Lynyrd Skynyrd Amp Settings – Here’s How to Achieve their Tone!

Author: Dedrich Schafer | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of those iconic bands where their sound and songs are often more recognizable than their name. Songs like Free Bird and Sweet Home Alabama are instantly recognizable by most people.

But how did they achieve such an iconic sound? Let us dive into the gear and amp settings used and see how we can recreate one of the most incredible sounds in Southern rock.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gear

For the purposes of this article, I am going to only look at Gary Rossington’s gear. He has been the main guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd since its inception and is responsible for the band’s guitar sound.

Gary’s Guitars

Gary is primarily a Gibson player. He has played Washburn guitars as well, but Gibsons are his main instruments.

Like so many other Gibson players, Gary is a Les Paul player. He also plays SGs, most famously on the song Free Bird.

Of course, if you can’t afford a Gibson, Epiphones like the Les Paul Custom and the SG Standard are both great alternatives.

Gary’s Amps

For amps, Gary uses Peavey amp heads and cabinets. Unfortunately, the Penta and Mace heads and the Black Widow cabinet are no longer being sold, and finding them secondhand can be difficult and expensive. Fortunately, there are modern alternatives.

For the amp head, the 6505 II is an excellent choice. This can then be paired with a 6505 cabinet.

For a smaller, more affordable amp stack, there is the 6505 Mini Head that can be paired with an Invective 212. And if you are looking for a combo amp, the Marshall DSL40CR and  MG50GFX are both good options since he has been known to also use Marshall amps.

Gary’s Pedals

Gary doesn’t really use any pedals. Instead, he mostly uses the built-in effects on his amps.

He does, however, use a phaser and a wah on occasion. He reportedly uses a Maxon PT-999 phaser pedal. He has also likely used a Maestro Phaser, and potentially a Phase 90. It isn’t really known which wah pedal he uses but is likely a Cry Baby.

Amp Settings

Now that we have the right gear, let us take a look at the settings we will need to use on our amp.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd sound isn’t very harsh or aggressive. It is more of a lightly overdriven sound than a crunchy one. A good starting point for the gain will be around 4 or 5.

This will help to keep your tone fairly clean, but allow the amp to break up a bit when you play harder. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s songs tend to have cleaner verses, with the chorus being more overdriven.

There is also a touch of brightness to help sharpen the sound up a bit. The highs should be around 6 or 7, never really going higher than 7.

If you are playing a warmer guitar like a Les Paul, you might need to push the highs a bit further. Just be careful not to add too much, otherwise, you will get a sparkly sound.

You are going to want to keep your gain set fairly light, with the highs turned up just a touch. The bass and the mids are going to be kept fairly centered. They will usually be somewhere between 4 and 7.

It is especially important to keep the bass set fairly low. There isn’t a lot of thickness in Southern rock, and keeping the bass low will add punchiness while preventing the sound from becoming muddy.

You will also want to add just a hint of reverb to liven the tone up a bit. Set to about 3 will usually be enough, but it can be dialed slightly back or slightly higher.

A good starting point for your settings should then look a little something like this:

  • Gain – 4/5
  • Bass – 4-7
  • Mids – 4-7
  • Highs – 6/7
  • Reverb – 3

With these starting settings, you should be able to dial in the tone with little to no adjustments. Here are a few examples of some of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most famous songs to help guide you when you are adjusting your amp settings.

Free Bird

  • Gain – 2
  • Bass – 5
  • Mids – 6
  • Highs – 7
  • Reverb – 4

Sweet Home Alabama

  • Gain – 3
  • Bass – 4
  • Mids – 6
  • Highs – 7
  • Reverb – 3

Gimme Three Steps

  • Gain – 4
  • Bass – 6
  • Mids – 4
  • Highs – 6
  • Reverb – 1

Simple Man

  • Gain – 4
  • Bass – 5
  • Mids – 7
  • Highs – 7
  • Reverb – 3


That should be all you need to know to achieve Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic Southern rock sound. Their sound is quite dynamic, so even with the right gear and settings, you will still need to play correctly to get the sound just right.

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About Dedrich Schafer

Dedrich is a guitar player, songwriter and sound engineer with extensive music production and studio experience. He mostly listens to classic rock and punk bands, but sometimes also likes listening to rap and acoustic songs.

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