Rush guitarist and co-founder Alex Lifeson spoke in a recent interview with Sweetwater and talked about finding the right tone for the songs and solos.

In the conversation, Lifeson mentioned that he is a very instinctive guitarist on both the performance and concept side and started to give an example from his ‘Spy House’ song, which he released about two weeks ago.

Lifeson pointed out that anything he has ever done outside of Rush, he always thinking out of the box and wants to do the things people don’t expect him to do. This is also the same with the songs he released recently.

Furthermore, the legendary guitarist also stated that he is using plugins just to make it convenient and found out that using the microphone in front of the amplifier makes the sound more dimensional and deeper.

Interviewer asked:

“How do you approach finding the right tone for the parts you’re gonna play, and for the solo?”

Alex Lifeson replied:

“I’m a very instinctive player in both performance and concept. I think with, for example, ‘Spy House,’ I just sat down and started playing that opening riff, and I started messing around with tones to just find something that was a little different from what I would normally do, or someone would expect me to do.

I’m always looking at anything that I do in that context – what would someone not expect me to do, that’s what I’m gonna do.

Any other work that I’ve done outside of Rush or anything personal, anything that I’ve done with someone else, that has always been in my mind – I’m gonna do something that is not the reason they asked me to do it.”

He continued:

“I start with plugins just to make it convenient and easy, but I learned that an amp with a microphone in front of it is always gonna sound more dimensional and deeper, and have that quality that plugins just don’t get.

You look at a real amp and you can see it in your speakers, whereas the plugin is pasted on a tool window. And they sound great, and it’s amazing how they have developed over the years, and they do get better and better.

But there is a smallness about them that is really challenging to open up and get some me on them. I’m still experimenting with that, I hope to find a way because there are so many variables.

But, at the same time, there’s nothing like an amp. Then I recreated those parts, played them with that particular tone, and add things just as they came to my head.”

Lifeson also talked about the guitar brands he has used in his career in the conversation and showed why he would like to play Les Paul by saying that it is giving more sustain and heavy sounds.

You can check out the full interview below.