Ted Nugent is one of the most blistering guitarists in rock and roll. Both in terms of his playing and his tone.
It makes for a tone that you would want to recreate. Not just to emulate Nugent himself but for what a cool rock and roll sound it is in general.
Let us take a look at the gear he uses and the settings on his amp
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Over the course of his career, Ted Nugent has used a variety of different guitars, amps, and pedals. There are a few brands that he seemed to have stuck to.
Let us take a look at the gear that he has used the most, and that seems to be his gear of choice.
One of Nugent’s most famous guitars that he is known for playing is the Gibson Byrdland. These guitars are difficult and expensive to come by these days, unfortunately.
There are great modern alternatives. The Gibson Custom CS-356 is perhaps the best modern alternative, but the ES series also has a number of great options.
The Epiphone Sheraton-II PRO is another excellent option that is also more affordable. And if you want to go the full hollow body route, the Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor-II PRO is also fantastic.
Nugent also plays Les Pauls. And, of course, there is the Epiphone Les Paul as the affordable option.
Apart from Gibsons, Nugent is also known for playing PRS guitars. He plays PRS Customs. The SE Custom is also a great option.
These days, Nugent plays Peavey amps. Specifically, he plays a 6505 amp head paired with a 6505 4×12 cabinet. He actually uses multiple amp heads and cabinets to help create his big, loud, and heavy rock and roll sound.
Since most of us don’t need that much power, the 6505 Mini Head paired with an Invective 212 cabinet should be more than enough. In his later career, he was seen using Blackstar ID: Core 150 and Kustom Quad 100 DFX.
If you want to recreate Nugent’s more classic tone, you can also go with a Fender Twin Reverb. He almost exclusively played Fender amps during the ‘70s and ‘80s. This is the tone that can be heard in songs like Stranglehold.
For more affordable options, the Fender Blues Junior IV is great if you want that Fender tone. Otherwise, a good modeling amp like the Boss Katana-50 MKII is always a cost-effective way of getting fairly close to the sound you want.
While not having a very complex pedalboard, Nugent does use a selection of effects. Most notable is his use of the chorus, delay, phaser, and wah.
For chorus and delay, he uses Boss pedals, the CH-1 Super Chorus, and the DD-3 Digital Delay. His other two pedals are found on most professional guitarists’ pedalboards, the Phase 90 and the Cry Baby.
Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where we don’t really have any solid numbers to work with. Nugent’s tone has also changed over the years as he has changed gears and his sound in general.
That means that it is going to be up to a lot of experimenting and ultimately, some guesswork to try and get as close as possible to a tone that sounds similar enough to Nugent’s.
Let us use Stranglehold as our basis. It is one of his most well-known songs and likely the tone most people are going to aim for. We can then break his tone down into two parts to try and figure out what are settings should look like more or less.
The first part we will look at is the gain. His sound is fairly crunchy, with a slight breakup. This tells us that his gain is set just before it starts to really distort.
On a Fender amp, this is usually around 6 or 7. On a higher gain amp like a Peavey, this will be a bit lower, maybe around 5, possibly 6.
The second part is the EQ. His tone sounds a bit boosted, but everything is still fairly balanced. That means that the lows, mids, and highs are going to be similar but all turned up slightly, around 6 or 7.
Together, our settings should look a little something like this:
- Gain – 6/7
- Bass – 6
- Mids – 7
- Highs – 7
And that should do it for all the gear and settings you need to recreate Ted Nugent’s classic tone. Hopefully, this guide will help you on your journey to emulate his high energy in your face tone.