One of our cover artists from Issue 9, Emily Wolfe, fills us in on her definition of guitar tone, her gear, recording techniques, and advice for aspiring musicians.
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
My definition of tone is my guitar’s voice. I want it to be powerful but sit in my ears just right. It’s the equivalent of how a singer’s vocal cords sound. It has to match my personality but also be that sound that would push my personality into a more dangerous territory. It’s got to sound like the dark side of me.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
Epiphone Sheraton because it has such a huge sound and very controllable feedback. The semi-hollow aspect of it allows me to create pads with my gain/delay/reverb combination. The humbuckers sound beautiful but mean at the same time. It’s also a workhorse of a guitar – I can beat that thing up, and it still sounds and plays amazing. On the road, I use a Fender 4×10 Deville. I use it because it’s open-back, which allows the speakers to breathe and fill up a room. It’s also loud as hell, which I love. My favorite pedals I use are the Fulltone OCD because it doesn’t compress my amp at all and is wide open. It’s just a lush, wide-open form of gain that is super touch responsive, especially with my Sheraton. I also love the Earthquaker Devices Tentacle because it’s the fattest octave pedal I’ve ever heard. I use it stacked with my OCD. I’m also in love with the BOSS DD-500 delay because you can do anything with it. It’s a looper as well, which makes solo gigs way more interesting. I’m also very into the Strymon Flint. I love the optical tremolo and the ’70s reverb.
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
My favorite thing to do is try as many things as possible whether it’s different mics, amps, pedals, or signal chains. I love to experiment with tones. I also like to build a couple of my own microphones out of different sized low-quality speakers and use those in weird places, like under a kick drum.
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
It takes a lot of work, but I put my pedalboard together and found the sweet spot of each one – where each one individually sings the best. Then I found the perfect blend of unity gain on each pedal. A huge part of this is my EQ pedal. It’s at the end of my board so I can EQ my tone to the size room I’m playing.
What does your practice consist of?
I practice different speed techniques a lot. I also like to learn different solos verbatim from other guitar players and add my own twist to them.
What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
It’s the most wild, inconsistent, and unorganized industry on the planet. The best thing to do is trust your gut about the people you work with, but also remember every single day why you want to be in it. I have to remind myself that no matter how bizarre the industry gets, at least I can escape on stage to release those emotions into music.
Read her entire interview – Emily Wolfe: Guitar has been her comfort