Chris Robertson apparently doesn’t mind if we pirate his amp settings. He’s an alright guy.
He’s also got a fantastic sound and tone from his arsenal of sleek PRS guitars.
Chris Robertson’s Gear
Gear I Used
- PRS CE 24 Electric Guitar
- Line 6 Spider IV 150-Watt Modeling Amp
- Ibanez Tube Screamer
- GuitarMoose Sticky Picks
- PositiveGrid JamUp App
- Apple iPad
Oh to be signed by Roadrunner Records.
In an interview with allaxess.com, Robertson gives a detailed rundown of his guitars, amps and pedalboard, where his amp settings are plainly visible.
It’s assumed that since he doesn’t explicitly state otherwise, that these are the only settings he uses and counts on his guitars and pedals for any other adjustments to his tone. If you listen to Black Stone Cherry’s records, that assessment seems fair as his sound is pretty consistent.
There’s my settings. Feel free to steal them…I’m not one of those guys whose like, “You can’t take my settings.”
So with Robertson’s blessing, we’ll make note of the settings he uses on his Buddha amp head and see if we can replicate his signature sound. If you watch the video on All Axess, you’ll notice that Robertson has a nice collection of PRS guitars and a a few pedals you probably don’t have.
You can still go after his sound, because amp settings are the more important component. Besides, you still want to put your own twist on it, right?
Black Stone Cherry Amp Settings
If we watch the YouTube video in 1080p and stop it right around 2:50, we get a nice shot of Robertson’s settings that’s somewhat readable.
It’s a little tough to see, but if you look closely you can see that the numbers run something like this.
- Bass: 9-10
- Mid: 6-7
- Treble: 6-7
- Drive: 4
- Rhythm: 4
In the app screenshot above, I’m substituting the gain knob for the drive on the Budda amp head.
If you don’t have drive on your amp, it should still work fine. Just aim for a lot of low end and thick distortion.
Later in the video Robertson takes us through what he considers to be a pretty simplistic pedalboard. Here’s a quick look at what he uses.
You’ve got the Swollen Pickle fuzz, a Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner (although he likes the TU-2 better — not sure why he doesn’t have one still), the Tremonti Wah pedal with the boost turned all the way off, his Budda amp footswitch, an Ibanez Tube Screamer and a couple pedals on the top row that he doesn’t use.
On a lot of BSC songs, you’ll hear a distinct driving riff, repeated with a wah or fuzz effect. If you want to get that detailed about covering their stuff, a good overdrive, fuzz and wah pedal would be optimal.
Though BSC’s sound is pretty typical hard rock, with a touch of blues and southern rock woven in.
If the Settings Don’t Work for You
So if you find that the settings listed aren’t turning up something similar, just start with what you use for a heavy, modern rock tone.
For example, I found that on my Line 6 Spider IV, keep everything similar but cutting back the treble and mid just slightly worked pretty well.
Even though you’re looking for a bit of a brighter resonance (since Robertson is the band’s lead player) I found that the original settings on my Line 6 were just slightly too bright.
Cutting them back just a little really helped.
So don’t be afraid or shy about making adjustments based off of the gear you’re working with and the sounds you’re getting.
Even if it’s not identical, BSC’s distorted tone is pretty basic. Heavy, southern and with a little extra aggression. If all else fails, you could spring for a PRS guitar and a Budda amp head. In that case, there’s a good chance the settings listed above will work just fine.
Good luck in your pursuit of the perfect Chris Robertson tone.
Could you use more gear help?
Producing “great tone” is a worthy pursuit, but not always an obvious one.
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Flickr Commons Image via Jostijn Ligtvoet Fotografie