So How do I get the sound that's in my head??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by iivv145, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. iivv145

    iivv145 Member

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    I've been a fender player for all of my guitar playing life. I live for those sparkling cleans tones, thats the most important thing to me about an amp. BUT my DRRI is slacking a little as of late, I have to repair the amp, and I've been sick of gain pedals. I finally noticed that theres no pedal that will beat out a amp gain.

    So, All these things are leading me into, what's my perfect amp? I've only played a Marshall a handful of times and never owned one and the same thing goes about Vox. I know there are other things besides Fenders out there, and there is even more Fender styles I haven't tried like tweed and brown face styles.

    How do I go about getting everything I want in one or two amps? For you guys that are somewhat satisfied with your tone, what quest did you go on? Did you emulate some rigs that you admire, or was it complete coincidence?
    I just would like a workflow of how to go about knowing what I like?
     
  2. gainfreak

    gainfreak Member

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    I think the quickest way to success in anything is to follow someone who is already successful in what you want to do. In other words, Id find an artist or artists who already has a tone or tones that you desire and then find out what they are using and then go from there. That has worked for me every time.
    Starting from scratch will take MUCH longer, so modeling someone who has already achieved what you want will make the journey much shorter.

    Hope this helps!

    ~R~
     
  3. guitarblue cat

    guitarblue cat Member

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    There is simply no "swiss army knife" amp out there for every application and sonic solution. Like many here, my amp quest has been a long quest and I have "settled" on Carr, Bogner, Soldano and Dr.Z to provide the range of tones I need. If you like Fender tones, why not try their SuperSonic head or combo to see if the OD tones, coupled with the cleans, are closer to what you want? I found that amp, especially the SuperSonic100 with reverb to be an exceptional amp.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  4. vain_guitarist

    vain_guitarist Member

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    iivv, You've got the bug. Nice to add another member to family. Gainfreak certainly pointed you toward the quickest path. I have found it most satisfying to research and understand everything I could about the signal chain and what it takes to get to the end goal I'm after.

    We could give you a more focussed or thorough response once we know what your goals are. For example, you might need versatile tone to play 90s rock hits twice a month at a local club, or you might be simply jamming with friends in the basement/garage once a month, or gearing up for a trip into the recording studio and you want to make the record of your life... and so on.
     
  5. iivv145

    iivv145 Member

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    Thanks a lot. Anyone else want to share their journey, or give some advice?
     
  6. iivv145

    iivv145 Member

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    @ guitarblue cat, I really like the supersonic series ( haven't tried the 100 and probably won't cause 100 watts is too large for me and most people.) but in a couple of models I noticed weird noise issue either with reverb or otherwise. If I could get a quiet one, i'd be glad to get one.

    @vain_guitarist Thank for replying again. I do have a new bug, after finally realizing pedals aren't going to make my guitar and amps sound better. My focus now, is to be able to play a show with one amp (or two) and my guitar and be happy. I'm a student and play jazz in school but besides that I love everything, I've been in gospel bands (not praise and worship which I want to try) to post hardcore stuff. As of late I've been into more grown up things (which means no more metal or hardcore). I wanna to be able to have crispy cleans and good huge creamy distortion in a small club to medium club. I will never need 100 watts for what I'm doing. I want to be able to do Cream Clapton, to clean John Mayer stuff. I want a really fat tone, no brittle sounds hear, but I want reasonable volumes.
     
  7. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

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    I ended up selling my vintage Fender amps, and replacing them with modern Kustom tube amps. I guess it came down to being able to dial in a tweed sound, with more clean headroom. They can also cover blackface and Marshall sounds. But, it was the tweed sound that I wanted, without the early breakup.
     
  8. imguitardan

    imguitardan Member

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    Try a Tweed Bassman (and/or a Honey Bee). You'll change your tune.
     
  9. Soul Man

    Soul Man Local 83 Supporting Member

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    If you find out, let us know.
     
  10. aflynt

    aflynt Member

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    Don't dismiss the larger amps just because they have more power than you need. You may find they actually provide a bigger sound at a wider range of volumes than the smaller amps. That's certainly been my experience.

