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Thread: Boosting a tube amp??

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    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Boosting a tube amp??

    Hey, I read ALL the time about guys boosting Marshalls and other tube amps with boss DS1 s and tube screamers and stuff. Any time I try to boost a lead channel, it sounds like mush.. Or like the pedal is causing a clip opposite of the amps natural clip so it screws the tone..

    I ask this once years ago somewhere and was told not to run the distortion too high on the pedal. Ive tried this and get a volume boost, but Ive heard players and listened to clips where they definately juice up the gain with these pedals too.
    Whats the secret?? I have a bunch of dirt pedals.. most I have to use on the clean channel or get too much feedback.. Grunge, marshall Jackhammer, etc.. But I have some that should be compatible with the front end: Tubescreamer, boss ds1 and boss DS1 modified by a forum bro..

    Please share with me..

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    Mojo's Minions lpmarshall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    You probably need a clean boost (something like the SD Pickup Booster). There are plenty out there that have +25db of gain.

    Other options are an EQ, a Boss GE7 does a great job of this. I used to use one with a mid hump curve for solos (and a level boost).

    I also used a TS9 with the level all the way up and the gain all the way down, and this also gave a mid boost.

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    HomeGrownToneBrewologist Rich_S's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    I think the trick with high gain is to use a moderate amount of gain in each of several stages. You can't just drive the living snot out of a single gain stage - hence the mush. Driving tube amps harder (either with a clean boost or a mix or moderate overdrive plus level boost) works best on a crunchy tube amp, rather than one already running a ton of gain. Try running your lead channel cleaner to start with.

    If you need a really dirty "nu" rhythm sound, maybe try using a dirt box with its level LOW for rhythm, and then turn it off and let the amp do its thing for leads. Not too long ago, I wrote a thread about Jimmy Page's dirty rhythm/cleaner lead trick - search for Lemon Song and you'll probably find it.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker guitarded's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    DS-1 is not a good choice for driving tubes unless you are shooting for that kind of sound. It tends to get a bit fizzy with high gain amps. Get yourself a cheap overdrive pedal like a Digitech Bad Monkey (I recommend this one) or a Boss SD-1. Keep the top end under control and keep the drive settings low. Boost the gain on th epedal until you notice there is more sustain than with the pedal off. Don't expect a big increase in volume though. What you should end up with is more sustain and tighter low end. Once you know how to do this you can start experimenting with different OD and boost pedals applying the same principles.


    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRose View Post
    Hey, I read ALL the time about guys boosting Marshalls and other tube amps with boss DS1 s and tube screamers and stuff. Any time I try to boost a lead channel, it sounds like mush.. Or like the pedal is causing a clip opposite of the amps natural clip so it screws the tone..

    I ask this once years ago somewhere and was told not to run the distortion too high on the pedal. Ive tried this and get a volume boost, but Ive heard players and listened to clips where they definately juice up the gain with these pedals too.
    Whats the secret?? I have a bunch of dirt pedals.. most I have to use on the clean channel or get too much feedback.. Grunge, marshall Jackhammer, etc.. But I have some that should be compatible with the front end: Tubescreamer, boss ds1 and boss DS1 modified by a forum bro..

    Please share with me..

  5. #5
    Tommyologist
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    i gave up trying to get pedals to give me the boost i need... so these days i use multichannel amps with a solo channel or a special head switcher unit that allows me to A/B between 2 heads! I much prefer a multi channel head... much easier.... when i use my amps with single channels i find it's hard to get used to them again...

    on some of my 2 channel combos and heads i use a distortion pedal for solos but turn it on and quickly switch to the clean channel for a boost of volume with no squish... or in the clean channel i sometimes just use multi OD and Distortion pedals and change between them using a Boss Line Selector pedal... using the line selector that way is like having a multi channel amp and fx unit!!!

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker guitarded's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    I have three channels, but it is nice to know I can get a slight crunch out of my clean channel if I need it or more sustain out of my rhythm channel if I need it as well. I totally respect where you are coming from though. Less is definitely more if you don't need more.


    Quote Originally Posted by WhoFan View Post
    i gave up trying to get pedals to give me the boost i need... so these days i use multichannel amps with a solo channel or a special head switcher unit that allows me to A/B between 2 heads! I much prefer a multi channel head... much easier.... when i use my amps with single channels i find it's hard to get used to them again...

    on some of my 2 channel combos and heads i use a distortion pedal for solos but turn it on a switch to the clean channel for a boost of volume with no squish... or sometimes i just use multi OD and Distortion pedals and change between them using a Boss Line Selector pedal... using the line selector that way is like having a multi channel amp and fx unit!!!

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    Mega Pony Rider Pink Unicorn Horsey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_S View Post
    I think the trick with high gain is to use a moderate amount of gain in each of several stages.
    I'm with Rich on this one. Lower your gain slightly on the amp, and vary the gain on your boost to taste. Like others have said, look into cleaner boosts such as a treble boost (I love the Keeley Time Machine Boost, but it's pricey) or MXR Micro Amp. Different boosts with play better with different amps.

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    Tommyologist
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    i like real volume boosts so much i bought a Radial ABY unit for my home set up... i just jam thru 2 older Fender SS amps... a Princton Chorus and an Ultimate Chorus... i'm setting it up so i can turn the Princton on and off for solos only!!!

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Fresh_Start's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    If your amp has Hi & Low inputs, try running the overdrive/dirt pedal into the Low input. Dovetails with what Rich & Keith said about not driving any one stage too hard. If you slam the first tube gain stage really hard it can sound just plain bad, depending on the amp, pedal, etc.

