#1
The whole of this story probably isn't completely necessary, but I feel I should tell you anyway so you can all paint yourselves a purdy picture.

Basically, about 1-2 months ago I busted my amp and had to send it to get repaired. During that time I could only practice on some really bog-standard squier practice amp which just sounded awful. Fortunately though after about 6 or so weeks of waiting, my good amp (Laney LC30) was finally back in business, so hearing the tone from it was somewhat of a godsend.

But then after a few days, I began to realise my tone really wasn't that great to begin with. I dunno maybe being without my amp for so long made me realise that or something. I've been trying to tweak it all day yesterday and today near enough but still can't get the tones I desire from it

so onto my main problem. I'm trying to think of what I should do now. The thing is I use LOTS of pedals (as you can see in my sig), some of which include an EQ and Sonic Stomp which are left on all the time. 5 out of my 8 pedals are pedals which are better used in an effects loop, however my amp has a really shoddy effects loop which is quite frankly, unuseable. So I was thinking, would maybe changing valves or something sort out this problem? I don't know much about effects loops, I don't know if there's any way to make a shoddy one better.

But another problem which I may have, the fact my amp is too bloody loud. It's 30 watts valve, which is great for when I gig (which to be honest, is quite rare), but for home practice it's just unnecessary. At bedroom volumes my amp is on just less than 1, I don't get valve saturation in the slightest. So I was thinking, would investing in a smaller valve amp for bedroom practice be a good idea? Would it give me better tone at bedroom level than I'm currently getting?

I'm sorry if I've babbled on a bit, I'm quite tired and finding it hard to get my point across, but I appreciate it if anyone could read this and maybe help me out. Basically should I improve my effects loop somehow, or should I just get a smaller valve amp?

thanks in advance.
#2
Okay, first can about half the pedals. Remember in Fight Club where Ed Norton is talking about insomnia, feeling like "a copy of a copy of a copy..."

Well, that's your tone, my friend, because every time you come in and out of a pedal you are "copying" your tone because it has to travel a short distance (a few nanometers) between one piece of ill-conductive metal and another. Each time this happens the actual signal is distorted - not in a good way.

Now pedals are not bad, and I'm not saying don't use 'em, but they do cost you tone.

You could try one of two things. First, you might think about new pickups, something to boost your output. The higher the output, the less effect the "copying" has on your sound (higher voltage travels through space more effectively.)

But think about scaling back on the effects - do you need EQ?

You might also consider a preamp. Something to boost the signal allowing you the flexibility to do some real modification of the sound. Line 6 has some good ones. You can dial in different gear, and it sounds frankly badass.

That will cost you, though.

See what happens when you just plug straight into your Laney, though. Find your best guitar cable and just pull a direct shoot.

As a guitar teacher I am tempted to suggest you take a look at your playing as well.

Kids always give me the "I'm telling dad not to pay you this week!!" look when I say that...
"Virtually no one who is taught Relativity continues to read the Bible."

#3
This crap tone may just be happening this week - I know sometimes my tone sounds like sh!te, and other times like heaven (thank you Mr Smith ). So your tone may improve.

Try taking all of those pedals out of the equation, and get a good sound with just your amp. Pedals should be there to enhance what you've already got, not to build your sound off.

Maybe getting a smaller amp is a viable option. Try an Epiphone Valve Junior in a shop if you can.

EDIT:
Quote by Bubonic Chronic
As a guitar teacher I am tempted to suggest you take a look at your playing as well.

+ 1 to this too. No amount of good gear will make you play any better. Try spending more time practicing, maybe not even with an amp, and develop your approach to the instrument more.
Last edited by blue_strat at Oct 25, 2007,
#4
get a line buffer type effect. u can either make one, or buy one like an MXR Micro Amp, or a BBE Boosta Grande.

the problem i think is, is that you have many effects, and the guitar signal isn't going straight through your cables. the cables suck tone too. i'm gonna be building a line buffer myself, and putting it right after my gutiar (after a 3' cable) and then running a long cable out.

i heard the tone difference between plugging in my whole rig (like 50ft worth) and using just a 6ft cable. massive difference.

so look into a line driver/buffer type effect. put it in the front of your chain. preferrably right after the guitar, but u can put it just before your chain after your first cable.
Call me "Shot".

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Custom Hand-wired Amplifiers and Effect Pedals.

Est. 2007


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#5
What you 2 above have said is something to think about....

both recommended I should try not using any of my pedals and just plug straight into my amp and see what that's like.

The cleans on my amp are fine when used without any pedals at all, but I could never rely on my amps distortion for my grit, it just doesn't suit my tonal needs at all. The only time I've ever wanted to use my amps dirt without the help of any pedals, is at a gig when I had the chance to crank it - it sounded sweet as.

So I suppose that means perhaps a smaller amp I can crank is the way forward? Either that or an attenuator? I would go for an attenuator, but they just seem awfully expensive and I don't like spending that sort of money when I don't have the chance to try something out....

EDIT: I was typing this before ECisthebest replied.
#6
Quote by matt bickerton
The cleans on my amp are fine when used without any pedals at all, but I could never rely on my amps distortion for my grit, it just doesn't suit my tonal needs at all. The only time I've ever wanted to use my amps dirt without the help of any pedals, is at a gig when I had the chance to crank it - it sounded sweet as.

