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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Croftcw, Jul 26, 2013.
Hey now, it was free... although I barely ever use it
Set the master volume to ten and then just use the volume knob. You will never get a good breakup with a twin and the master volume is notoriously sucky on Fender amps.
100% agree with the folks suggesting that you really make the volume knob on your guitar your go-to "effect" for boost, and utilize the tone control to blend in during the verses and such.
With your set up, I would consider using a smaller amp that I could get closer to full volume on, and mic it if necessary, then using the volume control on the guitar to back everything down when I'm not the center of attention for the song.
In the past 10 years my preferences have changed, and I would MUCH rather have a lower-powered amp going full-tilt, mic-ed up and coming through the monitors/mains... than a large amp that I struggle to control, and it gets too loud to run through the sound system.
Depending on what wah pedal it is... if you never use it...yank that sucker out of your signal chain. It alone could be a big drag on your signal. Most wah pedals are notorious for this.
I was playing with it on 10 for a while but it just sounds very harsh and punchy that way. I have been setting it to 6 lately and I noticed that the tone is smoother but then the output is low. I can't seem to find the right balance.
Thks for the input
older CryBaby wahs, with the dreaded circuit board inside, were definite tone vampires.
Other than that, the idea that perhaps your amp is not to your liking, has merit... can you borrow, or play thru, another amp, with your guitar and your pedalboard, to compare?
I know most people's gig performance will suffer if they HATE the sound they are getting. But it also sounds like possibly this might be new territory for you... from my experience, I never get "as good" as sound on any stage, as I do at home, so, all the pedals and knob twisting and everything else, that one does at home to get "the perfect sound"... its not going to happen anywhere else.
Over the years, I've learned the hard way... stage sound is what it is, and you learn to accept it and play thru it anyway. If I get close to what I expect, then I'm happy and I just let it rip, tater chip.
I also dont expect any of the more "Subtle" tone changes or effect changes to even be noticeable. If I run an effect, its not subtle.
The thing that sticks out to make is that your Twin is a 73'.
When's the last time it was serviced? If those electrolytic caps haven't been changed in the last 12-15 years your tone is going range from just OK, to bad. It could sound weak, thin or out of tune.
That's where I would start. Good clean tone IS the most important building block. You should have it in spades with that amp.
TheGoodTexan- Great suggestions. I can't believe I never thought to just up the volume knob for leads instead of using a compressor. I guess it was just engrained in my head that you never touch the volume or tone knobs for fear of "losing tone". That was a mistake. Yeah I am not mark tremonti and I chicken pick much more than I play rock style solos so the wah is about to get sold lol
Read 3, 4, and 5 at the link below for advice from Bill Lawrence about pickup height, and the best part...
5. The position and the angle of the attack is where You, the player, takes over.
Experienced players can create all kinds of sounds, just with their right hand technique. About a year ago, I was playing at a blues jam, and during the break, a young player asked me, "How do you switch so fast from the bridge pickup to the neck pickup, sometimes in the middle of a fast phrase?" I told him, " I don't", and showed him my guitar. He couldn't believe it, my guitar had only one pickup - the neck pickup. I told him all about the hot and the sweet spots on a string.
Try for yourself -- take your guitar and switch to the neck pickup and set your amp on low volume. Pluck your string with a medium thick pick at a right angle with medium force. Start to pluck the string at the end of the fingerboard, and, slowly, go up towards the bridge. You will recognize a steady change in output and tone, and somewhere close to the center between bridge and neck, you will find that beautiful sweet spot. Now, change to a more forceful attack, and also change the angle of attack to 45 degrees; you'll be surprised of all the sounds you can get! Then, repeat the whole process with different pickup selections. Single coil pickups are generally more sensitive to these changes than large humbuckers. It requires a lot of practice before you can master this technique, but with practice, you can duplicate the effects of a wah wah pedal just by changing the force, the position and the angle of the attack.
Another thought... have you paid much attention to the height adjustment on your pickups? I know a lot of folks that fall into a trap of thinking that higher output single-coils must be the ticket for improving their sound, when the opposite may actually be true. The stock pickups in your guitar are probably pretty good, and with a screw driver adjustment to the height of them, you may get closer to the sound you're wanting.
Something that has worked for me in the past is this - adjust the pickups down very low... almost ridiculously low... and gradually bring them up, taking mental note on how your sound changes as you go along. I found that I usually prefer basic single coil pickups adjusted lower than where they come stock from the factory. They seem to have have a more even EQ to them when they're lower.
For years, I just had a Rat that I used for solos. Solo, turn Rat on. Solo over, turn Rat off. No fuss, no muss. Obviously, I didn't have a lot of sonic variety in my solos, either, but it can be incredibly stress-reducing to not have a lot of gear to worry about. I recently did a couple of gigs with my ska band where I just used a little Peavey solid-state amp with a built-in lead channel and it it was the same deal. One tone for rhythm, one tone for solos, and away I go. That said, all of these examples were from ska bands where the horn players were taking the majority of the solos anyway, so I didn't have to cover a lot of different ground, tone-wise.
