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Gigging with a Cube 60 and no pedals

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Scott Peterson, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    I had a 3 set night at a festival last Friday and needed to travel light.

    So I recluctently decided to try and run with just my Melancon - cord - Roland Cube 60. No pedals. Nothing else. No channel switching. Just naked out there with a modeling amp.

    The gig was three sets, the first was rock/country; the second two sets were my main country/pop/rock. We had no keyboards this time out, and had two other guitarists. Usually we run with two guitars anymore; but we ran it two electrics and one on acoustic. I played electric all night and carry about 50% of the lead work through out.

    It was interesting to try this, I have been rehearsing in lots of situations (ranging from rock covers to funk to country) with this setup; easy to carry and setup/teardown is simple as pie. It sounds good, and I like it. But anyone that has known me for any length of time knows I like my fancy amps and my fancy pedals a lot. A WHOLE lot.

    I was worried about a) volume (can a solid state amp on an extension cab keep up with tube amps? (*My old Trademark 60 failed this test more than a few times)); b) can I get a range of tones I need with the Cube's "Dyna-Amp" setting and old school knob twirling when needed on the fly?; c) with such a line up - three guitars - will the tones work? and d) will my leads cut?

    Here's my take on it:

    Logistics sorta forced my hand, I couldn't drag out my "A" rig for this show. But my ego (hey, I paid for the nice stuff I have and I sure like using it!) really had me second guessing this all the way. I mean, my backup to this thing is the Crate Powerblock. (And I brought my BB Preamp *just* in case). :D So first up - volume.

    I lugged my Tone Tools 212 out, it's a sealed back front ported 212 with Guytron speakers in it. I love this cab. I ran the powered out on the Roland Cube 60 to the cab and then plugged in the guitar. I had my old Peterson VS-1 for tuning if I had to, but didn't run it in-line. Question A? It was LOUD. Really loud, like crazy loud. I started at 1/2 the way up and was just stunned at how much sheer volume was coming out of it. (The stock 112 in the actual amp still works when you plug in the extension cab). So I hit some hard drop-d distortion stuff to see if the amp would choke on it pushing it's own speaker *and* the 212. Hmmm, no issue at all. In fact it sounded so much better than it does on its own, I felt very relieved suddenly. It was gonna be okay. Maybe.

    Range of tones? I've been rehearsing this little thing for a while now and found a nice setting using the "Dyna-Amp" with the gain at 9 o'clock that works great with both my Melancon guitars. Both the Mel's are S/S/H so by clicking up to the singles and rolling the volume slightly I can get a very good clean; just click to the humbucker and rock city. At volume it worked exceptionally well, like most amps. More volume equals fatter tones. I use a touch of reverb to fatten it up slightly (though you really can't hear it very much as an effect) and that's it. By working the guitar's volume pot I was getting all the nuance I needed.

    So did this thing cut through the wash of 3 guitars? The cats in this lineup were all good players, we all arranged the parts somewhat intelligently so that we weren't playing the same parts the same way or in the same positions; these guys have ears and can adjust on the fly. The Roland did great honestly. I was very impressed with this part of it, I really have always felt - even though I really do like this amp - that modelers in general have sort of a 2D tone, it sounds right, but lacks "depth" for lack of a better description. In the mix, it was very easy to hear what I was doing and - best of all - it "felt" right. I play the guitar through playing the sound from the amp, if that makes any sense. And this was a fun night.

    Now the stickiest thing I was worried about were leads; because of the show and the songs, I can't be running back to the amp to turn up for solos. So I *had* to rely on the guitar's volume pot and my dynamics playing-wise to get the pop I needed for my solos. Folks that were there told me of all the guys, my solos and parts were easiest to pick out and hear and that they sounded good. On stage, it sure felt right and sounded good to me.

    We have one extended solo spot during a breakdown where I did go back and roll up the gain to noon, but I didn't touch the volume. Worked great, got back and rolled it down when the next guy did his bit. I used a different model for one song that called for a heavier tone, and used the Dual Rect setting with the gain up to noon too. Sounded great.

    Overall, I am extremely impressed. I dearly love the utter power and depth of subtle nuance you can craft from a good tube amp and the colors you can add with different pedals. Nothing is going up on the block, nor was any of this some sort of ephiphany in any way.

    I was just very happy to find out that you can indeed make it work utterly bare bones - I mean my extension cab was 2X more expensive than my amp for goodness sakes! - and be happy with it.

