Trying to find a way to get this tone... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somerville, MA
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Trying to find a way to get this tone...

Now, I know, I'm one of the big proponants of "tone is in the fingers" around here, so I can think of about 15 guys who are going to call me a hypocrite for posting this. But I'm gradually becoming less satisfied with the basic nature of the distortion on my TSL head- it's great, it's just definately a marshall and I'm not THAT big on the marshall sound (although, i gotta admit, if you want a good amp for playing heavy rhythm guitar, this thing absolutely SMOKES)

The one thing i can say in my defense? This clip IS of me playing. It's from a track I cut about two years ago, running my 7620 into my johnson j-station direct into my laptop, shortly after I got the Tone Zone 7 installed in the thing. I've always felt that this is probably the best guitar tone I've ever gotten on tape, or at least the closest to "my" tone, the one I hear in my head. So, I'm looking for an amp that can do this.

Of course, the logical question here, is "Drew, if you like the tone, then why not sell the amp and just buy a poweramp for the J-station?" Couple things- first, the tone isn't QUITE perfect. Here, it's a little overcompressed and slightly overdistorted- the sustain is almost ungodlike, and there's a time and a place for that (i.e- the chorus melody right at the end), but ti doesn't sound quite natural in places for the solos. That could be fixed simly by tweaking the preset, of course, but there's also a slight graininess to the high end, almost like there's a VERY faint octave doubler in the signal, for lack of a better way to describe it. It's more pronounced on the lower notes earlier in this solo, and as this is a mp3 clip of a mp3, some of it is hidden by the encoding, but I'd like a SLIGHTLY more organic yet cutting version of this. Also, I'm not 100% sold on any of the other patches- the Mark-I is nice, but that's about the only other one i used with any degree of frequency when i was recording mostly with this. I'd like to be able to dial up a nice clean tone every once in a while too, you know?

So, here's what I can give you on this patch- It was the Recto preamp, with a decent amount of reverb and a light delay, compression on (can't remember the exact settings, but obviously a little too much ) and running into a 1x12 cabinet model, as this model with a 4x12 was WAY too bass-heavy to use- sounded like crap in a mix. Once again, tone zone bridge pickup, in a basswood 7620. All the clean-ish and rhythm tones were drawn from the same settings, with just the volume rolled back- if you can hear the fingerpicked double stops in the background, i REALLY liked how this cleaned up, too. Or at least the character of the tone when it did so- nice and bluesy, while still having that "dark" sound to it.

As for guesses, naturally the dual rectifier comes to mind, although probably with EL-34's for a clearer low end and a little more midrange sparkle (as an added bonus, you can get pretty close to a mark-I sound out of the vintage mode, and the raw mode was a hell of a lot of fun to play with), as well as a mark-IV. Of the two, so far the rectifier's been my favorite, as the absolutely amazing lead channel on the IV is great, but Rhythm 2 was, for me, completely uninspiring, and the lack of two footswitchable distortion channels for me would be a bit of a deterrant (you could argue the EQ makes for two footswitchable distortion channels, but i found myself using it to get the tones i liked out of that channel for both rhythm AND lead, and it doesn't allow much in the way of a footswitchable volume boost (I LOVE the "Solo" function in the recto for these reasons)). At the same time, i haven't quite nailed this tone with a rectifier yet... I'm off to the North Attleboro Guitar Center momentarily, to spend some more time tweaking it (you really can get some good lead tones out of the modern voicing on channel three, suprisingly- i hate to say it, but that might be my favorite channel on the amp) and see if the addition of a delay and a reverb in the effects loop (plus maybe a compressor there or out front) will get me any closer.

Any suggestion for either other mesa models or other amplifier brands? Price isn't a MASSIVE object, as for the time being i have a moderately disposable income, but at the same time I feel as if i'm not nearly a good enough guitarist to own a Bogner Exctacy or somehting.

Whatever suggestions you guys could offer would be most appreciated.

Drew is offline  
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 01:26 PM
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Re: Trying to find a way to get this tone...

Originally Posted by Drew
The one thing i can say in my defense? This clip IS of me playing.
Should we doubt this? Why wouldn't it be, huh?

