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#1
I see these terms thrown about.. So and so amp has brit tones, but this other amp has more a more US tone.

I'm really not clear what this means, can anyone help?

Thanks!
#2
British means kinda dirty, crunchy, etc. ala marshall.

US is more of a smooth cleanish tone, ala fender.
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#3
In my opinion, its not just a difference between clean and distortion...its about a smoothness in the sound.

If you're talking about US clean and British clean, Fender cleans would be a US tone, and Vox cleans would be a British tone (just one example).

Its a bit more cut and dry with distortion. British distortion tends to use a lot more power amp gain...higher mids, etc. US gain will be mostly preamp, and will have a slightly more scooped sound.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#5
what a horrible way to describe tone

american tones, usually relate to the fact that the amplifiers us certain tubes and speakers to achieve a bright tone with a distinct mid cut, a scooped sound so to say.

When you say british i think of mids, and lots of it. British amplifiers loaded with 'british' sounding tubes and a special speaker shape produce a more, raunchy, middy, woody tone.

Its not what brands are important, its the models when giving examples
I would say vox amps are pretty much as british as it gets, where as the fender bassman and 5e3 are the most american it gets.
Calling marshall british isnt truely correct, their first amps were exact clones of the fender bassman.
#6
It's a little out of date if you ask me, cause these days there are many different types of amps made in Britain and the US. But in general, in clean sounds Fender is the main example of American, with a very toppy, glassy sound. Vox would be brit with a less toppy, a bit warmer and jangly tone. In distortion, the Marshall sound sums up Brit and Mesa would be American, more scooped and toppier. Probably more modern sounding. But you really have to try these amps to get a clear idea.
#7
Quote by stykerwolf

Calling marshall british isnt truely correct, their first amps were exact clones of the fender bassman.


Okay...but when people think of British distortion, its pretty much modern Marshall distortion. Doesn't matter what a company was in the past. Also, Marshall is British. Its a British company.

By your logic, Nintendo shouldn't be called a video game company because they originally made cards.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#9
OK, that definately helps a bit. So much to learn about this guitar thing. Just when you think you know what's going on, another layer of the onion is peeled back to reveal something else.
#10
what a horrible way to describe toneQUOTE]

I agree. These days you can't simplify it like that. Take Marshall, a British amp. Some of the most American of bands, like say ZZ Top, have made famous a distinctive sound using these amps. Adn viceversa, Fenders with their very characteristic sound have been used by countless famous British musicians and nobody is accusing them of sounding "American." Case in point, the stones.
#11
Quote by stykerwolf

Calling marshall british isnt truely correct, their first amps were exact clones of the fender bassman.

No they weren't and it's not just the speakers. V1 is a 12AX7 in a JTM45 and it was a 12AY7 in the old Bassman that Leo "cloned". The tone stack is different, different cathode bypass, different OT supplier and other things that escape my mind atm. It most certainly is not an exact clone.

I always think of British meaning it has more midrange bite.
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#12
Mesa/fender = american

vox/marshall/orange = British

If you wanna go really basic but thats putting it REALLY basically.
I mean obviously theres american amp makers that make British style amps (or hot rod britsh style amps :p

so ya..
#14
Quote by Tango616
British means kinda dirty, crunchy, etc. ala marshall.

US is more of a smooth cleanish tone, ala fender.

Somewhat right.
In dirt, British is crunchy, raw, and high in upper mids, which gives it the characteristic crunch and growl like a Marshall or Orange.
American tends to be more scooped and brutal, like a Peavey or Mesa.

In cleans, British tends to be jangly and almost bell like, like a Vox AC30.
Americans tend to be warmer and smoother, like a Fender.

Both have their distinct sound, which are really the opposite from one another. I'm a British man myself. I love the growl of a boosted Marshall.
#15
Quote by stykerwolf
what a horrible way to describe toneQUOTE]

I agree. These days you can't simplify it like that. Take Marshall, a British amp. Some of the most American of bands, like say ZZ Top, have made famous a distinctive sound using these amps. Adn viceversa, Fenders with their very characteristic sound have been used by countless famous British musicians and nobody is accusing them of sounding "American." Case in point, the stones.

Just because the bands are American doesn't mean the guitar tones are American. The Stones are a British band, but don't have a general British guitar tone. That doesn't make them or their music any less British.
#16
actually, the biggest difference between the bassman and the jtm45 is the amount of filtering in the power supply.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#17
The amount of filtering doesn't alter the tone substantially, just the hum level when loaded down. There are some pretty big difference in the signal path - that's what changes the tone.
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#18
Quote by SLonergan
Okay...but when people think of British distortion, its pretty much modern Marshall distortion. Doesn't matter what a company was in the past. Also, Marshall is British. Its a British company.

