#1
Hello everyone! This is my first post

So, I've been having some "tone problems" with my guitar. I've been playing for like 4 months (3 months classical, 1 month electric) and I bought my first electric guitar, amp etc 1 month ago. Everything is fine, but when I'm playing metal, I don't like my sound. I've heard other people playing (without expensive gear) and their sound was more metal than me. My sound is like a rock guitar player who tries to play metal. I'm thinking that my amp/pickups are meant for (hard) rock. Let's say I want to play a Metallica song, or something like the Symphony of Destruction intro from Megadeth, when I try to mute the strings to play that "metal" sound, it doesn't come out, it's like I'm trying to make the string not to ring. I tried to put the gain on my amp on max setting, same. It's not like the strings isn't being played muted, but it isn't the metal sound that I'm looking for. I'm not using any pedals. I also have to note that I have a tight budget, money doesn't grow in my garden :P 
My guitar: https://www.thomann.de/gr/harley_benton_sc_450plus_ld_vintage_series.htm
My amplifier: https://www.thomann.de/gr/harley_benton_hb40r.htm?ref=search_rslt_hb+40r_147168_0
If anyone can help me/suggest me anything, I would be more than happy!

Thanks in advance!
#2
I'm assuming you're talking about the hunky palm mute sound. Could be a number of things.
Technique:

You're palm muting too far from the bridge. Your palm should be partially on the bridge and only slightly on the strings. If you mute too much it will sound muffled. Make sure you're in the bridge pickup also.

Gear: You need a lot of gain and a HOT, high output bridge pickup. Your amp might not have enough gain and your pickups might be too low output. Maybe a cheap modeller or even a ....gulp.... boss meta zone will get you at least in that direction. You seem to be on a beggar's budget.
#3
risingforce1 I actually palm mute as close as I can on the bridge of the guitar. I'm putting the gain on full, nothing happens, same. Pickups output, yeah might be low. So, the a new pedal is the cheapest? I guess I could afford a pedal around 60-70 euros. But I've heard that you must not buy Boss "metal" pedals 'cause they're the worst. 
Edit: What?!?!?!? This pedal is like 105 euros!!! Too expensive for me :/
Also, bridge pickup??? I can't even think about muting the strings in this pickup. I can only get a "decent" mute in the neck pickup.
Last edited by Liakoz at Aug 3, 2017,
#4
Liakoz 
I don't know anything about your amp, or your guitar and I haven't used a distortion pedal in years (I have a high gain amp with plenty of gain) so I'm sure someone could recommend one better than I could but yes, if the problem is pickup output and gain than a distortion pedal in front of the amp will get you more of both so should get you in that direction. I'm guessing that amp, even with the gain maxed is not enough.  

The problem with something like metal zone is that it's pretty crappy compared to anything more expensive so you will basically throw it in the trash as soon as you get better gear. Maybe someone else can recommend something else that's a bit more future proof. 
Last edited by risingforce1 at Aug 3, 2017,
#5
I think it's just time and experience. After 4 months you shouldn't expect to sound like players who have been at it for many years. It takes time. Remember the words of Jimmy Dugan:  "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
 
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#7
Unfortunately you cannot realistically expect to get a very palatable metal tone out of an amp like that.

For one thing, the speaker in that amp is only 10", not the 12" that is standard in guitar amp cabinets. Smaller speakers (of the same construction) cannot reproduce the same degree of low end as larger ones as a function of simple physics. The nature of the large majority of high gain metal tones is that they demand a lot of low end from the speakers, so the fact that you have an undersized one that cannot reproduce as much bass is problematic.

What you're describing in terms of palm mutes not having any crunch, sounds like the amp just doesn't have enough gain on tap by itself. Some newbies may put an overdrive or distortion pedal in front of the amp to give it more gain, but I wouldn't recommend this. Cheap solid state practice amps generally do not take to overdrive and distortion pedals well. Overdrive pedals increase gain by essentially forcing a hotter signal into the amplifier, forcing the preamp to distort sooner and harder. But solid state practice amps tend not to like this treatment. 

Without getting too technical, Solid state preamps do not distort when overdriven in the same fashion that a valve (or a vacuum tube. Different term to refer to the same thing) does. Tubes tend to saturate and compress in a fashion that is gradual as the gain increases, and it sounds audibly pleasing. While solid state opamps (operational amplifiers) that take the place of tubes in solid state amps overdrive (or clip) very harshly when they're driven to the point of distortion and it sounds like ass. Adding an overdrive pedals to an amp like you have will likely only cause this to happen.

Distortion pedals (not to be confused with overdrive) typically work by doing all the overdriving internally inside the pedal before the signal reaches the amp. This sounds like the perfect solution but cheap distortion pedals just sound like ass as their design is just not conducive towards the tone of a saturating tube most of the time. Good-sounding distortion pedals that more closely mimic a saturating tube (some of them actually have a tube inside that supposedly does the clipping) tend to be expensive. And when you're spending so much money on distortion pedals it begs the question of why not use that money to just get a better amp in the first place.

What I'm basically trying to explain is that it seems like your current amp situation just isn't good for the style of music you're aiming for and I suggest getting a new amp. I am sympathetic of the fact that you don't have much money, but getting a good quality metal tone on a €98 amp is just not going to happen. Access to decent quality high gain tones are simply going to cost you more.

