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clueless


(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

I realy am clueless. the band i play in have a great time, just simple, middle of the road covers played tightly, noting fancy and lots of people dancing - we love it. but my sound is pants!!
i have a vintage made les paul copy guitar and i like it, but i have trouble getting a good sound out of it. i have a boss overdrive pedal, but thats it, and a big old amp of no well known make.

i am willing to invest in some equipment to get a lovely live sound from it, but i need to know what gear to use? i am currently just switching between pickups to get a boost in volume for solos, using the rhythm pick up at a low volume, and the treble at a high volume with the amp turned right up, and when a solo comes up, i switch to the treble pick up.

are there any effects units, or particular amp settings that people generally use to help get a nice sound when playing live and changing between rhythm and lead??

any advice given will be greatly appreciated - i think i probably have £350 max to spend

what do i need to do?? p.s we tend not to go through a PA system, because we dont have one, we all have separate amps for our instruments.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@scrybe)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2246
 

you're the cat I chatted with a while back about gear aint you? posted a link to you doing brown eyed girl with ya band, right?

okay, the guitar..cheap pickups and probably cheap wood. you could upgrade your pups to e.g. seymour duncan '59 humbucker set for under £100 to get a better sound (they stock 'em at thomann.de, a very good company, from my experience). the wood being cheap will limit this, however. but you can keep the pups and if you do later get a better guitar (e.g. an epiphone les paul), take the pups out of the vintage and drop them into the new guitar. or sell them on here.

is the amp solid state or tube? personally, I hate loathe detest (and every other negative word you can think of) solid state amps. I'd go tube. every time. but they're not cheap. however, the grainger blues twin is cheap, retailing at £299 - http://www.legacymusicalinstruments.com/productdetails/BLUESTWIN/ its an Epiphone tube amp, btut rebadged. another one to look at are the Harley Benton (I think) amps on thomann.de as its the same thing going on there.

pedals - again, this is personal taste, but I don't rate the boss drive pedals. I'd try the blackstar ht-drive, but its around £100. a cheaper, but very good option would be the marshall bluesbreaker pedal, retailing at £32.

new pickups+tube amp+ pedal would = much better sound. and would also = roughly £432, slightly higher than your budget. but not excessively so.

I'd start with a pickup/guitar change. your amp may well be okay (if you can borrow someone else's guitar and try it in your amp, this'll help you find out), but if a cheap guitar is plugged in, the amp will sound pretty crap. this is inherent to the syndrome known as GAS - there are potentially so many different parts of one's rig, but they all play a part in overall sound, to get the best out of any one bit of kit, you need the rest of the kit to be of similar standard (says the guitarist currently overhauling half her collection's pickups for this very reason, lol).

hth

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@trguitar)
Famed Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3711
 

Well, hard to say without evaluating the equipment. You can take your axe to a music store and try it through a good amp. that will tell you a lot. Scrybes idea of a better guitar through your amp can be diagnostic too.

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard,
grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em."
-- The Webb Wilder Credo --


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

Before you go spending a lot of money, try a simple EQ pedal like the Danelectro Fish and Chips.

Danelectro Fish & Chips

This EQ pedal is very reasonably priced, but works and sounds everybit as good as more popular "name" brands costing 2,3 even 4 times as much. It is one of the best bargains out there.

If this is not available to you, you might try the Behringer model. And of course you can go with more expensive models like the Boss. The more expensive models tend to be more durable, but if you take care of the lower cost brands they will last many years. The Danelectro is actually very durable and well made.

But an EQ allows you to more finely tune your tone. Most guitar amps give you Low, Mids, and Highs to adjust your tone. This is good, but they cover too broad a spectrum of frequencies. So it makes it difficult to get that "perfect" tone you are looking for. With an EQ, each slider controls a much less broad range of frequencies, so you can experiment and really pull in the tone you are after.

I can also tell you this playing with a band. You don't want to use the popular "scooped mids" tone where you crank Lows and Highs way up and cut all your Mids. This sounds great at home by yourself, but in a band situation you will get buried by the bass guitar. No, crank Mids up high and experiment with moderate amounts of Lows and Highs. You will think you have a brand new amp, your tone will come out and you will hear the guitar seperate from the bass. Let the bass guy play the low notes, that's his job. :D

So try more Mids on your amp to begin with. But an EQ pedal is a small investment that can make a huge difference in your tone.

