Santa Clara-based Legendary Tones is an information site focused on all things guitar.
“We have a rock-oriented focus,” said founder David Szabados, who has lived in Santa Clara since his childhood.
Szabados founded Legendary Tones in 2001 “as a way to share information about dialing in the best guitar tones.” Legendary Tones also provides information on tone tips and artist interviews, as well as product reviews.
Szabados recalled being first interested in the world of music when he was ten and “taking piano lessons.” By the age of twelve, he remembers being electrified “by the powerful rock sounds I heard on the radio. Bands like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith had such a great range of songs on the radio in the day and I was drawn to the rebellious and aggressive sounds.”
Later, he moved to heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath and Metallica, among many others.
“The guitar work was so distorted and wild in sound,” Szabados said. “I was drawn to it and still enjoy it to this day.”
“I’m inspired by anything, musical or visual, that I can feel,” Szabados continued. “When an artist is making a connection through their work, and it moves you, that’s when you know it’s good.”
While he still enjoys the classic rock and roll of his childhood, Szabados says, “There’s a wide range of other musical people I could name who really have moved me in some way listening to their work.” From “new age” artists like Kitaro, “who blend electronic and traditional instruments to create great soundscapes,” to Mozart and Bach.
“I started [Legendary Tones] to share information I had learned from various mentors growing up,” said Szabados. “Other musicians in the area, as well as those I corresponded with when we used to have a thing called ‘pen pals.’”
What is it about tone that makes it so important in music?
“In the realm of rock guitar, musicians will not only play the guitar, but the amplifier as well as the effects chained together,” Szabados explained. “Each of these pieces can be put together for great expression and a unique color palette.”
Whether someone wants to emulate their heroes in the guitar world – such as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen, or David Gilmour – or want to find the sounds they hear in their head, Legendary Tones helps those players as well.
“I love the idea of sharing information with others that people can find useful and help guide them a bit in their own musical journey,” said Szabados.
It was not until many years after founding his website, however, that he began to offer a product, the Legendary Tones Hot Mod V2 Evo. Szabados described it as a “unique plug-in device that is designed to modify an older amplifier with more unique gain structure and sounds, but without needing to cut open or physically modify the amp other than just inserting the module.”
Szabados says the work is so satisfying because “people have been very responsive to it.”
The Hot Mod V2 Evo units he makes are built in the Bay Area using local shops, including Superior Screen Printing in Santa Clara.
“I always want to support local businesses wherever I can,” Szabados said.