Help me to get a tight "progressive metal" distorted tone.

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by ErictheRed, May 16, 2018.

  1. ErictheRed

    ErictheRed Senior Member

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    I'm not much for metal in general, and can do the classic rock crunch very well, as well as the very saturated David Gilmour lead type fuzz tones. But can you guys help me to get a very tight progressive metal type of tone? Not extremely "heavy," I'm thinking of something like the distorted tones on Porcupine Tree's In Absentia or Deadwing or Fear of a Blank Planet.

    The equipment that I'm working with is:

    Guitars:
    Les Paul with custom buckers
    Nighthawk soon to have Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge.

    Amps:
    Reeves Custom 50 with power scaling (vintage HiWatt clone with PS)
    Fender Vibrolux
    Suhr Badger 18 (I'm thinking this will be the amp)

    Dirt Pedals:
    Big Muff (clone)
    Tubescreamer (clone)
    Ge and Si Fuzz Faces (clones)
    Colorsound Powerboost
    Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall in a box, works great for classic rock crunch)
    Fulltone OCD


    Any tips or tutorials for achieving that metal sound with my gear? I'm definitely open to buying another pedal but would rather not get another amp, unless it's an absolute must (and then I'd probably get rid of the Suhr Badger for it).
     
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  2. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    If you cant find the sound with your amp Grab yourself an EQ pedal to help tweak the mids, throw it in the amps loop (provided you have one) to voice the gain.

    As you prob know the amp has a lot to do with getting your sound when it comes to metal esque tones, clipping varies alot from amp to amp but if you really cant get yourself a new amp for it an EQ will certainly help get you close with what you have.

    If you want a nice cheap amp that has some grreat metal tones the Boss Katana is well worth a look at 350 bucks for a 50W combo, they actually sound pretty damn good stock but if the heavy channel isnt to your liking you can download different amp sims into it, i have a Mesa TC50 and im hanging to add the Katana to my rig for high gain stuff in particular
     
  3. Stevie 202

    Stevie 202 Senior Member

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    Scoop dem mids...

    Scoop ‘em right out.
     
  4. Lungo

    Lungo Silver Supporter

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    Get as much saturation out of your amp as possible. Tighten it up with the OCD or Tubescreamer by cranking up the volume/level and turning down the drive.
     
  5. bulletproof

    bulletproof aka tarddoggy Premium Member V.I.P. Member

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    +1.....
    Could stack them drives as well,maybe? Have y’all been experimenting,brother?
     
  6. chunktone

    chunktone Member

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    You'll have a hard time with the amp you currently have. If you're really looking to get that tone, I'd get an amp more suited to those tones. Peavey XXX is hard to beat for the money. If money's not an issue I'd look at Bogner uberschall's or a Diezel Herbert. done.
     
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  7. ErictheRed

    ErictheRed Senior Member

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    Yes, I'm figuring that I might be limited by my amps a bit. I might be able to get there (or close) with the Suhr Badger 18, but we'll see.

    One thing I'm finding is that stacking pedals doesn't seem to help at all. I can get great thick, fuzzed out tones that way, heavy blues like the Black Keys, soaring leads like David Gilmour, or some really good stoner/doom rock, but not the "tight" distortion that I'm looking for, for lack of a better word. At least, not the way that I've been trying.

    I'll mess around some more, and I should have the Seymour Duncan JB in a couple of days, so that might help. But I'm starting to get that this sound comes almost completely from the amp, correct? Not pedals into an amp a la David Gilmour or similar.

    A good website devoted to metal tone tutorials would be awesome, if anyone has a recommendation. Googling is overwhelming with a bunch of information, and a lot of the stuff I see is unhelpful (or sounds terrible to me). For reference, I learned a ton about tone from the "Gilmourish" website about ten years ago, but that's pretty much all related to setting an amp up with tons of headroom and then blasting it with stacked pedals, which doesn't work for what I'm looking for.

