#1
Last year I bought a couple of guitars and a couple of small amps. One of the guitars is an American Standard Strat that I fitted with Texas Special pickups. One of the amps is a Peavey Classic 30.

I've read many threads here about Stevie Ray Vaughan's sound, and his use of the Tube Screamer. I already had a Boss Blues Driver, but I got a Tube Screamer just to see if there was any difference. There was, but not night and day.

No matter what settings I use on the amp, Tube Screamer and guitar (tone controls, pickup selector), the sound seems harsh. I've listened to SRV songs on several different stereo systems, and the tone of his guitar sounds relatively smooth, with just a bit of distortion. The sound is "big" (I don't know how else to describe it), but not harsh. I thought maybe his guitar tracks were toned down in volume in production, but the sound is the same in live performances I've seen on Youtube and listened to on CD's.

I don't expect to be able to copy that sound, as I don't have the same equipment and, even if I did, I doubt anyone knows what combinations of pieces of equipment SRV used on each song.

Nevertheless, it would make playing songs like Pride and Joy more enjoyable if the sound was a bit closer to the original.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
#2
A LOT of it is in his attack. He really ripped at the strings. He also used pretty heavy gauge strings. 11s or 12s I think. And of course there's the equipment; he used lots of different amps. And I assume you're tuned down a half step, right?

So try:

1. Eb tuning
2. set amp to just a bit of breakup on its own
3. add gain to taste with a tube screamer type pedal
4. play hard
5. play loud (he really cranked)
6. use neck pickup usually
7. maybe try heavier strings

Have you checked out steviesnacks lessons?

Edit: Oh another thing. There's a local blues guy here who does some SRV songs. He has a Fender Vibro (something)...Vibroverb I think but not sure. Now here's the interesting part...he runs two tube screamers, one into the other. He runs guitar into what looked like a TS9, then that into a TS808, then into the amp. The 808 was always on and the other was for solo boost with some added gain. Sounds great.
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Last edited by Deadpool_25 at Mar 11, 2013,
#3
The key is in the amp: He personally used big vintage Fenders, mainly super reverbs with the gain jacked up really high to create lots of grit and compression, but not flat out drive, thats were he applied the tubescreamer. As Deadpool mentioned before, he used heavy strings, heavy attack and Eb tuning, which slacked the strings more. I've been able to replicate an SRV tone with a TS9, a vox and a telecaster pretty well, and my recommendation for your peavy is to just dime the gain on the clean channel and a TS9 or a low gain set blues driver. Also deadpool, he used 13-56 sets usually, but he changed brands so much he went as high as 13-76, or lower too.
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#4
Less treble?
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.


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#5
13s. Sheesh. Yeah, I remember it was something crazy...I'd forgotten how crazy though. LOL

I remember back in the mid 90s I was listening to a lot of SRV and wanting to get into guitar. I went out and bought a MIM Strat, a Super Reverb, and a Tube Screamer and thought I'd sound like SRV.

One of my many false starts with learning guitar.
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Last edited by Deadpool_25 at Mar 11, 2013,
#6
Didn't SRV stack two tubescreamers?
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#7
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
Didn't SRV stack two tubescreamers?


Sometimes indeed, he did the same with fuzzfaces and wah's, usually since all his stuff was vintage and faulty at points.
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An ever-morphing BOSS and MXR loaded pedalboard

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#8
To address some points made, I keep that guitar tuned down half a step. I hit the strings hard. I use GHS Rockers 13-58. I use the neck pickup, but switch to the middle pickup selector for parts of the song that need more "twang".

It's the question of gain or "grit" or distortion or whatever you want to call it that I don't understand. I don't hear much distortion at all in Pride and Joy. Maybe I'm thinking of gain and/or distortion in terms of the fuzzy rock n' roll sound (example: Stones' "Can't You Hear Me Knockin" opening).

Tonight I had the volume control on the amp clean channel up to 6, which is loud even for my fairly large living room. I had the Tube Screamer set to a little bit of gain, just enough to give it some distortion, and the level up slightly. I've tried going the other direction, with the amp volume at 3 to 5 or so, and the TS level up higher, but I just get more distortion.

Also, what do you mean by "dime the gain on the clean channel"?

I guess I'm not understanding what the purpose of the Tube Screamer is in the sound if not to produce distortion.
#9
"Dime it" means turn it all the way up. That'll be LOUD though.