As to your specific question, I can imagine a tone (with one OD/distortion pedal) where you turn your guitar volume up, and have a thick, bluesy tone, and you turn the volume down a little and there's still enough compression to to chicken-pick. The difference in guitar volume and picking style means that you won't hear most of the "dirt" that you would get if you turned up the volume and played Jimmy Page riffs.
Personally, I hate being *that* dependent on my guitar knobs for specific tones, because I'm kinda spazzy and have trouble getting the controls to the exact right place (or, more importantly, back to "normal" when I'm done with my solo) but if you're a little more adept than me, this is an approach you could take. (In this case, you may only need to fiddle with your knobs between songs rather than at the end of the solo, so that makes it a lot easier).
No dumb questions. Others can explain it better than me, but basically it changes the "impedance" of your signal (not sure exactly what that is myself), which doesn't change the volume or the tone(?), but allows it to "push" through a longer run of cable without the signal getting degraded. A lot of pedals have buffers built in (e.g. all Boss pedals) but the recent craze for true bypass pedals has meant that a lot of pedals are now coming out without built-in buffers, so some people wind up suffering tone loss when they're trying to improve their tone. Google "buffer true bypass pedal" and you'll have more reading than you can possibly do on the subject.
You should be able to find a happy medium where you leave all your pedals as-is and only tweak your guitar knobs between songs. Eventually you may get to the point where you have different OD/distortion pedals pre-set for different songs (or even different delays, if you're really fancy) but the best thing you can do for now is strip your rig down to the bare minimum and only build up from there when you feel like there's something important missing. I can't stress enough that *how* you play (your chops) are infinitely more important to your audience's enjoyment of the songs (and probably yours as well), so when in doubt, leave it at home.
Doesn't the Twin have two channels? Can you set your Volume and Gain on each channel so that one channel has more grit than the other? Then use the foot pedal to switch between them. Keep the Master volume low and adjust the individual channel volumes to suit your taste.
I have a Peavey Delta Blues, and I set one channel louder and grittier than the other. I switch to that channel for leads, and use the cleaner channel for quieter stuff. I also have a Barber overdrive pedal for serious crunch, giving me a total of three settings for easy options.
Totally agree about the wah - my old Crybaby sucked tone.
A thought - how about trying an amp with power settings. That way you can play it at the sweet 'breakup' point but still control the overall volume. I have a big old Peavey Bandit with that and it means it can be pushed nicely but stay at sensible levels for smaller venues.
Or even - sacreligious I know - something like a Mustang III. You can choose a good amp model and set it to break up, then use the master volume for overall sound.
Get that right with no pedals then maybe introduce a couple once you are happy?
Buy a Dr Z, you can thank me later...
How old are your e-caps in your amp, and what speakers. Those might be holding you back if the amp hasn't been serviced in a long time.
Way too much pedals. Loose everything, keep a tuner & your favorite boost/overdrive. For your amp, try your sound with bright switch disengaged, treble 6; middle 5, bass 4, reverb 3 (you can put the volume at around 3)
You should have a nice bold clean spanky tone. If it's not hhappening, play with your pickups height - noting that noiseless pickups can SUCK most of the time. & yours are not like the 8th wonder of the world
but still; even with those in a healthy 73 twin - you should get a gorgeous thing going.
Wow. There are so many ways to skin this cat. Back in the 80s I was brought into a band to be the lead vocalist guy and add some sax on some songs. At our debut show, a month later, I found myself getting the guitar player check out stare from Rob Fetters (played with Adrian Belew in the Bears among other accomplishments.) Suddenly I noticed that I was surrounded by all sorts of mostly new guitar oriented stuff and was playing a new guitar. WTF?
I came into that band with a guitar set up that sounded like a dentist drill. The other two guitar players in the band took time to help me work on my tone. Hell, to tell me that I sounded like crap in the first place, They both could play much better than me, and I sure ain't the greatest player today. They gave me both specific and general advice till I could figure it out on my own.
So maybe you can find somebody to help you out. Once you get it, you can pretty much get something out of almost any set up that you run into.
Several people have mentioned the wah pedal. The Dunlop Cry Baby original pedal is a horrible tone sucker. If you really want a wah in your pedal chain, get another wah with true bypass. Even better is a wah with a gain control. I switched from a Cry Baby to a Fulltone Clyde Deluxe and the difference was dramatic.
Also, you might want to experiment with the order of the pedals in your chain. The placement of effects can definitely affect tone.
Quick Question concerning volume pedal. I have the ernie ball VP and I have noticed that I cannot lower my volume without lowering the gain. You would think that the VP would strictly control volume but it lowers the gain on my pedals and so it's pretty much useless because of that. Does anyone know how to get it to keep your gain levels the same?
Volume pedal after overdrives.