Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 46

Thread: British vs. American sound?

  1. #1
    Mojo's Minions Christopher Caruana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
    Age
    27
    Posts
    4,470
    Likes (Given)
    39
    Likes (Received)
    325

    Default British vs. American sound?

    Can anyone explain to me what the differences are between british and american sounding amps? or what the characteristics are of an "American" sound and a "British" sound.
    2012 Fender American Standard Strat
    Majik Box Doug Aldrich "Rocket Fuel"
    Majik Box Filthy Lucre

  2. #2
    Ultimate Tone Slacker James Rock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    26
    Posts
    2,787
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    26

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    In basic terms
    Fender Blackface Clean - american
    VOX AC30 clean - British
    Marshall Distortion - British
    Mesa Distortion - American
    British sound uses el84s or el34s
    American uses 6L6s
    British has more woody sounding mids
    American is more hollow I guess.
    Massive generalization and there is alot more to it then that but thats what comes t mind when people compare them
    Gondola Kid
    Bandcamp
    Facebook
    JimijaymesGuitarist
    Youtube

  3. #3
    Ultimate Tone Slacker thespricket's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    New York City
    Age
    28
    Posts
    2,214
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    29

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    It's more so what the amps are associated with. A lot of bands who's sound is associated with the British sound used British amps: Early Beatles, Zeppelin, Clapton. That's all Vox/Marshall domain. To me the best way to describe the difference is that the typical american sounding amps were bright loud fenders. Now, this is a generalization. But for me, when someone talks about a very "British" sound, they're usually generalizing the sound of the late 60's loud marshalls. Big, rude, and fat. It goes either way, to me. The Stones had very American sound while Hendrix had more British.

    Also over the years, the lines have grayed. When saying US/UK people can also be referring to heavier distortion from a Mesa (US) to a Marshall (UK).

    Of course, I may be wrong. But this is always how I perceived it. It's also a little hard to explain, seeing how none of it is written law.
    Gear:
    Fender '03 CIJ Antigua Strat
    Epi Dot Natural
    Partscaster blackie
    Breedlove Passport Mahogany
    VOX V845 -> MXR Blue Box -> Boss CS-3 -> MXR Phase 90 -> Paul C. Tim OD -> Fulltone Plimsoul -> Boss CE-3 -> EHX Memory Toy -> SD Deja Vu Delay >
    Marshall Artist 30 4202 or Bugera V5


    I WORK FOR GC, IF YOU NEED A DEAL PM ME!!!

  4. #4
    Mojo's Minions Christopher Caruana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    the paradise city, where the grass is green and the girls are pretty
    Age
    27
    Posts
    4,470
    Likes (Given)
    39
    Likes (Received)
    325

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Well im asking because in another post I had about a Laney AOR, someone said something along the lines of "it wont sound like a marshall, but it'll sound like a british amp." Which leads me to another question.....How do you "not" sound like a marshall, but still have a "british" sound? Everytime I think of a british sound, i think Marshall.
    2012 Fender American Standard Strat
    Majik Box Doug Aldrich "Rocket Fuel"
    Majik Box Filthy Lucre

  5. #5
    Alnico 6/8 gibson175's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Blue Mountains, Australia
    Posts
    9,892
    Likes (Given)
    2123
    Likes (Received)
    1554

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    to me Marshalls and voxes have very little in common but they are both British amps. Fenders and soldanos have very little in common - but they are both US. Peavey classics have more in common with voxes than fenders. Fender tweed amps and mesa boogies are wildly different. The first marshalls were fender bassman copies. The distinction between British and American amps probably just appeared when modelling amps came out and manufacturers could not use the words "marshall" "fender" "vox" "boogie" etc. so they used terms like "british" "american" class A" and "recto".
    The distinction is kind of silly.

  6. #6
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Palmdale, Ca.
    Age
    46
    Posts
    39,033
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    4347

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    I like both, but ultimately realize MY tone is EL-34 and EL-84. I still like the Fender 6L6 sound though, but I like the midrange breakup of the British sound the most. 6L6's are great for clean and OK for crunch. 6V6 amps really depend....the more British sounding the preamp is, the more I like it. The more American RCA it is, the less I like it.

    I've owned a lot of American voiced amps from Fender and Fender boutique copies, so it's not like I'm not used to the tone. I still like Blackface type Fenders, but am completely tired of the tweed Bassman/Deluxe type sound....it's just too nasally and farty for my ears.....the Brit type amps do that sound better IMO.

