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Posted: 5/2/2002 9:37:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2002 9:40:54 PM EDT by prk]
Question: Given a cheap electric, amp, and stomp boxes, whats the best upgrade for under $500 to get a good bluesy sound? I'm not so crazy about extreme overdrive, grunge, etc., but want a gutsy, driving, sound with some power to it, and also be able to sometimes add what I think I would call a somewhat dirty attack. Also get that groaning & moaning sound. I'm also open to string recommendations. Already have: Guitar: Squier with a Humbucker I installed nearest the bridge. Amp: Fender Bullet. Sorta crappy, but a good hand makes it a lot better. BOSS: Distortion DS-1 Flanger BF-2 Delay + Reverb RV-3 Ibanez/Soundtank Tubescreamer TS-5 DOD: Grunge FX 69B & Death Metal FX 86B (which are in the wrong direction)
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 9:46:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/2/2002 9:47:24 PM EDT by Green_Furniture]
Your pedals are all going to give you the sound you desire, your amp however isn't. Mesa Boogie makes some good amps (Subway series) for under $500 that will give you the tone you are looking for you could sell the distortion and overdrive pedals because you won't need them at all with these amps. Also older Fender tube amps are where it's at and you could keep the pedals.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 9:46:22 PM EDT
Originally Posted By prk: Question: Given a cheap electric, amp, and stomp boxes, whats the best upgrade for under $500 to get a good bluesy sound? I'm not so crazy about extreme overdrive, grunge, etc., but want a gutsy, driving, sound with some power to it, and also be able to sometimes add what I think I would call a somewhat dirty attack. Also get that groaning & moaning sound. I'm also open to string recommendations. Already have: Guitar: Squier with a Humbucker I installed nearest the bridge. Amp: Fender Bullet. Sorta crappy, but a good hand makes it a lot better. BOSS: Distortion DS-1 Flanger BF-2 Delay + Reverb RV-3 Ibanez/Soundtank Tubescreamer TS-5 DOD: Grunge FX 69B & Death Metal FX 86B (which are in the wrong direction)
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sounds like you need a Marshall "Blue Vodoo" Amp.Also the hevier guage strings,the deeper the sound. Good Luck!
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 9:48:33 PM EDT
Hard to say without playing with it. Does your amp have volume and master volume, i.e. can you overdrive it without screwing with the stompboxes? No doubt it is solid state, but that's not necessarily bad, I have a Marshall Valvestate (small practice amp) I can get a good sound out of, but tubes are better. Just got a Peavey Classic 30 out of the pawn shop for a mere C-note, 30 watts of tube through a 12-inch speaker, it cranks. I used to play through a Peavey Backstage for practice and use a MXR distortion plus, but I was trying for a more heavy sound than you are. Also does your amp have any reverb? Reverb about half-way up works for me, fattens the sound without making it too metal sounding.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 9:49:07 PM EDT
One more thing to add: I had a Squire once and I re-wired all my inards of the giutar and used double the thickness of wire for everything,you wouldnt beilve how much better your giutar will sound as long as you use good soder(SP?)too. Hey I think your the only person I have ever let in on that little secret,are ya feeling special?[:D]
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 10:23:31 PM EDT
There are no substitutes for tubes. For your $500 bucks get a used all tube combo amp, Marshall or whatever. Check [url]www.craigslist.org[/url] for amps if they have people in your area. For my setup I run a Marshall JMP-1 into a Carvin 100 watt amp with 4 EL-34s. When I switched to the tube amp from an ADA solid state my whole sound came alive. You can get some grindy sounds out of solid state, but if you want balls, it's all about the tubes. I hope you put a Duncan in that bridge position. [:D]
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 10:34:29 PM EDT
*Crate makes the Blue Voodo. crate is shit. i know from experience. their cabinets are okay however. for bluesy sound ala hendrix nothing beats a good strat using the neck pickups. if you want good sound, it's gonna cost you..i bought lots of pedals and their neat and all...but i don't use them anymore, in fact i only own a chorus and wah wah, neither or which i use. buy a good amp. get it used..every guitar thing i own is used. i like metal so i run a ibanez 7 string with an EMG active pickup through a mesa boogie dual rectifier. if you want a good blues sound go with a strat and a marshall. tube amps rule. just my .02
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 10:51:08 PM EDT
What sound you looking for? Stevie Ray, Clapton? There are a lot more options today than when I bought my last guitar amp, which was in 1989 (bought a 100w Marshall half-stack and haven't needed anything since). For $500 can you get a tube preamp these days? If so, perhaps a tube preamp and then a cheaper solid state amp for the mains. When I think ballsey, I think tubes, either Marshall, Boogie, or an old Fender Twin. The question is, can you get the sound you want using a tube preamp and sold state mains or do you need to go 100% tube? I don't know because I've only used Marshalls and Twins, but I did own a Roland Jazz Chorus for a while in the 70's. It was good for certain sounds.
