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Dialing In MY Amp

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With all due respect, it's not the amp per se. It's you. What do you like? How do you play? Where do you play other than at home where you can't let the amp really howl?


Oodles of tone come from variables in how you play the guitar. Then there's what strings and pup settings. Then one considers the second part of an electric guitar, the amp.


Do you want what? Some blues guys want trebles to scream. Some dump middles. Some want heavy middles.


"Best" is as subjective as what's the best-tasting food.


Are you happy with the way your guitar reacts? Can you get significant variation in tone even without messing with pup or on-guitar settings? Have you wished you had lighter strings for bending or a bit heavier strings to fret them easily but to pound a bit harder?


Is your expectation something from using a tube amp at high output regardless of what comes from the guitar?


Your amp has incredible variable potential, but your own definition of "best" will be different from mine. Me, I'd likely go heavier on the chorus and try to keep it clean and a good eq that keeps me happy without tapping the overdrive ability.


Your purchase indicates you figure it will offer something you hear in your head and define as "best."


I'd say that all else equal, there's no way to beat a lotta messing with the guitar and amp combination - after getting a basic idea of what you're doing with the guitar itself. Playing just the bridge pup? What settings? Both pups? What settings? What strings and what's the technique?


Once that's hit through a "clean" amp setting, you begin to work with the amp.


Good luck!



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Milod you are quite correct sir.That definition of best is different from one person to the next...Most subjective indeed.

Any pickers' best sound is entirely a personal taste TF.This is exactly what I am working on with my Vox VTX-150 / max power of 83w. With this amp (modeling amp)the variables are so many.This amp has 44 models from which to choose w.11 pedal effects types..My LP can go from a whisper to a flat out howl.

So hang in here Spaniel.Keep diggin'.

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Whilst not disagreeing with my two learned friends I would say that it IS possible to suggest a 'starting point' for a particular genre on a specific amp upon which the guitarist can build.


A prime example of this is my BC30 which I was having real problems getting a decent tone for any style at shall we say 'neighbour friendly' levels (bearing in mind I live in a 1960's UK semi detached though to be fair the dividing wall is better than many of that period).


I had the luxury of going to the horses mouth as I know Pyotr Belov (the guy who designed the thing) reasonably well and asked him how he would recommend setting it up for generic blues and country rock as a starting point under those circumstances on the basis that he would know how the amp responds (or more to the point was designed to respond) probably better than anyone else.


The advice I got back was a set of settings which were way different to what I was using at gigging levels but gave me the same or to be honest rather better range of tones and allowed me to start building the sound I wanted from a point of 80% of the way there rather than starting from what was, as it transpired, the wrong place completely.

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You had a heckuva great advantage going for you.


You also had a basic idea of what you wanted.


The OP, however, didn't say whether he wanted a Tele/Roy Buchanan sorta sound or a BB sorta sound or...???


OTOH, you brought up exactly why I said what I did... If you don't have a helper such as Wiggy, I think you've gotta do a lot of experimentation with the pup controls as well as the amp - and modding both often at the same time.


One point for such experiments: Document them!


Let's say you find a batch of settings you like, or even think is "getting there," write down the pup and amp settings with a bit of explanation of what you liked.


Let's say, for example, selector for both pups, volume of bridge at 8 and tone at 4; volume of neck at 10 and tone at 5; amp.... Since todays amps, especially, have so many setting variables, you're less likely to find yourself in the legendary situation of hitting "the lost chord," then spending the rest of your life trying to rediscover it.



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I agree that I had a huge advantage but the point I was making is that, by having a solid starting point, I was able to very quickly dial in, with just a few small adjustments, a Tom Petty type sound with my Tele, both BB and Muddy sounds with my Dot Studio and some pretty solid generic Southern Rock tones with the LP. They even worked with my bass with a few tweaks.


Without that starting point I could have spent the rest of my life (an exaggeration I know but only just) twiddling and perhaps only hit one of those sounds without ever realising that they are all only a relatively small distance apart in terms of settings tweaking even though they sound a universe away from each other.


The other point I wanted to make was find someone who uses your amp (ideally in the genre you want to play in) and ask them (or their tech) or do some research and ask the guy who designed it (or if it's an older classic design - ask a respected clone builder). You'd be surprised how willing to help even big names are (their techs even more so!)


I didn't know Pyotr when I bought the amp (never even heard of him), I simply did some research, dropped him an email, we got talking and developed a loose relationship. It's simply networking and no real difference to what the OP did by joining our little community.

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True all you said.


I've never had such a "wild" sorta amp, but each one I've purchased I've tended to ignore most everything but to get a "middle middle middle" sort of thing from guitar and amp - e.g., controls all at the middle. That's not counting bells and whistles, just volume and tone/eq settings.


But your thing about checking with others who have used the amp isn't a bad idea.


And... perhaps even in my olden days I wasn't a tone seeker the way it seems folks are today.



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Oh, man...this also depends on the room, venue, acoustics (or, lack thereof), etc.

My amps (all of them) set a my "preferred" tone, and volume in my living room, are

totally different sounding, at those same settings (as are my stomp boxes) in a

different room, environment. (I can "crank" them all, as I have no "neighbor"

problems!) So, in my case, it's not the "proper" volume problem, that some folks

living in apartments, may have.


Are you playing in a carpeted bedroom, or with hardwood floors? Small space, or

a larger one? Indoors, or outside? So many variables, to go along with the very

subjective idea of "best" volume/tone, combination. And, Which "blues?" Delta,

Chicago, Texas, etc., etc., etc.! :unsure: [tongue]



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