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Old 09-14-2012, 03:14 PM   #1
drslackbladder
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Pinch Harmonic trouble on Tube amp only!

Looking for some advice - first off, I'm not a kid who can't hit pinch harmonics. I've been playing 20 yrs, mostly metal and hard rock. I can hit pinch harmonics on all strings, most frets, on my acoustics! But here's the problem. Until three years ago I always used solid state amps, and enjoyed being compared to Zakk Wylde, such was my proficiency with the harmonics. Then I upgraded to an Engl Screamer, and now to a Peavey 6505. And with a range of guitars, I cannot get the screaming, sustaining, full range of pinch harmonics that I always could with the solid state. Last week I played, for the first time in a while, through a solid state amp using the same guitars, and they were flying out all over the place.

So I'm confident in my technique. And the guitars (some active, some passive). And with it happening on both Engl and Peavey, I'm sure there's nothing wrong with the amps. And I know I'll be ridiculed for not pulling off the PHs using either of the high gain quality tube amps.

Anyone had this experience and know the fix?

Thanks!
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:19 PM   #2
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Turn up the presence.
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:25 PM   #3
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Hmmm; I have to be honest, I generally kept presence low on the Engl, it was way too bright and ice-picky, and I keep it around 12 o'clock on the Peavey, worrying that more would just be like the Engl. Maybe I could up presence and compensate with lower treble, would that bring harmonics out without being too harsh? Will give it a try.....

Thanks.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:06 PM   #4
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use an overdrive to boost it. that normally helps pinches jump way out.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:08 PM   #5
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I would suspect it's because SS amps are far more compressed/saturated than tube amps, especially if you're playing at reasonably low volumes. The louder you get it the easier it should become.

Anyway, depending on the amp the mids, treble or presence can have a dramatic effect on the ease in which one can pull off pinch harmonics, the best way to find out which is simply to set them all to 12:00. Crank the mids, try a harmonic, bring mids down to 12, then crank the treble, try again... Repeat with presence. Once you figure out which one brings them to life then you simply have to run that control higher than normal.

Alternately. Just use a boost. A Tubescreamer set to max volume min gain will make a world of difference.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:35 PM   #6
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Personally I've never liked the sound of PH's on 6505's. They always sound so lifeless no matter how intense they are (almost like a schizophrenic playing a kazoo). I'd recommend trading it for Soldano of some sort if you can find one. Soldano's in my opinion are the best amps when it comes to pinch harmonics (and leads ).

But I do think more of it is in your technique, sorry. SS amps, particularly cheap ones (MG's, etc) almost carry your pinch harmonics along. You have to learn to do them differently with tube amps to get the same intensity level, or else they don't go anywhere. You almost have to mute the string more.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:46 PM   #7
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I heard tube amps should be warmed (that's why I think marshalls have standby switch) for them to sound better. Also try turn the amp louder.
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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^ nah that's not why they have a standby switch. well it sorta is, but not really. if the tubes aren't warm enough you aren't going to get any sound, lol. Some people say they sound better when they've been played for 20 minutes or so and are really warmed up, but And it shouldn't affect your ability to get pinches, really.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:05 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
^ nah that's not why they have a standby switch. well it sorta is, but not really. if the tubes aren't warm enough you aren't going to get any sound, lol. Some people say they sound better when they've been played for 20 minutes or so and are really warmed up, but And it shouldn't affect your ability to get pinches, really.


Its not totally implausible (though I agree with you on the pinches). When I helped 311 bias his splawn the longer we had it on the more the bias crept up which will have an effect on the tone (albeit not a large one).

You're right though, standby switches aren't really to 'warm' the tubes up (though people use them that way). If I remember right, they're to protect the tubes from the inrush current when you turn the amp on. This is more important on high powered amps (more than 120 or 150 watts), but it finds its way into regular guitar amps. Thats why you'll see some older amps and some smaller amps sans standby switches (like the blues jr.), because they aren't necessary and save parts and time during manufacture.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
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^ yeah

and also to let you turn it off for short breaks and be able to start playing again immediately.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:10 PM   #11
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All warming up the tubes on standby does is heat up the cathode enough to actually function. The plate gets much hotter than the cathode once you've been playing them for a while. To warm them up fully you have to play them. That's why your amp always sounds better at the end of the set than at the start (unless your tubes are faulty). Warm up prior to full switch on has jack shit to do with it.
Really, all standby switches do is limit inrush current at switch on because it turns on the heaters only at first. If your power transformers are big enough you don't even need to do that.
The original idea was to provide a mute for the amp between sets but that is a stoopid way to do it because it causes cathode poisoning, you're better off just turning down the volume. Now it's all about saving your amp from inrush current. It's an outdated concept really. Nowadays they should be using a thermistor, they're cheap and plentiful. I think standby switches only exist because people expect to see them.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:30 PM   #12
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^Awesome, so I was on the mark, more or less. I never saw the point to them, honestly. When I actually had a rig I had everything (pedals and amp(s)) on a power strip and turned everything on/off with the power strip. I never touched the standby on the amps that had them.
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Old 09-14-2012, 07:38 PM   #13
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Hey I know you! I'm subscribed to your Youtube channel! Awesome playing man!
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Old 09-15-2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathbard
All warming up the tubes on standby does is heat up the cathode enough to actually function. The plate gets much hotter than the cathode once you've been playing them for a while. To warm them up fully you have to play them. That's why your amp always sounds better at the end of the set than at the start (unless your tubes are faulty). Warm up prior to full switch on has jack shit to do with it.
Really, all standby switches do is limit inrush current at switch on because it turns on the heaters only at first. If your power transformers are big enough you don't even need to do that.
The original idea was to provide a mute for the amp between sets but that is a stoopid way to do it because it causes cathode poisoning, you're better off just turning down the volume. Now it's all about saving your amp from inrush current. It's an outdated concept really. Nowadays they should be using a thermistor, they're cheap and plentiful. I think standby switches only exist because people expect to see them.


thanks, that's more or less what i thought/figured (though in much more detail)

I think (don't quote me ) my laney gh50L has some form of turn-on protection, yet it has a standby too.
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Old 09-19-2012, 04:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digibox56
I heard tube amps should be warmed (that's why I think marshalls have standby switch) for them to sound better. Also try turn the amp louder.


*Facepalm*
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:22 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by icronic
I would suspect it's because SS amps are far more compressed/saturated than tube amps, especially if you're playing at reasonably low volumes. The louder you get it the easier it should become.

Anyway, depending on the amp the mids, treble or presence can have a dramatic effect on the ease in which one can pull off pinch harmonics, the best way to find out which is simply to set them all to 12:00. Crank the mids, try a harmonic, bring mids down to 12, then crank the treble, try again... Repeat with presence. Once you figure out which one brings them to life then you simply have to run that control higher than normal.

Alternately. Just use a boost. A Tubescreamer set to max volume min gain will make a world of difference.


This guy knows his stuff, try it!!!
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:46 AM   #17
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*Facepalm*

Ok. Tell me how have you contributed to the topic.
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:48 AM   #18
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why the thread necro?
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Old 10-21-2012, 12:48 AM   #19
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Ok. Tell me how have you contributed to the topic.

Took you a while to come up with that comeback, didn't it?
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