Link Posted: 5/2/2002 11:03:43 PM EDT
Another thing to consider is: are you going to be gigging with this setup or just jamming at home? If you're going to play out or even more importantly recording, a good tube amp and Celestion speakers are in order. If you're just playing alone or along with CD's, get a Johnson J-Station and run it through headphones or a decent stereo. I'm not sure if the J-Station has mixing capability, and if not you can get a cheapo mixer at Radio Shack, but when you place yourself right in the mix with pre-recorded music (at least this was my experience) you tend to learn quicker and enjoy it more right from the start. Also, if you live in an apt, headphones will allow you to crank it up to an enjoyable level without pissing off the neighbors. The J-Station has tone and sound quality superior to anything you're likely to get without buying a complete pro rig. Best part: they sell for around $100 on eBay and not much more new. The first time I played through one, I was completely blown away. And you can make it sound like just about any amp combo you want, and you'll never have to buy new tubes.
Link Posted: 5/3/2002 1:24:57 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/3/2002 1:28:27 AM EDT by prk]
Originally posted by mattja: What sound you looking for? Stevie Ray, Clapton?
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More Stevie Ray than Clapton. I like more of a rough-edged sound. Also the off-style of Jimmy Vaughan, with those slappy, plucky sounds. Twangy, too.
Originally posted by Chairborne_Ranger: Does your amp have volume and master volume...Also does your amp have any reverb? Reverb about half-way up works for me, fattens the sound without making it too metal sounding.
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It has: 'Normal'(with volume control) 'Drive' (Gain & Volume) Button to select between 'Normal' and 'Drive' channels Treble, Middle & Bass controls Reverb knob (though my box seems to do it better) Internal speaker, plus jacks for 8 ohm external speaker and headphones Input jack, of course
M4_Aiming_at_U Also the hevier guage strings,the deeper the sound..... I had a Squire once and I re-wired all my inards of the giutar and used double the thickness of wire for everything,you wouldnt beilve how much better your giutar will sound as long as you use good soder(SP?)too.
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You mean the regular rosin-core, or more of a 'silver' solder? Also I forget what it's like inside, but stranded (vs. solid) seems like the way to go. This sounds like a great idea, thanks for letting me in on the secret.
Originally posted by Ratters I hope you put a Duncan in that bridge position.
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Yep. The Dremel was an immense help, and the epoxy coat on the body was a major irritation in dust form.
Originally posted by Gus: Another thing to consider is: are you going to be gigging with this setup or just jamming at home?
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Entirely at home, until I get some real licks down. I guess 25 or 30 watts would be plenty. I forgot to mention - I have a project from the 2/99 issue of Electronics Now on the shelf to build what's called a "McTube" - a preamp with a 12AX7 in it. First I have to find the footswitch that you insert into a jack, for much less than the $29 or so that Guitar Center wants for it. Or else make up my own with a switch, a plug, some wire, and JB weld. I'll let you guys know how this turns out. I tried building a PAIA kit, about $65 bucks for no noticable effect.
Link Posted: 5/4/2002 11:03:32 AM EDT
Yowwwwwwwwwww! Picked up a Chorus box last night on sale. I'd tried one once, but evidently didn't experiment enough with it, cause this one surprised the hell out of me. It's a DigiTech Multi-Chorus. I can get some real amazing sounds out of my little Fender Bullshit (oops! I mean Bullet) amp. Speaking of amps, I did look at some Mesa Boogies (Way out of my neighborhood) and then a used Fender they had for '$499' - seems like that's a favorite number to put on the tag! However, the drive was pretty lame unless you cranked the volume waaaay up. They are getting the cheaper Rocket models in in a while. Picked up some heavier strings, and a foot switch for that preamp project. Going today to check out a pre-ban 8-track for possible home recording.
