Maybe all these overdrives are in my way.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Scott Auld, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,909
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Broward
    Something I noticed about the VOX AC30, playing with the band yesterday.

    When I played it straight up, no pedals, I loved the sound.

    Every pedal I stepped on made me like my tone less. Good old tubescreamer, not so much joy as I used to find. Blues Driver, nah. Distortion, nope.

    Turn the pedal back off, I liked the tone again.

    I ended up doing most of my solos with no effects. I am wondering if I should just stop with these OD pedals & distortion. I think I may only need a slight volume boost for solos. No overdrive or distortion.

    For what it's worth, I play the AC30 with the Top Boost & Normal channels blended about 50/50.

    Just thinking through the process.

    S
     
  2. Phil M

    Phil M Member

    Messages:
    10,554
    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I had a Tophat Club Royale (EL84) that I felt the same way about. Some pedals worked well, but most just muddied up the sound. I found that I could get better and clearer tones with just the guitar's volume knob, a lighter uncompressed OD, and a clean boost. Too much EQ or too much compression got in the amp's way.

    I like pedals better with Fender type amps, and some Marshalls.
     
  3. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    27,291
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    well since i got my attenuator, i'm kind of spoiled on my amp's natural OD as well. now i can push it and have that nice amp overdriven sound, but at tolerable volumes. for me, ODs are a necessary evil if you need to drive an amp, since it either substitutes for an amp that's not pushed enough at listening levels, or an amp that's maxxed out that still needs more grind layered on top.

    that's why the ideal situation for a non-switching amp for me now is a clean transparent boost, a amp that has its own nice OD sound, and an attenuator. when you need that grunt, kick that boost in, the amp grinds to its own tune, and the attenuator saves your ears.

    without a boost, you can just use your volume knob on the guitar if you have enough headroom on your amp for that, but some guitars have the tone adversely affected by rolling off the vol from the guitar, so it's up to you.
     
  4. rhythmrocker

    rhythmrocker 1966 Battle of the Bands Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,875
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Location:
    City by the Bay, CA
  5. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

    Messages:
    2,548
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Are you running the pedals with a lot of gain/distortion? Sometimes if you have things set up to sound good for practice, when you take that out to play with a group you actually need much less gain. And sometimes amps are just that way - where you use them more to change the color than to add lots of distortion.

    FWIW, I have a UG30 that loves overdrives, but I keep the gain controls pretty far down. Especially when you get the power tubes and speakers really participating, you just need the pedal to add a little bit to really change the sound.

    So that'd be my suggestion for next time. Try turning the gains significantly down, and keep the volume just at unity or a tad above. See if they are useful that way. If not, ditch 'em :)
     
  6. Uncle Pat

    Uncle Pat Member

    Messages:
    636
    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2004
    Location:
    Central KY
    It took me way too many years to get hip with this concept, but getting the right sized amp for the gig was/is crucial.
    There are so many choices out there now. No reason you can't find one for your sound without having to use a stompbox.
    Having those foot toys around is still fun, but having a great amp (or a dozen!) that will deliver without em' is more fun for me.
    Another important part of the equation is having your guitar set up to work those volume and tone knobs to their maximum usefulness...treble bleed circuits, cap and pot values, etc.
     
  7. stratotonedude

    stratotonedude Senior Member

    Messages:
    597
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    I have tried a few overdrives. My favorite is the Menatone Red Snapper. But most of the time I just use a relatively low wattage amplifier with no external effects units.
     
  8. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

    Messages:
    2,348
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Same thing happened to me. I loved my Box of Rock but who needs it when I can run my plexi on 7 now.

    And I have an Ultimate Attenuator with 2 volumes that are footswitchable. So I even have adjustable gain levels with the attenuator.

    Pure Bliss.
     
  9. GuitarInnovations

    GuitarInnovations Member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Get a clean boost like the Zinky Master Blaster, it won't change your tone.
     
  10. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,705
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Location:
    Southern Maryland
    Same here.... I keep trying to love my ODs (Zendrive, Direct Drive, LTD, RC Booster....) and I keep going back to the amp.

    The big eye-opener was a couple of gigs where we recorded ourselves... the listen-back was shocking to me... great tone, until I stomped. All the tone just got swallowed up! I love the Zendrive, but now I am using minimal gain and only for those cover tunes that need it. The RC is still useful, but again, with minimal gain.

    My amp, a Sommatone Roaring 40, has an exquisite footswitchable boost that just floors me. I may be going OD-less very soon....

    Could this be "Tonal-Maturity" ???
     
  11. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,909
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Broward

    Thanks. I was thinking of loopers earlier. I was looking at the Analogman ones and could not remember the loop-master URL from the other guy here on TGP. :) Not that there is anything wrong with Mike's loopers either, they're all good, but choices are a good thing.

