Author Topic: How to sound like John Petrucci  (Read 1593 times)

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Offline TheCountOfNYC

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How to sound like John Petrucci
« on: July 13, 2017, 11:46:30 AM »
Awesome video explaining how to get JP's guitar tone.

https://youtu.be/5j-qTw2Qh8Q

Offline rumborak

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 12:08:43 PM »
:lol

In all seriousness though, of all the guitar greats, JP's sound I would say is one of the more feasible to emulate. I think a good amount of his sound comes from his choice of equipment, and that at least one can replicate. Emulating Brian May, screw it.
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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 02:57:50 PM »
:lol

In all seriousness though, of all the guitar greats, JP's sound I would say is one of the more feasible to emulate. I think a good amount of his sound comes from his choice of equipment, and that at least one can replicate. Emulating Brian May, screw it.

True, and in fairness part of the reason why it is easier to chase down JP's sound is because how transparent he is about it (sharing amp settings, etc...) There are dudes out there like Hetfield that treat aspects of their rig like they are nuclear secrets (ironically enough, Hetfield uses AxeFxs live now  :lol).

Offline ReaperKK

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 07:07:38 PM »
It seems like AxeFx is one of the best live solutions.

I remember the old days of amp modeling and how shitty it sounded, I still need to get out there and try an AxeFx

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2017, 03:03:12 AM »
I think it's awesome that JP is willing to share the way he gets his great tone/sound. That is very un-selfish about him.
He's not like those eccentric cooks or chefs that will never share their recipes and take it to the grave with them so no-one else will ever know.
JP is a good teacher and wants to help everybody out.. :tup
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Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2017, 06:32:56 AM »
It seems like AxeFx is one of the best live solutions.

I remember the old days of amp modeling and how shitty it sounded, I still need to get out there and try an AxeFx

For sure Reap. They are so good nowadays that if you are willing to take the time, you can achieve pretty much whatever you want.

Between the shipping costs, set up time, consistency, etc... if I was touring, I'd definitely be using one.

Offline rumborak

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 08:29:42 AM »
Even back in the days of my DT tribute band, I played live with a first-gen AxeFX. People would come to me after the gig and ask me about my sound. As mikeyd23 says, it's all about spending the time configuring good sounds. I think a lot of people like proper amps not because they actually sound better, but because the moment they have too many knobs at their disposal, they end up with a caricature of a guitar sound and then blame it on the gear.
"I liked when Myung looked like a women's figure skating champion."

Offline gm5k

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2017, 11:31:21 AM »
A lot of people can emulate his tone, but very few can actually sound like him IMO.  Most of the players that try to sound like him usually have shitty phrasing and vibrato (a huge part of John's sound) but have the flurry of picking only notes thing down pat.

I would completely disagree that it's easy to sound like him compared to other guitar greats.

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 11:35:58 AM »
Even back in the days of my DT tribute band, I played live with a first-gen AxeFX. People would come to me after the gig and ask me about my sound. As mikeyd23 says, it's all about spending the time configuring good sounds. I think a lot of people like proper amps not because they actually sound better, but because the moment they have too many knobs at their disposal, they end up with a caricature of a guitar sound and then blame it on the gear.

Totally agree.

A lot of people can emulate his tone, but very few can actually sound like him IMO.  Most of the players that try to sound like him usually have shitty phrasing and vibrato (a huge part of John's sound) but have the flurry of picking only notes thing down pat.

I would completely disagree that it's easy to sound like him compared to other guitar greats.

Oh just to clarify, I was talking more about tones than actually sounding like John. Those two things are related but definitely not the same. I mean I can go out and buy a JP Boogie amp, his newest sig guitar, an AxeFx, etc... set it all up match his settings and get a tone pretty similar to what you hear from John, there's not a lot of mystery there. But I wouldn't sound like him as a player, like you said his fingers make up a good portion of his sound.

Offline gm5k

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2017, 11:41:26 AM »


A lot of people can emulate his tone, but very few can actually sound like him IMO.  Most of the players that try to sound like him usually have shitty phrasing and vibrato (a huge part of John's sound) but have the flurry of picking only notes thing down pat.

I would completely disagree that it's easy to sound like him compared to other guitar greats.

