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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    12.11.17 @ 08:49 PM
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    Default Distortion pedals in front of the amp ...

    I was wondering who uses this type of setup to achieve their main tone ? I've seen a lot of players use 'squawk boxes' inline with their guitars into the front end of a clean or semi dirty amp , be it combo or stack . I recently tried a multi f/x board but was put off by the digital distortions used in the modelling technology ...

    I'm obviously looking for a VH-ish type of sound with enough gain to play those kind of licks with relative ease , but also have dynamics when rolling down the pickup volume etc. Any suggestions ?

    Leaning towards the MXR Super Badass or '78 Custom Badass pedals in front of a clean amp . Signal chain would be similar to the following ;

    guitar > tuner > wah > phase 90 > flanger > distortion pedal(s) > eq/chorus/delays > amp input or effects return .

    Not looking to spend an arm and a leg , but want the meat of the sound to be rockin' . LOL .


    **A big shout out to Brett , for letting me change my username from vhMcG to my current RRvh1 . I wanted to keep the same one I use on Halen.com , although I don't post there very often **

    Cheers
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
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  2. #2
    Sinner's Swing! evhintexas's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 03:43 PM
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    I have never used them. I own the Wampler Pinnacle II and its awesome but its collecting dust. But for VH tones it is dead on. I just prefer the gain on tap of the 5150 III Stealth or standard head.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

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  3. #3
    Eruption AFU's Avatar
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    I've got the '78 Badass. Use it in front of my Marshall Class 5 combo(limited edition signed by Jim Marshall I might add!) sometimes. I like to use it mostly as a boost. Seems to work good. Couple times I tried to use it as a distortion pedal. It was ok. Had fun with it. But I also prefer my 5150s to do the work. Old Peavey which is still badass. And the new 5150 III 2x12 combo. I'll tell you one thing. When I boosted that little Marshall it sounded like every moddded hot rodded Marshall ever. Not really. But it reminded me of that sound.

  4. #4
    On Fire KS 5150's Avatar
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    I currently have a 5150 Combo and used to have a '78 Custom Badass pedal. I thought it was okay, but I was turned on to Xotic pedals by a buddy and now have an Xotic AC Booster. I liked the sound of the Super Badass from clips, but haven't tried it. You could do like RR and use an MXR Distortion +

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
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  5. #5
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    12.11.17 @ 05:18 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRvh1 View Post
    I was wondering who uses this type of setup to achieve their main tone ? I've seen a lot of players use 'squawk boxes' inline with their guitars into the front end of a clean or semi dirty amp , be it combo or stack . I recently tried a multi f/x board but was put off by the digital distortions used in the modelling technology ...

    I'm obviously looking for a VH-ish type of sound with enough gain to play those kind of licks with relative ease , but also have dynamics when rolling down the pickup volume etc. Any suggestions ?

    Leaning towards the MXR Super Badass or '78 Custom Badass pedals in front of a clean amp . Signal chain would be similar to the following ;

    guitar > tuner > wah > phase 90 > flanger > distortion pedal(s) > eq/chorus/delays > amp input or effects return .

    Not looking to spend an arm and a leg , but want the meat of the sound to be rockin' . LOL .


    **A big shout out to Brett , for letting me change my username from vhMcG to my current RRvh1 . I wanted to keep the same one I use on Halen.com , although I don't post there very often **

    Cheers
    There are lots of ways now to achieve various tones...are you working within a particular budget?

    I tend not to use any kind of distortion pedal, I prefer the amp to get the tone and distortion for me. I've been using a 5150 head for years, run through a Weber Mass then into a Carvin SS power amp. I get some pretty great tone at very low volumes if I want. The new EVH combos have a built-in attenuator, this is the same thing essentially.

    I do have the 78 Custom Badass pedal. Good pedal but not for VH tones. I don't really use it. I see you are Ontario...if you are anywhere near Toronto I could give you a good deal on an amp and that pedal if you are interested. Shoot me a private message and we can talk. If not, no worries.

  6. #6
    Sinner's Swing! evhintexas's Avatar
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    12.09.17 @ 03:43 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    There are lots of ways now to achieve various tones...are you working within a particular budget?

    I tend not to use any kind of distortion pedal, I prefer the amp to get the tone and distortion for me. I've been using a 5150 head for years, run through a Weber Mass then into a Carvin SS power amp. I get some pretty great tone at very low volumes if I want. The new EVH combos have a built-in attenuator, this is the same thing essentially.