    As for how to approach finding a rig that allows you to produce the sound in your head, well... Are you really sure you want to go down that road? It's littered with thousands of not-lush-enough tubes, too-fizzy pedals, wrong-dcr-pickups, hollow-toned-speakers, and amps that were too... loud, or cold, or hot, or quiet, or dark, or bright, or ratty, or farty, or heavy, or thin, or thick, or ugly, or pretty, or unreliable, or... Well, you get the picture. My first advice would be to widen your expectations a bit and learn to get a workable sound out of anything. If you're like so many of us and that's just not good enough, then my advice would be this: Learn everything you can about how every element in the signal chain affects your sound and let that knowledge and your ears guide you as you piece together your rig. If you're serious, learn about circuits and soldering and woodworking and luthiery and the physics of sound. Even if you fail, at least you'll have learned a lot. Just don't wind up one of those people with nothing left but broken dreams and an empty wallet.

    -Aaron
     
  11. dnauhei

    dnauhei Member

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    For me the answer was an Egnator Tweaker. Give it a try!
     
  12. sants

    sants Supporting Member

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    I have a DRRI and I love it. I picked up an ac15c1 and I think if I decide to keep it, it will be my new favorite amp. It has a more clear and hifi sound to my ear and a sweet clean. The DRRI is a little more thick on the bottom end and the notes are more rolled off than the vox. My DRRI works great but I play in a 5 piece with another guitar player that plays a DRRI and is getting a PRRI. I was trying to mix the flavors a little and have a more dynamic sound as a band.

    I have played marshalls in the past and liked some and thought some sounded a little sterile. You can can get some nice gain in both the marshall and vox camp without pedals. I still use pedals in front of the vox. The only way the vox goes back is if I can't tell a difference in a band setting. If I get rid of it, I will get a PRRI just for portability sake.

    As a fender guy, I realized that a different flavor amp can be a great experience

    I have 3 gigs this week so the ac15 will be put to the test. It is hard to put the fender shelf though!
     
  13. michael patrick

    michael patrick Supporting Member

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    I'd also suggest this method of narrowing your search down.

    I was always a Hendrix freak, but for some reason in the early years of my playing career I seemed to always play Fender amps. But then I started doing a Hendrix tribute thing, and the only way to nail the tones close enough for that kind of a gig was to buy a Marshall. From that I discovered that even the non-Hendrixian tones in my head are best achieved with a Marshall. And I've been primarily a Marshall guy ever since....
     
  14. ripoffriffs

    ripoffriffs Supporting Member

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    You can always get an Axe-Fx and all the parts it requires. Then tweak it to death to capture that sound in your head.

    Of course, you'll never really be playing guitar, just tweaking, but be careful what you wish for.
     
  15. iivv145

    iivv145 Member

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    Soul Man, I don't know if I'll ever find out... lol.

    @ aflynt, I definitely know what you are saying. That sounds like a good idea, learning what makes the sound, then knowing how to go about it.

    @ dnauhei, I've tried one briefly, and thought about buying one for practice and small rehearsals.
     
  16. pgissi

    pgissi Member

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    So How do I get the sound that's in my head??

    you could try this :bonk

    or you could try this :bkw


    maybe a little of this :bong

    in the end its a lot of :jo and this :idea hopefully

    until you get to :rockin


    lemme guess OP you want Fender Cleans and Marshall OD?


    1) you cant get everything you want but if you try sometimes, you get what you need

    2) my quest, stop trying to make a fender sound like a marshall and vice versa

    May I be so bold as to suggest you pair the DRRI with a Marshall Class 5, you would really dig that I think and will pretty much cover a wide range of rock and roll ground, clean to dirty, vintage to modern, fender to marshall, especially if you use a few pedals to goose each amp selectively when needed

    Fender is mid scooped with the exception of tweed and the mid scoop is why the cleans are glassy and spanky if you will and hence fender tweed cleans are not blackface cleans, you could say fender cleaned up their act in the 60's

    Marshall is all about the midrange OD, always has been and for better cleans you have to suck out mids which in the end sucks out what is the best in them and makes them Marshall

    The DRRI and the Marshall Class 5 are well paired together since the DRRI has 22 watts for more clean headroom where the Class 5 non master volume does not have a lot of clean headroom at its stated 5 watts (under rated) which makes it a great amp to turn way up and get OD before deafness sets in which in the end pairs well with the DRRI Clean Lean

