#1
I have an Epiphone Dot Studio I picked up used. I've been playing a couple years. Well, for the last 9 months, I've tried learning music recording through interface & DAW (Reaper).

My problem is that I cannot get a good, strong rock or grunge sound from my guitar. I've played around with different FX, to no avail. And i get the same problem with my amp (An $80 practice amp, admittedly.)

The real problem seems to be the lower sounding notes (strings E, A & D). There's just no "oomph" there. It's hard to think of the right adjective -- tired? listless? I get nice edgy rock notes from the higher strings, with a bit of twang depending on settings, but the low end is really washed out and weak.

Since I have this issue both through my amp and through my DAW, I'm thinking it may be the guitar. I'm thinking maybe this is why people trade out pickups.

But then, maybe it is a function of a weak amp, and maybe weak FX?

Just wondering if washed out / listless sounds on the low end is something that can be readily diagnosed as a pick up / guitar issue or something else?

Ken
#2
Just out of curiosity... what size is the speaker in the amp, and have you tried changing strings/using a different gauge?

Edit: By this, I'm suggesting that an amp with an 8" speaker won't give you fantastic bass response, dull strings will sound lifeless on the bass, and thicker strings will give a slightly better reponse.

You're obviously best off testing your guitar with any other amps that you can, with the hope of eliminating it as a cause of your tonal issues. These are simple diagnostic points, not solutions.
#3
I'm thinking it's the amp honestly. Reaper doesn't normally do that and if you can test the guitar through a different Amp you'd have your answer regarding the pickups. (if it still sounds weak and lifeless) then you've got your pickup or electronic's issue. if it sounds balls to the wall it's probably just your amp. i don't think it's the strings or anything else.
wut.
#6
Thanks for the feedback. The guitar generally sounds "weak" through Reaper, using Focusrite 2.2 Scarlett interface or something like that, but I'm thinking I just suck at finding and tweaking plug in effects. I try adding tubescreamer, distortion/fuzz, and get something that is still pretty weak, compress the hell out of it...with enough "trick" I can make a guitar noise that sounds interesting instead of lame, but still not a strong rock or grunge sound.

The amp I believe is 12 watts, an RMS. I was playing around with it more, and the real problem seems to be the low E. Like if I'm soloing, or just doing scales, with distortion, everything sounds pretty good till I hit that low E string, then it sounds washed out / underpowered. The idea this could be a string issue is kind of interesting. On the other hand, I did have the guitar set up after getting it, but I guess that's only as good as the guy doing the set up.

I am not sure how to go out and try my guitar on other amps, since I don't have a network of musicians that I play with. Can I bring my own guitar to a Guitar Center and play it if I tell them I'm considering buying an amp?

Ken
#7
How far away from the strings are the pickups? The front pickup on my archtop here is 1/16" clear, 1/8" for the bridge pickup. Maybe your pickups need to be closer to the strings?
#8
I don't think that the strings aren't the problem. the way i'm seeing it is you might have a loose saddle piece. look at your bridge and see that none of them are moving or providing for that. then again your neck can warp so you might have to set it up again. keep us posted!
wut.
#9
try it through some VSTs and see what sounds you can get then you'll know for sure. plenty of Free Amp sims and cab sims
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#10
Quote by krm27
Thanks for the feedback. The guitar generally sounds "weak" through Reaper, using Focusrite 2.2 Scarlett interface or something like that, but I'm thinking I just suck at finding and tweaking plug in effects. I try adding tubescreamer, distortion/fuzz, and get something that is still pretty weak, compress the hell out of it...with enough "trick" I can make a guitar noise that sounds interesting instead of lame, but still not a strong rock or grunge sound.

The amp I believe is 12 watts, an RMS. I was playing around with it more, and the real problem seems to be the low E. Like if I'm soloing, or just doing scales, with distortion, everything sounds pretty good till I hit that low E string, then it sounds washed out / underpowered. The idea this could be a string issue is kind of interesting. On the other hand, I did have the guitar set up after getting it, but I guess that's only as good as the guy doing the set up.

I am not sure how to go out and try my guitar on other amps, since I don't have a network of musicians that I play with. Can I bring my own guitar to a Guitar Center and play it if I tell them I'm considering buying an amp?

Ken


I would recommend lowering the treble side of your pickups, and raising the bass end a tad, might help balance out your tone a bit.


Also, when you're in reaper, Open up reaEQ,then boost the low end a tad, it should help a little bit, I usually do it just a tad anyway to get a little bit more thump.
Quote by R45VT
Bastards.
#11
amata83: That's really what started me considering a new guitar or pick-ups. I play a stock Epiphone Dot Studio or stock Epiphone G400. Both have been professionally set up, new strings and what not. I only have a practice amp (12 watts?) and I figured I cannot tell, from playing on that, how my guitars perform.

I got Reaper initially to have access to guitar amp vst's. I've downloaded the free usual suspects, LePou, and such. Tried different combinations of pre-amp vst's and amp vst's. Thrown in some overdrive stompbox vst's. I cannot find any tone I like. It all sounds like white noise (over distorted) or too acoustic. I am no expert at adjusting the knobs and what-not, so I am just sort of adjusting them all over to try different variations, to no avail.

I don't want to spend $500 on a new guitar if it won't help me find a good tone. But I also don't want to spend another 20, 50, 100 hours trying to dial in tone on my existing guitars, because my time is worth more than $20 an hour, and at a certain point I'd rather spend the money.

Viban: Thanks for the tips, I'll try it.

At this point, I"m so sick of wasting time trying to dial in an acceptable guitar tone, that I hardly pick up my guitar anymore, at least not the electrics. I now spend most of my time trying to figure out midi programming / synth vsts so I don't have to deal with the headaches of bad guitar tone.

Ken
#12
Do you get the weak sound with both your Epiphone Dot Studio and Epiphone G400?
Those are both decent guitars and I think the amplification is entirely suspect. The amp seems pretty shitty. Personally, I have never been able to get a digital tone I'm happy with. Even with Amplitube.
..I was watching my death.