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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Hi there guitar peeps. I have recently decided that it's time to start upgrading my gear, to take my sound to the next level as it were. My technique is fine (the stuff I play isn't that complicated anyhow) but I've reached a point where I need a better sound than I can get out of my equipment. So I thought I'd run my needs past you guys and see if we can all come up with some ideas for improvements to my rig.

    Here's the problems I've got:

    1)Rhythm sound isn't beefy enough, sounds kind've "blunt"... does that make sense? Not enough sustain on low chords when I play at a level of distortion where you can hear the notes properly. (I do tend to use jazz chords with distortion, as well as power chords, like Vernon Reid, so I need some clarity so it doesn't just sound like a mess)
    The majority of our tunes need a good beefy chunkin' powerchord crunch though, and getting that would be a huge improvement.

    2) My guitar leads don't stand out enough. When I go to single note stuff, it tends to get lost in the mix. I don't do that much lead stuff, but when I do it needs to stand out y'know?

    3) My clean sound lacks life, it just sounds kinda dead most of the time. I do a bit of Reggae, Ska & Jazz playing...

    I've got a feeling that the problem is with my amp, which I've had for about 7 years. I had it serviced recently, but the problems persist. However, I don't want to change the amp if my tone can be improved by other means. I mean, would better a better guitar, pickups, cables or pedals have a greater effect on my tone? Or what kind of amp would you recommend?

    Right, before we get started, I'll list what I've got:

    Epiphone SG (All standard, I had the pickups waxed, but it's in need of a setup, which it'll be getting next week) I use Ernie Ball Power slinkies & sharpened dunlop tortex 1.14s.

    Cables: Peavey lifetime guaranteed ones

    Amp: Laney Linebacker 50 Watt. It's got a footswitch for clean & distorted channels, but not separate tone controls. I've got a lot of bass & mid, but roll back the treble because above "6" it's just too harsh. Clean gain on 4, crunch gain on 6. No reverb.

    Pedals (in order of use):

    Marshall Guvnor, for lead sound, mid-range & level cranked, gain on 8 (I like Ernie Isley's lead sound)

    Phase 90 [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] (Natch) used for some rhythm parts and in tandem with the Guvnor for leads.

    Flanger: very rarely used

    Boss Tremelo: very rarely used

    Whaddaya think?
    It'll all end in beers...

  2. #2
    On Fire
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Well, I recentlt bought a overdrive pedal a BOSS SD-1, and its pretty good. I am having the same problems you are having. Iam most likely just going to buy a modified jcm 800 are any modified marshall. It might help if you added some reverb or a overdrive pedal.
    Bringing real guitar solos back to music-RIP rhoads and Srv-Rock on vai-Wylde-slash-and eddie!!!!!!!!!!<br /> "I don't like to push the envelope, Id rather chuck grenades into it!" -Ted Nugent-<br /><br /> =PASSION AND WARFARE=<br /> "That stevie vai, what a nice little boy!" -the audience is listening-

  3. #3
    XTC man! homeunit's Avatar
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    09.05.15 @ 12:20 PM
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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by TDR:
    Here's the problems I've got:

    1)Rhythm sound isn't beefy enough, sounds kind've "blunt"... does that make sense? Not enough sustain on low chords when I play at a level of distortion where you can hear the notes properly. (I do tend to use jazz chords with distortion, as well as power chords, like Vernon Reid, so I need some clarity so it doesn't just sound like a mess)
    The majority of our tunes need a good beefy chunkin' powerchord crunch though, and getting that would be a huge improvement.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    There's a number of options you can try, depending of your buget.
    1) A Boss EQ can work for your lead tone. You can shape it to pull out the notes you want. Conversly you can also use it for your rythme tone as well, but then you'll need a gain device for your solos.
    2) you could also try a compressor, it will work, but they can choke you up pretty easily.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    2) My guitar leads don't stand out enough. When I go to single note stuff, it tends to get lost in the mix. I don't do that much lead stuff, but when I do it needs to stand out y'know.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    1)I would stay away from SOD1 pedal and try a tube screamer, or some Vodoo Labs stuff.
    2) An EQ will work great for this as well.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    3) My clean sound lacks life, it just sounds kinda dead most of the time. I do a bit of Reggae, Ska & Jazz playing....
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    Well for clean stuff, I couldn't more strongly suggest checking out an effect proccessor by TC Electronics called "G-Major", it rules. http://www.tcelectronic.com/products...=81&category=2 if that doesn't fix your tone, I don't know what will! lol It's a great unit.
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>
    Right, before we get started, I'll list what I've got:

    Epiphone SG (All standard, I had the pickups waxed, but it's in need of a setup, which it'll be getting next week) I use Ernie Ball Power slinkies & sharpened dunlop tortex 1.14s.

    Cables: Peavey lifetime guaranteed ones

    Amp: Laney Linebacker 50 Watt. It's got a footswitch for clean & distorted channels, but not separate tone controls. I've got a lot of bass & mid, but roll back the treble because above "6" it's just too harsh. Clean gain on 4, crunch gain on 6. No reverb.

