Billy Gibbons tone

  • I am trying to record some ZZ Top songs in Propellerheads Reason and using Bias 2 Amp but am unsure how to get a sound like Billy Gibbons. I know his sound is much sought after but any suggestions would be most appreciated.

  • I remember watching a video where his guitar tech said that Billy Gibbons uses extremely light strings.
    7-38 if I remember correctly.
    He plays with a light touch and his amp has the settings with the gain, bass, and mids cranked with very little treble.
    I think the video was a Rig Rundown.
    Good luck!

  • You could try the new feature in BA2 where amp match can take a recording as input.

  • What kind of guitar & pickups do you play? A Pearly Gate is his sig. pup, which is basically a P.A.F. I believe. I'd say his rig sounds pretty straight fwd. Depending on the era. JTM or a Plexi should do. But I'd try to get a good file of it and Ampmatch it. I'm gonna do a write up on my approach to cloning via DAW. Or email me and I'll give you a quick abridged version.

    Above is a good ex. of a guy copping his tone, and it's pretty spot on! (AC-30H2. Rip to an MP3 and Ampmatch it (mono file. Pan video hard left)

    Good luck!

    Rig Rundown!

  • @mark-meyers

    Nice Mark! Would like to read the write up when completed. Been into virtualization - daw's just under a year so always learning.


  • Dig. Will do. Though I was just reading about an issue with Ampmatch that hasn't been sorted out yet. It should be a minor tweak and doesn't have anything to do with my approach. I actually haven't had much time to really rip BA2 apart.

    I find Logic to be the most user-friendly, and I'm pretty INexperienced with DAWs, though I know P.G.'s stuff pretty well. If you have a Mac, Logic is $199 and comes with a 40G sound library, which is super cheap compared to how much you can spend.

    Feel free to shoot me any other questions. I'll do my best(!)

  • @mark-meyers

    Cool...I have using Reaper and been finding my way around various amp sim software. Not into recording just jamming at home through cool - vintage amps. I really like Bias 2 particularly the amp matches available within Tone Cloud. Move a knob here and there then good to go.

    PC user W10.


  • @mark-Meyers Thank you for your reply and suggestions. I have purchased however the 'Standard' version of Bias Amp which means I haven't got the facility of 'Amp Matching'. However, yes, the Plexi 50w or the British 800 Lead seems quite a close match to what I am looking after.

    While recording I am also actually trying to learn the song, "Cheap Sunglasses", as well as learning to play guitar, so there are a lot of technical issues I am learning as well along the way, like 'Pinch Harmonics', etc.

    Looking at Billy Gibbons guitar rig, he seems to have a lot of gear hooked up. Is there a practical way or even a necessity to layering all these effects, I wonder, in a DAW?

    By the looks of things the sound flow starts off with an equalizer, which can be accommodated by the use of en ReQ131 Graphic Equalizer. If I've understood different forums and articles correctly this is to 'neutralize' the sound characteristics of different guitar 'types' and achieving a similar sound 'world' regardless of which guitar he uses and emulating the sound of his "Pearly Gates" Les Paul.

    Next however is a mish-mash of pedals, which I am wondering how many of these would be used for what song? First and foremost "Cheap Sunglasses", I am under the impression that a Ring Modulator is used. But is this for the entire song? And how about the six Bixonic Expandora pedals. Is there a practical way or even a necessity to build a multi-overdrive unit?

    It looks like the different effects pedals are on separate loops, but are these grouped together, i.e. is a Fuzz pedal for instance used prior to the six Expandoras, in order to get a distorted sound but with the warmth of the overdrive. Could one say the six Expandoras' work as an "equalizer" as I am under the impression they are all set to slightly different settings enhancing different aspects of the sound.

    And, is all this followed by a 'Tremolo' always, before entering the amps?


  • @mark-meyers oh and one more thing. would the wah pedal be used to "brighten" the sound? This could be simulated using an Efektor WF3607 Wah Filter