sweetening a super-clean amp

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by rorschah, Oct 20, 2005.


  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    In an ideal world, I'd have a blackface Twin Reverb and a blonde bassman.

    Instead, I'm broke, and I ended up with a silverface Pro Reverb, blackfaced, for a nice deal.

    It's very Twin in feel - super articulate, super sensitive. Notes sound very seperate. Perfect for p90 hollowbody stuff, and my Tele. Makes the strat sound kind of harsh and thin, though, and super clangy.

    Is there any sort of pedal that'll push it more towards the bassman/super range? Sweeter, richer, a little more giving? I'm thinking more of the responsiveness then the exact tone. A little more sag and give.

    For example: is this what a compressor does? (I've never used a compressor.) Or am I just on crack?

    Or is this just something that pedals don't do?

    Thanks.

    -thi
     
  2. Garygtr

    Garygtr Almost as good! Silver Supporting Member

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    The BJF Honey Bee will give you a bit of sag and squish and take off some of that hard edge, but if you're hurtin' for $$ it might not be workable.
     
  3. hipfan

    hipfan Member

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    Menatone Dirty Blonde might be the ticket for getting a little natural feeling, Fender-style "give" in that amp.

    Gary's right that a Honey Bee might work well too. I have one on my board, and it ain't going nowhere. :)
     
  4. bluesdoc

    bluesdoc Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Another option is to take an Xotic BB pedal and set the gain at 0 or very close to 0 and season with the pedal's eq and vol. It's not the 'purpose' of the pedal, but I've used it like that with other amps and gotten an incredible 'clean' boost. The clean can be dirtied with a touch of gain. The BB is a great pedal. I think the same can be said of a number of wonderful lead pedals (the Hermida pedals also come to mind) using very low gain settings.

    jon
     
  5. erksin

    erksin Member

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    Maybe a MI Audio Blues Pro? Pretty warm sounding pedal with some compression - only $89...
     
  6. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Are you playing the amp clean or pushed? With or without OD pedals? Does your strat have lower output pickups compared to the rest of your gtrs? A compressor reduces dynamic range and makes clean strumming or finger picking more even and can add sustain to single note solos.

    For more sag you could try a different rectifier tube. The 5u4 has the second least amount of sag. Consult an amp guru as to which ones to try. Another mod to try is having the bright switch converted to a mid boost. Its simple to do and easily reversible if you don't like it.
     
  7. pepeteus

    pepeteus Member

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    Try the Timmy. Use it in it's most compressed mode (that is just a little bit of compression) and add maybe just bit of gain and cut a little treble from the pedal. Timmy's bass and treble knobs are cut style. I've never played the Timmy through the amp like yours but I'm pretty sure it would work nicely. Although I guess it wouldn't take your amp to the tweed direction but it would sweeten it a bit and still retain the basic character of your amp.
     
  8. journo

    journo Member

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    Hi,

    I had the very same problem and solved it by using the sadly underrated Zoom PD-01 Power Booster. Works wonders for me. Primarily as a sweetener adding just a shade warmth with the bass control (set at one o'clock) and a bit of extra level (also set at one o'clock) to make my amp work a little bit more. The gain is set at zero. It does however do a very decent OD as well if you want that.

    Cheers,

    Mats N
     
  9. 58lespaulman

    58lespaulman Member

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    Durham Electronics Sex Drive.. I sweetens any clean amp, and it has the compression toggle, that can add sutle compression, or no compression at all.. I've tried a lot of pedals and this one and the Burriss Boostier has been my favorite.. But the Sexdrive is probably the best at sweetening...
     
  10. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    low gain od's

    Timmy
    Barber silver LTD
    Voodoolabs sparkledrive (blendable boost with TS circuit)

    "Fat" Boost pedals

    Fulltone fat boost
    Bad Bob Booster
    Tone factor HellBaby
    Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster (has a mid boost switch)
    Zoom PD-01 (boost/OD with treble and bass knobs)
    Xotic RC Booster (Boost with bass, treble and gain knobs.)
    Boss GE-7 EQ pedal
     
  11. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    +1 on an eq pedal, these babies are so underrated especially amongst self-professed tonewhores (not singling anyone out).


