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Old December 21st, 2012, 01:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How do YOU Vox?

Posted this over on the gear page, but as I'll soon (as in, as soon as I can scratch together another 300 bucks) be a brand new, first-time, tele owner, I'd love your thoughts on this matter of great political and social import...

Hey there folks! Though I learned the basics on an electric, it never went beyond the very basic. That was ten years ago, and I set it down after about four years, once my fist baby was born! Well, about three years ago, after the lay-off, I picked the guitar up again and am SO glad that I did! Since then I've been an acoustic-only player.
But I recently dusted off my old Epi LP and am working on finally learning working on some real electric playing.

I sold some old gear that I never used and got together enough scratch to pick up a new Vox AC15C1 from Guitar Center ($80 shipped, thank you GC fellas!). I read loads of reviews and watched scores of video demos of every amp that fit my budget. Unfortunate that I wasn't able to audition amps first (in guitar shop barren North Dakota), but it worked out alright! I loved the AC15 from what I'd seen and heard, and now that I have it home, it did not disappoint!

Yet, being new to the electric scene, I'm pretty much uneducated on how to squeeze the most out of this beast.....

SO.... I'm hoping you'd be so kind as to to share your best tips on how to sculpt your tone. What settings do you use to get your sound? How do you use each channel? Tone cut? Top boost? I'm loving the cranked tone I get from really opening her up with master volume at ~10:00-11:00 and channel volume ~3:00-4:00.

I know I can't footswitch between clean and dirty, and l am getting good at working the guitar volume to manipulate between the two, but would love to be able to footswitch between them. How do you do it? A/B box with normal for clean and top boost for overdrive? Or top boost for clean normal for overdrive? Do you use an o/d pedal? Which one do you like to stay close to the tone of the amp's o/d?

I play mainly at home, but I'm a homeowner and play mainly over lunch break when my kids are at daycare, so I'm happy to be able to play her pretty loud! Still, setting master volume past 12:00 is more than I can handle when o/d'd. lol. Don't get me wrong, still sounds AWESOME. But if I get those tubes really juiced, i know it'd be even better. Do you use an attenuator? Which one?

Lots of questions, I KNOW! Apologies. But any and all of them you can answer would be a great help. Thanks for reading this far! Looking forward to lots of great times together with this new monster. Thanks!

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Old December 21st, 2012, 01:35 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You bought an AC15C1 for $80.00? Holy Cow!
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Old December 21st, 2012, 01:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nice catch.... lol $480
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Old December 21st, 2012, 07:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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At home I just crank it up.and work the volume. In a band situation I set it to where it is just starting to break up and gets fat sounding when I pluck the low E.... then use an od pedal for more gain and lead stuff. If you get it set at the right point.... you can get it to crunch hitting stings hard and it sounds nice and clean playing the strings with a soft touch. The AC15 is a very dynamic amp and will react to how you play it.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have a vox pathfinder, which made me fall in love with vox tone. Ordered an ac30c2 on Wednesday, can not wait!
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My meat & potatoes setting on my AC15 is, on the top boost channel, bass at noon, treble at 1:00, and volume at 3:00. From here I can dig in for more crunch, back off for cleaner tones, or kick in my OCD for leads. In most of the gigging situations I've been in I've had the master volume at around 10:00, but of course that varies according to everything.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 08:48 AM   #7 (permalink)
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An A/B-Y pedal is what I use. Normal volume at 1-2 o'clock, TB at 2-3 o'clock and vary my pick attack and guitar volume and 90 % of my clean to dirt needs are there. Pretty, jangly cleans in one end and quite dirty in the other. Master at noon-ish. Using the Y-mode for both channels combined is just the boost/added dirt I need for most leads. Just need a Fuzz for a different kind of roar on some leads.

This particular band I started to play with does dynamics in the style of Band of Horses, almost like Dinosaur Jr., dirty indie/alt-rock. The AC15c1 is perfect for me in rehearsals and I think if I had a bigger amp I would blow my ears out for the dirtier/louder parts.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. I don't know how the electronics work. I'd be fine with an overdrive pedal if it doesn't change the tone. Can anyone point me to the best place to learn about that?
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bozz_2006 View Post
Thanks for the input. I don't know how the electronics work. I'd be fine with an overdrive pedal if it doesn't change the tone. Can anyone point me to the best place to learn about that?
I just bought a ts808 to go with my AC-15. Ill let you know how it sounds today about 3.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I use an AB pedal as well, with most of the knobs at about 9:00. Treble and Bass on the TB channel to taste depending on the song.