This is the nature of valve amps. I usually have my Mesa set to 5 Watts, so that it sounds decent at low volumes. Attenuator-influenced overdrive is supposed to be different to normal OD, so maybe look into getting a smaller valve amp then.
#7
Quote by matt bickerton
EDIT: I was typing this before ECisthebest replied.

so what's your reply to my post then?
Call me "Shot".

ShotRod Guitar Works

Custom Hand-wired Amplifiers and Effect Pedals.

Est. 2007


Source to everything I say about Guitars, Pedals, and Amplifiers: I make them.


UG's Best DIY PedalBoard
#8
^+1
Some bloody good advice there - especially worth noting if most of your pedals aren't true-bypass.

I must admit a new set of decent power tubes will always do a lower-priced amp some good. The main reason these amps are so cheap now is that they come with lower-quality valves and speakers,and replacing them can turn a good amp into a great one!

However if the tone from your Laney is totally different to what you want, it might simply be that it's an unsuitable amp for the styles you play!
As for the valve saturation issue, you could pick up a little 5W amp for practice, but you might as well put up with a pedal for overdriven tones at low volumes. Even the low-wattage amps are a little too loud to overdrive at sensible volumes...the only exception I can think of being the Zvex Nano.
#9
If you can scrape up $510 USD, get an Engl E530 preamp, and spit its output into your cabinet (or headphones or computer speakers or whatever). Awesome tube distortion at ANY volume level. You won't be sorry.
.
American HM Strat | LP Studio
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#10
I think your best bet is to just practice with a bog simple Valve Junior or Crate V8, plugging straight in with a short cable. Gig with the LC30, and enjoy it cranked then, but cook the hell outta a nice 5 watt valve amp between gigs. For under $200, too.
#11
I'd consider either active pickups, or something like the EHX Linear Power Booster. Just a little something to keep the signal strong through your chain. Hell, even an overdrive with no gain would do it.
#12
Quote by the.spine.surfs
I think your best bet is to just practice with a bog simple Valve Junior or Crate V8, plugging straight in with a short cable. Gig with the LC30, and enjoy it cranked then, but cook the hell outta a nice 5 watt valve amp between gigs. For under $200, too.
That'd be my advice too, maybe with an overdrive pedal or nice small attenuator from Weber for truly reasonable volume levels. This is what I plan to do once I get my AC30TB. AC30 occasionally at home but never cranked, VJ main home use, AC30 gig use. VJs are also ridiculously easy to mod. I plan on modding mine to the baby Vox specs.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#13
Wow after some experimentation I've realised that it most likely is my shoddy cables that are causing the problem. Oddly enough, to the person that suggested an LPB-1 and an Overdrive, I actually now have both, I just haven't updated my sig in a while.

I have 8 really low quality patch cables and 1 really high quality patch cable. I swapped the good one about between different pedals to see how much difference it made and the quality between the good patch cable and all the other bad ones was easily noticeable - almost shockingly so

My main guitar cables are fine, so they're nothing to worry about, but I'm now gonna look for some top grade patch cables.

Anyone got any recommendations for some REALLY good ones? The good one I've got at the moment is a George L patch cable, are there any better ones than that?

I suppose it just turned out that I really do have too many pedals and not enough quality cables....
Last edited by matt bickerton at Oct 26, 2007,
#14
If you're handy with soldering you can always make your own. George L's are good cables but expensive and the connectors are rubbish - you can construct equal quality cables with better connectors for next to nothing. Say £3-4 for a patch lead and £12 for a 10m lead.

You can get parts off Maplin : http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=123&source=2001&doy=26m10 For the cable itself and choose your pick of the mono plugs here : http://www.maplin.co.uk/search.aspx?MenuNo=12297&FromMenu=y&doy=26m10
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#15
I'm completely rubbish at soldering - we don't even own a soldering iron, so I think I'd be much better off just buying some good cables already made. I don't know the first thing about soldering

know of any good cables out there that I don't need to make myself?
#16
You have a great collection of pedals.

I would however recommend some kind of compressor.

Also you could maybe look at new pick-ups. They will change your tone for the better if you spend some money on em.
Flap it and enjoy yourself...

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#17
Venom, Planet Waves, Van Damme, Monster, George L's, fender, Mogami are all decent cable makers off the top of my head.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#18
Quote by Donkey Fly
You have a great collection of pedals.

I would however recommend some kind of compressor.

Also you could maybe look at new pick-ups. They will change your tone for the better if you spend some money on em.

Don't recommend to someone that they buy more pedals and pickups to help their sound, when you're running an MG half stack. Most tone problems are solved at the amp end of things.

+1 to getting new cables.
#19
Quote by matt bickerton
I'm completely rubbish at soldering - we don't even own a soldering iron, so I think I'd be much better off just buying some good cables already made. I don't know the first thing about soldering

know of any good cables out there that I don't need to make myself?


The best way to get better at soldering is to practice, and the best practice is probably making your own cables. By the time you get to your second or third one, you'll be a soldering genius. It's not rocket science. I have a cheapo soldering iron, came with instructions, and I've soldered the insides of a Telecaster and hooked up an Alnico Blue to a vintage amp. Not the prettiest connections in the world, but they held.

Soldering is a good skill for a guitar player to have. And you'll save a ton on cables that will be higher quality than most of the stuff you could find in a store.

Just get past the fear. You'll be fine.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
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#20
What tubes do you have in your Laney?
"I don't want to be hostile. I don't want to be dismal.
But I don't want to rot in an apathetic existence either.
"
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