My rig sounds really bad and I don’t know why.

gilmourjunkie

Member
Messages
72
Man, been there and done that. Your signal is probably super weak after going through that many effects. Remove everything except maybe 1 or 2 pedals and see what you think. If it’s still not to your liking, it’s your amp. I fought with this 15 years ago, same thing, 900 effect pedal trying to “fix” my sound. Sold them all, bought a Soldano Hot Rod 50+ and never looked back. Everything I was searching for and trying to fix with pedals was there in that first chord strum and it stopped me using pedals to fix my sound. Instead I used 1 or 2 of them to ENHANCE what was already there. Hope that helps and good luck.
 

Cliffclaven

Active Member
Messages
48
FWIW what does your song list look like? That's a big factor too.
Cant You See
Stone in Love
Jane - Jefferson Starship
Don't Stop Believing
Superstitious - Stevie Wonder
I Wish - Stevie Wonder
Right Place, Wrong Time
Highway to Hell
Whole Lotta Rosie
Still Got The Blues
Funk 49
Midnight in Harlem
Black Velvet
Proud Mary
Born on a Bayou
Barracuda
Alone - Heart
You're Love - Outfield
Stop Dragging My Heart Around
Chain of Fools
Stormy Monday
867-5309/Jenny
Killing Me Softy

As you can see, I need good Rock tones but I also need decent cleans for Funk stuff and Ballads.
One of my bands does a lot of these, more 70s/80s, right now I’m running a rack jmp1 with a Valvestate 40/40. Quadraverb in loop for delay/reverb. I use a pod x3live for random FX, tuner, wah and volume pedal, and as a midi switcher. Into a 112 Marshall cab. Whole rig weighs maybe 40lb and can get pretty much any tone from super clean to death metal dirt. But..

I’m seriously considering going boss katana 100w 112. With their foot pedal and a wah. You’d have all the FX you need and eight presets.
 

Lopp

Member
Messages
161
Again, it’s the leads that sound most atrocious. No sustain and just real rough with no smooth overtones. I feel like I’m fighting my guitar when I go for a lead instead of feeling inspired to wail.
I've been in that situation and it stinks. Here are ways it can be solved:

1. Too many effects and gain pedals turned on for your leads. All those excess sounds are masking your tone. The ear typically hears the most dominant sound at a given frequency and everything else gets covered up. Whatever frequencies are getting boosted by your effects and eq are likely getting covered up by other instruments in your band and you are left hearing just the atrocious rough tone.

Like others have mentioned, all those pedals are adding to the sounds that are masking your tone.

For example, take a look at your song list. The lead guitars on most of those songs were recorded with minimal effects, which allowed the guitar to cut through.

2. The lead guitars were also recorded using a tube amp. Others have mentioned getting a tube amp, you responded that tube amps are too heavy, and I'll agree that the transformers needed for tubes are indeed heavy. Have you considered their suggestions of the more micro-heads, which are easier to carry? Although, it is easy for others to spend your money and suggest going and spending more money to fix your issue.

Aside from getting a tube amp, here are some other thoughts:

3. What other instruments are in your band? I can't remember if you mentioned another guitarist or keyboard, but it seems like you would at least have a keyboardist for some of your songs. Another guitar or keyboard is going to compete with you for the frequency ranges that you need to cut through. You will need to: 1. increase your volume for your solos; 2. have them decrease their volume for your solos; and/or 3. at least boost the pleasing frequencies for your solos.

4. Where is your amp during rehearsals? Is it pointed at your feet or at your head? Raise it up to about chest level. Not only will that let you hear your tone better, it will also allow your guitar strings to resonate with the tone and increase your sustain.

5. How do you dial in your tones? If you dial them in at bedroom level, the levels will sound quite different at rehearsal (not to mention you are now competing for the frequencies of other instruments mentioned above). At louder levels, the cleans will cut through better and the leads will seem quieter. Again, you'll need to boost the volume level of your lead tone. (Believe me, we once had a rehearsal at a low volume level and I adjusted my levels and neglected to re-adjust them for gig levels... I then ended up fighting my tone a whole set at a gig because I was using a modeler and couldn't easily re-adjust the levels and the cleans were way too loud). Make sure your tones are dialed in for rehearsal levels, not bedroom levels.