    Yet more money to spend ...

    Thanks, zoombie, I am going to try by setting the OD's gain down low. :) I may be running too much fuzz out of them.

    I think that is exactly what is happening to make me like the naked amp tone. I am running the preamp volumes at about 12 o'clock (both the Top Boost and Normal channel volumes) and then setting the Master volume at about 9 o'clock, which results in good stage volume and great freaking tone.

    Tag also had a neat idea in another thread; of turning the amp up to solo volume and then use a clean boost (or OD with gain down low) to tame the volume for rhythm. You un-stomp to solo :)

    Uncle Pat, i totally agree with you about the right wattage for the job, but not sure how it relates to my dilemma of liking my amp better w/ no overdrive. Other than when I have my amp turned up to band volume, it sounds awesome with no pedals.

    FWIW I only use my amp with the rest of the band, 3 times a week. I leave it at the same space all week and only use it when we are all playing together.

    Awesome point, UP. :) My guitars have plain old stock knobs & internals on them, I will need to read up about what you are talking about with the caps and pots. :) Yet more research, and money probably.

    Is a 30-watter VOX 'relatively low' ? IF so then I think we are in the same boat :)

    Thanks zenpeace, I will write that one down. But I hate to throw more money at pedals when I feel like I am backing away from pedals in general.

    That is exactly how I felt, Geno. Rockin and jammin until I stepped on one of my three overdrives, or the distortion. I kept turning them back off for the rest of the solos. Like stepping on them was a mistake :(


    • BTW you will get me to give up my delays when you pry them from my cold dead fingers. I am NOT NOT NOT talking about living without delays, just overdrives :)
    Yeah. My last amp, a Palomino 30-watt head, has a boost pedal. That was cool.

    I'm not sure. I really admire guys who say things like "I only use my Tele into my amp, no effect but the cord" (RDM?) ... but never have been one of those guys. Maybe I am approaching that place. But ... with delays ;):D

    Yeah. Maybe it's just a VOX thing. I dunno.





    After this Thurs, Fri, Sat I will have more data. I am going to try those nights with no OD (or just OD w/ low gain, like zoombie said.


    Thank you SO much everyone for taking an interest in helping me improve the tone I am working with with my band.

    Scotty
     
  12. zoooombiex

    zoooombiex Member

    Messages:
    2,548
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    Columbus, OH

    Hope something in here helps. I can vividly recall that feeling of stepping on your favorite overdrive expecting to hear this searing wall of tone, and then instead disappearing from the mix into a haze of fuzziness...
     
  13. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

    Messages:
    972
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    Location:
    WA
    I play no pedals at all of any kind before the amp, and I just sold off all my pedal and power supply gear so now nothing in the loop either

    Pure tone, simple and effective
     
  14. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,255
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Location:
    New York/San Diego
    you need your friends to take you out, get you drunk, and introduce you to a nice and dirty fuzz pedal.
     
  15. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,909
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Broward

    ED ZACHARY!!!
    :D
     
  16. bosstone

    bosstone Member

    Messages:
    3,405
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Location:
    Oakland CA
    For what it is worth, I don't think it is the pedal's fault as much as the operator's. Most the time I see someone use a pedal, he has the thing cranked up tight. Speaking for myself, I find that many pedals sound great if they push the amp just a little bit, still noticeable but not pushing the amp into the next time zone. I tend to use them as an amp enhancer and not as sound effect. Most good amps don't really need much. That doesn't mean that I don't like a really nasty fuzz sometimes.
     
  17. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,909
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Broward

    Just you and the volume knob on the guitar, huh Nat? :):BEER
     
  18. NatDeroxL7

    NatDeroxL7 Member

    Messages:
    972
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2007
    Location:
    WA

    Yeah, it is addicting!! and I'm getting better and quick moving my hand down there and getting a good muscle memory for the sweet spots on the volume knob

    I used to not be able to do it while playing, but about 6 months ago I started trying it more often, get the practice down....and I've gone from a Bogner XTC with all its bells and whistles, and about 8 pedals of all sorts, to my current BadCat...got a GainStar on the way...hoping to get a hold of a Komet Constellation for the ultimate in hand-to-speaker vibe.
     
  19. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,386
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    I've been saying this for years, only to be sneered at by the general populace of this board and others.

    Thanks for getting it.
     
  20. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,909
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Broward
    bosstone, i just now saw this post. Thanks for writing this. I like it because it is not a knee-jerk "buy this other (expensive) pedal!" answer. A new pedal may be the answer, but I would like to explore the non-pedal solutions first :)

    How did it feel, your first gig with no effects to turn to?

    Lollerzes - that was funny re-a :roll

    Uncle Pat, can you (or anyone else) expand on this, from a technical pov?
     

Share This Page