Tubes do dirt, transistors stay clean ...

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by nosuch, May 17, 2019.

  1. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    That's what I learned when I started playing electric guitar in the 80s. Though tube screamers and muffs where there already everybody seems to chase for tube amps if they wanted dirty tone while the pop, jazz and funk players wanted to have a jazz chorus 120.

    Today it seems to be the other way round: tube amps are marketed as "clean platforms" and solid state pedals do the dirt – mostly based on the ts or similar. What happened?
     
  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    People stopped drinking "tube amps only sound good at 10 and distorted" cool aid.

    There is nothing more beautiful than the CLEAN tone of a good tube amp.

    Personally I never liked the Roland Jazz Chorus clean tone especially with a Fender guitar.

    BTW the pedals + clean amp recipe has been around for at least three decades ,where have you been all this time?
     
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  3. uriah1

    uriah1 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Solid state = always Jazz
    Tube = Always, always, rock and roll (forget who said quote)

    Curmudgeon
     
  4. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    I play a hand-wired AC30 for it's amazing clean sounds.
    I find it odd that all the "AC30 In A Box" pedals are modelled on breakup or mild distortion sounds. That's missing so much of the amp's goodness.
     
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  5. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Tele-Afflicted

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    The tubes vs transistor debate triggers all sorts of thoughts for me. Keep in mind my background is as an electrical engineer, who learned a lot about transistors in college, and even though my textbook had a section on tubes, we did not cover that. I've reviewed it recently and very little of what guitar amp owners consider to be the beneficial attributes of tubes (soft clipping, power supply sag) are covered.

    Even in the days when tubes were all there were, most designers were targeting hi-fi/radio applications, so distortion and sag and all those things were still considered undesirable. However, by some miraculous set of circumstances, the way tubes NATURALLY behave when pushed beyond typical design constraints turned out to be something people really really REALLY liked with electric guitars and didn't even discover until years after the original designs came out.

    Solid state stuff still has advantages in terms of cost and reliability and it amazes me the extent to which modern designers are trying to capture the essence of what made the older stuff desirable while eliminating the things that aren't so great. I can't think of many other areas where this has happened. I guess something like a Mellotron VST is in that same category.
     
  6. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Marketing and reality are not the same
     
  7. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    Oh and, Peavey for country...
     
  8. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Holic

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    They know "AC30" is more marketable than "the sweet spot people dial a mic'd AC10 to to create one kind of distortion".

    I get why people sell pedals that make your amp "sound like X" but at the end of the day cab modelers are more interesting, and neither actually give you what you get from what they aim at.

    I hope someday we separate them, like how everyone always knew pedal delay wasn't the same as an echoplex, and by the time digital got awesomely close to copying all the nuances of tape devices, we all know there are at least umpteen different categories of stuff to get delay that are great and not remotely identical, from tape, drum, analog, small digital, rack digital, digital copying drum or tape....

    Everything has its place, amp wise. Pedals are so diverse now theres something for everyone, and a clean amp taking pedals well is a common setup.

    But: you can use a pedal to get whatever distortion out of a Fender or Vox , and you get the real deal on the cleans of a twin or princeton or AC. You cant really get those sounds identically from a marshall, modeling pedal or otherwise. And on that note, I've never seen a tube amp advertised as having "great solid state like sound! You'll forget you're not playing solid state!" But that seems to be a theme the other way around.

    A little off track from OP, but seriously, who spoiled the "well known truth " that SF fenders sucked and were worth less money? It was working so well for awhile.....

    I think people get too hung up on what they have to have to play X genre well. You can do metal through an AB165 bassman. You can play blues through a blackheart. You can play rockabilly through a Peavey. You can country through a marshall.
    You cant always sound identical to a well known recording doing this, but is that really the point? Now, obviously, you're going to get more milage out of a Fenders clean channel than an Orange, but we get hung up on what you can or cant use for a genre pretty easily, when the actual limit is what can or cant get the exact sound you want.

    Having said all that, some people will always swear by certain rules, and I'm no different, just not on the amp+pedal thing.
     
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  9. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

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    What happened? You read too much instead of playing.
     
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  10. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    exactly! I didn't love my Fender amps because they sounded distorted. But I did sometimes try to make them a bit more Marshall-y. What I loved was the clean sound, and how it got even better when it was turned up loud.
     
  11. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

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    Humans are herd animals. We'll believe the most outrageous BS if we hear it from "an authority," even giving more credence to those authorities than to what we see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears. I remember being a young, eager guitar student trying hard to get into the club and lapping up every morsel of wisdom the older, better players hanging out in the music store dropped in my presence. And most of it was complete crap that I needed years -- decades even -- of experience, research, and maturity to unlearn and replace with truth.
     
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  12. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    I play my tube amps loud but clean. I use pedals for overdrive and or distortion. If I tried to run my amps into natural overdrive I would go deaf. My modeling amps can and do sound good as well, both clean or dirty. They can use pedals, but when they are turned up to my usual level of volume, they don't have the same "feel" as the tube amps.
     
  13. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis TDPRI Member

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    What everyone is using, what is conventional wisdom, is of no concern. It's trivially easy to try things out for yourself, and decide what you want to use. What I like follows no formulas.

    How things are marketed, what is considered conventional wisdom, and all that is just noise.
     
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  14. MojoTrwall

    MojoTrwall Tele-Meister

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    Amp were not supposed to distort.

    Evolution from Tweed to Blackface went for more and more headroom and power to get a Clean sound.

    Some just discovered how good distorted sound was for multiple reason.

    Then a Swap occured, tube amp were less made for clean sound than dirt.

    By the way some metal band used transistor (Pantera?) And dirt is usuable from transistor, but marketing and ******** is an anchor in some peoples mind.

    You get the same argument over Analog/Digital (especially when talking about delays) which is not so revelant now.

    A lot of guitariste still believe BS theory about Gear.
     
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  15. bbetancourt

    bbetancourt TDPRI Member

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    Remember the H&K Tubefactor-pedal and everyone being really enthusiastic about it how "creamy" and "warm" and it sounded like only real tubes would etc.
    Besides that the TF was really good sounding, the tube-stage was 100% linear and that "tubey" overdrive you hear is a clipping stage with a solidstate-bridgerectifier - typical Bernd Schneider design at the time.
     
  16. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    That was Dimebag Darrell. He used solid state Randall amps and was unapologetic about it.
     
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