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Guitar sound

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Guitar sound

Postby Alchemy86 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:14 pm

Hi!

I have this problem with my guitar sounding and I hope you can give me a few tips to understand what's going on.

I have Squire Cyclone guitar which I really like. I've had this small amp, Johnston 50w that friend gave it to me for free. It was not much, but with boss ds-1 I could get this smooth distrortion. The problem I'm having is that I asumed that if I buy a better amp for example, that my distortion would sound even better.

This is really hard to explain, but I will try. I like kind of a alternative smooth distortion. Lonts of gain. The problem is that I can't get this kind of distortion anywhere. So I dont know, maybe I'm deluded about the sound a guitar could have. I just bought Fender duo-sonic and a distortion is kind of raspy, ripped, to schratchy, to roughh in a way. And I want to have smooth, compressed distortion. It's like there is a space in frequency or something. I'm not that good at technically explaining that stuff.

It sounds ugly to me in a way. It's good for more rocky songs, but for alternative I want to have that compression. I can imagine this sound as a saw, so then you put an oil on it to be more smooth :D That's what I want. Right now I have Kustom KG100FX212 amp and I can't get that sound fully. I've also had Blackstar amp which was digital, and that was pretty much what I want, but I prefer the analog sound, so I like to have that kind of sound on analog amp. I somehow did with this small Johnson amp.

Also I did replace a potenciameter on Cyclone guitar and it seems that a distortion has changed to this wierd frequency. How is that even possible? Its like a guitar doesnt have a hambucker but single coil. But the same goes for this Fender duo sonic and it has hambuckers. I'm really confused. How to get this kind of smooth, liquid distortion? It is also about the feeling in my fingertips. I feel as a distortion is loosing a straight line in a way, and that is more up and down, but I like it to be smooth sounding and especialy to feel that way. Maybe I should a compressor pedal or Eq pedal for that?. Or do I need to find a certain amp to do it's job?

I hope you know what I'm talking about. Thank you for answers!
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby ef37a » Wed Jan 01, 2020 9:03 am

Happy new year Al'. I hope you will excuse the comments of a non-player? (I can tune one up and bash a few chords out but my playing days are long behind me)

Regarding the creation of a specific sound. That way madness lies! The forum columns are littered over the years with players searching for this Holy Grail. The "special amp" thing is especially liable to cause loss of head hair. A recent documentary said that Clapton searched for months for the amp he wanted. He found it (so it was said!) a Marshall (50W?) but you have to remember that he played ***** loud! Most of the time you cannot and would indeed be silly to sit by an amp chucking out 100dB+ SPL for more than a very few minutes.

So, you cannot really find your sound from what the Rock Gods do/did (and it is said at least one major band used tiny, 4W amps for recording?) What you CAN do is give the expert players here an idea of the sort of guitar sound you are after. ZZ Top? Dire Straights?

To rub salt into the wound! Say you do get the sound you seek 'in the room'? Getting that sound faithfully recorded so it sounds the same out of monitors is a whole other ball game.

I must not spam but I suspect you need a pedal with very versatile EQ and drive options and a lot of gain. There is one such with a valve in it. I say n more sport!

Dave.
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Jan 01, 2020 10:57 am

You really have to link to the type of sound you want. Isnt there an example on YT? Even close?
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby John Egan » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:32 am

As others have said, we could do with an idea of the sound you want to create, but failing that you could try out any overdrive/distortion pedals your local shops have in stock (preferably with your own amp) and see if any of them does the trick.
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Jan 01, 2020 11:48 am

If you already have the sound with the Johnston 50w then why change anything?
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby CS70 » Wed Jan 01, 2020 4:34 pm

From what you say my guess is that you haven't that clear on what builds sounds in an amp. Forgive me if I am wrong of course. Anyways, no worries, we're all been there!

A quick pointer. The 50W seems to be a modeling amp - most likely modeling tube amps. The Kustom is a transistor 100W. They're two different beasts - a tube amp gives you a less hi-fi image of the signal but in combo with a transistor distortion which overdrives it some, it works very well to smooth out the harshness in a natural way. The Kustom is more of a platform to give you exactly what what you get in, and the DS1 is pretty harsh without the tubes smoothing things out!

Remember, gain increases the level of your signal (until the amp cannot cope anymore, and it distorts.. nicely for a tube amp or emulation, horribly for a transistor amp). Massive gain is generally useless with a transistor amp. So back it off . A distortion pedal on the other side takes your signal and mangles it on purpose, at whatever level it is. Depending on the shape of that mangling you will have different types of sound. A "smooth" liquid overdriven signal has just the right amount of highs and harmonics - easy to do with a tube amp, harder with a transistor one.

Since the Kustom reproduces with relative high fidelity whatever you put in (unless you overdrive it, and then it sounds crappy), if you want smooth, you need to make sure that you put in is smooth.

There's many things you can do. Change distortion pedal to something more apt for a transistor amp - typically with a working tube inside - or a tube preamp to put in front or some creamy analog emulations, like the Tech 21 pedals.

Use the tone controls of your guitar to reduce the highs and the configuration with less harshness - the neck pickup.

Use the EQ controls on the distortion to reduce highs (you might be tempted to use the amp EQ, but that's supposed to give you a basic sound that you can then alter.. unless you want to go to the amp all the time, or play with always the same distorted sound).

Mix in a short delay with the pedal after the distortion to filter out the highs a little.
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby Argiletonne » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:14 pm

probably must be looking for a marshall gibson sound over a fender tone.
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Re: Guitar sound

Postby Shostakovich » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:25 pm

shufflebeat wrote:If you already have the sound with the Johnston 50w then why change anything?

I was wondering the same thing.
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