Can the HT20 Mkii Sound Like Stevie Ray Vaughan?

Can the HT20 Mkii Sound Like Stevie Ray Vaughan?

Stevie Ray Vaughan epitomises the Texas Blues vibe. He is known for his intense licks and his metronome-like rhythm sense.

Over his relatively short career, Stevie used a simple rig. An army of Fender Stratocasters, plugged into mostly US style scooped amps. Only a small number of pedals existed in Stevie’s arsenal. He was most often seen with a Tubescreamer to bump the mids, a Wah, a Leslie and occasionally the odd Fuzz or Octavia pedal. His rigs often followed those of his idol, Jimi Hendrix.

If you want to really channel SRV in spirit and tone, string up your Strat with a set of 13 gauge strings, tune it to Eb and dig in hard!

Let’s make the HT20mkii sound like Stevie Ray Vaughan!

The Gear Used in the Video

In this video, I am using the following gear to emulate some of the tones you would expect to hear from Stevie Ray Vaughan,

• Blackstar HT20Mkii
• 1983 Tokai Strat

Stevie was always seen with a Stratocater in hand. He preferred the articulation of single coil pickups.

All the clean and drive tones in the video are direct from the amp along with the reverb.

The amplifier is mic’d with an Aston Origin condenser microphone which his running straight into a DAW via a Focusrite preamp.

The Tones of Stevie Ray Vaughan

Clean Tone

Can the HT20 Mkii Sound Like Stevie Ray Vaughan?

To get your HT20mkii in the SRV tonal ballpark you will want to use the first voice. This is the slightly more American voiced clean tone the amp has to offer. This has a higher headroom (SRV often used 200w amps running totally clean!) and won’t break up as much when you dig in.

The volume is set to 8, this is loud enough to be punch but not enough to drive the amp into natural breakup. The tone is set to 7. If you want to sculpt the clean tone further you can add an EQ pedal to the chain but these settings alone, coupled with a Strat with vintage voiced pickups will get you close.

The two examples in the video show off different pickup combinations and how that reacts with the tone.

As heard on tracks like: Couldn’t Stand the Weather, Lenny

Overdrive Tone

Can the HT20 Mkii Sound Like Stevie Ray Vaughan?

Switching over to the first voice of the overdrive channel gives us a low gain overdrive to use. Keep the drive set to just above 2. You don’t want lots of gain for that SRV tone. Clarity is everything.

Stevie used to run his amps LOUD. Loud amps have a level of natural compression. You can emulate this at low volume by running the channel volume on 10.

The EQ is set with the Bass on 7, Mid on 9 and Treble on 10. Dial the ISF back to 2. You want a very American voiced tone (Think 6L6s!) but coupled with huge mid hump of a Tubescreamer Overdrive. If you are pairing this tone with a Tubescreamer pedal, roll back the Mids to 6 and allow the pedal to fill the gaps.

In the video you will see a few pickup settings demonstrating how SRV tones can be achieved through the guitar without changing the amp settings.

As heard on tracks like: Pride and Joy, Tightrope, Texas Flood

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, and more.

He works with to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.