Thinking about making the switch: Fender amp + pedal-based distortion

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by nrvana8775, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. nrvana8775

    nrvana8775 Member

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    I enjoy the distortion on my rivera, but the clean is a constant love/hate relationship. Too much bass, and that limits me to the bridge pickup, or else it gets out of control.

    I tried a fender twin out today, and it was awesome :phones. Everyone keeps telling me to go with the fender amp + distortion pedal route, but I have been and I am still reluctant to do it. I don't even know what kind of fender amp I would get (need a head), and the search for a good distortion pedal seems like it would be time consuming.

    I don't need 20 different distortion/overdrives, I just need a mid-gain pedal, and a mid-high gain pedal. I have a good BYOC 808 clone with some clipping options, and I think a toneczar openhaus would be best for the mid-high gain I need.

    For the guys who do the fender amp + distortion pedal, what kind of fender are you using? Do you have trouble finding the pedals to sound 'boxey' and not being open like a tube distortion?
     
  2. jlagrassa

    jlagrassa Supporting Member

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    Have you tried some different tubes to change the character of the clean?

    I went from Clean fenders + pedals back to a good amp ... a VHT Pittbull Super 30 in my case and have yet to find any dirt pedals that I care for anymore I also like plugging straight into the amp now vs going into a line of effect
     
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    I get some really great sounds using my Deluxe Reverb and a pedal from Radial Engineering called the Tonebone Trimode. It has true bypass and two channels, one for mid gain and another for lead. I haven't been able to get a better lead tone with any of my other equipment than I can get with this rig. I do add a little delay to the lead through the loop on the Trimode pedal.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    http://www.tonebone.com/tb-trimode.htm
     
  4. Rick1114

    Rick1114 Member

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    I had a DRRI for a while and (and now a vibro-champ) and the pedal search CAN drive you crazy. I'm not sure anything will sound exactly like an amp, but those radial boxes are a safe bet. I'd also be looking at the some of the new stuff like the Saturator or the Blackstar boxes. Just stay away from anything bright! Fenders go over thp vey easy with distotion boxes, and the the trick is finding something that still sounds natural.
     
  5. acoupland

    acoupland Member

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    Box of Rock works really well with a fender amp IMO
    It depends exactly what you're going for - pedals can't cover all grounds as well as amps, but for certain things I think a fender+pedal exceeds basic preamp distortion on a lot of amps. I like setups where you can still hear the fender clean on top of the distortion.
    This is the age of boutique pedal craziness - don't get lost in the haze but there's lots of good pedals out there now. A non-boutique one I like is the seymour duncan twin tube - and it has 2 channels so it covers low and higher gain. Otherwise, Box of Rock for low/mid gain and a good fuzz for high gain is my other choice.
    I have a modded bassman with superreverb 1 channel, jtm45 style the other. Using box of rock on the super reverb side gives extremely good results, you have more control over the bass as distortion rises. Its better for what I do, but at home I use jtm45 to get more powertube breakup sound and a bit more lowfi
    For tips on the amps -- depends on your budget. Showman is the ultimate bigbang clean, and a silverface with reverb showman can be had for a pretty good price. But lower wattage fenders will give you a different type of clean - bit more snappy. Again, different strokes for different folks - some people will just never feel comfortable using a pedal for gain no matter what it sounds like. I can understand that, there's just something nice about using gain from an amp. Also it can be annoying to feel like you're on a constant search for the perfect pedal - but at least you have something to do :)
    I had a sovtek mig50h which had good distortion and good clean, I never had to search for a sound. But using a fender + pedal gave a more open sound, and the clean is perfect for pedals. And now I'm never bored with all these pedals to try :D
     
  6. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I'm all for an amp change. Sometimes you just need to shake things up! But i'm kinda suprised you can't get a workable clean from the Rivera.

    The clean amp/pedal route has pro's and cons. The good..... you can get a mostly consitant gain structure at any volume. Yes, everything sounds better loud but your tone won't completly deteriorate at low volumes. You can add time based pedals after your dirt pedals and they sound great. Delays, reverbs chorus, can sound bad before amp dirt and some amp loops just plain suck. And of coarse, variety. You have hundreds of dirt tone options.

    The bad, You have hundreds of dirt tone options! No need for a gear hunt to get in the way of playing. Finding the right pedal can be very frustrating. Many make the claim of "amp like" dirt. And this might be my experience, but i've always lost money buying, trying and selling pedals. Cost is a factor.