By your logic, Nintendo shouldn't be called a video game company because they originally made cards.


Because people were too lazy to play other amps like Hiwatt, Orange, Matamp and what ever was back then.
I never disagreed the Marshall was british sounding, it's british alright, but some(not much) of the marshall amps sound similar to old Fenders. it was purely posted to avoid the JTM45 thing, since the 45 is more 'american' sounding then 'british'
#19
Quote by Cathbard
The amount of filtering doesn't alter the tone substantially, just the hum level when loaded down. There are some pretty big difference in the signal path - that's what changes the tone.


big difference in power amp distortion.

also the power supply caps like...store stuff too you know...

like energy. or magic.....

like ya.


Quote by stykerwolf
Because people were too lazy to play other amps like Hiwatt, Orange, Matamp and what ever was back then.
I never disagreed the Marshall was british sounding, it's british alright, but some(not much) of the marshall amps sound similar to old Fenders. it was purely posted to avoid the JTM45 thing, since the 45 is more 'american' sounding then 'british'



I dunno...people really associate it with marshall though. Those Hiwatts and Oranges don't really sound that Marshally...even though the Who did drop Marshall almost immediately in favor of hiwatt...

and one of marshall's biggest namesakes is jimi hendrix....and ummm...
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
Last edited by AcousticMirror at Jun 16, 2011,
#20
The biggest difference in sound from a JTM-45 and a '59 Bassman is who is playing which. Remember that with these amps they might have very minute differences in frequency response because of a single or multiple component changes but when it comes down to it, it's not just a matter of sending a reamped DI signal into both amps and saying "this one has more mids, this one is less aggressive, this one...etc." A great guitarist can make both amps sound absolutely identical or incredibly distinct from one another so the comparison is worthless. And what about Leo cloning? It was Jim Marshall who cloned the 5F6A Bassman.

As for Orange and Hiwatt, remember, when those brands were introduced they were intended as higher end alternatives to Marshalls which at the time were considered cheap in construction and quality (the same reason that many players who loved the Marshall sound switched to clones and other boutique examples in the early 90s...IE: Marty Friedman, who once stated that while he loved his Marshalls, he could never rely on them as they always broke down). Although they sound entirely different, Orange amps do have a somewhat superior feel when compared to Marshalls, and Hiwatts usually just sound downright great, far superior to both Marshalls and Orange amps. Hiwatts sound HUGE!
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Last edited by PerpetualBurn at Jun 16, 2011,
#21
Quote by gypsyblues

Just because the bands are American doesn't mean the guitar tones are American. The Stones are a British band, but don't have a general British guitar tone. That doesn't make them or their music any less British.


It's exactly comments like this IMO that cloud this issue because we're talking about tone quality, not the music itself and certainly not about nationalities. Tone has no nationality. So it would be better to just say Marshall sound vs Fender sound and leave it at that if you're going to simplify, because in reality, dozens of amp makers in both countries make all kinds of sounding amps.

TS asked a question directly related to the tone quality, so it's only fair to address the real issue and try to describe a Marshall sound vs a Fender and tell hom to go try both to see which he likes.

Furthermore, what basis do you possibly have for saying the Stones guitar sound isn't brit. It's just funny to me. Sure, you could say Keith Richards essentially is trying to cop Chuck Berry but what ended up happening is something new, unique.

Let's just not lose sight that the music is what ends up determining why people want certain pieces of gear. Sombedoy once heard Led Zep and said "Oh I gotta have a Marshall."

So for newbees, I'd avoid continuing on this retarded Brit vs American trip, cause it only ends up confusing.
#22
Quote by gypsyblues

Just because the bands are American doesn't mean the guitar tones are American. The Stones are a British band, but don't have a general British guitar tone. That doesn't make them or their music any less British.


I'm pretty sure the Keith used cranked fender tweed amps, like so many artists at the time. Page used a cranked Supro (american) for early Zep recordings. Clapton used a tweed champ. I mean, you really just have to hear a ton of each kind of amp to know, and once you do, it becomes very obvious which is which. i myself prefer Fender Cleans, and "British Voiced" overdrives. If I could gig with my Twin Reverb, and some other british amp for distorted tones, i would be one happy player, the only issue is weight!
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#23
No.
We're talking about British and American tones.
Technically tone doesn't have a nationality, but we use them to refer to two completely different kinds of tone.
YOU were talking about British bands that use American amps and no one accuses them of sounding American, which is just stupid to say. American music isn't different from any other music. It's the same. We're talking about tone. Nothing else. If you use an American style amp, odds are, you're tone's gonna sound American, unless you use British voiced dirt boxes, and vice versa.
I will say it again.
British dirty tone is characterized by being very high in the upper mids, creating the signature crunch and growl of them. Their cleans tend to be jangly, like a Vox AC30's.
American dirt is somewhat more scooped with more emphasis on the bass, like a Mesa Dual Rec. Cleans are warmer and smoother, like a Twin Reverb or Bassman's.

