Hey everyone! I've been poking around the forums some, and am excited to finally know of a place with a bunch of great info and discussion I can dig in to and learn stuff.

I'm having a problem with my tone I was wondering if y'all could help me out with. I've messed around a lot with my amp, pedal, and guitar settings, and I can't quite get a really punchy metal distortion sound out. My cleans I can get sounding pretty good (though a little flat sounding, and it doesn't take much on the volume knob to start overdriving my amp), but playing rhythm for a 5 piece band that ranges from classic rock to metal means I need my distorted sound pretty tight to not muddy everything up.

I've found I like the kind of distortion sound on Master of Puppets and the sound the Disturbed guitars have. Mostly what I get out right now of my equipment just sounds..cheap. Clean is flat, and distortion gets muddy and I always think it sounds too fuzzy.

I'm playing with:

Custom Aria Pro II with cheap pickups not set up properly, 2 sets of single coils wired like humbuckers with 3 pickup switches so I can toggle around (I LOVE the range of sound I can get outta this thing!)

'59 Bassman Reissue (that I can't use the bright channel on cause it squeals..gotta get that fixed..)

Metal Zone

Boss ME-50 (don't like the multi effect route, but we had a show, and I needed reverb/chorus/etc. with a quickness)

I've got some extra money to spend to improve things, but I don't know what. I'm on about a $400-600 budget and am thinking I should either grab a decent guitar off Craigslist, pimp out my baby with new pickups, or maybe find a different distortion pedal. All my equipment is so picky about tones on how everything is set up I'm having a hard time narrowing down what would help me out the most..

Thanks for any advice you can give, and let me know if more info would help!
Maybe you should buy another amp, the 112 6505 combo is coming soon
No muerde, no calla
Sin sangre no hay arte
Nada ni nadie
De nada más

To tell you the truth, it's probably the Metal Zone.

They are terrible sounding pedals, at least to my ears (and many other forum goers).

Definitely invest in a good pedal, and maybe some new pickups for the guitar (I'm not too knowledgeable on that brand, sadly).

The '59 Bassman amp is an amazing, amazing amplifier. Bloody shame that it pretty much can only handle rock, classic rock, blues, indie, etc. It can do metal, but you need a good pedal.

But if you'd like, you can easily sell the Bassman and buy a new amp. Like Fat-bastard said, the 6505 combo amps could be right up your alley.
The amp you have is quite a nice amp, but not really for metal... If you want to get a good tone, you could get a new amp, or just buy 2 pedals.

I think the MXR eq would do wonders for you, and a good distortion pedal should help aswell, try the Digitech Hardwire distortion, from what I remember I liked the sound I got from it, also, a Metal Muff is cool, don't forget to try out the Rocktron Zombie Rectified Distortion Pedal.

Hopefully this has helped!
Some will say you are trying to get blood out of a rock with that amp. *pause for realization of cheezy pun* Others will say it's the very circuit that started the whole hard rock genre tonally. You may be able to put a fulltone ocd in front of it and get to metal territory with it. But if metal is most or all of what you play and not much blues, classic rock stuff, then maybe consider selling it and getting an amp geared towards metal. *the puns persist* The 6505+ 112 combo mentioned is one direction or a used 6505-212 used if you want 2 speakers to push more air. There are plenty of other good metal combo amps in the $500-700 range if you look used.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Awesome, thanks for the advice everyone and saving me from blowing cash on a new guitar! I was hoping to avoid the new amp route because of how much I paid for the Bassman, but I really wanna push things with this band so I gotta do what I gotta do. TBH I think $300-450 is a more realistic budget for me, but hey, I'm a musician and spending money I don't have on equipment is something I'm used to, haha. Looks like I'll be taking mah baby up to Guitar Center and trying out other pedals on my amp, and my pedals on other amps to see what happens.
You should be able to get much more than that out of the 59 Bassman if you sell it. Just saying. I wouldn't blame you for wanting to keep it though.
This head would also make a good metal head for the money, but would need a cab with speakers obviously.
http://desmoines.craigslist.org/msg/981925975.html Laney Pro Tube 50 watt, $350.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
OK, I found the main problem I was having. I grabbed a tube rectifier to replace the microphonic solid state rectifier (haha). WOW. Switching to the bright channel put me a huge step towards what I'm trying to get out of my equipment.