Oh just to clarify, I was talking more about tones than actually sounding like John. Those two things are related but definitely not the same. I mean I can go out and buy a JP Boogie amp, his newest sig guitar, an AxeFx, etc... set it all up match his settings and get a tone pretty similar to what you hear from John, there's not a lot of mystery there. But I wouldn't sound like him as a player, like you said his fingers make up a good portion of his sound.

Tone wise sure it's easy.  He's given away his settings over and over on different videos  ;D   Even then it's not rocket science to get a JP-ish tone if you have decent gear.  His live tone is so awesome, though.  It doesn't always come through on DVD's (best example BTFW  :'(, so strange because everything else sounds so good on that Blu-Ray), but man did he sound awesome when I saw the TA last year.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 12:48:44 PM by gm5k »

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2017, 01:57:53 PM »
Oh yea, his tone on the last couple tours has sounded fantastic live, in person - I'd agree though that they have struggled to capture that well on BTFW and Luna Park. BTFW was pretty good though. Just doesn't come close to the audio quality of his guitar on Score and LaB.

Offline gm5k

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2017, 02:09:51 PM »
Oh yea, his tone on the last couple tours has sounded fantastic live, in person - I'd agree though that they have struggled to capture that well on BTFW and Luna Park. BTFW was pretty good though. Just doesn't come close to the audio quality of his guitar on Score and LaB.

I'm cool with his muddy tone on BTFW, because everything else was captured so beautifully.  Mangini really shines.

Also JP's leads sound pretty good on it.  It's just the rhythm sounds that are lacking in "TONE" really.

Offline goo-goo

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 02:31:50 PM »
Oh yea, his tone on the last couple tours has sounded fantastic live, in person - I'd agree though that they have struggled to capture that well on BTFW and Luna Park. BTFW was pretty good though. Just doesn't come close to the audio quality of his guitar on Score and LaB.

I thought his tone in BTFW (or was it Luna Park ???) sounded too "chorusy" or with a lot of echo. That was my impression.
"There's no way in hell that John Petrucci's gonna do something that sucks.  It just doesn't happen." - Jordan Rudess

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2017, 02:35:25 PM »
I'm cool with his muddy tone on BTFW, because everything else was captured so beautifully.  Mangini really shines.

Also JP's leads sound pretty good on it.  It's just the rhythm sounds that are lacking in "TONE" really.

Yeah agreed on all counts, that's MM's best DT drum sound. JP's low stuff wasn't coming through as tight and punchy as it does in person.

I thought his tone in BTFW (or was it Luna Park ???) sounded too "chorusy" or with a lot of echo. That was my impression.

That was Luna Park, a little overly chorusy.

Offline Skeever

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2017, 05:48:11 PM »
I don't really like Axe-FX because I believe it takes a lot of individuality out of a player's tone. Sure, it's awesome to be able to dial in all those sounds, and maybe ideal for some situations, but I've always liked seeing how Petrucci tweaks his gear/tone over the years. Compare his tone over the various live albums to that of Gillette, who is a great player but just plugs in the exact sound at the given moment. With Petrucci, the live material has always sounded somewhat different than the studio, simply because he has changed his tone/gear. I suppose I'm somewhat of a gear head but I do find that way more interesting.

Offline Pragmaticcircus

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2017, 06:43:43 PM »
Musically?

Rush-like open string playing, attention to alternate picking, Vai-esque showstopping sweeping techniques, riffing in the style between Metallica and Iron Maiden, occasionally sing.
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Offline The Silent Cody

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2017, 03:18:18 AM »
Don't remember Guys that 80% of Your guitar tone comes from Your... hand ;) IMO, You could copy all if the Petrucci's settings, bought same amps, bought same guitars, strings, cables, effects... and still, Your tone would be different than true JP's tone. The same goes for all other instruments IMO.
And about AxeFX, my guitarist is using one of these live, studio and in home and it's great. It's expensive I know, but if You're playing live, and studio and want to have all Your settings in one place - AxeFX is the answer. Of course, You have to spend days to set it as You want, but believe me, it's worth ;)
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Offline ReaperKK

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2017, 06:31:14 AM »
This is a little off topic but I've been looking up videos and articles on the AxeFx since the start of this thread. If I get my bonus this year I'm buying one.

