#1
Hi All

I've been playing for around 11 years now, although I have given it a rest for the last 2 years because of a finger injury (that I'm hopefully finally getting sorted next month).

However throughout my years including when I was in my band, I have always struggled to get a crisp punchy distortion sound/tone from any of my gear.

Specifically what I'm talking about is a good deep distortion sound that is used when playing relatively quick (though not like dragonforce quick) metal rhythm riffs (lower riffs of course, high riffs are fine), a lot of Megadeth riffs come to mind, not so much powerchord based but yeah quick ish licks.

I don't know if its just my playing, or my gear, or my gear setup etc but often when trying different settings etc and playing these types of riffs, it gets very noisy and messy/muddled very quickly, I just can't seem to give each note the punch and distinction that I hear on the actual records of that song.

For example, since I recently took up my playing again after that 2 year break, I thought hey lets just learn a simple (but not mind numbingly simple) song, so I sat down and learned:

Megadeth - This Was My Life

Fairly simple but fun to play, the parts I'm specifically talking about is the main verse riff (once you get past the powerchord intro) and the bridge part (before we return to the powerchord chorus).

On a clean setting I play this and it sounds crisp and good like I'm not overly screwing up from what I can tell.

However trying it on distortion, the verse riff individual notes soon lose their definition that you can hear when Megadeth recorded it.

Especially the opening notes of:

|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|------------------------|
|-----0h2------2------|
|---2------2------2-3-|
|-0 ---------0----------|

That quickly diverges into a mess, until I get to the rest note between that and the next bit in which I use my picking palm to stop the strings vibrations.

As you can hear in the Megadeth recording these notes and the whole verse/bridge is very defined.

So any ideas or tips? I must be missing something all these years? Whether is technique or amp settings or something? Like I can dump the gain of course which cleans it up, but then I lose the "ohhmppff" of the single note palm mutes etc.

Cheers
Last edited by Stildawn at May 25, 2015,
#2
What is your gear? It might be too much bass, not enough mids, to much distortion, or a combination of the three.
Gear:
Dean RC7X (Bareknuckle Coldsweat pickups)
Ibanez Rg2570Z (Bareknuckle Juggernaughts)
Schecter KM-6
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid 7 String
Engl Powerball II
Orange PPC412
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#3
Should show up in my sig now haha having just created it.
Guitars:
Ashcustomworks: Phoenix RRV
ESP LTD: M200FM - With EMG 81/81
ESP LTD: M50 - With EMG HZ's
ESP LTD: EX50
Fender: Strat

Amps:
Peavey: Vypyr 60 Tube - 1x12
Marshall: AVT100 - 1x12 & 4x12
#4
I see no reason you wouldn't get a punchy tone out of the peavey. How much time do you spend EQing it?
Gear:
Dean RC7X (Bareknuckle Coldsweat pickups)
Ibanez Rg2570Z (Bareknuckle Juggernaughts)
Schecter KM-6
Schecter Hellraiser Hybrid 7 String
Engl Powerball II
Orange PPC412
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#5
To be honest I only just got it. If its an amp setting thing then I'm guessing I just don't know how to set them up haha.

For a good chunk of my past I had a Marshall TSL100+1960A, even with that beast it was difficult to get a punchy fast riff.

Don't get me wrong, I can get it punchy as hell, its just with quicker stuff to be honest without losing the typical metal palm muted single note sound (you know the tone that makes master of puppets etc sound so good lol).
Guitars:
Ashcustomworks: Phoenix RRV
ESP LTD: M200FM - With EMG 81/81
ESP LTD: M50 - With EMG HZ's
ESP LTD: EX50
Fender: Strat

Amps:
Peavey: Vypyr 60 Tube - 1x12
Marshall: AVT100 - 1x12 & 4x12
#6
For studio recordings the guitarists usually play those parts with less gain to get that note clarity. Or they can build the riffs note by note, getting the perfect sound from each note. Now if it sounds awesome like that live, then it's probably that they have great muting technique or have a golden tone haha.

Definitely playing around with amp settings and getting a nice tight tone would be a good start though.
Peavey 6505+ Head (Left)
Line 6 Spider IV HD150 Head (Right)
Marshall 1960A 4x12
ESP DV-8
Ibanez RG T42DX
Agile Hornet Pro 727
#7
Really? Bands like Megadeth do that sort of stuff in the studio?

What should I be looking at doing amp settings wise to get a crisp punchy tone?
Guitars:
Ashcustomworks: Phoenix RRV
ESP LTD: M200FM - With EMG 81/81
ESP LTD: M50 - With EMG HZ's
ESP LTD: EX50
Fender: Strat

Amps:
Peavey: Vypyr 60 Tube - 1x12
Marshall: AVT100 - 1x12 & 4x12
#8
Quote by Stildawn
Really? Bands like Megadeth do that sort of stuff in the studio?

What should I be looking at doing amp settings wise to get a crisp punchy tone?


I don't know but I've seen them live and they sound pretty much as "crisp" as the studio versions (although none of their guitarists have been able to correctly play Friedman's solos since he left the band ) I'd be surprised if they did that kind of stuff on their very early albums because from my understanding they blew most of the recording money on drugs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dzj8hDvabM


I think amonamartmetal probably had the right idea though "too much bass, not enough mids, too much distortion, or a combination of the three." It's hard to say without actually hearing it though. Some metal guitarists who use lots of distortion use noise gate pedals too, which does help articulate the notes more, since with a ton of distortion string noise is greatly exaggerated.
#9
Yeah I've seen them live a few times to, but not that song sweet. Often I find sound setup at concerts is the bad due to the sound guys, I never understand the obvious use of reverb etc its a live concert, reverb gives the effect of a hall etc ffs lol. It just makes it super messy in my opinion.

I could do a recording haha, the Peavey has a usb out for recording, though I suck now a days after my massive break and recording would make me more nervous lol might get laughed out of here.
Guitars:
Ashcustomworks: Phoenix RRV
ESP LTD: M200FM - With EMG 81/81
ESP LTD: M50 - With EMG HZ's
ESP LTD: EX50
Fender: Strat

Amps:
Peavey: Vypyr 60 Tube - 1x12
Marshall: AVT100 - 1x12 & 4x12
Last edited by Stildawn at May 27, 2015,
#10
You should have no issue dialing in the right tone with what you have, but helpful to have a separate distortion and/or overdrive pedal. This allows you to go cleaner on your amp and push it with the pedals or the other way around (my personal preference for a harsh metal tone).

The other side is selective palm and fret muting techniques. This is what gives you the tight sound versus sloppy. Usually, you aren't ringing a power chord through notes, where as you might strum a bass note followed by a melody. In that case you avoid muting. Focus on muting strings you aren't playing, even if for that one note. You'll find it doesn't require a great deal of pressure, and most of the time you do a lot of this naturally.

Just my $.02