I also set up my Bassman next to the other guitarist's solid state Marshall 1/2 stack as a test towards if I needed to replace my amp. After playing around some with the two I walked upstairs to have someone say

"So you're definitely getting a new amp then eh?"
"To the one that was louder, clearer, and punchier?"
"Oh yeah"
"Mm-hmm. That was the Bassman." lol..

And at the advice of folks around here I hooked up a Tube Screamer and turned my guitar all the way up and the natural OD plus TS about gave me a hard on. I'm close enough to what I want now that I'd say the right distortion pedal will fit the bill. I also found out that it seems the reason my pickup setup is so unique is that it's coil taps WIRED INCORRECTLY. Once I get a chance to try out the pedals y'all listed I'll let ya know how it goes .
TBH, you can get a passable metal tone out of a bassman with, say, a Metal Muff, though it won't be the type of metal tone that you probably want.

My advice to you. Get a old, cheap SS high gain head and a cheap cab, for now. Like a Crate GX-130c, an Ampeg VH-140c, or a Randall RG100ES. You can get any of those for under 200 dollars, USD. Get something like an old Ampeg V412. You can get one of those for 150 USD.

There you have a pretty damned good budget metal setup for 350-450 USD.

You are always going to be wanting a bit more trying to run a metal setup with a Bassman.
Getting proper humbuckers will go a long way to getting good tone. Also a good distortion pedal makes a world of difference.
Boost your mids

Although I guess you kinda do that with the TS, but try a little bit more from your amp if you think that will help.
Quote by Tackleberry
Getting proper humbuckers will go a long way to getting good tone. Also a good distortion pedal makes a world of difference.

Two single coils wired together are actually hotter than a HB, I believe. Plus, I've always wanted to hear what that would sound like
Then there's this band called Slice The Cake...

Bunch of faggots putting random riffs together and calling it "progressive" deathcore.
Stupid name.
Probably picked "for teh lulz"

Mod in UG's Official Gain Whores
Last edited by Shinozoku at Feb 2, 2009,
Hey folks, I've got an update on how things are coming in my search for a tone I like that still comes through the PA with the other 4 guys playing. I gave the Metal Muff a shot and it was a little tighter and clearer sounding than my Metal Zone, but it wasn't different enough to justify an impulse purchase.

I went ahead and grabbed a TS9 and the MXR 10 band and things are definitely getting better. Getting all my pedals to play nice with each other and get the right sounds I want is taking a lot longer than I thought, but it's a fun process. I also went a step back in tone when the new tube I just put in to replace the microphonic one...went microphonic. I'm crossing my fingers that I just got really unlucky with a tube instead of having a tube-busting amp..

Now that I got a multi-pedal power adapter and more patch cables, my setup is:
Metal Zone->Boss Flanger->Boss Phaser->TS9->Boss V-Wah->MXR 10 band->ME-50->Bassman.

Hooray for random pedals collected over the years from who knows where . From what I'm seeing on here though Boss ain't nearly as good as the impression I had of 'em though..

My current to-do list:

Figure out what's going on with the bright channel tube in my amp.

I love the distortion sound of the V-Wah set to Metal Zone and drive at 3/4, but I'm having a hard time setting the /real/ Metal Zone to get the same sound and not sound cheesed down, too flat, or too fuzzy. Wonder if I'm still in the 30 days to return it for the Metal Muff or something since it's such a pain in the ass to get sounding decent..

Get a nice strong clean sound with decent volume compared to how loud my bridge pickup is at 10. If my pickups are turned up past 8 or so I have to play REALLY light to not buzz, and to get a good clean tone I like I have to set my pickups to bridge and neck, and the volumes down to 7, AND turn my overall volume up. Waaay too much to do in the middle of a song. It sounds like I need new pups?