As to helping you with tone, sorry, no help here. Don't know much about Mesa amps first-hand. It sounds OK to me I guess. I like that melody bit there at the end, though, with the (Chorus?) chords. Sounds nice, Drew.
The Dark Wolf is offline  
post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
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check these Brooks clips out:

now something more natural, I absolutely love it btw:

I think both of them are quite close to your clip.
First one maybe a tad more bassier, and also more smooth. A bit too u-natural sounding, not surprising, it was made with a v-amp2. Still I think its a good sound coming from one of these pod-like units.
Second clip is not as compressed, boxed. It hasnt that "grainy" sound, its quite straight ahead, with some bite. It breathes, really cool. Was made with, guess what, a dual rectifier

hope this helped!

oh, one thing, I love my vh100r
sam669 is offline  
post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 08:16 PM
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I used to play through a Korg Pandora PX1 about 4 years ago. I still have two MP3's I recorded back then using SB Live and my olde beat up Jackson Performer. To this day I can NOT replicate the tone, even though I still have that Pandora and that Jackson. That's one more proof that tone is in the fingers. I remember I felt very inspired when I played them.
microdmitry is offline  
post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 08:35 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, got back from guitar center. They'd just moved all their mesa's into a new room, and hadn'ty hooked all the heads up to the cabs yet, so while waiting for a sales guy to show up down there, i decided to kill some time by plugging into the mark iv combo next to one of the walls.

Oh my god... I'd played the amp before with a EB/MM JP that i wasn't overly impressed with, and probably partly because of that and probably partly because it's got about a million knobs, and changing one changes what all the others will and will not do to your tone, i wasn't really blown away. That and I'd kept it pretty quiet... But getting to screw around with it again, at a "real" volume... I don't know how to describe it, but the tone was so much more "three dimentional" somehow than just about anything else I'd ever played. You could almost see the notes as much as you could hear them... It was like cocaine for the ears.

the Recto was nice, but, well... I couldn't quite get a clear enough sound. Either i backed off the gain and either the highs were rolled off or the mods were muddy and indistinct, or i brought the gain up and it was totally fuzzed out. Once again, volume could have been an issue- i only had it up to about three, and maybe if you compressed the poweramp a bit more... But out of respect for, well, the foundations of the GC building, i felt as if maybe i shouldn't.

Only thing with the Mark-IV that wasn't quite perfect was that especially with a 7-string, it was tough to get good, clear low-string definition. By leaving the EQ off for my "lead" tone (i was able to dial up a gorgeous dark lead sound without it) and using the EQ section to cut the lower mids and boost the treble a bit (or rather, leave the treble flat, cut the upper mids slightly, cut the mids and lower mids a bit, and cut the bass slightly, so as to get a slightly quieter, more defined rhythm tone), i was able to get a good footswitchable rhythm/boosted lead thing going, and the Rhythm 2 channel is a little less useless than i gave it credit for, too... clean's still gorgeous, though. but does anyone have any good ways to clear up that low end a bit? I'm sure fresh strings would help, but...

I think I'm in love.

Drew is offline  
post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-21-2004, 11:16 PM
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Drew, I have that same experience every time I play a MkIV. Now only if I had $1500 to burn

BTW, which GC did you go to? I don't remember any of the ones around here having a basement...
keithb is offline  
post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Keith- it wasn't in a basement, just a seperate "isolation room." They used to store used gear in there, had a gorgeous Matchless Chieftan in there...

So, that's my current dilemma... The lead tone from the Mark-IV is just jaw dropping, and if you dial the bass back (I was getting best results at about 3, but remember, i'm playing a 7-string), you get good single-note definition down the neck, but for chording it has a tendancy to get a little muddy. I guess a Nomad would be worth looking into, especially with the lower wattage... Hmm.

Anything else on the market that provides a mark-like lead tone while handling rhythm guitar a little better?

Drew is offline  
post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew
Anything else on the market that provides a mark-like lead tone while handling rhythm guitar a little better?

Have you considered some of the Soldano lines??? Their lucky 13 has a gorgous clean channel (sort of like the old bassmans or bassmen ) THe dirty channel has obscene gain of a triple recto!! I find them much more usable than Mesa's though. THe hot rods might be your scene as well they are a singl channeled 50w head with 2 inputs (hi and lo gain) it doesn't have as much as a L13 or SLO but itsa darker tone really musical and mysterious. An astroverb is quite nice but if you gig big venues the 20w pushing a single speaker may not be enough. The Decatone is pretty sweet and imensly versitile!!!

Ok I have just described the whole range of Soldano amps oh well they're all great!!

Don't rule out the boutique manufacturers. To me the way an amp reacts is most important. THD are legendary for the way they react!! They say its o do with the way it is grounded. A few amps also have built in hot plates . The flexi lets you choose almost any valve combination imaginable in a class AB1 head. It responds to every subtlty in playing as well (one of my favourite amps of all time!!). The Uni/Bi valves are similar but in class A.

I hate to say it but a Mesa Stiletto may be what your looking for!! Rectifier with EL34s.

power freak is offline  
post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Soldano... I haven't found a dealership around here that sells them yet, but I'm only about 45 minutes outside boston, so I'm sure there's at least one. I'll check it out, i played one years ago, but I don't remember a thing about it.

