#1
Hello there UG, I am once again in need of your services.

Bought a new guitar and amp last month for myself, but I am not satisfied with my tone. What I had before was a Supreme ST-1 (its kinda like a very low end squire) and a Roland Cube 15X, and what I just bought is an Ibanez RG1570Z and ENGL Screamer 50 combo, and I also went a little overboard and bought a set of Holy Diver BKPs for my guitar :P

But the tone im getting is very, generic or plain, kinda hard to explain. Compared to my old setup the tone seems very similar, with the new setup just having a higher quality. Of course chaning the EQ settings changes the sound a little bit, but I still think it all sounds very alike.

Do you think its just me who sucks at fiddling with the EQ or my ears that cant hear the difference, or would some OD or effect pedals spice things up ?

tl;dr need advice on improving my tone.
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#2
Set all your EQ Knobs to 12 and go from there. Try and crank your amp some as well.
Quote by barden1069
A "tubescreamer" is a person paid by a guitarist to stand behind the amp and scream at the tubes. This terrifies the tubes into overdriving and delivers a thick, harmonic-rich tone.
#3
Most tube amps will sound fairly generic unless you really crank them. And i mean Master at least 12:00. The problem is you bought a 50-watt tube amp. That would probably deafen you if you cranked it. I would suggest an attenuator. Something like a THD Hotplate or a Dr. Z Air Brake. That way you can run your amp nice and hot and get the tubes cooking, which will result in superior tone.
Acoustics:
1994 Seagull SM6
2007 Takamine G5013SVFT

Electrics:
2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plain Top (Cherryburst)
1964 Gibson Melody Maker D (DC)

Amps:
Traynor YGL-1

Pedals
MXR Distortion III (C4 Modded)
#4
A followup question. When I do crank my volume to around 12 o clock, which is possible if I have ear protection, I cant turn the gain higher than half way up or I get immense feedback noise. Why is that, no electrics are running in the room, not even the lights are on. Can it be that Im too close to the amp with my guitar, and if so, how far away do I need to place myself ?
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#5
It's because your pickups work by sensing the vibration of your strings. When that sound comes out of your speaker, if it's loud enough, it can drive the strings, causing unwanted feedback. So in short, yes you're too close to your amp, or the acoustics of the room are causing your speakers to drive the strings and cause feedback. Honestly, just get an attentuator. You'll find many uses for it.
Acoustics:
1994 Seagull SM6
2007 Takamine G5013SVFT

Electrics:
2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plain Top (Cherryburst)
1964 Gibson Melody Maker D (DC)

Amps:
Traynor YGL-1

Pedals
MXR Distortion III (C4 Modded)
#6
I had thought about getting an attenuator before, but for some reason I convinced myself not to get one, dont know why. Is it possible to get a budget attenuator that wont kill your tone ?
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#7
Quote by RockinSince1993
It's because your pickups work by sensing the vibration of your strings. When that sound comes out of your speaker, if it's loud enough, it can drive the strings, causing unwanted feedback. So in short, yes you're too close to your amp, or the acoustics of the room are causing your speakers to drive the strings and cause feedback. Honestly, just get an attentuator. You'll find many uses for it.

No offense mate (as you've been rockin' since 1993 which is far longer than I) but an attenuator is not the answer. Why would he want to suck more tone away than he already has? But yeah, back away from the amp and maybe you have a grounding issue with your guitar or signal chain. Try swapping some stuff out.


Quote by RockinSince1993
Most tube amps will sound fairly generic unless you really crank them. And i mean Master at least 12:00. The problem is you bought a 50-watt tube amp. That would probably deafen you if you cranked it. I would suggest an attenuator. Something like a THD Hotplate or a Dr. Z Air Brake. That way you can run your amp nice and hot and get the tubes cooking, which will result in superior tone.

Again, I have to disagree. 12 noon on the Master of most amps is deafening. Granted every amp is different. He just needs to find his sweet spot. Him buying a 50 watt amp is not the problem. Generally speaking getting the power tubes cooking (clipping) does not result in superior tone. Classic rock maybe Most tones we associate with good old rock n roll and metal come from the preamp section. Not power tube clipping and cross over distortion.

Maybe you've got your own way of doing things and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion but I've just got to

TS - you have a pretty worthy rig. I'd look into an OD pedal (Gain=0, Level=10). Back away from the amp at least 10 feet and make sure you do not have any grounding issues.

Also - what kind of music do you play mostly?
#8
Mostly, Heavy- Trash- Death Metal. Lamb of God, Disturbed, Shadows Fall, Children of Bodom, thats sort of thing I like.

BTW 311ZOSOVHJH thanks for coming along and confusing me even more ( lol, jk)
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#9
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
No offense mate (as you've been rockin' since 1993 which is far longer than I) but an attenuator is not the answer. Why would he want to suck more tone away than he already has? But yeah, back away from the amp and maybe you have a grounding issue with your guitar or signal chain. Try swapping some stuff out.


