#1
So i'm just trying to figure out what I need to do to get a clean metal type of sound out of my amp. I use an ESP LTD MH 1000 NT plugged into a Peavey 6505+ amp.

So yeah, how can I get a great clear sounding tone when I try to play metl? Like for example, if you walk into Guitar Center and hear someone playing metal, their gain is way too high and there's no clarity, and it just sounds pretty awful.

So yeah, not too experienced with metal. I'm guessing the standard for metal nowadays is drop C? And what type of pickups are great for the sound i'm trying to achieve? I'm guessing humbuckers, active. And oh, should I get higher gauge strings too?

Advice is needed.
#2
By great clean tone do you mean no distortion? In that case you need a different amp for cleans.

If what you want are good distorted tones just turn the gain down and accept that playing with a single amp will never replicate the sound of recording a track four times with different amps and mixing them together in stereo.
#3
Well that's pretty damn easy with the amp you have. Just use either the "crunch" button on the rhythm channel, or switch to the lead channel if you want a heavier sound, and don't go overboard on the gain knob. Turn the pre up pretty high, but not all the way. Maybe like 7-8. Then use the post as your master volume. Turn it up as much as you need for how loud you wanna be. For EQ, don't make the mistake of scooping your mids too much. Personally, I think a good metal tone has a little mid scoop, but not nearly as much as some weirdos use. Try like low at 7, mid at 6, high at 8 for starters, and tweak to your liking from there. As for the resonance and presence knobs, just experiment with them and see how you like it.

For the other questions, the standard tuning for metal is whatever you want it to be. Just about every tuning out there has been used for metal by someone, and it's all good. If there's a particular band or a few bands who's music you intend to learn, just use whatever tuning they use most often. If you're gonna write your own music, and mostly metal, there's a few things to consider. Assuming that you don't wanna get weird with some kind of open tuning, you basically just have to decide if you want to use a "standard" tuning or a drop tuning. And by drop tuning, I mean a tuning where the low string is dropped an extra step, making a 5th between it and the next string, not just any tuning lower than Standard E. Drop tunings are used extremely often in metal, probably because they let you play two-note power chords on the low two strings with one finger, which makes very fast power chord riffing much easier. Although there is tons of very fast metal in standard tuning, so it's really not that big of a deal. Just a preference thing. The disadvantage of a drop tuning is that it throws a little hiccup in your standard chord and scale patterns, when the lowest string is involved, but plenty of people get around that, and there's nothing wrong with that. So with that in mind, you decide if you want to go standard or drop, then to decide which standard or drop tuning, what do you want your low chug note to be? For a modern metal style, you're almost certainly going to have a decent amount of palm muted open low string notes, so just decide what you want that note to be. You like C for a chug note, and the one finger power chords of a drop tuning? Drop C it is! You want your standard chord shapes to include your low string, and like Eb for a chug note? Eb Standard for you! Personally, I use D Standard.

Pickups? Humbuckers, definitely. Active? Not necessarily. There are so many options for pickups, it's really just a preference thing. If you really want to mess with changing your pickups, just watch/listen to a ton of demos, and play some yourself, if possible. Higher gauge strings? Probably, yes. They sound heavier, and are almost necessary if you're tuning down, just to keep tension up. I use 10-52 sets for D Standard. Feels good. Could stand to be heavier, but I like to bend like crazy.

Hope all that helps.
#4
Quote by jpnyc
By great clean tone do you mean no distortion? In that case you need a different amp for cleans.

If what you want are good distorted tones just turn the gain down and accept that playing with a single amp will never replicate the sound of recording a track four times with different amps and mixing them together in stereo.


Also this. Although, I don't think you'd have to have a new amp just for cleans. The 6505's clean channel isn't anything special, but it's decent. Throw a decent reverb pedal into the mix and it's a perfectly serviceable tone for a clean section of an otherwise distorted song.
#5
6505+'s are well voiced for the sort of sound you're looking for. I think your issue is your EQ if you haven't acquired that sort of sound yet.

What I do personally with my 6505+ is not have the gain set too high. I only set it to 4-5 on the lead channel at the most, and then I put a Tubescreamer in front of it, set as a clean boost. If I'm recording, I set the gain even lower.

EQ-wise I only set the mids to 1 or 2. Having that sort of setting goes against the unwritten rulebook, but the 6505 is a very midrangey amp in its nature, and even more so driving Celestion V30's, with the Tubescreamer in front of it, AND a naturally midrangey Gibson V or Jackson DK2M. When you account for those factors, having the mids so low actually kind of makes sense. Any more than 2 on the mids makes with that sort of setup makes the amp sound very honky. It seems wrong, but to me that's just how I like it and I've never had an issue cutting through a mix with that setting and the chain I have.

Bass-wise I set it to around 6-7 and the treble set to 5, depending on how I set the tone control on the Tubescreamer. The lower the treble, the more I turn up the tone control on the TS-9. I just find having the tone on the TS-9 set to about 11 o' clock and the treble on 5 works well for the guitars I use.

