How do you set your amp to use drive pedals?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jwmanz, Jul 19, 2019.

  1. jwmanz

    jwmanz Tele-Meister

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    Do you keep the amp clean and let the pedals do all the work?
    Do you let the amp break up a little and have your drive pedals push it into distortion?

    I like the sound of my amp’s overdrive. I like to set up my amp so there is some grit if I dig into my guitar, but cleans up when I soften my attack. My problem is I can never get a heavier overdrive with a pedal that doesn’t sound fizzy or just a muddy mess when my amp already is starting to break up. I can get some heavier drive when I clean up the amp and just use a pedal, but them I’m missing out on some of the natural overdrive.

    Any advice?

    Currently I use an MXR Micro Amp (its a boost pedal) and a Timmy.
     
  2. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I set my amp so that the most drive I get is some mild crunch if my guitar's volume is all the way up (my "normal" is about 7-8) and hit it hard. Think the rhythm part in "You Shook Me All Night Long", give or take.

    Then I set my pedals to work with this. I may set the level knobs to give a little extra push, but to be honest if I'm using a dirt pedal then it's providing most of the dirt.

    This is partly because I'm not crazy about my amp's overdrive, but mostly because I'll use one of three different distortions depending on what "flavor" I want. I use a Radial Tonebone Tri-Mode most of the time, as it's my most versatile one. I have a Keeley-modded DS-1 I use for "Marshall"-type tones. And finally a Z. Vexx Fuzz Factory. Given the way I set my amp, if I'm using a pedal it's set for more gain than that, though I may still roll the guitar's volume back. I guess I use pedals to raise my upper gain limit.

    I'm afraid the only advice I can offer is to set your amp the way you want it, independent of anything else. Then play with your pedals to see how they can get you what you want from your amp. Since you already set your amp to break up on its own, maybe back down a bit on your pedals' level knobs? Use them more to add gain than to boost the signal.
     
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  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Meister

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    Depends on what sound I’m looking for for a while I used a clean ac-15 with a b.k butler tube works always on and would stack overdrive/fuzz on top of that for a dirty sound.
    Now I usually use a custom 68 princeton set fairly clean and use overdrive and fuzz for different flavors.
    I usually have the problem you’re talking about if an amp is already at break up I find that adding overdrive on top adds to many undesirable overtones and bad distortion.

    I don’t really have any advice you just gotta experiment with different set ups,
    For example I never cared for putting a lot of effects into my Vox ac-15 it just always sounded thin and I couldn’t get the master volume just right,
    Then I switched to using the 68 custom princeton and I found it to take pedals exactly how I wanted.
    And exclusively use the ac-15 for plug and play

    So in the end it’s all personal preference and up to you to find that’s the hard part of tone chasing it can take a long time to find out what works for you
     
  4. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    have you tried a clean boost? how about an eq pedal?
     
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  5. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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    Clean amp, all the tone settings to 12 o'clock or '5'.

    I may as well be pushing the pedals into a PA head for all it matters.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  6. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Holic

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    I turn up the gain as far as I can without too much overdrive (clean overdrive).
    Obviously, gives more headroom with S/C's than HB's.
    Then use on OD pedal with gain at 1 or 2 o'clock & vol at 12 o'clock.
    So the pedal volume on it's own is pushing the amp more, but with a little extra oomph from the gain.
     
  7. jwmanz

    jwmanz Tele-Meister

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    Thanks everyone. Seems like some of you have the same issue as me.

    @cyclopean, to your question the Micro Amp is a clean boost and does a really good job at that (its a pretty underrated pedal in my opinion).

    I have a thought of trying to go more clean and finding another drive to pair with the Timmy. I’m thinking something like an OCD or maybe a Gain Changer. I haven’t done a lot of research yet though.

    Before that I’ll try some of the suggestions here and mess around more with the knobs on the drive pedals.
     
  8. horseman308

    horseman308 Tele-Holic

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    I play a Prosonic as my main amp with a really good OD section, so here's what I do.

    Set the clean side for "the sweet spot" where it's clean and sparkling unless I dig in hard with the guitar volume all the way up (I've got low-efficiency Jensens and play in the 30-watt mode. So it's not as loud as you'd think). When I want crunchy rhythm, I use an MXR Custom B@d@ss Modified OD set to lower gain, which gives me kind of an Exile on Mainstreet type OD.

