#1
Okay UG,

I've been a lurker in here and GB&C for quite some time now, going over all the cool threads and looking at all the cool new builds. So, by now I realize that you guys have some of the most extensive knowledge of gear out there(yes, I'm flattering you guys). Therefore UGer's, I'd like to kindly ask for your help in helping me create/upgrade my rig. Hopefully, within the next couple of months I'll be upgrading my amplifier and then withing the next year and a half, upgrading my guitar, customizing my second guitar, and finishing my pedal board. I'm asking for your gear suggestions here, so that I have a wide base of ideas to research and try out before I begin building my rig. Thanks for all your help!

Here's my current gear

Guitars
Fender Mexi-Fat-Strat
Piece of Junk Knock-off of a Strat Copy(has a nice basswood body though)
Amplifiers
Fender Stage 1000 Solid-State (a pretty good amp, good cleans, pretty good distortion for a solid state, marginal effects, great reverb)(Got this used from a friend)
Fender FM212R Solid-State (bought this when I thought 100w was all you needed to be awesome!. Has great cleans, best of any solid state, but that's about it)
Effects
Dunlop Crybaby Wah-the standard one
Boss Metal Zone-used primarily for a fuzz sound over a light crunch.
EHX Nano Clone(chorus)-good simple chorus pedal
Boss BF-2 Flanger- a simple flanger
Digitech Digital Delay- a monstrosity of controls and options! Has some cool settings, but kind of unwieldy to get used to.
Ernie Ball Jr. Passive Volume Pedal- simple passive volume pedal for swells and volume control that doesn't affect my treble as much as the guitars volume pot does.

That's all of my current gear. I'm willing to trade/upgrade/modify some of the gear to make it better. Some of it, I'm willing to just bite the bullet and buy all new stuff. The most important right now is an amplifier.

Amplifier

I'm looking for a great tube amplifier that meets some rough specs. I've grown used to the three channels on my Stage 1000 that give me three different gain structures. On it, I have a clean, an overdrive 1(which I have set at a light overdrive), and an overdrive 2(heavy overdrive). Basically, I'd like a good tube amp that has:

Decent cleans- they don't have to be Fender great as they aren't a major portion of my playing except for the occasional volume swell, or light chording(usually letting them ring out) with chorus/wah. However, I do use some kind of clean sound in about 25% of my playing, so they can't be really terrible. I really love the high, shiny, bell-like treble from my strat, and I'd like the clean channel to accentuate that sound.

Great overdrive- I basically need two types of overdrive:
Light overdrive - This will be at least 50% of my tonal in an amp. As a lead player, I generally spend most of my time at low-middle gain(around 3-4 on my stage 1000). This gives the amp a nice blues-rock crunch without sounding too punchy. It's also a really warm sound. The tone I'm looking for here is basically a bluesy/classic rock warm tube tone.
Heavy crunch- the other 25% of the time, I play in a heavy, modern rock crunch. I don't need heavy distortion(not metal territory) as much as I need a good, strong, bassy crunch that punches people(not literally).

Effects Loop?- I'd preferably like it to have some sort of effects loop as well, but the tone is 1000 times more important than the inclusion of this.[Side question, would it work better to put modulation effects in the loop(such as my flanger) than before the original input? My flanger, when distorted, has a wild sound that I'd like to control a little more than it currently is. Would putting it in the effects loop control that?

Power- I'm going to be primarily using this amp for live play. However, I will probably be miking it to allow control of it through the PA system. Therefore, I'd like an amp that isn't too overpowering for small venues(I'll be playing a lot in my church's worship band) but is strong enough to play bigger areas/outdoor areas. Basically, I need to be able to turn the amp down low without losing a lot of its tone.

My budget for this amp is around $1200-$1400 US, and I'm certainly willing to go used(I would check it out before buying it). I've been looking a lot at Marshall amps(especially used JCM 800's) but am willing to check out any amp you guys think can handle all those specifications. I'm willing to buy a combo amp or half stack(and would use an avatar cab with the amp's head). Any and all suggestions are welcome !

Guitars

Fender Mexi-Strat- I'll also(if funds allow) be upgrading this beast. I absolutely love this guitar, but am thinking about putting in new pups and perhaps electronics. I might also switch the neck out for an american neck. I'm not sure about any of this though, because, like I said, I absolutely love this guitar and would cry if anything bad happened to it. However, if you guys have any cool upgrade ideas(such as better pickups or electronics) I'd love to hear them.

Piece of crap knock-off- This was my first guitar. It has terrible pups, electronics, neck, everything, except its nice, warm basswood body. As such, I'm going to strip this thing down, repaint it, and put all new electronics and pups in. I was thinking of a mahogany neck with ebony fretboard, and two humbuckers. As said earlier, I don't play metal, so EMG's aren't really necessary, but I'd like the humbuckers to have a good strong crunch sound as a compliment to the trebly pups and tone of the strat.

