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Looking for mild overdrive with a TwoRock Custom

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by davidp158, Jun 9, 2005.

  1. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    I love the tones of my TwoRock Custom (non reverb, prototype), but I'm having trouble producing a smooth, mild overdrive (NOT flat out distortion). I play mostly Teles and Strats, some times a Les Paul, and do a mix of roots rock, pop, blues and country music. The TwoRock is used with a THD 2x12 cabinet.

    The Custom does great clean Fender tones, and suberb distortion, but I can't seem to find the "in-between" stuff. The 6L6 tubes do not compress like an EL84 amp, so its quite stiff and forward sounding. I have a Dr. Z MAZ Jr. (18 watts, 2x10 combo) that produces a wide range of clean to distorted sounds, and it excells at the mild overdrive tones I'd like to get from the TwoRock. It may be my amp settings, the particular tubes, a nature of 6L6 power tubes, or the nature of the Custom, but I haven't found the mild breakup that is so easy to get with an EL84 amp. My Custom sounds best for pristine clean or highly saturated distortion. I need to find something between these two extremes.

    Will different tubes make the amp compress a bit more? How about setting the bias a little hotter? I don't play very loud, which keeps me from hitting the power tubes very hard, so I suspect that's why the mild overdrive tones are a bit brittle and splatty sounding. If I really crank that effects return, the amp opens up but its just too loud.

    Thinking an overdrive pedal may do the trick, I've tried a Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive, TIM Boost, AC Booster and a few other pedals, but nothing seems to quite get what I'm after. I briefly tried a Mucho Boosto at a jam, and it sounded really good, but I didn't get to spend much time with it. I'm also interested in trying a Zen Drive. I would prefer to not use a pedal for tones, but it may be the only way to get the tone I'm looking for.

    Any thoughts or comments on this would be most appreciated,
    Dave Patterson
     
  2. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Silver Supporting Member

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    Have you tried settings with the master way up and the channel gain down?
     
  3. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    Mark,

    If I lower the input gains and raise the master, the distortion channel looses its magic, and the overall amp volume is incredibly loud. Its a 50 watt amp, quite "fast" and "forward" without much compression.

    I've spent a lot of time experimenting with different combinations of each channel's input gain, master volume, and the effects loop. The effects loop return knob works as an overall master volume, as the preamp signal always passes through it even if no effects are in the loop. As with any amp, the TwoRock has a sweet spot, and I think I've found it for clean and high gain sounds...its that elusive in between area that escapes me.

    Thanks for your reply,
    Dave

     
  4. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    You might want to try a 5751 in V1. I did that in my Custom, and got a nice new range of OD to explore. It kind of 'softened up' the way the gain develops.
     
  5. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Are you on EQ1 or 2? Do you have a send as well as return? I feel like I am getting great inbetween / mild over drive without ear splitting levels with my Custom Proto #2. I spend most of my time on the drive and back off the volume to get a little cleaner. But I am on EQ1. my clean master is dimed, my drive master is at about 12-1. My return is around 12:00. My send is what I am using as my master volume control.

    cmn
     
  6. Randy

    Randy Member

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    What S/N is your prototype? I used to have #4 and it was better at mild overdrive tone then any amp I've ever played. Even at low volumes it would sing and sustain with very little apparent distortion.

    Mine had a footswitchable mid boost. So I normally ran the tone controls around noon, the clean channel gain dimed and the gain channel gain to taste. With my footswitch then I could go through 6 levels of gain -

    clean with no mid boost or bypass
    clean with mid boost
    clean with mid boost and bypass
    gain ch with no mid boost or bypass
    gain ch with mid boost
    gain ch with mid boost and bypass

    Actually I could have used 8 combinations but the tone changed a bit when I ran the bypass on and mid boost off. The best thing about that amp was that when set correctly the tone remained
    relatively the same, just with increasing levels of gain.

    I miss that amp :(

    You may want to try subbing a 12AT7 or 5751 in V1 or V2 to reduce the gain and give your self greater range on the gain pot.
     