I guess this is what I'm looking for in an amp right now:

-preferrably less than 100 watts, or the ability to switch to less
-the ability to set it for three good tones- lush clean, reasonably heavy (not necessarily super-gainy, but distorted, dark, yet clear) rhythm, and a boosted (volume-wise, at least, not necessarily super-gainy, either) smooth, compressed yet responsive (if that makes any sense) lead tone
-reverb's a huge plus

That's really about it, actually... I'd consider going rack, but I'm not big on the idea of getting into midi switching- it offers a lot of advantages, but somehow the idea of a midi-controlled setup rubs me the wrong way, and i really wouldn't use much in the way of effects aside from 'verb, probably a bit of delay, and maybe a little compression.

The Mark-IV nailed everything to a T except the rhythm tone, and i'm wondering if maybe with some more experimentation with the 5-band EQ i could dial that in, too.

I guess for reference point, my ideal tone fell somewhere between the clip above and Petrucci's G3 guitar sound. Does anyone know what he was doing to the IIC+'s to keep the low end clear on rhythm?

Drew is offline  
post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to hold judgement on the Stilleto until I get a chance to play one, but my problem with the rectifier was that i couldn't find a happy medium between completely saturated ultra-gainy distortion, and a smoother, clearer, darker tone that I was looking for. Even the Raw mode got VERY saturated when you pushed the gain all the way up. The Raw channel was pretty good at the middle range of the gain knob for soloing, but the vintage and modern modes, I couldn't quite find a balance between the ultra-gain sound and the thinner sound you got with the gain between 3-6, that was either too shrill or too muddy (or sometimes both, lol) depending on where the reble knob was.

Meanwhile, the mark was there almost from the moment i turned it off standby.

That, and the Stilletto is being billed as a more "brittish" sounding recto, and I'm really not into that oldschool Clapton "woman tone" or AC/DC crunch EL-34 sound. Like i said, I'll play it before i commit, but i have reservations...
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-22-2004, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Drew

-preferrably less than 100 watts, or the ability to switch to less
-the ability to set it for three good tones- lush clean, reasonably heavy (not necessarily super-gainy, but distorted, dark, yet clear) rhythm, and a boosted (volume-wise, at least, not necessarily super-gainy, either) smooth, compressed yet responsive (if that makes any sense) lead tone

Thats almost a Soldano hot rod to a T!!! The only problem is the channels arn't switchable (without a A-B box) and it may not go super clean. But it has the added bonus of having both channels on at once which may make an interesting sound

No boost as such though. (an MXR Micro amp would do the trick )

power freak is offline  
post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2004, 12:36 PM
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how about the mark iv with the j-station in the loop for your rhythm sound?

i know that when i was looking at mark iv's i found similiar results, just didn't seem to have quite enough gain on tap for a really good rhythm sound (or at least the crazy death metal rhythm sound i was after)...almost but not quite. i know that steve von till from neurosis uses a mark iv as his main amp (he also uses a late 60's marshall bass head for cleans) and he uses a couple of rat pedals to goose the the j-station could be incorporated as either a gain boost or as a 3rd channel...

of course i ended up getting an h&k access preamp and mesa 50/ what do i know from mark iv'!!!

incidentally, i picked up a display model j-station this weekend ($75 with box. software and papers), and it rocks! i've only played it through headphones, but i'm thinking of integrating it into my rack for some more versatility...
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2004, 12:42 PM
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Do what I did...snag the Chieftain AND the Mark IV. Then you'll have tone, tone and MORE tone. (Might have to go without food and electricity for awhile though.).
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2004, 01:19 PM
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If you can find some riveras to try, I'd recommend a test drive. I find that they (depending on model) occupy a space that is pretty in between Mesa and Marshall. They are a bear to dial in, I'm still fiddling with my TBR1-SL...too many knobs and too many push/pull/slope/p-comp/focus/presence options blah blah blah but I guess variety's the spice of life, right? So they're pretty similar to the Mark IV's and Nomads of the world in that respect. UVPWH into the Rivera and a 4x12 is just seismic as far as low end goes. I can't wait to hear what it sounds like once the speakers get broken in.

That brings up another thing to try, take the boogie and try it with different speaker combinations. My Nomad turns into a different animal once you slam it into anything with a closed back...that'll solve your low end clarity problem in most cases. It's an option to consider, albeit an expensive one.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-23-2004, 01:27 PM
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I've had a serious love affair with my Rivera TBR-2SL for well over a year now. I've considered selling it a few times because I just don't like lugging the rack around. But...every time I fire it up, I just can't imagine life without it

They're definitely a great in-between amp. I didn't want a super high-gain amp, but I wanted some balls. It's hard to go wrong with a TBR...if you can find one.
vaijem777 is offline  

bridge pickup , clean tone , death metal , dual rectifier , dual recto , gain knob , genz benz , mesa amps , power amp , rivera tbr , tone zone , tone zone bridge , triple recto , tube amp , tube power amp , tube preamp , zone bridge

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