    I do have the 78 Custom Badass pedal. Good pedal but not for VH tones. I don't really use it. I see you are Ontario...if you are anywhere near Toronto I could give you a good deal on an amp and that pedal if you are interested. Shoot me a private message and we can talk. If not, no worries.
    What do you think of the Weber mass attenuator? Are you using the 100w ?
    How does it effect your tone ?
    I'm looking to get a good clear attenuator and any input would be nice.
    I have pulled all my Celestions and went with Scumbacks but I'm a little concerned about Jim Seaval's attenuator. Its limited to 8 or 16 ohms and I switch 4x12s while playing quite a lot. His speakers kick ass though.
    Anyhow, any info would be much appreciated.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

  7. #7
    Unchained RogueNT's Avatar
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    I used to use a dirt pedal in front of a vintage Fender combo, back when I was using those pretty exclusively. Now I've got a Bray-modded Marshall and could get away with just plugging straight into the amp. I just roll the volume knob down for clean passages and roll it full up for the most glorious overdrive you've ever heard.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by evhintexas View Post
    What do you think of the Weber mass attenuator? Are you using the 100w ?
    How does it effect your tone ?
    I'm looking to get a good clear attenuator and any input would be nice.
    I have pulled all my Celestions and went with Scumbacks but I'm a little concerned about Jim Seaval's attenuator. Its limited to 8 or 16 ohms and I switch 4x12s while playing quite a lot. His speakers kick ass though.
    Anyhow, any info would be much appreciated.
    Ok, let me explain my setup.

    I have the Weber Mass 100 watt and an original 5150 block letter head. I don't use the Weber as an attenuator. I've tried it that way and frankly it sucks too much tone out of the amp. However, it is a great unit to get a line level signal from. I run the head into the Weber, then draw a line level and send that out to a Carvin SS power amp. The Carvin then goes into my 4x12...a Crate. Don't knock the older Crate cabs, they are fantastic, made from birch not pressboard. I have no clue what speakers Crate put in them, mine doesn't have the Vintage 30 speakers which some Crate cabs shipped with (which I don't think sound good with a 5150 anyway), but whatever speakers Crate threw in there sound great with everything I run into it.

    The good thing about using the Weber this way is that I get to use the tone stack on the front of the unit-volume, treble, bass mid-. The tone stack only works if you are using a line out. If you are using to attenuate then the tone controls don't work. But the tone stack is very responsive so you can dial in any kind of sound you need, much more so than using the tone controls on the 5150 head, which don't do a whole lot. I don't dime the 5150 so having the 120 watt head and 100 watt Weber is no problem. I typically run lower pre and post gain on the 5150. I'm not a metal guy and I find the 5150 has more than enough gain at about 5. I use the lead channel only and ride the volume knob on my guitar. The amp changes character nicely and responds very well to the volume knob on the guitar. I know a lot of people have complained about the fizziness of the 5150 heads. I don't know how people are running their amps or their settings but honestly I get zero fizz with the amp. I will add that it took me a long time to get this rig sorted out and sounding the way I like. I've never been sold on amp modeling. I've tried most of the units out there and they just don't feel right, even when they sound good they don't feel right. So I've gone to a lot of trouble to get a sound I'm happy with. It's not convenient but it works very well for me and I haven't really found anything yet that I prefer over this setup...maybe one of the new EVH 5150 amps but I'm in no rush to get one, one day probably I will.

    I have two ways of controlling volume, which I can get very low when needed, like conversation levels. I can use the volume control on the Weber, or the volume control on the Carvin power amp. I tend to leave the volume up on the Weber and just turn the volume on the Carvin to my desired level. The effects loop on the 5150 works like normal. In front of the amp I have a tuner, wah, EVH flanger, EVH phaser, and a Zoom MS50G (a great little unit). In the loop I'm currently using my Vox Tonelab LE for the effects only (reverb and delay mostly). I do have a second Zoom that is going into the loop once I get around to dialing in some settings. That will replace the Tonelab and give me everything on my pedal board, which is a home-made job.

    Hope this makes sense.

