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Overdriving amps

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xg5a
 xg5a
(@xg5a)
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Recently i've been using an old Traynor Bass Master Mark II tube head to play guitar through (if you read my other topic about vintage speakers, you'll see why i have enough speaker power to finally run it). The problem is that it's 90 watts RMS, and has no gain control. When distorted, it's way too loud for anything but a very large gig.
Is there some sort of effect that I can get that will overdrive the amp at a lower volume. Maybe a signal booster or something like that? Keep in mind that I don't want a "distortion" or "overdrive" pedal. I play through this amp because of it's tone, not so it can amplify the tone of a pedal. I've heard of signal boosters that guitar players used to have before gain controls, like the Electro-Harmonix LPB-1. Are those still around? Everything on musicians friend adds distortion, instead of overdriving your amp.


   
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Ricochet
(@ricochet)
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A real overdrive pedal is just a signal booster, but lots of them do have heavy distortion built in. I've got an old Tube Works "Blue Tube" pedal that does a good job of boosting into preamp distortion without adding a lot of its own distortion.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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vink
 vink
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Attenuator?

--vink
"Life is either an adventure or nothing" -- Helen Keller


   
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PRNDL
(@prndl)
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>> Is there some sort of effect that I can get that will overdrive the amp at a lower volume.

You might want to read about the Ibanez TS-808, which is exactly what you need in an analog pedal.
http://www.analogman.com/ts9.htm

Another option would be to add a few tube preamp stages with a pedal like one of these:

http://www.harmony-central.com/Effects/Data/Matchless/HotBox_Tube_Preamp_Pedal-01.html
http://www.harmony-central.com/Effects/Data/Ibanez/TK999_Tube_King_Overdrive-01.html

Good luck!!

1 watt of pure tube tone - the Living Room Amp!
http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Amps/LivingRoomAmp.html
Paper-in-oil caps rule!


   
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forrok_star
(@forrok_star)
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If you read through this part of the forum you'll find many times where different attenuators are talked about. They allow you to drive your amp at its saturation point at a lower volume.

joe


   
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xg5a
 xg5a
(@xg5a)
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Topic starter  

Well, I don't really want to spend as much as an attenuator costs. What would you guys reccomend as far as a signal booster or distortion pedal that doesn't have built in distortion that isn't too expensive?


   
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Ignar Hillström
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The problem with using pedals is that there is, IMHO, very little difference between a DS1 pedal through a crate transistor amp and the same pedal through a Fender tube amp, in other words it's a bit of a waste of your amp. Boosters might work a bit but won't really get you very far at low volume either. I'm with Joe: might cost a bit more (although big-brand attenuators can be had online for about $100) but it will give you far, far more control over the amp.


   
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sito71
(@sito71)
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i for one would like to find out more about attenuators...as i too have a tube amp


   
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PRNDL
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This might be more appropriate for you, since it is a clean boost.
It also adds channel switching to old tube amps.
Barber Electronics makes some of the best effects - check out their reviews on Harmony Central.

The Barber Launch Pad,

Ultimate high headroom uncolored CLEAN BOOST.
This Clean boost, also can be used as a DI, buffer, switcher and multi function high headroom analog gain device.

Features:

Extremely clean dynamic clean boost.

Two outputs that represent both + and - phase. This feature allows phase correcting Blackface and Silverface Fender amps, also you will be able to combine the channels for ultra flexibility and combined harmonics of parallel preamps.

Main output can be used as a standard unbalanced out or balanced out for interfacing to software guitar programs and recording equipment (balanced or unbalanced DI).

The Launch Pad has tremendous clean headroom that makes it an excellent signal buffer from unity gain to 20db boost.

Two outputs allow using the Launch Pad as an A/B with separate output levels. This also will allow you to drive separate or parallel effects chains with OD pre-driving from the Launch pad.

The Launch Pad can be used as a split to your guitar/bass tuner, this keeps the less than optimum audio performance tuner circuits out of your audio chain for much improved sonics.

The internal operating voltage of the Launch pad is 24 volts; this gives far greater headroom than traditional 9-18 volt clean boost pedals. This high voltage internal operation is achieved while still using a standard 9 volt adaptor or battery to power the Launch pad.

True bypass.

Separate controls for, sensitivity, + output and - output.

list price $124.95

http://www.barberelectronics.com/LaunchPad.htm

1 watt of pure tube tone - the Living Room Amp!
http://www.naturdoctor.com/Chapters/Amps/LivingRoomAmp.html
Paper-in-oil caps rule!


   
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xg5a
 xg5a
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Topic starter  

Arjen, i'm not looking for a distortion pedal. And as far as boosters not driving my amp enough, the 1st channel of the Traynor is attenuated a bit as it is. I just need a little bit more for the tone i'm looking for. I don't need the pedal to take it from completely clean to turned up all of the way.

PRNDL:
THat pedal sounds great, but I don't think that I need all of those features, and don't really want to pay that much. Don't get me wrong, it sounds great, and it sounds like it'd do exactly what I want, but it's just a bit much.


   
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E.Sherman
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Won't a boost pedal add to the colume anyways?

Also, you may as well spend the money on an attenuator now. Becuase you aren't going to get a satisfying tone with your amp unless you shell out decent money for a pedal, and once your at that point you might as well go the extra mile and get something that will sound great as opposed to good enough.

The king of rock, some say lives
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Ignar Hillström
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I dont really get it it now. Boosters will overdrive your preamp but, as sherman says, adds to the volume just like your volume knob. So thats not what you need. You dont want a distortion pedal altough you asked for distortion pedal advice two posts before and dont want to spend the money on an attenuator. Maybe I'm missing something but these three options are all you've got (short of pulling tubes and stuff like that).

Could you please explain again what you want and how much money you can spend? Forgive me my stupidity. :(


   
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Ricochet
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Boosting the preamp will only increase the volume while it's still clean. When it starts "crunching" from clipping, the volume doesn't go up anymore, it just gets more distorted.

I've hooked up the Blue Tube overdrive to my Valve Junior for some low volume crunch. Sounds good. Works exactly the same way turning up the gain with the master volume down does on a master volume amp. An overdrive pedal is just an additional preamp stage.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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xg5a
 xg5a
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Topic starter  

Well, this idea of mine started when I started complaning to my dad about the lack of a gain know. He told me about how back in the 70's before gain knobs, the guitar players used to use sognal boosters to overdrive their amps more.
However, now I think he may have meant that they got more distortion, and not distortion at lower volumes.
I looked up the original owners manual for the Traynor head, and it turns out that it has an internal attenuator on one of the imputs. I did an experiment the other day with the amp hooked up to both speakers and cranked it on the attenuator channel(nobody was home). It was a very usable volume, and an awesome tone. Now I feel very silly, though, about asking everybody about something that I didn't really need. Sorry about that.


   
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Ricochet
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I think he may have meant that they got more distortion, and not distortion at lower volumes.Most likely. But it works both ways.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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