cleaner dirt

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by alathIN, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    I have been fooling around with more distorted/overdriven sounds lately and learning some songs that go with that sound. One tweak I am struggling with is to get a saturated sound that still has some clarity and definition. An example of "loss of definition" - one song I've been playing is Van Halen's Panama. He's got a lot of licks where there is a power cord with an arpeggiated or lead phrase on top of it. When I play it, the power cord sounds the way it want it to but the arpeggiated or lead phrase gets lost/buried instead of coming through clear.
    Short of being a better player what helps with this?
    Is there a control or adjustment that can clarify my dirt?
     
  2. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    M-U-S-T__R-E-F-R-A-I-N__from making comic comment here...
     
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  3. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

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    It's about setting up your drive so you have to dig into it a little to get more drive and then lighten up your touch a bit for the other part. So yes a lot of it is right hand technique, but if you've got your drive set up with to much gain everything is gonna come out dirt. You might be surprised at how small a change on drive knob can got from perfect to to much.
     
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  4. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    ...or roll your guitar's volume back just a touch.

    This way, you have the option of 'more gain' when you need something a little less defined.

    Also - the lead part may well have been an overdub in the studio - recorded with different settings?

    I know Eddie's playing style would have allowed him to play both parts in one pass, but there's also the possibility it was an overdub.
     
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  5. RoyalBaby

    RoyalBaby Tele-Afflicted

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    6-1! No wonder Panama isn't working...


    Err, I think it's often worth checking out live versions to work out what Eddie actually could do but I suspect it's as others have said it's about controlling a very loud amp with touch and knobs. A lot of players are almost constantly making minor adjustments as they go along, I'm not as familiar with Eddie but I've watched Gary Moore play at similar gain levels and he had to adjust controls almost constantly. With a driven amp the volume difference isn't really noticeable, it just knocks back the overall distortion.
     
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  6. 1300 E Valencia

    1300 E Valencia Friend of Leo's

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    Everybody uses way less gain than everybody else thinks.
     
  7. Anode100

    Anode100 Friend of Leo's

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    Cheeky!

    Well played...
     
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  8. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    This. And cranked amps. Hard to recreate exactly at lower levels.
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Are you a home player? I ask because I started that way and learned the bad habit of having a forceful right hand attack all the time.

    If so:
    1. Turn you amp up. Until it is too loud if you hit hard with your right hand. But just right if you pick softly.
    2. THEN set the amount of drive (NOT before setting the level).
    3. Set the drive so you get the max drive you need with your guitar volume on all the way and picking just a bit harder.
    4. Roll back your guitar volume a little bit when you want cleaner parts. AND/OR pick even more lightly when you want cleaner parts.

    Eddie played all this stuff live. That's what he's doing.

    Good luck.
     
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  10. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    Lots of helpful replies here.

    Yes I am a home player, and yes I do try to do this at lower volume levels.

    Since coming back to guitar after a 32 year layoff, I have played only fingerstyle - so that does make it easier for me at least to control how much right hand attack I am getting. And I do like to have the setup where it is a pretty clean sound when I touch the strings lightly but it breaks up when I hit them harder.

    But for whatever reason, this is vastly easier if I'm getting the dirt from the amp gain (Vox AC4) than if I'm getting the dirt from a pedal. Thus the difficulty, when I want dirt but don't want to rattle the windows.
     
  11. Hendrixlvr

    Hendrixlvr Tele-Holic

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    In my experience, I agree with the comments so far....turn the guitar volume back a bit, set less gain on whatever pedal you’re using (less is more), and strumming/picking hand control is key. I’ve found that the right hand is almost more important than the left
     
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  12. alathIN

    alathIN Tele-Holic

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    Why refrain? We live for comic comments around here.
     
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  13. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I think you need a source of dirt—whether amp or pedal—that cleans up or gets more distorted based on how hard you play.
     
  14. codamedia

    codamedia Poster Extraordinaire

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    ^^^ This ^^^

    and ^^^ This ^^^

    Turn the gain down and turn up louder... then control through dynamics and the volume control on the guitar.
    At lower volumes (a must for most home use) certain tones are very difficult to achieve. Once you get a chance to unleash the amp things start to fall into place.
     
  15. ICTRock

    ICTRock Tele-Afflicted

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    Where you get your drive from is important ... opamp and diode clipping isn’t nearly as dynamic as mosfet or jfet and those aren’t as dynamic as tubes ...
     
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  16. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    Having one of the greatest Marshall half stacks of all time(Like Eddie's) surely helps.
     
  17. Pepi

    Pepi Tele-Afflicted

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    Transparent Dirt is what you need.
     
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  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I am not a circuit guy but don’t agree with this as a generalization from a player perspective. My experience is once I get to stage volume, the type of technology is not determinative of dynamics.
     
  19. mitchfinck

    mitchfinck Tele-Holic

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    Sounds more like it wasn't from that! :lol:
     
  20. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    Don't forget about the impact your guitar's pickups have on your gain and tone. This is my double P-90 Telecaster with Jason Lollar HB sized P-90s. They're pretty hot at 9.7K neck, 10.8K bridge, and will easily add gain and sustain to my tone where my Telecaster with lower output single coils will not (i.e. at the same amp setting). They are currently my favorite pickups!

    IMG_3097.JPG
     
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