Screamers are often used as a "clean boost" that just hits the input of the amp a bit harder producing more natural overdrive and gain. To do that, turn the pedal's gain all the way down, and the volume all the way up. That's the basic idea, you can tailor it as needed of course.

Also, take Jimi Hendrix or AC/DC. They both had some distorted tones, but much of that distortion came from just cranking their amps up REALLY loud*. That produced natural distortion in the power amp tubes. Those were JTM45s (basically) and had no Master Volume OR "gain" knobs. Or reverb either for that matter.

While that distortion was awesome, you had to be playing really loud to get it...REALLY loud. So loud that it isn't practical for small bars, let alone at home. So then companies started putting input gain knobs and master volume knobs to make it easier to produce distortion at lower volumes. But gain knobs affect the input tubes, while master volume controls the power tubes. So raising the gain and lowering the master volume produces distortion but not the same type of distortion as you get from a lot of volume...which doesn't make it bad. Both are good; they can be different though.

*Hendrix also made the Fuzz Face famous but that's not the distortion I'm talking about.
Guitars
- Strandberg OS6, Strandberg CL7, Gibson LP Studio, S570DXQM, RG7421, Mayer Strat, Partscaster

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- TC-50, Mark Five:25, Invective (soon), Vypyr 60
Last edited by Deadpool_25 at Mar 11, 2013,
#10
SRV got his distortion by turning his amp up to full volume. Thats it. Natural valve distortion.

He also used 15inch speakers which is another key part and the main reason a lot of people struggle to emulate his tone.

Guitar world have a piece on SRV's gear: http://www.guitarworld.com/blues-power-depth-guide-amps-and-effect-pedals-stevie-ray-vaughan-s-arsenal
#11
I remember when I was doing some SRV tone hunting I found something that might help you with your misunderstanding of the gain. Like said before he used a dimed out fender amp, and 1 or 2 tubescreamers. It's not that he used a lot of GAIN with the amp or the pedals, he used a lot of VOLUME. Gain and volume, as you probably know and understand, are not the same thing, but the more volume you have with a tube amp the more it will breakup. Sort of just rewording what has already been said, but just my two cents.
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#13
Quote by Bluesblitz
The key is in the amp: He personally used big vintage Fenders, mainly super reverbs with the gain jacked up really high to create lots of grit and compression, but not flat out drive, thats were he applied the tubescreamer. As Deadpool mentioned before, he used heavy strings, heavy attack and Eb tuning, which slacked the strings more. I've been able to replicate an SRV tone with a TS9, a vox and a telecaster pretty well, and my recommendation for your peavy is to just dime the gain on the clean channel and a TS9 or a low gain set blues driver. Also deadpool, he used 13-56 sets usually, but he changed brands so much he went as high as 13-76, or lower too.

I think where you say 'gain' you mean volume. There's no gain knob on a Super Reverb, and we don't need to be confusing people by using 'volume' and 'gain' interchangeably as regards amp and pedal settings.

I understand the technical correctness of your comment but for simplicity's sake let's stick with the things printed on the knob. The volume knobs should be high, gain/distortion/drive knobs low.
#14
Guitar Worldcrecebtky dissected his gear. Check it out.
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MXR '78 Custom Badass Distortion
#15
Okay, just so I'm sure I understand this correctly, Roc8995 and Bluesblitz (and others) are saying amp clean channel volume all the way up, almost no drive (gain) on the Tube Screamer, and the level knob on the Tube Screamer used to adjust volume. Yes?

I tried that, and adjusted the bass, mid-range and treble settings to try to keep the harshness down. I also tried putting the Boss Blues Driver in line with the Tube Screamer, and that had an interesting effect. Not sure if it's closer or further away from SRV's sound, though.

I'm 62, and I'll likely go to my grave not being able to play a good cover of one of Vaughan's songs, but it's fun to try. I'm not going to go out and buy amplifiers just to mimic the sound. I'd just like to get closer using what I have.

What's hard for me to grasp is the soft sound that he gets on some of the notes and chords in Pride and Joy, the clean and crisp ringing of the strings, yet the amp is being pushed to the point of breaking up. I would imagine that doing what's been suggested in posts above would yield a sound more like "Money for Nothing" than "Pride and Joy".
#16
Unfortunately that sound comes from a couple of high-headroom 6L6 amps with super clean speakers. The C30 is a great amp but it's none of those things. That soft sound you hear is compression from the power tubes, so a very light power tube distortion with basically no preamp distortion. Unfortunately your Peavey was designed for preamp distortion, and it's got a much different power section that doesn't compress readily.

