#1
Hey all,

I've been playing for about a year and I've become very frustrated with my tone. When I started out, I went down to the local guitar shop and picked up the cheapest gear I could lay my uninformed hands on. This turned out to be a Squire Bullet Strat and a Frontman 10g. My reasoning was that if I didn't like playing I wouldn't have wasted a huge chunk of change and also, I had no idea what I was doing.

Let me tell you, my setup sounds like a wet fart from a dying cat. The clean sounds like someone scratching on a tin can while underwater and if I use the gain its just muddy hissing. The thing is, I can't afford to upgrade until a month or so from now and I was wondering if there are any tricks to make my amp sound better until then. I can't believe that an amp could make me sound this bad.

Perhaps I am setting the ol' knobs wrong? Is there some magical treble/bass level and pick-up switch combo I could try? Should I just give up and get an Amplug until I can afford a new amp (looking into a Vox AC4TV perhaps)? Also, am I correct in thinking I should ditch the amp before the guitar (Strat's pickups wobble when I touch them)?

Also... if your trapped with some crap gear come and commiserate with me and my dying cat!
#2
The amp is the main case.
Try setting up some good amp modelling software like the Revalver demo, plug your guitar into the computer (a $2 1/4" > 1/8" jack will work fine) and then hear the difference
#3
The pups are fine. Most pups are spring loaded. You may be more of a humbucker gal, but then most Fender 'buckers would probably disappoint anyway.

The amp is a throw-away amp. It might sound better if you run a modeler in front of it and put it on clean with the EQ set neutral. You'll get better drive/distortion out of a modeler, too. Perhaps you ought to get a multi-effects pedal.
Last edited by jetwash69 at Oct 22, 2009,
#4
That is exactly the type of response I was hoping for! I play along with iTunes through the amp quite a bit so I already have the jack. I'll go grab the demo and see if it helps.
#5
I think if you provided some more objective information (like your eq settings), we'd be able to offer more help with your tone. As long as your guitar is not getting in the way of your progress with your technique, go ahead and swap the amp out first. Just remember tone is subjective and it should always be taken in context.

Sorry if there are errors in my post. I'm on my ipod
Last edited by blasphemy101 at Oct 22, 2009,
#6
Quote by jetwash69
The pups are fine. Most pups are spring loaded. You may be more of a humbucker gal, but then most Fender 'buckers would probably disappoint anyway.

The amp is a throw-away amp. It might sound better if you run a modeler in front of it and put it on clean with the EQ set neutral. You'll get better drive/distortion out of a modeler, too. Perhaps you ought to get a multi-effects pedal.


By EQ set to normal, do you mean treble and bass set to mid-line like 5 or turned up or down all the way? Totally didn't know that about the pickups either, I was worried..
#7
Quote by kyle62
The amp is the main case.
Try setting up some good amp modelling software like the Revalver demo, plug your guitar into the computer (a $2 1/4" > 1/8" jack will work fine) and then hear the difference

yup, ReValver is great. i've had it for a while and i've considered selling my practice amp because i rarely use it anymore.

make sure you also download ASIO4ALL if you get revalver. you're likely to get some latency when using revalver, asio will sort that.
i used to be a mod, then i took an arrow in the knee.
#8
Just wait till you get your new amp; one month isn't much. A multieffects processor would still be limited with an amp like that, not to mention that you'll complain about it unless it's a higher-end one.

A month isn't that long of a wait.
Originally Posted by evening_crow
Quoting yourself is cool.


WARNING: I kill threads.
#9
Quote by blasphemy101
I think if you provided some more objective information...



What type of information? Like what type of sound I'm shooting for? I play lots of 90s alt rock... Nirvana, STP, Radiohead, Bush, Silverchair and a bit of 70s rock. With the amp I am confused because it sounds either very muddy or just too treble-ly... I can't get a good in-between.

