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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So we haven't had any threads like this yet.

WARNING! LONG POST!​

If this is just too long to read, i won't be offended, but hey if you're bored! I'd love to hear any suggestions or comments on achieving better tone.
Let me first give you a run down of my current rig and musical genre. Not trying to show off, but the more info thats out there, the more help i can get :)

Genre:
Rock/Hard Rock/Punk Rock/Pop Rock and Punk.
Think, Rise against meets nickelback meets blink 182 meets an aussie band called jet or any other slightly bluesy in your face rock. Alot of my influence is blues rock, even though i don't play it. No idea how it got into my playing, but every solo i do is pentatonic/blues. Grew up listening to alot of beatles, gunners and led zepplin like every other bloody guitarist, then moved on. My sound is kinda hard to describe. www.myspace.com/withintent has some of my bands stuff (we're rerecording them atm, not amazingly, just to fix it all up)

Amp:
Bugera 333XL (pretty much a JSX clone, but a little less metal and more rock to my ears, that could be the power amp tubes though) with every single tube swapped out, kt77s in the power amp, 12ad7 JJ for v1, jj12ax7 v2, tung sol 12ax7 v3, phillips 7683 (or some bunch of numbers) for v4/phase converter.

Settings:
Master: 6 or 7
Presence:7
Clean Volume: 2 or 3 (it overpowers the dirty channels much higher... is that normal?)
Bass:6 or 7
Mids: I can never decide, i range between 4 and 6
Treble: 4 or 5, usually closer to 5
Crunch Volume: 3 or 4 (plus XL switch which is sort of a loud button, but cooler)
Bass: 7 or 8
Mids: 5 or 6
Treble: 5
Gain: 4ish
Lead Volume: 3ish (plus xl switch)
Rest the same as crunch, or close enough to it.

Tempted to actually put a 12ax7 in the v1 instead, because i put the ad7 because i was having clean gain problems, but those problems have gone away now. Amps are funny things.

Well thats run into a Vader 2X12 cab, that i added nice big casters too. Great cab, i don't play metal, works great for me.

Also use a weber attenuator live occasionally.

Pedals (in this order):
Jim Dunlop Crybaby 535Q
Korg Pitch Black Tuner
ISP Decimator
Tube Screamer clone i built with asymetrical clipper switch as well as something else... the mod pack from General Guitar Gadgets. Pretty sure it has the keeley mod too.

FX LOOP (this attenuates the highs a bit, annoys me, but atleast its only for effects)
TC Electronics Nova Delay (probably overkill for 90% of what i do but my god it sounds great.)
Danelectro Hash Browns Flanger (the little one in the plastic casing, not the new ones, great little pedal i think)

Guitars:
Now i make my guitars... i don't own a single brand name guitar, just ones i made or cheap no names aside from my acoustic.

SG: Made out of New Guinea Rosewood, Heavy as all hell, probably ways inbetween 7 and 12 kg. 24 frets on an ebony fretboard with roller nut and grover locking tuners, thicker through neck than an sg (shaped like a D if it was one of those D's that weren't round all the way) and bigger and thicker. Its wider and thicker in general. SD Pearly gates in the neck and a Dimarzio FRED in the bridge. Bigsby tail piece.

This is my rock n roll guitar. Couldn't do metal if its life depended on it, and the cleans are passable at best. Get some crunchy tube distortion and this thing SINGS! I love the feel of it but there is no way i could shred (if i could shred in the first place) on it. Its just chunky, and feels great. Its my rock guitar and i love it to pieces. Hot as all hell output too.

Firebird: Made out of some wood that is pretty much the same as alder. Bolt on left handed strat style maple neck with grover locking tuners. Graphtec nut. EMG 89 (the 85 that split coils into a SA) and 81 combo. Quieter than my sg for some reason, does everything the sg can't do, the smooth hard rock/metal sounds, as well as the clean stuff. Whenever i don't want grungy dirty plain and simple rock, i use this, e.g, i use this to play megalomaniac by incubus, but i use the SG to play our version of anyway you want it by journey. Single coil comes in handy, and on a recent metal demo i did, this guitar was the most "br00t4lz" guitar on the whole recording... and that was using one string, using both pickups, but the split coil on the neck. Odd.

