#1
Hey, I'm just getting into guitar and I'm not too familiar with forums so bear with me!
So I've got a little line 6 bedroom amp, which sounds like crap but hey, so do I. Anyway I recently picked up a "digitech death metal distortion pedal" against my better judgment and came to find that it sounds even worse than my cheap amp. To be specific it sounds EXACTLY like my amp just a crappier version. I knew it wouldn't sound like a (insert expensive amp here) but I've never heard of a pedal sounding worse than the amp. The reason I'm posting/asking here is cause I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong. Like do you need a better amp to run pedals or did I just choose a bad one? Or is the only point to having a distortion pedal is that it gives you the ability to switch from clean to mean? The only way to learn is to ask. so any knowledge you have would be a help.
#3
First of all, inexpensive solid state amps usually don't sound that great to start off with. Secondly, inexpensive solid state amps usually don't mix well with "dirt pedals": distortion, overdrive, and fuzz. Third, the Digitech Death Metal is one of Digitech's earlier high-gain distortion pedals, and really isn't one of their better ones.

Combined, those 3 factors are probably going to scare the music right out of your tone,

The purpose of "dirt pedals" is to add a bit of mean to your tone, as you say. But they come in all levels of aggression, and even the most aggressive ones (worth buying) can be dialed in to cover a lot of tonal territory. Learning how to use a pedal's controls- as well as those on your amp & guitar- are all part of the process of tonecrafting and instrument mastery. But it takes time.

...And having the right amp and pedals for the genres of music you like helps. What are you trying to play?
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#4
Bottom line is your amp is the thing that makes the sound - the pedal only alters it. It doesn't matter what syrup you put in sour milk, you're still going to get a crappy milkshake.

Adding to what dannyalcatraz said it's a cheap amp with a small speaker designed to give you a wide range of tones - non of them will be particularly great but it'll give you a clean tone, a classic rock tone, a metal tone etc. If you're looking for heavy tones then a big part of what you're used to hearing is volume, together with the wider frequency response of a larger speaker. Smaller amps are always a compromise in that respect, and whilst digital modelling means the tones are way better than the practice amps of 20 odd years ago you can still hear the shortfall if you're listening for it or are used to better gear.

There's also the issue of pedals in solid state amps in general - in my experience they work fine on the clean channel, but if you try to run any pedals on the dirt channels you just get a load of feedback and noise, I even had that issue with modulation pedals on my old Peavey Bandit. The Death Metal isn't a great pedal, but you could probably get some pretty gnarly tones out of it using it at low gain settings on a distorted tube amp.
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#5
dannyalcatraz I guess what I've been learning to play would be mostly metalcore and finnish metal. It's not necessarily what I listen to but bands like As I Lay Dying, Haste The Day, Nightwish, Amon Amarth. Thanks, oh and I promise never to use "clean to mean" again xD but I do like rhymes
#6
Well, I won't be buying a better/tube amp until my playing can justify it...you can glue a horn to a donkey but that don't make it a unicorn. I guess what shocked me was that the pedal essentially didn't do anything but make noise...like the notes sounded NO different. I guess that's just do to my starter amp. Anyway Thanks for the info!
#7
You are running the pedal through the clean channel of the amp correct?

Pwrsonally, I've always though the Death Metal sounded pretty good as far as SS distortion goes. I haven't played A TON of different SS amps, but I always though that little pedal sounded better then their gain channels (out of the ones I had played through).

That being said, make sure its run through the clean channel, turn all the EQ knobs for that channel on 10 then on the DM pedal, try LOW on 8, MID on 6, HIGH on 7, and LEVEL on 3. Keep in min d that the first mark is 0 .... This pedal does NOT go to 11 ... Its not that cool.

Then use the volume on the amp for sound and adjust the level on the pedal as needed. See if you like the sound it gives you now. I think it's a great pedal for learning / beginners.

But like what was said above, don't expect amazing tones from your current equipment. I understand not wanting to spend a lot of money when you're just learning but you also don't want your equipment to hold you back or hinder your development. You don't have to break the bank at all to find some decent quality used gear.
#8
Sell the pedal.

Don't use distortion pedals with modelling amps, just set the amp as close as you can get to the tone you want using the gain, amp type, and EQ.

Don't feel bad, we've all been there. It's the most common tone mistake for beginners.

