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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys, I'm new around here at Jemsite and I'm looking to get the dynamic, vocal lead tone of players like Satriani and Vai.

My current gear is: Ibanez S320-Weeping Demon Wah-TS7 Tubescreamer-Visual Sound H20 (chorus and delay)-MXR Ten band eq-Traynor YCV20 (15 watt tube amp). At the moment, I like my amp's cleans and the amp's distortion is good for playing blues to hard rock. However, it isn't good for Satriani-type tones.

I'm looking for a distortion pedal that will give me those sorts of tones when used mostly through the clean channel of my amp (an overdrive pedal is fine too, but keep in mind that I'm looking for an alternate tone to my amp distortion rather than something to add onto it).

I've tried a few pedals that Satriani and Vai have been known to use and didn't really get the tone I wanted. The Satchurator's tone control seemed to be impossible to get right - below 5 it was like there was a blanket over the amp, above 5 it was fizzy and trebly. I liked the Jemini's overdrive side (though it was basically the same as my Tubescreamer) but found the distortion side thin. The Keeley DS-1 seemed great for riffing and chording, but it didn't give me the great lead tones I expected (maybe it was the SG i was using..)

So in short, any suggestions for a pedal that will give me a distortion tone similar to Satriani and Vai when used through the clean channel of my tube amp?
 

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My best advice would be to use a nice overdrive to stack on top of your amp's gain channel. If you don't like your amps fundamental gain sound, then you might be SOL, especially considering you've already tried some of the best options in the clean channel.
 

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one thing i don't see on your list of equipment is a compressor. vai and satch are known for having fairly compressed tones. from personal experience, a good compressor can really change the fundamental tone of your amp. i'd suggest either the keeley compressor or the barber tonepress (this is the one i own) and use it on either the clean channel or on your gain channel, but with the gain barely driving the amp (very slightly dirty). then stack your overdrive pedals on top of that. i find getting a satch-like tone fairly easy with that set-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. So far I have been using my TS-7 on top of my amp's gain channel, which seems to work reasonably well if the amp's gain is quite low and the pedal's is high. I was just curious if there was a better solution. I do like my amp's tone, but it's best for classic tones rather than "shred"-type ones. I'll look into a compressor.
 

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I've never seen a compressor on either of their pedal boards? I would say the SG might be a little warm for a true Satch tone as his basswood guitars have much more midrange sound than a solid slab of Mahogany. Having said that I'm sure it is not impossible to achieve. Why not give the Jemini a demo? Or maybe the Wampler Ecstasy Drive?
 

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I've never seen a compressor on either of their pedal boards? I would say the SG might be a little warm for a true Satch tone as his basswood guitars have much more midrange sound than a solid slab of Mahogany. Having said that I'm sure it is not impossible to achieve. Why not give the Jemini a demo? Or maybe the Wampler Ecstasy Drive?
I think you're right I've neer seen a compressor on Satch's board either. Satch doesn't use too much compression if he uses it at all. In fact, in an interview he talked about not wanting too much compression.

That being said, compression can change quite a bit of how you're gain sounds. So it wouldn't hurt to check it out.
 

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I read vai's interview somewhere if you play a tube amp in full volume the tubes natural compression kicks in and IMO much better sounding than a compressor pedal. Vai only uses compressor in the studio but live he blasted his amps to the max.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmm, well my amp's distortion has been a bit harsh when I turn up the gain high enough for Satriani stuff. Maybe I'll try a tube swap to see if that smooths it out and use a tubescreamer on top of that to give me a bit more gain and midrange.
 

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You're probably using too much preamp gain. What you need to do is turn up the overall volume, so that you get the power amp tubes kicking. As Alfred stated, it causes the tubes to compress naturally, which gives sustain and "warmth." Stack this with a nice OD pedal, and you should be good to go.
 
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