    Pedals (in order of use):

    Marshall Guvnor, for lead sound, mid-range & level cranked, gain on 8 (I like Ernie Isley's lead sound)

    Phase 90 [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img] (Natch) used for some rhythm parts and in tandem with the Guvnor for leads.

    Flanger: very rarely used

    Boss Tremelo: very rarely used

    Whaddaya think?
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Outside of the amp as the source of your disatisfaction, it may be your guitar. The SGs are a really tiny guitar (body-wise) and I've never had any luck with them. I've found them to be rather neutral sounding, and on the thin side, and sustain hasn't come easy with them for me. You could try some new p/u's that may help, but if I were you, I'd go down to your music store and try out all the pedal combinations you could first. No sense changing p/u's or amps if you can correct the problem a hell of a lot cheaper.

    If all else fails, buy a Triple Rectifier [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]
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  4. #4
    Baluchitherium sinner's swing's Avatar
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    12.02.17 @ 07:05 AM
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    a couple of insights

    1. before you go spend any amount of money, try some new strings man, I've never had any luck with ernie ball strings, in fact I hate them. Try some GHS boomers (heavy gauge) and I guarantee you'll hear a difference.

    2. I feel like I'm bagging on your gear but I don't mean to, I also dislike the Marshall pedals. I could never get any decent sound from any of them. Try a BOSS pedal if need be. Actually try plugging directly into your amp for a day and hear the difference.

    3. and if you want some beefiness, try a heavier guitar like a Les Paul or something.

  5. #5
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    Boss is now making a programmable EQ pedal with 9 or so memory slots that would probably work WONDERS for your various sounds.

    Also, using too much midrange will turn any guitar into mud. While guitar IS a midrange instrument, you have to be careful not to overdo it, since it will obscure clarity, particularly when playing chords. So for rhythm playing, ease up on those mids. For lead playing, a healthy bit of midrange will give your sound a lot of body.

    Too much bass will cause your guitar to clash with the bass, so back that off as well. Remember, playing by yourself demands (and allows for) a certain type of sound, but when you mix it in with other instruments, you have to be careful with your frequency ranges.

    Also, an SG one of my LEAST favorite guitars. To me, they just don't have a lot of life. While a set of great pickups may help, my philosophy is to find the cheapest way out if possible. I am guessing that the volume pot is a 500k; change it to a 1 Meg. It will add some high end and clarity back into all your playing, as well as give you a little gain boost. Sometimes that little mod is all it takes to revive a dead or flat guitar.
    Don't bark at me...<b>I</b> didn't name ya.

  6. #6
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Well, I might as well put my 2 cents in too.
    Before you start spending money on pedals, which probably won't make much difference anyway, start by thinking about the guitar you're playing. You're using an epiphone body, which could be a plywood laminate, or another wood that doesn't carry sound well.
    You mentioned that your pickups are potted. The only reason that's done is to control feedback, usually for high output pickups. Potting a pickup too heavily will severly affect tone and sustain. Old paf's were never potted. Also, you didn't mention which pickups you were using, but if they're epiphone standard pickups they'll distort pretty easily on their own and it's not a pleasant kind of distortion. You should always try to match a pickup to the type of body wood you're using, and then decide whether it needs waxing. The pickups I use don't come waxed at all, but I had to have my bridge pickup very lightly waxed, just enough to control feedback. As far as strings go, I've used ernie ball strings for lots of years and have never had a problem with them sounding good or cutting through.
    Now the amp. The laney amp you're using is a solid state amp, which is known for having very poor distortion qualities, adding up to sustain problems as well since it's circuitry doesn't distort or sustain naturally the way a tube circuit does. Also, it probably has an active eq, which will make the problem worse by making small changes in the eq have a drastic, instead of smooth effect on the tone. Putting a pedal of any kind in front of it will only agrivate the problem more. The boss pedals mentioned are digital as well and will only add to the problem, making the sound even colder. If you feel the need to use a pedal for gain or distortion get a tube combo which sounds good on it's own, then experiment with pedals. If you're gonna use distortion pedals use analog pedals, like the 70's and early 80's mxr, or ibanez pedals, or other analog types.
    While using an eq for tone in the loop is a great idea with a tube amp, in your case it wouldn't help much because your problem isn't tone as much as poor digital emulation.
    One main your leads don't cut through is because the amp doesn't have the ability to be affected by single or higher notes, again the way a tube amp does. It digitalizes every note before it comes out of the speaker. Bad pickups could be another factor working against you.
    The reason I'm being as blunt as I am is because it sounds like you're serious about your sound, I'd like you to be informed, and I think it's time to stop wasting time on the amp you're using and invest in something that'll allow you to build on it tone and sound wise. Change your amp, then decide if the guitar your using is the right one for you.

    [ August 23, 2001 at 10:05 PM: Message edited by: tribb ]

  7. #7
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Hey thanks fellas. Basically I want to know what changes will have the greatest effect on my tone per dollar y'know? And you all seem to have the same opinion on that philosophy.

    I used to be happy with the tone of the Laney, but it does seem to have deteriorated (or my ears have got better) over the years.