Hope that helps.
 

Victor R

Formerly wstsidela
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
9,775
Cant You See
Stone in Love
Jane - Jefferson Starship
Don't Stop Believing
Superstitious - Stevie Wonder
I Wish - Stevie Wonder
Right Place, Wrong Time
Highway to Hell
Whole Lotta Rosie
Still Got The Blues
Funk 49
Midnight in Harlem
Black Velvet
Proud Mary
Born on a Bayou
Barracuda
Alone - Heart
You're Love - Outfield
Stop Dragging My Heart Around
Chain of Fools
Stormy Monday
867-5309/Jenny
Killing Me Softy

As you can see, I need good Rock tones but I also need decent cleans for Funk stuff and Ballads.
I see. I would get a Vox AC15 or clone amp. FWIW Mike Campbell uses a tiny Fender Princeton. Also, try a different guitar. See if it makes a difference. I own about 25 guitars, including a HSS. I struggle with the HHS. It doesn't sound thick & meaty like my LP.
 

Jamesrohr1

Member
Messages
63
I've been in that situation and it stinks. Here are ways it can be solved:

1. Too many effects and gain pedals turned on for your leads. All those excess sounds are masking your tone. The ear typically hears the most dominant sound at a given frequency and everything else gets covered up. Whatever frequencies are getting boosted by your effects and eq are likely getting covered up by other instruments in your band and you are left hearing just the atrocious rough tone.

Like others have mentioned, all those pedals are adding to the sounds that are masking your tone.

For example, take a look at your song list. The lead guitars on most of those songs were recorded with minimal effects, which allowed the guitar to cut through.

2. The lead guitars were also recorded using a tube amp. Others have mentioned getting a tube amp, you responded that tube amps are too heavy, and I'll agree that the transformers needed for tubes are indeed heavy. Have you considered their suggestions of the more micro-heads, which are easier to carry? Although, it is easy for others to spend your money and suggest going and spending more money to fix your issue.

Aside from getting a tube amp, here are some other thoughts:

3. What other instruments are in your band? I can't remember if you mentioned another guitarist or keyboard, but it seems like you would at least have a keyboardist for some of your songs. Another guitar or keyboard is going to compete with you for the frequency ranges that you need to cut through. You will need to: 1. increase your volume for your solos; 2. have them decrease their volume for your solos; and/or 3. at least boost the pleasing frequencies for your solos.

4. Where is your amp during rehearsals? Is it pointed at your feet or at your head? Raise it up to about chest level. Not only will that let you hear your tone better, it will also allow your guitar strings to resonate with the tone and increase your sustain.

5. How do you dial in your tones? If you dial them in at bedroom level, the levels will sound quite different at rehearsal (not to mention you are now competing for the frequencies of other instruments mentioned above). At louder levels, the cleans will cut through better and the leads will seem quieter. Again, you'll need to boost the volume level of your lead tone. (Believe me, we once had a rehearsal at a low volume level and I adjusted my levels and neglected to re-adjust them for gig levels... I then ended up fighting my tone a whole set at a gig because I was using a modeler and couldn't easily re-adjust the levels and the cleans were way too loud). Make sure your tones are dialed in for rehearsal levels, not bedroom levels.

Hope that helps.
I been using the MXR Il Torino exclusively as a clean boost for leads, with the volume up and gain down. It’s the only time it’s on.

Band has keys and/or acoustic or electric rhythm guitar.

Cab is on a keyboard stand at about shoulder level behind me.

Tones are dialed in at rehearsal with the band between songs. We haven’t yet , and may never, gig.

Not sure where to begin with a micro head. But I’d have to sell stuff to afford it or risk being in the doghouse with the Missus.
 