You also cannot reasonably expect to sound great when you've only been playing guitar for a few months. Learning guitar takes time and dedication to refine your technique and expand your musical knowledge and technical abilities. Don't worry if you're struggling in terms of ability right now, everyone does at your stage. We all had to start somewhere.
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#8
T00DEEPBLUE Wow, you wrote so much helpful things! Thanks for your time! I'm going to refer to the last things you wrote. So, should I get a different amp? But, if a 98 € amp is that bad, how much money do I have to spend to get a better one? I don't think that getting a new amp is a good decision for my budget. So, the best thing now is to get a good distortion pedal? 
#9
Quote by Liakoz
T00DEEPBLUE  So, should I get a different amp? But, if a 98 € amp is that bad, how much money do I have to spend to get a better one? 

It doesn't really work that way. A more relevant and helpful question would be what your budget is. And from there we can make decisions as to what might be the most suitable amp for your purposes that fits within that budget. And if your budget can afford an amp that would be a significant enough upgrade from what you already have to make the purchase worthwhile.
I don't think that getting a new amp is a good decision for my budget. So, the best thing now is to get a good distortion pedal? 

No. I would recommend the complete opposite. Getting a good amp is a far wiser investment in your situation that will give you far better results.

It is a lot more expensive, but you need to understand that an overdrive or distortion pedal is only going to sound as good as the amp that its plugged into. If the amp sucks, it doesn't matter how nice an pedal you use, the sound is still going to suck.

Worry about overdrive pedals when you have a decent amp first.
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#10
Thread was moved to forum: Guitar Gear & Accessories
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#11
A few things
- Technique - most of your issues sound like its more your technique than anything else, work on that 
- you probably need less gain than you think, maxing the gain out on an amp is a rookie mistake, it muddies things up
- EQ - play around with the EQ, don't max out your bass and don't scoop all of your mids
- Expectations - realize that if you are listening to a recorded song there is more than just the guitar going on, the drums and bass are adding in a lot of low end and there will be post production done on the guitar as well - you can't get this sound from a lone guitar in your room - you can still get good tone you just have to have realistic expectations
- your amp - there is a demo on the site of a metal setting but it is not going to be a match for a good quality high gain amp - while you can probably improve your tone given the points above the amp will have its limits.
- for your budget grab a pedal - compared to a good amp it might be lacking but it will probably be a big step up from your amp - RUN IT ON THE CLEAN CHANNEL - a distortion pedal isn't meant to make the distortion channel on your amp dirtier, the pedal does all the work and is meant to be run through your clean channel.

heres a couple I found - do some research and pick the best one in your budget
https://www.thomann.de/gr/blackstar_lt_metal.htm
https://www.thomann.de/gr/tc_electronic_fangs_metal_distortion.htm
#12
in addition to what T00DEEPBLUE said, you really need to be using the bridge pickup. they're not the hottest pickups but they're actually pretty decent pickups (wilkinsons).
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#13
Also. OP, I was serious about the bridge pickup. You will NOT get a good high gain thrash rhythm tone out of a neck pickup. Bridge position ends to have more treble, and is more snappy. This is what you want. The only time I ever use a neck pickup when playing metal is when I'm playing clean, lead or it's some sort of mid gain Opeth type riffs.

Probably the reason neck sounds better to you now is that you're starved for output from the pickups and you're actually getting more output at the neck than bridge due to physics (the strings vibrate with greater amplitude at the neck than bridge position).
#14
^ agreed, the bridge pickup is really critical indeed.

you could try raising the bridge pickup and/or lowering the neck pickup to balance the outputs, if that's a problem, using a small screwdriver on the little screw in the middle of the pickup ring.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Agreed 1000% with above - I forgot to mention it myself - the bridge pickup is a must, you won't get the bite and aggression you are looking for on the neck.
#16
OP 4 months in is nothing take some time to really learn to play before worrying about the rest. Things like diming the distortion show you have a long way to go. Throwing money at it now won't make a better player or likely sound good
#17
monwobobbo
if it's wrong to dime the distortion...i don't want to be right.

op...probably a new amp would help a lot...but keep playing some more first.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#18
Quote by AcousticMirror
monwobobbo
if it's wrong to dime the distortion...i don't want to be right.

op...probably a new amp would help a lot...but keep playing some more first.


Never any danger of you being right

Ok so there may be a time when you go nuts with the distortion but after only playing for 4 months ain't one of them
#19
Ok guys, thanks for everything. I'll try to raise the bridge pickup and I'll inform you if anything changes.
#20
I'd say in the most part your gear is not to blame. Yo haven't been playing for very long so I'm sure there's a lot of room for improvement when it comes to your technique - and that's just fine, it requires time and practice to perfect it. The way you palm mute and the way you pick, for example, can have a gigantic difference on your tone.

Another important thing here is the settings you try to use on your amp. Do you have some preset you use for mostly everything? Do you check those amp settings lists and set yours to whatever artist you wanna cover? Keep in mind that different amps output different tones, while the one the author used sounds close [to him], yours might be a different story. Playing around with the settings can be a good exercise to experiment with the tones you can get from your gear.

On the bottom line, I'd suggest you not to bother about it and recommend you against buying a new amp, at least right now. By now you're probably still learning the basics of the instrument, it's normal you don't get the best tone, worrying about the "tone" of your gear at that stage is placing the carriage in front of the bulls. According to its numerous reviews, your amp is a really decent practice amp, so get to know it better.

If you still don't want to listen to my advice, at least don't fall for the conversation that was already going on about tube amps. You said you're on a tight budget, well a tube amp not only is more expensive upfront but also requires further expenses with maintenance that I think is the last that you need. Modern solid state amps are just fine, they've improved a lot compared to a couple decades ago. Again, that's not something a beginner needs or should worry about.
'07 Jackson Pro Dinky DK2M (MIJ)
Squier Strat SE
Marshall Valvestate VS15R practice amp