4 Les Paul Tricks for Better Tone

gear tone tricks and hacks Aug 30, 2023



If you own a Gibson Les Paul guitar, you're in for a treat! The Les Paul is a legendary instrument that offers a range of versatile sounds. In this blog post, we'll explore four fantastic tricks that you can use to shape your Les Paul's sound without the need for additional pedals or overdrive. These tricks involve utilizing different pickups, manipulating the tone switch, and adjusting the volume knobs. Whether you're into blues, rock, or any other genre, these techniques will help you unlock new possibilities and enhance your playing experience.

Trick 1: Woman Tone

The first trick we'll explore is the "Woman Tone," made famous by none other than Eric Clapton. It delivers a nasally, expressive sound that stands out from the classic rock and roll tones. To achieve the Woman Tone, you'll want to use the rhythm pickup (neck pickup) and turn down the tone knob for that specific pickup. This combination gives you that characteristic nasally sound.

By playing around with the volume and tone knobs, you can fine-tune the intensity of the Woman Tone. It's a great way to add emotion and character to your playing, making it ideal for soulful solos and expressive lead lines.

Trick 2: Kill Switch

Next up is the Kill Switch, popularized by Eddie Van Halen and many other players. This technique involves quickly switching the pickup on and off while playing to create unique rhythmic effects and dynamic textures. To perform the Kill Switch trick, you need to turn off one of the volume knobs—preferably the neck pickup volume. This allows you to silence one of the pickups while retaining the others, creating a dramatic on-off effect.

The Kill Switch is perfect for adding excitement to your solos or making your playing stand out during intense moments in a song. It's a captivating technique that can be creatively used in various musical contexts.

Trick 3: Clean Pickup One, Dirty Pickup Two

For this trick, we're going to combine the clean and dirty sounds of two different pickups. Start with the bridge pickup (pickup one) set to full volume and tone. Then, lower the volume on the neck pickup (pickup two) to about 4 or 5, while keeping the tone at ten. This combination allows you to switch between a super overdriven sound and a cleaner tone simply by toggling the pickup selector switch.

This trick is a fantastic tool for live performances, as it enables seamless transitions between clean and dirty sections of a song without needing to adjust your amp settings or switch pedals.

Trick 4: Volume Cut Back

Finally, we have the Volume Cut Back technique, which is handy when you want to clean up your sound during a song without changing any pedals or amp settings. This trick involves simply lowering the volume knob on your Les Paul while playing.

For example, if you have a heavy overdriven sound on the bridge pickup, you can create a cleaner tone by reducing the volume knob to around 7. The Les Paul's construction and potentiometers allow for smooth and gradual volume changes, making this trick highly effective.


The Gibson Les Paul guitar is a treasure trove of sonic possibilities, and these four tricks are just the beginning. By experimenting with different combinations of pickups, tone knobs, and volume controls, you can discover a world of sounds that will take your playing to new heights.

Remember, these tricks aren't just for beginners—they are powerful tools used by professional guitarists to shape their signature sounds. So, don't be afraid to incorporate them into your playing and let your creativity flow.

Unlock the true potential of your Les Paul and amaze yourself and your audience with the richness of tones you can achieve with these simple yet highly effective tricks. Have fun exploring and enjoy your musical journey with your Gibson Les Paul guitar!

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