Link Posted: 5/4/2002 11:30:50 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/4/2002 11:32:03 AM EDT by AlClenin]
Originally Posted By gus: Another thing to consider is: are you going to be gigging with this setup or just jamming at home? If you're going to play out or even more importantly recording, a good tube amp and Celestion speakers are in order. If you're just playing alone or along with CD's, get a Johnson J-Station and run it through headphones or a decent stereo. I'm not sure if the J-Station has mixing capability, and if not you can get a cheapo mixer at Radio Shack, but when you place yourself right in the mix with pre-recorded music (at least this was my experience) you tend to learn quicker and enjoy it more right from the start. Also, if you live in an apt, headphones will allow you to crank it up to an enjoyable level without pissing off the neighbors. The J-Station has tone and sound quality superior to anything you're likely to get without buying a complete pro rig. Best part: they sell for around $100 on eBay and not much more new. The first time I played through one, I was completely blown away. And you can make it sound like just about any amp combo you want, and you'll never have to buy new tubes.
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I like the POD a lot more than the Jstation. If you're just playing around the house I think one of these modeling devices is the way to go. You could sell off most of your pedals (keep the tubscreamer) and your current amp and take the resulting cash along with your $500 and get a POD and maybe upgrade to a fender. In any case, check out the pod. Here's a good site about it: [url]http://www.dthraco.com/pod.htm[/url] Oh, and buy a set of fat strings for the squire, that can make a big difference.
Link Posted: 5/4/2002 11:37:25 AM EDT
This is what I'm socking away a $50 per month for right now: [url]http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/sid=020504123130063155252045610421/search/g=home/detail/base_id/42783[/url] Quite a bit more than $500 bucks, but you can emulate just about any guitar sound with this thing. Downside you need a guitar that is equipped with a special divided pickup that runs another couple hudred bucks.
Link Posted: 5/4/2002 9:43:38 PM EDT
OK, I went back today. The older fender tube amps cost more than I can spend now. They did have a Crate Vintage 60 all-tube, which sounded pretty damn good. 2 foot-switchable channels, the lower one acted pretty much like I want. There was no year indicated, but the salesguy guessed it to be from the 70's or 80's. I asked about Crate quality, with Inferno715's experience in mind, and the guy did volunteer that their recent quality had been bad, but that it was good when they made that one. To tell the truth, it didn't look all that old. There was no real back panel and the dust in it was not thick. I'd guess 10-15, maybe 20 years at the max. They wanted $340 & I offered $250 for it, expecting the guy to come back at just over $300, but he didn't give me any 'counter' at all. Anybody want to guess what it might be worth?
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 2:16:04 AM EDT
Is it a head cabinet or a combo?
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 8:20:50 PM EDT
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 8:44:48 PM EDT
Frank- Yeah, my band mate used a Mesa dual rectifier with a Quadraverb. Damn that thing sounded thick. I think mine cut a little better and was more versatile as well. prk- I forgot to mention, besides thick strings get yourself some good thick pics so that you can really attack the strings. I personally prefer Dunlop Tortex Purple which are 1.14mm I think. They feel and wear great and aren't that slippery. I'm glad you are liking your digitech chorus, but I usually warn people away from DOD/Digitech products. That Boss DS-1 and Ibenez Tube Screamer are two of the best pedals out there though. I prefer Roland/Boss effects myself. I use a Boss rack effects processor instead of stomp boxes, but pretty much anything is better than DOD. If I was going the floor route you are better off getting a floor effects processor from Boss or Tone Works than individual stomp boxes, much easier to set up. And if you eventually start doing shows, quick setup and takedown are a virtue. And $250 for an all tube amp seems pretty darned good. Tube amps will wear tubes, the sound will get thin and then eventually go away. And make sure when you replace the tubes to get the tubes biased by someone who knows what they are doing, it makes a huge difference. But hell, if it sounds good with your guitar, do it. Good job on the Duncan BTW. [:)]
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 9:02:04 PM EDT
I would stay clear of Crate amps. There are better quality amps out there for about the same cash.
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 9:05:31 PM EDT
I went to the Brooks and Dunn concert on Friday in Portland (Chris Cagle, Trick Pony, Gary Allan, Dwight Yoakam. Cleatus T. Judd)) One of the things that impressed me most was Dwight Yoakam's lead guitar player, Pete Anderson. His equipment consisted of a few guitars and two (what looked like from a long distance) Fender amps that were mic'ed. That's it. Granted he doesn't have a "bluesy" sound, but it just goes to show it's not all about the pedals and stuff (although his amps looked like Twins that aren't exactly cheap). BTW, you may want to check out Fenders F.A.T. series. I have the Hot Rod Deluxe (40 watts into one 12" speaker). If you have enough room to crank the clean channel it sounds good, but the distortion channels basically suck as far as getting a tube sound. They are about $600 new but I've seen them used for 300 and something. Jerosu
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 9:17:47 PM EDT
Pete plays through Line 6s and maybe a few modded Fender Deluxes. 64-66 for the Fender "blue" Deluxe, cap the mids.....you're goot to go!
