Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

Gear Outside, Tone Inside


I get a lot of questions about my guitar “tone” in my videos.

Ok, yes it has improved since I first started posting videos.  But, this brings to mind a very valuable music lesson I once had from my mentor which I’d like share with you.

Nerd speak for one sentence:  For this video I use a Maton guitar, a fresh set of uncoated phosphor bronze strings, 2 RODE mics and a DI, into Garage band.  (For more detailed CD type recording my setup varies slightly.)

I recorded this song about 25 times in my home studio the day prior as practice.

I searched, listened, and allowed magic to pop up, I discarded ideas that did not work, and I voiced the same chords “umpteen” ways until I found just the “right” way.

This was not an analytical process….it was intuitive, creative and gut level.  Right and left brain had to work together to realize the overall sound I wanted.

During the practice session I had a myriad of tones, dynamics, grooves, tempos…

Each practice recording sounded totally different from the next in color and timbre.  Of course there were technical things that I worked on, but it was all in the service of the sound.

When one practices a performance or crafts an arrangement it requires searching for “just the right sound.”  The small changes made over time are like the low flame that turns a pot of chopped vegetables and water into a “savory soup”.

This “savory soup” does not come only from a Maton guitar, a fresh set of uncoated phosphor bronze strings, 2 RODE mics and a DI, into Garage band.  It comes from listening and undergoing the process I have described.

Looking back, I can remember 20 years ago asking my mentor about the sound of my guitar.  At the time I was trying to decide  whether “flat wound” or “round wound”  guitar strings had a better tone.

He told me “the tone you seek is inside.”   20 years later I see what he meant!

Until next time….Enjoy!

Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

4 thoughts on “Gear Outside, Tone Inside

  1. I enjoyed reading this Adam. I had lots of guitar music around me at the kitchen table in my early years, but sadly I didn’t get a chance to learn. I appriciate the sound and I’ve always felt soothed by it. Happily my 12 yr old daughter is learning guitar and when I watch her play I can see the look on face while she is playing and you know she has faded into that lovely Theta brainwave and the magic poors write through her fingers. Mind you she is just learning but she has a knack for any instrument she touches and its all music to my ears…Anyway Thanks for sharing, Sending you lots of light and love and positive vibes your way… 🙂

    • Heidi

      Thanks for the comment. I think if it soothes you…keep listening and enjoy. We all find our way to joy, peace and good vibes in different ways.

      I can’t wait to hear your little girl make music!


      • We have a few little video’s on youtube your welcome to check out under twotwinsouls or you can look under my vids on fb ie: Heid Bedford Browning. She is just learning but she picks up pretty quick. If you have time to check them out let me know what you think….

  2. Sweet. I dig.
    Blessings from San Diego!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s