Andy's Tone Tips: A Trifecta of Effects for '80s-Style Guitar

As many of you well know, Andy Martin is a fount of tone knowledge. Recently, we at Reverb thought we'd open up his expertise by allowing anyone to pose a question at askandy@reverb.com.

Benjamin took us up on the offer, asking "I was wondering what gear would you pick to help you get Def Leppard tone from the Hysteria era?" So today, Andy's taking us through an effects setup that can help you recreate the grandeur of '80s rock—a trifecta of compressor, chorus, and distortion.

Andy starts with the Tom Scholz Rockman X100, a headphone amp famously used by Boston and Def Leppard that comes with fully analog compression, stereo chorus, distortion, and reverb. Plugging it straight into his recording interface, Andy finds the clean chorus tones to be the epitome of '80s tones. After adding the Rockman's built-in distortion and compression to the mix, the little effects unit begins to have a familiar stadium-filling sound.

But that tone is also able to be crafted by any number of standalone pedals, more easily incorporating into your existing rig. Andy uses the Chellee Compy Compressor, a versatile, high-headroom compressor, and the Fromel Seraph Deluxe, a pedalboard-friendly recreation of Roland's Dimension D rackmount unit. As Andy says, "With a little comp and chorus, you can pretty much nail any '80s chorus tone."

Adding the Suhr Mini Riot, Andy gets a high-gain distortion pedal with multiple clipping options, perfect for trebly leads and arpeggiated chords.

Maybe '80s guitars aren't really your thing, but you'd like some help in nailing a different tone you're after either? Send an email to askandy@reverb.com too see if Andy might be of some service.


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