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Distortion pedals with the VJ


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I am thinking about getting a vj. How well does it take distortion pedals? Also, does anyone have a suggestion for a good pedal that mimics that MESA BOOGIE type of distortion, ya know...Angels and Airwaves type sound. This is the kinda sound I'm aiming for. I play a Les Paul. Thanks for any thoughts.

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I can't specifically speak to the VJ taking specific pedals or to the "California" sound (other than my SansAmp GT2 doing a good job of it emulating it... but the GT2 isn't as good with tube amps).

 

I can say that for a very natural overdrive, the Boss Super Over Drive pedal is wonderful. It's really cheap (like $60, favored by Zakk Wylde, and does a signal boost style of over drive. I'd imagine this would be perfect for a class A amp like the VJ, though I'm not sure if it's the particular sound you're looking for. When I was using a pedal-based rig, I found it ideal to give me that extra "oomph" for a solo or to push my signal from almost-clipping to full crunch.

 

To give some perspective, these days I use my guitar's volume knob to do this sort of thing instead of doing the pedal dance. I set the gain in such a way that the amp is clean when my guitar's volume pot is under 5, right on the edge when it's around 6 (softer playing will be clean and harder playing will clip), nice and crunchy from 7 to 8, and screaming lead at 9 and 10. It's a real old school approach and works great when I've tried it on the VJ.

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To give some perspective' date=' these days I use my guitar's volume knob to do this sort of thing instead of doing the pedal dance. I set the gain in such a way that the amp is clean when my guitar's volume pot is under 5, right on the edge when it's around 6 (softer playing will be clean and harder playing will clip), nice and crunchy from 7 to 8, and screaming lead at 9 and 10. It's a real old school approach and works great when I've tried it on the VJ.[/quote']

 

Tried this "old school" approach after reading your instructions and have to say: Surprisingly good results. Amazing what we can learn on this forum to help us improve our playing, eh? THANKS a million!

 

ppmcgee33-- With a stock version 3 Jr. head and a 1 or 2x12 cab, I use the Keeley/Boss BD-2 Blues Driver distortion pedal for added control over tone, gain, and crunch. Happy with overall result but you can probably do as well or better for less (Keeley BD-2 = $150+ -- but, the BD-2 does have true bypass for when you want Jr. to be pure Jr.). And, to be honest I am waiting on a an ordered stock EH Big Muff to try.

 

Also have a POD 2.0 that Jr. responds very well to (both effects and amp models). You can spend a lifetime noodling the settings for a wide range of from really great to the gawdawlful. The overall consensus on this forum is that Jr LOVES just about any pedal you put in front of it AND also works well with PODs. Hope this helps you out a bit.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

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I'm using a Boss DS-1 through my VJ and it sounds good for punk/metal and alright for classic rock, however, i just ordered a BOSS SuperOverdrive pedal as I've heard those are even better for a good rock sound when played through a tube amp. I'll let you know how it sounds.

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Tried this "old school" approach after reading your instructions and have to say: Surprisingly good results. Amazing what we can learn on this forum to help us improve our playing' date=' eh? [u']THANKS a million![/u]

 

 

Oh, man, you're totally welcome! AGES ago, one of my buddies who I jam with told me to try that. He said that the guitar adds its own distortion after around 3. But back then, my amp was so crappy, that I couldn't really tell much of a difference. Or maybe I just didn't know enough about messing with my amp to get it to a point where there would be a difference.

 

Years later, I bought a SansAmp GT2 pedal to make playing at church easier (ours had the WORST acoustics and crammed a 7 person band into a 25' x 5' stage) and had troubles getting a clean sound. So, I started figuring out how to get it to work with my volume pot.

 

Since then, I've read all sorts of articles in guitar mags and even on gibson's e-newsletter discussing this sort of thing (in fact, 15 minutes ago I was just reading an article by Joe Bonamassa in a back issue of Guitar One where he was talking about it). In the heyday of classic rock when everything was just more aggressive blues, they didn't have distortion pedals and had to do things this way. Since that's my favorite period in rock music, it really suits me.

 

Simple amps like Class A's and Marshall's Vintage Modern tend to be ideal for this approach

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does anyone have a suggestion for a good pedal that mimics that MESA BOOGIE type of distortion

The amp takes pedals real well.

 

Angels and Airwaves type sound

I only listened to one of their songs (The war), but it didn't sound anything like Mesa to me. A typical overdrive pedal into a cranked Vjr would get you there.

