This video of session dons Dann Huff and Tom Bukovac discussing the greatest guitar tones of all time is a real education

Tom Bukovac and Dann Huff
(Image credit: Tom Bukovac / YouTube)

Tom Bukovac's Homeschoolin' YouTube series is frequently a go-to place to learn from one of the best session players in the business talking about everything from amps to beers. And for the 200th episode he went all-out; he called his good friend and fellow studio legend Dann Huff.

The shared credits of these two guitarists would take a long, long time to cover. Huff alone has played on albums for everyone from Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston, Madonna, Taylor Swift and most of Nashville's country A-list. There's a lot of guitar wisdom in the room with these guys so when they discuss their favourite guitar tones in an 80-minute chat, it's essential viewing for players.

"Everyone in Nashville watches what he does," Bukovac says of guitarist / producer and songwriter Huff. And Huff's influence has now gone beyond guitar and into production – he ever produced three songs on Taylor Swift's Red. Huff brings a producer and musician ear to the tones he admires. So what do these two studio veterans choose?

Van Halen's Panama, Unchained and The Stones' Can't You Hear Me Knocking get the nod early on. 

"I don't think he played that hard," Huff remarks about what he believes to be one of Eddie Van Halen's traits. Ditto Angus Young. And it was actually Eddie's often-overlooked gifts as a rhythm player that really got Huff hooked. "He was a composition rhythm guitar player – he was an architect," he explains.

The two discuss the importance of midrange (and it cannot be stressed enough in guitar). "The thing is, you want sounds that you can hear in the mix without having to turn that fader up," notes Bukovac. "If you have to turn the fader up too far it's the wrong sound."

That's just the tip of the guitar iceberg; the duo talk the context of bottom end, their love of Billy Gibbons, why Foreigner's Mick Jones is underrated, Joe Walsh's tone secrets, the parallels between Yes and Keith Urban, and Dann's modded Strat

We already want a part two. In the meantime, you can subscribe to Tom Bukovac's YouTube channel here.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.