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Using pedals for dirt SUCKS

DonaldDemon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,697
But seriously, it blows, or I am just inept in more ways than I thought. I keep trying to make it work and it sounds pretty crappy to me, always been a dirt from the amp player. I finally got a dirt pedal to work pretty well with my Ampeg GVT-15 combo last night, to where it wasn't too much mud or harshness, and then I realized my amp wasn't loud enough so I turn up and...instant mud. I turn down too much so there's no power tube break up...and it's too harsh. It's a constant battle of balancing levels and gain stages that just seems annoying, especially when it's always a compromise to my ears.

I've always rolled off my guitar for pseudo-clean tones but sometimes I want an actual clean sound and dealing with pedals makes me go right back to my master volume high gain amps. How do people deal with it? I guess if you just use one higher headroom amp and keep the volume at the same setting but anyone who gigs knows that's impossible. It seems like most dirt pedals sound better when the amp is already broken up, which isn't always possible with NMV amps.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
9,167
Not all pedals sound good with all amps and after that it's up to personal preference. Pedals are really good nowadays and I've gotten great tones out of them, despite also having amps I can drive as hard as I would ever want.

I don't see pedals as a substitute for amp gain, just something that offers different flavors.

If things get too muddy you are most likely running too much gain or bass and if things get too harsh too much treble. Don't forget that your guitar also usually has a tone control you can use to tame too bright sounds.
 
Messages
2,293
But seriously, it blows, or I am just inept in more ways than I thought. I keep trying to make it work and it sounds pretty crappy to me, always been a dirt from the amp player. I finally got a dirt pedal to work pretty well with my Ampeg GVT-15 combo last night, to where it wasn't too much mud or harshness, and then I realized my amp wasn't loud enough so I turn up and...instant mud. I turn down too much so there's no power tube break up...and it's too harsh. It's a constant battle of balancing levels and gain stages that just seems annoying, especially when it's always a compromise to my ears.

I've always rolled off my guitar for pseudo-clean tones but sometimes I want an actual clean sound and dealing with pedals makes me go right back to my master volume high gain amps. How do people deal with it? I guess if you just use one higher headroom amp and keep the volume at the same setting but anyone who gigs knows that's impossible. It seems like most dirt pedals sound better when the amp is already broken up, which isn't always possible with NMV amps.
How much gain are you trying to get here?

Better question: When using pedals, how much gain to you have the pedal set for and how much gain do you have the amp set for?
 

Junta

Member
Messages
2,003
I distinctly dislike these "change my mind" post tittles (not necessarily the content or the folks who post them!).

With that out of the way, I would first look into trying a different amp (I think most pedal builders take into consideration how popular entry level Fender tube amps are, so smth like a Fender DRRI to begin with).

Second - When they say, the answer is always Rat, I think they have a point. Short of finding a great vintage copy - just go to Greece: Jam Pedals Rattler is an amazing distortion/mild fuzz pedal which also does superb mid-focused boost duties when needed (smth original Rats may not always deliver on due to limited output).

Cheers!
 

DonaldDemon

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,697
I sometimes play through a Hot Rod Deluxe. The clean channel sounds great. However, I can usually make dirt pedals sound better than the HRD's drive channel.
That's kind of a low bar though, the dirt channel on the HRD does indeed suck.
Maybe your dirt pedals suck
Entirely possible!

Gotta love yet another "pedals suck" thread in the TGP pedal section.
Except that I never said pedals suck. I have over 50 of them!

How much gain are you trying to get here?

Better question: When using pedals, how much gain to you have the pedal set for and how much gain do you have the amp set for?
Anywhere from AC/DC levels up to full on fuzzed out stoner rock/metal. I've tried all levels of dirt in between on both amp and pedals.

I distinctly dislike these "change my mind" post tittles (not necessarily the content or the folks who post them!).

With that out of the way, I would first look into trying a different amp (I think most pedal builders take into consideration how popular entry level Fender tube amps are, so smth like a Fender DRRI to begin with).

Second - When they say, the answer is always Rat, I think they have a point. Short of finding a great vintage copy - just go to Greece: Jam Pedals Rattler is an amazing distortion/mild fuzz pedal which also does superb mid-focused boost duties when needed (smth original Rats may not always deliver on due to limited output).

Cheers!
I know, it was low-hanging fruit, I know the title is dumb. I've tried several types of clean amps; Ampegs, Fender, Traynor, etc and always have this issue. I'm actually using a Black Secret with the GVT15 and it's the only one that's not completely terrible, though it's still muddy, harsh, and lacks bass. Maybe I need to try a better Rat style?
 

tweedeater

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
297
I get great dirt tones from my drives through a clean amp. I use a Euphoria as my "always on / low gain" platform, and stack two drives to form different stages of gain. The key is to set the gain just off clean.. about 9:30 to 10:30 on my Euphoria.. and build from there. Avoid too much bass in the tone also. Anyway... it works for me, and allows me to get great breakup tones at even bedroom volumes. You generally do have to adjust the eq at higher volumes though
 

Junta

Member
Messages
2,003
That's kind of a low bar though, the dirt channel on the HRD does indeed suck.

Entirely possible!


Except that I never said pedals suck. I have over 50 of them!



Anywhere from AC/DC levels up to full on fuzzed out stoner rock/metal. I've tried all levels of dirt in between on both amp and pedals.



I know, it was low-hanging fruit, I know the title is dumb. I've tried several types of clean amps; Ampegs, Fender, Traynor, etc and always have this issue. I'm actually using a Black Secret with the GVT15 and it's the only one that's not completely terrible, though it's still muddy, harsh, and lacks bass. Maybe I need to try a better Rat style?
OK, this tells me 'the tone' you have in your head requires max flexibility from the amp; V:25 V:35 or the proper Mark V... You will not only get excellent Fender style cleans and the 'worth the price of admission by itself' Crunch channel, but get the fantastic benefit of the Mesa 5-band equalizer... Rent a V:25 (not the combo). Your Black Secret will become a different and pleasing beast I bet!
 




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