    If you get a boss GE-7, sniper it! http://tone-jam.com/homepage.htm
     
  12. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    So I was reading some old threads on "adding grit to a twin" and "making a twin sound like a tweed deluxe" and adding to the advice I got in this thread, there's a lot of stuff. I can't even tell if they're supposed to do the same thing. Categories of stuff mentioned:

    TWEED EMULATORS
    V-Stack Tweedy
    Menatone Dirty Blonde

    SWEETENERS
    BJF Honey Bee
    Durham Sex Drive

    LOW GAIN OD
    TIM
    Barber LTD
    low setting on MI Audio Blues Pro
    Nobels OD
    Gainster
    Ped

    CLEAN BOOST
    Klon

    FAT BOOST
    Fulltone Fat Boost
    Xotic RC Booster
    (others mentioned below)

    Are these all different flavors of the same thing? Or radically different? Which ones just add grit? Which ones change the touch-and-feel?

    I have a Fulltone FDII and it definitely doesn't squish it up any notches.

    Sadly Uneducated In Boost/Overdrive Subtleties
    -thi
     
  13. Dajbro

    Dajbro Member

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    I run a solid-state Pearce G2r set very clean. Two pedals that I keep on at almost all times are the Xotic RC Booster and Barber Tone Press compressor.

    The RC is my favorite pedal. The eq is voiced very nicely so that you can add or cut bass and treble to fine tune your sound. I usually keep the treble set at noon (flat I believe) and boost the bass up a bit to 2:00 or so. I set the gain anwhere from 9:00, for the cleanest material that I play up to 5:00 (full on) for more grit and grind if that is what the music calls for. I just love what the pedal does for my sound. It makes it sound fuller, richer, more alive.

    I use the Tone Press for relatively subtle compression. The blend feature is nice. I just use it to add a bit more sustain, even out the string response, and give my tone a touch of squish that I like sometimes. It sounds and feels good to play.

    Hope this helps.

    David
     
  14. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    I am not sure I understand your dilemma. Sag or "squish" only occurs when the amp is cranked to the point of saturation and is a function of the tube rectifier. If you are playing your amp spanky clean there should be no sag regardless of what gtr you are using unless one of them has higher output pickups which might overdrive the amp. I have no idea how to achieve sag with a totally clean amp. Do you even want a distorted tone?

    More mod suggestions:

    Swap tube rectifiers for something with more sag (go to the Weber amp forum for trustworthy recommendations).

    Mod the amp with a bias mode switch that selects from fixed bias (BF amps) or cathode bias (tweed amps). Cathode bias is has a softer treble, spongier feel and has less output than fixed. This is another fairly simple, easily reversed mod and both of these together would cost less than many of the pedal selections so far.
     
  15. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    Sag = a form of compression. What is happening is that the power supply cannot provide the current required to the rest of the amp, so the amp is limited during peaks/high power demands, which is sonically similar to compression. You bash a note real hard, and ideally, the amp would reproduce the sharp, high amplitude attack perfectly. The power supply cannot provide the power (electricity) required to do that, so the attack seems "squished" or say, half of what it should really be.

    For a good explanation of compression, go the "Effects Explained" section on Harmony Central:

    http://www.harmony-central.com/Effects/effects-explained.html

    How to get that with a Pro: really, all you have to do is crank up the amp. The Pro is pretty much identical to a Super except for the speakers. A Bassman is another thing entirely, but the Super "give" is in the amp already. Of course if excessive volume is a problem, you've opened up a whole other kettle of fish - if you like your cranked amp tone but can't stand the volume, perhaps an attenuator is your best bet.

    The "problem" you're going to find by asking these type of "what pedal do I need?" questions is that you're going to get two dozen answers, all of them helpful and correct for the person making the recommendation. What works for one person with their setup and style may not work for you. My best advice is to actually PLAY some of the stuff that's out there - take a personal day off work (if possible), go the best music store in your area and wank away for a weekday afternoon. Once you have a good idea of what some common stuff does for your tone (i.e. "hmm, I didn't like the BOSS SD-1 because it added too much grit, even with the DRIVE turned all the way down") you have a much more useful base for comparison.

    OK OK I'll make my obligatory pedal recommendation :) check out the BJF SBEQ. It's $289 so if you're broke fuggedaboudit, but check out what it does to a pristine, super clean Twin Reverb:

    www.effxd.com/sbeq.mp3

    Pump up the lows and cut back the highs a bit, up the gain and the Twin becomes grittier, punchier with more sustain.
     