  7. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    These amps have a bit of a learning curve and I am always finding some new way to get different tones from one. I usually run my clean gain up to about 2 o'clock and the front master to about 2 o'clock as well. Puts a bit of hair on the clean and provides more gain for the lead channel as well. You can even try turning clean gain all the way up...rlol off guitar a bit for squeaky clean. ..Most people think it is good to keep the front master above 12 o clock, I have seemed to like 2 oclock myself and control overall volume from the loop master. Another option is to set up the lead channel with the gain control low for mild crunch and step on the bypass for heavier crunch and leads. If there seems to be too much gain too soon in the lead channel there is an internal lead channel input gain trim pot. I turned mine down a bit ..someone who had the amp before me had it cranked all the way. If the level doesn't jump up enough for solos when stepping on the bypass a clean boost in the loop can help there. I just recently realized how awesome it is to step on both lead and bypass buttons at the same time for excellent lead tones. There really is no substitute for being able to get the amp up into its power band tho.. although the two rock does a good job of getting usable tones at reasonable volumes. If I have to play really quiet, I like the Fulldrive 2 in compcut mode to put a hairy sparkle on my clean. Set the level so it is almost the same maybe just a touch louder than my clean sound ...gives me a lot of options. Thats all I can think of at the moment but it might give you some stuff to try.

    Dennis
     
  8. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    I think I know what you mean. I have a Custom Reverb and what I can't get is a mild crunch tone out of the amp (no problem getting nice cleans and RF-sounding leads). I use a FullDrive II to get that mild crunch, but I don't really love how that sounds, so I don't recommend it. I use it because it's all I have.

    The neat thing about adding a pedal is that it add (at least) 2 additional tone choices, clean+pedal and overdrive channel + pedal for screaming solos.

    I just don't know what pedal would work better than my Fulldrive. Perhaps an OCD?
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Custom Proto #8 owner here.

    I put an AY7 in V1. Then dime the clean gain. Clean master from 11 - 1 should work. Set lead gain from 9 - 11 O 'Clock to taste, same with lead master. Loop at 12 O 'Clock.

    3 years and running, and still no better sounding amp for the clean-between tones you're looking for. An my favorite guitar with this rig is a Tele, in which case I use EQ2 for more mids.

    With my amp, you can use the loop as a "master-master" to adjust overall volume.

    I agree with your general findings that 6L6's break up late and "hard". Your amp is designed more around preamp gain tones. They do get into a 3rd dimension when you crank 'em though!

    Hope this helps,

    Mike
     
  10. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    Wow, thanks for all the detailed replies, folks! Lots of good information for me to work with.

    A few answers to questions and comments posted:

    Mountain Blues - Thanks for the 5751 tube suggestion. I suspected a tube swap may help soften things up, as I'm "tube challenged" and appreciate the suggestion.

    Cnardone - I normally use EQ2 (the higher gain of the two), and think I need to experiment more with EQ1. I use EQ1 when recording for Fender type tones, but I've been seduced by the EQ2 when going for higher gain tones with the overdrive channel. Do you find that the clean channel takes one a bit more attitude just as the clean channel master volume reaches its maxium setting. I think Joe told me that more treble is pushed through at the maxium setting, and I'm wondering if this is causing some harshness.

    Randy - My Custom is SN #6. I bought it from Mike Saskor, who I belive was the original owner. Mine doesn't have a footswitchable mid boost, but that would be cool. My Custom does a great job of retaining the clean channels tone when I switch to the overdrive channel. Most channel switching amp I've tried in the past sounded radically different between the clean and overdrive channels. Thanks for the tube suggestions.

    Dennis - Yes, these amp have a learning curve, as the controls are easy to work, but very interactive with many combinations! I normally have my clean gain set around 1:00 and the clean master all the way up. I tried different settings on the clean channel, but mine doesn't really overdrive well with higher gain settings on the clean channel. The sound is somewhat splatty and not smooth at all. Could be the V1 tube isn't working well.

    I have looked inside my Custom, but couldn't find the internal trim pot. I know that many of the TwoRock amps have trim pots for adjusting the tone of the overdrive channel, but I haven't seen any trim pots in mine. Remember that mine is prototype #6, and may not have them. Where are they normally placed?

    I'd like to make more use of the EQ bypass footswitch, but it adds too much gain, or thins out depending on the mid boost (usually on) or deep boost (usually off) positions.

