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Guitar Tone: It's What's Under the Hood that MATTERS!

by vaughn skow September 17, 2014 2 min read

So, a few weeks back my sweet little wife asked a simple question that really got me to thinking.  I was showing off the super-cool looking new WGS12L, and she simply asked: “what does it matter what it looks like, nobody ever really SEES the speakers in an amp anyway, right?

Wow, what a packed little innocent question.  Let’s talk about that.

To ME, it MATTERS.  Shoot, I just assumed everyone felt the same way I do, and truth be told, on this here forum, I am probably “preaching to the choir”, y’all get me.  And that’s so cool!  We’re like a dedicated bunch of car geeks; when they get together, no one needs to ask “why do you care what your spark plug wires look like, anyway … hardly anyone ever sees them?”  No, we are meticulous folks who understand that perfection is way more than “skin deep”.  We understand that what really matters is what’s under the hood.

Another, more musical way to look at it is this:  take your average (non tone-freak) off the street and show him two amps, one an old hard-worked 1964 Fender Super Reverb, the other a nice new “digital-modeling” amp with all manner of golly-gee-wizz stuff on it.  Ask him which one is the best … yea, he’ll pick the one that glitters on the outside.  But we know better.  We value the stuff that can’t be so easily seen, like the gorgeous matched pair of NOS RCA black plate 6L6’s and the big, robust pretty blue Sprague filter caps.  Yea, just like a true car guy values what’s under the hood (bonnet for you Britts) … we value what’s under the tolex.  After all, that’s what really matters, right.  And, when you’re talking shop with a fellow hard-core tone aficionado, isn’t it nice to have him take a peak “under the hood” of your rig and see that super-cool speaker? Yea, it is.

In a similar fashion, I’m working on a custom pickup model that honors Leo Fender’s two go-to guys, Forrest White & George Fullerton (I’m calling the set the “59 Fullerton-White Custom Set).  I’m going with bobins made of White & Red (George’s favorite color) fiber “flat-work”.  No one will ever see those colors once the pickups are installed.  But, I know I’ll play different.  Yea, what’s “under the hood” … “behind the tolex” … or “under the pick guard” … that’s the stuff that really matters, so why not make it look cool, too!

Vaughn Skow Custom Guitar Pickup

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