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#1
I have two amps, one is a 30W SS Marshall Valvestate, which I use to practice and the other is a 100W Marshall JCM 800 "1959". I have a Boss ML-2 Metal Core distortion pedal, which does a pretty decent job for metal tones on the valvestate and sounds reasonable on the JCM at low volumes.

The problem is, when I turn the JCM up (it doesn't have a pre-amp gain/master volume) to get some real amp distortion cranking, the ML-2 sounds terrible. The amp alone sounds fairly good, but it doesn't distort into the bone rattling tone I seek.

I have read a few threads here that suggest an overdrive such as a Tube Screamer might be the solution, or maybe there is a better alternative? My guitar is a Maton Mastersound (Australian made guitar ) which I have fitted with EMG 81/85 pickups. The ML-2 produces a sound that is reasonably satisfying on the SS amp, but it really sucks the life out of the valves.
#2
Sell the Metalcore, and buy an attenuator.
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#3
Will an attenuator actually give me more gain though? As I understood it, an attenuator - in basic terms - will reduce the overall volume at any given amp setting, but will it do anything to increase the drive from the amp? I've played the JCM at 10 volume and it sounds good, but not really distorted enough for the metal tone I'm after.
#5
^ or a tubescreamer
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#6
I'll look into that, thanks Doobergn. I'm not sure what sort of effects I need really, I've played guitar for a while, but I've never really learned much on the pursuit of tone. From reading here, it seems like an OD is the way to go, since distortion pedals really destroy the amp's own distortion (even though it's not the most high gain amp in the world). If an OD pedal is right for me, what other models should I try out?
#7
Well an OCD is the pedal for natural amp like distortion. I use it on my Orange and it's awesome. Basically it's very transaperent, on a Marshall it sounds like a Marshall and so on. The OCD basically gives and OD that unlike other OD's brings forwards the amp's character. It sounds like the amp does cranked. If you want a natrual sounding OD the OCD is worth EVERY penny.
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#8
OCD! Sounds like a cranked Marshall, will sound even better through an already cranked marshall.
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#9
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OCD! Sounds like a cranked Marshall, will sound even better through an already cranked marshall.

Wow, thats like *counts on fingers* 2 cranked Marshalls!
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#10
Attenuator doesn't help much, I have one and I reckon you still need to get an OD pedal to get a distorted tone at a low volume. I'm gonna get a Jekyll and Hyde pedal cause it has distortion as well as overdrive which I reckon would sound sweet.
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#11
ok I've gotta brag on the Homebrew Electronics power screamer now. You're wanting more balls out of your JCM but the metalcore doesn't sound good, right? The power screamer is a overdrive unit but the gain goes to 11.... lots of balls, although they're kinda expensive.
#12
I've just come up with an idea...
(feel free to say if i'm talking bullsh*t btw)

if you want a metal tone would it be a good idea to put an OD pedal to push the tubes THEN a distortion pedal after it in the chain to give it a full on metal tone?
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#13
^
That won't sound good. Believe it or not, overdrive and distortion are actually two completely separate effects. They sound horrible together.
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#15
Quote by rickmeister
Attenuator doesn't help much, I have one and I reckon you still need to get an OD pedal to get a distorted tone at a low volume. I'm gonna get a Jekyll and Hyde pedal cause it has distortion as well as overdrive which I reckon would sound sweet.

wtf really? how much gain do u need?

my attenuator gets it to a normal human talking loudness with my attenuator... and it gets the overdrive i need.
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#16
well the prob is you have a distortion peadal....they work ok for ss amps..but you dont want distortion you want Overdrive for a tube amp. so get an od pedal
#18
Well I guess you play metal (EMGs and Metalcore pedal) my advice is to sell the JCM.

Why?

Well the 1959 hasn't got a lot of gain and isn't voiced for a lot of gain anyway (it's not tight enough for metal or can deliver the gain). You should sell it and get a Peavey 5150 or 6505 which would suit you a lot better.
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#19
Quote by Doc5678
Will an attenuator actually give me more gain though? As I understood it, an attenuator - in basic terms - will reduce the overall volume at any given amp setting, but will it do anything to increase the drive from the amp? I've played the JCM at 10 volume and it sounds good, but not really distorted enough for the metal tone I'm after.