Regarding resonance and presence, I tend to set those both quite high to make the amp sound huge, but not too woofy and dull on palm mutes. The presence and resonance controls don't really do that much until you set them over 8. Then between that an 10, the tiniest change affects the amp's tone significantly. It takes a lot of trial and error to get it right. Then when you're done, superglue the potentiometers so they never move out of place.

How you set the EQ depends on the tuning you're using as well. The lower the tuning, the less bass and gain and the more mids you need. But you don't need to make significant EQ changes to get a very different tone, so it takes a lot of trial and error. For reference, the settings I've just given are what I use mainly, and I play in Eb. So you'll probably need more mids and less gain and resonance than what I use.

I think the cleans on the 6505's sound like ass, I've never found a setting I like. So I use an entirely different amp and put an A/B box in front of the guitar and use that as my channel switcher.

Regarding pickups, there is no right or wrong. Humbuckers are probably what you want. Active or passive is completely up to you.
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#6
^^+1000

Though I'd argue that 6505s often don't even need that much gain if they're boosted. I can run my gain as low as "3" and there's still enough grind and saturation for death metal and black metal.

I really agree about the mids as well. It is a very middy amp and if you're boosting it with a tubescreamer (any OD pedal, really) it's getting a mid-bump as well. That mids knob does not need to be cranked to have more than enough mids. I run mine at "4", but I also use an MXR 10-band EQ and scoop the crap out of the 500hz slider. I don't cut the other midrange frequencies though -- just the "middle" mids. It sounds honky and harsh with too much in that frequency range -- even John Petrucci will tell you that.
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#7
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE


Regarding pickups, there is no right or wrong. Humbuckers are probably what you want. Active or passive is completely up to you.


In my experience pickups do make a difference. An EMG81 has superb definition/clarity, Seymour Duncans are very good too, compared to Gibson or even Epiphone pickups that tend to get really mushy when playing something more than the most basic powerchords/single tones.

That said, sound-wise of those I like Gibson most and EMG least.
#8
Quote by Knarrenheino
In my experience pickups do make a difference. An EMG81 has superb definition/clarity, Seymour Duncans are very good too, compared to Gibson or even Epiphone pickups that tend to get really mushy when playing something more than the most basic powerchords/single tones.

That said, sound-wise of those I like Gibson most and EMG least.

Where did I ever say that pickups don't make a difference? I just said that there's no objective right or wrong pickups to play metal on.

And some Gibson pickups like 500T's and Dirtyfingers are fantastic for high gain. And its also hugely dependent on what amp you're using and how you set it up. You can make a toaster oven sound decent if you plug it into a kickass amplifier and you know how to play.
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#9
less distortion and good playing technique. also as mentioned proper eqing. you find out when you are recording that you use way less distortion than you might think. for various reasons the recorded sound (saturation) sounds more distorted than it is. so when you listen you still get the clarity you mentioned. of course what always happens you try to duplicate the sound you hear and end up using more distortion and lose clarity. kind of a balancing act.
#10
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Where did I ever say that pickups don't make a difference? I just said that there's no objective right or wrong pickups to play metal on.


Not generally, but I was referring to the OP's question about clarity at high gain (or so I understood the question), and I think some pickups do that better than others. I wasn't trying to say anything about if one pickup is generally better than the other.

And I should have clarified what pickups I mean too in that comparison. Think the really widespread ones like EMG-81, Seymour Duncan JB, and Gibson '57. I find their difference in high gain clarity pretty big.
#11
A lot of folks play with very high gain in their bedrooms. In a band or recording situation, gain often needs to be dialed way back or you're listening to a Wall Of Flatulence. Parts are often played clean and then split, with at least one track re-amped with gain.

One solution is a two-rig setup that has one rig clean and the other rig gainy. That's a level of complexity that most players don't need, but it's one of the reasons that modelers have had internal dual-rig capabilities since the Pod X3 (the HD series continues that and the Axe-FX can be run dual all day long). You can set up two separate rigs and then balance the levels for the clarity+gain overall sound you like best.

There's no standard for tuning, guitar choice, pickup choice or for string gauge. Manufacturers try to make the choices easier for you (and for them to sell), so they'll typify a metal guitar by shape, color (black), pickups (EMG), and the newbs on Internet forums will tell you you've gotta have 11's or thicker to support downtunings. The result is a lot of metal wannabees standing around with exactly the same guitar (different logos on the headstock), sounding pretty much alike, banging heads in a "yeah, me too" manner. If you're going to use a lot of different tunings, you're likely to be buying a lot of different guitars because it's a PIA to change tunings on the fly.

Except for one guitar.

I know UG is getting tired of hearing this, but... I use a Variax JTV-89F (and no, I don't work for Line 6, and I just ordered my second 89F, due here Friday or Monday). Listed street price was $1199, I got a 20% discount and I'll get a $150 rebate (ordered prior to December 31st). That brought it down to $809.

