If you want to know the best Sweet Child O’ Mine amp settings to get the awesome sound that Guns N’ Roses had on this song, you’ve come to the right post!
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Lastly, if you want a quick overview, my recommended amp settings for that Sweet Child O’ Mine tone are to set:
- Gain at 85% for intro and lead, 60% for rhythm
- Volume at 70%+
- Treble at 90%
- Mids at 50%+
- Bass 50%-60% but < mids
- Presence at 80%
- Resonance at 75%
- Reverb at 20%-30%
I’ll unpack this more in the sections below.
It may be overplayed at this point.
However, Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” is one of the rock essentials.
It’s a part of almost every guitar player’s repertoire.
It came out on the band’s debut record “Appetite for Destruction.”
For the most part, the song is popular for its intro riff and the solo.
This is one of the songs that immediately boosted Slash’s reputation.
All of his guitar parts in the piece have further helped define rock music.
Music fans and musicians also praised his tone on the album.
What Key Is Sweet Child of Mine in?
Although a simple song, many are wondering about the key.
The song also has a modulation midway through it, which gives it an additional key.
So let’s start there.
The solo that comes midway through the song is in E-flat minor or D-sharp minor.
Both answers are technically correct.
You should also bear in mind that they’re tuned to E-flat here.
If you see Slash playing an E chord, that’s technically E-flat.
But the first part of the song seems a bit tricky.
Let’s look at the chord progression.
- C-sharp major, B major, F-sharp major, C-sharp major
If you tune your guitar a semitone lower, you play these positions of chords:
- D major, C major, G major, D major
There’s also an additional chord progression in the chorus that goes:
- G-sharp 5, B major, C-sharp major
The answer is a bit tricky.
As you can see, the chord progression centers on the C-sharp major.
That means that everything is resolved on the C-sharp major chord.
However, the B major chord doesn’t fit the C-sharp major scale.
Additionally, the G-sharp power chord is ambiguous as it’s neither major nor minor.
But, in this case, it serves as a minor chord.
So what’s the deal?
You won’t like the answer.
It’s in C-sharp Mixolydian.
Technically, that makes the key of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” F-sharp major.
Before We Get to the Amp: What You Should Know First
On the album and the song, Slash used a custom-made replica of a 1959 Gibson Les Paul.
Here's a similar, but less expensive and more accessible instrument!
For the song, I highly suggest that you use a guitar with humbuckers.
For the intro and the first part of the solo, select the neck humbucker.
Preferably, these shouldn’t be high-output pickups.
You can also use single coils, but the tone won’t be 100% there.
If you have no other choice, you can use your guitar’s tone knob to soften the tone a bit.
Go down to about 75 to 90% of the maximum setting.
I could say the same thing about active humbuckers or any humbuckers that sound sharper.
Play around with the tone control but don’t go too low.
Since there are a lot of lead parts, I highly advise using a thicker guitar pick.
Dunlop Jazz III is a standard.
But anything similar can work.
As far as strings go, you’re free to use what you want.
These days, Slash mostly uses Ernie Ball strings with brass wire.
They’re slightly brighter which helps add some attack to the tone.
On the album, Slash used modified Marshall 1959T Super Lead amps.
This is a tube amp model traditionally bearing EL34 power tubes.
However, there’s a chance that his amps had 6550 tubes instead.
Regardless, Marshall’s classic traditionally British tone works the best for the song.
You can get pretty close with any similar amp that comes with EL34 tubes.
I would always suggest using a tube-driven amp of any kind.
Preferably, I’d suggest going with a lower-wattage amp.
If you’re playing in your room at lower volume settings, it’s hard to get a good tone on a high-wattage amp.
It can also be an American-style one, like classic Fenders.
However, in this case, I suggest that you use a smoother overdrive like Tube Screamer to drive the clean channel.
It will help you get that creamy tone.
An average solid-state amp can also do the trick.
Most of them have digital processing units these days that emulate different amps.
There’s got to be a vintage Marshall digital model on there, so try with that.
A regular solid-state amp might be a bit tricky to use here.
In my opinion, it’s even better to use software plugins.
These can either be standalone programs or plugins in your DAW, like in GarageBand.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Amp Settings
There isn’t a general rule for every amplifier.
For better or for worse, amp models are all different.
However, we can narrow it down to certain parameters.
As I mentioned previously, I believe that tube-driven amps in the style of Marshalls are the best for the song.
And I’ll do this brief guide with such amps in mind.
As for the input gain, the song’s intro and all lead parts are with a higher gain setting.
I suggest that you dial it in at around 80 to 85%.
If you have a modern high-gain amp, then you can go lower.
All of this, of course, requires you to use a distortion channel on your amp.
If you have an old-school tube amp with a single channel, then you’ll need an additional distortion pedal.
As for rhythm parts, go lower.
The best way would be to have a crunch channel or additional switchable gain control.
Overall, the gain setting for rhythm parts should be at around 60%.
Volume (Tube Amps Only)
If we’re talking about tube amps, volume control is extremely important.
It affects the tone.
In short, you need to have the volume set at least 70%.
That’s how you’ll make it roar.
Setting the EQ may be a bit tricky.
I’ll share my experience and how I did it on a Marshall DSL20CR.
For the entire song, I went with a high treble setting.
You can even push it to the maximum setting.
But I advise you to keep it at around 90%.
The mids should be over 50%.
It worked the best somewhere at around 70% for me.
Lastly, the bass should be noticeable but not overwhelming.
I usually like to keep it at 50 to 60% and always quieter than mids.
If you’re playing alone at home, it can be the same as mids.
But if you’re with a band, it’s best to keep it lower as mentioned.
As far as the presence knob goes, I had it higher up at around 80%.
The resonance control didn’t matter so much, but I always prefer to have it at around 75%.
In case you have a parametric EQ, it would be best to push some of the higher mids.
This will give you more punch, especially in the lead parts that are mostly played through the neck pickup.
In case your amp has a simple reverb control, you can add some.
I think it sounds the best if it’s at around 20% to 30%.
Your tone shouldn’t be too saturated with reverb or any other effects.
From my experience, reverb worked better than delay.
It gives a more genuine feel, slightly vintage-ish.
As far as other effects go, you shouldn’t add anything.
Apart from some reverb, your tone should be dry.
Sweet Child O’ Mine Amp Settings: Conclusion
I hope this article has clarified which amp settings can help you imitate Guns N’ Roses’s sound on this iconic song!
And as usual, feel free to message me in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!