Essential effects

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Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 08 Oct 2016, 23:33

What do you guys consider essential? I played around with rakarrack as an emulator and I wasn't that fond of many of the effects, but then again it could just be poor emulation. I love a good reverb, and had an awesome original Mk. III Tonebender I miss but I gave it away to somebody I thought could use it more than I, and compression can be nice on single coils.

When it comes to 10,000 flavors of distortion, overdrive, and boost I'm not even sure what they all do. I have a DF-7 pedal that emulates numerous distortions but none really turned on by any of them. The cheapo Danelectro Black Licorice with the octave switch on is the only way I know of for getting a sound like the intro to Sgt. Pepper but other than that it's awful. Boss DS-1 is well Meh. The Grunge pedal is pretty good with single coils, I do like some of the sounds from it. I have trem, vibrato, and flanger but never use them. Never tried EQ, chorus, delay, etc. etc. etc except in rakarrack.

So am I missing out on something essential? I know I'd be better off practicing as my playing is awful but being a gear head I always have to mess with things. Do I need an overdrive or boost to get my preamp tubes glowing? My amp is too big to ever get the power amp tubes glowing so that isn't really an option.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby JustinFun » 09 Oct 2016, 06:01

Depends a lot on your amp - I've got a 70s Hiwatt and it does a great rock crunch by itself but some kind of boost is essential to make it sing. I've tried a load of vintage and boutique clean boost circuits but funnily enough the Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster is perfect for me. Add a mkiii tonebender and a mutron filter for fun and I'm done. Not sure why I spend so much time and money building hundreds of others, really!

If you''ve got an amp with a multi stage preamp giving loads of distortion already then you won't need that, but something like a tubescreamer might be useful to tighten the sound up.

Ultimately it's a personal thing though. Some people swear by having a light compressor as an 'always on' pedal, but I can't stand the loss in dynamics. I never saw the point of a Rangemaster until I got the 60s AceTone amp in my profile pic, with the Hiwatt it just seems to thin the sound but with the AceTone it's garage rock heaven!

So... what's your main amp, main guitar, musical style(s)?
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 09 Oct 2016, 18:32

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I have several amps but the one I like the most is a 69 Guild Superstar. Someone added a Master Volume but it didn't originally have that. I think it's a pair of 12AX7 on the preamp and a pair of 6L6 in the power section. If I turn the Master Volume all the way down and crank the Volume all the way up I can get a little distortion however with the Master Volume all the way down the Reverb stops giving a lot of joy. Of course something like an Seymour Duncan JB pickup gets more tube distortion than a 60s Melody Maker but neither get my amp above a hint of distortion on their own. Some of my newer solid state amps have clipping features for forcing distortion but I prefer the tube amp with a single whopping 15" speaker.

Main guitar, uhm well I can't pick one. Each one is so different. I love the chime of my 78 strat with some ancient EMG pickups but sometimes I want that humbucker sound too. I have an old Ibanez Les Paul I like a lot too. I'll fess up, I have a bunch of solid body guitars from the 60s and 70s. They were my fathers, I never tried to play until after he passed away. Unfortunately I didn't inherit his abilities. Even though I've had this stuff sitting around for over 20 years I still can't repeatedly coerce pleasing sounds out of any of it.

As for music I'm a very narrow minded person, at least I'm self aware :) Everything from the Beatles to Guns and Roses era is my thing. Of course I love Link Wray and some others from before that era and some Alice and Chains or Alter Bridge after but you get the idea. Favorite guitarist has to be Page, with Beck, Eddie VH, and Hendrix coming in after. Gilmore and Santana have the sweetest tones, Richards too.

I'm going to try delay as soon as I get in a chip I ordered, I picked one up in a batch of pedals on CL and it doesn't work so I ordered some parts that had to come from China. I was also thinking of trying the All Star Reverb mentioned on here, and I ordered a $20 fuzz box kit and figured I'd attempt to replicate the schematic on here with the Tonebender instead of following the kit instructions.

If I understand correctly, if I want distortion I can buy all sorts of distortion pedals but to get the real deal from my tubes I should get an overdrive pedal and let my tubes do the talking. Is that accurate?
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Re: Essential effects

Postby JustinFun » 10 Oct 2016, 07:19

I'd say you'd definitely benefit friend a boost pedal of some kind, but also have you considered an attenuator for your amp? That way you can get the power stage distortion as well. Probably not worth building, when you can pick up a Harley Benton
attenuator pretty cheap (the balanced line out is garbage, but as a straight attenuator it works well enough). Turn up the boost and turn down the attenuator and you should get what you want (imo only, of course).
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Re: Essential effects

Postby jreeves47 » 10 Oct 2016, 10:39

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Re: Essential effects

Postby phatt » 10 Oct 2016, 12:33

Hi mxaniac,
Yes if you want the sweet sound (Santana/Gilmour) then stay away from fuzz boxes.
Some things to try;
Any TS type box, pick one. (Gain knob LOW, Volume High)
A good compressor (Not Boss ones)
Mictesters Simple Compressor run on 18 volts is a stunning unit and easy to build (insert after OD pedals.)
If tone is a problem for you then try an EQ pedal.

