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Does playing modeling amp make you a worse player?

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
23,539
I buy amps that make me sound good, not because my hair shirt is at the cleaners.
 

guitguy28

Member
Messages
1,163
I would say the modeling amp I use (Vox) has actually improved my playing. I pretty much only use it to model "in-between" sounds like a pushed Fender or Vox amp. I find I have to play well (or at least, reasonably well) to make it sound good, because unlike my tube amp setup, I' don't use an overdrive pedal for the distortion (which makes it "easier" to play).
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
I guess if you like FAKE things, modelers are alright.
(no offense to modelers, this is a joke on old bobbyjoe here, carry on). :)
Hahaha! They make it easier to lip synch, too. ;)
(I see what you did there :aok )

Seriously, though, I practice unplugged most of the time (semi-hollow, so it's quite audible), because it forces me to dial-in my right and left hand techniques to produce the notes cleanly. When I play through the Mesa I don't use a lot of gain at all, but it is completely unforgiving. What enhances all the dynamic subtleties in attack also highlights every ghost note or anything not cleanly fretted, so practicing unplugged really helps my plugged-in playing.
 
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Razorface

Senior Member
Messages
993
I hear you OP, been there.

One thing you can do to simulate the response you get thru a "real" amp is turn it up and lower the gain. Louder will highlight all the unwanted sounds so you can be aware of muting and lower gain will ensure that your technique is there.
 

fenderlead

Member
Messages
4,610
So I noticed that when I play my Line 6 Spider IV practice amp that it's REALLY EASY to play pretty much anything. All the compression and gain make it super easy to pull off all my fancy licks.

When I turn off my Line 6 and fire up my Bogner Shiva or Ecstasy it's almost like I need to learn to play all over again. The Bogner (or Marshall, or any other tube amp) react in a different way. They don't have the same sustain or compression - you have to fight for all the glory that comes with hammer on's and pull offs and arpeggios and fast picking.

I believe that playing a modeling amp most of the time will degrade your technical skill.

Anyone else notice this?
The gain and compression and sustain is helping the hammer ons etc flow.

A real Mesa would result in basically the same sort of thing as a high gain modeler setting.

A modeler set for lower Plexi like gain is basically similar to a real Plexi and it has less gain and compression and sustain and therefore the hammer on notes etc don't flow into each other in as smooth of a way as the high gain/compression/sustain case.
 

A-Bone

Montonero, MOY, Multitudes
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
103,071
practice dead clean, or on an acoustic.
I get what you are suggesting and don't disagree, but isn't there also some logic to the idea of practicing using the same platform involved in the performance? What I mean is, using a rig that performs like whatever the live set up or recording set up will be to perform given material?

I used to play using a great deal of gain, and the one good thing I can say about doing so was that this taught me how to play clean in terms of extraneous noise and such, and how to control noise at those gain levels. I'm not sure I could have achieved that by playing clean (maybe if I could have played clean and exceptionally loud).
 

Turbo Gerbil

Member
Messages
5,457
I get what you are suggesting and don't disagree, but isn't there also some logic to the idea of practicing using the same platform involved in the performance? What I mean is, using a rig that performs like whatever the live set up or recording set up will be to perform given material?

I used to play using a great deal of gain, and the one good thing I can say about doing so was that this taught me how to play clean in terms of extraneous noise and such, and how to control noise at those gain levels. I'm not sure I could have achieved that by playing clean (maybe if I could have played clean and exceptionally loud).
sure, I think it's helpful to do both. Sometimes the hardest part of playing electric guitar is NOT making extraneous noise. I think playing clean helps with general fingering skills though, as the OP mentioned you can get away with a lot of poor fingering when running a bunch of saturation.
 

fenderlead

Member
Messages
4,610
Another thing is where the gain/compression is in the signal chain.

A Mesa has so many gain stages that it just doesn't have the headroom and dynamics of an amp with less gain stages like a Plexi and a Mesa has it's own thing.

What some used to do back in the 70s was to use a Plexi but hit it's front end with some pedal combination to up the gain/compression/sustain but at the same time the Plexi's headroom and dynamics are still part of the end sound, unlike with a Mesa or an amp with more gain stages.

Tom Scholtz does it on early Boston with MXR EQs and a Plexi like Marshall and some other tricks and EVH did it on the early albums with an Echoplex that was probably the compressor version and maybe MXR EQ's as well (Echoplex's came with inbuilt Dyna-Comp like compressors for a short while in 1976/1977 and EVH had this Echoplex model) and he used the Variac as a sort of Master Volume control.
 

Phletch

Senior Member
Messages
9,896
Another thing is where the gain/compression is in the signal chain.

A Mesa has so many gain stages that it just doesn't have the headroom and dynamics of an amp with less gain stages...
I hear that all the time, but I don't find it to be necessarily true for the simple fact that one doesn't have to use all the gain available just because it's there; that and not all Mesas are the same. Carlton played a Mark I for 10 years or so, and he got plenty of dynamic response even with the volume pedal wide open.