Strat, this is a pieces strat made from a OEM body, cheap guitar neck, locking tuners, and a fender branded single locking floyd rose. Fender standard strat pickups from a few years back. Great guitar to play, but the floyd rose kills so much of the tone. I blocked the floyd, because i really was just playing with it coz it was there. :)innocent: :p) but it only helped so much.

Acoustic: Ibanez Exotic Woods, zebra wood. Nice big semi jumbo guitar, sounds great and warm, but has some weird lower mid thing going on that i don't like when its recorded. Great loud guitar to bust a song out live or unplugged though.

THE NEW 50's STRAT BUILD!!!!: This i am starting to collect parts for and build. So far i have the body, neck plate and pickguard.

It was supposed to be 50s, but 60s road worn fender body (no difference between the two other than some MINOR cosmetic differences that don't affect the sound, or nothing i can't change to be like the 50s so i'm ok with it. 57 style single ply pick guard, road worn vintage tremolo, gotoh vintage locking tuners (custom relic'd) 50s road worn Soft V shaped neck, 57/62 pickup in the neck, fat 50s middle pickup, custom shop 54' pickup for bridge. Clapton "woman tone" mod from guitar fetish (basically a cool eq that can boost or cut mids and do other stuff) and stratoblaster.

So this will be a pretty beefed up 50's strat all in all with some nice under the hood modifications..


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Now for my question. That strat i'm building is gonna need some good tone. I know its capable of it, but i don't think my current gear can do it justice. Any advice on pedals or amps or anything like that? I'm after the classic "strat sound" and i know there have been many, but you guys know what i'm talking about, the bellish, glassy beautiful sound when clean, and then that edgy classic overdriven sound when pushed.

The strat sound is my favourite lead tone because its just so recognisable and it sticks out. God i love that neck position. Doesn't work on everything, but when it works, it works better than anything else IMO.

I was thinking of building myself a Blackface Deluxe Reverb (twin reverb is just overkill for me), and probably a Trainwreck Expression (or liverpool if someone can tell me why they're better), the DR for the strat and the TW just because i like the idea of a one knob amp (essentially).

I know alot of the playing is in the fingers and that stuff on the myspace really doesn't do me justice so i apologize for it. Just trying to help those who are bored enough to help me.


So yes, any advice with the strat, or anything else with my rig, feel free to chime in and yeah. Thanks for reading this far!!
 

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Now for my question. That strat i'm building is gonna need some good tone. I know its capable of it, but i don't think my current gear can do it justice. Any advice on pedals or amps or anything like that? I'm after the classic "strat sound" and i know there have been many, but you guys know what i'm talking about, the bellish, glassy beautiful sound when clean, and then that edgy classic overdriven sound when pushed.

The strat sound is my favourite lead tone because its just so recognisable and it sticks out. God i love that neck position. Doesn't work on everything, but when it works, it works better than anything else IMO.

I was thinking of building myself a Blackface Deluxe Reverb (twin reverb is just overkill for me), and probably a Trainwreck Expression (or liverpool if someone can tell me why they're better), the DR for the strat and the TW just because i like the idea of a one knob amp (essentially).

I know alot of the playing is in the fingers and that stuff on the myspace really doesn't do me justice so i apologize for it. Just trying to help those who are bored enough to help me.


So yes, any advice with the strat, or anything else with my rig, feel free to chime in and yeah. Thanks for reading this far!!
For me nothing beats a good Twin with a Strat. Personally I'm partial to the red knob Twins from the 80s but that's probably because it's the amp I'm most used to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Have you ever compared a twin to a deluxe?

It seems to me that engineers like deluxes better, but guitarists prefer twins, but choose deluxes because the break up earlier and aren't as heavy.

It seems to be a pretty even split between the two though.
 

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I was the certified Fender "gold" amp tech around these parts in the '90s, and I can tell you it's hard to get that vintage sound out of these modern parts we build with nowadays! Don't get me wrong... you can certainly approach that classic "Fender" sound and it will fool most "newbies".

First thing you need is a nice Strat! If you make your own, you should use ash or swamp ash body. That's what a lot of the Strat builders are using around my way, and they sound authentic. Neck has a lot to do with "the tone" so some guys purge ebay for genuine Fender parts, to equip their frankensteins. You can find necks from Fender that guys strip down for parts. Fender does a great job on necks although Warmouth sells some beauties.

