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help with gain levels of pedals(or maybe pickups?)

idk

Member
Messages
944
i'm playing on an epiphone dot(naturally dark, warm sounding pickups) and just started getting some pedals. I currently am just running Dot>Sparkle Drive>Bad Monkey>DD-20>Marshall Valvestate. i feel like sometimes the darkness of the Dot's pickups(while I love that tone on certain occasions), when mixed with ODs it makes it sound muddy and i lose some highs. theres times when i stack the two(treat the sparkle drive as a boost) and it makes a thick sound which i kinda like, but i think it may be an ugly tone(probably the amp as well). My plan was to get a low, mid, and high gain OD(or maybe a distortion if the thickness isn't there). i got the sparkle drive as a low gain so i can sorta leave it on all the time to get some mids and highs back, the bad monkey as a medium level(?????) and am looking for something high gain(you would think things that have "-screamer" would be high gain...). bad monkey to add some grit and thickness. maybe this is all solvable if i get a brighter pickup? i'm looking into a GFS mean 90 for the neck and leave the humbucker stock in the bridge.
btw, an acoustic into a 30 watt(?) fender acoustasonic is blowing the pants off of me if i have to drives on, if i try to crank i'm told i'm too loud)

to summarize(for those that didn't wanna read):
-do i have the gain levels correct(sparkle drive=low gain, bad monkey=medium gain)?
-stack the pedals for additional gain or get a higher gain pedal?
-get a new pickup and it'll all work itself out?
-suggestion for a good higher gain OD that won't break my bank?
-by the way, church musician, hillsong stuff.

probably left a lot of holes, please feel free to ask questions. thanks in advance.
 

RobertKeeley

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
265
IMHumbleO>>> try a completely different style overdrive. The Sparkle Drive and Bad Monkey are both of the Tube Screamer family. I think that leads to your loss of highs, muddy tone, etc... Those two pedals are great, and work for many rigs, but just not yours I think. Get a pedal like a BD-2 (not trying to push it really) or SOMETHING that is bright and full range. Heck, try a DS-1, just to see if you are going in the right direction. I hope that helps. It's early in the morning...maybe I'll have two penny's worth of thought that are a little brighter in a while. ;-)
rk
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
robert keeley: is this really THE robert keeley? if so that would be SICK!!!!! i'll definitely take that advice and run with it.

rob: um, vintage rock tones i guess?(i'm really not sure what they're called).
 

PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,457
I've got to agree with Mr. Keeley (it's really him)... dump that Bad Monkey. It's one of the worst pedals I've ever tried out. Also agree on the BD2 as an option, I really like mine and haven't sent it to him yet... but I will be getting his mod done soon on that pedal.

Also... I don't want to rain on your parade, but that Valvestate isn't the best option in an amp either. If you're using good pedals, classic rock sounds should be found in a Fender tube amp... you can NEVER go wrong with a twin or Blues Deville/Deluxe. Even one of the Hot Rods are better than a Valvestate.
 
Last edited:

forum_crawler

Member
Messages
7,308
I think I know what is happening here...

If your amp has the contour knob, you have to be careful with it. It is in fact a mid scoop control, and while it sounds nice when you play alone, you quickly find that when you play with others, especially if they play clean, or with an overdrive that you tend to sound muddy, and no matter how much volume you use, you never sound loud enough to match them.

This is how I started. I had a Marshall VS100R and at the time I had a non-modified metal zone, and a boss GT-6. I would get some nice scooped sounds that were good for your high gain dark sounding distortions, but once I was in the context of a band you could not hear me, and I was getting destroyed by a 50 watt mesa. I then got my Peavey VK212 which is loud eough to drown everybody else in the band, and same result... culprit: mid-scoop.

I am certain that if you add more mids (turn the contour knob counter-clockwise) you will find that you will be heard more. Also something else to consider, these amps don't have the dynamic response of an all-tube amp, so blasting them with a really hot signal will not get you that extra oomph you would get from an all-tube amp. This is what the bad monkey is good for, not for its overdrive alone, but for its ability to get your tubes cooking (and while the Valvestates do have a pre-amp tube, I don't really think these exhibit the same benefits of an all tube design).

I still have the VK212, only this time it is paired with a Keeley MT-2, and an MXR 10 Band EQ, but since I have turned the distortion down, and added more mids, it doesn't take long for me to overpower everybody else in the band. So I would say more tweaking is what will solve your problems. Maybe try running your pedals on your amp's clean channel, and see how that works, and certainly consider an EQ pedal. They are great!
 
