How to Sound Like Lynyrd Skynyrd: Amp Settings Guide


Lynyrd Skynyrd have an iconic tone and if you want to play their classic hits, you’ll need to be able to dial in the right amp settings to replicate it. In this article, I’ll guide you through the process of setting up your amp to sound as close as possible to Lynyrd Skynyrd on the electric guitar and give you plenty of example amp settings to get your started with their most popular songs.

Quick Guide to Lynyrd Skynyrd Amp Settings

To sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd, start with the following amp settings:

  • Gain: 3
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 3

It’s important to note here that these suggested amp settings are just designed to be used as a starting point and you should know that it is almost impossible to get an exact tone match unless you are using the same equipment. However, you should be able to get a close match regardless of the amp and guitar you’re using if you work through this guide in full.

The Basics

Before we dive into the example amp settings for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular songs, I think it’s a good idea to talk through the basic settings which underpin their tone. For simplicity, I’ll split the settings into three main groups:

  • Gain
  • EQ/ Tone
  • Effects

Gain

For most Lynyrd Skynyrd songs you’ll want a very lightly overdriven tone. The way you create this overdrive really depends on the type of amplifier you have.

If you have a solid state amp then the chances are it has two channels: clean and distorted. If your clean channel allows it, try turning the gain to around midway to create some overdrive but without it turning into full on distortion. Alternatively, you can use your distortion channel, but you’ll need to have the gain setting quite low, so start with it on around 3 to begin with.

If you have a tube (valve) amp, then you’ll need to set it so that it is at the point of breakup. I can’t give an accurate setting to start with here because it really depends on the headroom that the amplifier has.

EQ/ Tone (Bass, Mids, Treble)

The EQ portion of the amp helps shape the tone. Some amps have independent bass, mids and treble controls, whereas others have a single control which is typically called either tone or EQ.

  • Bass: you don’t want to start with the bass too high or the tone will sound muddy. I recommend starting with this on 4 to begin with. If you find the tone lacks depth, turn it up. If you find that the tone sounds loose and muddy, turn it down.
  • Mids: you’ll want to start with the mids control on 6 for most amps. This will help the guitar’s tone to stand out in the mix. If you find that it dominates the mix too much, turn it down. If the tone sounds weak and thin, turn the mids up.
  • Treble: this adjusts the high-end frequencies and is responsible for creating clarity and note separation. In most songs, the guitar sounds bright so I recommend starting with this on 7 to begin with. If the tone is too harsh and crisp, turn it down. If you need more clarity, turn it up.
  • If your amp has a single tone/ EQ control then turn it to around 7 so that it favours the treble instead of the bass frequencies.

It is hard to give one-size-fits-all settings for the EQ portion of the amp because all amplifiers sound different. Fender amps for example, may need more mids and less bass and treble. Marshall amps on the other hand may require less mids and more treble.

It also depends on the guitar you’re using. If your guitar has single coil pickups then you may need more bass and mids and less treble. Conversely, if you are using humbucker pickups then you may need more treble and less bass and mids.

Some amps have additional controls so make sure you also check out the brand-specific amp controls guide which is relevant to you, in order to fully understand all the settings and so you can get the most from your rig:

Effects

You don’t need many effects to sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd however there are a few that you might find useful. Some amps will have these effects built-in, however you can always use pedals as an alternative. Here are some effects to consider:

  • Reverb: this adds some life and depth to the tone and stops it sounding dry and dull.
  • Delay: for the same reasons as reverb, and for some specific songs.
  • Phaser: this is useful for some specific songs e.g. “Tuesday’s Gone”.
  • Tremolo: again useful for some specific songs e.g. “I Need You”.
  • Chorus: useful for songs such as “Free Bird”.
  • Overdrive/ Boost: this can be very useful as it allows you to kick your tone up a notch when switching from rhythm to lead playing.

Amp Settings for Popular Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs

Now let’s look at some example amp settings for some of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular songs. As I mentioned earlier, these settings are just to be used as a starting point and are not the exact settings used by the band’s guitarists. It’s likely that they will need some tweaking which I’ll be addressing in the next section of the article.

Sweet Home Alabama Amp Settings

  • Gain: 3
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble 7
  • Reverb: 3

Free Bird Amp Settings

  • Gain: 2
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 4

Simple Man Amp Settings

  • Gain: 4
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 7
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 3

Gimme Three Steps Amp Settings

  • Gain: 4
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 4
  • Treble: 6
  • Reverb: 1

Tuesday’s Gone Amp Settings

  • Gain: 3
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Reverb: 2

I’ve also made an article with example amp settings for over 40 popular guitar songs here to help you sound more like your favourite players.

Common Issues

If you’ve plugged in the settings above for a particular song and the tone doesn’t sound quite right, you should be able to improve it by using the tips in this next section. I’ve listed some common problems you may have encountered on your mission to sound more like Lynyrd Skynyrd on the electric guitar.

I’ve suggested several fixes for each problem. It’s not necessary to make all the adjustments though. I recommend making one tweak at a time and working in the order of the list. It’s important to listen for the differences after making each adjustment so that you can diagnose the issue and become more knowledgeable about your amp.

Tone Sounds Too Harsh and Bright

  • Switch to the neck pickup if you are using the bridge or middle
  • Decrease the treble
  • Increase the bass

Dry and Flat Tone

  • Add more reverb
  • Increase the mids
  • Increase the bass

Muddy Tone

  • Decrease the bass
  • Decrease the gain
  • Increase the treble

Lack of Sustain

  • Increase the gain
  • Increase the bass
  • Increase the mids
  • Use a compressor pedal

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Heather

Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

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