To the Edge of Breakup?

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by vashondan, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

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    Couldn't decide which was the most appropriate thread for this question so.....I'm fairly new to tube amps and pedals and still trying to figure some things out. For example...how does one set up an amp to make it just at the edge of breakup? Case in point, I have a Carvin Nomad that is loud and seems to have what i understand to be a lot of headroom. I've had a few different OD pedals with The Dude being the current choice. I bought the dude mostly because I love the sounds of Larry Carlton and Robben Ford. That Dumble thing! I get that from the pedal but can't figure out how to move to getting that kind of gritty overdrive. If I turn up the volume/level on the pedal or on the amp or both all I get is loud. What am I missing or is it more easily achieved with different kind of amps?

    Thanks in advance for any insights.
     
  2. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    I havn't used that amp, so I'm just giving some possibilities.

    There are demos of the Carvin Nomad where they are getting drive with not much of a problem, so I don't know what problems you are having or the exact sound you are going for so it's hard to say much about it.

    The Carvin Nomad seems quite capable of going from clean to overdriven sounds and breakup is just when the amp is slightly overdriven.

    It might be an amp/speaker/guitar problem or a tube problem or just a dial in the sound problem.






     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  3. thesauce

    thesauce Member

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    I'm sorry but I just have to stop and applaud that gentleman in the video. Anyone with a hairstyle like that must have a wonderful sense of humor.
     
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  4. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    Yeah, it's sort of a Rockabilly Beehive thing.
     
  5. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

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    I think that the hairdo does a lot to break up those tubes. I know it broke me up when I saw it. Thanks for the vids. I'm not sure what's missing for me either. I don't use the dirty channel and I could see that he had the amp volume at around 1-2 which is loud for that amp. I've been using my Vela with the amp and the Dude with guitar volume at 10 and the amp like in the video at 1 or 2. I've played with both the level and gain switches on the pedal and with the gain all the way up it is very loud and there's the hint of break up but it doesn't get passed that into more gritty overdrive. Mind you I bought the pedal for the dumble sound but would like to be able to solve this riddle as I've had the same issue with every OD pedal I've used.

    Maybe it is the haircut!
     
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  6. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

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    I think there are different wattage Carvin Nomad amps with the EL84 based amp being lower in watts.

    If you have the 50 watt version then yes it is going to get loud very quickly as the volume knob is turned up.

    I have a Laney 50 watt tube amp and it seems just as loud (or close to it) as my Marshall Plexi 100 watt, so depending on the amp/speakers a 50 watt can get loud.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  7. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    Here's my advice:

    1. Find out room where you can crank the amp (e.g., a rehearsal space)

    2. Put in hearing protection

    3. Turn the clean channel volume to 10

    4. Plug in, and gradually bring up your guitar volume to where it's starting to break up. Experiment with picking lightly vs. firmly - in a touch sensitive amp, you can often go from clean to crunch just by picking softer/harder.

    5. Now leave your guitar volume on 10 and experiment with the amp's volume control to find the spot that gives the max amount of breakup you're looking for from the amp. Roll back guitar volume control and/or pick more softly to clean it up when desired.

    6. If it's too loud for your needs at that setting, perhaps it's the wrong amp - i.e., may need something smaller.

    7. Add the dirt pedal and experiment with it at the amp setting you found in step 5 above.

    That's how I'd approach it.
     
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  8. armadillo66

    armadillo66 Member

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    sometimes changing out preamp tubes from like a 12 ACX7 to a 12 AT or even like a Mullard vs a Sovtek vs JJ Tesla, can make a huge difference in tube saturation breakup. I like using a Seymour Duncan Clean Boost, crank that up, then back off the guitar volume, leave the amp at a reasonable volume
     
  9. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    No comment on the Hairdo playing guitar except about
    the middle YouTube Video - When people are putting
    out a 'Demo' of a guitar amp what compels them to
    put compression and other disguises in line?
     
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  10. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    My recipe for Ford/Dumble tone is simple. My G&L ASAT Special > Zendrive2 > Fender Supersonic 22 '68 Deluxe channel, done.

    Killer razor edge tone. The Zendrive2 is a great pedal, can cop SRV to Ford tone. Amazing.
     
  11. dewey decibel

    dewey decibel Supporting Member

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    Non master volume tube amps have a single volume control which you have to turn up (usually to around 4 to 6) to start to get some break up. This breakup comes from both the preamp and power amp sections. So master volumes were created to get breakup at lower levels. What you would do is lower the master volume and raise the channel volume. However, most of this breakup is going to come from the preamp, and is not going to sound the same as cranking a non master volume amp.

    Most OD pedals are setup the same, you have a sort of master volume and then a channel volume or gain. I just looked up the Dude pedal, and it seems to work a little differently and I'm not really clear on how it works. But what you're looking for is probably going to be with the "level" set low, and then messing around with the "ratio".
     
