Tweak Overload

Discussion in 'Tone Zone' started by living room rocker, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    This new Katana amp's features has at least educated me regarding some terminology you guitarists use but one can get quite overloaded rather quickly. Understand now why the tone chase is referred to as the "death march" by some.....no end to it. I can now hear and understand what's meant by touch dynamics, compression, gain, scooped/boosted mids, etc. What's seems for me the most elusive is the relationship between gain and volume on overall tone. Geez, how do you dial it in? You have pre-amp volume and gain control, master amp volume, your choice of overdrive has a volume control, and finally the guitar has a volume knob. Tweaking one affects the others.....where do you start? Prefer a clean bright Fender-like tone with plenty of sustain and a hint of grit.
     
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  2. DaveInSoCal

    DaveInSoCal Active Member

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    Ah yes, the essence of the tone chase! Gain / Distortion / Volume. There is a subjective sweet spot you just need to find it. One day it sounds great, the next day same guitar same settings it sounds like a$$.
    I have 6 amps, 6 cabinets and 25+ guitars and I'm still chasing the tone!

    There are a lot of factors involved, your hands, your ears, volume vs tone vs gain vs effects level and settings, your strings, the room. Sunspots, global warming, air pressure, phases of the moon etc.

    For that specific Fender tone you are seeking, a tube amp is really what you need for that sweet sustain pushing the tubes a bit for the grit. The amp you choose depends on the sound you want to achieve.

    Modeling amps are ok but can't really emulate a genuine tube sound, at least to my ears.

    Anyway, enjoy the tone chase and keep your wallet handy! :D
     
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  3. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Well-Known Member

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    I've been modeling for about fifteen years. I learned something: You are the person who has to make the decision to stop tweaking and start playing. You can always come back to tweaking a little each day and refine things.

    Bob
     
  4. ventura

    ventura Active Member

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    This is the case, for a non-mv amp, cranked.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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  5. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Well said. I have a Nextone and there's heaps of tweaks that can be made, but I did all that and haven't hooked up the laptop since.

    Find a few sounds that work for you and then just go with it.
     
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  6. PixMix

    PixMix Well-Known Member

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    One of the reasons I prefer simple single-channel amps (Blues Jr.) and very few pedals. In fact that would be a great start. Guitar -> OD pedal -> Single channel amp. Then take it up from there.
     
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  7. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    I understand what you're saying Mr. Womack, Plankton.....have found myself overthinking the tone thing and not focused as much on improving my playing. Still relatively new to the game. The biggest learning curve, and I've considered it a worthwhile pursuit, has been a better understanding of subjective tone terms you pro's use.
     
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  8. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    This amp allows one to download a myriad of professionally EQ'ed tones, called Liveset patches, and see their added effects and settings. I've narrowed my faves to two and been trying to describe to myself what it is about the tones I like. Then I'll copy their tone settings and use them to tweak my own patch. I'll get there.....am close, but the biggest variable for me is gain and volume. Volume adjustments (the effects term for volume is "level" I think) are everywhere and seem to bring along gain changes with adjustments. Beginning to think of the guitar's volume knob as another gain knob.....maybe incorrectly so. Anxious to be done with it and move on, but love it at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  9. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Do you veteran players use your guitar's volume knob regularly? I've noticed one can reign in the grit by dropping it a few notches but, at least on my setup, the tone slightly loses clarity. Anyone done the treble bleed mod.....does it work?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2019
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  10. Clifdawg

    Clifdawg Well-Known Member

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    The reason we guitarists are “tone chasers” is because by our sensory system gets overloaded with repetitive audio information and begins to fatigue. As an audio expert I know once put it, “if I can change the sound, you’ll think it sounds better.... for a week or so.” If I have a particularly rough week at work and haven’t played for several days, I’ll plug my SG into my Marshall DSL and I’ll think “man, this just sounds amazing.” But if I play it every day for a week, by the end, I’ll be spinning knobs trying to dial out some of that harsh top-end presence, or trying to get some more midrange clarity, or trying to get the bass less woofy, etc. I didn’t hear those flaws earlier; why do I hear them now? Simply put: my ears are tired.

    My solution is to just plug into my little Blackstar practice amp every once in a while. It’s got a totally different tonality and helps kinda “reset” my ears. After a day or two of that, wow! My Marshall sounds fantastic again!


    I’ve never tried it, but I’ve at least started using the volume knobs for adjusting grit. My amp has a ton of high-end, so I don’t really miss the high end that rolls off with the volume knobs. I could see the need for it with the Katana though, since there’s a significant high-end cut in the 3-4K range on the Katana. One thing I do a lot if I’ve got the guitar up to 10 is to use my neck pickup as the “cleaner” sound, since (if I’m using a light crunch), it has lower output than my bridge pickup. YMMV.
     
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  11. Bob Womack

    Bob Womack Well-Known Member

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    I use the volume control regularly. I have a guitar with the treble bleed mod and some that don't have it. I think I prefer for the guitar not to have it. Why? In a live situation backing off the volume also functions as a secondary tone control and lowers the high end as well. I find that when I am ducking back under a vocalist or another soloist I WANT the guitar to be darker so that the voice or other soloist is featured.

    Bob
     
  12. Biddlin

    Biddlin Well-Known Member

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    That's one of the first things I learned 50 years ago and my vocalist clients have been pleased.
     
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  13. plankton

    plankton Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I use the volume control often and I am a fan of treble bleed circuits. I use the Kinman style on all my guitars.
     
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  14. ventura

    ventura Active Member

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    Religiously.

    And at the same time dump the treble with your tone knob. It's counterintuitive, but you will then 'cut thru the mix'. Guitars voice is in the mids. On stage, a super-bright guitar gets washed out by cymbals and white noise. The mids cut thru all that.
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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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  15. living room rocker

    living room rocker Active Member

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    Agreed with your comments guys. One day I'm thrilled with the tone, the next.....not so much. "Sensory overload", as you put it Clifdawg. Re-thinking the process.....gonna remove ALL effects/grit, dial in a 100% pristine clean tone, then slowly add in small amounts of grit and delay one at a time. I'll get there, eventually. Thanks for for all your feedback, fellow bloggers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2019
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