Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

High or Low headroom platform? Which one for you?

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by 4pickupguy, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

    May 12, 2013
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I’ll start by saying I fit in the high headroom camp for the past 25 years. But, about 80% of the time I use a pedal to make it act like a low headroom amp. I have to have the true cleans up loud on some chord passages etc,. Must have somewhere to go from the panting fender sound.

    That said,

    I remember how great a simple BF Bassman sounds up high into frightened Jensen or greenback powered 2-12 and using a TS for lead tones. Both great approaches.

    Which camp do you currently inhabit? What is it? What kind of music do you play?
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I play clean, almost exclusively anymore, so ....
    I like high headroom.
    My goal is to get a warm, clear, full electric guitar tone.
    I play a lot of country, swing, and old guy rock and roll.
    I use common Roland amp, and occaisionally (rarely) a Boss ME80.
    Stuff really works for me.
  3. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

    Dec 21, 2017
    York PA
    I play dimed Marshalls and use vol & tone controls on guitars..Hard rock/slight metal/dirty blues and cabaret jazz..all on same amp Marshall DSL40cr head into 2 2x12 cabs..very simple set up but very effective... do use very pick up specific guitars and dif tunings tho..which goes a long way to varying tone without getting effects happy
    El Tele Lobo and 4pickupguy like this.
  4. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 21, 2012
    It is easier to make an amp dirty than an amp clean. 'Nuff said.
  5. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    If I have to choose, I guess high headroom for the room. But with a decent MV amp, I don't have to choose.
    Tele-beeb and 4pickupguy like this.
  6. the tool

    the tool Tele-Holic

    Apr 12, 2016
    High headroom Vox mv50 Clean. Tone is good on its own, sound like a clean tube amp. But i mostly play harder type of music and select my sounds from preamp/amp in a box pedals. I guess i can do whatever id like with that. Main reason was i dont want to lug around a 6505 head or a Mesa rig or something. I practice at home with this setup and carry it in a bag to band practice.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    4pickupguy likes this.
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    Medium for me thanks!
    Or the right size amp for the expected volume needs, which ends up being a crapshoot.
    I'm not one who feels that big amps sound bad turned down, or at least I don't buy big amps that sound bad turned down any more.
    Knowing what I've learned in the last decade since the speaker renaissance I think some of my old 50/100w Marshalls that only sounded good loud could have sounded better with different speakers.
    An 18w Marshall into efficient speakers has enough headroom to get a decent clean sound with a restrained drummer, but I haven't played with a drummer in a while so I'm going on memory of a louder time.
    I'm also inclined to bring two amps just to make sure I don't end up with one low headroom amp flat out and not loud enough.
    I'm very important see, and need to be loud enough!

    I'm not a huge fan of pedal dirt, but would take SS dirt into a bigger tube amp before chancing a small tube amp running out of headroom.
    4pickupguy likes this.
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 2, 2010
    The Bassman RI is pretty perfect for a medium sized bar!
    Even clean it sounds fine...
    4pickupguy likes this.
  9. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    I've got gear to support both approaches; a nice tweed copy and another rig built around a Quilter 101 mini. I play most of the styles that would fall under the Americana banner but wouldn't call myself a competent jazz player although I'll frequently borrow from it.
    El Tele Lobo and 4pickupguy like this.
  10. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    I love head room. And lots of distortion. I boost the guitar level by 32db and set my tube amps at 3 to 6 on the volume which gives full volume in terms of sound level output. That way you get dynamics and plenty of distortion. I enjoy hearing compressed distortion in hard rock or metal, but it bores me to play that kind of tone.
    4pickupguy likes this.
  11. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    My primary rig has 2,000 watts of clean power.
    Tele-beeb, 4pickupguy and Teleterr like this.
  12. kLyon

    kLyon Tele-Meister

    Mar 21, 2011
    I'm in the "right size" camp. If I can control it, I like to match the amp to the band's preferred stage volume.
    These days, for most of what I do, a Princeton is about right)
    (Sweet spot without a pedal...)
    4pickupguy likes this.
  13. Thin white duke

    Thin white duke Tele-Holic

    Oct 1, 2017
    I love clean sound, i want clean sound, that's one of the reasons why i use solid state amps, i've always thought that i can get any sound i want out of my pedals with an amp that has a pristine clean, i don't need no tubes. :):):):)
    howardlo and 4pickupguy like this.
  14. DCW74

    DCW74 Tele-Meister

    Sep 11, 2018
    Columbus, OH
    I have wired most of my amps to have the majority of overdrive occur in the preamp. I usually make at least two channels, so I can push the power section into that sweet spot if I want. But I like a lot of headroom.
    4pickupguy likes this.
  15. DeVilleDude

    DeVilleDude Tele-Holic

    Big Fender amp for me. I can get an endless array of beautiful clean tones, then slight grit to Marshally grind to singing fuzz with just a few good pedals.
    4pickupguy likes this.
  16. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2014
    I play in worship band in my church’s children’s ministry and am a bedroom player (ambient to Americana) the rest of the time. So I don’t need a lot of volume. I would classify myself as a high headroom player as a rule. My main amp is a tweed Champ clone (Modern Sound L’il Punk) with a 12-inch ceramic speaker. My builder wired it up with a switch in back that selects between the traditional Champ with lower headroom or another setting with a little bit more headroom.

    We do do some 90s worship anthems that have a little bit of a punk rock vibe. I use a TC Electronic Spark Booster and a Mosky Golden Horse to push my amp into tweed overdrive when I need to get crunchy.

    The 5F1 works well for me. I like the warmth and fullness of it and how it adds a little bit of compression. If I need more pristine cleans than that, I have a 5F11 Vibrolux clone (Modern Sound Vibrolush) that offers very pristine cleans (and built-in tremolo!).

    Go tweed or go home is my motto.
    Tommy Biggs likes this.
  17. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 10, 2013
    Greater Atlanta
  18. Tele-beeb

    Tele-beeb Friend of Leo's

    Apr 2, 2012
    The Bluegrass
    High... Clean... then it’s just copy/paste
    4pickupguy likes this.
  19. lefty73

    lefty73 Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 19, 2011
    TL; DR - start clean and add pedals to get mean.

    Always been a high-headroom, clean-as-possible amp user. There are great sounds to be had from amps that are being kicked around, no doubt. I've dabbled in those, and tried to get my board to work with those.

    I generally come back to a clean amp not necessarily because it sounds better (though it often does, to me), but because to achieve what I hear in my head it requires an effects loop, which leads to too many cables to manage for this old dog.

    If Roland made a lightweight JC-120 I'd be all over it. Hence my interest in clean, loud, light amps like my current amp (Tech 21 Trademark 60) and amps I've had in the past (Quilter, Fender Mustang III v2, Tech 21 Tri-AC pedal into a powered PA speaker). I've often flirted too with the idea of getting a POD bean and small powered PA speaker and just plugging my pedalboard into the POD set to emulate a clean amp.
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