Jazz and smooth OD?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Power Freak, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. Power Freak

    Power Freak Member

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    Hi guys

    I want to get a new amp, my marshall DSL (modded) is good at the rock thing but it lacks everything else I need for my jazzier based playing. By jazz I mean Hard Bop, Trad, Fusion, Swing etc. Pretty much anything goes, some players who's playing I like (not necessarily the tone): Holdsworth, Martino, Metheny, Scofield, Christian, Wes, Henderson etc.

    For cleans I prefer a Charlie Christian sound to a Wes sound, but most fat punchy jazz sounds satisfy me. The best clean amp I ever played was a Gibson amp from LONG LONG ago, I think it was a model from the 40s. It had a really mellow tone that was quite fat and has been my "holy grail" ever since. I would have bought it when I tried it but I didn't have any money, when I scraped up enough money it had gone. :( I also liked the clean tone of a Polytone I tried today, it was a Mini-brute but I didn't note what "number" it was (II, IV etc.) I really liked the rich tone I got from it. It also seemed to suit my "style" quite well, however (and here is the dilema!) I cannot live without an OD of some kind! And I'm not sure whether an OD pedal will work with a poly?

    For OD sounds I like the smoother *umble style amps generally. I normally aim for a "horn like" tone, which is quite dark and "wet" sounding with a lot of mid range. I guess you could sort of say it's "Robben-ish" with hints of Holdsworth thrown in. I also tend not to use much gain at all, on my marshall currently I have already reduced the gain considerably with some component mods and I leave the gain on about 4 or 5. Compression would be a nice thing to have too, I like a bit of compression to smooth out the peaks a bit but I can (and normally do!) use a pedal/rack compressor for that job (I set it at quite a low ratio.) For this type of sound I have found that the Mesa Mark amps work quite well (particualrly the I or IIs) but I don't like there clean tones very much.

    As far as features goes I'm not too bothered, I'll play anything! I don't mind having to spend hours tweaking and I don't mind having a single tone knob to "plug and play" as long as it hits the tone I want. For wattage if it's a valve amp below 100W is desirable, I play at home and don't gig and use attenuators religously! I can also live with 1 channel if the pre-amp likes boosters/OD pedals.

    Price wise I don't have a lot of money (student budget!) But I'm willing to save if I find something truly amazing, so price isn't too important (but obviously no *umbles!) I have to be able to get the amp in the UK though, I will never buy an amp unseen. I don't mind travelling around to try it out but I'm not just going to order something direct from the US.

    -Polytone w/pedal: My concern is that the pedal will sound crap boosting an Op-amp based pre-amp.
    -Dr. Z Mazerati: My concern is it won't be mellow and punchy enough and will probably be too Vox like.
    -Evans JE200/SE200: Never played it but apparently Polytone like, hopefully it takes pedals nicely? Help please! Are they even availible in the UK?
    -Hunt around for another Gibson: My concern is that I may never find one, I also am a bit weary of using vintage stuff because I'm paranoid of breaking it. I don't mind if it's an expensive amp, but something vintage that isn't made anymore gives me the shivers!
    -Roland Jazz Chorus: I've never tried one of these so any experience anybody?

    These considerations are purely from thinking, I've only tried the Poly/Gibbo and I've though about the others based on what some other "jazz cats" use. There are literally NO shops here that stock anything jazz related (amp wise) so I'm guessing here.


    Thanks in advance,

    Lewis

    EDIT: Oh yeah I forgot I play an Ibanez AH10 guitar with stock Dual Screw pickup and a Steinberger GM4S with a Suhr DSH (not plus) and Dimarzio VV pickups.

    :BEER
     
  2. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Hi Lewis,

    Seems we like the same tones and players!

    Since you are on a budget, I suggest a Zendrive by Hermida Audio. Best Dumble style tone in a pedal I have heard.

    Here are two clips I did, no EQ or altering, using a Zendrive into my Fuchs 100s clean channel.

    http://www.scottlernermusic.com/zen/ZenHelpPoor.MP3

    http://www.scottlernermusic.com/zen/ZenDriveMilesGroove.MP3

    As you can hear, the pedal has a real smooth tone, perfect for those Ford meets Henderson meets Holdsworth moments.......

    Since you asked about amps, here are a few Fuchs clips with no pedals. Recorded dry, no EQ.

    http://www.scottlernermusic.com/august/75Mod250plusbleed.MP3

    http://www.scottlernermusic.com/august/ModTrimIdea420snub.MP3

    http://www.scottlernermusic.com/august/narsh30a.MP3

    Here is the clean channel with the bright switch on. http://www.scottlernermusic.com/slx/MaxLazySundayJazz.MP3

    Very versatile! You can go from the fusion stuff to the Metheny/Martino tone quite easily and on the fly.

    Hope I helped.