I get very confused on my EQ settings, which is one of the reasons I was looking into something like the Vox AC4TV or valve jr - 1 tone knob) I end up fiddling with them quite a bit, trying to find a setting that will be okay. Right now I have Bass 6, Treble 5 on the amp and both tone knobs on the strat set to 6. I try not to use the gain too much as I consider myself a beginner and I need to hear if make any mistakes. I get confused on whether adjust the guitar or amp settings.
Last edited by Ninjabair at Oct 22, 2009,
#10
Hmm...i still have a frontman 15g from when i first started. It's almoat 3 am here, but if this threads alive tomorrow i'll bring it out to see if i know what you're talking about. Iirc, frontmans have really shrill and fizzy distortion/od/whateveruwannacallit.

Edit: finally, someone else into silverchair. First cd i ever had. Freak taught me what dropped d is XD
Last edited by blasphemy101 at Oct 22, 2009,
#11
Quote by Ninjabair
By EQ set to normal, do you mean treble and bass set to mid-line like 5 or turned up or down all the way? Totally didn't know that about the pickups either, I was worried..


By neutral I meant balanced with each other. If you only have bass & treble and you set them to the same setting, then they kind of cancel each other out. You'd need to experiment a bit though. It might be louder if they're both maxed.

If the pups are totally goofy, then the height screws could be disengaged from the pup; but then the screw(s) would probably fall out and the pup wouldn't be springy, just loose.

The bullet could probably use a good professional setup.

I paid almost as much to get my Squier Affiinity setup as the guitar cost in the first place, but now it plays like my American Strat (although it has one less fret, and goes out of tune faster if I use the whammy). The tech had to shim the neck. It was well worth it.

The problems with Bullets are depending on how old it is, it's probably made from plywood (literally) and it probably has a hard tail.

It's cheap and easy to replace pickups, but you might need a custom pick-guard built for you (if you want to change from the SSS configuration) since Bullet pickguards generally don't match real Fender pick guards.

Good luck!
#12
Quote by mikeyElite
yup, ReValver is great. i've had it for a while and i've considered selling my practice amp because i rarely use it anymore.

make sure you also download ASIO4ALL if you get revalver. you're likely to get some latency when using revalver, asio will sort that.

Did you somehow manage to get a decent distortion patch out of revalver? I've tried the program for a while, but the problem is that I can't get a decent distortion patch which would be suitable for things in the likes of Deathcore and such.

I play through a Line 6 Toneport-interface, and when I use Gearbox I can manage creating a decent deathcore patch.

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#13
Man.. you guys post fast, I can't keep up!

Quote by blasphemy101
Hmm...i still have a frontman 15g from when i first started. It's almoat 3 am here, but if this threads alive tomorrow i'll bring it out to see if i know what you're talking about. Iirc, frontmans have really shrill and fizzy distortion/od/whateveruwannacallit.

Edit: finally, someone else into silverchair. First cd i ever had. Freak taught me what dropped d is XD


Shrill might just be the word I was looking for! If I have the knobs equal all I hear is shrill treble but if I turn the treble down it gets muddy and hollow.

And a bit off-topic.. but I freaking LOVE Silverchair, I saw them in Boston a couple years back! Diorama is my favorite album... I might start working on learning Tuna in the Brine soon. And yeah, its 3am here too.
#14
Quote by Ninjabair
Man.. you guys post fast, I can't keep up!


Shrill might just be the word I was looking for! If I have the knobs equal all I hear is shrill treble but if I turn the treble down it gets muddy and hollow.

And a bit off-topic.. but I freaking LOVE Silverchair, I saw them in Boston a couple years back! Diorama is my favorite album... I might start working on learning Tuna in the Brine soon. And yeah, its 3am here too.

Diorama!?

Frogstomp will always be the REAL Silverchair!


Originally Posted by evening_crow
Quoting yourself is cool.


WARNING: I kill threads.
#15
Quote by ItWillDo
Did you somehow manage to get a decent distortion patch out of revalver? I've tried the program for a while, but the problem is that I can't get a decent distortion patch which would be suitable for things in the likes of Deathcore and such.