Effects-

Also, I'd like to finish my pedal board within the next year and a half. If you guys have any suggestions about some other good effects or some upgrades from my current effects I would greatly appreciate them. I must note that I've thought about a whammy pedal, and have no desire for one, so no need to suggest one, it's just not my thing.

With the wah is it worth it to do all the mods for it or sell it and get a better one? Which one? I'd like a decent sweep, with a more vintage tone. Would a vox 487 suit me better?

Also, with regards to delay, again I bought the digidelay thinking I'd need all of its crazy features. I'm not really sure I do. I've been fairly unsuccessful in figuring out how to control the delay to get the perfect lag and number of repeats(even after hours of trying) and think I should have gone with the boss. If you guys have a digidelay, and have any secrets you'd like to share about settings, I'd appreciate them. If you think I should dump it and get the boss tell me that.

Fuzz-right now, I'm using my metal zone as a fuzz pedal. Once I get my new amp, I'd like to get a real fuzz pedal. Other than the Muff series, are there any good fuzzes out there? I've always thought the muff was more of a metal pedal, but can it work for lower "brutality" hard rock? I don't really know much about fuzz so...

Any other suggestions you guys have for effects will be greatly appreciated! I'll probably certainly look into some sort of overdrive(maybe the cliche tubescreamer), and some other things as well.

Sorry about the long post, but I figured one really informative post is better than a bunch of threads. Thanks to anyone who can make it through all that crap that I wrote and is willing to throw out some suggestions. I owe you guys big time!!
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#2
Good job u only made one thread to cover everything. As for an amp I would think about the
Fender 65 Twin Reverb
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-65-Twin-Reverb-Amp?sku=480505
and Vox Custom Classic
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Vox-AC30CC2-30W-2x12-Custom-Classic-Combo?sku=482620

The Fender is 85 watts which would be good for a larger gig but in small areas it might get to loud the Vox is 30 watts which would be nice for smaller areas.

Then nice overdrive pedal.
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Ibanez-TS808-Vintage-Tube-Screamer-Reissue?sku=150343
I know now what I knew then, but I didn't know then what I know now
#3
marshall DSL401 is worth a look, its a clean/OD1/OD2 sort of arrangement.

other than that, i'd say youre set. try before you buy though
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#4
AMP:

Take a good long look at a Traynor YCS100H. It's a 100 watt 3 channel with a switchable effects loop and several voicing options available. It also has a DI for running straight to a board for live playing if you don't feel like using a mic. I demoed this amp several times and it's fantastic (especially considering the price). Everything is usable and nothing is hard to set up or understand.

GUITAR:

Keep your Mexicaster and maybe consider upgrading only after you have the amp you'll be using. Also going to an American neck really won't do anything for you unless you just happen to like the neck profile a bit more. Regarding your other guitar. A neck replacement might be very difficult as most knock-offs don't follow the seemingly universal standards for Fender Strat necks. Upgrading the electronics/pickups is definitely an option, but don't rule out the possibility of simply purchasing a new guitar.

EFFECTS:

This is where your best left to experiment by yourself. Without being you, it's hard to tell what will be good for you. Regarding fuzz, Voodoo Labs makes a quality fuzz pedal that might be worth considering, and if you have deep pockets look into a Fuzz Factory. Regarding delay, the easiest to work with unit that I've played with was probably a Line6 DL4. It's also pretty much an industry standard and is well known as a great sounding and reliable unit. Having an OD is never a bad idea (noise reduction isn't a bad idea either), and there are numerous options to look into. Have a look at the Fulltone OCD, ZVex Box of Rock, Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive, and Maxon OD-9 just to get you started.

Good luck.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#5
Quote by stevo_epi_SG_wo
marshall DSL401 is worth a look, its a clean/OD1/OD2 sort of arrangement.

other than that, i'd say youre set. try before you buy though
- 10k respect points for stevo.

Look at the Traynors, they handle your tone well, especially with a TS9 or similar boosting it just that bit further. They sound very Marshally.

As for the Fuzz, look into the Roger Mayer Axis or Classic Fuzzes, the analogman Peppermint Fuzz and the Fulltone '69 and '70 Fuzzes. The Muffs aren't really 'proper' fuzzes.
The Laney Thread are big and clever. No exceptions.
#6
ok, for the amp, look into Peavey amps, the XXX seems to suite your needs. I believe it has 3 channels, the clean is great, the lead is tight and the ultra can get great distortion (not as much as the 5150 but still pretty good and fits you budget and has an effects loop

for your pedal board I'd upgrade to a Crybaby 535q, very flexible with a bunch of options
and I'd add a chorus, I use the DOD icebox but any will do really. and i'd add an equalizer, a 7 band at least.

for the guitar
if you swap out the nech you will have to recalibrate the trem to accomodate a longer neck so keep that in mind. Swap out the pickups with some dimarzios or duncans or emgs, which ever you like (and what you wallet likes) Dimarzio's are the best on a budget but if you have the cash (IMO) EMG's are the best! once again this is my opinion. For the sound you want though, putting a Dimarzio PAF pro in the bridge may be adequit

the second guitar needs a new neck and new electronics all the way. Vegas guitars is a vendor on ebay that I got a quite nice neck from with a vine inlay for only 80 bucks, I had to do a truss and intonation adjustment when I got it but thats to be expected. Also wd music
makes good Fender copy necks which are of nice quality. As for pick ups, listen to some and see what you like
Out here you've gotta know where your towel is!
#7
Quote by ValoRhoads
if you swap out the nech you will have to recalibrate the trem to accomodate a longer neck so keep that in mind.

