Diverse cover gig - do you go for one clean channel and drives or a multi channel amp?

Mr F90

Silver Supporting Member
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I'm in this boat right now. Have to do 60's to 90's rock. Not sure if my Mesa Fillmore will be enough to really get me there even with pedals. Maybe that's me being stupid and naive.
 

ljholland

Silver Supporting Member
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3,197
I'm in a pop band that does everything from 60's to current Grammy winners. The music is all other the place.

First off, you don't need as many tones as you think. Focus on getting a good clean channel and overdrive channel sound that sound well together and where the levels work when you switch. You have a two-channel amp and that (should) do it fine. You might even want to skip the channels and just use a pedal for dirt as that's often easier. Dial in the levels between clean and dirt at gig levels as you'll be fooled at home.

Make a very simple board with the usual effects (overdrive, distortion, delay...etc). You don't need a complicated pedalboard like you'd see on this board... just a few effects.

As Riff said above...focus on the music and play it right. Nobody gives a crap about your tone other than you.

FWIW - I've moved to a Fractal unit as we've gone silent stage but the principals are the same. Even though I'm using a modeler, I treat it just like a tube amp and focus on a couple of simple sounds.
 
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I've played in a few cover bands with varied set lists and always get what I need from a good single channel amp at my maximum gain level, then clean up from there with the guitar. A few pedals (delay/reverb and a bit of modulation) for colour and certain songs. I find this way more intuitive and satisfying than volume matching pedals or amp channels. So long as you have a good amp that cleans up well (currently I'm using a Jubilee but have used 800s and Laney's in the past) you shouldn't have any issues. No the cleans aren't squeaky clean but it doesn't really matter, and I've never had a complaint from anyone in the audience, venue staff or band members.
 
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Ejay

Member
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7,740
I’ve done cover gigs with pedals, multi channel amps and modelers.
What all setups had in common was 3 gain options, a pedal controlling wet/dry, a post gain volume pedal, a tap tempo..and a delay on/off.
Together with a h/s/h guitar with coilsplits.
 

Aslan

Member
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2,757
We play everything from 50’s early rock to current hits and I use the following rig:

Clapton Artist Strat - Peterson tuner - Crybaby Junior Wah - Tech 21 Fly Rig (ver.2) - Henriksen Bud amp (9”x9”x9”, 120 watts)

I carry my Strat in a Mono M80 bag and the the pedals in the amp bag’s pocket. We play venues up to 250 people without a mic on the amps, if we need to go bigger than there is a XLR out on the amp for the PA mixing board.

The Tech 21 Fly Rig really makes this set up easy, you get your delay, overdrive, distortion, even a set chorus & reverb all off one compact pedal, plus if the amp were to fail you can go straight into the PA with the Fly Rig’s XLR out.

I find the simpler your rig is the easier it is to enjoy playing in front of folks, for years I plugged my guitar straight into a Fender tweed deluxe and loved the sound but now I need to get a wider range of tones but if we just did Blues music I would go back to the Clapton Strat into a Fender 57 Custom Tweed Deluxe!
 

Rick CD

Silver Supporting Member
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1,130
Clean amp and one distortion pedal, volume knob on guitar if I need less gain. I don’t try to cop exact tones, people just wanna drink and dance, they could care less about your tone as long as the vocals are in key.
This, though I use three different overdrive pedals for different flavors. I readily admit the tone is for my own ears, most of the audience couldn’t care less
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

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29,985
What about a Mesa TA30 (or 15)? Top boost on one channel, tweed on the other channel and it takes pedals well. That should be pretty good for a diverse cover band with two OD/dirt pedals and a solo boost.
 

cust22

Silver Supporting Member
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789
Clean amp and one distortion pedal, volume knob on guitar if I need less gain. I don’t try to cop exact tones, people just wanna drink and dance, they could care less about your tone as long as the vocals are in key.
I agree, accept I would add an overdrive or a clean boost. Some of the 90's tunes have really heavy distortion and I don't like the way it cleans up for the other songs. Too "modern" sometimes.
 

guitarman3001

Member
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12,153
As others have said, don't overthink it. It's a cover gig, not a tribute band. All the cover bands I've been in and continue to be in have all played a pretty diverse range of music. I've had every kind of rig you can imagine. Single-channel amp with a ton of pedals, various multi-channel amps with anywhere from zero to 20 pedals, and everything in between.

After going through all of that my current setup is very simple. An H&K AmpMan Classic pedalboard amp with two channels, built-in gain and volume boosts, and 4 or 5 mini-sized pedals. The pedals are one low gain OD, comp, delay, auto-wah, reverb. Once in a while I'll add a tremolo to play Tennessee Whiskey and Born on the Bayou.

With that setup I can play everything from disco to yacht rock to metal and everything in between. No one gives a flying crap if we sound just like the record as long as the tones fit the song.

