Jerry Cantrell Says He Tried Ted Nugent’s Way To Sound Like EVH

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Alice In Chains guitarist and singer Jerry Cantrell recently spoke to Guitar World about mimicking Ted Nugent’s way to see if his sound would resemble Eddie Van Halen. He concluded that after trying his method, he understood that the sound is on the flesh of the musician and not the instrument.

Many rockstars and guitarists have mentioned Eddie Van Halen’s inspiration and influence to this day. Even though he passed away in 2020, his reputation as one of the most talented guitar players in the world will probably last forever. He has a special way of playing the instrument and has popularised and introduced some playing techniques in the rock and roll world.

Eddie developed the guitar tapping technique and highly inspired those who came after him. Because his style, technique, and sound were often looked up to, many musicians tried figuring out ways to sound like him. While many tried to adopt and or use elements from his playing style, others experimented with his gear.

American guitarist and veteran Ted Nugent also looked for ways he could sound like Eddie Van Halen and eventually used his instruments, thinking the magic would be in the gear, but it was a failure. Jerry Cantrell applied the same idea, but he also sounded like himself instead of Eddie Van Halen.

Cantrell gave details about his experimentation with Eddie’s gear by stating:

“I’ll go back to Eddie Van Halen. I remember reading one time about how Ted Nugent was perplexed by Ed’s sound. The story goes that he went over and plugged into Eddie’s shit to see what kind of secret stuff he had in his rig, and when he started playing, he just sounded like Ted Nugent. I had the exact same experience.

Once in a while at a soundcheck, I would plug into his amp, and I sounded like Jerry Cantrell. In turn, Eddie would play through my shit and sound like Eddie Van Halen. It’s in the fucking hands. It’s in your flesh. You can mess with gear, and it will give you a little bit of color, but it’s really in the flesh.

He concluded that the magic is in his flesh and not the technical equipment, and this revelation was fascinating for him. Other guitarists’ gear could be used to give a different tone or spice up the experience, but a guitarist could never sound like another only by using their equipment.