    Thing is, my debut single is out next month, so I'm gonna haveta sound a lot more professional, so I figured now was the time to get the sound up to scratch.

    My guitar is gonna come back from the repair shop on wednesday, I'll give the guy a call and ask if he can change that pot while he's at it, then I'll be fiddling with the midrange on the amp when it gets back.

    I really don't use any of the effects pedals for more than about 5% of the time, so other than reducing the signal slightly by being there, they don't affect my basic tone too much, I think... correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

    Do you reckon going for an EMG pickup would make a big improvement? (I do have the standard epiphone pickups in there at the moment)

    Oh, and my choice of guitar was kinda dictated by the limited availability of Left handed guitars over here, but it was a huge improvement over my Washburn right off the bat. That washburn weighed a fuckin' TON too! [img]smilies/eek.gif[/img]

    I'm gonna go for a new amp a.s.a.p .... the trouble is that asap might not be so soon (same old money trouble!) so if I can make some improvements in the meantime that'd be cool.

    Oh yeah, our other guitarist uses a Tele, so I'm figuring that a Les Paul is probably the best bet for a nice contrast, right?

    Cheers again. I love havin' a good ol' guitar geek chat every now & again. [img]smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
    It'll all end in beers...

  8. #8
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    Putting an emg pickup in that guitar will only add more digital to the configuration.
    Your washburn was probably on the heavy side because washburn tend to use swamp ash bodies, and you were lucky enough to get one. Swamp ash, though a bit on the heavy side is a great tone wood, and putting the right pickups into that body would have made a difference. Was the fingerboard rosewood or maple? That would have affected the sound as well.
    Unfortunately you could probably put an aircraft carrier full of pedals in front of your amp and it wouldn't make much difference. One major problem solid state amps have is that they tend to sound good at low levels, but when you crank them the sound goes right out the window.
    Before you invest money in a les paul, which is a major cash investment, CHANGE YOUR AMP, and don't worry about what your other guitarist is using. Tele's have ash bodies, giving them a nice top end, and it's easier to keep them clean tone wise, so he has an advantage over you in that he can add distortion to his amp and let the amp do the work because the sound of his guitar will get through. If his tele is a standard then he's using single coil pickups which is different as well.
    TDR, don't get caught up in the I'd better have a les paul syndrome. Find out exactly what body wood epiphone uses for your guitar from epiphone. You can probably get it from their website. Don't let some store salesman tell you "uuuuhhh, I think it's alder or mahogany, or something like that".
    Find out exactly, and then it'll be much easier to guide you in the way of which pickup would sound good in your body, for the sound you're after.

  9. #9
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Gotta be the amp huh? I got your e-mail there Tribb, thanks!
    It'll all end in beers...

  10. #10
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    The amp's the main contributing factor here. Check your email again.

  11. #11
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Sheesh! Man, they've been working me like a dog. Well, I've been looking into gettin' me a JCM800, and apparently there are a coupla reasonable deals around here. I reckon I'll be able to shop around next month somehow.

    Now it seems that my epiphone SG is mahogony. Couldn't find it listed on the darned Epiphone site, so that's not official, but my repair guy (who's a good one) reckons that's what it is. Although most of the stuff that epiphone do now seems to be Alder, mines a few years old, and of a type that ain't listed on their site so ya never know...

    What do ya reckon about pickup choices then? Oh, and my fretboard is rosewood BTW...
    It'll all end in beers...

  12. #12
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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    The SG-310 is alder, the SG-410 is mahogany, and the SG special is a laminated alder/maple combination. Which one is yours?
    There should be a model number somewhere on it, or you can probably find out by the serial no. Three different body types, and three different sounding bodies. There's a big difference between alder and mahogany. A lot of times alder looks like mahogany when you're looking through a transparent coating. They tend to stain mahogany(normally a light colored wood) a little dark to seal it and show the grain, and the grain looks a lot like alder at times. If it's solid paint then you either have to verify by the model no. or open a back plate or neck pocket or something like that.
    Repair guys are just that, repair guys, and 99% couldn't tell poplar from maple. You shouldn't reckon on what it is, but find out, cause if you use a pickup in an alder body that should be used in a mahogany body it'll usually sound like shit.

  13. #13
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Hmmmm. Found out my serial number ... J98020139, but can't figure out what that means. The Epiphone site redirected me to the Gibson site for an interpretation, but the search didn't reveal much... am I just being stupid? [img]smilies/confused.gif[/img]
    It'll all end in beers...

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    03.30.13 @ 09:28 AM
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    No, you're not being stupid at all. The epiphone site is still in the building process. If you phone an epiphone dealer, or better still call Epiphone in Nashville TN. at 1-800-444-12766,(toll free) and ask for cutomer relations.
    Tell them your serial no., and I'm sure they can identify your model based on that, or other info you'd have.
    Go from there. Good luck bud.
    Let us know what you find out.

  15. #15
    Eruption
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    02.27.09 @ 02:39 AM
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    Cheers! I'm sure making a drama out of this little quest ain't I? [img]smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img]
    It'll all end in beers...

 

 

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