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    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Quote Originally Posted by guitarded View Post
    DS-1 is not a good choice for driving tubes unless you are shooting for that kind of sound. It tends to get a bit fizzy with high gain amps. Get yourself a cheap overdrive pedal like a Digitech Bad Monkey (I recommend this one) or a Boss SD-1. Keep the top end under control and keep the drive settings low. Boost the gain on th epedal until you notice there is more sustain than with the pedal off. Don't expect a big increase in volume though. What you should end up with is more sustain and tighter low end. Once you know how to do this you can start experimenting with different OD and boost pedals applying the same principles.
    Im not looking for big volume jump.. I was just looking for more more sing..

    Also, I dont try this on my Peavy ULTRA Plus, its hot enough. I mainly want to boost my Classic 30 and a JCM800 Im getting..


    I read all the time where guys are using tube screamers in front of marshalls and there are youtube clips that sound great. and a couple using ds or sd 1.
    Last edited by BloodRose; 12-03-2008 at 11:00 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker xxxplorer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Like others have said run moderate amounts of gain. When I used to boost my 5150II I would back the gain down to about 4 or 5 on the lead channel and then hit it with either a bad monkey or an addrock boostmaster (awesome pedal btw... wish I never sold it). I always first set the level where I wanted it, then with the gain starting at 0 dial in the tone controls and then goose the gain A LITTLE bit. This always produced a tighter sound than just running the amp gain higher.

    Now I use a Boss SD-1 (looking to mod just a tad) into a JCM800 and same applies.

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    Mojo's Minions pinto79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    I've been having the same fight with my JCM800 and my 1959RR...

    When I get some time again, I'm going to work on the letting the amp do the lead work cranked on it's own with a slight push and backing off for rhythm rather than the way I've been trying to get a rhythm tone and then boost it for solos.

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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Keely Katana's are nice from what ive played. Currently i'm using a bad monkey + a ts9.
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    neonderthalotonalogist Dr.Mavashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Well .... I really like where my tone is now, And my sercret is I match all four, MV and the Pre-Amp are at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clcok, and level and drive on Spina TS9 are at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clcok, but A HUGE part of this is the SPINA MOD. I get a very articulate fat crunch with pushed, creamy mids, remotely in the area of modern Iommi or Wicked Sensation Lynch.
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    Professional Scapegoat BloodRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.Mavashi View Post
    Well .... I really like where my tone is now, And my sercret is I match all four, MV and the Pre-Amp are at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clcok, and level and drive on Spina TS9 are at 12 o'clock or 1 o'clcok, but A HUGE part of this is the SPINA MOD. I get a very articulate fat crunch with pushed, creamy mids, remotely in the area of modern Iommi or Wicked Sensation Lynch.
    I have a stock tubescreamer, but a spina mod Ds1

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker guitarded's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    I was using an SD-1 to get some lead sustain out the resident jcm800 at my rehearsal studio for a while. That amp and that pedal seemed to be a good match. My guitar is a Strat with a JB on the lead.


    Quote Originally Posted by BloodRose View Post
    Im not looking for big volume jump.. I was just looking for more more sing..

    Also, I dont try this on my Peavy ULTRA Plus, its hot enough. I mainly want to boost my Classic 30 and a JCM800 Im getting..


    I read all the time where guys are using tube screamers in front of marshalls and there are youtube clips that sound great. and a couple using ds or sd 1.

  17. #17
    Mojo's Minions SlowGroove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    What has worked for me in the past with GREAT results :

    MXR Micro Amp
    Boss BD-2 (vol. knob maxed, tone @ noon, gain @ 8:30am)




    James
    Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal are interchangeable terms describing sub-genres of rock and metal music. Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo, low-tuned and bass-heavy. It incorporates elements of Psychedelic Rock, Blues-Rock and Doom Metal into a more repetitive and riff-centred style. Melodic vocals and 'retro' production are also common traits.

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  18. #18
    Mojo's Minions SlowGroove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    OR . . . you can get a Marshall VintageModern that has its own boost button/function !


    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/docum...=99371&index=0

    http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/p...Amp?sku=480772


    NO NEED FOR A BOOST, in the form of a pedal !



    James
    Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal are interchangeable terms describing sub-genres of rock and metal music. Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo, low-tuned and bass-heavy. It incorporates elements of Psychedelic Rock, Blues-Rock and Doom Metal into a more repetitive and riff-centred style. Melodic vocals and 'retro' production are also common traits.

    Gibson SG Special w. SD A2P's ->pedal board ->Bassman

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    Mega Pony Rider Pink Unicorn Horsey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowGroove View Post
    OR . . . you can get a Marshall VintageModern that has its own boost button/function !
    You'll need a LOT of Velcro to strap that thing to your pedal board!
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmortalSix View Post
    I am just jug the merlot

  20. #20
    Mojo's Minions SlowGroove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Boosting a tube amp??

    Quote Originally Posted by Pink Unicorn Horsey View Post
    You'll need a LOT of Velcro to strap that thing to your pedal board!
    No need for velcro - heavy enough on it's own - it will not move !

    But i'm sure it can be done . . .

    Where there is a will, there is a way




    James
    Stoner Rock and Stoner Metal are interchangeable terms describing sub-genres of rock and metal music. Stoner rock is typically slow-to-mid tempo, low-tuned and bass-heavy. It incorporates elements of Psychedelic Rock, Blues-Rock and Doom Metal into a more repetitive and riff-centred style. Melodic vocals and 'retro' production are also common traits.

    Gibson SG Special w. SD A2P's ->pedal board ->Bassman

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