How To Get Clapton’s Classic ‘Woman Tone’
Eric Clapton transformed his guitar into an Ouija board for 1967’s “Sunshine of Your Love,” conjuring a sound for his solo that was so sweet, strange, high-voiced and spectral that it demanded a name. He called it “Woman Tone.”
Clapton and his ‘Fool’ SG
[originally from Gibson.com] Clapton used that sound repeatedly in Cream. Forty-one years after “White Room” was recorded rock fans still recognize the song by its singing opening note, and guitarists are still trying to recreate Clapton’s infinitely sustained tough-but-feminine sound – a buttery, clearly articulated yet snarling instrumental voice radically different from the bright twangy distortion prevalent among guitarists of the mid 1960s.
Clapton famously showed a BBC crew how he recreated “Woman Tone” for the stage with his psychedelic-painted “Fool” SG in the Farewell Cream documentary, but he reportedly used a Les Paul Black Beauty for the session that yielded the track for Cream’s second album, Disraeli Gears.
Watch: Clapton Explains his “Woman Tone”
So let’s start our tone quest with a humbucking pickup equipped guitar, and get to the single coils later.
Amp choice is crucial too, although a carefully selected high-quality distortion pedal can turn some tiny practice rigs into snarling monsters. Clapton used heavy artillery: a Marshall 50-watt head through a 4×12 cabinet with 25-watt Celestion greenback speakers running full out – volume, bass, midrange and treble all set on 10. And while an electronic amplifier – especially one that emulates tube distortion – can get the job done, one of “Woman Tone’s” key elements is the smooth, creamy distortion that only tubes provide.
Now you should be in the ballpark. It’s just a matter of wailing and fine-tuning the dials for your own guitar-and-amp combination. To up the ante add a wah-wah and try leaving the pedal cocked at a high angle at various stationary positions to see what a little signal attenuation brings to the game.
“Woman Tone” is especially responsive to hammering and pull-offs, and makes bent strings moan beautifully. For a little instruction, listen to Clapton’s solo in Cream’s “I Feel Free”.
This will take some fishing around, but when you hit the sweet spot, you’ll know. And you’ll smile.
Read original article here
~ by dolphinblog on January 15, 2009.
Posted in Artists, Artists Gear, Electric Guitars, Gibson guitars, Gibson News, Guitar Heroes, Guitar Playing Tips, Guitar Tone Tips, Tone Tips
Tags: Cream "I Feel Free" video, Cream (band), Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton Explains "Woman Tone" (Video), Eric Clapton Sound, Gibson, Gibson guitars, Guitar hero, Guitar Heroes, How To Get Clapton’s Classic ‘Woman Tone’, How To Sound Like Eric Clapton, Tone Tips for Guitarists, Woman Tone