The attenuator most likely won't give you the crisp, tight sound for metal (like Metallica, etc) because you lose presence & liveliness (I've used several different attenuators w/ basically the same result). An OD would probably be your best bet short of switching amps. I'd try an OCD if you can. I haven't tried one yet, but the other Fulltone products I've tried are top notch, & I've heard rave reviews on the OCD.
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#20
Quote by Gabel
Well I guess you play metal (EMGs and Metalcore pedal) my advice is to sell the JCM.

Why?

Well the 1959 hasn't got a lot of gain and isn't voiced for a lot of gain anyway (it's not tight enough for metal or can deliver the gain). You should sell it and get a Peavey 5150 or 6505 which would suit you a lot better.


As much as I like the JCM 800, I have to agree. You wont push much more than a Guns N Roses tone with the amp. It IS a great amo, but it doesnt really suit youre playing style...
If you insist on keeping it, maybe an Ibanez Tube Screamer will help bring out the tone and distortion a bit more, but I wouldnt generally rely on it.
#21
Quote by nedthehead
As much as I like the JCM 800, I have to agree. You wont push much more than a Guns N Roses tone with the amp. It IS a great amo, but it doesnt really suit youre playing style...
If you insist on keeping it, maybe an Ibanez Tube Screamer will help bring out the tone and distortion a bit more, but I wouldnt generally rely on it.


didn't metallica use jcm800s on kill 'em all?
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#22
Quote by ECistheBest
wtf really? how much gain do u need?

my attenuator gets it to a normal human talking loudness with my attenuator... and it gets the overdrive i need.


I don't need alot of gain, I used to but now I prefer a traditional 80's tone... My JCM 800 is 100 watts and I can't get good gain from it without an OD pedal, the volume also needs to be about the volume you need to play over drums. Personally I think the JCM 800 is going to be useless unless I start gigging alot, unless the Jekyll and Hyde is going to make it sound immense (the OD I'm using right now is crap)
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#23
Quote by samtewari
didn't metallica use jcm800s on kill 'em all?


They may have, but not all '800s are created equal. As has been said earlier, my "1959" series JCM isn't really a particularly high gain amp and forcing it to do metal might not be the most ideal situation as I am starting to discover.

Short of getting it modded (which I don't want to do, nor do i want to sell it since it was made in 1981 I'm gonna hold onto it for it's vintage value anyway) I think the best I can hope for is to get an OD pedal and work with the sound. Then start saving for a new amp.

Thanks for all the useful advice, very helpful. In a last ditch effort to get a useable metal tone out of the JCM, I'd appreciate any suggestions for an OD pedal, I'll look into trying a Tube Screamer - is the TS808 or the TS9 better in my situation? I'll also see if I can try out a Fulltone OCD etc.
#24
Try a Rocktron Prophesy. Dave Mustaine gets his distortion out of that. It's like $999, but if you are flooded with cash then that's no problem.

OCD would probably suit you just fine. From what I've seen on youtube it can get pretty high gain.
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#25
Quote by Haha, Crackhead
^
That won't sound good. Believe it or not, overdrive and distortion are actually two completely separate effects. They sound horrible together.


They sound horrible when set to settings that you would use each alone.

They sound great when the distortion pedal is set to less than what you would, as well as the OD pedal.
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#26
Quote by Doc5678
They may have, but not all '800s are created equal. As has been said earlier, my "1959" series JCM isn't really a particularly high gain amp and forcing it to do metal might not be the most ideal situation as I am starting to discover.

Short of getting it modded (which I don't want to do, nor do i want to sell it since it was made in 1981 I'm gonna hold onto it for it's vintage value anyway) I think the best I can hope for is to get an OD pedal and work with the sound. Then start saving for a new amp.

Thanks for all the useful advice, very helpful. In a last ditch effort to get a useable metal tone out of the JCM, I'd appreciate any suggestions for an OD pedal, I'll look into trying a Tube Screamer - is the TS808 or the TS9 better in my situation? I'll also see if I can try out a Fulltone OCD etc.