Messages
1,361
If that tone on the Hillsong video is what you're going for, I dont think it's gonna be easy to get with a Marshall. I did some studio work for a band recently that wanted that tone & I used a mesa triple rec. Thats pretty much it.
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
great advice all around everybody. thanks a ton. i'm gonna try to turn down the contour next chance i get. i got no doubt the amp is part of the problem. we were just on the verge of getting another amp(fender twin reverb for 600! or another tube amp) but just as we were about to finalize the purchases the amp budget got cut at our church. yeah...the sound system's pretty bad at church...occasionally when i stomp the sparkle drive on i hear radio playing through the amp...

i'm definitely considering a BD-2 now, man got so much GAS idk what to do anymore...i still want a wah and volume pedal real bad, and i thought i had the ODs sorted out at least somewhat and now i find out i might need a whole new bunch of em...i know a guy that has all cheap boss pedals and just mods them...thats not sounding like a bad idea...
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
bump for anymore thoughts. should i really try out a distortion? isn't that kinda overdoing it? i actually liked the sound that an older ibanez s-custom sounded through the marshall valvestate through a boss GT3 multi's metal setting. that was a thick sound...
 

forum_crawler

Member
Messages
7,308
The Boss GT-3 has analog overdrive circuits, so that will provably sound better than the overdrives and distortions from the GT-6/8/10.

If you want a distortion, maybe consider investing into something like a TC Electronic Nova Drive. You get an overdrive, a distortion and the ability to change routing, 18 pre-sets, midi control...
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
all that terminology making my head spin FC. lots of great advice all around, i'm gonna give it all a try.
 

aziltz

Member
Messages
1,539
one thing I struggled with starting out with pedals and amps was not to be turned off or discourages from "radical" or "extreme" settings with tone controls.

I like bright, low gain guitar sounds. I play a tele into a blues jr, but I would rather have a Vox. But currently, I cut the mids a tad on the amp, and boost the highs and lows, not metal scooped, but a full tone.

on my pedalboard, I think of the tone controls as tuning out any harshness, so I usually start with them full treble side and lower it. most of the tone controls are above 1 o'clock, some even higher. Its just where my sweet spot is. Tone and Volume on guitar are on full, and I almost always play with the bright pickup (bright).

I try to match the tone settings between my clean and overdrive rhythm tones as much as I can. This makes me happy and gives me very nice sounds.


So maybe what i'm suggesting is take another look at the tone controls and throw away the idea that noon is normal. it is not always designed that way. not every tone control is the same either, some are low pass (roll off the highs) some are high pass (control the lows, make it seem brighter by cutting lows) and other's are very complex. The Tube Screamer Tone control (Bad Monkey I think) can do either simple treble rolloff or boost.

anyway, there's some food for thought.
 

forum_crawler

Member
Messages
7,308
all that terminology making my head spin FC. lots of great advice all around, i'm gonna give it all a try.
Hey there, no sweat, here is the pedal I am talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrFBoCKoyvg

The Boss GT-3 actually has analog circuits inside, much like the Nova system, or this Nova drive, and also digitally controlled. You will find that analog pedals will give your marshall a bit more warmth than digital pedals.

The Nova Drive gives you the ability to decide how you want to stack your pedals, something that I wish the Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde did. You can choose distortion - Overdrive, Overdrive - Distortion or both in parallel. It is awesome!
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
what do you guys think about me running through the fender acoustasonic instead of the marshall valve even though its supposed to be for acoustic guitars?
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
alright, craigslisted the bad monkey, dude's coming on monday. refunded my boss compressor(too inexperienced to use it), so now what?
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
33,314
alright, craigslisted the bad monkey,
Cancel that.
Does your amp/gtr sound OK with the gtr on full (vol and tone) and the amp adjusted to a good clean sound?
It should. But the Epi's roll off a LOT of top end quickly as the vol pots are reduced. A treble bypass cap is required, try .001, no resistor.
If that is not bright enough pups may be required.
I put a DiMarrzio Humbucker from Hell in the neck of my Dot (but I don't play that in church:D) and even that needed the cap. The original pots are still in place. The Monkey will get you into a mild OD-crunch. Keep the gain/drive below half, turn up the amp, set for a mild vol boost on the BM, bass and treble about 2/3 up. Cascade OD units, as required. ADJUST THE AMP.
Still not happy? Try before you buy.
 

idk

Member
Messages
944
hey guys, i actually got a tone i was sorta happy with...cranked my treble up even more(its past 3 oclock), turned down the contours(thanks, that was a big help), turn the gain up almost all the way to full. anyways, the sale is still going down on monday. idk, my amps sorta jacked up, got a crazy high pitched sound when i tried to turn it to the gain channel yesterday...

had a good talk with the guitar shop guy, he wants me to bring in the amp. i'm not so sure thats a possibility, but i totally get where hes coming from because hes right that just buying a pedal based on reputation or just because its sounds good majority of the time doesnt mean anything cuz its not your amp or your guitar.

but, the deal is gonna go down...so i do need a replacement sometime this week before worship team practice...

theres a DS-1 and SD-1 for 50 bucks each right now, theres a bunch of boss pedals used at that store.

i also saw a VS J&H ultimate red for 60 bucks? hows that pedal?
 




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