I push the power section on my Mesa significantly higher than the preamp (master at 1:00-2:00, gain around 8:00-9:00). The sound is very open and uncompressed, responding very well to pick attack and guitar volume with lots of dynamics and lots of sustain and grit when I dig in. I think it simply comes down to how the user sets the amp.
 

Pat Healy

Senior Member
Messages
10,949
Makes me question how accurate those models are. I've never played a JCM800 that has that liquidy legato sound without at least an overdrive goosing it.
You can get a very accurate JCM800 tone out of the Axe-FX. You can also get a crazy over-the-top tone, which is what I have on that particular patch.
 

rippingrudy

Senior Member
Messages
1,126
You can get a very accurate JCM800 tone out of the Axe-FX. You can also get a crazy over-the-top tone, which is what I have on that particular patch.
A JCM 800 does not have a " liquid" gain at any level. Even with the preamp cranked there is very little compression and u must fight for every note so-to-speak. Throw a RAT or BOSS SD-1 or TS in front and u can shrewd easily.
 

fenderlead

Member
Messages
4,610
I hear that all the time, but I don't find it to be necessarily true for the simple fact that one doesn't have to use all the gain available just because it's there; that and not all Mesas are the same. Carlton played a Mark I for 10 years or so, and he got plenty of dynamic response even with the volume pedal wide open.

I push the power section on my Mesa significantly higher than the preamp (master at 1:00-2:00, gain around 8:00-9:00). The sound is very open and uncompressed, responding very well to pick attack and guitar volume with lots of dynamics and lots of sustain and grit when I dig in. I think it simply comes down to how the user sets the amp.
I'm talking about maxed out or near to it.

Playing clean or just a bit of breakup through a Mesa is still going to be a bit different to a Plexi just due to the number of tube stages but nothing too drastic and the circuit design also affects things.

Some of the hi-fi tube amps for audiophiles have more tube stages than a Plexi does for instance.

A Mesa with it's preamp stage cascading gain through the tube stages is another thing when it's used for gain.
 

mattball826

Senior Member
Messages
20,798
A JCM 800 does not have a " liquid" gain at any level. Even with the preamp cranked there is very little compression and u must fight for every note so-to-speak. Throw a RAT or BOSS SD-1 or TS in front and u can shrewd easily.
i have axe fx's, kemper and other modelers. i agree with this. one of the things that bug me about modeling is the exaggerated gain. a lot of people love it which is fine, but dont compare it to a real amp. i have taken exact amp settings, same cabs from my jcm model and compared every change (tone, gain etc) to that of the axe fx. its very different.

not that its all bad. it sounds kind of marshall, but reacts nothing like one. i get hammered in modeling forum for that, but side by side, its very different.

gain on a cranked up jcm is not like a metalzone in front. its a cleaner bassman distortion but just over a plexi even when cranked. dynamically when cranked my marshall goes moderate gain down to a texas style blues when i back my control off. it never cleans up lol.

i will be first to admit i like playing modelers because i can be sloppy. get on my old champ or marshall and i have to work those overtones etc with my hands.
 

n9ne

Member
Messages
2,035
They also make you uglier and nine out of ten women agree they diminish your ability in bed.
PERFECT!!!

"I'm so sorry, honey. I swear it's not you.....in fact, it's not even me. It's my damned modeling amp that causes this. You know....it's my understanding that George Clooney, David Beckham, and Taye Diggs all use boutique hand-made tube amps. We would really be doing ourselves an injustice if we didn't at least explore that possibility. I think we owe ourselves that much.
"
 

Pat Healy

Senior Member
Messages
10,949
A JCM 800 does not have a " liquid" gain at any level. Even with the preamp cranked there is very little compression and u must fight for every note so-to-speak. Throw a RAT or BOSS SD-1 or TS in front and u can shrewd easily.
Goodness, y'all are so literal. I have to spell out every little detail. OK, fine. What I have set up on the Axe-FX is a JCM800 amp block, boosted with a tube screamer drive block and also with a studio compression block. That gets me to a George Lynch/Warren DeMartini kind of lead tone. I then boost the mids with a parametric EQ after the amp block because I like the tone to be a bit fatter than the classic 80's shred tone. Hope that makes sense now.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,916
songs and melodies and vocals are all anyone in the regular world notices...no one cares about any of this minutiae except for guitardorks on sites like this... ;)
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,916
PERFECT!!!

"I'm so sorry, honey. I swear it's not you.....in fact, it's not even me. It's my damned modeling amp that causes this. You know....it's my understanding that George Clooney, David Beckham, and Taye Diggs all use boutique hand-made tube amps. We would really be doing ourselves an injustice if we didn't at least explore that possibility. I think we owe ourselves that much.
"
why do guys always have to apologize? why isn't, "unfortunately, i'm simply not as attracted to you as i once was." an acceptable response. :sarcasm

PS: how many (non-guitar playing) women would know/care about any type of guitar amp period?
 






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