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only listened to one of their songs (The war), but it didn't sound anything like Mesa to me. A typical overdrive pedal into a cranked Vjr would get you there.

 

I agree, the distortion on that song isn't so much mesa. If you get a chance check out "Heaven," (get past the 1.5 min. intro). I think that is closer to what I am looking for. Although, I haven't played a lot of mesa amps. I borrowed my friends Mesa Rocket and the distortion channel with the contour switched is what I'm looking for. Maybe it is unique to that model.

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I've tried a few OD/distortion pedals with my stock V3 VJ amps, and they all work very well. I've tried a DigiTech Bad Monkey, Boss DS-1 Distortion, Boss Blues BD-2 Driver, Boss SD-1 Super OverDrive, a Boss OD-2 Turbo OverDrive, and a Carvin UD1 Ultra Distortion. All of these are dead stock, no mods whatsoever.

 

The Bad Monkey doesn't have as much gain as the others, but it is fat and warm sounding. The EQ knobs actually have a surprising amount of range as well. The Blues Driver sounds pretty good too and as a bonus, you can use it as a clean boost. The stock BD does have this nasty, grating top end that is hard to get rid of, though. The Turbo OD is a cross between the DS-1 distortion and the Super OD. Surprisingly enough, my stock DS-1 souns very good. A lot of players end up modding these because they don't sound so good with some amps. However, when I played the DS-1 through my 5F2-A Princeton clone and it sounded terrible. In fact. only the Boss Super OD sounded good. The Carvin I got cheap on a blowout. It only sounds okay. Lots of gain on tap, but hard to dial in.

 

Finally, I used to have a Tech21 Double Drive pedal. This really did a pretty good impersonation of the Mesa Mark series. I played it through a 5E3 clone, but it did nail the Mark Series tones. YMMV through a VJ.

 

tung

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I Bought a Boss DS 1 last month because it was so cheap ($30.00) with an eye towards modding it. It ended up sounding really good through the jr. stock. I just ended up leaving it alone.

 

DS1 can be good... or terrible... depends on how you use it. I'm pretty happy with mine.

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What about the 6V6 mod for the vj...any thoughts on how that sounds?

 

I built an amp from scratch using a TurretBoards/WTA component set + many trips to the electronics store. Hammond 125ESE' date=' 100k and 100k on the 12AX7 plate resistors, C1 on a switch 0.022uF/0.0015uF, R8 680R and R9 1.5k, 270k on R5 (grid leak on power tube), R1 before R2.

 

The PT can handle an E34L properly biased (scary process that, but simple enough), I think it'd make a better bass amp because overdriving the E34L JJ doesn't come easy (great compression) and it has too much bottom end.

 

So I moved to 6V6 and adjusted the bias (500R pot). A Tung-Sol 6V6 has a great sound, smooth overdrive into good blues tone and I've pushed some rock tones out of it (Scorpions, Black Sabbath, and did some of Through the Fire and Flames). The JJ has a much better crunch, and nice blues. I recommend you get both and experiment.

 

The 6V6 does NOT have the EL84 high-end chime. The EL84 has a great tone to it and I highly recommend having a separate biased 9 pin power output in PARALLEL with the octal socket for this. Bias that to your EL84 and then yank the EL84 and put in a 6V6, bias that to that tube. Swap these at will. You could run them both together as well, [b']iff[/b] your PT can handle it; this gives a unique tone of course but I haven't tried it. The 6V6 mod diagram uses this configuration I think.

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...these days I use my guitar's volume knob to do this sort of thing instead of doing the pedal dance. I set the gain in such a way that the amp is clean when my guitar's volume pot is under 5' date=' right on the edge when it's around 6 (softer playing will be clean and harder playing will clip), nice and crunchy from 7 to 8, and screaming lead at 9 and 10. It's a real old school approach and works great when I've tried it on the VJ.[/quote']

 

Hey OBED....... is there some way you can convince Epiphone to make this a STICKY or something. I tried it out and it really does work great. It's the 1st time I have seen it printed anywhere. Many readers are just learning electric and this kind of "professional insider tip" can help us learn our instrument instead of just throwing money away for one lackluster quick fix after another (mostly pedals, p-ups, gadgets...).

 

Most readers will miss this terrific tip if it stays hidden in the middle of some topic thread!

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