Hello my friends!

I am playing with a really good Pop-Rock band. We play music similar in some ways to bands like The 1975, Bleachers, The Killers, etc... Sort of indie - a quite modern sound. (In some cases it even shifts over into a guitar based version of modern pop... it's better then it sounds...) Anyway, I've been using my "rock" rig for this band - I should mention I'm the lead guitarist - but we're starting to get label interest and I need to build a rig that's solely dedicated to this band. And I thought I'd ask you lovely folk. As far as price goes I want to buy good to really good quality gear.

First things first - I'm a Les Paul guy - My main guitars are all Gibson Custom 57 reissues (A standard (gold top), custom (black beauty), and junior.

My first question deals with amplifiers - I'm looking for a 2x12 combo amp that get's me a good clean sound. (I'll be adding overdrive latter with pedals) The other guitarist in the band is a hardcore Fender amp user so I don't really want to enter that world. Handwired Vox AC30? Hiwatt custom 50? Fender Twin Reverb? Some amps i've heard good things about. Not sure... what do you guys think?

My second question is on overdrive/distortion pedals to complement said amp. I'm looking for two. One for a rhythm sound and one for lead. Rhythm sound I want it to be chimney with some a little crunch and sparkle - nothing to heavy just a nice light distortion. For the lead sound i want something quite a bit more intense - a fair amount of distortion - but a smoother distortion without tons of rough edges.

Also any other pedal recommendations delay's, reverb's, etc...?
And I'm looking into a pedal switching unit as well, suggestions?

It should be said were I live there are not tons of good guitar stores where I can go and try stuff. I will be heading back to a big music town in the beginning of 2015 but I need my rig competed by then. So (as much as I hate it) I'll have to order a lot of stuff online blindly and really hope it works.

All your suggestions are really appreciated!!

sounds like you really need a 2 channel amp the has a good clean channel and a second channel that can do the rhythm dirt you want. then ad an overdrive for leads. you may want to take a look at the Peavey Classic series as they would have what I mentioned. by going the 2 (or more) channel route rather than straight pedals through clean channel will give you more options.
What is your current amp?
What don't you like about it?

2x12 combos are a bitch to move around, I'd go head and 2x12 cab if it is possible.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
If you haven't already go to proguitarshop.com and shop around there. They really cater to these types of rigs. Demo vids on just about every amp and effect pedal they got. I'm 100% positive they'll at least have your stompbox needs covered.

As far as switchers go the RJM Effects Gizmo and the Voodoo Labs GCX are great MIDI units if that's the route you wanna go. I've seen several pedal board mounted switchers but can't recall their names.
For cleaner OD sounds, I have a T-Rex MAB OD. For beefier, grittier stuff, I have a Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde and a Red Witch Famulus, both of which are very flexible dual OD/Dist pedals. They can both do clean, but...

As for switching, I've had- and enjoyed- a Carl Martin Octa Switch for years now. It's dead simple to use, and I have yet to have a single issue with it.

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Dec 2, 2014,
Personally I'd go with a nice 2 channel Head + 2x12cab and a nice OD/boost for leads,but I'm more of an amp distortion guy.

I have found 2x12 combos to just be a general pain, but if your set on a 2x12 combo out of the ones you listed I'd go with either the Vox or a High Watt. Most of the bands you mentioned use High Watt heads the rest use hand wired AC30 heads.

As for drive, Id look into an od like a EXH soul food or something along those lines.
As for the lead tone some Fuzz can get Very smooth and creamy on the neck pup w/ your tone down, Wampler Euphoria Drive's can be very smooth as well and could probably do your lighter drive sounds as well..

Strymon and Eventide have some really nice delays and 'verb but $$$

If you only have a few pedals a switcher isn't really necessary for most people IMHO.
'91 Epiphone by Gibson Sheraton JLH
Godin 5th Avenue
Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5
Hughes & Kettner 1x12 w/ Vintage 30's
Fender Mustang II
MXR Super Badass Distortion>Boss CE-5>Boss OC-3> ???
Quote by Robbgnarly

2x12 combos are a bitch to move around,.


My Carvin Belair (50W, EL84's) is an easy piece to move, it's very loud, it's got a great clean channel and if you want Marshallesque stuff in the gain channel, that's a very easy mod (see "Hasserl Mods"). Nice one-hander, quite compact. High marks

OTOH, I have a 2x12 Atomic Reactor that's a closed back oversized ported thing that's at least 2/3rds the size of a 4x12. It's got 50W of 6L6 power amp and a place for a Pod "bean" to integrate into the system and become the preamp; very versatile combo amp when it's all together, obviously, and high marks for sound. But it's a BB&B (a Bitch, a Bear and a Bastard) to move. Probably double the exterior volume (size-wise) and nearly double the weight of the Belair.
Good to know- I've been looking at that Carvin.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
I agree with the comments in respect of 2x12 combos. Valve amps need to be moved with care. Combos are heavy and unwieldy and can get knocked over, dropped and generally abused. You can throw a speaker cab around as much as you like and it is unlikely the speakers will suffer in any way. A head is much easier to look after.

After that it is down to personal taste. What guitarists do you like the sound of? What do they use is a good indication.

If you play a very diverse range of material a rack based midi rig could work well. I'm not a lover of modelling amps and have tried several without much success. Consequently, I have a Marshall JMP-1 which is very useful and, allied to some midi effects processors, can replicate almost anything at the press of one button (Once set before hand which can be a bit tedious).

The JMP-1 isn't volume sensitive as you can choose the power amp size appropriate to the venue. Otherwise, without an attenuator, valve amps are incredibly volume sensitive. If the amp is too powerful you may never get to drive it at its sweet spot.

Years ago back line was everything, with modern PA systems, if the volume is such that you need a 50 Watt valve amp the probability is you would be better micing of DIing through the PA. The sound man would be far happier and you will get the best balance possible.