If you're getting 'Money for Nothing' you need to back way off the distortion, which means not putting so much volume before the amp. The preamp clips much sooner than those old Fenders, so I wouldn't cascade two OD pedals into it, nor would I turn the amp's volume up too much, since the power section clips an awful lot earlier than a Super Reverb. I would take the blues driver with the gain down and the level up (not all the way for either) into the Peavey on the clean channel. Turn the mids on the amp down, play with the neck pickup. Experiment with turning your guitar volume and tone down a bit to keep the treble in line.
#17
Thanks. That answer makes a lot of sense. It also explains the distortion, as I got the Classic 30 in part to get the type of tube distortion I hear on 70's and 80's rock songs.

I'll do some fiddling around with it and see if I can't get closer.
#18
Steviesnacks, man. Steviesnacks. Check that dude out.
Guitars
- Strandberg OS6, Strandberg CL7, Gibson LP Studio, S570DXQM, RG7421, Mayer Strat, Partscaster

Amps
- TC-50, Mark Five:25, Invective (soon), Vypyr 60
#19
My post wasn't helpful, as I wasn't home. Here is the info for Love Struck Baby and Little Wing according to GW. I know it's not Pride and Joy, but I have used these in the past for other artists to try and nail a sound. All pedals will be like the hour hand of a clock.

LSB
A green pedal that is "a touch of tube style overdrive for sustain on solo". Drive is at 10, tone is at 2, level 12:30.
Digital Reverb (grey symbol)- Level is at 10:30, tone is 2:30, time is 9:30, room is 11:30. It is stimulate a studio room sound
The amp is an "american and/or british tube amp set loud and clean. Use combination of 10, 12, and 15 inch speakers."
Bright-on
Volume -9:30
Treble -2:30
Middle- 12
Bass-2:30
Reverb - 9
Intensity- 6:30
Speed - 6:30

Little Wing
Green Over Drive
Drive -12:00
Level- 11:30
Tone-12:00
Digital reverb to stimulate reverb at the console
Level-9:30
Tone-10:30
Time-2
Mode Plate-11

Amp

"Combination of American Amps for Distortion and British Amps for Clarity used with a mix of 10, 12 and 15 inch speakers."

Volume-2:00
Treble-2:30
MIddle 12:00
Bass-2:00
Reverb 9:00
Intensity- 7
Speed is -7

This is why I stopped tone chasing. These guys have too many toys to play with in studio.

Good luck!
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Art & Lutherie Electric Cutaway
Vox Valvetronix VT40
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Vox Original Wah-Wah Pedal V847-A
MXR '78 Custom Badass Distortion
#20
Thanks again for all the help, particularly the explanation of the difference between the Peavey Classic 30 and the Fender amps.

After playing with everything for a couple of nights, I realized that I couldn't go further than 9:00 on the Tube Screamer level, 0-1 on the pedal's gain knob, 9 to 9.5 on the amp's volume (with the boost switch on), and the guitar volume dialed down to 4. I turned the amp's bass knob up to 8, and kept the mid and treble knobs at 4 to 5. I dialed down the guitar's tone knobs, too.

Any more amp volume or pedal level and I could hear the preamp and/or the volume clipping. If I took it too far, or hit the strings too hard, it would clip so much that the sound would start getting muted.

It's not SRV's Pride and Joy sound, but it's as close as I can get, or at least as close as I have the patience to get. If I ever come across one of the old Fender amps at a good price, maybe I'll give that a whirl. I think I should learn how to play first.
#21
he also ran multiple amps sometimes in a stereo setup, sometimes with a leslie speaker throwin in.

hes also using a some model of a dumble amplifier, which is never going to be replicated. he played 13 guage strings and had some huge old gorrilla fingers as well.

so its going to be really really hard to replicate it perfectly. i would say try to adopt a different attack, not too much gain, if you can reply on pushing the front end of a clean amp, and find a way to tone down the highs without being dull. TIGHT bass.
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#22
Thanks, Ikey. It's toning down the treble/highs without sounding muddy that's a fine line.

I know I won't nail the sound. I just want to get closer, which I have thanks to the advice here.

Just for grins I looked at some 60's vintage Fender Reverb amps on Ebay. $1200 to $1700.

If I don't push my Peavey too hard on the volume, I can get closer. That's with the volume knob up to ten, but all of the other guitar/pedal adjustments reducing the volume down to what would ordinarily be two or three on the amp. The sound is compressed a bit, and it's not painful to play.