This Is the Secret Behind Warm yet Clear Tone, Explains Guitar Legend Robin Trower

Nearing the end of his eighth decade on this planet, there seems to be no stopping for legendary rock guitar player Robin Trower. The former Procol Harum member keeps releasing new albums, and this year, he treated us with yet another collection of great guitar-oriented songs under the title “No More Worlds To Conquer.”

Robin Trower - No More Worlds To Conquer (Official Audio)

But judging by his works, it seems that Trower is contradicting the album’s title and that he’s ready to conquer more world. One of his most interesting aspects is the ability to keep the tone warm yet fresh and clear — something that guitar players still often struggle to achieve.

While chatting with Guitar World, Trower looked back on his latest album. When reminded of the song “Ball of Fire,” in particular its warm guitar tone and great groove, he said:

“That was done on the neck pickup; I’d say about 90 percent of the guitar parts on the album were done on that pickup.

“I think the secret to the warmth of tone that I get, whilst still retaining the clarity, is due to a combination of heavy strings, a high action, and the pickups themselves on my signature Strats.”

Robin Trower - Ball of Fire [Official]

He then also added:

“Another thing I do is to change my strings quite often; I don’t do many hours on a set of strings. Live, I change them every night.”

When asked about his approach to writing solos, whether he prepares them in detail or goes into them with what he feels on the spot, Thrower replied:

“A bit of each, actually. For songs where there might be quite a complex chord sequence, I do like to have a good idea of what the solo should be – and then go for it. There are other times where I just like to open up the amp and really see where the feeling takes me.”

As far as gear goes, it’s business as usual for Robin. Asked whether there’s any new stuff on this album, he said:

“For guitars, it was my signature Strats, and I always use Marshalls, so no change there. In terms of effects, I’ve been using a Fulltone Plimsoul and a Fulltone Secret Freq, which are new for me.”

Photo: Sardognunu (Robin Trower Liri Blues 2005)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.