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How to Capture Randy Rhoads’ Ozzy Osbourne Guitar Tone

The Next in a Series of Step-by-Step Guides to Home Recording

Jim Dalrymple
|
08.06.2008




Randy RhoadsThe mere mention of the name Randy Rhoads brings so much emotion from all types of guitar players. He was the inspiration for a whole generation of heavy metal guitarists and continues to inspire people 26 years after his death.

Rhoads was the first guitar player in Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, after the singer left Black Sabbath. After spending some time in Quiet Riot, Rhoads got the gig with Ozzy by just warming up―he didn’t even have to play what he planned for the audition.

Ozzy saw in Randy what the world would recognize a short time later. Here is a heartfelt genius of a guitar player. Randy wasn’t just about thrashing on his instrument and playing as loud and fast as he could―he had feeling and he brought that out in every song he wrote.

As a long time fan of Ozzy, I believe that the solo in “Goodbye to Romance” is perhaps one of the best solos ever written. You don’t just listen to that solo, you experience it. That solo moves you.

That is something all guitarists strive for in their music, but precious few ever achieve.

Randy didn’t just come up with great solos―take a look at the riffs he wrote. “Crazy Train” and “I Don’t Know” are just a sample of the incredible music he was able to write in his short time with Ozzy.

Randy died on March 19, 1982 when the plane he was a passenger in crashed. His influence on guitar players around the world remains to this day.

When it comes to guitars, Rhoads is best known for his collection of Gibson Les Pauls and his Jacksons. He was definitely a Marshall man when it came time to plug in and while he didn’t use too many pedals, MXR seemed to be his choice for chorus and distortion.

Randy’s tone didn’t change a whole lot between Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman, but there were some subtle differences. Using our home computer, we’ll whip up a tone that should be good for both albums, giving you a little flexibility.

Let’s start off with the amp. In Native Instruments Guitar Rig 3, I went with a modeled Plexi and the following settings: Volume I 7; Volume II 2; Bass 3; Mid 5; Treble 7; Presence 7.



For Randy’s tone, you can actually make a couple of choices for the cabinet. I switched the cab back and forth between the Plexi and the JCM 800 before finally settling on the Plexi. The Plexi cab isn't as deep sounding, so you may like the 800 better. I changed the mic settings to be 17% mic A and 83% mic B; the Dry/Air setting at 2.86 and the cab volume at -6.8db.

We have a couple of effects to put in the chain including a delay. I don't use a lot of delay -- when it comes to this effect, sometimes a little goes a long way. The Dry/Wet setting is 89% dry; Time 1/8; Feedback 57.2%; and the Depth is 5.6%.

I have similar thoughts about the chorus settings―a little goes a long way. The chorus volume is 4.27 and the intensity is 2.25.

Last, but not least, I'm using a Trans Amp for a bit of distortion and drive. I used this so I could get a setting somewhere between a tradition Brit and the U.S. heavy metal sound. Volume 3; Bass 9; Treble 6; Drive 8; and the amp setting 48% Brit.

There you go. That should give you a nice Randy Rhoads tone suitable for playing some of his classic songs.

Click here to download the Randy Rhoads tone preset for Guitar Rig 3.

Click here to win Guitar Rig 3 and a Les Paul Traditional!


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