Next is pickups! I personally love the Fender "Tex Mex" pickups. Our fender rep told us that they were originally wound for Jimmy Vaughn, Stevie's brother of "The Fabulous Thunderbirds" and that they were so "over-wound" that the wires were almost coming off the bobbin! They were found on the early nineties Mexican Strats before Jimmie got his own signature model. I personally purchased a Tex Mex Fat Strat from a dozen that came into the store when they were introduced. It's "fat" because it has a humbucker at the bridge. This guitar has fooled a lot of 'ol timers'. It really has that Strat sound and the humbucker is a real treat for overdriving amps and pedals. I have plugged this guy into a lot of different amps at the store back then... Fender, Ampeg, Marshall, Vox, Rivera, Guytron, Soldano, you name it... and it sounds like a vintage Strat through 'em all!

If you want the vintage "Hendrix".... "Little Wing" AXIS: tone then you gotta go with a Fender "Blackface" amp.
The basic Blackface is the "AA or AB" schematic such as the infamous "Pro" or "Showman" amp. The Twin and Deluxe were also similar. There were speaker differences and reverb and such, but the Blackface still held it's character regardless. When CBS came into ownership, the "Silverface" Fenders were born and they pretty much ruined the tone by "cleaning up" the design!:ponder:

Tubes make a hugh difference and you can get close with JJ's and EH tubes. The classic tone is in American NOS tubes though. They seem to distort more "musically" then the Russian types..... more even order harmonics. They also have a compression that is not as evident in the newer designed Russian clone tubes.

Things were different in the old days.. there was a lot less precision in our engineering and that led to some tonal distortions that people just... love.

Pep
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well if it helps at all, i really dig john mayer and claptons tone, which is probably polar opposites strat wise (the mod here should help though), as well as the new "indie" tone which i think is more a tele thing but hey.

Well i think i'll go with building myself a blackface deluxe reverb. Probably the kit from marsh electronics, with sprague atom filter caps, mercury magnetics xformers and choke, and weber 12a125a speaker.

Do you have any specific advice on tubes? I'm not really that up on which brands are the best, or even from which countries they're from other than the obvious names like sovtek.

The reason i'm going with the road worn stuff is because i've seen more than a couple of people saying its the best strat they've ever played, its nitro coated alder. That and i dig the relic'd look. The 50s pickups is because i listened to audio clips of them all and they are the ones that i just liked the best i guess.
 

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Yea, Clapton has it! I'm familiar with Guitar Fetish... got their p.u.'s in my tele.

I have played the Clapton Strat from Fender and to my ears, it doesn't sound like an early Strat. It has the built in preamp that will overdrive pretty much any amp, (it'll probably power up my vacuum cleaner), but to my ears, I just like that passive single coil clean tone much better. A passive pickup will require a higher volume setting from the tubes and therefore pull some tone from the amp. With the E.C. Strat ckt, you've got to balance between the two preamps and that can get difficult with hi-gain boutique amps. This may not apply if your building a Blackface.

Alder is great wood also... and nothin' but nitro in my book. Swamp ash is cheaper and sounds pretty much the same so more bucks available for the hardware.

Pickups are another story, I mean, you can go crazy w/P.U.'s.

American tubes are getting really rare and you pay an arm and leg for them. To me, they're worth it. There hasn't been a tube made in the States since the mid '80s. Old RCA's 12AX7's, or ECG/Sylvania's. Check out the web for The Tube Store, Antique supply, Magic Parts, Stewart-McDonald might have them, etc.

Put them in V1,2,3 position. The reverb driver and phase splitter you could use JJ or Sovtek EH because these are cleaner and can be better matched internally (dual triode) and won't compress as much. You'll pull all the tone from V1-3 and the power tubes!

Power tubes (6L6) again, American if you can. Best Russian clones would be Svetlana 6L6GC. (to my ears):T

Let us know how your makin' out!

Pep
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool, so much good info right there!!

Regarding the clapton thing, i'm also adding a stratoblaster, so i can go from vintage style Pups to full on preamp powered tone shaped. Should be one versatile machine. Guitar building is easy, made 2 from scratch and a frankenstrat with a floyd rose... its the amp building thats daunting. I've built pro audio preamps... but guitar amps are just another step. Hopefully can get all this done within a year budget permitting. Gotta build a bass at some stage too :p
 
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