Complete amp newbie

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Gregor, Dec 21, 2018.

  1. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Gretschie

    375
    Jun 20, 2017
    USA
    I also suggest that you start with a flat EQ like this and then, if it sounds too muffled, turn up the treble; if it sounds like it is too tinny or piercing, turn down the treble. If it sounds too nasally, turn down the mids; if it sounds like it lacks punch, or too thin, turn up the mids. If it sounds too boomy, turn down the bass, etc. But every amp is different when it comes to EQ and tone! Also every guitar is different and depending on how inherently dark or bright the pickups are, different EQ settings will be needed. On my single coil guitars which are generally much brighter then humbuckers I usually turn the treble down a few notches, and turn up the mids. I tend to run the bass on the lower side with most of my guitars, between 2 and 3, maybe 4 as the tone becomes too boomy and starts to compete with the Bass guitar frequencies if I turn up the bass too much. Guitar lives in the midrange, so if you want to cut through a mix without increasing volume, you generally turn up the mids, leaving the volume alone.

    Regarding your guitar volume, I'm not sure if your guitar retains treble when you roll down the volume (the volume pot needs a treble bleed mod for this to happen generally speaking), but if it does, you can crank the volume(s) on the amp into breakup or distortion territory, and then roll the volume down until the tone cleans up. You can then play clean for your country and Buddy Holly type tones, and if you want to crank out a louder more rocknroll solo, you just turn the guitar volume up.

    With my Gretsch I usually use the middle pickup position for rhythm and more polite lead tones, keeping the neck volume down a smidge, and having the amp set on the verge of break up, and when I select the bridge pickup I get more rude and snarly lead sound. Setting your pickup heights so that the volume jumps a bit when you go to the bridge pickup also helps with this.

    Regarding reverb: a lot of retro sounding music has quite a bit of reverb, but if you turn it up too much, it will sound to washed out or spacey. Old rocknroll or rockabilly delay is all about using a slap back delay, where you set the time to a very fast delay with only one, maybe two repeats, so you get that "slap" back note as soon as you play the initial note. Then use the mix about half-way, give or take depending on how loud you like the slap back. Surf uses quite a bit of reverb (spring) and also tends to have a slap back delay. Another surf trick is to use the neck pickup, but to pick close to the bridge. Picking closer to the bridge will give you more twang.

    But I agree with everyone's responses...you just have to explore and see what you dig. The looper idea is also great and will be so much more efficient for you to learn what your amp does if you concentrate on amp knob turning while the looper is playing!

    I'm sort of rambling here, but I hope this helps.
     
    Gregor likes this.
  2. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Gretschie

    375
    Jun 20, 2017
    USA
    Great point to bring up. When people talk about tone and settings they almost never specify if they are talking about home/bedroom tone, or Live tone. What sounds good in your bedroom generally won't cut through a live mix! And live tone is usually too cutting and a bit harsh for pleasing your ear when playing in one's bedroom.
     
    Gregor likes this.
  3. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    527
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    Boy howdy is there! It's amazing when trying new amps, speaker or even guitars how I think "hey this is pretty cool!" playing alone in the music room. Then I take it to a gig and "crap, this is terrible!" In fact I would say that is the situation probably 80% of the time.
     
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  4. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    There’s a skill set to that aspect of it, which is learned by experience and usually a degree of disappointment along the way. I honestly think that the most common mistake is trying to use too large of an amp. I used to have a 60 watt Hot Rod DeVille 2x12”, which sounded great, but was a beast on the job. It was sensitive and very easy to end up with a harsh sound. Were it to be used in a huge venue, it would be fine, but for medium to small gigs it was nearly impossible to use effectively. More recently, I have used 12-22 watt amps on all but the largest outdoor gigs and, usually, I mic’ the amp through the PA. This allows me to find a serviceable sound at (low) stage volumes and the PA can make even a 5 watt amp sound as big as a Showman form the audience’s perspective. It’s an interesting experience to stand on stage and hear a tiny amp thundering through the PA, sounding huge.
     
    Gregor likes this.
  5. swivel

    swivel Synchromatic

    527
    May 13, 2018
    PNW
    Yep no doubt about it. I use a BFD or BFDR 90% of the time at gigs. But outdoors I use a 40-50 watt Fender. ... because more wattage doesn't get so nasty and gnarly outside. Something about big rooms or outdoors makes amps sound different, even on the same volume setting and mic'd. Took me long time to figure that out.
     
  6. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Sorry Vista
    Admin Post
    I have a Twin that I use for the truly heavy lifting and it “lifts” and only a Twin can do. Ive used it outdoors, no PA, and competiting with the noise and bluster of a car show filled with street rods. At full voice, the Twin is a beautiful sounding amp.
     
