Hi all,
Sorry in advance for the long post. I've lurked around here for a while, just made an account to ask some questions.
I'm a tube noob, but (hopefully) will be changing that soon.

Here is my current setup:

BC Rich Virgin NJ w/Seymour Duncans (Distortion Mayhem pair)
Boss ME-50
Peavey Envoy 110 40W SS Combo

Here is what I'm thinking I will upgrade to:

Keep the guitar, ME-50
Epi Valve Jr Head
Build my own 212 Cab

So here are my questions to anybody who wants to contribute!

The sounds I'm going for are the occasional cleans or metal, but mostly a hard rock distortion (maybe something like Skillet's Rebirthing, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIQ_NkmYw3g ), for bedroom and recording purposes. I think I will be able to obtain a good chugga-distortion by using my ME-50 to put an overdrive on the sound, then use the gain on the Valve Jr to get it to a hard distortion.

1. Has anybody tried using a modeled overdrive with a driven tube amp? I should still get a pretty sweet tube sound right? Since most of the distortion is coming from the amp? Do you think I will see a lot better sound with a 'real' OD pedal? Maybe I can borrow one and compare...

2. I am willing to mod the Valve Jr. (if that's what I go with), and will upgrade the tubes for sure. Do you think it has enough gain for something like this without mods? Any suggestions?

3. There is tons of modding info on the net, it's a bit dizzying. I may try my own, or might get a kit. Has anybody had good results with the Bitmo Trio? Has anyone done a good mod to make the low end less muddy at high volumes? (I've heard this is an issue with the VJ, I'd like to avoid it, any input?)

4. I am also open to other heads (Blackheart? more gain?), but if it's something I can find used that's a real bonus. And I'm a poor college student, so nothing too crazy. Probably don't have the cash for a Krank Rev Jr I'd prefer to stay below 30W, but that gets tough. How much is a decent attenuator if I went with a 50 or 100W?

5. The cab will be mostly 3/4" plywood. What about the baffle? Should that be thinner ply? It will be closed back, and I hope to get the tight low end that my Peavey lacks.

6. For my cab, I've already obtained a Celestion Black Shadow that came from a Mesa 412 on craigslist. The seller said it was almost definitely a '75' series speaker (based off the G12T-75 I assume?, but made for Mesa). Any opinions or info on this? Most of the stuff I could find was about the MC90 version of the Black Shadow.

7. For my second speaker, I think I'll go with something that has a different voicing than the Black Shadow so I'll have more recording options, etc. Maybe something from the Eminence Patriot line. Any suggestions? If I stand a chance of finding a used one, even better (poor!). I'd like something with a non-muddy low end, and maybe more top to balance out the 75?

8. If I get another 75W or similar speaker, I will have 150W of power handling right? So this would be good for down the road when I get a nice V3 or JSX or something?

If you've read this far, thank you!!
If you reply, thank you again!

Last edited by Jack Carver at Jul 9, 2008,