Again, I have to disagree. 12 noon on the Master of most amps is deafening. Granted every amp is different. He just needs to find his sweet spot. Him buying a 50 watt amp is not the problem. Generally speaking getting the power tubes cooking (clipping) does not result in superior tone. Classic rock maybe Most tones we associate with good old rock n roll and metal come from the preamp section. Not power tube clipping and cross over distortion.

Maybe you've got your own way of doing things and there is nothing wrong with having an opinion but I've just got to


I respect your opinion, and you make several valid points. I never suggested that an attenuator was his Only option. I'm just making suggestions, as you have. Not all attenuators "suck tone".

As far as the volume thing goes, I'm just going from personal experience. Not all amps will sound better when you crank them. Just saying there's no harm in trying (with hearing protection or an attenuator).

And no offense to you, but I don't think the tone of "good old rock n roll and metal" came from cranking the gain with the master on 2. Sure they may not have been Purposely cooking the output tubes, but how do you think they projected that tone to tens of thousands of fans? Sure, PA's helped with that, but nothing defines rock n roll like the wall of sound coming straight off the stage.

I agree with some of your points, and respectfully disagree with others.
Acoustics:
1994 Seagull SM6
2007 Takamine G5013SVFT

Electrics:
2008 Epiphone Les Paul Standard Plain Top (Cherryburst)
1964 Gibson Melody Maker D (DC)

Amps:
Traynor YGL-1

Pedals
MXR Distortion III (C4 Modded)
#10
You bought a gigging amp for home use. that's your problem, I'm afraid. It'll sound good at home, but it'll never sound great.


The actual room you're playing in will have a far bigger effect on the tone than you might think. have you used it with a band yet?
#11
@kyle62: I have not
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#12
^^ I've only played the Fireball 60 but I got some great tones at Guitar Center without blowing out windows. Similarly, I can play my Splawn at 50 watts and get great tones without needed ear plugs. Same for my Vypyr 60. Ditto for the 50 watt Valveking I owned.

Quote by Bastyn99
Mostly, Heavy- Trash- Death Metal. Lamb of God, Disturbed, Shadows Fall, Children of Bodom, thats sort of thing I like.

BTW 311ZOSOVHJH thanks for coming along and confusing me even more ( lol, jk)

You need an OD pedal. I've experimented with several including tubescreamer clones, Boss SD1, MXR Micro AMp, Zakk Wyld OD, Digitech Bad Monkey, Deltalabs Crunch Lab (more a disti pedal) and the Fulltone OD and I keep coming back to the Bad Monkey as my favorite (for metalish tones). Why? Cleaner than a Tubescreamer (less mid hump) and it has more tonal control (low and high). Plus it is cheap and super rugged. An OD pedal will tighten your tone and bass response and actually allow you to turn the amp down a bit (from where you would be normally - not much but a little). OD's are cheap and a great addition to any rig. Again Gain=0, Level=10. Now for more of a warm rockish overdrive, the Bad Monkey is not always the best answer.


Quote by RockinSince1993
I agree with some of your points, and respectfully disagree with others.



I honestly do not have a lot of experience with attenuators. Maybe you have had a lot of luck with them. To me, an attenuator is more for recording or even gigging where you want a ton of power tube saturation that can be controlled. Maybe I'm wrong but it was my understanding that a motor based attenuator is better than a resistor based one (ie Hotplates).

But yeah, I don't recommend maxed preamp Gain and 2 on the master either. Every amp is different. Never played an Engl Screamer. For what he plays an OD pedal is where I would put my focus. That or a modeling amp if it is bedroom only.
#13
So If I understand this right, an attenuator will lower the output volume of your amp, allowing you to turn the master volume higher and thereby making your tubes work harder, resulting in a better distorted sound.
And an OD pedal with gain set to 0 will help push your amps natural distortion, resulting in a better distorted sound. Making the two do essentially the same ?
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
Last edited by Bastyn99 at Jan 2, 2012,
#14
^ not really

An OD pedal will push the front end of the amp. The preamp portion. Most metal tones are derived from preamp distortion.

An attenuator will allow you push the power tubes. The power amp portion. Lots of classic rock like Hendrix, The Who and The Stones got their distortion from a cranked 'non-master volume' amp (and pedals as in Hendrix's case).

Metal and power amp distortion do not mix real well. Most of us will agree with that.

Therefore, 'better distorted sound' is relative.
#15
Oh I see, thanks for clarifying
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#16
I've recently bought an Engl Screamer too. I wasn't particularly happy with the metal tones I was getting either, and had to turn down the presence control considerably (to about 9o'c) to get rid of the piercing highs.

First improvement was swapping the V1 and V2 preamp tubes (as someone else suggested), which gave slightly more pleasing distortion.

Second, I got an MXR ZW44 cheap off eBay. That tightened up the sound a little.

Then, I swapped the vintage 30 speaker out (which I really hate for the mids/harsh treble) for an Eminence Legend V128. That really helped, and the speaker sold for the price of the new one! I can now turn up the presence very slightly too without hurting my ears.

Also, I have a 10 band MXR EQ in the loop, and have reduced the 500Hz and 16kHz frequencies a bit.