    Scott
     
  3. 65bfdr

    65bfdr Member

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    You could do it on a budget by getting a used Fender Hot Rod dlx or maybe a deluxe reverb to get your clean jazz tone. Add a pedal for the fusion stuff. A tube screamer works fine.
     
  4. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Hey Asle! How ya been dude?? Lomg time no chat... Listening to your clips. Great playing and tones!

    Any plans for a CD?

    Scott
     
  5. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    ...not much to add here, except the (fairly obvious) statement that Holdsworth's (plus others you mention) tone and gear choices are pretty far removed from the D-inspired crew. Among his many amps are/were (depending on era) Marshall, Hartley-Thompson, Jim Kelley, Pearce, Mesa-Boogie, Sundown, Yamaha DG-Series, THD...

    To address your question more directly - do you spend most of your time playing clean or overdriven? May help to establish the priority within your budget.
     
  6. Power Freak

    Power Freak Member

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    Thanks Scott, that Zendrive sounds amazing! I'll have too look out for it.

    I've always liked the sound of the Fuchs amps from what I've heard, however finding them in the UK could be quite a problem. As far as I'm aware there aren't any "dealers" in this country. BTW I love the lead tone you got on the "lazy day 1265" clip I found somewhere (probably this site.) The clean sound on this "Max Lazy" clip is nice too, I just hope I can find one somewhere to try. :(

    I haven't tried the HRDLX but I normally find most Fender amps a tad bright for what I play, the Polytone in comparison sounded darker and to my ear fuller which is what I'm going for.

    I've got a chance to play a HR properly soon though (with my guitar/rig) so I should be able to look at this option more closely, I've got a Digitech Bad Monkey that I can use with it for OD tones.

    I know Allan hasn't (and doesn't) use a D-style amp, but I'm not trying to clone his OD tone. "A cross between Allan Holdsworth and Robben Ford" is the best description I can think of.

    I normally spend more time with overdrive, but I'm normally more picky with clean tones. So IMO Cleans are the top priority.

    Thanks for the reples so far.

    :dude
     
  7. scottl

    scottl Member

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    Glad to help! Btw, my goal is very similar. Robben meets Holdsworth/Henderson...

    Scott
     
  8. Strung Up

    Strung Up Member

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    I've had acceptable results with a Pearce G2R. The single note stuff can get in the neighborhood you're describing on the clean channel with some tweaking. Not really crazy about the O/D channel - too 'gritchy'. Very portable and semi-available on the used market for around $400.
    My only beef with this amp is that the chordal stuff always sounds OK (better than Polytone, JC's, and other transistor amps) UNTIL I switch to a tube amp. Then I hear all the shimmer on close-interval chords that are missing through all the transistor amps I've played.

    Pedal-wise, I've found the MI Audio Blue Boy to do pretty good 'Holdsworth-in-a-box' (not the chordal stuff). Haven't yet tried the Zendrive.
     
  9. leond

    leond Member

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    I've been trying to find a jazz tone for a while trying different amps. Then I jammed with someone who had an old, beat to heck, silver faced Fender Twin.

    That was the sound I was looking for all along. I went to a store and tried three different reissues: twin, deluxe and vibrolux. They all had the sound. The twin sounded best to my ears.

    I found a used '65 Twin RI in good condition and have never looked back.

    LeonD
     
  10. doc

    doc Member

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    I think for the combination of sounds you're after on a budget, my suggestion is this:
    Get a small cab, maybe 1X12
    Get one of the new Crate Powerblock amps ($200)
    Get a Soldano GTO (or other real tube preamp stompbox)
    With the Soldano off you've got Polytone like cleans suitable for the straight ahead jazz sound, and with it on you've got the all tube Soldano preamp as well as some solidstate overdrive available on the Crate head as well to give all the distortion you want. This combo is also very light and convenient.
     
  11. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I can't give you the final word on using an OD on a Poly but don't worry about using a pedal in front of a SS amp as you shouldn't be looking for a massive clean boost to push the amp itelf into OD.

    Just try your Monkey w/Poly. I bet it gets you close.
     
  12. drano

    drano Member

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    That old Gibson you liked so much just wasn't designed for overdrive stuff and it's probably not the cleanest amp every made either. But you don't need the Soldano pedal for your Charlie Christian stuff. I've got a Soldano pedal for sale, incidentally, in the pedal emporium forum.

    You have a lot of great suggestions here. I agree that the Twin Reverb is about the greatest all-round solid clean sound there is. What you hear with it is just whatever you plug into it -- virtually transparent. But they are a little heavy and they've got a ton of power that it doesn't sound like you are going to use. Maybe a Deluxe or a Pro would be as good or better for you. The silverface era amps are not pricey and about the cleanest they ever made.

    If you would rather go for an amp that sounds like that 40s amp try a Gibson Gold Tone 12R. The Gold Tone combos are modeled after some early Gibson amps (in terms of cabnetry and faceplate controls but not in electronics) and they have a beautiful sound that would be great for classic jazz work IMO, and they will get real loud if you want to and you can put an OD pedal in front. But you can't tell the difference between OD pedals like you can with the Fender Clean sound. You can get Gold Tone 12R used for maybe $400? The Gold Tones all have high list prices, though. So try to find a used one.