    I use the amp's OD for high(ish)-gain stuff, usually alone. If I need super thick gain, I can stack the MXR with the amp's OD, but I usually don't. Then I have a clean boost with adjustable low and high freq's to give my leads a bit more body, adjusting actual volume with the guitar.

    My home/practice amp is a VHT Special 6 running a Celestion VX10. I set that wherever I can get away with (depending on who is home, so it's mostly pure clean) and use an MXR Classic Distortion for crunch. When I'm home alone, I can push the VHT to natural OD and then stack the MXR it desired. Either way, it sounds divine!

    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
     
  9. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Meister

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    I set mine where I like my "baseline" - single notes clean with an edge, but enough to make double-stops grunt when I want it. I use the low gain input too.

    After that I usually forget to use any of my pedals because I'm digging that sound too much...

    Then I adjust the bass and gain on Timmy until it gets me into the "Stop Breaking Down" zone of loose distortion down low, and adjust treble to get kind of a strangle-y sound in the upper mids and treble that has a lot of sustain.

    I mess with gain and volume to get unity volume with the the pedal off. Gain is somewhere around Noon and volume is pretty low.

    I use the toggle in the midde position - the one that gives the sound the loosest, sloppiest distortion.

    It's not a sound that screams "distortion pedal", it sounds more like an amp cooking instead.
     
  10. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    Super & Pro, fortunately to keep set at studio & band levels all the time. My amp is set at a sweet spot(speakers were chosen for the exact point) where i get my chords on 5..crunch at 7 & dime for leads..on my guitar volume..use a RAT set nuetral very little gain & use Filter knob as an EQ for switching from SG to Strat-tele. have 1 or 2 OD's set to influence the process if needed. Almost endless tone choices & very consistent tone & volume control. Change out pedal from time to time for some dif flav. But for me its always making guitar & amp work together first then adding things.
     
  11. jwmanz

    jwmanz Tele-Meister

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    I appreciate the continued feedback. I was just messing around with the amp set more clean and the Timmy doing all the overdrive. It certainly reduced the muddiness. However, at this point the Micro Amp is simply adding a little more drive to the Timmy. The amp is so clean that the Micro Amp really only boosts a clean single. It’s helpful, but different.
     
  12. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    try diming the micro amp into the timmy. also try the bass cut knob.
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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  14. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Ah, yes! That's another good tip. More gain (whether from boosts, cranking a gain knob, whatever) doesn't always play nice with lower frequencies. So try setting things so that your higher gain tones use less bass (or at least don't add more bass).
     
  15. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Meister

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    rangemaster clone into ocd into clean bassman channel.
     
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  16. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    the timmy bass knob is a bass cut and the treble knob is a treble boost.

    the high pass filter on a jaguar is also good for cutting mud.

    most distortion and overdrive pedals seem to cut bass.
     
  17. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    I use a Timmy set for neutral tone and a bit of gain to goose the amp. To me that is where the Timmy shines. Then I use other drive pedals like a Paisley drive or Marshall Drivemaster for the dirt.
     
  18. stnmtthw

    stnmtthw Friend of Leo's

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    This is how I set up my AC15. I usually have the amp gain set about halfway up- loud, but still clean. Then I use the level control on my SD-1 to push it into overdrive. Adjust the master volume to the room.
     
  19. ahiddentableau

    ahiddentableau Tele-Meister

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    A lot of this depends on the way that pedals are designed. Some are voiced to be used with an amp that is already breaking up--the tube screamer is the classic example of this. Using a TS9 with a clean amp sounds lousy. But use it when the amp is set at edge of break up and it's magic. The Timmy is a really flexible pedal and can work OK both ways, but IMO it usually sounds better on an already overdriven amp.

    As a general rule, overdrives are supposed to be used with the amp on edge of breakup (whereas a lot of distortion pedals are designed to be used on cleans). There's no hard and fast rule, so you kind of have to trial and error it. But if you're having trouble you should always try both ways. If you do, you'll usually find a good sound without much trouble.
     
  20. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

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    I used to play straight into an amp and want it nasty. That’s not always a good thing. Now I prefer a clean amp and pedals for all stages of overdrive and distortion.
    You may need to try other pedals, or add a couple. It’s hard to get everything out of one or two. The type of amp and guitar makes a big difference in pedal selection too.
     
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