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  12. Dan40

    Dan40 Supporting Member

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    You didn't mention what pickups you were using. Vintage style single coils, like most Strat pickups, will not overdrive the amp as easily as say a humbucker would. A clean boost pedal will also help you too achieve overdrive if you are using lower output pickups. Like it was mentioned above, just keep turning up the amp's volume until you reach the sound you want. If the amp is too loud for you to use at that point, you will need to look into an attenuator or possibly a lower wattage amp. Even a 5 watt Champ is pretty darn loud though when pushed into distortion.
     
  13. Phletch

    Phletch Member

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    OK, I just did a little reading-up on the amp. It's a 50W dual channel affair. Ch. 1 is the "clean" channel with a single volume control; ch 2 is the "dirty" or OD channel and has separate volume and gain controls (gain is labelled "soak"). So, here's the deal. If you want the amp to break up on ch 1 with its single volume control, you're going to have to turn it up a bit to the point where the preamp section and power section are clipping; that's going to be fairly loud. You are probably better off using ch 2 and setting the "soak" and volume rather low and adjusting the soak control to where you're getting a slight amount of OD when you strike the strings fairly hard with guitar volume wide open, yet still clean or clean-ish when you strike them lightly and/or with the guitar volume rolled back from full wide open. With the separate volume and soak controls you should be able to get that at just about any volume; it's just a matter of fiddling around with the soak and volume controls on the amp to get the desired amount of OD at the desired overall sound level.

    However, you have a pedal that is voiced apparently to replicate a certain kind of amp, in this case, a Dumble type thing. That is what is known as a "foundation pedal", and generally those kinds of pedals tend to work best with a clean baseline tone from the amp so that the amp's overdrive doesn't color the sound you're supposed to achieve with the pedal. You can' use these kinds of pedals to push an already slightly overdriven amp into higher levels of OD, but there are other pedals specifically designed to do that better. I would thus try the pedal on ch.1 with the amp's volume set low. Then turn the pedal's gain ("ratio") down most of the way, and set the level to achieve "unity" with the amp - in other words the sound level doesn't change when you switch the pedal on and off. Then turn the ratio up to the desired OD, and if the sound level coming from the amp gets too loud turn the pedal's level control down to reestablish unity. Again, it's just a matter of fiddling like that until you get it right. Like all other things, practice makes perfect, and the more you do it the better you get.
    Just as a side note. I know language can be problematic when describing sounds or tone, but "gritty" is not a word I would necessarily use to describe Carlton or Ford's tone. When I think "gritty" something like Neil Young's tone comes to mind, basically the opposite of what I would be going for in replicating LC's or RF's tones. And as far as "the Dumble thing", while ODS series amps may have certain similar qualities there is no one, single Dumble tone since no two Dumble amps are exactly alike nor are the players who use them. Just something to keep in mind ;).
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
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  14. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys. I have a much better understanding of how the whole amp breakup thing works and some things to try tomorrow. Appreciate all your responses. Kiwijoe, yes, i don't always have the words to describe sounds. My main purpose in getting the pedals was to emulate that LC and RF sound but it's also billed as being able to also get into higher gain sounds. Gritty doesn't really describe what I was trying to. What I was getting at is that I've struggled with getting that more overdriven sound from not just this pedal but also others that Ive tried and couldn't understand why. In the long run it's not something that I really want my playing to sound like but I do want to understand it and be able to create it if I want. Just part of the whole learning thing.
     
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  15. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    There are thousands of posts like this under "Amps & Cabs" and "Sound Lounge" - just so you know, this is probably the only subsection of this entire site not solely dedicated to actual playing rather than tone topics. It's OK to ask, I'm just mentioning it.
     
  16. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

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    Good to know. Thanks
     
  17. kimock

    kimock Member

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    You could squeeze it into a playing technique topic because it's also a right hand dynamic issue, which also means it's guitar set-up dependent.
    So you could also squeeze it into "luthiers tech" or guitars in general, but it's also at least partly dependent on how you set up onstage if you're gigging. . The whole thing defies a single formality.
    I guess almost anything "threshold" related with electric guitar falls into more than one category.
     
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  18. Jon

    Jon Member

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    Are you gigging with the amp or playing at home?
     
  19. vashondan

    vashondan Supporting Member

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    Home
     
  20. Jon

    Jon Member

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    IMO with guitar amps, normal stage volumes for a band mix can sound really loud at home - a 50w amp clean channel will often need turning up pretty high in order to get some breakup going on, which may be fine for gigging, but total overkill at home. I had an 18w Dr Z Carmen Ghia for a while and at home it sounded ridiculously loud, but at a gig it was perfect for crunchy rhythm, and often not quite loud enough for lead (when not going through the PA).
     

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