Punchy Guitar-Sound

AmpEspecially in the songs of hard rock or heavy metal bands the guitars sound pretty voluminous and punchy.
One produces this kind of sound by combining several microphones for the recording but notably by doubling the guitar-tracks or by multi-tracking.

The solos of many famous bands have also been doubled, that is to say, have been tracked several times.

Live sound

But how can you reproduce this sound live on stage? Especially in bands with one single guitarist the rhythm guitar will not be as punchy as on the record. And when the only guitarist starts to play his solo, the rhythm guitar ceases to apply totally. This really slows a punchy sound down.


Another possibility is to use several amps and to mix their signals. Or you can use a wet/dry- system to split the signal. On stage Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Bonamassa for example always used several amplifiers at the same time. But doing this is, on the one hand, a question of costs, and on the other hand you will have to tow multiple amps to each gig. And at least you will have to hope for a sound engineer that mics all of the amps and finally will mix the signal in the way you want it.
But there are more simple solutions.


In the 80s one frequently used a chorus to create this kind of punchy sound. By enriching an overdriven sound with a chary chorus the guitar will sound punchier.
Many famous bands, from Mörtley Crüe to Pantera create their sound live on stage by using a chorus. I guess the most famous example for this is Zakk Wylde. You cannot find a chorus on his pedalboard because the chorus is already integrated into his amplifier. If you have ever tried to play a Zakk-Wylde-riff you might found out that you can get pretty close to the original sound by using an overdrive, a wah and a chorus.

TC Electronic Mimiq

Not everybody likes the wide and sometimes wobbly sound of an overdriven chorus. Therefor TC Electronic invented the Mimiq which adds a second or even a third virtual guitar to the real signal. With the tightness-pot you can adjust how exactly the virtual guitars should be played ( in other words: how much beer the virtual guitarists have drunk).

Automatic Double Tracking

The way how the Strymon Deco and the Keeley 30ms work varies from the previously mentioned methods. Both pedals emulate the ADT (Automatic Double Tracking) of old tape-machines.
This trick has already been used for the tape-recording in the 1960s. First the track has been doubled on two separate tapes and later these two tracks have been put together to one. The wow and flutter of the two tapes created some kind of chorus/flanger effect which made the sound seem more punchy and dynamic. The Deco and the 30ms enable you to recreate this effect with a small pedal.

These tricks are suitable to create a punchy guitar-sound without recruiting a second guitarist or raising the volume of your guitar.