I play through a Line 6 Toneport-interface, and when I use Gearbox I can manage creating a decent deathcore patch.

i found it really easy to get good distorted tones out of it actually. the 6505 and the dual rec. knockoff are my favorite to mess with. usually with the dual rec. i use the "naturally high" preset, and with the 6505 i set it like i do in real life but crank the res. to 10.
i used to be a mod, then i took an arrow in the knee.
#16
Quote by jetwash69
By neutral I meant balanced with each other. If you only have bass & treble and you set them to the same setting, then they kind of cancel each other out. You'd need to experiment a bit though. It might be louder if they're both maxed.

If the pups are totally goofy, then the height screws could be disengaged from the pup; but then the screw(s) would probably fall out and the pup wouldn't be springy, just loose.

The bullet could probably use a good professional setup.

I paid almost as much to get my Squier Affiinity setup as the guitar cost in the first place, but now it plays like my American Strat (although it has one less fret, and goes out of tune faster if I use the whammy). The tech had to shim the neck. It was well worth it.

The problems with Bullets are depending on how old it is, it's probably made from plywood (literally) and it probably has a hard tail.

It's cheap and easy to replace pickups, but you might need a custom pick-guard built for you (if you want to change from the SSS configuration) since Bullet pickguards generally don't match real Fender pick guards.

Good luck!


Hmmm... I almost always set bass and treble to just about the same level so this might be one of my issues! I will try to futz around with it some more tomorrow and then try the reValver program as well.

I was debating getting the strat set up properly but I'm not sure how much it would cost compared to the guitar's $99 price tag. I bought it a little over a year ago, so I'm pretty sure it is the crap wood version. I wish I had known to get an Affinity back then... And I was actually thinking about putting a fender pearloid pick guard on it down the line, so I'm glad you mentioned it was a different size!
#17
Quote by Ninjabair
Man.. you guys post fast, I can't keep up!


Cuz you're a member of the opposite gender. Don't worry... it normalizes once you post more.

Also remember that when tweaking EQs... the devil is in the details. Sometimes, you don't need to make a huge turn across several notches to... instead try small adjustments left or right of a decent setting to arrive at a good tone.
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#18
Quote by evening_crow
Just wait till you get your new amp; one month isn't much. A multieffects processor would still be limited with an amp like that, not to mention that you'll complain about it unless it's a higher-end one.

A month isn't that long of a wait.


I concur with this information.

Have any idea what your budget will be when you are ready to buy some new gear? I give ya props for sticking to the guitar with that equipment for a year.
#19
The shrill sound is probably not being helped by the Squire single coils, I find them to be really ear piercing through a small amp. I'm with Ragingkitty, just sit down in front of the amp and really listen to it as you tweak the EQ you should probably be able to find a tone that's at least useable until you can get rid of it and get something nice.
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#20
EQing is an art... one that can't really be taught, and different people approach, learn and understanding similar concepts from very different paths.

You need to:
1. Take your time to EQ
2. Find a half decent setting
3. Make small adjustments on the EQ by adding and cutting frequencies slowly
4. Don't rush

Think of it this way... lets say you want better bass response. You can either lower your mids and highs slightly and add some gain to see if the bass punches through. You might or might not need to add bass.

This happens because as you cut mids and highs, you ears pick up less of those frequencies, that way the bass appears more prominently.

On the other hand, if you want chiming trebles, you scoop you mids (i.e. turn your mids down). As you do so, there is more room for your treble frequencies to sound through, as it does not have to compete with the mids for space in the soundscape. You might not even need to turn up your treble.

Sometimes, you might only need to make small adjustments, other times you need to adjust something else other than the frequencies you want to emphasise.
Quote by Blompcube
it's so cool to hate Gibson, even the federal Department of Justice hates them.

( )( )
( . .) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
C('')('') signature to help him gain world domination.
#21
If you are poor then get a Vypyr 15. If it stills sounds just as bad, then get a guitar lesson.
#22
Just a side tip too while you're fiddling with EQ settings - after a hour or two of messing with settings my ear burns out and everything starts to sound the same, I usually step away for the day and come back to it in the morning and I can hear the differences much better. Also, if you come up with a set of knob settings you may like but want to keep tweaking, shoot a quick pic of the knobs with a digital camera to be able to get back to that starting point again.