Getting clean, crunch, lead and boosts...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by JimH, Jun 10, 2008.

  1. JimH

    JimH Member

    Messages:
    1,572
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Not sure if this is a pedal thread or an amp thread - certainly could be an amp thread.

    ...anyone who plays out knows that getting clean, crunch and a louder lead tone for both clean and dirty isn't necessarily that easy. For me the issue is because I like a cranked amp - which kinda prevents getting a true clean...

    so how do you do it with least compromise and without two amps?:

    ... - three channel amp with the power amp running cold? cranked amp and use guitar volume? - clean amp, OD pedal and a compressor? It's a tricky business getting all the right sounds at balanced levels that sit right in the mix - etc etc...

    I tend to find I get tempted by the do it all amps - then try one and it does nothing for me. So I struggle away with a non-master, crank it up, use guitar volume and hit a pedal for the variations, sounds good but there's no true clean. Any way to really get it all? Or do you just decide what you're going to compromise?
     
  2. TimH

    TimH Member

    Messages:
    4,832
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Location:
    Toronto, ON, Canada
    well for me it's always been a clean amp and pedals. An orange squeezer works really grat as a clean lead boost...and any number of pedals work awesome for dirty tones. A nice fender amp set just at the edge of break up with a comp and 2 OD's works perfectly for me. YMMV.
     
  3. JimH

    JimH Member

    Messages:
    1,572
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    So hit one for basic crunch and a second for a lead boost?
     
  4. guitarvc

    guitarvc Member

    Messages:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Location:
    Austin TX
    I solved the same problem when I bought the Egnater Mod 50. It is a 50 watt amp with a low power switch, which allows me to turn it up without blowing out everybodys ears. It runs at either 50 or 20 watts. It is loaded with 2 dual channel tube preamps voiced to sound like a Fender for cleans and a hot rodded Marshall for overdrive tones. Each preamp has 2 gain and 2 volume controls, so with that setup I have clean and overdrive rhythm volume, and clean and overdrive with a lead volume. It is the perfect gigging amp because I get everything I need without sacrificing tone.

    Mine is equipped with Sovtek 5881 power tubes and GT 12AX7 preamp tubes. You can have yours equipped with almost any tube type out there. If you decide on 6v6 tubes, you will have 20 watts at full power, and about 5 at the low power setting.
     
  5. JimH

    JimH Member

    Messages:
    1,572
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    So you switch to low power mid gig?
     
  6. guitarvc

    guitarvc Member

    Messages:
    1,407
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Location:
    Austin TX
    No. I decide which setting I use for the gig, 20 or 50 watts. I have 4 truly great sounding channels: clean rhythm, clean solo with slight breakup, crunch rhythm, searing overdrive solo. This with a pedalboard equipped with high quality true bypass pedals and I am good to go.
     
  7. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,643
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    Location:
    Stranded in Philly
    I guess I use a combination of all of the above. I have a Mesa Lonestar Special (run clean at 35 watts, lead at 15) with an MI Crunch Box & Boss BD-2 into the front and a volume pedal in the effects loop. The possibilities add up rather quickly:

    (2 amp channels)(wattage setting)(amp lead boost)(Crunch box)(BD-2)(volume pedal) = way more possibilities than I ever need

    I think the most indispensable part of that setup is the volume pedal, so the pre-amp & pedal gain stays true at whatever volume I choose.
     
  8. photios

    photios Member

    Messages:
    552
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Your dilemna is the exact reason why I've gone to rack rigs of late. I have 2 midi controlled pre amp rack setups that give me world class tones, all the flexibility I could ever want and no compromises.

    rig #1 is an ENGL E580 pre with an ENGL 850/100 power amp

    rig #2 is a Soldano X99 pre with a VHT 2150 power amp

    I kept gettting frustrated by having killer heads but then getting the tone slightly compromised with switcher, routers, pedals etc. Plus, I just never could get quite enough flexibility with heads. With midi controlled rack setups, I have more flexibility than I will ever need or use and I havent sacrificed any tones...in fact, I believe my tone is the best I've ever had and I've had/have some top notch heads (Komet Concorde's, Wizard Modern Classic, Wizard Vintage Classic's, CAA OD100, Maven Peal Ganesha, SLO-100, Elmwood Modena M60, Bray modded Marshall, etc).
     
  9. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,182
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    Upstairs, L.A.
    I do this with my "purty clean amp" type approach. I start with a big clean sound. Perhaps with a wee bit of grind if you dime your guitar. There are lots of great amps that will get you this...Fenders, Ampegs, AC30s etc.

    Then you add a few of your favorite overdrive/distortion/boost boxes. I always set one for "clean boost" (Timmy in my case). But getting the dirty sounds is the easy part. These days, there are a slew of great pedals for dirt.

    But my "secret ingredient" is the use of a compressor (with slight volume boost) and a volume pedal. I keep all of the dirt (and compressor) between the guitar and the volume pedal.