Jamesrohr1

Member
Messages
63
I see. I would get a Vox AC15 or clone amp. FWIW Mike Campbell uses a tiny Fender Princeton. Also, try a different guitar. See if it makes a difference. I own about 25 guitars, including a HSS. I struggle with the HHS. It doesn't sound thick & meaty like my LP.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve tried several guitars including a PRS, Charvel, and Am. Deluxe Tele. Not much improvement with any of them really.
 

billyguitar

Member
Messages
5,326
Start again with no pedals. I've heard pretty good things about the quilter . But I guess you're keeping it clean and getting drive from your pedals and compressor. I used to use an Evans steel guitar amp and an od and a compressor. I could get pretty good tones with it. Compressor first into the od is how I used it. Best for thick lead tones.
 

jaxjaxon

Member
Messages
395
Do you know how to set pedals up in parallel not series. You can have your dirt pedals seperate from your ambient ones so the one dosen't mix with the other before hitting the amp. Another thing to look at is the way you set up your dirt pedals, Dynamic/touch sensitive pedal go first then soft clipping into hard clipping distortion. I have a source audio king maker fuzz and with it you can setup different pedal types and stack them how you want. Set it up to do 3 different presets. It use's an app to change all the parameters and pedal types even has a noise gate if you want it on.
 

COYS

Member
Messages
5,758
Not saying you are doing this, but using fuzz or compressors improperly are good ways to make everything sound meh. Quilters sound great, but not every TGP-approved fuzz or drive plays nice with every amp

I agree with others, simplify it all and work backward.
 

strumminsix

Member
Messages
4,111
Imma approach this from a different angle. And start with the basics and pitfalls I've seen many of us fall into:
1) when you set your tone is it tonal spectrum like a cutting electric or broad acoustic?
2) turn down the gain, most of what you hear from others is less gain than what you think you need.
3) your amp is fine, spend the next month going amp to guitar only. get good tone with your guitar volumes and tones cranked. then learn how to rolled off 75%, set your amp with them rolled off, and then finesse those knobs. then add back some effects.

Good luck. My worse problems is I spend so much time on acoustic that I sometimes forget what an electric should sound like :)
 

tubedude

Member
Messages
414
Great guitar into a great sounding tube amp. I like low wattage vox amps a strat or Les Paul will get you there. A good sounding foundation is a must.
Add a klone clone
Tube screamer
One modulation pedal, I like a phase 90
Analog delay, I like an Ibanez
Simple crybaby wha pedal
That's really all you need for classic rock
 

Lopp

Member
Messages
161
I been using the MXR Il Torino exclusively as a clean boost for leads, with the volume up and gain down. It’s the only time it’s on.

Band has keys and/or acoustic or electric rhythm guitar.

Cab is on a keyboard stand at about shoulder level behind me.

Tones are dialed in at rehearsal with the band between songs. We haven’t yet , and may never, gig.

Not sure where to begin with a micro head. But I’d have to sell stuff to afford it or risk being in the doghouse with the Missus.
Glad you have your cab up pointed more at your ears than your feet. Also, good to know you are dialing things in at rehearsal. Those fixes are a good start, but unfortunately you have already taken that action and it doesn't solve our problem.

That makes sense that there is another keyboard/guitar. It is likely a big source of your problem because it fights with your tone for sonic space. One possible simple solution is to make sure the amp for the other instrument isn't pointed at your head. Fixing that would reduce it competing with your amp, at least for you, and allow you to hear your leads better.

Now that we know there is another guitar/keyboard, here is a HUGE solution that hasn't been mentioned enough:

Boost... your... mids.

These are the frequencies that cut through for solos and you said your solos are the big problem. Also, those frequencies are left open for you because the singer was previously using them. Check your drive pedals, see if you are boosting the highs, boosting the lows, and/or cutting the mids. If they are, the mid frequencies might be hard to recover if you are using any of those pedals for your leads. Sure, it might sound good while dialing your tone in without the band, but the bassist is the instrument that makes the guitars sound huge when mixed in with the rest of the band. You need more mid tones for your leads. Stop using the pedals with scooped eq settings when you solo.

Your MXR Il Torino had treble, mid, and bass controls. Boost the mid knob past 2:00 and reduce the treble and bass knobs below 11:00. You will be pleasantly surprised how good your leads sound with boosted mids when playing with your band if that is the culprit.
 

Emigre

Member
Messages
3,909
MXR Dyna Comp Mini > Keeley Rotosonic > Lovepedal Zendrive Gold > DOD Gunslinger > Keeley Fuzz Head > MXR Il Torino Overdrive > EQD Dispatch Master > Korg Pitch Black Tuner > Quilter Pro Block 200 > Laney GS112V Cab with Celestion V-type speaker.