Thanks for any insight, I'm learning a whole lot browsing around the forums!
I'm finally pretty damn happy with my tone!

I found out after years of asking around that my Aria has switches for coil taps AND phasing (which I had never heard of), so that's where the huge range of tone comes from.

BUT, the pickups were cheap. Grabbing a Schecter Omen 6 with upgraded coil tapped Duncans (the hot jazz humbucker and a better bridge humbucker..don't know where to look to find out exactly what they are) evened out my sound a lot so the lows weren't so boomy and overdriving and the highs are cleaner and not so flat. The extra sustain on the guitar also helped push more feeling outta the guitar. ($250 on Craigslist, eff yeah)

Pedal-wise, going to a guitar with decent humbuckers made the Metal Zone really shine. And by really shine I mean show it's true colors of sounding like dog ass. NOW I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN, UG! I tried out the Hardwire metal, tube, and valve distortion pedals, the Metal Muff, Metal Core, a used Blood Drive (for lulz..and oh god..baaaad..), and maybe more. Maybe it's just my amp, but it turns out I don't really like any pedals with 'Metal' in the name. I sprung for the Hardwire Valve Distortion and LOVE IT. It's just what I was looking for; cranked up it's harder than most OD/dist pedals without the over the top sound of metal ones. It's the perfect matchup for my Bassman.

Maybe this little trip through tone land will help someone else, and thanks again to everyone for the advice..latah.

JCM 900 w/Lead 1960 cab
Custom Aria Pro II w/coil splits and phase changer (my baby!)
Schecter Omen 6 w/upgraded coil split Duncans
Pile o' pedals
Last edited by Broseph_C at Mar 12, 2009,
Nope, you're right - most pedals with metal in the name are downright crap, they just stick the word "metal" in the name to appeal to kids.

Subtly layering extra distortion over what your amp can already do is the way to go.
Actually called Mark!

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People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

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i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.

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Subtly layering extra distortion over what your amp can already do is the way to go.

^^ I agree.
Hate to play parrot here but you're not gonna get a metallica sound out of a fender amp. Unless it's the clean sound on nothing else matters. But I doubt it is. Is it? You'd get a good price for your bassman on ebay. If it's not what you want or need maybe you should think about passing it on to someone who is looking for that type of tone, and getting yourself a Marshall or Mesa or something.
I'm thinking there was a discrepancy between the sound I wanted in my head and the sound my ears wanted. I think it's great how the metal stuff sounds on CDs and all, but once I played around with a lot of the sounds it just didn't excite me. I'm positive the amp accentuates it, but I do know that when I have the mids turned down some on the amp, some high gain middy distortion (the turbo + max gain tube screamer sound), and a mix of the normal and bright channels turned up just enough to push the amp the way it FEELS makes me wanna rock the **** out all night long. The mix of the Hardwire Valve Dist. and the turned up Bassman sound blending hits my ears sounding perfectly heavy but pure. I love it. I'll try and get a sound clip so naysayers can see how it sounds :p.

I also should've mentioned our other guitarist has active EMGs going through an MG half stack with a really bassy/trebly/no mid sound, so it seems to blend a hell of a lot better when I'm going with the middy distortion tone. Next step: finding stuff to read on how to make sure BOTH of us sound good at the same time.

JCM 900 w/Lead 1960 cab
Custom Aria Pro II w/coil splits and phase changer (my baby!)
Schecter Omen 6 w/upgraded coil split Duncans
Pile o' pedals
Arias are not very good guitars. I have an acoustic aria and it sounds like crap and is peeling. By peeling i mean the paint and plastic cover.

P.S i take good care of it
if youre really having trouble with getting a metal tone out of a low gain amp still, i'd reccomend going for a zvex box of metal. they can really get the tone of high gain tube amps spot on!
Ibanez S320 with Dimarzio Fred + Seymour Duncan 59-> Weeping Demon Wah -> Ibanez TS-7 -> Homemade iBoost x3 -> Keeley DS-1 -> Visual Sound H2O -> MXR Ten Band -> Traynor YCV20