Quote by WtrPlyr


I'm pretty sure the Keith used cranked fender tweed amps, like so many artists at the time. Page used a cranked Supro (american) for early Zep recordings. Clapton used a tweed champ. I mean, you really just have to hear a ton of each kind of amp to know, and once you do, it becomes very obvious which is which. i myself prefer Fender Cleans, and "British Voiced" overdrives. If I could gig with my Twin Reverb, and some other british amp for distorted tones, i would be one happy player, the only issue is weight!


If you don't need a shit tone of gain, get something like a Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret or MI Audio Crunch box or Zvex Box of Rock for gain. All three are GREAT Marshall in a box pedals.
Last edited by darkwolf291 at Jun 16, 2011,
#24
Quote by WtrPlyr


If I could gig with my Twin Reverb, and some other british amp for distorted tones, i would be one happy player, the only issue is weight!


That's the ideal combination. I'm using a twin reverb as my clean amp and a Laney for dirty sound. Awesome, they were made for each other. As for the weight, I hear ya, but it's our lot in life. You could always carry a pod that weighs 10gr and sounds like plastic.
#25
No.

I will say it again.
British dirty tone is characterized by being very high in the upper mids, creating the signature crunch and growl of them. Their cleans tend to be jangly, like a Vox AC30's.
American dirt is somewhat more scooped with more emphasis on the bass, like a Mesa Dual Rec. Cleans are warmer and smoother, like a Twin Reverb or Bassman's.

Quote by kracdown


If you don't need a shit tone of gain, get something like a Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret or MI Audio Crunch box or Zvex Box of Rock for gain. All three are GREAT Marshall in a box pedals.


This is the best description I can think of. I've already got my Marshall in a box, Vox AC-15 in a box, and my Tweed twin in a box. Zvex BOR was a little 'too boxy' for my taste.
Guitars:
Gibson SG Standard with Bigsby
Gibson Custom ES-137
Gibson Custom 54' Les Paul VOS Goldtop
Gretsch G6129T Silver Jet
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Amps:
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (modded)
1970 Fender Twin Reverb (blackfaced)

#26
No.
American music isn't different from any other music. It's the same.

You're cracking me up here dude. This coming from a guy from Jersey. Wasn't Bon Jovi from there? Lord I hope music everywhere else doesn't sound like that.

Alright this thread is boring me, I'm off to do something else with my time. Peace out.
#27
So now where I'm from determines the music I make?
Grow the **** up.
Also, where I'm from determines how much I know about gear and tone because Bon Jovi's from here?
What does Bon Jovi have to do with this thread, or anything else?
As far as I know, he wasn't mentioned once. And, just so you know, Richie Sambora has a very British tone. He used a JCM800 in the 80's and 90's.
Last edited by darkwolf291 at Jun 16, 2011,
#28
Pretty much you can sum it up with 6L6=American and EL34=British.


Also, embrace the fact that we have a distinct culture and tend to make different music than other places. That's not a negative at all; art reflects life and where you are from and what you know.
#30
British people tend to have pale skin, though this is of course an oversimplification - what with there being a naturally occuring range of tones in the native people for varying reasons, as well as immigration shaking things up heavily in the 20th century and onwards.

One might argue that American people might be equally toned since a large part of the population has Anglo-Saxon, or at least generally European roots, but the minorities that aren't as pale as Whitey do have quite an influence if you add them all up. Take the native peoples, add South American and South-East-Asian as well Middle-Eastern people into account and you've already got a shift to darker tones compared to Britain - and you haven't even taken into account the people who's ancestors where forced into the country during the slave-trade! The latter are arguably even the biggest factor yet.
So while generalisations don't say much about the individual, I think it is safe to say that American tone is generally darker than British tone.


Now my question is, why do you ask such things on a guitar forum? Are you a racist?
Last edited by TheQuailman at Jun 16, 2011,
#31
As far as I know there's two Brit/US "categories."

Clean and lower gain refers to the general "Fender" tone and "Marshall" tone. Usually their vintage amps.