Offline wrighty

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2017, 06:39:24 AM »
:lol

In all seriousness though, of all the guitar greats, JP's sound I would say is one of the more feasible to emulate. I think a good amount of his sound comes from his choice of equipment, and that at least one can replicate. Emulating Brian May, screw it.

I can do Brian May much better than I can JP.  As others have alluded to, it's mainly in the fingers, rather than the set-up.  I started out my electric guitar playing trying to emulate BM, and when it comes to the way he does vibrato, the 'rake' technique, string bending etc, after about 30 years of honing I can come pretty close.  Combine that with a BM copy guitar with the same pick-up combinations, a treble booster, chorus and a vox and it's almost there!

I heard a story years ago that Yngwie Malmsteen had a go on Brian's guitar through his rig, and sounded just like... Yngwie Malmsteen!

Offline mikeyd23

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2017, 06:58:58 AM »
I don't really like Axe-FX because I believe it takes a lot of individuality out of a player's tone. Sure, it's awesome to be able to dial in all those sounds, and maybe ideal for some situations, but I've always liked seeing how Petrucci tweaks his gear/tone over the years. Compare his tone over the various live albums to that of Gillette, who is a great player but just plugs in the exact sound at the given moment. With Petrucci, the live material has always sounded somewhat different than the studio, simply because he has changed his tone/gear. I suppose I'm somewhat of a gear head but I do find that way more interesting.

The other way of looking at it is that gear like the AxeFx actually could open up the possibilities for more individuality in tone. The tonal possibilities are endless. Players used to be limited to the knobs on the amp head they were using and the pedals on their board. Now with digital modeling technology being this good, a player has access to way more possibilities.

This is a little off topic but I've been looking up videos and articles on the AxeFx since the start of this thread. If I get my bonus this year I'm buying one.

They are pretty great, I've used one on a limited basis and was blown away. I'd be doing the same thing with my bonus at the end of the year, but wife and kid come first!

Offline IDontNotDoThings

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2017, 12:20:15 AM »

Offline The Silent Cody

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2017, 03:15:47 AM »
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Offline WheyWaffles

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2017, 06:04:56 PM »
What's interesting is high-quality tone (like JP's) is easier to get than unique low-quality tone originally produced by old solidstate gear. Ultra-wide soundstage thanks to the luxury of a delayed stereo rig's natural chorusing aside, JP's tone isn't hard to emulate to satisfaction.

The Jester Race lead tone, the Somewhere in Time rhythm tone, Chris Poland's early lead tone (I could swear that's a synth on the Rust in Peace demo)--these things are difficult to emulate.

I'm happy with my primary tone, but when feeling nostalgic, I often find myself saying "I'm close, but it just doesn't sound shitty enough through my multi-thousand dollar rig."

Offline TheCountOfNYC

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2017, 02:34:57 AM »
What's interesting is high-quality tone (like JP's) is easier to get than unique low-quality tone originally produced by old solidstate gear. Ultra-wide soundstage thanks to the luxury of a delayed stereo rig's natural chorusing aside, JP's tone isn't hard to emulate to satisfaction.

The Jester Race lead tone, the Somewhere in Time rhythm tone, Chris Poland's early lead tone (I could swear that's a synth on the Rust in Peace demo)--these things are difficult to emulate.

I'm happy with my primary tone, but when feeling nostalgic, I often find myself saying "I'm close, but it just doesn't sound shitty enough through my multi-thousand dollar rig."

First world problems lol.

I totally understand where you're coming from though. Despite the not so great production on Kill 'Em All and Ride the Lightning, people pull their hair out trying to get their guitar to sound exactly like the first two Metallica records.

Offline Cable

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2017, 06:50:29 PM »
Don't remember Guys that 80% of Your guitar tone comes from Your... hand ;) IMO, You could copy all if the Petrucci's settings, bought same amps, bought same guitars, strings, cables, effects... and still, Your tone would be different than true JP's tone. The same goes for all other instruments IMO.
And about AxeFX, my guitarist is using one of these live, studio and in home and it's great. It's expensive I know, but if You're playing live, and studio and want to have all Your settings in one place - AxeFX is the answer. Of course, You have to spend days to set it as You want, but believe me, it's worth ;)


I'll never fully buy into this, and look no further then my favorite amp; Mesa Rectifiers. JP on ToT and TGP sounded pretty close to all the other Recto tone I've heard.