Next plan is to make myself a closed back extension cab too for a bit more oomph. I only play at bedroom levels, and have almost achieved a decent tone. Expensive way to go about it though.
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#17
^ all good suggestions


But damn, that reminds me of what I went through to improve my Valveking

No offense, but I am now of the position that if you have to go through that much effort to improve your tone - get a different amp.
#18
If you went from a Cube straight to an Engl, and you're not happy, my first thought is that your ears just haven't developed enough to be able to appreciate the Engl yet.

Other than that +1 to everything 311 is saying. He knows what's up.
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#19
Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH
^ all good suggestions


But damn, that reminds me of what I went through to improve my Valveking

No offense, but I am now of the position that if you have to go through that much effort to improve your tone - get a different amp.


I learnt all those tricks modding a valveking myself

I agree with your position in principal, but some people are limited in budget, what they can try out, what's on the 2nd hand market, or what they already have. Others (myself) just enjoy faffing
For trade
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#20
Quote by ultrablue
I learnt all those tricks modding a valveking myself

I agree with your position in principal, but some people are limited in budget, what they can try out, what's on the 2nd hand market, or what they already have. Others (myself) just enjoy faffing

wow....ain't that a trip

The 'good' news or the silver lining if you will is that most of that stuff....ODs, EQs, preamp tubes, speakers, are not really sunk costs. They can be carried onto the next rig or sold as part of a 'modded' rig.

But yeah, if you are generally happy with your rig/tone but want to improve it in bits n pieces then those are logical steps to take.



Quote by Offworld92
If you went from a Cube straight to an Engl, and you're not happy, my first thought is that your ears just haven't developed enough to be able to appreciate the Engl yet.

Other than that +1 to everything 311 is saying. He knows what's up.

I agree....and Thanks
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 2, 2012,
#21
Wow ultrablue, sounds like you did quite a bit surgery on your amp. Seems like it might be a bit more than I can handle though. Unless tubes and speakers are basically just plug and play.

On a side note, who wants to trade ears ?
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#22
Quote by Bastyn99
Mostly, Heavy- Trash- Death Metal. Lamb of God, Disturbed, Shadows Fall, Children of Bodom, thats sort of thing I like.

BTW 311ZOSOVHJH thanks for coming along and confusing me even more ( lol, jk)


turn your preamp gain all the way up.

if you don't like it then you probably need to grab a new amp.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#23
Quote by AcousticMirror
turn your preamp gain all the way up.

if you don't like it then you probably need to grab a new amp.


That seems a bit harsh. Its not that I dont like, I just think that I expected something else. Besides, I just got it a month ago, and I doubt I would have any luck selling it in these times. I do like the amp, it is very versatile, which is good since its the only one I have and will have for a long time. It just needs a little something extra.

I just searched around the internet a bit, and it seems changing the tubes and speaker is just plug and play, so that is suddenly a possibility.
Ibanez RG1570Z w/ BKP Holy Divers
Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 /w Guitar Rig 5
Stupid clumsy fingers
#24
It is a bit harsh but he makes a good point. I've gone round and round with AcousticMirror before on his 'preamp' theory. His being if the amp doesn't sound good with the preamp gain cranked (ie Maxed) then it is not a good map. My point is that amp designers have sweet spots in mind and most people don't run their amps with the preamp gain maxed anyway. The 5150/6505 is a great example of this. I love that amp but I would never run the preamp maxed.

As far as changing tubes and speakers - yes it is not like surgery. Preamp tubes in particular are very easy to change. Some power tubes in some amps will require rebiasing, which can be a bit more tricky - but not what we are talking about here. Most speakers these days use clips but some are soldered, so you'd have to know how to use a soldering iron to swap.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 2, 2012,
#25
Quote by ultrablue
I learnt all those tricks modding a valveking myself

I agree with your position in principal, but some people are limited in budget, what they can try out, what's on the 2nd hand market, or what they already have. Others (myself) just enjoy faffing


sometimes you have to buy blind. i have done this more often than not. i read up on things as much as possible ask others on here. reading reviews are useless.

311 is spot on as well as offworld.

i also did the tricks on a VK too.
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#26
Speakers, yes as long as the ohms match. Tubes on the other hand, power tubes need to be re biased, but if your just swapping out preamp tubes than yes plug and play.

I highly recommend grabbing an eq pedal and putting it in the effects loop. It does wonders for tone. If you take your time with it and listen to how each band affects the sound, its a tool every guitarist should have.
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#27
Quote by JoePerry4life
Tubes on the other hand, power tubes need to be re biased.

I agree with what you said about speakers, preamp tubes and EQ pedals but just wanted to point out that...

You don't bias tubes, you bias the amp.
Not all amps need to be rebiased, only fixed bias amps.
Non-adjustable fixed and Cathode biased amps do not need biasing.

Not sure on the Engl Screamer
#28
Sorry to be the odd one out and give such a simple answer but..... Wouldn't an EQ pedal normally enhance your sound? and a compression pedal would reduce the feedback?