Ummm.......all normal production Strat necks are 25.5 scale.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#8
Quote by Kendall
Ummm.......all normal production Strat necks are 25.5 scale.


a mexi neck has 21 frets, an american has 22, doesn't that make it longer
Out here you've gotta know where your towel is!
#9
Quote by ValoRhoads
a mexi neck has 21 frets, an american has 22, doesn't that make it longer

It might make the actual physical dimensions a tad longer but the scale length (what is really important) is exactly the same so no wacky adjustments need to be made. It just happens to have an extra fret on it.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#10
Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys! I've got a big list started(hopefully, it'll keep getting bigger until I'm ready to do some hardcore research) to get me on the right track.

I've got one quick question. I only know basic information on how amp circuits work, so excuse my ignorance. I understand that in tube amps, you have to push the volume to the point of "breaking" in order to get the break up that causes the overdrive sound. Therefore, on most amps, the volume would need to be turned up in order to get the natural overdrive. However, if the amp has a master volume and independent channel volumes, does that mean that you crank the indie volumes to get the overdrive and then use the master to control the actual volume level? Does turning down the master volume while cranking the indie volumes cause a difference in tone level or will the tone be basically the same as if the master and indies were both cranked? Thanks guys!

Edit: In the case of not having a master volume, would an attenuator between the power amp and speakers work the same as a master volume?
Stevie Y of the GO WINGS club. PM me with a title to join.


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#11
[quote="kshelt76Amplifier

I'm looking for a great tube amplifier that meets some rough specs. I've grown used to the three channels on my Stage 1000 that give me three different gain structures. On it, I have a clean, an overdrive 1(which I have set at a light overdrive), and an overdrive 2(heavy overdrive). Basically, I'd like a good tube amp that has:


alls i said was that a DSL is similar in features, i think its an allright amp
Get off this damn forum and play your damn guitar.
#12
You won't get overdrive from the power tubes unless there's a lot of signal going to the power section and it's turned up. The benefit to having individual channel volumes is that you can use them in relation to the preamp gain on each channel to create a broad range of preamp distortion characteristics while keeping the overall levels about the same so there's less compromise with each individual as they go to the power amp section. Again I have to recommend the Traynor YCS100H as it has independent gain and volume for each channel as well as a power switch that lets you run at 30 watts for when you need power tube distortion without face melting volume.
ESP LTD EC-256 and a Fender Deluxe VM
#13
Quote by Kendall
It might make the actual physical dimensions a tad longer but the scale length (what is really important) is exactly the same so no wacky adjustments need to be made. It just happens to have an extra fret on it.



huh, i did not know that! I stand corrected! Ty!
Out here you've gotta know where your towel is!
#14
Quote by ValoRhoads
ok, for the amp, look into Peavey amps, the XXX seems to suite your needs. I believe it has 3 channels, the clean is great, the lead is tight and the ultra can get great distortion


There are a bunch more amps thats suit his needs way better then the XXX.

I'd suggest checking out Traynors. Ycv50 should do you pretty well. Its 2 channels not three but tubes are way more dynamic and by adjusting volumes, or using an od/boost you can get lots of different sounds. or the ycs 100 if you want to get the head route. I've never played it but im sure its excellent. Also check out the AC30 and some of the nicer all tube fenders. You never now what your gonna like so play a bunch of them.

For pickups i suggest checking out Rock Monkey Pickups . very nice hand wound pickups.
Last edited by Kino22x at Mar 21, 2008,
#15
I'd check out the Vox AC30 with the Alnico Blue speakers (the other speakers make evil undertones when you turn the amp up). That or the 1x12 AC30. For delays you're definitely gonna want to go EHX. Memory Man w/Hazarai or the Deluxe Memory Man are good choices. Vox Clyde McCoy wahs are nice but the fulltone is a lot better (an a lot more expensive). For overdrive/fuzz I suggest setting the AC30 to just beginning to break up when you have your guitars volume on 10. Then get either a Fulltone OCD or a Fulltone 70s Fuzz and just leave that on all the time and use the volume knob to adjust your gain. If I were you I'd get both if I had the money since they're both awesome pedals and that setup would have a plethora of tonal possibilities.