    What Henderson are you talkin' about anyway? Bugs Henderson? Bugsy ain't no jazz player. Joe Henderson's a tenor player. Who are you talkin' about?
     
  13. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Member

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    Maybe Scott Henderson?



    Power Freak, you want two very different sounds, have you considered getting two different amps? For the straight ahead jazz stuff it's sounds like you want something clean but warm. A Twin will never be warm enough in a house setting, you'll need something a lot smaller. I'd look into the small Fender tweed style amps, and also look for some old Ampegs. The Charlie Christian sound had a lot of hair on it, so you need an amp that's small enough to get there at the volume you want. Polytones are cool, but you will never get a great, natural sounding OD from one, IMO.

    BTW, I have no idea what Dual Screw pickups are...
     
  14. Rock Fella

    Rock Fella Member

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    I can vouch heavily for the Roland JC120 , its a solid state amp but its oh so smooth and has the lushest chorus which you can switch in and out, yep, id definitely advise you to check one out before you pull the trigger on other gear. its best described as smooth , which i think is just the tone you are looking for.
     
  15. Power Freak

    Power Freak Member

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    Lots of twin reccomendations, I'll have to try one again. I see lots of silverfaced twins/bassmans etc. pass through a local shop for quite reasonable prices.

    The Soldano GTO has similar circuitry to the SLO does it not? That would be a bit too "heavy" for me.

    Also as I don't gig weight isn't really an issue, the amp will probably stay in one place all its life!

    That's what I plan on doing soon, I might have to wait until next weekend to do so though. I've also heard of people using Rat pedals through Polys so I think it should be OK, it's just if it gets somewhere near the tone I'm after.

    I've only ever seen 1 gibson amp (the one that I tried) but I don't quite understand what you mean by: "But you can't tell the difference between OD pedals like you can with the Fender Clean sound." Do you mean that the Gibson would make every OD box to sound somewhat similar?

    BTW I was talking about Scott Henderson, although I do love Joe Henderson's music.

    I've considered a double amp rig but I just see so many problems, for one it will cost quite a lot to implement a rig like that. Maybe if I get a clean sound sorted out first I could wait for a while to sort out the OD tones with a seperate amp? If the amp takes OD boxes well this would be an option.

    A double screw pickup is a humbucker with 2 rows of screws instead of one row of screws and one of slugs:
    [​IMG]
    You get slightly rolled off treble and a fatter tone. The Suhr DSH is quite a hot pickup but in my Ibanez it's much lower output.

    That does sound quite good, an inbuilt chorus could come in useful for somethings too. I don't think I've even heard one though, are there any recordings that are "classic JC" sounds?


    I'm still interested in the Dr.Z Mazerati though, I've heard some people call it a "40's like amp" but then I hear others saying it's more of a vox thing. :confused:


    Thanks for the replies so far, this forum is awesome.

    :dude
     
  16. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    You don't mention Fenders in your post so I don't know if you've tried them and don't like them, but for cleans a SF Fender like a Twin, Pro or Deluxe Reverb is hard to beat.

    For O/D a Zendrive or an AC Booster would work well for the sounds you like.

    Scott Henderson uses an Analogman Tube Screamer for O/D and an RC Booster for clean boost.
     
  17. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    The crate's got very little headroom and is very harsh sounding.

    Evans amps tend to be harsh as well.

    If your budget is $500 (US) or less, a Peavey Bandit and the Zendrive would be a good choice. Folks around here don't like to use the P(eavey) word but the Bandit is a great amp for clean tones.
     
  18. veldt666

    veldt666 Member

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    Although I gig on a regular basis using "Fuchs" amps as my first choice,
    I often pull out a JC120, or JC77, to a few gigs, & I'm always amazed at the tone, using nothing more than an O/d pedal in front, (Either a Keeley Blues driver or Keeley Rat).

    I've also upgraded the speakers in these JC's, using Celestion V10's in the JC77, & Celestion Century's in the JC120.

    These speakers really compliment the clean headroom of the JC series, as they are "Very" efficient speakers.

    Warm woody tones, & TONS of sustain, even on clean, (no O/Drive) sounds.

    (Highly reccomended)!!
     
  19. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    How do you deal with the hiss? I love the JC 120 though it's heavier than a Twin Reverb. My complaint is that the amp has such a loud hiss, exacerbated by putting in a decent set of speakers ....
     
  20. Power Freak

    Power Freak Member

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    I've got around £700 ish at the moment which is $1300 but I could (by about November/December) scrape together around £1200 which is $2200. The Fuchs ODS 30 head appears to be around £1800 from Germany, I don't think I'll be able to afford it for a while! But if it is "perfect" then I would be willing to wait.

    :)
     

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