The secret to good tone is a good amp - so save up. Once you have a good amp, you won't be fighting with it.
#9
We had a very similar thread not to long ago as well, maybe worth the read for you OP. As others have said, it is a combination of a bad amp (generally accepted as such), which cannot take pedals well at all, with a cheap distortion pedal. You would be better off using the amp by itself and just switching the channels on the amp from clean to distortion.
Quote by Dead_Gardens
Well, I won't be buying a better/tube amp until my playing can justify it...you can glue a horn to a donkey but that don't make it a unicorn. I guess what shocked me was that the pedal essentially didn't do anything but make noise...like the notes sounded NO different. I guess that's just do to my starter amp. Anyway Thanks for the info!
While I think there is value in practicing to improve your playing, instead of neglecting that and focusing only on the gear, I think you are outgrowing your amp- you know it is not that great, and it is likely uninspiring for you to play on it and it is hindering your growth. Solid tube amps are not that expensive although not traditionally cheap either. Valvekings (although not the best "metal" budget tube amp) can be found for around $250 USD used, sometimes cheaper.
#11
Quote by steven seagull
The Death Metal isn't a great pedal, but you could probably get some pretty gnarly tones out of it using it at low gain settings on a distorted tube amp.



Well, good luck with that. Death Metal has no control for drive, it's always on full gain.
#12
Quote by Dead_Gardens
Well, I won't be buying a better/tube amp until my playing can justify it.

I think with a rig as terrible as a Digitech DM and a Line 6 Spider, not allowing yourself to buy anything better will discourage you from playing as even if you're good, you're just going to sound like a really good player going through a really crummy amp. There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying better gear when your current gear does not inspire you to play. Obviously if that wasn't your problem, then you would've never raised this thread.
Quote by TheSennaj
And well yes, I'll enjoy the carpal tunnel and tendonitis, because trying to get one is clearly smarter than any word you have spoken thus far.
#14
Quote by Keskimaki
Well, good luck with that. Death Metal has no control for drive, it's always on full gain.


hahaha good point

(especially the thumbs-up emoticon, that really made that hilarious )
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I think with a rig as terrible as a Digitech DM and a Line 6 Spider, not allowing yourself to buy anything better will discourage you from playing as even if you're good, you're just going to sound like a really good player going through a really crummy amp. There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying better gear when your current gear does not inspire you to play. Obviously if that wasn't your problem, then you would've never raised this thread.


yep agreed.

if you're buying new stuff rather than practising (especially if your current gear is good) that's one thing, but i don't think putting up with poor gear (especially if you can easily afford not to) is really to be recommended.
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#15
You need a new amp
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#16
Its not the worste pedal out there. Sometimes they come in handy too. Like when your buddy wants to jam but all he has is his grandads old bass amp.
#17
Dead_Gardens- if you get a good guitar sound, you can play simple stuff and sound like a badass. This encourages you to play more and sound like an even better badass :-)
#18
I'll echo everyone and say you definitely need a new amp, even if you don't think your skill level will justify it. Having a nice sound can encourage you to play and practice more.

You don't need a $1000 tube head and 4x12 cab, there are still excellent cheaper modelers out there. Blackstar, Peavey, Roland, and Fender have some decent amps for kinda on the cheaper side, depending on the model.

Now this part is purely my opinion, stay away from distortion pedals. Unless you're going for a specific sound, they mostly sound harsh and unpleasant compared to an amps distortion. Some are great for boosts though, and for adding a bit or color or hair to an already good sound. But putting a distortion pedal in front of a clean channel or an already bad distortion pedal is not ideal for a nice high gain metal tone. (except the HM-2, that things makes anything sound good )
#19
Quote by Keskimaki
Well, good luck with that. Death Metal has no control for drive, it's always on full gain.


Ok fair enough that makes it a piece of complete crap then!
Actually called Mark!

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#20
As others have said Line6 Spider is not meant to have distortion pedals it is a modelling amp, if you really do not want to upgrade until you get better then you'll have to learn to live with the models on that amp no amount of pedals is going to help it.
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#21
You can bypass all the crap modeling on that amp by just going into the CD/aux input (next to headphone out), for which you'll need a 1/4 to 1/8 mono cable or adapter and suddenly the amp sounds bearable.

#22
Quote by Dead_Gardens
Well, I won't be buying a better/tube amp until my playing can justify it...you can glue a horn to a donkey but that don't make it a unicorn. I guess what shocked me was that the pedal essentially didn't do anything but make noise...like the notes sounded NO different. I guess that's just do to my starter amp. Anyway Thanks for the info!


Hey, I got a cheap Peavey Valveking head on my first year of playing, 100W tube power in an apartment building. Dunno what i was thinking but it worked and sounded awesome, adjusting volume was just a bit sensitive job since the amp lacked a separate master volume but it could be done.

By the way, that amp is a really good pedal platform either for distortion pedals or preamp pedals and as i said it is cheap. Should make your DM pedal sound awesome (for now).

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
#23
It's probably already been explained and answered . But using pedals on modeling amps like the line 6 or fender mustang ( examples ) is a bad idea . If you want to use pedals it's best you get a regular solid state and with no digital modeling and just run it that way through the clean channel ... besides I don't think a digitech death metal pedal will sound any better than those line 6 gain sounds . It's basically the same thing