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Amp vs Pedal epiphany

JAP09

Member
Messages
555
So I've spent the last year or so buying, selling, and trading overdrive pedals like crazy. I've played through drive pedals like a Timmy, bjfe honey bee, original nobels odr-1, jhv3 ghost drive, swell g-tod, fulltone OCD, gas pedals dumbbell, jetter re-shift, keeley ts-9, keeley sparkle drive, etc... I'm sure I'm leaving some out. After a year of my search for a worship music style low gain sound, and what my girlfriend has deemed an addiction in need of treatment (she could be right lol), I still thought my tone was no better than it was at the beginning.

I have been in search of a solution to my dilemma and this is my conclusion. A good class A tube amp is designed to do one type of sound well (maybe two two if there are two channels). In my case I'm playing through a princeton reverb with a tele and have realized it is pointless to try to achieve a sound that your amp is not designed for (i.e. a blackface fender circuit has the mids scooped out so it has occurred to me that using a tubescreamer with a mid-hump is really counter intuitive). Because of this revelation, I'm am now running only clean boosts in front of my amp to get different gain levels/stages of the same basic sound and I'm loving my tone. Obviously this won't work for everyone, but at this point I tend to think if you don't like your sound don't go buy a new drive pedal, go buy a differently voiced amp.

Do you guys think I'm on track with this new found logic or will this be another futile attempt to discover the perfect sound? (please don't say I need a klon lol)
 

Heady Jam Fan

Member
Messages
9,009
I never looked into it, but I am pretty sure a Princeton Reverb is Class A/B. I also think the Tube Screamer's mid-hump contrast with a BF Fender is why they work so good (and why they don't work so good for some people on super mid-rangy amps).

I do agree that it is more important to get a good amp than trying thousands of pedals though. Depends on the sound and style you want - for classic rock, a solid body guitar and my amp is great. For Jam, I need my 2 TS9s and a Ross clone with my hollowbody.

One thing I will say is, while I love the Fender amps, a scooped sound can be problematic, especially with more than one instrument in the same register (two guitars or a key player, especially if they tend to play in the same frequency ranges - I used to stop jams on occasion to discuss which register I was going to use and what the key player wanted to use). The scoop sounds great at home, but can be a challenge live.
 

JAP09

Member
Messages
555
Good call, Thanks :). It is indeed class A/B. I appreciate the opinions, keep 'Em coming.
 

GTechNick

Member
Messages
165
Because of this revelation, I'm am now running only clean boosts in front of my amp to get different gain levels/stages of the same basic sound and I'm loving my tone. Obviously this won't work for everyone, but at this point I tend to think if you don't like your sound don't go buy a new drive pedal, go buy a differently voiced amp.
+1 on this. I have come to the same realization and now do not own an Overdrive pedal at all. And I play P&W as well.

I know it's OT but, where do you play?
 

ruger9

Member
Messages
9,731
Where you're definitely on track is finding an amp you love. Pedals should only ADD to that... not replace that. Or try to turn a PR into a Vox, Marhsall, Boogie, or fire-breathing Soldano. Too many people try to "correct" an amp they don't inherently love by putting pedals in front of it.

Guitar you love + amp you love = 90% of the way to tonal nirvana (sometimes 100%).
 

Jet Age Eric

Member
Messages
7,675
a scooped sound can be problematic, especially with more than one instrument in the same register (two guitars or a key player, especially if they tend to play in the same frequency ranges - I used to stop jams on occasion to discuss which register I was going to use and what the key player wanted to use). The scoop sounds great at home, but can be a challenge live.
... or a scooped sound can be the perfect solution in a band situation. I agree you need to operate in complementary (not duplicative) frequencies, but there's nothing saying the guitar player is the one who has to be "stuck with the mids.

If the boosts work then you've found a solution! To get the amount of dirt I want from an OD out of a boost I need to turn the boost up louder than is comfortable. If you run into the same problem, try the Solidgold Superdrive: It creates the same wonderful dirt I get from a boost but at a much more manageable level. -E
 

SteveO

Member
Messages
16,740
If your GF thought you were crazy for blowing through drive pedals with reckless abandon, just wait until it turns into the "amp of the week" club. I hope you have a comfy couch, 'cause you'll be spending many lonely nights on it... ;)
 

JAP09

Member
Messages
555
Haha SteveO you probably have a point. I think I'm just gonna have to be happy with my Fender BF tones for a while. My gf and I had the Matchless DC-30 talk, unfortunately she doesn't understand why my guitar rig should cost more than our cars. She'll come around :D
 

BluesHarp

Senior Member
Messages
8,574
I never looked into it, but I am pretty sure a Princeton Reverb is Class A/B. I also think the Tube Screamer's mid-hump contrast with a BF Fender is why they work so good (and why they don't work so good for some people on super mid-rangy amps).

I do agree that it is more important to get a good amp than trying thousands of pedals though. Depends on the sound and style you want - for classic rock, a solid body guitar and my amp is great. For Jam, I need my 2 TS9s and a Ross clone with my hollowbody.

One thing I will say is, while I love the Fender amps, a scooped sound can be problematic, especially with more than one instrument in the same register (two guitars or a key player, especially if they tend to play in the same frequency ranges - I used to stop jams on occasion to discuss which register I was going to use and what the key player wanted to use). The scoop sounds great at home, but can be a challenge live.
:agree Great post!
 

dreadheadhaha

Member
Messages
247
Where you're definitely on track is finding an amp you love. Pedals should only ADD to that... not replace that.
+1

I'd like to add that my SF Champ took drive pedals (especially fuzz face types) MUCH better after I realized how the mids were always relative to the treble and bass controls on the amp. Turn the treble and bass down and the volume up to compensate; more mids and insanely improved drive tones - both amp and pedal based.

I may be preaching to the choir, but I thought it be good to toss my experiences out here.
 

whackystrings

Member
Messages
3,909
If someone runs a nice, bottom & highs-rich amp like a Fender, running a TS (mid-hump) for a intro, between verse riff, solo, etc. is very effective for "popping out" into the mix. Using a "flat/neutral" EQ overdrive like a Timmy or a Barber LTD will keep the character of that amp and the profile tends to tuck underneath the vocals when doing rhythm work. All depends on what you are going for and all the other instruments in the mix.
 

randombastage

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,247
With my silverface Princeton Reverb an Ethos TLE pedal into a TC Electronics Nova Drive gives me lots of variety. The clean channel of the Ethos is fantastic and leaving it on while I add one or the other channel of the Nova Drive covers all my light to mid gain stuff and then bypass the Nova Drive and hit the Gain channel of the Ethos covers everything else.

Speakers in the Princeton Reverb can make a big difference too. Right now I'm using a Tone Tubby San Raphael 10"

And ditto on the relationship of the tone stack and volume for affecting the mids.
 

JAP09

Member
Messages
555
Thanks a bunch for the comments, all useful information! To Slinger's point I do like the amps overdriven sound, and volume is not an issue because I have an external 2 x 12 cab that's iso'd. However I can't adjust overdrive with guitar volume because when I'm doing lead vocals I can never smoothly set the guitar volume knob exactly where I want it. I'm hearing a lot of you say youve been able to dial in your drive pedals to sound great. For some reason when I used drive pedals in front of my princeton my sound always got thinner and muddier than my original sound. Could just be user error though.
 






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