  9. #9
    Sinner's Swing! evhintexas's Avatar
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    Awesome set up
    I take it the ss head is clean and the 5150 has all the dirt ?
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

    “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”

  10. #10
    5150
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    As I posted about recently, I've only really gotten back into pedals in the last year or two. I'm enjoying using stacked drive pedals into my Marshall 50th Anniversary amp. Setting aside other pedals, it goes EXH Soul Food > Marshall Guv'nor MK1 > Amp. If I keep the amp set to an AC/DC style classic rock tone, I can boost that with the Guv'nor to get a more saturated "brown" tone, then boost it further with the Soul Food for a more modern high gain tone.

    They're pricey these days, but the original Guv'nor is great as a kind of "more" button with the Marshall. It just has that character. The Soul Food is a nice transparent drive, that again just gives you more. It can be set to a heavy-ish drive in itself, but for me, it works best as a means of goosing the signal.
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  11. #11
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    12.11.17 @ 05:18 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by evhintexas View Post
    Awesome set up
    I take it the ss head is clean and the 5150 has all the dirt ?
    Yes the Carvin provides a very clean amplification and does not color the sound of the amp at all really. A tube poweramp would introduce too much tube tone...tubes in the 5150 and tubes in the power amp...too many variables that can affect the sound. Plus the solid state power amp is no trouble and very small and light, just turn it on and set your volume. The Carvins are great units and very affordable. I think I picked mine up on sale for under $200 but that was a bunch of years ago. I'm sticking with this set up until I hear something that beats it.

  12. #12
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    11.25.17 @ 09:06 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by vhin04 View Post
    There are lots of ways now to achieve various tones...are you working within a particular budget?

    I tend not to use any kind of distortion pedal, I prefer the amp to get the tone and distortion for me. I've been using a 5150 head for years, run through a Weber Mass then into a Carvin SS power amp. I get some pretty great tone at very low volumes if I want. The new EVH combos have a built-in attenuator, this is the same thing essentially.

    I do have the 78 Custom Badass pedal. Good pedal but not for VH tones. I don't really use it. I see you are Ontario...if you are anywhere near Toronto I could give you a good deal on an amp and that pedal if you are interested. Shoot me a private message and we can talk. If not, no worries.
    I've been helping a friend with this very question. He has my old 5150. Loves the lead channel tone, hates the crunch channel but wants something to boost or intensify his tone for solos, or other parts that call for additional boost, at least to his ear.
    Generally I don't like actual distortion or fuzz boxes. I have a bunch I've acquired over the years, and unless I'm going for a true 60'S tone....never use em.
    Anyway, the MXR Badass'78, or some kind of overdrive pedal would be the better way to go.
    another some never seem to consider is using an eq like the 10 band MXR. It also has separate volume and a gain which gives natural sounding boost, plus of course the ability to boost or cut the frequencies you want.
    I use it in front of my old Marshall, and also used it on the 5150. I personally would never use a distortion in front of the 5150. Just overkill imo. The Badass would be an exception I'd try though. It's not just fuzz...it has a smoother harmonic characteristic.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    Going to add to We Die Young's comment.

    I have a Peavey 5150 Combo and what I used to do, to give me a little boost was to use a BBE Sonic Maximizer foot switch which was in front of the amp. Kind of an EQ. When I had it dialed in, it gave a little boost to my two channels. Unfortunately it eventually broke due to my stupidity. Never got it replaced.

  14. #14
    Sinner's Swing! evhintexas's Avatar
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    In my signal chain I have the MXR 10 band eq. I use it for a very slight clean boost and a very small amount of tone shaping. I used to use it like a buffer but I've since added a Wampler Decibel + as a buffer. But the eq is really nice for a boost. I actually never turn it off.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

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    Quote Originally Posted by evhintexas View Post
    In my signal chain I have the MXR 10 band eq. I use it for a very slight clean boost and a very small amount of tone shaping. I used to use it like a buffer but I've since added a Wampler Decibel + as a buffer. But the eq is really nice for a boost. I actually never turn it off.
    Yeah, it's real nice to have that clean boost. That's really all it does is help help drive the signal a little more giving more overdrive, and gain without the typical fuzzbox clipping transistor brashness.
    I'm like you...I never turn it off really except if I just want to go cleaner and quieter for a bit. My Marshall is very typical of the non-master volume mid 70's era. I bit high endy, and not very much gain straight up (unless it's wide open), so it benefits both ways with the eq. I can
    cut some of the treble, give the amp some more bottom end, and with the boost, I get pretty much all the additional gain I need for the majority of what I play.

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