Do that before you spend a lot of money. That might be the trick.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5492
 

I'm with most people here. Make sure you determine the weekest point and fix that first.

A couple of other notes. Seymour Duncan has a program over here. Buy an have them installed. Don't Like 'em? They'll give you replacements. All's you pay for is the tech's time. I think they even give you 30 days to try them out before the deal is over.

Oh, as has been said, Tube Amps rule!!! I've got tube amp with a few pedals and love it. Still have my digitalthing going on in the office though. Boss GT-6 plugged into a Fender FM212R.

That EQ thing Wes is talking about makes a difference on anything. Doubt you'd ever not use once you have. Cheap to boot.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

thanks guys - thats great. i had a listen to your advice and had a look at an EQ pedal.

However, i work in a school and the amp belongs to them and it is on a limited loan - so i must buy a new one whatever else happens.
i have had my eye on one of these
http://www.gear4music.com/Guitar_Amps/Peavey/Peavey_ValveKing_212_Combo_Guitar_Ampsefv_4.html

any ideas on them??

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@scrybe)
Noble Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 2246
 

I think I may have found your guitar, at last! - http://www.micromusic.co.uk/Productlist.aspx?aid=39

The problem with a brand being called 'Vintage' - you google search, and get a bunch of '60s strats instead.

Anyways, found that by accident as it happens. Seems like it may be a decent wood, ubut I'd still consider a pup change (bear in mind I quite possibly have pup GAS right now though).

+1 Wes's suggestion on the EQ - I've yet to own one, so I never think to suggest it, but a recent discussion with him has led me to add it to my 'to buy' list for recording at least, and he knows what he's talking about, imho.

right amps.........one thing I will say is this - DON'T buy it from gear4music. Seriously. I'm just about to phone them up (again) to complain about my keyboard (again) which ought to have arrived over a month ago. I'm supposed to be here when its delivered to sign for it, only they've changed the delivery date at the last minute every day for over a week now. Before that, the delivery date would change roughly once a week/once every 4 days. Apparently no 'out of stock' issue for this, either. They're honestl the worst company I've dealt with and, if I hadn't had positive online experiences at places like thomann.de, I'd be buying all my stuff locally. Online, I've thomann.de, DV247, Andertons, and Soundslive have been good companies, in my experience. Just saying, since ya linked to gear4music's site.

the amp itself - yeah, I've heard good things about it, although I've yet to use one for a good period of time myself. Peavey amps are generally solidly built, quality amps, too. But I'll shut up now and let owners/users of the amp comment. Just couldn't let ya order from that site without warning you. By the time your amp turned up, you'd be about ready for a Fender '57 Twin.

hth

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

thanks scrybe, another good reply... much appreciated - i will stay clear of gear4music. thanks

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5599
 

The ValveKing is a great amp, but save some money and your back and get the 1 X 12. I have been playing in clubs for years and I can tell you from experience, unless you play in very large auditoriums, you will never need a 2 X 12. They do sound fuller than a 1 X 12, but they weigh a ton. Trust me, you will get tired of hauling that thing around real quick. The 1 X 12 50 watt version will be more than plenty for any club you play, and if you do happen to play some huge hall or a very large crowd, you just mic it into your PA.

Used to be everybody wanted the huge impressive stack on stage. And some bands still do that. But today, bands are going with smaller, more portable gear. Even pros like Eric Clapton and Neil Young use small portable amps now.

That is just my 2 cents, but your back will thank me later. :D

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


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(@almann1979)
Noble Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1283
Topic starter  

thanks- much appreciated

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


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(@tommy-guns)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 314
 

I just bought the Custom Audio Electronics Clean Boost pedal and I think it is great. I chose this one because I previously have used my volume knob, volume pedal (same effect), the Fish & Chips pedal, a Blues Breaker and the Lead Channel on my amp and they all change the overall tone when I go into a lead. Useless if you playing clean and need to play above the mix. The Clean Boost (check out the demonstration on Youtube) doesn't distort goes up to 20Db's and doesn't start to distort until around 18Db's. Before that it just amplifies your current tone when its on and push the button and your back in the mix with the band.

Great Pedal.

Ambition is the path to success...persistence is the vehicle you arrive in!!!


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(@misanthrope)
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Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2268
 

Online, I've thomann.de, DV247, Andertons, and Soundslive have been good companies, in my experience.
I used to work 10 mins walk away from Andertons... happy, happy lunchtimes

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


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