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Toneampdistortion advice

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BillyBoy
(@billyboy)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 91
Topic starter  

After I ramble a while, I'll try to formulate some specific questions.. :?

Recap. Before: Rockman x100 and JC-90. Since then bought several pedals I've been playing with for a couple weeks with my JC-90. I'm looking for a specific distortionoverdrive sound but adjectives describing it are subjective as always: I guess it's one of those "I'll know it when I hear it.." things. But that could get expensive barking up the wrong tree and buying toys.

The two pedals I've been playing with are the analog man TS9 with the 808 mod and the Rat2. Also bought an MXR 10-band EQ. Along with a little of the JC's reverb and chorus, have tried pretty much every concievable variation and order with these two.

TS9 - love this pedal. Full, clean puts some punch into it. Makes my JC sound like a totally different amp. Can see why it's popular, blues especially. As great as it sounds looking for the option of something thicker (think Metallica, Tool, etc..)

Rat2 - it is what it is, not so subtle clipping metal pedal (almost fuzz like). But even tweaked it still sounds somewhat brittle and harsh (even for Metallica, Tool, etc..)

Both are doing what they're suppose to so no complaints. But looking for something almost inbetween.

Is the answer going tube amp? Would the Rat sound less harsh or would the TS9 fill out more with a tube amp cranked a little?

Keep trying other pedals, any other recomendations?

Tried finding an example, would be happy with this, especially the solo sound: thick, full, rich yet clear... all subjective of course.

"In my dreams your blowin' me... some kisses" - Lets Duet - Dewford Randolph Cox


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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If I understood your post, you are using Alex Lifeson's tone on Tom Sawyer as an example of the tone you are after?

If so, check out all the different gear Alex has used over the years. I got this from Wikipedia.

Guitar equipment
In Rush's early career, Lifeson used a Gibson ES-335 for the first single and the first four Rush studio albums. For the 2112 tour, he used a 1974 Gibson Les Paul and Marshall amplification. For the A Farewell to Kings sessions, Lifeson began using a Gibson EDS-1275 for songs like Xanadu and his main guitar became a cream-colored Gibson ES-355. During this period Lifeson used Hiwatt amplifiers. For effects Lifeson used various phaser and flanger pedals, a Cry Baby Wah Wah, along with Marshall 100 watt Super Lead amplifiers and 4x12 cabinets. Beginning in the late 1970s, he increasingly incorporated twelve-string guitar (acoustic and electric) and used a Boss CE-1 Chorus Ensemble and later, the Boss Dimension C. By 1982 Lifeson's primary guitar was a modified Fender Stratocaster with a Bill Lawrence high-output humbucker L-500 in the bridge position and a Floyd Rose vibrato bridge. Lifeson increasingly relied on a selection of four identically modified Stratocasters from 1980 to 1986, all of them equipped with the Floyd Rose bridge. For the Moving Pictures and Signals albums, and on concurrent tours, Lifeson used up to four rare Marshall 4140 Club & Country 100W combo amps. In the mid 1980s Lifeson switched from passive to active pickups in his guitars, and from vacuum tube to solid-state amplification, all with an increasingly thick layer of digital signal processing. He became an endorser of Gallien-Krueger and Dean Markley solid-state guitar amplifier lines and Dean Markley Blue Steel strings respectively, gauges .009-.046. In the late 1980s he switched to Carvin amplifiers in the studio and his short-lived Signature brand guitars onstage and in the studio.

Lifeson primarily used PRS guitars during the recording of Roll The Bones in 1990/1991. When recording 1993's Counterparts, Lifeson continued to use PRS Guitars and Marshall amplifiers to record the album, and for the subsequent tour. Lifeson continued to use PRS along with Fender and Gibson guitars, Hughes & Kettner Triamp MK II and zenTera amplifiers and cabinets. In 2005, Hughes & Kettner introduced an Alex Lifeson signature series amplifier with $50 from each amplifier sold will be donated to UNICEF.

Alex Lifeson playing his Garrison GD25-12 guitarFor the 2007 Snakes & Arrows Tour, Lifeson replaced his PRS Guitars with Gibson Les Pauls. In a 2007 interview for Guitarist magazine, Lifeson states "I hear PRS on everything these days and I wanted a little bit of a change ... I love them [PRS] but they have a smaller sound than the bigger heavier Gibsons ... I just wanted to be more traditional."[citation needed] He has Fishman Aura piezoelectric pickup systems installed into his Les Pauls to model acoustic guitar sounds without changing guitars. Alex (as of July 2008) also has Floyd Rose tremolos on his main Les Pauls). He has also replaced his Hughes & Kettner zenTera amp heads with Switchblade heads (which, like the zenTeras, include built-in programmable digital effects, such as chorus and delay, but are valve-powered instead of transistor-powered), while retaining his signature series H&K Triamp heads. His effects for the 2007 tour include a TC Electronics G-Force rack multi-FX, a TC Electronics 1210 spatial expander and a Loft 440 Delay Line/Flanger, as well as the effects built into his Switchblade heads.

Good luck figuring that out, in the video he is using two different Gibson ES335s and a large pedalboard, don't know the make. I think I saw one guitar amp in the video, that may have been a Carvin.