In terms of high gain, US I've heard equated to Mesa Boogie and British equated to modern Marshalls.
#32
Quote by Seref
As far as I know there's two Brit/US "categories."

Clean and lower gain refers to the general "Fender" tone and "Marshall" tone. Usually their vintage amps.

In terms of high gain, US I've heard equated to Mesa Boogie and British equated to modern Marshalls.


Exactly.

British tone doesn't mean that the amp is from Britain, its just a word that we use to describe a type tone popularized by British amp manufacturers (Marshall, Orange, Vox, etc.). Just like American tone doesn't mean the amp is from the USA, its just a word we use to describe a type of tone popularized by American amp makers (Mesa, Fender, etc.).

The words no longer have anything to do with geography....they're just broad classifications. We use those words instead of "Marshall tone" or "Mesa tone" because those terms are too specific. Vox doesn't have a Marshall tone, but both Vox and Marshall tend to have British tones.

Hopefully that clears up any arguments...

...but I doubt it. This is the internet after all.
Quote by rmr024
Well, in California, people carry around devices that control the minds of bears. So expect to see people walking their bears.

Also, don't be surprised if some robot hookers try to solicit sex to you on the streets.
#33
Quote by AshersUK
I see these terms thrown about.. So and so amp has brit tones, but this other amp has more a more US tone.

I'm really not clear what this means, can anyone help?

Thanks!


it's an over generalization in tone that is supposed to mean something but really has a local meaning rather than a universal one.

many people say british is crunchy and american is clean, but i own a number of american and british amps and this is a pretty useless description.
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#34
Using bands as an example,

British Tone = Mastodon, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest

US Tone = Lamb of God, Dream Theater, Between the Buried and Me

The question isn't about scoops and mid and shit like that, That's all EQ magic.

It's how the distortion/cleans literally sound by themselves.

I'd say that the (distortion) British tone is more grit and the US tone is more smooth.
For cleans, don't notice too much of a difference. Will have to experiment more for that.

I'd say British tone is more 'fizz' and US tone is more 'slap'. Can't think of a better way to describe it.

Go play an Orange amp, then go play a Mesa or a Peavey. You'll see for yourself.

Or play a new blackstar(I think) amp model with the ISF setting on 0, then try it at 10. You'll notice a significant difference.
...as below so above and beyond I imagine.
#35
Quote by ToolFan462
Using bands as an example,

British Tone = Mastodon, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest

US Tone = Lamb of God, Dream Theater, Between the Buried and Me

The question isn't about scoops and mid and shit like that, That's all EQ magic.

It's how the distortion/cleans literally sound by themselves.

I'd say that the (distortion) British tone is more grit and the US tone is more smooth.
For cleans, don't notice too much of a difference. Will have to experiment more for that.

I'd say British tone is more 'fizz' and US tone is more 'slap'. Can't think of a better way to describe it.

Go play an Orange amp, then go play a Mesa or a Peavey. You'll see for yourself.

Or play a new blackstar(I think) amp model with the ISF setting on 0, then try it at 10. You'll notice a significant difference.

I wasnt talking EQ in the mid levels.
British amps like Marshalls usually have a much higher level of mids in their sound, which gives them the characteristic crunch.
American amps usually have much lower mid levels in the sound. Making them sound more scooped compared to Marshalls/Orangs with all EQ set equally.

There are much more upper mids in the Marshall than the Fender, giving it it's crunchy sound, and giving the Fender it's smoother sound.
#37
That tone stack curve comparison cannot really be used as a basis here. The stereotypical Vox stack yields a curve almost identical to the stereotypical Fender stack. One of the reasons why the Marshall stack doesn't attenuate as much as the Fender or Vox is because the slope resistor is generally a lot lower in value.

Also bear in mind that the controls are all interactive.

I think what started the whole American vs British tone associations boils down to output tube choice. The quintessential Fender amps of old used 6L6 and 6V6 tubes while the quintessential Marshall amps used KT66's and EL34's. Of course, the classic Voxes used EL84's as did the low wattage Marshalls.

The distortion characteristics of 6L6's and 6V6's are markedly different than that of EL34's, EL84's, and KT66's. Essentially, that is where the bulk of the associations came from.
#38
all these words mean nothing. if someone had sounds clips of an american voiced amp played before/after a british voiced amp it would the differences appear a lot easier
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#39
Ya that's good. Pick it up through a mic and compress it.

US amps also used much different speakers then the British amps.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#40
Quote by AcousticMirror
US amps also used much different speakers then the British amps.


Until the world decided to stick V30s in everything
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