    And I agree with Gibson175's assessment, where you can start dividing up the American/Brit sound, where it's not even definitive anymore. Nowadays, we consider the Mesa sound to be "California" and it's almost embarassing, because so many Californians can't even stand Mesas, yet the rest of the world is enamoured by them.....and are bummed that they can't afford them. In our opinion, save your money.....don't even buy them! LOL

    I have a feeling the Brits may feel the same about Orange....they can't believe Americans love them so much. I know it's a generalization, but I think Americans laugh about Brits loving Mesa so much, and Brits laugh about Americans loving Orange so much.....maybe I'm completely wrong, but it's a thought.
    Last edited by Gearjoneser; 06-13-2010 at 11:47 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ratherdashing View Post
    Do you think before you post, or do you just mash the keys and hope for the best?
    Quote Originally Posted by SJ318 View Post
    Half of you are half right.
    Quote Originally Posted by SJ318 View Post
    The other half of you are half wrong.

  7. #7
    Mojo's Minions Laughing Kookaburra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Madison, WI, USA
    Posts
    3,609

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Quote Originally Posted by gibson175 View Post
    to me Marshalls and voxes have very little in common but they are both British amps. Fenders and soldanos have very little in common - but they are both US. Peavey classics have more in common with voxes than fenders. Fender tweed amps and mesa boogies are wildly different. The first marshalls were fender bassman copies. The distinction between British and American amps probably just appeared when modelling amps came out and manufacturers could not use the words "marshall" "fender" "vox" "boogie" etc. so they used terms like "british" "american" class A" and "recto".
    The distinction is kind of silly.
    I can go w/that.

  8. #8
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Palmdale, Ca.
    Age
    46
    Posts
    39,033
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    4347

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Yeah, since you could include Peavey, Crate, Mesa, Soldano into the Ameican sound, and a whole mishmash of British amps into that equation, the distinction is almost impossible to discuss.

    The main way to divide the tones is to say Fender 6L6 Blackface, Fender 6V6 Deluxe Reverb, Marshall EL-34, and Vox EL-84. Traditionally that's the way to divide the 4 tones, and still is. But then, there's dozens of ways to sub-divide that.
    Quote Originally Posted by ratherdashing View Post
    Do you think before you post, or do you just mash the keys and hope for the best?
    Quote Originally Posted by SJ318 View Post
    Half of you are half right.
    Quote Originally Posted by SJ318 View Post
    The other half of you are half wrong.

  9. #9
    Our Neighbor Totoro FuseG4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Age
    29
    Posts
    6,109
    Likes (Given)
    854
    Likes (Received)
    219

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    I generally feel the british sound vs american tone kinda like this, In the most general way possible, doesn't apply to all amps.
    brit: bass- round, slightly compressed. mids- prominent/thick. Highs- all over the map.
    american: bass: plucky, powerful, piano-like when clean. Mids- normal mids ranging to really scooped (fender blackface). Highs- all over the map.
    ----
    Epi LP plus top, Squier VM Jazzmaster, Squier bullet strat, Squier VM jazz bass
    Marshall MG15CDR, Fender Champion 20, Fender Rumble 40.

  10. #10
    Mojo's Minions
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    In the dirty.
    Age
    36
    Posts
    3,663
    Likes (Given)
    164
    Likes (Received)
    254

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    American on the left, British on the right.
    I like both!
    Last edited by karpathion; 09-25-2011 at 03:18 PM.

  11. #11
    Tone Member RealtyViking's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    295
    Likes (Given)
    1
    Likes (Received)
    25

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    I always think of American amps as the extremes. British tones are in the middle.

    US Fender - Chime
    Brit AC30 - Clean
    Brit Marshal - Crunch
    US Mesa - WTF

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Simon_F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Winchester, UK
    Age
    56
    Posts
    6,709
    Likes (Given)
    427
    Likes (Received)
    166

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Quote Originally Posted by gibson175 View Post
    The distinction between British and American amps probably just appeared when modelling amps came out and manufacturers could not use the words "marshall" "fender" "vox" "boogie" etc. so they used terms like "british" "american" class A" and "recto".
    The distinction is kind of silly.
    I think you're right. I'd never heard those words applied to amps before modelling amps appeared. It is a pretty silly way of describing an amp. British amps sound like this, American amps sound like that. It's a very reductive way of looking at things. Marshall vs. Fender or Vox vs. Mesa makes more sense but even then there is an assumption that those manufacturers are tied in to a particular sound. I know that what I like is the Marshall sound. Every guitarist I idolised as a kid played Marshall amps. Is that Jimi Hendrix Marshall or Iron Maiden Marshall? Nah, it's more Paul Kossoff Marshall and Thin Lizzy Marshall. Would that be Robbo Thin Lizzy Marshall or Sykes Thin Lizzy Marshall? Robbo obviously...

    Quote Originally Posted by thespricket View Post
    Big, rude, and fat.
    That person could be British or American

  13. #13
    firstlessonologist guitfiddle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Jamestown, CO
    Age
    46
    Posts
    10,050
    Likes (Given)
    429
    Likes (Received)
    324

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    I think it's fair to say that, apart from anything any of the amps ever did, the more important thing is that British BANDS sound different than American BANDS. Not so much the amps. Besides, almost every one of the successful Brit bands back in the day used US made instruments...