But he doesn't sound anything like Metallica to me. You are not going to get Metallica with a Tubescreamer, too low gain, that is more of a Blues pedal. And the Rat is really a fuzz in my opinion ( I own one of the rare early 80s models).

To get Metallica, you are probably going to need a Marshall or Mesa Boogie type tone. There is a pedal that will get you a very authentic Marshall tone, the Marshall Guv'nor Plus II pedal. It sounds like an old JCM800. It is not super high gain though, you would probably need to push it with a Metal pedal. Your tubescreamer might push it there.

This will still not get you Lifeson's tone, there are a lot of effects in there. But if you want a Marshall tone, try the Guv'nor, I own one and it will get you a very thick tone.

Here is my Guv'nor played live through the clean channel of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. No effects, just the pedal up a little over half. I was just going for an overdrive crunch, it has a little more gain than this, but not quite Metal. The solo I just switched to the Drive channel on the amp, that would be very similar to boosting this pedal with the Tubescreamer. Pardon the horrible singing, we've worked on this and it sounds much better now. But this is a good clip of this pedal, if you've ever heard a Hot Rod Deluxe it is just a super-clean Fender tone, so to get a Fender to sound Marshall is pretty great.

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6724560

That is probably still not high-gain enough for you. Many of the multi-efx pedals will get you Metallica like tones. My brother game me a Zoom G1X multi-efx for Christmas and it has some great amp models that are very heavy.

Zoom G1X

Myself, I like Zoom pedals. They have great distortions in my opinion. Modulations like Chorus and Phase are good, but not great. But I think their distortions kick all the others a$$. And I've owned many different brands.

But go to Musician's Friend or other sites and check out the Boss, Digitech, Line 6, Vox, etc... multi-efx pedals. Many have clips you can listen to, you can probably find your tone. :D

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


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Oh, I just remembered, I also have a clip of the Guv'nor pushed by my Behringer TO800 which is a Tubescreamer clone (and a great one at that). I was also using some Chorus, Phase, and Delay. Just trying to get that over-the-top tone that David Gilmore gets. This is not to promote myself, these were both our poorest performances at a recent gig. But you get a realistic clip, not something produced in state-of-the-art studio on gear that cost more than your house. :roll:

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6724545

I was getting lots of feedback, but my amp was surrounded by tarps, it was raining hard. But I got a pretty thick, singing tone with pretty simple gear.

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


   
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BillyBoy
(@billyboy)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 91
Topic starter  

Yeah, Lifeson has a rep for lots of effects, kinda like the Edge. His sound has changed drastically over all their albums. That's the problem with examples. They box you in.

Trying to describe what your after without having much gear knowledge is like throwing darts. Almost frustrating.

Re-reading my post I guess the question was: would tube distortion make a noticable difference in my tone? Overall thicker, more pleasant regardless what pedals I push through it? I've seen several people mention solid-state tends to be a bit thin and harsh. My JC has the most perfect cleanchorus I've ever heard but it does sound lacking trying to push it. Don't know why that is but I'm a lot closer than I was a couple months ago.

Bottom line - I need to spend more time at GC trying different amps and crap.

Really like what you did with Comfortably Numb. Your fills at the 1:06, 1:16ish marks :D And you didn't copy-cat the solo but did your own thing. I've played that solo a thousand times and never thought of trying something different, which shows how much original thought I have. :D

"In my dreams your blowin' me... some kisses" - Lets Duet - Dewford Randolph Cox


   
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Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Thanks, I never try to copy solos, although I will sometimes play parts of a solo that people are most familiar with just to draw them into the song.

I am a tube amp guy myself, I just think they sound much fuller and warmer. But you can get great sounds with solid state amps today, the technology is much better. You might consider a multi-efx like the Zoom I posted. You can get pretty good ones from many different companies for under $100. Then if you like it, you can go with the more expensive models.

But most of the multi-efx today have amp modeling. And this actually sounds best through a solid state amp or PA. You can get models of a Marshall Plexi with Marshall 4 X 12 cab for example. You would be surprised how realistic these models are, they can make your little solid state amp sound like a full blown stack. :twisted:

They actually do not sound as good through a tube amp, because a tube amp will overdrive on it's own. So often when you use one of these speaker cab models it distorts too much. You get too much bass and it isn't tight sounding. I will often use the amp model, but turn off the speaker simulation. Then I get the sound of the amp without overdistorting.

If you are after one particular sound, then maybe get a tube amp and a few select pedals. But if you like a wide variety of tones, stay with your solid state amp and get a multi-efx or modeling pedal. They sound so close to the real thing that most listeners cannot tell the difference.

But don't let me stop you from getting a tube amp, they are awesome. :D

Not to blow my own horn again, but here is another example. This is one of my Zoom's distortions (I think it was a Mesa Boogie amp model, can't remember now), straight into my Zoom recorder. I got a pretty massive sounding, modern distortion, and didn't even use an amp at all. But this is how these pedals will sound through a solid state amp.

http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6047886

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


   
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mesaboogieonline
(@mesaboogieonline)
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Joined: 14 years ago
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If you're going for a Metallica sound, both James and Kirk used Mark IV's for the majority of their stuff as well as a marshall on kill'em all. A Mark IV or even a recto will get you there distortion wise.


   
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