Trying to find a good overdrive sound for my Vox AC30

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by theriot21, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. theriot21

    theriot21 Electromatic

    28
    Dec 3, 2014
    Goose Creek, SC
    I'm playing through a Gretsch Electromatic center-block with a TV Jones Classic plus bridge pup. I'm trying to dial in a good overdrive sound through my Vox AC30CC2 and having difficulty finding out where things need to be. I'm looking more for Foo Fighters-ish sound. I know asking for specific settings is stupid but a good place to start and some helpful tips would be incredibly helpful. Also using a ProCo rat distortion pedal. (Note: This model AC30 allows for blending the Normal and Top Boost channels together if that helps)
     
  2. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    hey no Vox amps will do Foo Fighter tones.
    AC30 can't do distortion - not enuf gain on tap - they're great clean amps with some light overdrive.

    The Foo's use Mesa Boogies the past 15 yrs - Rectifiers and Mark V
    On early Foo's CDs they used a Rat pedal into Mesa Lonestar Classic.
    So AC30 can't do distortion and I've heard they don't combine well with many distortion pedals. They are kinda picky with them.

    Your guitar is ok.
    If you keep the Vox you'll need a good modern sounding distortion pedals that mates well with AC30. I can't advise you which distortion pedal will work on an AC30.

    But listen to this Foo's recording I did a few years ago with a Gretsch Jet with TV Jones Classics into a Mesa 5:50 - no pedals

    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=792315&songID=10270237

    is that the kind of Foo's tones you're looking for ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  3. JHall55

    JHall55 Country Gent

    Dec 18, 2012
    Ontario
    It's no secret that Dave Grohl uses a Vox AC30...pretty sure they use the Mesa's as well though. I thought I read somewhere that he recorded an entire album with just his Trini Lopez and an AC30 for his guitar parts.

    https://reverb.com/ca/news/the-gear-of-foo-fighters

    There's some info on his AC30 settings in here:

    http://www.fooarchive.com/features/guitarplayer99.htm
     
  4. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Is this based on your personal experience? AC30 distortion is great, you just need to crank it up. They are very LOUD at that point is the main drawback and it's why the AC15 is favoured for non-arena gigs.
     
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  5. afire

    afire Country Gent

    Jesus, Waxhead, how much does Mesa pay you to pump their product on every amp-related thread? ;)
     
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  6. Hammerhands

    Hammerhands Country Gent

    Aug 26, 2011
    Winnipeg
    I don't know about that band, but the AC-30 cranked is the sound of that era.

    You're just missing the bravery to turn it up past were solid-state amps sizzle and die. That's a psychological barrier.

    Getting that sound at lower volumes is a challenge. An OD or distortion pedal, a smaller amp, a master volume amp, a power attenuator or speaker simulator.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
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  7. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Probably same as what other members here are paid to pump up Fender and Vox, etc., but since Fender and Vox apparently have larger budgets to hire more people, it is more apparent when someone mentions Mesa on this site.

    Yes, I am a Mesa (and Fender) owner.
     
  8. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    Good resources. The reverb site says:

    "Grohl has mentioned his love of the AC30 often, due to its ability to produce a wide range of tones: clean, dirty, bright, fat, you name it and the AC30 will help you get there. The Mesa/Boogie was typically used in their 2000 rig for dirtier sounds, though Grohl frequently pushed the AC30 to get the distortion he desired."
     
  9. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    ??
    I disagree. I owned a vintage AC30 and can honestly say:
    An AC30 delivers one of the most beautiful overdrive-sounds when cranked. If you need even more drive, get a clean boost-pedal.
    Most of the good-sounding classic rock-tones are not as distorted as most people think.
    Bigger sound usually means a little less distortion (to my ears).
     
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  10. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I think for some people there is a distinction between drive or overdrive (light disortion/dirtiness) and distortion (heavy gain). My guess is the OP is looking for more gain than the AC30 provides either generally, or at comfortable volumes. Apparently, Dave Grohl may have felt the same way and feels the need to use a distortion pedal for heavier gain.
     
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  11. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    Pushing an AC30 with a treble booster used to be the thing in the '60s or early '70s, see Rory Gallagher. Not sure if it helps to get the FF-sound, but a power soak will do a lot for your hearing when you want to crank the AC30 ;)
     
  12. Floo

    Floo Country Gent

    Dec 16, 2012
    Elmshorn, Germany
    And yes, pushing the power amp valves will get you a bigger sound. For example, the classic AC/DC sound isn't as distorted as many amateur-players think :rolleyes:.
     
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  13. Staggerlee

    Staggerlee Country Gent

    Jul 19, 2012
    Twin Cities
    To get back to your question OP, try the Crowther Hotcake and the Skreddy Screwdriver. The Hotcake shines as a medium gain overdrive and does Stone Temple Pilots sounds very well. For Foo Fighters, I'd go with the Skreddy. It is very versatile and can be dialed in a few different ways to work as an overdrive, distortion bordering on fuzz and also as a boost.

    Another thing to note, you really need humbuckers for those heavy distorted sounds and you need to plug into the Top Boost and turn the volume up, master to taste (or as much as your wife or neighbors can tolerate).
     
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  14. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Brian May still does that.
     
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  15. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Australia
    Yeah I agree but...........................
    Have you guys heard Foo Fighters?
    They're a modern heavy rock band who use high gain distortion mostly - not overdrive.
    They are not a"classic" rock band

    I think you're confusing classic light/mid overdrive with modern distortion.
    You gotta play lots of it yourself to know the difference.
    And if you don't have the amps & pedals to deliver it you never will

    I'm talking FF amp distortion tones unassisted by pedals.
    Foo Fighters use Mesa Boogie amps for distortion for a reason.
    Every time I've seen them live they all had Rectifiers and Mark V.
    Dave Growl might use AC30 for his rarely heard cleaner tones but they have 3 guitar players.
    Ac30 can't deliver their gain tones sound unassisted imo :)

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  16. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    53
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Sorry. Modern distortion is Rammstein (Mesa Boogie Rectifiers and all kinds of SIMS). Foofighters sound very conventional classic-rock to my ear.
     
  17. afire

    afire Country Gent

    That's the one I hear people mention most often as working well with an AC30. The other one that comes up a lot is the Bad Monkey. Neither of which may do what the OP wants, but just throwing it out there.
     
  18. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Friend of Fred

    Age:
    54
    Feb 6, 2015
    In the USA
    I've been using VOX amps for almost 30 years. The few times I have been able to overdrive them, they are very rich in harmonics.
    And their clean sounds, to me, are legendary.

    I'm pretty sure that Brian May is using AC30s here:

     
  19. Staggerlee

    Staggerlee Country Gent

    Jul 19, 2012
    Twin Cities
    Supposedly Dave Grohl uses Voxes for clean sounds and Mesa for distorted parts. These are Mesa amps in the backline. Just FYI, which doesn't mean you can't make a Vox AC30 sound heavily distorted.
     
  20. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    61
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    He goes through how to get his sound here.
     
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