OD pedals are another matter. I use a Danelectro CTO1 (v1!) and it's lovely. Do a search on "transparent overdrive" and see where that leads you. You'll see references to the aforementioned CTO1v1, the Timmy, and so on into the night. YouTube has more than enough stuff to keep you occupied for awhile, too!

Here's the best advice I can give you, however: get your hands on as much gear as you can and play as much as you can. You'll find the aural alchemy that your ears and soul are starving for, it's just a matter of time.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bozz_2006
Thanks for the input. I don't know how the electronics work. I'd be fine with an overdrive pedal if it doesn't change the tone. Can anyone point me to the best place to learn about that?
Do a search for threads about "transparent overdrives" congrats on the new amp.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 11:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Believe it or not, this is the best thing you might need for a VOX amp:

BOSS GE-7 equalizer pedal



It doesn't have to be a BOSS EQ pedal, but the pedal must have a LEVEL slider on it. This BOSS does so it works great. Here's how:

First, with an EQ pedal you get more control over your tone. All the sliders on the BOSS you can surely get the precise sound you want from your amp.

Secondly, and here's the big one, you use the LEVEL slider on the EQ to get unreal overdrive and distortion. Using an EQ pedal as a killer overdrive boost is a hidden secret that not many players use. I learned about it on the internet and supposedly Slash uses an EQ as a boost pedal too. What happens is you set your LEVEL slider on the EQ up a bit, play your guitar with pedal off. Sounds nice. Then stomp on the BOSS and WOW! The signal hits the pre-amp tubes hard and you get an AMAZING break up. Your grit now becomes almost Hendrix like distortion. No kidding around, I've done this. I hate any distortion or overdrive pedals. What you get with them is a fabricated sound. But not with an EQ pedal used as a boost. I use my BOSS GE-7 as a distortion pedal because it is real distortion. The signal is really pushing the tubes to a hot level and, man, you should hear it.

Third, because you are using the EQ pedal for crunch and grit, there is no need to jump channels, or buy an A/B/Y box, or fiddle with your guitar's volume...all that stuff just to go from clean to grit. Simply step on the EQ pedal with the level pushed and you get pure, amazing grit.

For those above three reason a BOSS GE-7 is a must for you and your VOX.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 03:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Taxer! Thank you! Fantastic tip. You specifically addressed exactly what I was concerned about AND gave me the perfect solution. I'd love to buy you a beer. You don't happen to be in Grand Forks, North Dakota, do you? If not, I could just Paypal you like 4 bucks.
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Old December 21st, 2012, 05:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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For what it's worth, the ts808 sounds great!
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Old December 21st, 2012, 05:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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You don't happen to be in Grand Forks, North Dakota, do you?
Yes, I am in Grand Forks this very second. Corner of Third and Main. Forget the beer (I don't drink) and buy me a Rickenbacker 325 instead.

The EQ pedal as boost trick is one of the coolest things I learned from internet guitar forums. Have your amp just at the point of breakup (good clean sound with a hint of grit), then step on your EQ with level up and WHAM! The tubes get a hotter signal and they give you what you want. Plus it is not an artificial distortion from one of those distrotion pedals. It's the real deal. I have a VOX AC30 and I have used that trick. I am floored by what I can get.
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 01:42 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Exactly, I want to stay away from artificial distortion. I want my guitar to sound like my guitar, I want my amp to sound like my amp. I just want to be able to footswitch easily and effectively from the clean tone I get from my amp, to the lead tone I get from my amp, to the distortion tone I get from my amp.
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 01:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Do you guys like the Tim or Timmy pedal for transparent overdrive?
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 10:34 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Nice catch.... lol $480
I was going to ask, Who got a divorce
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Old December 24th, 2012, 12:50 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Just ordered a Timmy on eBay from this guy. here's the item description. hopefully this is a legit dealer! Anyone here ordered from him before?
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Old January 2nd, 2013, 01:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Well, I've had the amp for a while and I do really like it. But even with the HBs on my (admittedly mediocre) Epi LP, distortion gets brittle in a hurry. Just too much glass in the tone. I'm also about a week away from picking up the MIM Tele that I've had on layaway. If the humbuckers are brittle, imagine the bridge pickup on the Tele!!!! lolSo, a change is in order.

I've heard that better tubes make a huge difference. I'm looking at the re-tube set from Eurotubes. I've also heard that many swear by clipping or de-soldering and removing the bright caps. I believe I'm going to explore these options.

So I'd love your expert advice! Would you recommend changing tubes first, then trying the bright cap if it's still too bright? I like an edge to my tone, both clean and dirty. I don't like muddy, I like definition. I don't want to change tubes, clip the bright cap, and end up with a Fender amp. How would you go about it?
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