Carr Lincoln Love-Hate

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by dansworld, May 8, 2017.

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  1. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    As you may remember (or not), I own a few Carr amplifiers that I enjoy greatly and have used in a number of practice, recording and band settings with great success. I especially use my Sportsman for all manner of playing no matter what the idiom or guitar used. The Rambler is my go-to clean amp, I find none finer and could live with just these two amps alone.

    Based on reviews I've read from trusted sources (particularly Joe Gore) I found a fantastic deal on a slightly used Lincoln amp which I had to take advantage of. I've never owned an EL-84 or Vox style amp before, so I thought it was going to be a fun adventure.

    Instead, it's turned out to be an exercise that alternates between elation and frustration....

    I absolutely LOVE the first channel. I'm not sure you can call it a clean channel because when you start pushing it it starts to distort pretty nicely, and in a very pleasant sort of way. I keep the bright switch engaged and no matter what I play through it, single coil, humbucker, filtertron, Tele, Strat, LP or any variant in-between, it sounds fantastic. Chimey, brilliant and present with notes just jumping forth from the speaker in ways I've never heard from my other "Fendery" amps. Add a compressor and it takes you so far over the funky top it's sick!

    I can't stop playing the thing. If that's all there was to it, I'd be a happy little camper. Dayenu!

    The fun stops at channel two. It's been the source of tonal frustration for me since I got this thing, and I mentioned it in my original post about this amp at length. Well, two years on and it's not gotten any better, except this past weekend. More on that in a minute.

    Without engaging the high gain switch, I've tried multiple combinations of drive, tone, and Master volume and have found few sounds I actually like. The amp takes on a more nasal and grindy distortion on CH2 which I found hard to tame. This goes for any guitar I've tried with it.

    However, this weekend I tried something very different. I max'd out the Master volume and turned the drive down low and suddenly I got a sound I could work with. Subtle adjustments of the Tone control brought different types of distortion. I just finished tweaking this formula an hour or two ago and really found that I was onto something. So far, this direction works FANTASTIC with single coils and 'Trons, I have yet to use Humbuckers but that would be a great test because my initial bad impressions were formed while playing humbuckers into it. I'll work on it some more.

    I'd like to hear if anyone else has had trouble taming that CH2 like I have and, if so, what has worked for you both in terms of gain structure and tone control setting as well as the various types of guitars you've used and your results.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MHG

    MHG Member

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    I really like the drive channel. It's a relatively modern, high gain overdrive. Much more modern and gainy than I would typically use and consider "my sound", but very nice and fun none the less. Attempting to make it sound like my usual overdrive tones only led to frustration. It has its own thing going on that needs to be embraced and accepted for what it is. It isn't the most versatile overdrive channel, but it's very good at what it does.

    It inspires me in a very different way than the typical overdrive tones I'm accustomed to. I use the Drive channel with the Gain up all the way, and use the boost and tone control to dial in a pretty large variety of higher gain tones. I usually use it for warmer fusion style leads. This amp enables me to achieve singing lead tones with low output single coils that would usually require a humbucker equipped guitar. I don't really care for the lower gain tones. When I want low/mid gain blues oriented tones, I use a different amp.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  3. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
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  4. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    I can honestly say I haven't turned the gain all the way up, so I should readjust my outlook and try that.

    So, how do you set the LOW/HIGH gain switch?
     
  5. MHG

    MHG Member

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    I usually set the gain all the way up with the tone control pretty low. This puts me into that Fusion lead tone zone. With the boost off it's a bit more vintage sounding and warmer, and adding the boost gives it more of a modern edge with a bit more sizzle. I almost think of it as a Vintage/Modern switch.

    I've also started enjoying the high gain sounds with the treble higher up as well. It took me a while to get used to it, as it's a tone I'm not accustomed to. It took a while for my ears and brain to "get it", but I'm now loving it for its over the top high gain blues tones. This channel is all about fusion to all out shredding imo.

    I'm all about the clean channel, but I think of the overdrive channel like an extra bonus channel. It gives me some really fantastic high gain tones that I otherwise wouldn't have, as the typical amp I'd purchase simply wouldn't be able to achieve them......and it's so much better than any pedal I've tried! I'm really glad to have that overdrive channel to scratch that specific itch so to speak. But as I said before, if I want more traditional blues oriented tones, I'll use the Impala, or the Skylark. I think the key is to have a few different Carrs to drive depending on your mood, and the weather on any given day. The Lincoln, Impala, and Skylark can cover a huge variety of tones and styles, and pretty much have me covered on all fronts. The Mercury V I have on order will add yet another layer of depth to my tonal toolbox.
     
  6. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    Good for you on the Mercury V. I am a multiple Carr owner and the Lincoln is just this strange animal that I am now getting used to. That first channel really is special, I just have to keep working with channel 2.