Well sorry but the 1959 are the old Plexis in a JCM800 shell. I used to have a 1987, which were the 50 watter. With an OD pedal I got AC/DC levels of gain. So no an OD wont be enough for metal.

The JCMs Metallica used were the 2203s or 2204s which are the master volume ones and have much more preamp gain.
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#27
The EHX Metal Muff is very nice. But expensive. You should get it if you can.
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#28
^Thou shall not ruin a beatiful amp as a JCM800 1959 with a metal muff.
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#31
Quote by Gabel
The JCMs Metallica used were the 2203s or 2204s which are the master volume ones and have much more preamp gain.


The 2205 and the 2210 were the ones with master volume, and are imo the best suitable for metal at lower volumes. I own a 2205 and use it with an attenuator and an overdrive which gives me the best metal tone ever.
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#32
Quote by Gabel
But I doubt it would be enough.


A powerful booster like a Zvex Super Duper might. A pedal which can potentially blow up your amp will get you quite far.
#33
Quote by BeëlzeM
The 2205 and the 2210 were the ones with master volume, and are imo the best suitable for metal at lower volumes. I own a 2205 and use it with an attenuator and an overdrive which gives me the best metal tone ever.


I have a 4103 based on the 2203 which has a master volume...
Which OD pedal do you use? I'm starting to think the attenuator was a waste of money.
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#34
Quote by Chips-
Try a Rocktron Prophesy. Dave Mustaine gets his distortion out of that. It's like $999, but if you are flooded with cash then that's no problem.


if he's flooded with cash he can get the 6505 and plug it into the marshall cab already!
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#35
Quote by BeëlzeM
The 2205 and the 2210 were the ones with master volume, and are imo the best suitable for metal at lower volumes. I own a 2205 and use it with an attenuator and an overdrive which gives me the best metal tone ever.


Ehm. The JCM800s were these:
1987: 50 watt. Non master, two channel non switchable. Basically a Plexi.
1959: 100 watt version of the 1987.
2204: 50 watt, master volume, one channel.
2203: 100 watt version of the 2204.
2205: 50 watt, 2 channel switchable.
2210: 100 watt version of the 2205
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#36
Quote by Gabel
Ehm. The JCM800s were these:
1987: 50 watt. Non master, two channel non switchable. Basically a Plexi.
1959: 100 watt version of the 1987.
2204: 50 watt, master volume, one channel.
2203: 100 watt version of the 2204.
2205: 50 watt, 2 channel switchable.
2210: 100 watt version of the 2205


The 2205 and the 2210 both feature master volume aswell.
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#37
Quote by Gabel
^Thou shall not ruin a beatiful amp as a JCM800 1959 with a metal muff.


Whatever you say. I think the Metal Muff is a high quality pedal though.
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#38
to thread starter, id advise a Maxon OD808 and use that for what ever amp you intend to keep/ buy another.
If you research you wil see lots of metal bands using the OD808 to add more gain and generally tighten up their tone.
so
Maxon OD808
for you.
just my 2cents
#39
Well, for the record, I am not flooded with cash, which is the main reason why I'm looking into getting an effects pedal to "compromise" for the moment. All the amp advice I have received so far has been duly noted and I greatly appreciate it, even though it is not immediately useful to me.

Gabe, I had a feeling that the JCM 800 I have was akin to a plexi, so thanks for clearing that one up for me. The cab I'm using with it is a "JCM 900 1960A" - I bought the amp second hand and this is what I got with it - and when I do finally spring for a new amp I would possibly consider just getting a new head and using this cab. For now I'll try to test out a few OD pedals and keep saving up for a new amp. Again... the JCM is NOT for sale.
#40
Well an OD pedal will NOT deliver enough gain on itself (having owned a Plexi I know this, my TS9, which has more gain than a TS808 gave me AC/DC levels of gain at full).

An attenuator would be a better choice.

Otherwise those JCMs are worth quite some, so if you did sell it for a 5150 you will definetly get a trade.
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