    After trying many dirt boxes, I found an OCD to deliver where many pedals failed at the "amp like" thing. Not 100% but the closest I found without spending far too much on a pedal.

    But really, it depends on your application. If I were in a gigging band again, my single channel JCM 800 might be a bit limiting. I'd probably go the clean amp and boxes route. Recording is my thing now so I can take the time to get the tones I want from just an amp and maybe a boost. But it takes time. Live, you need to shift gears quick and decicively.

    I haven't played too many fenders but I did use and play an old Showman head that had fabulous cleans. That was a while back so take that for what it's worth.

    Personally, i'd spend some time trying to work the cleans on your current amp. Lots of things can result in crappy cleans. Pickups being one of the big ones.

    Happy tone hunting, Rob
     
  7. jzgtrguy

    jzgtrguy Member

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    I used to have a Rivera also a Quiana Studio 112. I felt the same way you do, love/hate/love/hate............

    Personally I don't think you have much to worry about. Get the clean sound your after whether that is a Twin, Deluxe, Vibrobverb etc. and then find a great pedal to go with it. With the Rivera I was using a Full Tone OCD vs1. Love the pedal. But there are a tone of them out there. I ended up ditching the Quiana and getting an Axe-FX now I don't use any pedals at all.
     
  8. MBreinin

    MBreinin Supporting Member

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    I third the Radial pedals. They are the most "amp" sounding pedals I have tried into a clean amp. Of course, I prefer an amps own distortion, but I have a Tonebone Classic and it sounds great.

    Mike
     
  9. GenoBluzGtr

    GenoBluzGtr Supporting Member

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    Twins are great if the BF clean is your thing, but don't rule out a great Tweed either. The Bassman or the Tweed Twin can really throw the mojo on some excellent clean tones and they take pedals extremely well... the voicing may be less of a departure for you as well, easing the transition.

    I personally use a TIM for low gain and a Zen for mid gain. I run the Zen in the TIMs loop, so I can activate either level of OD with one stomp. As a bonus, the TIM also has a built-in boost circuit for solos.
     
  10. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I had the same problem you had for my tone a while ago. I now have a Barber DD SS and TS9 on my board, and that's all I need for OD. The TS9 gives me that petty/cougar OD that isn't over the top...and the Barber gives me the more Marshall tone. There are a few songs when I use them both...and it's a monster combination.
     
  11. GTRJohnny

    GTRJohnny Member

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    First, you have to find out what you mean when you say "Fender", because it means a lot of different tones to a lot of people. Different years and models have a much different EQ, and each sounds good (IMO) with different drives.

    You can take one drive and match it up with a Tweed, and it might sound really hollow with a Blackface. The key is to find out what base-tone you like (which amp sounds best to you with nothing added), and build from there.

    Riveras are more in the hotrodded Blackface camp. If you like Tweeds, you can use your BarbEQ to get more of a Blackface tone and cover a lot of ground. I use an OCD with my Tweed to avoid the "boxey" sound, but don't like it as much with Blackface amps. You will really have to try them all and decide. Every combination is different and there is no universal solution. Good luck...
     
  12. nrvana8775

    nrvana8775 Member

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    I can get an alright clean with the Rivera, but it requires using an ltd as a dynamics pedal, and a diamond compressor as a limiter. The bass it waaaaay too boomy and present, and the eq is very sensitive. The Knucklehead 100 seems to have a very lifeless and compressed feeling to it in both channels. I know you guys will say 'mess with the eq, they are sensitive', I've had the amp for about 6 years now, and I've gone through a bunch of tubes, different eq pedals (including the BarbEQ), and nothing seems to remove the tonal characteristics that I don't like.

    I played the twin yesterday, and it felt a lot more 'organic' and had more snapback/quicker response than the Rivera. Every position of my pickup selector sounded aweeesome, and I was really upset to come home and feel like the pickups sounded like crap.

    What fender? I need something with reverb, although I have a solemate that I could use. I really liked the sound of the twin, and could probably do a showman or bassman.
     
  13. peterdjp

    peterdjp Member

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    How about going with a Fuchs or Two rock ? I had always used Fender + pedals and went on the hunt for a great 2 ch. amp.It was always a compromise on the Fender/Marshall voiced amps. I ended up with a Fuchs TDS. Has a dedicated clean that is fantastic, works great with pedals. A rythm crunch channel that's good for pushed Strat tones or rythm humbucker stuff, then a smokin lead channel. Between the three channels you can really dial in most tones. I love the complex blooming notes on the lead channel but somtimes nothing sounds like a TS into a fender amp so... pedal on clean channel. I used to have a Rivera and well, you can do better. The clean on the Fuchs / two rock D style amps is really nice, better than than my Fenders actually.
     