I get the hands thing, and certainly produces individual stuff. Look no further than the Satch video of him playing on a SS bedroom amp and a Fender. Hands' impact on tone is no where close to what jawbones are on voice tone.
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Offline WheyWaffles

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #25 on: August 30, 2017, 07:35:34 PM »
First world problems lol.

With regard to problems, it's only the best for me.

Don't remember Guys that 80% of Your guitar tone comes from Your... hand ;) IMO, You could copy all if the Petrucci's settings, bought same amps, bought same guitars, strings, cables, effects... and still, Your tone would be different than true JP's tone. The same goes for all other instruments IMO.
And about AxeFX, my guitarist is using one of these live, studio and in home and it's great. It's expensive I know, but if You're playing live, and studio and want to have all Your settings in one place - AxeFX is the answer. Of course, You have to spend days to set it as You want, but believe me, it's worth ;)

I'll never fully buy into this, and look no further then my favorite amp; Mesa Rectifiers. JP on ToT and TGP sounded pretty close to all the other Recto tone I've heard.

I get the hands thing, and certainly produces individual stuff. Look no further than the Satch video of him playing on a SS bedroom amp and a Fender. Hands' impact on tone is no where close to what jawbones are on voice tone.

I was quite surprised to see a 33-year-old saying "it's all (well, 80%) in the hands". This is the sort of non-sense old men with show Les Pauls parrot. Once you understand how an electric guitar actually works, you can file this one away alongside Jesus riding dinosaurs.

Offline Drinktheater

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2017, 10:29:08 AM »
Don't remember Guys that 80% of Your guitar tone comes from Your... hand ;) IMO, You could copy all if the Petrucci's settings, bought same amps, bought same guitars, strings, cables, effects... and still, Your tone would be different than true JP's tone. The same goes for all other instruments IMO.
And about AxeFX, my guitarist is using one of these live, studio and in home and it's great. It's expensive I know, but if You're playing live, and studio and want to have all Your settings in one place - AxeFX is the answer. Of course, You have to spend days to set it as You want, but believe me, it's worth ;)

I agree with this even on classical guitars fingers don't influence the tone that much at all, I sound awesome using my professors Kono guitar no matter how shitty I play it.

There is just not much material difference between different peoples hands to have that significant change in tone a hard leather pad or a capo or the mummified finger of a pharaoh won't have much an effect on the tone.


I'll never fully buy into this, and look no further then my favorite amp; Mesa Rectifiers. JP on ToT and TGP sounded pretty close to all the other Recto tone I've heard.

I get the hands thing, and certainly produces individual stuff. Look no further than the Satch video of him playing on a SS bedroom amp and a Fender. Hands' impact on tone is no where close to what jawbones are on voice tone.

Offline max_security

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Re: How to sound like John Petrucci
« Reply #27 on: September 19, 2017, 06:29:43 PM »
First world problems lol.

With regard to problems, it's only the best for me.

Don't remember Guys that 80% of Your guitar tone comes from Your... hand ;) IMO, You could copy all if the Petrucci's settings, bought same amps, bought same guitars, strings, cables, effects... and still, Your tone would be different than true JP's tone. The same goes for all other instruments IMO.
And about AxeFX, my guitarist is using one of these live, studio and in home and it's great. It's expensive I know, but if You're playing live, and studio and want to have all Your settings in one place - AxeFX is the answer. Of course, You have to spend days to set it as You want, but believe me, it's worth ;)

I'll never fully buy into this, and look no further then my favorite amp; Mesa Rectifiers. JP on ToT and TGP sounded pretty close to all the other Recto tone I've heard.

I get the hands thing, and certainly produces individual stuff. Look no further than the Satch video of him playing on a SS bedroom amp and a Fender. Hands' impact on tone is no where close to what jawbones are on voice tone.

I was quite surprised to see a 33-year-old saying "it's all (well, 80%) in the hands". This is the sort of non-sense old men with show Les Pauls parrot. Once you understand how an electric guitar actually works, you can file this one away alongside Jesus riding dinosaurs.

Gotta get some grip exercisers and wrist sweat bands man , lol. Actually though I believe hand strength ( from fretboard not kung fu grip ) makes a ton of difference.