone
I actually had more fun with the blues tone than I did with the rock tone. Admittedly, the easiest thing to do would be to take the rock tone, scale back the gain and distortion settings and call it done. But, as with most things, taking the easy way out making this tone is not something I was willing to do.
In general, when making a tone, I like to move the settings up, not down. In other words, I would rather pick a lower gain amp and crank to settings to make it hum. That’s just what I did here.
I used a Line 6 Hiway 100 amp with settings of Drive 100 percent; Bass 59 percent; Middle 51 percent; Treble 100 percent; Presence 84 percent; and Volume 68 percent.
Next I added the Screamer, which really worked in this case. Settings for the Screamer are Drive 30 percent; Gain 68 percent; and Tone 34 percent. The last thing I added was a King Spring Reverb with settings of Dwell 35 percent; Tone 50 percent; and Mix 26 percent.
That’s it for Gary Moore. If it’s been a while since you listened or played his music, download these tones and give yourself a treat.