    Joe - I generally find overdrive pedals work best with an amp turned up a bit. If the amp is too clean, the pedals sound like, uh...a pedal (fake distortion) and that bores me. I can use just about any overdrive pedal on my MAZ Jr. and get some great mild overdrive tones from it, but I can't get the same results with the TwoRock. I spent a little time with a friend's OCD and it was a tad brittle and harsh, but a nice clean boost with a touch of hair.

    Mike - Thanks for the tube and setting suggestions. I really dig the amp, and think its just a matter of more tweaking on my part, a few tube tests, and if all fails, look out band, I'm turning UP! When that amp is up, its leathal.

    Thanks again for all the comments!

    cheers,
    Dave Patterson
     
  11. thelionsden

    thelionsden Member

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    I haven't been using my Custom as much lately since I got my CR Sig so I am going from memory a bit, but I don't usually like the master on the front all the way up seems to get a bit unstable to me. I leave that about 12 to 2 oclock and make anything up on the back. The Master on the front is really like a loop send the one on the back is the loop return and comes after the one on the front. I would say the order of gain structure is clean gain to master to effects return and when you are using the lead channel it goes clean gain then lead gain/ lead master/master/effects return. As to the trim pot..the Custom has no lead channel eq, just input gain. Yours may not have it If you do it is usually a blue disc that is about the size of a dime with a little slot in it.

    DG
     
  12. tga-3

    tga-3 Supporting Member

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    You can't go wrong with the Zendrive. In my opinion it was made for the front end of a Fender Clean style channel. It retains the tone of your guitar and rig, feels like you're playing through your amp, and has great EQ controls to shape your overdrive sound if desired. The Zendrive has a subtle element that is hard to find in an amp let alone a pedal. I run it through the clean channel on my Demeter TGP-3 and it does Robben Ford to Brad Paisley stuff without breaking a sweat. And it is very compatible with other pedals. Can't say enough about this pedal. You will not be disappointed.
    Rick
     
  13. Tag

    Tag Gold Supporting Member

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    Try a smoothplate telefunken 12AX7 in V1. It should make a huge difference for lower gain tones.
     
  14. JoeB63

    JoeB63 Supporting Member

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    One more note, I've had a 5751 in v1 for about 9 months now (maybe more), it does reduce the gain a bit, but with a HB guitar you still have to run the clean gain knob pretty low to get a truly clean tone out of the amp.

    It's not a night and day difference between the 5751 and a 12AX7.
     
  15. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    I know my Onyx is a different amp, but your thread made me want to try a low gain crunch setting. It was easy to get on the clean channel, just goose the gain a bunch.

    On the lead channel, I dialed the gain down to about 8:30 o'clock, set the treble higher than usual - about two o'clock in this case - scooped out the mids a little, and set the presence at about one o'clock. Voila. Very nice "in-between" crunch tones. Not as much "crushed glass" a' la Matchless, more like a cranked BF Bassman (I owned one from new for many years, so I'm really familiar with this tone). I suspect you'd get closer to that "crushed glass" sound by cranking more treble in, but my wife made me stop playing for some reason...couldn't be my amazing licks...;)
     
  16. Mike

    Mike Member

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    Me too, Custom 100 watter, no verb. But man, that Custom proto 50 with the lower gain preamp tube in V1 does that thing he's trying to get soooo well.

    The thing I always say about these amps is that the tubing can make such a huge difference. And yes indeedy, there are all kinds of ways to dial them in.

    Mike
     
  17. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I'd try a COT 50 pedal.

    jon
     
  18. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    Hey, thanks again for all the suggestions. I haven't tried a new tube in the V1 position, but I have gotten some big improvements going back to the EQ1 mode, turning off the MID BOOST switch and experimenting with different gains/masters/efx return settings. Pulling down the clean gain and clean master, and raising the effects return has smoothed out the overdrive channel, and fattened up the clean tones. I simply hadn't spent enough time tweaking this wonderful amp. I stopped experimenting once I had some great clean and overdrive tones, but now I'm getting those inbetween tones, too.

    Any suggestions for tube brands of 12AT7 or 5751 tubes for the V1 position?

    many thanks,
    Dave
     
  19. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    Dave -
    Cool, glad you're getting some good tones. I like the NOS RCA Command Series 5751, or the regular 5751.
     
  20. davidp158

    davidp158 Member

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    gracias!

    dp


     

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