If tone is still an issue then consider the amp;
Is it very bright and harsh? or muddy bass?
Then you might need some amp tweaks.

Tone shape is the critical part!!! :secret:
You can have you pedals made by God but if the tone shape is wrong then you will be up poo creek in a barbed wire canoe with no paddle. [smilie=lol_xtreme.gif]
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 10 Oct 2016, 15:55

JustinFun wrote:I'd say you'd definitely benefit friend a boost pedal of some kind, but also have you considered an attenuator for your amp? That way you can get the power stage distortion as well. Probably not worth building, when you can pick up a Harley Benton attenuator pretty cheap (the balanced line out is garbage, but as a straight attenuator it works well enough). Turn up the boost and turn down the attenuator and you should get what you want (imo only, of course).


I've never heard of an attenuator, pretty obvious now that you mention one but I was unaware of them. Would it make sense to get a smaller speaker if I'm running an attenuator? My amp is old enough they were only rated at peak which is 100 W so I'm told to expect 40-50 rms. It has a single 15" speaker.

I was reading about a "Gus Smalley NPN Boost" that is easy to build, would that be a good place to start?
Last edited by mxaniac on 10 Oct 2016, 16:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 10 Oct 2016, 16:13

phatt wrote:A good compressor (Not Boss ones)


I have a Marshall ED-1, not sure if it is considered decent.

phatt wrote:If tone is still an issue then consider the amp;
Is it very bright and harsh? or muddy bass?
Then you might need some amp tweaks.


I think my amp is a typical 12AX7/6L6 amp with very clean bright tones made for the jazz crowd. It doesn't have a mid control, but a 3 way switch for overall tone along with a bass and treble. I love the bright tones from it but if you put the selector switch in the lowest frequency mode it just sounds muddy to me.

I do get good clean tones from my amp, but the Les Paul in a Marshall sound escapes me. I suppose that's because I don't have a Marshall :) I think my Univox 212 SS amp from the 70's is actually closer on that account.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby phatt » 11 Oct 2016, 12:13

I just had a look at the schematic of your amplifier and if the schematic is correct then that tone switch system on the normal channel is killing the sound. That amp should OD without any pedal boosting. :hmmm:
There is a 10k FB resistor around V2 on normal channel. I'd be removing that whole switching arrangement before I tried pedals.
The Vib/Reverb channel is likely much better with no FB resistor at the tone switch but Dark position is still likely useless. It also has a mid notch filter which will help.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 11 Oct 2016, 15:56

phatt wrote:I just had a look at the schematic of your amplifier and if the schematic is correct then that tone switch system on the normal channel is killing the sound. That amp should OD without any pedal boosting. :hmmm:
There is a 10k FB resistor around V2 on normal channel. I'd be removing that whole switching arrangement before I tried pedals.
The Vib/Reverb channel is likely much better with no FB resistor at the tone switch but Dark position is still likely useless. It also has a mid notch filter which will help.
Phil.


I really appreciate your help on this. I found 2 schematics, neither very easy to read, where 1 lists a resistor on the normal channel off the tone switch near valve V1-B as 10k. http://www.prowessamplifiers.com/schematics/misc/Thunderbird_Superstar-Trem_Reverb_twin_6L6s_power_supply.html Another schematic lists that same resistor as 10M http://www.prowessamplifiers.com/schematics/misc/Guild_TStar_Lead-Guild_TStar_Lead_split_chassis_7591.html

However, since Reverb and Tremolo are only present on the other channel, I've never even plugged in to the normal channel. I guess I assumed that was for a bass guitar etc. During that time period if I understand correctly it was common to have people share an amplifier while performing so I've leapt to the conclusion that with no reverb that channel was intended for other uses. Not saying I'm right, I'm woefully ignorant on this but hey it's much easier to have an opinion that way :)
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 12 Oct 2016, 04:03

In other news, I just picked up a ModTone notsoAnalog Delay. I don't get it, it sounds OK with chords but if you're playing notes it just sounds like you hit someone over the head with your guitar after each string pluck. I'm going to put this in the not so essential category.

I did see the Joyo California cheap here local, if I do the speaker sim mod it does that make it a boost with EQ?
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Re: Essential effects

Postby phatt » 12 Oct 2016, 04:32

Delay is used *in Time* with the tempo you are playing. if not in sync then yes it's useless.
If playing chords keep delay time and feedback short otherwise it will be a clangourus mess.

Marshall ED compressor is average and like the Boss CS2 (same Chip) they are prone to noise when trying to grab more sustain. *Optical* Compressors are generally more guitar friendly.