  16. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    Thanks, guys.

    Interesting. Maybe what I'm hearing between the Pro I'm playing and the Supers I've played is wholly in the speakers then. They just feel *really* different, at every volume level.

    Say I'm talking about playing either at the lowest moment of cranked, where I can get out and out breakup with a really hard chord or plucked note, but it's got just an edge of grit. The Pro seems less... sweet, distinctly, than the super.

    Are their electronics really identical? Am I just hearing the difference between 2x12 and 4x10?

    So here's a different, and hopefully specific enough question for theelectic: is there something like a pedal that would make the Pro respond like a blonde Bassman set to a similar volume?

    -thi
     
  17. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    I forgot to mention, the Pro and Super are basically the same in a general sense - two amps can sound completely different, besides the speakers. Take two Pros even, put them side by side and they're bound to sound different. So it's not just the speaker complement, it's the type of speakers, the tubes (brand, type, even the actual rectifier tube itself), how the tubes are biased (hot/cold) etc. etc. If you are not getting at least SOME of a Super-ish cranked tone from your Pro, I would look to tweak the amp first. It may be as simple as swapping a rectifier tube or adjusting the bias.

    Besides that, I know there are certain pedals that are supposed to mimic blonde/tweed amps (certain Menatone pedals, Hao Rust Booster, of which there is one in the Emporium right now) but I've never tried either. I'm probably not the best person to ask since if I want a tweed sound, I'll try to play a tweed - I don't believe in trying to make something sound like something it's not. The BF tone is all about highs, lows, and a scooped midrange (that classic hollow clang you get with a Strat neck pickup).
     
  18. WailinGuy

    WailinGuy Member

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    A blackface Super Reverb and a blackface Pro Reverb have the identical power supply, preamp circuit, and output circuit. Here's how they differ:

    - The Super has a much beefier 50-watt style output transformer while the Pro has a smaller 30-watt output transformer. The smaller OT has less headroom, especially on the low notes.

    - (obvious) The Super has four ten inch speakers; the Pro has two twelve inch speakers.

    - The Super has a 2 ohm output impedance and speaker load; the Pro has a 4 ohm output impedance and speaker load.

    So I think the main reason the Super tends to sound "sweeter" is because of the ten inch speakers and the lower output impedance. The negative feedback circuits are identical, so the lower output impedance would translate into less negative feedback in the Super, giving a slightly saggier feel and earlier breakup, even though its OT is higher quality.
     
  19. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    Almost the entire Blackface Reverb amp line uses the identical AB763 circuit. The only exception is the princeton reverb. Of course Fender Leo era amps are also famous for using available components that were not always an exact match to what the schematic called for. Factor in aging/drifting component values and any 2 amps of the same type could sound different. For the sake of argument the only real difference in all the reverb models was:

    1. power tubes (6v6 or 6l6)
    2. speaker config and cabinet size
    3. Output transformer (largely contributes to low end response, distortion characteristics and output power)
    4. tube or solid state rectifier (the twin uses a SS all others are tube)
    5. Power and headroom (20 - 85 watts). The Vibrolux, Pro, and Super are all rated around 40 watts although the VL's smaller output tranny gives slightly less power.
     
  20. WailinGuy

    WailinGuy Member

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    Actually, there are a few differences among the various amp models, even though they have the same AB763 circuit number. For example:

    - Unlike the other models, the Super Reverb uses a .022 midrange cap in its tone stack instead of the typical .047 value. The .022 slightly raises the frequency where the mid-scoop occurs and gives more upper bass/lower midrange response.

    - Amps with an 8 ohm output (Deluxe Reverb and blackface Vibroverb) use a 47 ohm resistor in the negative feedback/phase inverter tail circuit instead of the usual 100 ohm resistor.

    - Power supply dropping resistor values are different among the various models. Deluxe Reverb and Vibrolux Reverb use a pair of 10K resistors, while the more powerful models use a 1K and a 4.7K, which result in significantly higher plate voltages on the preamp and phase inverter tubes.

    But, yes, by and large, all of the blackface reverb amps have virtually identical dircuits.

    Sorry about the amp geek stuff posted in the effects board!
     

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