  7. Gregor

    Gregor Electromatic

    83
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    [QUOTE="RocknRollShakeUp, post: 1136187, member: 19357"

    I'm sort of rambling here, but I hope this helps.[/QUOTE]

    Hey RocknRollShakeUp, ramble all you want. This is a fantastic post! Just full of useful information. I am getting a better feel for what I like and don't like re the amp and it's effects...love the slapback delay as I enjoy rockabilly. Don't care for too much reverb as I'm finding with most of the effects, a little goes a long way. Some EFX's I don't like at all.
    Great info for me to try on the controls...volume, mids, treble, base gain etc. Lots for me to play with here.

    Many thanks for taking the time to post..

    Gregor
     
    RocknRollShakeUp likes this.
  8. RocknRollShakeUp

    RocknRollShakeUp Gretschie

    375
    Jun 20, 2017
    USA
    Hey RocknRollShakeUp, ramble all you want. This is a fantastic post! Just full of useful information. I am getting a better feel for what I like and don't like re the amp and it's effects...love the slapback delay as I enjoy rockabilly. Don't care for too much reverb as I'm finding with most of the effects, a little goes a long way. Some EFX's I don't like at all.
    Great info for me to try on the controls...volume, mids, treble, base gain etc. Lots for me to play with here.

    Many thanks for taking the time to post..

    Gregor[/QUOTE]

    You are most welcome. Keep rockin!
     
  9. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    100
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    Over the weekend I did a speakectomy on my trusty dusty Fender Roc Pro 700 and found the owners manual. It had a page with a bunch of "tone descriptions" (like "chunk-i-fied") and what to set the knobs to. Maybe your amp has a similar manual you can find online?

    Here's mine, the tone stuff is on page 5.
    https://www.fmicassets.com/Damroot/Original/10001/OM_leg_gtramp_Roc_Pro_700.pdf

    I'll also add that despite having this amp since 1997, I honestly had to idea that upgrading tubes, in my case a single tube, is a cheap way to make an amp sound a surprising amount better. Replacing the junk Fender tube with a $20 Mullard 12AX7 just made an incredible difference. Not applicable to your Cube 30, but I figured I'd post it in case there are others who didn't know this.

    Changing the speaker has a pretty drastic effect as well, although I need to play for some hours to break it in (another thing I never knew).
     
    Gregor likes this.
  10. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    100
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    That's a GREAT idea.

    I'm wondering if one could get an adapter to plug a guitar into a smartphone (of course), record the guitar and then plug the phone into the amp and fuss with the knobs. That would be less than the cost of a looper.

    /Looper
    //I just think the word sounds goofy
    ///Looper looper looper
     
  11. Gregor

    Gregor Electromatic

    83
    Oct 17, 2018
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Hey Scooter, thanks for the reply to my thread. I can't respond to your query re the smartphone as I don't even have one if you can believe it.....20th century flip phone here.
    I just cannot say enough good things about a looper pedal however(thanks again MrClint for the suggestion). Record your track and play it through the looper while adjusting the amp...........easy peasy. Great as well for recording a track or making your own to solo over. Love it. Yes it does cost a few bucks but you may be lucky enough to find a used one somewhere. Cheers
     
  12. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yes you could do that and it would cost less but you'd only do it once cause the result would sound truly terrible and it won't loop :)

    There's good reasons why loopers are complex technology - this the best cheap one imo.
    https://www.tcelectronic.com/Catego...mpboxes/DITTO-LOOPER/p/P0DD4#googtrans(en|en)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  13. Scooter127

    Scooter127 Gretschie

    100
    Feb 25, 2019
    USA
    You might be right about it sounded lousy but looping would be easy enough to do. Click the repeat button ;-)
     
  14. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    ahh that's the whole point - you have to stop playing to fiddle with your phone.
    Look at this video for a basic idea of what loopers do :)
    Then if you're interested go back to the TC Electronics site and read all about them.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Gregor likes this.
  15. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    71
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    My favorite loop vid:

     
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  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    I love your trombone vid.
    This one is a good instruction video imo

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
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  17. audept

    audept Senior Gretsch-Talker

    Age:
    71
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Great video!
     
    Waxhead likes this.
  18. Seamus

    Seamus Synchromatic

    813
    Feb 25, 2011
    New England
    Ne'er were truer words spoken. If you're only playing at home, then you can find exactly what you like, and even keep track of your settings with full knowledge it will sound as good next time you set it that way. I used to have copies of a drawing of all the amp knobs, and I'd draw in the settings I used for different things. Especially helpful for recording. But definitely different from setting your amp to quickly get the sound you want right then. I just got a new amp, and band rehearsal is mostly my scrambling over to dial in a little more of this and less of that for different songs -- all complicated by the rehearsal room sucking out all the treble like magic. Still - despite the many variables, it won't take you long to figure out how to get what you want. Enjoy!
     
    Gregor likes this.
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