    For extra flavor I always turn to my Sportsman, which is still my favorite little "cooker".

    BTW, are you a single coil or humbucker player?
     
  7. MHG

    MHG Member

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    Yeah, channel one is definitely special, and is one of the most touch sensitive EL84 amps I've played. I plan on purchasing the Sportsman as well. It's never ending!!! I'm hoping the Sportsman will be the last one for a while.

    BTW, I play S/S/S Strats exclusively. Being able to achieve those Lincoln high gain tones with low output single coils is pretty phenomenal.......all the way down to whisper volumes!!!! I think I usually use the Overdrive channel in the 6W setting. That's another thing that I love about this amp. It sounds equally amazing in the 6w setting, and for many tones it's actually my preferred wattage.
     
  8. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    The Sporty is a really fun little amp, like a hot rod Princeton. The best way to play it is wide open- it's wild and woolly!

    I tend to play single coils and playing a Strat through CH1 on the Lincoln is a real pleasure. It sounds so snappy-happy I could play all day long. I keep that volume right around 11:00 to get that really chimey yet slightly overdriven sound. It's fun to play the guitar's volume knob that way.

    Now want to try something really wild, play a Tele through it...it takes every thing that the Tele is and makes it even more so. Brighter, twangier, snappier...it is amazing how nice it sounds. I'll have to keep working on finding that CH2 sweet spot, though.

    Drive/low and Master/dimed has been kind of fun to experiment with, now I'll try your formula and tweak the tone knob some to see if I can grab that great fusion sound you speak of.
     
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  9. teefus

    teefus Silver Supporting Member

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    don't know anything about the lincoln in particular but have you tried changing preamp tubes? one preamp tube (or 2) might be just for the drive channel. lots of options down this road. 121t7, low gain, med gain, grainy, etc.
     
  10. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    After some further research and contact with Carr it appears this issue was resolved in later builds. So unless you have an early build amp you're probably not affected by this. However, it is an easy to fix if you have a early build amp (although many may want their amp tech to handle it).
     
  11. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    I've been revisiting the Lincoln the last couple of days and as before cannot fall in love with channel 2. However, channel 1 is so good, and takes pedals so well, that channel 2 is a non-issue. Not to say that some might like channel 2, but I find it a bit mid-heavy and congested.
    Basically, channel 1 is worth the price of admission, channel 2 is either icing on the cake or can just be ignored (or modded?).
    When it comes down to it, I'm glad I didn't sell the Lincoln because I wasn't digging channel 2 - really, who needs it. I think many who judge and forgo the amp based on channel 2 are missing out on something special.
     
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  12. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    I mostly agree with you. Channel 1 is pure magic and with a variety of pedals you're rewarded with a variety of fantastic sounds. Channel 2 continues to be difficult for me but I have warmed up to it through careful settings of the controls and NOT using pedals.

    Ch. 2 is the perfect place for chunky power chords. I've grown to actually enjoy it.

    I'll never part with this amp and if they weren't so expensive I'd buy another.
     
  13. MHG

    MHG Member

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    The Scumback M75 is what made this amp a "keeper" for me.
     
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  14. dansworld

    dansworld Member

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    Me too! Absolutely!!
     
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  15. darkphader

    darkphader Member

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    Been using the Jensen Jet Tornado Stealth 65 in the Lincoln (need to remove the bell to fit it), it has more of an alnico flavor. I really like it and it shaves about 4 lbs. off the weight. I'm happy using the Origin Revival pedals for dirt.
    Forgot to mention that the Lincoln has such a sweet reverb - allows me to dump the reverb pedal.
     
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  16. Crash-VR

    Crash-VR Member

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    I seriously wish I could put that clean. Channel into my Morris Perplex’d. It would be perfect. If only Carr could combine the Mercury V with the Lincoln clean channel in a two channel format.
     
  17. Plexiglass

    Plexiglass Member

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    OP, perhaps contact Carr and ask if he would mod that channel to your liking.
     
  18. MHG

    MHG Member

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    They don't do custom stuff like that. I recently contacted Steve to ask him to build me a single channel Lincoln and a single channel Slant 6V.
     
  19. Plexiglass

    Plexiglass Member

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    Well, thats too bad. It’s possible/likely that only a few components need to be changed to accommodate the op. Perhaps a competent Amp tech can work it out.
     
  20. MHG

    MHG Member

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    It's really the fundamental voicing of the Gain channel. The low and medium gain tones aren't so great. The Scumback M75 helps a lot, but it still has this "master volume" kind of thing going on. It's very hard to describe. Kind of congested and honky. It sounds really good at maxed out gain settings though. I hear these qualities in the Slant 6V demos as well........which is why I never pulled the trigger on one. I'd love to be able to get single channel versions of the Lincoln and the Slant 6V.
     

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