“As long as it says Marshall on it, we’re good to go.” -- Zakk Wylde
I’m not a huge fan of Ozzy Osbourne or the speed metal stuff that Zakk Wylde is known for but, the tone he gets out of his guitar has always appealed to me.
He incorporates a lot of bass and low-end which really helps round out his sound and make the use of his EVH Phaser and Boss Chorus Ensemble seem more full and vibrant.
In this article, we’ll take our best shot at the optimal Zakk Wylde amp settings.
For more tone resources, checkout our main guitar amp settings article.
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As the quote would indicate, Wylde is a committed Marshall guy, using JCM 800s almost exclusively.
Here’s a look at his rig from 1988, which hasn’t changed much since:
Browse more diagrams: Original Guitar Geek rigs
This means that having a Marshall amp is going to be extremely helpful when replicated Wydle’s sound, just because that bright lead punch you get with Marshall is such a crucial element.
If you don’t have one you can still dial in something close.
Our Zakk Wylde Amp Settings
Basically max out the bass and go easy on everything else.
Start with a thick, metal base. You’ll want lots of distortion (either from an amp or a pedal) and plenty of low-end rumble dialed into the EQ.
I used the “Insane” gain setting on my Spider IV, which was perfect for the Wylde’s high distortion levels.
Here are the dials in numbers:
Gain: 10 / Bass: 10 / Mid: 5 / Treble: 4 / Presence: 5
Wylde’s pedalboard (much like his amp configuration) is deceptively simple.
The guy just doesn’t need a lot of gear to sound good, which is a testament to his skill and abilities on the guitar.
Typically there are only five pieces to his pedalboard.
The two Dunlop pedals and the MXR overdrive make up a high percentage of Wylde’s effects use, so if you have any of those and can combine them with a Marshall amplifier, you’re in good shape to recreate his lead tone.
But again, if you don’t have the gear, start with the amp settings that were listed up top and work with what you’ve got.
In the video below, Wylde talks a little bit about his sound and rig.
It’s not exactly my kind of music but, I’ve got to respect this guy’s incredible abilities.
The dude can play and his tone sounds great.
Use the settings to get close and then do your own tweaking for different songs and effects.
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Flickr Commons Image via Edi Fortini