Morrisonia TonePrint by Billy Morrison
A long delay with a little less saturation, than a tape type delay would usually have. That way the delay keeps the top end throughout the entire feedback making it ideal for screeching full riffs.
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TC: Who inspired you over the years when you were creating your own personal guitar tone? Billy: The first 'tone' that hit me square between the eyes was the sound of the Sex Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones. Very mid heavy and layered thick, Never Mind The Bollocks roared off the turntable at me. It's been the go-to reference point for me ever since. I've always been inspired by players who have a unique, individual tone - the guys who you could just tell it was them when you heard a song. Billy Duffy from The Cult has that unique sound of his - Matchless Amp, Gretsch guitar and a nice chorus, Angus Young is another favorite of mine.....you can tell AC/DC from a mile away. I'm a rhythm guitarist and the sounds and tones that really get me off are thick, weighty rhythm chords filling out a huge chorus.
TC: What are the main ingredients in your tone in terms of effects? Billy: The main effects that get added are chorus (just to swirl it up a bit and thicken it out in sections) and vibrato or tremolo (more in clean sections - I'm a big fan of the tremolo pedal). On last years Billy Idol tour, I found myself using delays a lot as well - tempo specific ones that created some great single string sounds. And reverb on anything involving an acoustic guitar.
TC: Have you ever been so inspired by a tone you created that you ended up writing a tune based on that specific tone? Billy: Nearly every time I get a new sound or tone happening that’s 'right', I end up writing something or incorporating it into something new. To me, the sign of an effect pedal or tone that is dialed in perfectly is that it just makes you play better, it makes you play riffs that weren't there before. Delays especially make me start riffing around the repeats and inspire me to write.
TC: Do you work on developing your tone continuously, or do you feel that you have found a fundamental tone that will last throughout your career? Billy: I come from the school of 'Les Paul/Marshall' - quite simply, I plug a Gibson Les Paul into my Marshall amps, and that’s it. Any effects that I add to it are on the top, icing on the cake if you like. So as far as developing my tone, I'm not sure there's a lot left to 'dial'. I've learnt that 90% of how it sounds is in your fingers. I have watched Slash, Steve Stevens, Steve Jones and Billy Duffy all, on separate occasions, walk onstage with Camp Freddy.....grab one of my Les Pauls, plug it into a rental Marshall, and make it sound exactly like each of them. That shows me that it's primarily to do with WHO is playing the guitar and not WHAT it's plugged into!! How hard you dig in, your vibrato style, the way the pick hits the strings...... THAT's where the kind of tone I like comes from. Having said that, effects are always great and necessary additions and I will always continue to tweak, adjust and play with FX.
TC: With regards to effects, do you normally prefer having access to many parameters, or do you like simple pedals with just a few knobs better? Billy: In a live environment, the less parameters the better. In fact, an 'ON' switch is all I want to see onstage! But in the studio, I love to have as many parameters as possible to hand. The sound that I hear in my head is usually pretty specific and I like to be able to reach it without compromise.
TC: How come you signed up for creating your own personal TonePrint(s)? Billy: I've always been a fan of TC Electronic and when I got the email asking me if I would like to take part, I was honored. Like I've said, I am a rhythm guitarist and it's usually the lead guys that do this stuff - all the shredders!! So of course I was happy to get involved.
TC: In your opinion, what is the single coolest thing about TonePrints? Billy: Being able to use computers to share tones is insane! If you think about it, being able to go online and browse through loads of sound files, and then download one into your own pedal and take it to the gig that night and use it...... that’s fucking Matrix shit right there! From my point of view - being able to sit with the software and slowly dial a bunch of parameters in and reaching exactly what is in my head - and then storing it in a stompbox, is a guitarists dream. Its cool new technology and I'm a big fan.Read more about Billy Morrison