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Heavy Fingers

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 8184
Topic starter  

I read somewhere that to get a heavy sound, it's 10% equipment and 90% in the fingers. Is that true? If so, how do you get a heavier sound just through your fingers?

And don't say use your finger to press the button on the amp..............I already know how to do that :lol:

Noble Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 1157

I could see maybe by muting or using power chords you'd get a heavier sound but I'd say mostly it's going to be your settings.

Chuck Norris invented Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous secret recipe, with eleven herbs and spices. But nobody ever mentions the twelfth ingredient: Fear!

Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 6348

tone is in the fingers.
however, one has to have some equipment from which to start.
but definately, tone is in the fingers.


half is attitude. if you understand the notes and lyrics and really pour yourself into them the outcome is attitude and good playing.

no, not monster strong fingers. but finger brains instead.
work the notes using vibrato, holding the note to the right moment, working a string and note to get all that it has, those are the things that make for good tone.

so many times at the guitar center I hear people shredding meaningless sh*t. no feeling, just rote playing.

some of that can be attributed to inexperience of life.

how can one play the blues if one never has been to speak.

knowing your gear will also help for good tone.

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2261

I imagine it meant 'in the fingers' figuratively, meaning the way you play, rather than just one trick you can do with your fingers. Like A&L says, muting (both fret-hand and palm muting) is probably the best example, especially when contrasted with a few chords that just ring out uninterupted. Compare the the difference between these:

Not so heavy:


PM--| LR


As another example, one thing I've noticed about players just starting to look for a heavy sound is that they often assume that faster is heavier - in fact it's the other way around, slower generally sounds much heavier, more dark and menacing. Try the second line from above again, but at about 70% of the speed you just played it - make the bits where you mute fully as abrubt as you can. You've got to have your rhythm sorted out too, sloppy rhythm can destroy the heavy effect quite spectactularly :)

(Think Metallica's Sad But True as a good example - slow, distorted and plenty of muting.) - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer

Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1106

It depends on what you mean when you say "heavy sound." But, one thing that many do to get a heavier sound is to drop their tuning from standard. This allows a lower bottom. Hence the 7 string guitar - the extra string is lower than the low E on a 6 string.

I agree that heavy is often achieved with a slower, more methodical, and menacing (if you like) pace. Hand techniques also play into it - muting, power chords, etc.

BUT - equipment is definitely part of the equation! Ever hear a really "heavy" sound from a classical guitar?? Humbucking pickups and enough (not too much) effects on your signal will turn an ordinary A minor chord into a cry from from the depths of hell! lol

Famed Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4459


I know what your talking about and it is more about the fingers than the settings. My girlfriend is into hardcore music (Pantera etc.)and was a lead guitarist in a hardcore band for several years and when she takes my giutar with my amp she gets a much heavier sound than I could ever get so I don't think it's mainly the equipment.

But I think it lot has to do with the palm muting etc. and playing the chords very stacatto style so you get that chunky sound.

"It's all about stickin it to the man!"
It's a long way to the top if you want to rock n roll!