The Dyna-Comp, Zendrive, and Dispatch Master are almost always on.
I'm twisting all the knobs between every tune at practice. Can't seem to settle on anything worthwhile.
Not surprising. Every time you add another knob, you both increase the possibilities and decrease the impact of any one knob.

With 3 (!) always on pedals in the mix youre just getting soup at the other end.

Hence the suggestions to simplify.

There are no silver bullets mate... if your rig sounds like this it’s time to rip it up and go back to the drawing board. I get it that you love your painstakingly crafted pedalboard, but it’s clearly not doing anything for you.

6 pages in.. have you started to experiment with less? It’s time to get down and dirty on that board :)
 

Voodoo Soul Blues

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,163
A lot of good suggestions on here.......
I also understand the weight issue...........
The Vox ac15 is a good suggestion........
Another good choice would be the new 20 watt Marshall Jubilee head....it sounds great, it’s relatively light and can cover a lot of ground.......add a 112 cab with a neo Creamback and you would have a great rig that’s not too hard on the back......
The dsl40cr would be another great choice although it only comes in a combo.......also the dsl20 although I haven’t used that one.
I agree with what others have said....too many pedals/solid state amp.
 

RickV

Member
Messages
582
Only made it through the first 3 pages, so forgive me if I repeat anything that’s already been said.
1. Check your pickup heights. If they are on the high side, try to lower them substantially. This will help in your clean and overdriven tones.
2. Put the tuner at the beginning of the chain.
3. Set your amp for optimum clean setting.
4. Pick out one or two drive pedals (less can be more). If you go with two, set the first one for a little hair to light OD, more like a boost pedal hitting the front end of the amp. Set the second one up for some heavy OD for leads. Sell the rest of your pedals.
5. If you go with only one pedal (like I do), find a nice OD setting for solos with a bit of volume punch when your guitar is wide open. Learn how to use your volume and tone controls to adjust the OD output on the fly. Works great, once you find your sweet spots.
6. Don’t know much about your amp, but everything I’ve ever read has been positive. I’ve played through tube amps since 1967, so I understand the whole tube vs. SS thing. There’s plenty of SS amps out there these days that do a fine job. Some can replicate the whole tube amp vibe to the point most couldn’t tell the difference in a blindfold test.
 

Hawkmoon269

Irrational BOSS Fanatic
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,790
A lot of good suggestions here, and I agree with the sentiment that the easy solution is to go get a sweet tube amp, but that doesn't sound like that's an option for you right now.

I'm not trying to be insulting, but maybe you're not dialing things in correctly in the context of a band mix? It sounds like you're reasonably happy with your tone when you're practicing but when you're with the full band then it sounds like doggy doo.

Most of the time, to make yourself sit well in the mix as a guitar player you have to really push the midrange. It can sound pinched and nasally when you're by yourself, but this will help you "cut." Also rolling off bass frequencies helps to focus the amp's energies towards the frequencies that you want, and not those that will muddy up things for the bass player.

I agree with ditching the compressor. You might also consider dropping the dispatch master entirely for awhile, since reverb and delay just push you back into the mix. I would suggest that you work with just two pedals for awhile: a base mostly-always-on "crunch" pedal, because the quilter doesn't have any overdrive, and then a pedal to add to that for lead tones that adds volume and focuses the midrange even moreso.

I've gigged with solid state amps doing the above. There's a way to do it, but it takes a lot more effort to make it sound good versus a tube amp.
 

The Captain

Member
Messages
12,598
I’ve got the Mimj Jubilee combo, and would recommend either the Classic (JCM800) or the Vintage (Plexi) instead.


A lot of good suggestions on here.......
I also understand the weight issue...........
The Vox ac15 is a good suggestion........
Another good choice would be the new 20 watt Marshall Jubilee head....it sounds great, it’s relatively light and can cover a lot of ground.......add a 112 cab with a neo Creamback and you would have a great rig that’s not too hard on the back......
The dsl40cr would be another great choice although it only comes in a combo.......also the dsl20 although I haven’t used that one.
I agree with what others have said....too many pedals/solid state amp.
 




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