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which attenuator? (matching ohms)

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(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

should i get an attenuator for my fender 50 watt bassman, or should i just be happy with my badmonkey pedal?

i need to keep the volume down and i've read that attenuators don't really work well tone wise at lower volumes.

also, i'm not sure which THD hot plate i should get if i go that route.
it's for a fender 67' 50 watt bassman head, not sure about the ohms for the head or the 2x cab. i think the speakers are 12" if that helps.

#4491....


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

Well, I looked up a 57 Bassman and found this page:

http://www.ampwares.com/ffg/bassman_bf.html

If you have the Blackface like this, then it has two 8 ohms Speaker Out jacks wired parallel. So this amp will operate at 8 or 4 ohms, but nothing lower. You would have to look inside your cab to make certain, if it has two 8 ohm speakers wired in parallel, then that is a total 4 ohms load. Look on the back of the cab and it should show the ohms rating.

I don't know about the THD Hot Plates, but I own a Weber attenuator that is switchable 16, 8, or 4 ohms. So look into that.

Attenuators are great, but none of them get you 100% of a cranked amp tone, because driving the speaker(s) hard is a major part of the tone of a truly overdriven amp. The only true way to get a cranked amp tone is to crank the amp! :twisted:

But attenuators are good because you can get the overdriven tone of overdriving both preamp and power tubes. You will get increased sustain especially, and you will get a very full "fat" tone. When you really overdrive a tube amp into saturation, the highs roll off. You get a very thick "rubbery" tone. This is the great tone most guitarist strive for. And you will get this with an attenuator, except for the added tone of the overdriven speaker.

It is hard to say if you will prefer the tone of your amp overdriven compared to an overdrive pedal like the Bad Monkey. The overdriven tone of a good amp is somewhat mellow compared to many overdrive or distortion pedals distortion wise. It is the tone that is killer, not the distortion. Hope you know what I mean. To me, a truly overdriven tube amp sounds better than any overdrive or distortion pedal, but you may feel quite differently.

Probably the best example of an overdriven amp tone is Neil Young. Neil has never used distortion or overdrive pedals. He just cranks his old Fender amp 100% and that's how he has always played. Here is a good example Cinnamon Girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBS3B2cZcFM

So, not so much distortion as a pedal, but sustain is incredible. Your amp will also howl and make all kinds of noises, and feedback easily. This is not a bad thing, for me especially, this is when an amp sounds incredible. :twisted:

Listen to lots of Neil Young clips and you will really hear the sound of an overdriven tube amp.

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


   
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(@twistedlefty)
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Topic starter  

thanx Wes
yeah, thats my amp. i've always heard this, and i know you've explained it with the same example before.
i just want to be able to get a bit more out of the old girl at lower volumes. i guess i'll just have to piss the neighbors off a bit now and then. :D

#4491....


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Joined: 20 years ago
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TwistedLefty

Well, there's another option, you can use a multi-efx if it has a volume control. I live in a very small apartment with neighbors, so I have the same problems as you. And I love a cranked amp tone too. :twisted:

For Christmas my brother gave me a Zoom G1X multi-efx.

Zoom G1X

I have really come to like this little unit for several reasons. It's got some great modeling presets of great tones like Van Halen, Carlos Santana, Billy Gibbons, and other great tones. They are really very good. Plus, it has a Master volume control that is super easy to tweak on the spot. I have discovered I can crank my tube amps quite high but keep Master volume down very low on the Zoom. I get excellent results like this, the amp is overdriving and I get the sustain and over-the-top distorion in combination with the Zoom presets, but I can keep it at very low volume that doesn't disturb the neighbors. It even has a built in drum machine I use as a good metronome.

So this Zoom sort of works like an attenuator in that I can really crank my amps and keep low volume. But I can tell easily that the amp is very overdriven.

So, look into a multi-efx unit like this.

Wes

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


   
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(@twistedlefty)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

I've got a Korg AX10G ,but i have not messed with it for a while
(since you sold me on the Fish & Chips route. Mmmm Yummy)
not sure about how the options play into running clean thru with just the volume/gain controls, but it sounds like it should do it.
i'll try it out asap, thanx.

#4491....


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Instead of tweaking the master volume of a multi-effects pedal, can you just reduce the guitar volume? Just wondering whether that has too much of a dampening effect on what comes out of the pickups, while the multi-effects control is after the pre-amp. But, in either case, one is reducing the signal going into the amp ...

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


   
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(@wes-inman)
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Vink

Well, it would seem exactly like turning your guitar's volume down, but it doesn't work the same, I can't say why. If I turn my guitar down, then distortions clean up. But if I turn the Zoom's master volume down, I get full fledged distortion, just at low volume. And I go straight into the insturment jack. It was more effective on my Epi Valve Jr.. I tried it with my Hot Rod Deluxe but it was difficult to keep the volume low. But it works great with the EVJ.

I was surprised myself, because it does increase the sustain, I can get feedback, it is over-the-top. No kidding. The Zoom acts just like an attenuator, and a very good one at that.

Don't ask me why this works, but it does.

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


   
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 vink
(@vink)
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Wes,

That's kind of strange .. unless you are actually using one of the distortion models in the Zoom, but that still does not explain why you would get feedback etc.

I don't have a good multi-FX, but I will try to experiment with my trusty little Danelectro EQ pedal; that does have a level control.

(Inquiring minds want to know :-))

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


   
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