    One thing I did find is that with less setup/teardown and just simply "LESS" stuff to setup and check, tweak, what-have-you - that my focus was easier to get into the actual playing of the show and enjoying it.

    The BB Preamp stayed in the bag and the Powerblock never got touched (thank goodness :D).

    So there you are. :D
     
  2. JPenn

    JPenn Member

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    One of the things I really liked about my old Flextone Duo (aside from the easy set-up/tear-down) was that I didn't expect "Voice Of God" tones from it. Since I didn't expect that out of the amp, it made it easier to just forget about that and play.
     
  3. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Very interesting and informative thread, thanks, Scott.

    As I have never used my Cube60 out of my basement I may be missing out on something! Also I have tended to avoid the "Dyna-Amp" setting (and the various "stack" settings) so I need to revisit that. I have found that the BF, in particular, to be more dynamic and responsive to guitar volume control than any other "modeller" I've tried.

    Do you think that Roland may have got something right that the other makers haven't? Intuitively I think they have concentrated on the "less is more" principle, maybe........in any event we must keep an open mind on these amps.

    Thought provoking.

    Best, Pete.
     
  4. AD

    AD Supporting Member

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    Scott, what was or is your relunctance in setting up the BB preamp w/ the cube?
     
  5. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    Great post Scott, you are truly brave!

    Roland makes a little pedal for channel switching that might have helped, but the challenge was in doing it the way that you did.

    Your comment that the TM 60 had insufficient volume live but the Cube 60 was fine is interesting. I have never gigged either but have both and would have assumed that it would be the other way around. Was the cube miked?

    The Dyna-Amp setting has never worked for me (I didn't like the overdrive sound) but you were using a different guitar and different settings. I may revisit it to try to get a better sound.

    My favorite sounds have been the JC for jazz, Brit Combo on medium gain for blues/classic rock, and R-Fier with a bit of echo for shredding.

    It's a versitile amp, and am impressed that you have made it work beyond what I thought was possible.

    Again, great post.

    stratzrus
     
  6. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    None. I know it works, but wanted simplicity.
     
  7. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    I actually like the Dyna amp setting, but only at that 9 o'clock setting. Anything over that and I don't like it. Under that and no balls to the distortion.

    Both were miked; the Tech 21 always seemed to choke or starve for power when really pushed.... and I tried new speakers, etc in the TM 60. The surprise was the sheer volume I got from the Roland on the extension cab I have. It was LOUD. I've owned some heavy duty tube amps in my day, the Rivera TBR-2SL (all 160 watts or so of it) and I know loud. It was an honest volume, not a cheap "shrilly" one... if that makes sense.
     
  8. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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    What were your other guitarists using? Somebody had to be using effects onstage, right?
     
  9. Teleman

    Teleman Supporting Member

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    So when is the Germino going up for sale?
     
  10. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    Both those guys have what I call "cheese boxes" aka multi-effects all-in-one things. Both use them mostly for an effect here and there, but I don't recall what units they use. Tim has a Laney tube combo and Paul has a Peavey 50 watt 212. They both use Strats.

    Even when I run my effects, I don't do much with effects outside of specific parts. I am not one of the "leave the chorus on all the time" guys or anything. I run everything pretty dry and have my whole life.
     
  11. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    After I am dead.

    Seriously.
     
  12. waxnsteel

    waxnsteel Member

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  13. el34power

    el34power Member

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    Makes you wonder though! All these great efforts and pay cheques....
     
  14. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Interesting post Scott. We've all have had to 'make do' with less gear at certain gigs on occasion. You're fortunate that you know what makes gear work on a pretty detailed level and chose the virtual 'can't miss' path on this occasion.

    My observation after reading your post is that your Mel guitars had a good deal to do with the success of your on-the-fly rig that included the Roland Cube. Nice guitars like your Mel's have GREAT volume and tone controls that allowed you to get what you needed using mainly the guitar as the mechanism to control the amp. You probably wouldn't have gotten nearly as good a result with an off-the-shelf tele or strat with a volume control that goes zero ... one ... one ... one ... full blast!

    And last but not least, could it be you're finally coming to the conclusion that at the outdoor festival type gigs nobody cares, (or has a clue) whether or not you sound good or sound like heck?!!! :D

    dave

    ps: I have two of these coming up the next two weekends!
     