  14. nrvana8775

    nrvana8775 Member

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    I don't have the cash for a fuchs/two-rock, and I don't think that's quite the tone I'm going for.

    I play indie/math-rock/ambient and I like a tight/mid-high/little bit of grit type distortion. The cleans on fenders absolutely work for me, but I need the distortion as well.
     
  15. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    It seems like cutting some bass with your existing amp would be pretty easy to do. How about an eq in the loop? Even simpler and cheaper would be to add a small coupling capacitor in the loop to cut bass.
     
  16. acoupland

    acoupland Member

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    The only old fender heads with reverb are going to be silverface - showman (twin in head form) is one, and can be had for a relatively good price as mentioned above. I think silverface bandmaster head can also be with reverb - I don't think bassman. Otherwise you'd need to go for a combo for reverb being included. Blackface combos obviously can go for a lot of cash. Silverface gets a bum rap but for cleans they can do it very well, they just don't distort quite as nice as blackface -- but for a twin this isn't the purpose. Their cleans aren't as pristine as blackface maybe, but certainly good value for money. You can always get one blackfaced by a tech. Early silverface showman + bandmaster are basically blackfaces in a silver body. Bassman was first amp to ever become 'silverface' even with a blackface body. Its a complicated history - lots of threads about it :) Early silverface bassman can be had for cheap and are a really good mod candidate - you could have 1 clean channel and 1 crunch with certain mods. I can put you in contact with a tech who does a modded bassman for a non-inflated price

    Math rock and indie is what I mainly play - I'd highly recommend this route then. If you want a quick and cheap pedal try a RAT.
     
  17. Flameout12

    Flameout12 Member

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    I have an R-55...seems I can cut the bass just with the knobs.

    What kind of pre-amp tubes you running? You may need some new tubes to brighten things up a little.

    And don't know if you've tried, but an Xotic RC Booster can help you trim the bass in any channel if you want. Plus the RC Booster can be used to add some interesting spark to your tone...almost like another channel.

    MusicToyz will let you try one and return if you don't like.
     
  18. nrvana8775

    nrvana8775 Member

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    I've tried a number of different solutions for cutting out the bass in the Rivera, without a good parametric eq I don't think it's possible. Even with the bass on two, I'm booming with the bridge pickup. I keep all of my pickups at a fairly low distance from the strings, so it's not the issue. I've also owned the amp long enough to understand the sensitivity of the tone knobs, and there is just waaaay too much bass in this thing.

    I'm running JJ el34s, gt mullard ax7s in 1-3, and jj 12ax7s in 4-5. The amp is biased the way it should be.

    A tech-friend of mine has a dual showman that he restored and is selling for $500. I'm going to try it out tomorrow and see how I like it. He's the one that originally told me to go the fender/pedal route, and I've been very reluctant to do it. I'm going to hate the distortion pedal quest I have a feeling.
     
  19. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Member

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    I'm a long time Fender guy with a lot of Fenders in my stable.Here's various clips of different Fender amps with overdrive pedals running in front of them.

    '65 Blonde Twin Reverb:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6328544

    '66 Allen/Master Volume modded Bassman Head:(Running different OD's in front)

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6054215
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6044849
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6012247
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6022202
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=6011468
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5996190
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5992934
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5936461

    '73 Vibro Champ Piggyback amp:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5956330

    '72 Deluxe Reverb amp:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5798140
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=4993409

    '73 Vibro Champ combo:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=4866873

    '65 Blonde Deluxe Reverb:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5071695

    '66 Princeton Reverb

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5114837
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=5114865

    '70 Modded Princeton Reverb:

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=633883&songID=4802380
     
  20. Flameout12

    Flameout12 Member

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    Since you're intent on doing this...then it's your decision...but
    -having the pickups too low from the strings might be part of the problem...you need to set them the right height
    -JJ 12AX7s are not good tubes for Rivera...I know...either TungSol or Chinese..these will help...
    - the RC Booster has bass/treble knobs on it...I have used this with my R-55...you can trim the bass with this pedal...you don't need an EQ...this is a better device
     

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