Regard those 2 Schematics; seems to be mistakes are on both. Yes that 10k would indeed be 10 meg for it to work.
The tone circuit is a big loss factor in the signal, a stock Treb/Bass fender circuit would give far better control with less loss.
The normal Channel is just that , no efx. the vib/rev channel has one extra gain stage to mix the reverb back into the signal and has a bit more gain than Ch1.

Unless you want to mod the amp then find an amplifier that gives you what you want and move on. If you leave it as is then you will have to slowly work through a lot of pedals to find something that works with that amp.
Don't forget to try different inputs and tone settings when you flick that tone switch around,, you might get lucky and find a good combination.

If I change guitars I have to change my tone settings as each one is different,, very common quirk.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mictester » 13 Oct 2016, 00:55

My essential pedalboard:

Muting switch at the input! Optical Compressor with separate sidechain output (see later), Fuzz Face with input loading (to emulate direct connection of a passive guitar) - silicon with capacitors to tame the fizz (indistinguishable from a "classic" germanium job), Wah pedal with optional automatic sweep (using the sidechain output from the compressor), distortion (a heavily modified Big Muff or a toobscreamer thing of my own design - both are included) chorus, flanger, phaser, trem, volume pedal, reverb / echo. It all finishes with either a line driver or a radio link transmitter to get to the backline. All the cyclic effects can have their rates or M/S ratios modified by the envelope output from the front end compressor..... The whole thing is in a flightcase, and has a simple 120Watt Class D amplifier as well, so the whole thing can be directly connected to a speaker cabinet.

My minimal pedalboard:

Fuzz Face / Big Muff Pi, compressor, wah pedal, phaser. That little combination travelled with me for about 30 years and several hundred gigs.

Amps: If I'm using commercial ones: AC30, Roost Sessionmaster, Mesa Boogie MkII, Fender Champ

Guitars: Aria Pro II for stage, Yamaha SG2000, PRS effort and an Ibanez 1973 Pseudo-Strat (better than ANY genuine Fender!!!) for home and recording
"Why is it humming?" "Because it doesn't know the words!"
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 13 Oct 2016, 03:28

phatt wrote:Unless you want to mod the amp then find an amplifier that gives you what you want and move on. If you leave it as is then you will have to slowly work through a lot of pedals to find something that works with that amp.
Don't forget to try different inputs and tone settings when you flick that tone switch around,, you might get lucky and find a good combination.


The amp actually sounds beautiful with bright clean jazz tones, it just doesn't do all. It isn't going to sound like a Marshall for example. On top of that even though I live in an rural area on some acreage it is too loud to crank up and try that oh so sweet tube amp distortion, which is why I'm thinking perhaps I should get a boost pedal and perhaps even an attenuator.

phatt wrote:If I change guitars I have to change my tone settings as each one is different,, very common quirk.
Phil.

Oh for sure, I have to adjust things depending on what guitar I'm using.

I got a Line 6 AX2 212 for 80 bucks I'm going to try out. That should let me get a decent representation of just about anything. Perhaps not stellar, but from what I've read they actually sound pretty good even if they don't reproduce the sounds intended.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 13 Oct 2016, 03:29

mictester wrote:My essential pedalboard:

Muting switch at the input! Optical Compressor with separate sidechain output (see later), Fuzz Face with input loading (to emulate direct connection of a passive guitar) - silicon with capacitors to tame the fizz (indistinguishable from a "classic" germanium job), Wah pedal with optional automatic sweep (using the sidechain output from the compressor), distortion (a heavily modified Big Muff or a toobscreamer thing of my own design - both are included) chorus, flanger, phaser, trem, volume pedal, reverb / echo. It all finishes with either a line driver or a radio link transmitter to get to the backline. All the cyclic effects can have their rates or M/S ratios modified by the envelope output from the front end compressor..... The whole thing is in a flightcase, and has a simple 120Watt Class D amplifier as well, so the whole thing can be directly connected to a speaker cabinet.

My minimal pedalboard:

Fuzz Face / Big Muff Pi, compressor, wah pedal, phaser. That little combination travelled with me for about 30 years and several hundred gigs.

Amps: If I'm using commercial ones: AC30, Roost Sessionmaster, Mesa Boogie MkII, Fender Champ

Guitars: Aria Pro II for stage, Yamaha SG2000, PRS effort and an Ibanez 1973 Pseudo-Strat (better than ANY genuine Fender!!!) for home and recording


Good thing pedals aren't like women.
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Re: Essential effects

Postby mxaniac » 04 Jan 2017, 19:55

I've found my essential effect everyone should have (because hey I should be able to speak for everyone, right :), a 5-10 watt tube amp with a 10" or 12" speaker. I now have a little Kalamazoo Model 1 (single el84) and I just love the tones coming out of it. No pedal required to get everything from clean to a warm overtone to full distortion with the turn of a volume knob. Yeah I know it's common knowledge but I paid it no heed, but now that I've tried it WOW I should have gotten this a long time ago. Modeling amp is close, they do a great job but something is just different about this.
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