    When I want it dirty and quiet, I stomp on the dirt box of choice, dime the guitar and back the volume pedal down. For extra sustain, perhaps on solos, I'll engage the compressor too. Getting it loud and dirty is a no brainer: turn up the vol pedal.

    Loud and clean means backing off the guitar a wee bit and engaging the compressor and probably opening the vol pedal most or all of the way. This gets the amp working at its cleanest and the compressor adds a bit of vol boost and sustain.

    It gives you a great deal of flexibility. I've been playing this way for soooo long, its totally second nature to me.
     
  10. HEAVENandHELL

    HEAVENandHELL Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Location:
    McCordsville
    Mesa 3 channel Dual Rec gives me my clean, rhythm, and solo voices with the ability to boost the volume via the solo button on any of the voices. Set up right this amp sounds killer! I've tried lots of other amps but, especially for live needs, this amp has the flexibility and the sounds needed.
     
  11. JimH

    JimH Member

    Messages:
    1,572
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    Thanks guys - good to see a mixture of techniques. Got a compressor sitting around doing nothing so that'll be my first port of call, though interested in all experiences.
     
  12. Dexter.Sinister

    Dexter.Sinister Still breathing Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    5,651
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    I dial my amp to start to crunch when I hit a chord hard, then back it down a hair. I use a light OD (Barber LTD) and a Fuzz (Monsterpiece AD2000) and a distortion/drive bix (either Barber Burn Unit or Gaspedals DumbBell). Between the amp setting, those pedals, and how I strike strings, I get the full range. If amp too loud, use smaller amp. If big amp still wanted, use attenuator or plexi shields or amp case or amp cover or guitar case to reduce volume out front.

    DS
     
  13. jazzguitar14

    jazzguitar14 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,533
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Clean amp + Compressor + Blackstone Applliance

    or

    Mesa MK4
     
  14. jumpnblues

    jumpnblues Member

    Messages:
    5,250
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2007
    Start with an amp you really like the cleans on, since that's the top priority with you. If it's channel switching and has a crunch channel you like, you can use a pedal set for more overdrive/distortion to find the 3 tones you want. If it's not channel switching you'll need to do the rest with pedals or an additional amp that's channel switching. That keeps you down to 1 or 2 amps. The other alternative if you're really anal about achieving total clean, slight overdrive/edge, and full on distortion, especially 3 individual tones you really like, you may have to find it in a 3 channel amp or 3 separate amps. I would think you could find it in 1 or 2 amps though.


    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2008
  15. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    15,907
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2002
    Location:
    Canada's Capital
    Look at the VHT Sig:X...
     
  16. doyle o'brian

    doyle o'brian Supporting Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    One of my favorite ways to do this is with a blackface or silverface amp. I set the volume higher on the normal channel than on the reverb channel. I play clean through the reverb channel and kick on a pedal for crunch, then use an A/B box after the crunch pedal to switch to the higher volume normal channel for leads.
     
  17. Deville2Rocket

    Deville2Rocket Member

    Messages:
    1,112
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    Fender style clean amp, around 50 watts.
    There are so many pedals that can get you into crunchy Marshall territory these days (Brownie, Crunchbox, Pinnacle2, etc...) that you can pretty much have it all with a good clean Fender and a couple stompers.
    I Like a Blues driver to put a little hair on the clean, my Ampeg Reverberocket's drive channel or a Voodoo Lab Sparkle Drive for OD, a CMATMODs Brownie for Marshallesque lead tone, and a BBE Boosta Grande for clean boost solos.
     
  18. rockon1

    rockon1 Member

    Messages:
    11,479
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2005
    Location:
    Stamford CT
    An EQ in the loop and a clean boost in front! Makes a 2 channel amp into a many "channel" amp. The EQ in the loop will increase(as much or little as you desire) the volume and re-EQ either the clean or dirty channel and the clean boost in front will pump up the gain if needed. Very versatile! Bob
     
  19. SQUAREHEAD

    SQUAREHEAD Supporting Member

    Messages:
    981
    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Agreed !! Very true and aloows many options too.

    Although I prefer my Bogner 100B Xtcy ...

    Keith[​IMG]
     
  20. hamfist

    hamfist Member

    Messages:
    1,598
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    It's a very, very good question, that has a number of answers. No one of them is the only correct one. There are many ways to approach it.
    A great clean amp with pedals is one way, and for some it works well. But, in my experience, for those who really live on distortion most of the time, then pedal distortion will often not be of a sufficient quailty.
    My current solution, which seems to be working well, is a two channel amp which has a genuinely good clean channel and then an OD channel which does a great lower gain crunch (many channel switchers cannot do a good low gain crunch, they are either clean or high gain, with nothing decent in between). I then can hit an OD pedal for a higher gain crunch on the OD channel.
    I also have a compressor up front, and a clean boost in the FX loop which, combined, make for a great solo sound.
    Amp is a Rockerverb 50, BTW.
     

Share This Page