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 9:43:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/5/2002 9:47:25 PM EDT by jerosu]
Green_Furniture, Do you know of anywhere that says for sure what kind of amps Pete Anderson plays? I'm curious now because I was too far away to see exactly what they were and the German Fender site says he plays Vibro-King, Dual Professional. Hmmm. [URL]http://www.fender.de/service_und_info/fender_squier/info/info4.html[/URL] Now why that list isn't on the US site I don't know, it just came up with a Google search. Anyway I'm just curious to know what that awsome sound was coming out of (besides his talent). Edited to make link active
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 10:16:38 PM EDT
I got my info from Guitar Player (not sure of date) and The Retriever, the Pete Anderson Fan Club newsletter (which I was a member of until it folded last year.) He endorses Line 6, Larivee acoustics and Tom Anderson guitars. I've got the Guitar Player upstairs, I'll dig it up tomorrow when I'm more sober.
Link Posted: 5/5/2002 10:29:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/6/2002 12:55:04 AM EDT by jerosu]
Hey Green_Furniture, I found it [URL]http://www.line6.com/Main/Artists/artist_profiles/artist_profile.cfm?UserID=11[/URL] Thanks Edited to say "Thanks" and I also found this [URL]http://www.peteandersonnews.com[/URL] Looks like he uses Tone masters, Twins, and Deluxe live, and Line 6 stuff in the studio. I am pretty sure those two amps were twins at the concert. Sorry for taking this thread off the intended topic [whacko]
Link Posted: 5/7/2002 2:29:55 AM EDT
Originally Posted By meshuggah: Is it a head cabinet or a combo?
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I guess you'd call it a combo - amp & speaker in the same cabinet. Metal box inside the bottom which I think is the reverb unit. Also in the back is an effects loop with a 'send' jack, a 'receive' jack, and an adjustment knob. I tried running a chorus box through that and on the 'low' or drive channel it killed nearly ALL the distortion!!?? On the 'high' channel it sounded OK. The strings I got were 10's. Fat enough? We'll see. You guys have been a great source of advice. I've learned something from everyone here, including the stuff on Pete Anderson.
Link Posted: 5/8/2002 6:59:10 AM EDT
OK, I started hitting the pawn shops. I'm realizing that other than checking for scratchiness in the controls and seeing if I like the sound and the distortion, I don't know what kind of problems to check for. OK, there shouldn't the smell of parts melting down, the switches should feel right. But what else?
Link Posted: 5/8/2002 7:12:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/8/2002 7:25:16 AM EDT by M1QJ]
Someone said it right, you're amp is going to limit you. For a good bluesy sound, you want a tube amp. (I have a Laney 1x12 50w combo I'll sell ya for $500). The lead channel with a little drive sounds awesome with a strat. I've found the best bluesy sounding overdrive to be my Danelectro Daddy-o. I like it because it has the three band EQ along with the DRIVE and LEVEL controls. Very tweakable. Got mine cheap when my favorite store closed down.. :( Watch those heavier strings... you may have to adjust your truss rod, and set the intonation again. Thankfully you don't have a Floyd Rose.. those are a PITA to adjust. Took me the better part of a day to get one tuned up right with lighter strings than were on it. On a strat style, you'd probably want to use 10's for a decent sound. 11's will be meatier... 12's will sound awesome, but will tear up your fingers! I usually stuck with 10s. Check your action at the 12th fret, if the string height is too high, you may need to adjust the truss rod and/or the bridge saddles. Look down the fingerboard from the bridge to see if the neck is bowing a little. It SHOULD bow just a little, but not too much. Intonation can be affected too. Nothing shittier than an out of tune guitar! hehehe
Link Posted: 5/8/2002 8:00:48 AM EDT
If you have a Floyd Rose variant that is flush the only problem you might encounter is 'forward pull' when adjusting string gauge. This can be corrected by adjusting the spring pull in the cavity. If your tremelo is 'floating' then you will get the best results with a shim or rod to balance the tremelo in position while making changes. =tomorrow we'll deal with period correct screws for pre-CBS Fenders=
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