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Old 03-21-2015, 03:16 AM   #1
Avielp
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Getting more gain out of a vintage low gain amp

I'm considering buying Blackheart Handsome Devil head+matching cab
According to all reviews and my good friend who is selling it's a great amp.
This would be my first tube amp, and my secomd amp in general.
From what i read about it and saw on youtube, my problem with it would be that it seems like it can only produce low-gain oldschool classic rock tones, while I'm looking for something that can also sound heavier amd more modern like John Petrucci and Guthrie Govan.
Is it possible to get that out of such an amp? How? What pedals etc..
Thank you very much for your time!
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Old 03-21-2015, 03:29 AM   #2
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Your best bet would be to boost the front end. EQ will also be an issue so I'd recommend an MXR 10 band EQ pedal as your main boost and stack it with a Timmy.
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:19 AM   #3
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You`re probably talking about using a powerful overdrive pedal in conjunction with the amps distortion. Something like a Tube Screamer could work fine
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:49 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathbard
Your best bet would be to boost the front end. EQ will also be an issue so I'd recommend an MXR 10 band EQ pedal as your main boost and stack it with a Timmy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathbard
Your best bet would be to boost the front end. EQ will also be an issue so I'd recommend an MXR 10 band EQ pedal as your main boost and stack it with a Timmy.

1.When you say "front end" you mean the signal before it comes into the amp?
2.I have a Zoom G2 multi-effect pedal with a 3 band eq, would that do the trick?
And another question regarding anything standing between the guitar and the tube amp in the signal chain: wouldn't any such pedal alter the guitar's sound in a way that would render the tube amp's typical desired sound redundant?
3. Doesn't pushing an amp into overdrive (with or without external pedal help)wear-out any components in thr amp?
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Last edited by Avielp : 03-21-2015 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:55 AM   #5
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1. Yes
2. Yes. That would do the job. An MXR 10 band would give you more control though.
No it doesn't. It alters it but not in a bad way
3. No
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:49 AM   #6
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I use a distortion pedal to get high gain out of a low gain amp. The MI Audio Crunch Box works great for me, has a really heavy, tight, Marshall-y sorta tone, even with single coils.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:56 AM   #7
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Wouldn't getting a different amp all together be better than that?
I'm guessing you want nice cleans, so get an amp with nice cleans that has enough gain for your heavier stuff.


If you still want that amp then some powerful OD pedal as mentioned before.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:48 AM   #8
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Setting the amps gain to about half way and then boosting it with a OD thats set to max level with its gain almost dialed to 0 and tone knob to taste is a good start when boosting a amps front for the first time.
Also some amps are noisy with gain on full, so when backing the amps gain down and boosting it with OD to get it up again usually makes for a silent setup.

Correct me if im wrong, this is just how it is in my experience.
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:02 AM   #9
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Also, wouldn't the timmy, or any other distortion pedal for that matter, just produce it's own distortion tone? Or do you mean I should only use it a volume boost and not turn up it's gain?
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avielp
Also, wouldn't the timmy, or any other distortion pedal for that matter, just produce it's own distortion tone? Or do you mean I should only use it a volume boost and not turn up it's gain?



Basically 2 ways you can go about it.

Some people want to have no colouration and go for the most transparent od, but a big group of people like the added colouration. It's certainly it's own character.

I'd say one thing is that some OD's used a boost tend to cut lows, but again this for many guitar players is irrelevant due to other instruments in the mix filling it up, or even desired to cut through.

Some OD's are both used on their own, and as boost, and I feel u should treat that as 2 different beasts.

Just try out different od's with low gain, high volume and wiggle the tone if needed.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fryderyczek
Wouldn't getting a different amp all together be better than that?
I'm guessing you want nice cleans, so get an amp with nice cleans that has enough gain for your heavier stuff.


If you still want that amp then some powerful OD pedal as mentioned before.


+1

Maybe even a distortion pedal. and then goose it with a boost up front.

But yeah if you're going in knowing you want to play the kind of high gain tones which are normally (mainly) amp-generated, get a high gain amp.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:32 PM   #12
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i think you can get what you want out of that amp with a good overdrive but.... as mentioned if you need cleans as well that is a 1 channel amp so that could be an issue. i'd slap a Digitech Hardwire CM-2 overdrive in front and that wil give you the gain you want. don't expect to nail those guys tones though.

getting an actual high gain amp would be a better answer but that amp could work if you don't ecpect to much from it.
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Old 03-21-2015, 04:51 PM   #13
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1.I'm not sure I understand why not having a second channel prevent me from alternating between good clean tone and high gain tone, given that I have some kind of booster\overdrive pedal to turn on\off?
2.Also, are the "level" and "drive" knobs the equivalent of "input volume" and "master volume" in other amps? I mean, will I be able to control both the preamp valve's gain and the power valve's gain independantly?
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avielp
1.I'm not sure I understand why not having a second channel prevent me from alternating between good clean tone and high gain tone, given that I have some kind of booster\overdrive pedal to turn on\off?
2.Also, are the "level" and "drive" knobs the equivalent of "input volume" and "master volume" in other amps? I mean, will I be able to control both the preamp valve's gain and the power valve's gain independantly?

level / drive are volume / master volume yes. as for the other thing it depends on how you do i. with an overdrive you would be boosting an alreadydistorted amp so no clean sound. if you get a distortion pedal then yes you can just tiurn it off for a clean sound.
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:17 PM   #15
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^ yeah. when we say "use an od as a boost" we mean using it to boost the amp when it's already distorted. so you can't kick between clean and really distorted. you can roll the guitar's volume down for cleans but that doesn't always sound as good (though some players prefer it).
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
^ yeah. when we say "use an od as a boost" we mean using it to boost the amp when it's already distorted. so you can't kick between clean and really distorted. you can roll the guitar's volume down for cleans but that doesn't always sound as good (though some players prefer it).

I understand now. Thank you all very much for your time and insight!
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Old 03-22-2015, 07:51 PM   #17
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no worries
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:52 AM   #18
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I know I'm late a bit but for a quality distortion pedal look for an Amptweaker Tightmetal. Great stuff.
Wish it wasn't so expensive in Poland.
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