Sound Like Lynyrd Skynyrd: Amp Settings and Gear Guide

Lynyrd Skynyrd and their iconic songs are known by many music lovers worldwide. Their sound is unique and timeless, one that could only be described as southern rock at its finest.

The classic tone of Lynyrd Skynyrd is quite easy to reproduce when you have the right gear and know-how to use it.

In this guide, we’re going to show you how to get that classic sound using a few different Lynyrd Skynyrd amp settings.

Lynyrd Skynyrd amp settings

What Is the Lynyrd Skynyrd Sound?

The Lynyrd Skynyrd sound is a unique blend of rock, blues, and country that is often imitated but never truly duplicated.

Their songs are immediately recognizable due to the distinctive twang of the guitars and the raspy vocals of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant.

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sound is often described as “southern rock” due to the band’s origins in Jacksonville, Florida.

Some quick amp settings to sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd are:

  • Gain: 4-5
  • Treble: 5-6
  • Middle: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3

These settings will work great with a low-gain amplifier. You want a clean sound that is more expressive as you play harder. If you have a low-powered tube amp and can turn your volume up high, this will help get you even closer.

What Gear Do You Need For A Lynyrd Skynyrd Sound?

To get the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd tone, you’ll need to have certain equipment.

  1. A clean amp that breaks up slightly as you play a bit harder is perfect for that Lynyrd Skynyrd tone. Something like a Fender Blues Junior combo would be a perfect fit, but many modern amps can pull this off, including digital modeling units.
  2. Lynyrd Skynyrd used Gibson guitars, specifically the Les Paul model. This helped produce the warm, bold southern rock style that they played. If you have a guitar that responds similarly, then you will have no issues reproducing their sound.
  3. Having a bit of reverb is a must! If your amplifier doesn’t have this effect built-in, get your hands on a reverb pedal.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Amp Settings

Once you have all the equipment that you will need, it’s important to know how to use your guitar amp settings.

Lynyrd Skynyrd amp setting infographic

Gain Control

This controls the amount of distortion in your signal. For optimal Lynyrd Skynyrd sound, you’ll want to keep this fairly low, around 4-5. Too much gain will make your tone sound too heavy and muddy.

If your amp is a low-gain model and is quite clean, this is perfect. Some amps will have a control called “drive”. This is the same type of control as gain, and so the settings will be the same.

However, some will have neither of these settings and may have an additional volume control like a Fender Blues Junior. This will act as a gain knob and can be turned up to around 6-7 before it breaks up.

Equalization

Once you have your gain figured out, it’s time to set your EQ. These controls will help you create that southern rock tone and can be set to halfway when you get started.

  1. The treble knob will need to be adjusted to be somewhat bright without having any harshness. If your guitar is warmer sounding, like a Les Paul, then you will need more brightness.
  2. The middle control is used to add thickness to your sound. The guitar is mid-focused and so higher levels will provide great classic sounds.
  3. When using the bass knob, make sure to keep the tone punchy. Southern rock isn’t super thick and so overwhelming bass will ruin the sound.

If you have a more complex amplifier that has presence and resonance controls, set them to halfway. These can be adjusted later on once the main EQ is done, but are worth mentioning as they can enhance your tone.

Popular Lynyrd Skynyrd Songs And Their Amp Settings

Once you have a good grasp of how the amp settings work, it’s time to look at some Lynyrd Skynyrd songs.

Sweet Home Alabama

This song is a great way to see how you can take different amp settings and translate them into an iconic sound. Sweet Home Alabama is one of the most recognizable Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, so getting the tone right is essential.

Using a clean amp or channel with these presets will be great:

  • Gain: 5
  • Treble: 6-7
  • Middle: 5
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3-4

The gain is set to get that clean but slightly pushed sound. The treble is boosted quite a bit to add some brightness and snap to the guitars.

The middle is kept at a moderate level to thicken up the guitar tone without it sounding too boxy. Finally, the bass knob is used to add some punch and keep the guitar from getting muddy.

We have some great Beatles amp settings here.

Free Bird

This is another iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd song that you’ll want to nail when it comes to your amp settings. This is a classic rock ballad that was recorded in 1973 and will also benefit from a Gibson Les Paul style electric guitar.

Clean amp settings for this song will be the best. If you have a Fender Blues Junior or similar amp, keep the controls at:

  • Gain: 5-6
  • Treble: 7
  • Middle: 6
  • Bass: 5
  • Reverb: 3-4

Again, the gain is set quite low to keep the sound clean. For the lead lines, some extra push from your amplifier would work out great. Bump up your gain slightly until it adds some sustain.

Simple Man

This song is a great example of how you can use your EQ to get different sounds out of the same amplifier. This Lynyrd Skynyrd tune not only has some great clean tones, but also some overdrive.

The amp settings for this song are as follows:

  • Gain: 4-5
  • Treble: 6
  • Middle: 4
  • Bass: 6
  • Reverb: 3-4

For this song, the verses are very clean and bright, but the overdrive tones are thicker. To get this sound, set your amp for higher gain until you get that nice drive tone, then adjust the volume on the guitar until it cleans up.

Amp Sound Trouble Shooting Tips

If you have tried the amp settings but are not getting the right sound, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • If you have a guitar with single-coil pickups, you can still get these tones. Just make sure to use settings that will thicken up the sound where needed.
  • If your sound is too aggressive, turn down your gain or drive until it cleans up. If your amp has more than one channel, try using one that is cleaner sounding.
  • When your sound is thin and harsh, turn down the treble and try adding more mids. If that doesn’t work, try using your tone control on the guitar, as that can help warm things up.
  • A tone with too much bass can become muddy and lose clarity. If this is your issue, try turning down the bass knob. If this doesn’t restore clarity, then your gain might be too high.
  • Using effects like reverb can also help add depth and smooth out a shrill sound.
Lynyrd Skynyrd amp setting tips infographic

Conclusion

Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, so nailing their sound when it comes to your amp settings is essential.

Whether you are playing a clean tone or looking for some crunchy overdrive, knowing how to adjust your gain and EQ controls will help you get great guitar sounds.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your settings until you find what works best for you.

FAQs

What guitar amps did Lynyrd Skynyrd use?

Lynyrd Skynyrd used many amps to get their southern rock sound. You would find them using Marshall, Wizard, and Peavey. The Peavey Mace was a popular amp with the band that was used for the majority of Gary Rossington’s career.

Which guitars did Lynyrd Skynyrd use?

Lynyrd Skynyrd was known for using Gibson Les Paul guitars. They also used many other models of Gibson, like the SG and Explorer, as well as Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars.

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Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear.I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!