    Disclaimer: EL84 amps are not automatically British...Gibson and a slew of other US companies were making amps with 6BQ5 tubes a good ten years before VOX appeared. My Peavey C-50 doesn't sound like a VOX.
    Last edited by guitfiddle; 06-14-2010 at 06:00 PM.
    - Tom

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankly
    Some people make the wine. Some people drink the wine. And some people sniff the cork and wonder what might have been.
    The Eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn of the Crow.

  14. #14
    Let it B JeffB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    15,943
    Likes (Given)
    3343
    Likes (Received)
    1208

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Since I'm the "originator" of this thread (the person who mentioned the "british vs. american thing) I'll put in my 2 cents. First of all- Modelling amps have not been around that long- People have been talking about "american" vs. "british" type tone for decades.

    To me the "american" sound is that of 6L6s and 6v6 amps- generally more depth of tone, with higher highs and lower lows, they can be mid light (blackface) or mid "neutral" (tweeds) and pushed to extremes gets they get very farty and/or fizzy sounding breakup. even today, a Mesa Mark series (which were originally just hot rodded fender champs) or Rectifier has this "american" type depth of tone, and fizzyness. Add a few gain stages to a Bassman, tighten it up and put it through some modern speakers, and you'd have something very close to a rectifier.

    The "british" sounding amps are the El84s and El34 amps, they have more complex mids and harmonic ovetones, tend to be mid focused and don't have the depth of highs and lows of the american amps. As the power tubes get cooking they tend to compress a bit and get a less farty/buzzy sound and more of a tighter "crunch". Despite not sounding alike, a AC30 cranked and a PLexi Cranked have alot in common tonally.

    and this doesn't even include the american vs. british speaker equation which is another kettle of fish.
    I'm an internet person. All we do is waste time evaluating things that have next-to-zero real world significance.

    Remember, it's just a plank of wood. YOU have to find the music in it - The Telecaster Handbook

  15. #15
    Tone Member caucajun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    BP oil spill country 2010!
    Age
    53
    Posts
    213
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    2

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    british is "squishyer".

    american is "harder".

    ..........does that make sense?
    "RESISTORS ARE FUTILE.........YOU WILL BE RECTIFIED!"

  16. #16
    Super Moderator Simon_F's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Winchester, UK
    Age
    56
    Posts
    6,709
    Likes (Given)
    427
    Likes (Received)
    166

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Quote Originally Posted by guitfiddle View Post
    Besides, almost every one of the successful Brit bands back in the day used US made instruments...
    And wouldn't have existed without the inspiration of US artists. There would have been no "British invasion" without Little Richard, Chuck Berry, the three Kings, Muddy Waters, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly etc etc....

  17. #17
    Let it B JeffB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    15,943
    Likes (Given)
    3343
    Likes (Received)
    1208

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Here's an interesting comparison

    A 65 Amps demo- 2 amps- both have the same preamp section (based on an nevevr produced VOX amp from the early 60s)

    Here they matched it up with EL84s and called it the Lil' Elvis





    And then they matched the same pre-amp up with a 6V6 power section and you have the Tupelo

    I'm an internet person. All we do is waste time evaluating things that have next-to-zero real world significance.

    Remember, it's just a plank of wood. YOU have to find the music in it - The Telecaster Handbook

  18. #18
    Ultimate Tone Slacker James Rock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Australia
    Age
    26
    Posts
    2,787
    Likes (Given)
    2
    Likes (Received)
    26

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    Disclaimer: EL84 amps are not automatically British...Gibson and a slew of other US companies were making amps with 6BQ5 tubes a good ten years before VOX appeared. My Peavey C-50 doesn't sound a damn thing like a VOX.
    That is definately true and there are now MESA's and fenders with el84's that don't sound like VOX's thats where the CLASS A (as in actually CLASS A/B but with different hotter biasing.. etc) notation comes in. I think it is all to do with Modelling cos as said above there are even heaps of different Marshall tones mind british (you've got Orange, Hi Watt, Laney, Marshall, Vox)
    Gondola Kid
    Bandcamp
    Facebook
    JimijaymesGuitarist
    Youtube

  19. #19
    Skaforlifeologist super rad stuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    not vegas. ok, i lied.
    Age
    26
    Posts
    8,958
    Likes (Given)
    15
    Likes (Received)
    20

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    i've always thought of it this way:
    british sound is either big fat wooly mids from a marshall or lots of chime and smoothness of a vox. american sound is that huge blackface fender clean or any more modern sounding distortion.
    Yo, i'm Ryan™.

    https://www.facebook.com/patchworklv
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=der6aGGzQTk
    ^link to 7 tracks of my band, Patchwork

  20. #20
    Fudgeitallologist PVFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Age
    48
    Posts
    4,178
    Likes (Given)
    0
    Likes (Received)
    13

    Default Re: British vs. American sound?

    eh wot? VS. huh?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •