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Guitar talk: acoustic, bass, classical, twelve string? You name it! Pt II

Discussion in 'off topic' started by matthewr, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I still haven’t got there yet as I’m pretty sure this is a ‘new thing’ that happened since I was messing about in bands. I’ve always just thought in ‘clean’, ‘a bit crunched’ and ‘filthy’ terms and have always wanted all three accessible. For me ‘clean’ is the sound of the amp, which is why I’ve always loved things like the Fender Twin Reverb and never liked Marshall stacks etc at all. I’ve always wanted ‘clean’ with one or two pedals for the dirt.

    Back in those days and with the limited funds unpopular little indie bands had available that usually meant second-hand mid-‘70s solid state amps, HH 2x12” combos being ubiquitous. They actually weren’t bad if a little brittle sounding, which I suspect is responsible for the hard ‘edge’ of some of the lower-tier indie acts. That and the low-bit digital FX which was just coming in.

    I guess the new breed of preamp pedal would have been a whole revolution back then were they available as they’d have enabled contouring and compression that just wasn’t available with solid state combos. I can’t remember any though.

    As I’ve got an amp I like the sound of I suspect my old methodology is still fine. I still look at Dan and Mick’s boards in astonishment, I can’t imagine ever needing a fraction of that stuff, and more than that I’ve no idea how they have time to really get to know the individual pedals. It took me ages just to understand the range of sounds in my humble BD-2 and how different pickup, volume and tone settings impact it, or what happens if I run the fuzz into it etc. I’m still learning how my very simple rig works now!
  2. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Then there's the bung the gain up on the amp and add a treble booster approach...
  3. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    On TPS, though, isn't their whole point that they have these lovely amps but set them up for have loads of clean headroom? I.e. they are getting no gain from the preamp just a lovely clean tone and they don't even crank the preamp to the 'edge of breakup' so a single pedal will push the amp into overdrive. They do, I guess, get some compression / sag whatever from the power amps as they play them so loud but not really anything other than clean tone from the preamp.

    Which kind of makes sense for a pedal show because if you were getting a lot of gain from the amp then it would make judging the pedal impossible? And its basically the opposite of things like Mesa Boogies where the preamp is designed specifically to produce masses of gain and compression for all your shredding needs and the power amp is (mostly) just for making it LOUD.

    (Although, as an aside, I do note that even the modern amps Two Note and the Hampstead amps are basically master volume amps these days. The Matchless has one but it's bypassable I learned the other day which made me wonder if Dan has his switched off. I get the impression they are not master volume purists as they are not 70+ 60s casualties).

    Also on the gain stacking thing they are either using a high gain pedal on it's own (rare, obvs) or else two low-to-medium gain pedals stacked. So if you go clean or dirty boost > flexible preamp pedal > clean amp you get your classic clean / crunch / distortion flavours. But the stacking only works if you have the gain turned down on each pedal and the preamp as you quickly run out of "bandwidth" and it all sounds the same. (A point made in a Jay Mascis video linked here once).

    So although I have a shit tonne of pedals I am almost always only using one or two at a time into my little Blackstar set clean at apartment friendly levels.

    I may have to make some recordings so you can all LOL at my terrible playing that in no way justifies how seriously I take it all.
  4. Yank

    Yank Bulbous Also Tapered

    I'm still kicking myself for not buying one of those Vintage Pedal Workshop Rangemaster kits when Steve Giles was still selling them.

  5. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    Imagine the gain on a scale of 1-100. If you crank everything up to 100 in a one-er, you go into huge distortion and get loads of noise. By adding the gain in stages, say 10 at a time, you get to shape the overall frequency envelope and (hopefully) introduce less noise, depending on how each of the pedals respond to the accumulated signal. The overall outcome is not necessarily the same.
    matthewr likes this.
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Yes, that makes sense. You only need a separate preamp and master volume if you want to overdrive the former without deafening yourself. I’ve never been in this camp as a) I want the amp sound to be my perfectly clean sound, b) I just don’t like the sound of cranked Marshalls, Messa Boogies etc, and c) until a month or so ago I’ve never owned a nice amp anyway!

    I love a lot of crazy distorted music (Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Wire etc) but I’m pretty certain it is solid state distortion pedals (Big Muff, Rat, FuzzFace etc) into clean valve amps, often Fenders. I’ve never got on with the hard rock/heavy metal stuff (AC/DC, Status Quo, Led Zep etc), and that’s cranked Marshalls. The exception being Jimi Hendrix, but he was Jimi Hendrix so played by entirely different rules.

    PS Today’s TPS really makes me want to buy another Rat! It just killed everything else on the board to my ears and sounded way better on its own rather than parallel stacked with the Tube Screamer (which I’ve never really rated). I’m really annoyed I can’t remember what happened to mine as it was an ‘80s one (one of the first Rat 2s) which seem to be worth a couple of hundred quid now. The implication being the current ones aren’t as good, which is annoying. I certainly can’t remember selling it, which means I’ve either lent it to someone or lost it!
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
    matthewr likes this.
  7. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    Yes that was my big lesson from TPS. I would also add that the difference between stacked gain stages is an order of magnitude bigger than the difference between good hifi systems. This was also the point that J. Mascis made as well -- even when using lots of gain and fuzz if you turn the first pedal to max the rest of them have no effect.
  8. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    It's even more dramatic than that with Mesas -- my colleague has a really loud one as she was in a Nuno Bettencourt tech-shred style band during her PhD. and she has zero interest in pedals. All the tone she wants comes from cranking the amp and she turns it down to baby friendly volume with the master volume. She finds TPS the most boring and pointless thing ever.

    I have a cheap Chinese tube screamer although I only ever used it when trying to learn SRV's Pride and Joy. My combo of choice at the moment is a Tumnus (Klon Klone but with the gain up) into an overdriven Bassman for a sort of an Indie Neil Young sound.
  9. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    Excellent new Adam Neely for those who want to learn more about Jazz harmony.

  10. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    A bigger pedalboard than TPS? I know it's a stunt but it was nice to see the real players involved, JHS, Keeley, Wampler...

    They've split the thing up and sent it around the bigger YouTube channels
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  11. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    They certainly don't play them like this any more (their instruments that is..)

    Won't get fooled again/The Who (student project edit)

    Can anybody tell me what type of guitar our man Pete is using in that ?
    (Looks to me like a Les Paul with two mini-humbuckers and a third full size one in the middle - but he never stays still long enough to see the darn thing properly :) )
  12. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Waiting for the streetcar..

    That's his 'Number 1' Les Paul Deluxe (obvs).


    That video is from the Shepperton recordings for 'The Kids are Alright' the other song used was 'Baba O'Riley' where he used the 'Number 5' Les Paul Deluxe.

    '1' also appears in the same film for the performance of Barbara Ann
  13. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    That was quick :)

    Thanks Seeker. Jz he loved playing around with the electronics. Seems to be common with a lot of the greats. I'm definitely warning to the idea of getting a couple of push-pull knobs and taking the soldering iron to the TokyLP
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  14. FireMoon

    FireMoon pfm Member

    Ah, the old myths about "distortion". The majority of Page's guitar work for the first 2-3 albums was through a "Supro Coronado "combo. There's no guitar amp involved at all on "Black Dog" where the guitar was fed straight into the desk after being cascaded through 4 x 1176 compressor/limiters as Page was trying to emulate something akin to a synth sound. The original Mesa Boogies, as used by Keef and co from the Stones were modified Fender combos.
    Distortion, fuzz and overdrive are all different beasts although, there is some crossover in terms of how they work. What most people think of "The Classic marshall sound" is actually a combination of the previously mentioned overdrive and distortion. The preamp is overdriving the power valves and the output of the amp itself is causing a harmonically satisfying distortion of the speakers due to them being pushed beyond their normal working envelope. The "distortion" is actually the voice coils of the speakers "farting out".

    The best amp bar none and I have one, for a monumentally loud clean tone is the Hiwatt DR series, Townsend used to use 200 watt versions, though in reality they were only 5% louder in real terms than a 100 watt. I've had my DR103 flat out in the studio through two x 2 by 12's loaded with the correct G12 Fane style speakers and it was louder than hell, however , as clean as they come.

    H and H, if you want the definitive H and H tone then Wilko Johnson's early work with Dr Feelgood and Alex Lifeson on "Farewell To Kings", are absolute classic versions of that amp's tone. The most popular combo with many of the punk bands I booked or went to see in the late 70s was the Yamaha tranny combo. The Skids, The Zones, Punilux, Chelsea, 999, Ultravox, The Banshees, Wire and even The Damned, all used these Yamaha combos when I first saw them https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Fifty210-Guitar-Combo-Amp.gc .

    In short, what many think of the classic Marshal, tone is really the sound of a huge amount of air making the speaker's voice colis "fart" whilst flat lining the diaphragm of a dynamic mic. It's been posted before however, the epic "Slipperman rant" about "distortion" is spot on. To quote........

    " Wait. Let's back up here. Try this: Take a guitar amp that has separate clean and dirty channels with gain controls that feed a master volume output knobbie. Set the 'pre' channels to about the same o'clock on both channels and crank the master volume with the dirt channel engaged. Then hit a big chord. Twist it up to 'Stage Volume'. Now, right in the middle of a riff........ SWITCH TO CLEAN. Hurts huh? FECKING LOUD! Now switch back to the distorted channel. TINY! By comparison.


    The pummeling impact and SHEER OPPRESSIVE VOLUME of that 'clean' sound that's ripping your face off is caused by the transients lost by the distortion process. The more distortion, the fewer transients (Not really a totally factual statement, kind of a BLANKET answer, but close enough for our purposes here). Anyways. It's amazing how many twanker bozo's can't get a grip on the concept that increases in distortion MAKE DIRTY GUITARS SOUND SMALLER, NOT BIGGER. Nu-Metal guys are gonna have trouble buying into any flavor of this concept, and we agreed we would "Work with what they gave us" Right? 'Their Sound'. In my shop...When "Your sound" is swinging 12Db common on palm mutes WE GOTTA PROBLEM. I'm going to be compressing the living shit outta your ass one way or the other.
    A lot of guitar purists state... 'NEVER COMPRESS DISTORTED GUITAR' on input or mix. The wisdom is based on observations (and their logical extrapolations) of the phenomena we just got done discussing. That is... Heavily distorted guitar sounds ALREADY ARE COMPRESSED (for lack of a better term) by 'square wave rectification' of the signal in circuit that's being used to produce the 'dirty' sound in the first place. By and large, I agree. If I can get away with clever EQ rips to 'tame' a guitar 'To tape' or 'In mix' I will always do that first. However, we live in a big shitty world full of feckkwit fools who will insist upon capturing OUTRAGEOUS amounts of 'Swing' from a rig.....So I say... SMASH THE FECK OUT OF THEM. But BE CAREFUL; if you don't set up compression correctly on input, you stand to shovel yourself into a hole you will NEVER get out of for love or money. Lousy compression CANNOT be undone after the fact. Period."
    -alan- likes this.
  15. myrman

    myrman pfm Member

    Traded my Avalon acoustic yesterday for a rather nice PRS Custom 24 Artist. I am not usually a fan of the gold hardware on the Artist pack models but it suits this finish perfectly.

  16. palindrome

    palindrome pfm Member

    If you don't mind me asking, is it new or used; if so, what year?
    I also think that gold hardware doesn't suit certain colours on the PRS. I have a Custom 22 for sale here in the classifieds that also has a 10-top but in violin amber, but I think the gold harware is well suited for that particular finish.
    Btw, I'm guessing the neck PU could be a dragon, but what do you have at the bridge?
  17. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    Modelling amps for the win :)

    The gold hardware works well with the body colour. That is a rather fine quilted finish indeed.
  18. myrman

    myrman pfm Member

    I saw yours, very nice and a good price too :cool: Pickups are HFS neck and Vintage bridge. It's an '06 model in quite amazing condition for a 13yr old guitar.
    palindrome likes this.
  19. HairyHaggis

    HairyHaggis <((((º>`•.¸¸.•´¯`•.¸.•´¯`•...¸><((((º>¸.

    i worked there a couple of summers, at milton (ed forme, newcastle, great guy) and barhill. hh electronics and hh acoustics. helped design the dc voice coils too. and the design of the 1x12 studio 50. complete pants it was too :)
  20. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    It is true that if you listen to a lot of classic rock and early "metal" like AC/DC the guitar sounds would now be called "crunch" rather than distortion, let alone high gain. I guess this is partly because they didn't have much more than the amp and a few classic analogue pedals (tone bender, range master, etc) and also because their playing, even for the heavier bands, was quite melodic and musical so they didn't want too much compression to destroy all the dynamics.

    Indeed I think that's why I don't like any modern metal bands; modern high gain just leaves so little room for dynamics that it all sounds boring to me.
    Enfield boy likes this.

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