On its own, it's a very good guitar with jumbo frets, 16" radius, wide neck profile, satin-finish back of neck, hot pickups, 25.5" scale, 24 frets and a Schaller-type Floyd. Great balance and playability, great upper fret access, excellent sustain, solid mahogany superstrat body. And you can get it in black. But there's lots more.

First, you can change tunings from standard E all the way to Baritone (including Drop tunings), and it's all built in and you can do it by rotating a switch. You don't change tension on the strings, you don't change string gauges. You can also set up any tuning you like (up to an octave above or below where any particular string is tuned) and save it to the guitar. This also allows you to use a Floyd hassle free. Their guitar-modeling technology means that you can use P90's if you want -- for metal. Or strat single coils. All with no noise, no hum, no RF interference, etc. If you're in E Standard, you can run the output from the on-board magnetic pickups side-by-side with the output from the modeled pickups into two different signal chains via the Variax cable (essentially an ethernet cable) into a Pod HD 500X. Better yet, you can change tunings, guitar models, amps, cabs, FX, etc. with a single stomp, since you can hold all parameters in a user preset. You can also use MIDI to signal other processes, such as amp channels, MIDI pedal controllers, synths, loopers, sequencers and even lighting gear.
#12
Here's my settings. I had trouble eq-ing mine too. I had to get online and find settings from my favorite bands that used the same amp.
Lead channel:
Pre- 8
Low-4
Mid-6
High-6
Post- w/e is appropriate
Resonance-8
Presence-8

TS-9 clean boost added, Drop C or D standard tuning, 12-54 strings, and EMGs.I have to knock my highs down a few notches when I play with passive pups. Im not playing thru V30's either, but this gets me what I want.
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#13
Quote by dspellman

I know UG is getting tired of hearing this, but... I use a Variax JTV-89F


I'm actually surprised that the Variax didn't have a bigger commercial success, it has got many advantages over traditional electrics, what saved me from spending money on one is that I'm not fond of the shapes, however I hope that Yamaha will adopt the Variax technology on more guitars...it looks like it's already happening with the Variax Standard

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#14
turn the gain down a bit and boost with an sd1 or tubescreamer. maybe turn down the mids a bit too as t00deepblue says.
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#15
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
What I do personally with my 6505+ is not have the gain set too high. I only set it to 4-5 on the lead channel at the most, and then I put a Tubescreamer in front of it, set as a clean boost. If I'm recording, I set the gain even lower.

EQ-wise I only set the mids to 1 or 2. Having that sort of setting goes against the unwritten rulebook, but the 6505 is a very midrangey amp in its nature, and even more so driving Celestion V30's, with the Tubescreamer in front of it, AND a naturally midrangey Gibson V or Jackson DK2M. When you account for those factors, having the mids so low actually kind of makes sense. Any more than 2 on the mids makes with that sort of setup makes the amp sound very honky. It seems wrong, but to me that's just how I like it and I've never had an issue cutting through a mix with that setting and the chain I have.


I agree the 6505+ is a great metal amp I will however crank my gain up to 6 or 7 at times and get great sound but I also am not playing the V30s which IMO have a very honky mid-range, I also will drop the gain and use my old trusty 1980 something Maxon built Ibanez TS-9. I have used the TS-9 for 20+ years now on every amp I've owned tube or solid state with the exception of my Mesa Roadster (which I have not hooked it up to yet).

I am playing the Peavey through a 4X12 loaded with Eminence Patriots I have 2 Texas Heat and 2 Swamp Thangs load in an X pattern and they take the high gain setting very well.

I do however scoop the mids to 2 or less especially if I'm playing by myself I might put them up to 4 or 5 if I'm playing with others, the Patriots won't honk out like the V30s.

I scoop the mids on my Mesa Roadster as well because it IS loaded with 2 V30s but sometimes it gets plugged in the cab with the Eminence too.

If you're not used to playing metal then you will have to spend some time fooling with the EQ and experiment until it sounds right to you, I can get "acceptable" cleans with a reverb or chorus pedal on the 6505+ if just for a short part of a song and rely on the MESA which get some stellar cleans.
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#16
Quote by billyTheShears
I'm actually surprised that the Variax didn't have a bigger commercial success, it has got many advantages over traditional electrics, what saved me from spending money on one is that I'm not fond of the shapes, however I hope that Yamaha will adopt the Variax technology on more guitars...it looks like it's already happening with the Variax Standard


It'll get there. The first Variaxeses were $200 Korean guitars with $1500 worth of electronics in them. It became popular to build a whole new guitar (usually with magnetic pickups added) and then sacrifice the original Variax to get the electronics for the new guitar.

The current series were all in the $1700-1900 range at first, and they've done much better than you'd think. I just bought mine for about $800 (after discount and rebate and recappable tire), and it's the most expensive version. The new Yamahoppy "Standard" starts at $799. I'm guessing we're going to see a much wider range of Variax guitars soon. They want to take over the world.