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Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Mockbel, Oct 11, 2017.
When I was 17
After I was grown .....
There aint no "dirty channel"..........just TONE
I like to set my amp dialed in so that overdrive is responsive to attack, so that when I pick hard on the bass strings things get nasty, but when I have lighter attach on the treble strings the tone is fairly clean but with a little tube OD sustain with no volume loss. And such a setting allows me to play a chord without annoying "fizz". Not all tube amps will do this. My Soul Tramp Wraith will, and certainly (I hope) other amps will do also.But mine is the only amp that I've found that will do it for me.
I use both from time to time. I never rely exclusively on pedal distortion. And often do not use a pedal for added distortion. Just depends.
Even with a high gain amp that can distort plenty on it's own, I'll still use one. That way I can keep the amp distortion down (though far from clean), and use the pedal to go into warp drive. Sort of like adding an extra gear.
Funnily enough mine is the exact opposite journey. Huge wattage amps when I was young and stupid.......better ways to achieve that great tone once older and much wiser.
I can't live without both. To my ears a tube amp sound best when the output tubes are working. To achieve the best (IMHO) tone I set the volume to were it starts breaking up, so I can adjust clean to crunch with my attack on the strings. I use overdrive pedals on subtle settings, to either add more sizzle and/or tighten things up. A clean boost can often do the same by hitting the front end harder. I use a passive attenuator to adjust volume. Often during practice I'll make life easy on the output tubes, and add gain on the pedal.
I have a two channel Laney VC15 on which I use the clean channel most of the time. My Marshall is a single channel, and if playing at lower volume I use my T-Rex Mudhoney to add the low mids and whatever amount of drive wanted.
It took me a long time to realise that the common denominator between all of my favourite players' tones was that they all used some kind of outboard gear between the guitar and amp.
Once I made that connection I went the same way, and never looked back.
Doesn't necessarily have to be huge wattage , I just used those two examples to illustrate .....the extremes
And I happened to be playin a place that night where that amp obligatory by tradition
Im just as likely to get "the tone" outa somethin like this ......
I've never been happy with the results from any pedals as far as achieving my core overdrive tone .I like to start with the amp .
Chased my tail around silverfaces for a long time until at some point I learned how to get inside 'em and make em do what I needed
I can't live without both. Even when I played live and loud with my classic Marshall, I liked at least one dirty pedal for extra character and "cut".
Best pure tones come straight from the amp. But if you are relying on a preamp knob for distortion, you aren't getting what I consider "great" tone.
I love the sounds of old school fuzz and ratty distortion. And I love a boost for "that push over the cliff" lead tone.
Brian May, Iommi, Jimi, Jimmy, even Angus relied on a little something to push their iconic tones.
Amp drive, overdrive pedal for boosting / tightening the sound.
I didn't buy a 1000€ tube head to get my sound out of a 100€ transistor pedal.
It's pedals for me, though the amp and its settings are critical to the setup as well as a generic "clean" amp will not necessarily have the capacity to respond to and deliver your guitar-plus-pedals output in a good way. (My amps have oversized trannies and other mods, and that has paid off incredibly.) I simply find that pedals offer a greater range of more reliable and more appealing sounds than I can get through amp distortion. I find them easier to control, and more responsive. I run a Klon all the time, and have 3 different ODs set for the main sounds I want. All respond to touch and pick attack, as well as guitar volume (which I run at 5-6, then up or down depending) even better than a cranked amp. To be honest, the upgraded trannies are the single best tonal move I've made.
I'd love to be in a situation like yours where I was playing loud enough to be able to get amps to sound like pedals do at low volumes (ie just like a cranked tube amp). I have yet to find any tube amp overdrive that even sounds 10% as good as a pedal at bedroom volumes. But I live in hope.
Clean is a different story though....my JTM clone and Deluxe reverb are superb.
I think part of the battle is accepting that all rigs have their place, and none are 'kiddy' or 'grown up' rigs
I'm a home hobbyist. I simply don't own a tube amp that has great dirt channels, and can't justify the cost of getting one and the Two Notes gear needed to get the best out of it in my little home studio.
The amp I use (Blackstar HT-100 Mk1) takes many pedals very well, and has both a +4db effects send and standby mode that work simultaneously that I can tap for silent recording without cooking the transformers. Many great-sounding dirt amps that fall within my budget don't come with both of those features. Many of them don't come as separate heads - I don't have the space for combos, and the cost of converting a combo into separates is not insignificant. I can't physically lift most heads due to a car accident. Even if I got help to get them into my little home studio, it's just not practical for me to get them out again when it's time to service them.
Plus one alone wouldn't do the job for me.
I prefer the results of double-tracking using both different guitars and different tones at the same time. I choose to use different tones on different songs to suit the mood. Pedals give me that variety that I am looking for. Do they sound better than amps? I've no idea. I'm not doing that comparison. They give me tones that I (and others) enjoy, in a format that suits me, and that's good enough.
It'll be interesting to see if I still have the same opinion in 12 months time. I've just picked up a Kemper, for those tones that I can't get out of a HT-100 + pedals. Just flicking through the profiles left on it by the previous owner, I'm already finding dirt tones that make me smile. Once I've had enough time with it, who knows? Maybe I'll stop using pedals. But I think it's more likely I'll use a combination of the two.
It starts right about here, and gets downright filthy the further I crank it and harder I dig in.
I like a little dirty boost here and there but mostly amp gain. I don't really use pedals live except for a tuner. I could tune by ear but the bandmates don't appreciate it.
I'm strictly a home player, so I depended on pedals to get a good sound at lower volumes. But lately I've just been using amp gain with a boost in front of it to add a bit of character. Haven't used pedal distortion much since. Sounds so much better.
I used to prefer amp crunch only but its hard to control the volume.
Now I'm using a Weehbo JCM Drive LTD with my Marshall 1974X and have fantastic tone with more control. The pedal turns the 1974X into a JTM, or 800.