  15. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    True that. I am just more of a "just enough" color, instead of throwing paint at the wall kind of player. That's not sarcasm in any way, just my honest assesment of my approach and opinion.

    One of the other guys is going to buy one of these amps, he was very impressed. The other guy has been running his setup for 10+ years, so it is what it is and he didn't offer an opinion. :D
     
  16. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    mmm, I suspected as much :).

    I'm really glad to hear about this from YOU, Scott, as you have the credentials to back it up. I A/B'd my C60 to death with my Fargen and Soul 0 45 + pedals and prefer those tube amps but I leave them at our rehearsal space and just play my C60 at home with a Crunchbox and have no lack of tone. Rather than use my PowerBlock for backup, I'll probably use my tube amps (now also my TK M2) and use the C60 for b/u. But, as you stumbled upon, you never know! I must say though that I do prefer my pedals (mostly Crunchbox) into the JC clean for lead vs the modeled side. But in a crunch, no sweat.

    jon
     
  17. Blueser

    Blueser Member

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    So Scott.....If you took the 2x12, a BB pedal, and 2 guitars, along with the Cube, then why wouldn't you just take the Germino head as opposed to the Cube? Setup would be the same, and it would take no more space, unless you just wanted to try the Cube on the gig.
     
  18. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Administrator Staff Member

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    Space.

    My family was camping and I had to travel light. I had to pack my car with all this gear, and then after the show, I headed back to the campground.

    If I take the Germino, I need the Hot Plate and/or my Clearsonic Plexi-glass shield. And my pedalboard. And my power coniditioner/voltage regulator in a 2-up skb case. And the extra cables. It all fits in the car, but it fills the car up. I didn't want all that gear in my car for the rest of the weekend in a campground.

    It's that simple. Did I want to check out the Cube on a gig? Sure, but only if I had to. It was bought to do rehearsals with and maybe pickup gigs. Full three set nights? Ummm, not what I planned.

    The other thing is that if you take your $3K rig out vs. your $345 amp and a cab.... well, it is slightly less risk.
     
  19. muddy

    muddy Member

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    i'm actually finding what's not at all a compromise in the quest for a "lesser" setup, where your back gets a break without sacrificing tone and/or flexibility. btw, i used a tm60 when i played out with the contortions, and it didn't pose any probs for me. mind you, i don't think it'd work in a ballz-out rock band, but in a band with 6 other players (including vibes) filling space (often in a very cacaphonous fashion ;) ), my volume was not a problem.

    anyway, enter my soultone "forty-five." on it's own, because of a jtm45/plexi switch on the back, it covers a fairly wide ground. add to that the internal cascading, which gives me MORE than enough drive/gain (eliminating the need for any od or dist), AND an exquisite valve (5751) fx loop that is as transparent as it is warm, all i REALLY need by way of a pedal is a good delay/echo, and i'm good to go. and because of the most EXCELLENT 2x12 mini-slant that bob reinhardt made for me, which i loaded with a scumback m75-8 & a celestion g12-50s, the whole setup is both light and modular (and LOUD!!!). factor in the powerscaling, and i have THE best means for dealing with the house guy telling me to turn down. and it's all so simple. and MASSIVE sounding, at the same time. i have to keep pinching myself... it's not supposed to be this easy!


    ml
     
  20. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Interesting story Scott that kind of parallels my experience with the C60. I keep telling myself that a little modeling amp isn't supposed to sound very good....but every time I gig the stupid little thing it delivers with ease, even without an external cab :eek: (which I have yet to try).

    Having said that, I still do miss my favorite tube amp (Komet 60) and I recently put my C60 on the emporium when I found a used Komet for sale at a decent price. However, there were no takers on the Roland so maybe fate is trying to tell me something ;).

    After a bit of a break, I gigged my C60 again last weekend and the friggin' thing still delivered the goods....so I think I'll just hang on to it and pick up a Komet later. No, the C60 ain't no Komet....but, for the price, all things considered, for a clean platform for my lilttle pedal board I really can't complain about my stupid little Roland Cube 60 ;):). While the C60 ain't perfect, the tone & feel somehow seem right....even to this admitted tube snob. Kudos to Roland for a great little amp....and to Bluesdoc for bringing the amp to the Forum's attention :AOK.

    However, for snicks & grins, I do want to try out the new Fender Jazzmaster amp and A/B it with the Roland C60...so we'll see how it goes later this week.
     

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