    If you do the C5 please dont be shy with the volume or aggression when playing it, it beckons you to turn up the volume to at least 1 to 2:00 and go from cleanish to crunch with the guitar vol pot. Its a single ended class a design without a master volume and is not as easy to play as a master volume amp, you cant hide behind overdrive

    the 2 amps together are found on smaller stages with my band, me playing thru 2 class 5's run in tandem and my buddy using his 66 deluxe, we cover more ground between the 2 of us and occupy different areas of the tonal spectrum, they mesh well together and he wishes he had my OD tones and I wish I had his clean tones

    now if I can fit it all in one box :idea
     
  17. SG_Seth

    SG_Seth Member

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    Don't make the mistake I made by dismissing mesa boogies as metal amps. I carried this incorrect assumption for years until I plugged in a Mark V.

    Pretty much a Swiss army knife...especially for sparkling or chimey cleans.
    It does fender and vox tones incredibly well. The natural amp overdrive is also very pleasing. I unloaded over $2k in high end dirt pedals when I got mine. Paid for the amp!

    This is the only amp I've played that I can almost always sit down with and find the exact sound I have in my head at any given time.
     
  18. Timbre Wolf

    Timbre Wolf GoldMember Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    There are several ways to answer this question...

    First, try out every kind of amp you can get your hands on. I recommend you read Dave Hunter's excellent Guitar Amp Handbook, and then try examples of different kinds of amp circuits he distinguishes in that book. This is a long process, but there really is no substitute for first-hand experiences, so this is my first recommendation.

    I'm talking about amps with cathode-biased push-pull power sections (Vox AC30 or AC15, '50s Fender Tweed styles), your fixed-bias push-pull power (BF/SF Fender), single-ended power (Fender Champ, Vox AC4TV, Victoria Regal), different phase-inverter styles (split load or cathodyne: late-'50s Fender Bandmaster or Pro, '60s Princeton Reverb, paraphase: earliest Fender tweeds, or long-tail pair: such as your BF Fenders, Fender '59 tweed Bassman/5F6-A). Also compare different tube types, with typical examples of each (classics: BF Fender 6L6GC and 6V6 power, tweed Fender 5881, Vox EL84, Marshall EL34, etc.). And, of course, there are different preamp designs to consider (tweed Fender, BF Fender, Marshall, Vox, Hiwatt, Ampeg, etc.).

    Second, from my personal experience - if you're smitten with BF/SF Fender cleans, like I am, you may just find yourself returning to that standard. I hear you about the dissatisfaction of pedal overdrive/distortion, but encourage you to try out true high-voltage tube pre-amp style pedals such as Kingsley's Jester, Juggler, etc., Siegmund's MicroTube, Effectrode's Tube Drive... In my experience, they'll be more satisfying than other non-tube pedals (or tube pedals with insufficient voltage).

    Lastly, on a philosophical level, let me share my own understanding regarding the sound that's in my head. I draw on this internal sense for inspiration, and have tried and tried to seek means of manifesting it in the shared world. Mostly, I've failed to do so, but still use the inspiration to lead me onward in the process of seeking. I relate to the sound in my head as if it is an asymptote, and understand that, though I can't ultimately touch that ideal, I can get darned close:

    [​IMG]

    In trying to manifest my internal sense of ideal guitar sounds, I've sometimes been surprised and delighted at the kinds of sounds I've come up with that were not what I'd anticipated. I urge you to be watchful for happy accidents as you fail to reach your ideal sounds - that is one key to success.

    It is a TGP truism that tone is "in the hands" I'd suggest that the real unique tonal character that each of us can bring to our playing is really in our minds - it is that impetus that drives us on. Don't lose sight of your ideal sounds, and keep trying...

    - Thom
     
  19. James M

    James M Supporting Member

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    :agree I've never had/used a Honey Bee, but a tweed Bassman clone is the ultimate platform IMO...great cleans, great with pedals, great breaking up when cranked.
     
  20. fiftynine

    fiftynine Member

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    You'll know the minute you plug in you've found the tone in your head. Finding the bloody amp that delivers it is the difficult bit.

    I agree with the previous comments. Who are yor top 5 players? Mine all use/used Fender or Gretsch guitars through Tweed or Blackface Fender amps so at least it was narrowed down a bit.
     

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