Your Favorite Blackstone Settings

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by fuzz_factor, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    I've had a Blackstone for a couple of weeks now and I seem to have a love/hate relationship with it. Anyone care to share their favorite Blackstone settings? What guitars/pickups do you find work well with a Blackstone.

    I'm primarily using it with a Texas Special equipped Strat, a P90 SG and a stock Les Paul standard. I play through a Champ 600 into a 12". I'm very happy with the clean sound of the Champ.

    It seems that one day, I'll get a super sweet, Hendrix-y low gain tone from the brown channel, but the next day it will sound farty and indistinct. Then, I'll dial in some magical gritty sounds on the red channel that will be totally uninspiring the next day. I'd like to think that the Blackstone sounds good without running the gain full up.

    I'd like to come up with, say, a nice semi-clean sound with a little sparkle on the brown channel and something similar with a little more grit on the red. Kind of like like an older Marshall or Bassman at various stages of break-up. Think alt-country, Keef, clean-ish Jimi, maybe up to or just short of Townshend. I'm totally willing to set this thing up to sound good with only one type of pickup and leave it at that; I have five other dirt pedals! ;)

    What are your favorite Blackstone settings, and what guitar/pickups do you favor with it?

    Thanks!
    - jeff -
     
  2. Mig60

    Mig60 Member

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    Hi,
    my settings are: Brown channel volume 11:00 /gain 11:00, Red 12:00/10:00
    Midrange: 1:00.
    im using it with a sovtek mig 60 modded, les paul faded DC and a SG
     
  3. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    The key to the BS is to be sure the internal trimmers are set "well" and if you are using it in unbuffered mode which sounds best, to avoid putting anything between the guitar and BS...except something simple like a Sun Face fuzz which happens to sound killer into the BS.

    Here is my previously posted set up process that I have found works well. FWIW, once this is done I keep the Brown Gain set to 10 o clock, EQ all the way up and Red Gain maxed for a singing lead tone that backs off into AC/DC, Who territory when you roll back the guitar volume. Hope this helps...

    1) Set EQ fully clockwise, all the way on.
    2) Set RED Gain full ON, play and set Volume about the same as bypassed.
    3) Set YELLOW Gain straight up (12 O'clock) and Volume the same as bypass.
    4) Open pedal, turn on back.
    5) Set small switch in upper left to BYPASS (sounds better but very sensitive to anything between guitar and pedal!).
    6) Turn RED channel on and tweak the GAIN trimmer in the lower right full on...will sound like crap..then back it of very slowly until you get a sweet high gain lead sound.
    7) Tweak TREBLE trimmer all the way up...sounds like crap...slowly turn it down to taste.
    8) Switch to YELLOW channel and tweak TREBLE trimmer if needed (not likely).

    Now you have a great strong Marshall like lead sound on the RED channel that responds really well to guitar Volume and the Yellow channel Gain can be set fully off for slight additional hair, 1/2 way for medium grind and above for higher gain. Set channel volumes to taste!
     
  4. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Thanks for this. I'll definitely set up the BS using this method. What guitar/pickup combinations are you using?

    I did make sure that I'm running the BS in the unbuffered mode, and the only thing in front of the pedal is my Fulltone '69 (and occasionally a TB'ed Cry Baby).
    - jeff -
     
  5. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    I am using a early stock Higway 1 Tele and a Mex 60's reissue Strat with DiMarzio Area 58's (great pu's...quiet). I have run many other guitars through the BS and they all sound good. I get more of an Allman Bros singing sustain on Red and a medium OD on brown. Both very responsive to guitar vol based on the above set up process. A Fulltone 69 into the Brown channel set to about 9-11oclock should sound very good....
     
  6. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Last night I spent some time following Jumblefinger's excellent instructions for tweaking the Blackstone.

    Here's one thing I noticed that I'm hoping other BS owners can comment on:

    Brown/yellow channel with the gain at around 10 o'clock. Play a chord, hold it and let the sound decay naturally. What I notice is, when the chord starts to fade I hear a little burst static (for lack of a better word), then the hair on the notes drops off rather abruptly, then the notes fade. When I try the same thing with my OCD, gain at around 10 o'clock, I get a very even note decay.

    Granted, if you crank the internal gain too high, you get noise and oscillation. I adjusted the trimmer down with an ear for removing these artifacts but still couldn't completely get rid of the problems I mentioned above.

    This, along with a general uneven wooliness at lower gains on the yellow channel is what keeps me from totally loving the Blackstone.

    Is this just the nature of transistor or MOSFET based ODs? The behavior that I'm describing seems like something you might expect with a germanium fuzz (to which the Blackstone has been compared). Am I asking or expecting something the BS is not designed to for, or otherwise going against its nature? Or, do I possibly have a defective unit?

    Thanks for any opinions. I wouldn't care much if I didn't think the BS is a cool pedal with a lot of potential!
    - jeff -
     
  7. JUSTJOB

    JUSTJOB Member

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    I don't know??? I just played it to see if I got anything like you just mentioned because I remembered nothing like you wrote ever. I get absolutely NO static noise and I get a real nice even gradual note fade out with no fizz or wooliness whatsoever.
    I am not sure where my internal gain pot is set at, maybe roughly 3/4 give or take ( just a slight nudge up from where John set it), but I will give you my other settings and if you set those first, then set your internal trimmer for unity on the Brown channel,then you should be set.

    Red Level -10:30......Drive maxed to the right
    Brown Level -11:00...Drive 1:30
    Tone - 4:00
    Internal treble tweaked up just a pinch from stock. Stock value caps.
    The level of gain is set fairly low on the Brown channel and the tone is set fairly transparent. I get crystal cleans by just backing the volume down to 8.5 with no apparent voume loss. The Red channel is set for a complimentary lead tone to the Brown channel. The Red channel has more mids than the Brown, but I find that I prefer this.
    When I engage the Brown the volume is just a hair above unity, and the Red gives me a small volume increase over unity. Just right for the solo's.
    For my gain I just work the guitars volume knobs for any shade I need.
    The Blackstone is the best, most natural OD that I have ever used, owned, or tried, and it has a feel much like an amp, and has worked with every amp I have had to use without any further touching of the internal pots.
    I really cannot explain why you are getting the results you are???? I can not duplicate what you describe with mine.
    I can however Kinda duplicate your description somewhat with my Fulltone 70 if I play with the internal trim on it.
    I hope this all may be of some use to you, stick with it and if you can't get this out then contact John. I am sure he can help you with any problem that you may have. He is a really pleasant man to do business with!
    Best Regards!
     
  8. fuzz_factor

    fuzz_factor Supporting Member

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    Thanks JUSTJOB! I'll give your settings a whirl and see what I hear. I probably have my internal gain at around 3/4 and the treble about the same (or so). I really have to get a better small screwdriver for this; been using one made for eyeglasses!

    Part of me wonders if what I'm hearing will disappear at louder volumes...
    - jeff -
     

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