    For reference, I'm looking for something like the heavy riffing that starts around 2:47 here:

     
  8. Mookakian

    Mookakian Senior Member

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    Id say if you hit a music shop and tried a few different amps you'd start saving, it really is one of those things that with the wrong amp you can forever tweak and get nowhere. Ive driven myself crazy with the exact same thing when I had my Mesa Stiletto... It was more of an overdrive rock sound so just didnt suit, as much as i loved it i traded her in and got the TC50 and now im happy, EQ in the loop and I can almost get any metal tone... Almost, the Boss Katana did the super tight, scooped mid thing much better
     
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  9. ErictheRed

    ErictheRed Senior Member

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    I did some drunken shopping last night and ordered a Megalith Delta pedal (used). If it's anything like the reviews and videos I've seen, I think I'll be very happy, and if not can probably sell it for the same price. Otherwise I'll probably start researching a higher gain amp than I currently have, and trade one of them in for that.
     
  10. frozenotter

    frozenotter Premium Member Premium Member

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    Just in short here, I don't think your pickups are at all conducive to metal tones. It seems whatever you use elsewhere you will be seriously pushing against it with them. :)
     
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  11. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    If you're doing prog-metal with intricate riffing, you'll really want a noise-gate.
     
  12. rockinlespaul

    rockinlespaul Oxblood Addict V.I.P. Member

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    This.

    Or a Boss Metal Zone.
     
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  13. morbidalex666

    morbidalex666 Senior Member

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    How about Nighthawk into tubescreamer into powerboost into Reeves? I'd prefer a Boss SD-1 instead of the Tubescreamer though.
    The drive sounds I hear in the clips are not too heavy on the gain and not extra tight (like djent style tight) either.

    An EQ pedal would help too, as has been suggested.

    The Les Paul will not work for this situation at all, that's for sure.
     
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  14. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    I use that type of tone often. My approach is "modded Marshall" levels of gain - certainly NOT Peavey XXX levels of gain - with more mids than bass and enough treble to be clear.

    I'd think your Badger with the right boost pedals will get you there. Don't think that just because it is metal you scoop the mids. That approach has kind of gone to the way-side, especially in a lot of progressive styles.
     
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  15. ErictheRed

    ErictheRed Senior Member

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    Thanks for all of the feedback guys; I've never been a metal player, but I do love stuff like Porcupine Tree and some heavy, distorted riffing. I'm trying to learn how to get this tight sound, as opposed to a wide-open sound that I'm good at using.

    I don't have the replacement pickup for the Nighthawk yet, but it should arrive in the next few days. Would even a Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB not be high enough output for this kind of metal? It seems to me like it should handle it. I can search up some info about Steven Wilson's guitar rig, but I'm not looking for reproducing his tone exactly or anything, and I know that there are a lot of recording tricks as well.

    I've always been jealous of this kind of tight distortion, though.
     
  16. ErictheRed

    ErictheRed Senior Member

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    Yeah, I would think that maybe the Badger with a distortion pedal would work, I've seen a lot of videos of the Badger and the Suhr Riot getting some similar levels of gain. Not exactly the tone I'm after, but when I get the SH-4 and the Megalith Delta, I'll see what I can do.

    I'm curious, what amps do you use to get thos modded-Marshall levels? There is so much info out there that it's pretty overwhelming.

    I also agree that it isn't simply about cutting the mids; to me you have to cut off a lot of bass and then accentuate a narrower band of upper-mids, or something like that. Maybe even removing some of the very high end.

    This isn't my primary type of music or anything; all of my current band's stuff is definitely in the clean to classic crunch range, which I can do fine. But I'd like to start experimenting with this prog metal sound and see what happens.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  17. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    These days I use a Helix, but for 25 years I used Rivera amps. The amp had (5) 12AX7 and (4) EL34s. My basic approach was:

    Gain (and this is simplified - the Rivera has two gain boosts and pickup compensated inputs to vary gain levels) was set about 70%. On the dial that is between 6.5-7.

    In the Helix, I use an AC15 model. I skip the Marshall models - not because they are "bad" or "wrong" but because with the AC15 there is something articulated in the mids that help the sound be more of what my Rivera provides.

    Either method - Rivera or Helix - I use an MXR Dyna Comp as my boost. I found it does a nice "lift" to the front end without coloring the tone, while still tightening like a TS. That stays on all the time, too.

    I use PRS guitars with Dragon II or 57/08 pickups - medium output - and rarely use a boost for leads.
     
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  18. bungle

    bungle Premium Member

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    Mesa nails it for me.
     
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  19. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    The JB should do it fine. When I played Custom Shop Jacksons I always used the JB/Jazz combo and I had what I needed.
     
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  20. scott 351 wins

    scott 351 wins Senior Member

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    Pre Amped EMG's
     
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