For your basic tones, the Fillmore with one OD pedal will be just fine.
 

TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
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12,099
I much prefer amp distortion over pedals, though I love a pedal boosting a dirty amp.

So for me, it'd be a two channel amp: clean/crunch and then boosting the crunch with a pedal when more gain is needed.
 

sturge

Member
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690
Clean amp and one distortion pedal, volume knob on guitar if I need less gain. I don’t try to cop exact tones, people just wanna drink and dance, they could care less about your tone as long as the vocals are in key.
Ditto...as the years have gone by I have learned the crowd is listening to the BAND, not my tone. Obviously a pleasing base tone is important but even with a 2 channel amp, I use the gain channel at edge of clean and ride vol or kick in OD/Dist/Fuzz when needed for dirtier tones. Have some effects (tremolo, delay, Phase 95, and wah) to spice things up when appropriate. My main focus is on where I fit with band/mix and less on my gear.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
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19,042
I was in a "Variety" for a couple of years. We covered a lot of ground, 80s synth pop, Rock, Country, Hard Rock etc. Stuff like Human League, Cyndi Lauper, Guns & Roses, AC/DC, Queen, Madonna, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Pink, Gretchen Wilson, Aretha Franklin, the Bangles, Donna Summer, Pop Evil, Nickelback etc, etc. We even played a song from Rocky Horror Picture show.

My main amp was an EVH 5150 III 6L6 50 Watt. I originally was using the clean and gain channels but switched to just using Blue/Gain channel set to a good classic rock crunch and used my guitar's volume to clean up. I had a tube screamer for harder stuff. I had a multi effects unit to supply chorus, wah, & reverb.

The amp setup was easy but I made sure I setup two very versatile guitars for this band. They had two humbuckers with coil splitting. Splitting to single coils and using my guitar's volume gave me very clean tones that worked for 80s pop (Madonna etc). Split coil and chorus and it was 80s pop all the way. Both guitars had a Floyd with a D-Tuna so I could go to drop D before the next song was even starting. Drop D isn't just for metal. I had to do it for some Country Songs (Gretchen Wilson - Here for the Party). As we were finishing the song before that I had already switched to Drop D and could immediately start the next song.
We had a rehearsed show and there was very little down time between songs and having these guitars setup like this was crucial. I also used a Digitech Drop pedal to downtune the whole gutar for many songs.
 

-Hawk-

Silver Supporting Member
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863
You should have no problem doing that with your amp. One channel clean, one crunchy and hit it with a boost or od of choice.
 

Guitar Dave T

Member
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11,662
Mostly a dirty single channel 1x12 tube combo with musically-focused mids, rolling off the guitar volume for crunch, rolling off more for cleans. A 50w plexi 1x12 combo with master volume works for this; a stock production AC15 for smaller rooms/venues.

Sometimes a 2 channel head with a 1x12 cab, a Fuchs ODS.

For effects, a Voodoo Labs Micro-vibe Univibe clone sometimes for clean rhythm, or if I feel like getting my Hendrix on.

I play mostly blues oriented, soul and funk, though when subbing, music style can vary from late 60's to 90's rock, pop and soul. No one has ever complained about lack of variety of guitar tones.
 

bitsandvolts

Silver Supporting Member
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287
Ive done both (play gigs with a channel switcher and a single channel amp). To me, this is the subjective thing...whatever makes you comfortable Are you into pedals? or prefer channels.

I think its more important to focus on an amp that cuts through the mix and gives you the tones you want/need.
 

mlkIII

Silver Supporting Member
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1,622
I definitely agree on crowd could care less about your tone but for me, I need my tone to sound good for me to play my best and stay inspired. Probably a little bit of a cop out if I’m being totally honest.

I love analog pedals and all but the easiest way for you to achieve what you’re after is to get something like a HX Effects and a drive pedal that can do JCM 800 gain sounds and more modern sounding drive sounds. You could put a boost or EQ in the loop for a solo volume boost. If you’re using all drive sounds from pedals, you don’t have to put HX in the loop. I’d utilize the amps gain channel when I could.

I use an AxeFx 3 for these kinds of gigs now but I will also bring a tube head and cab from time to time for fun. I usually use a Reason Grande which is basically a 20 watt Plexi with a master and loop. Really great sounding head. I run it jumpered (called Stack mode) at all times and use my volume knob to clean up. Drybell The Engine drive pedal for more gain (can also kick on fuzz but only use that for rock and blues gigs really). If I need something super clean, I’ll switch to the Normal channel and kick in my solo volume boost (XTS modded boss eq). I use an HX Effects in 4CM for all other effects but am currently looking for a nice vibe or Leslie pedal. HX can’t really do a great one. All the verbs delays and a ton of other modulation effects are great IMO. Lot of bang for your buck especially used.

Good luck!
 




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