Guitar Rigs

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Guitar Rigs

Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:51 pm

For about a decade I played using my Johnson M150 combo (I stopped playing for years). I traded my Laney half stack in on it. I was living with relatives at the time and the Laney was too much. The Johnson was the supreme guitar emulator/simulator (it preceded the Line 6 and blew it away... and still does in many ways). The amp was truly the top of the line, it even has ENGLISH made Celestion V30's (the good ones I don't care what anyone says). The Johnson is friggin awesome for playing at practice volume (it is perfect for apartment playing, for example). It will literally do everything from a clean Fender Twin, SRV, Billy Gibbons, EVH Marshall, to a Mesa Recto (the factory presets are enough for just about any situation... you really do not need to learn to program it). I used the a Johnson J12 control pedal to control the amp (included 10 buttons, channel switching, program switching, inline on-board tuner, wah pedal, volume, etc).

When I started jamming again I hated the thing at loud volumes... and in retrospect I had a lot of things to learn about tone all over again. So, I put myself on a low budget and decided to make the "big brother" to the Johnson combo since I was so familiar with it.

So I bought a Craigslist Digitech 2120 , a Craigslist Carvin TS100, and a Craigslist Carvin 4 x 12 with Celestion V30's. Basically, what I have now it is the louder, fatter, more capable, refined, TUBE version of my Johnson M150 combo. Even use my J12 foot controller to control the 2120 EXACTLY like I used it on the Johnson (they are fully compatible).

The Digitech 2120 is infinitely more thought out and powerful brain than the Johnson programming model it is based on (and I am an expert at the programming structure... I actually read the manual). It puts the compressor in the chain at the front, and moves the effects loop past the distortion modules. It has tube and solid state distortion that can be used simultaneously and separately. Lastly it has DOUBLE the processing power of the Johnson and is PC programmable.

After changing the Digitech 2120 preamp tubes to 1960's Sylvania's I have to say I quite pleased with it. The tone is so sweet now (the tube recommendations from the web sucked ass BTW).

To power the speakers I have a Carvin TS100 and it is really great for what it is. It is a stereo 50/50 tube power amp, and is bridgeable to 100 tube watts. I have installed 1960's Sylvania's 12 AX7's in preamp there also (they control the presence) and it really warmed up the tone and made the presence knobs actually useful. I have JJ EL 34's one side and GT GE 6L6's on the other, the EL 34's are much punchier and the 6l6's are softer. I only use one side at a time with my 4 x12. It sounds much sweeter at 50 watts than it does at the bridged 100 watts (I assume due to the fact that the tube output transformer is effectively "coasting" running one channel at a time---it is still loud as shit at 50 watts).

My Carvin cabinet was literally brand new and for the price I paid for it you could not buy the speakers. It is built like a tank and wonderfully finished. It even came with casters and a cover). I suppose I would put it up against anything I have ever seen (including Mesa and was never really impressed with Marshall cabs). The V30's needed a lot of breaking in... They are very tight compared to my English V30's in my old Johnson combo... most people like really old cabinets for a reason, they sweeten with age if not push too hard.

All emulators like the 2120 have compromises, but at least mine has a tube preamp (I added NOS Sylvania 12 AX7 tubes to make it really sweet). I think I am getting some wicked tones (and I can do a lot of things at the push of a button that most guys cannot... my friends are generally impressed with what I can do with it), and I have learned a whole lot about what an EQ can do (the 2120 has an 8 band ACTIVE EQ at each distortion module).

Good guitar tone is not "flat"... there are definite frequency that get boosted a lot and some that need to go away completely. That is what good amps do, they boost the right frequencies and clip the bad ones... That is why a resistor change and there here and a cap change or two can make an old Marshall sound so much better... there are guys all over the place making old tube amps sound so much better with upgraded parts.

That all being said but I would love to have a fully modded all tube head... The EVH 5150 III looks very cool (transparent channel switching is insane).

I really like the Genz Benz El Diablo... a local guy has one for sale. My unit will not do the "buzz saw" distortion levels like some of these new amps, it tops out at about Mesa or Marshall JCM 800 levels of drive. I could change to a JJ high gain tube to get the "chain saw" sounds for Death Metal, but to me it sounds like shit.

This is my 1992 Jackson Professional... I have since changed to Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups.

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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:55 pm

Buzz Saw sound...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC3mIyqHzT4&feature=related

PS: It appears these guys know their shit.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Bradley Walker » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:01 pm

This is a great page on Youtube. Look at the bar on the right. This guy goes through and plays all the modern amps with the same riff (kind of like the Emenance speaker web site does with its speakers).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbpVTkfqiv0

You can really here the modded Marshall tone in the Genz Benz. A lot the other amps are darker and more buzz saw (these are probably more appropriate for the Death Metal guys). The Genz is perfect for what I like.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby AciDBatH666 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:08 pm

My old guitar setup was pretty simple. Washburn series guitar with a Seymour Duncan Live Wire pickup. The damn thing takes 2 9v batteries and comes with a resistor in case there's too much clashing with the distortion.
Korg G1 Distortion processor, Korg G3 effects processor, into a Crate Full stack (Old school with the metal grill)
2 X 4X12 cabs, Crate GX130-C head.

All my death metal settings were lows-10, Mid-0, High-6. WALL OF DEATH.
Crystal clear thrash. Not muffled and garbage. It was pure organic earbleeding death.
I still have my guitar and an old Crate 40C combo amp, but don't play it any more.

Several years ago I got an Ibanez BTB 5 string bass. Decided to get what I should of gotten from the beginning.
I got that an a Boss ME-50B bass processor. Something I haven't had the time to even get into. The bass itself has lots of controls for shape and other sounds to where I don't really need much processing for a nice fat tone.
I have an SWR Workingmans 4004 head with EQ, and a rack tuner in it. 4X10 SWR cab.
I really need to play more.

ImageImage
Last edited by AciDBatH666 on Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Beable » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:02 pm

I don't play much any more. But for practicing at home, a Pocket Pod is pretty nice. I have a Classic 30 for when I want to actually use an amp instead of headphones.

If you want to geek out on this stuff, Harmony Central has a good forum.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby jubuttib » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:10 pm

Beable wrote:I don't play much any more. But for practicing at home, a Pocket Pod is pretty nice. I have a Classic 30 for when I want to actually use an amp instead of headphones.

I had one too, sold it when I got my Pod X3 Live. It's a wicked little thing. Also great for livening up small, crappy solid state amps. It can't make them sound great, but improves their sound vastly.

My guitar rig has been mostly based on Line 6 stuff for a long time. The first amp I really went gigging with was a Spider III which had some great thrashing sounds in it, but suffered from the bad microphone in my guitar and was a bit sterile. I then got a Pod X3 Live and paired it up with a Wharfedale EVP-X15PM floor monitor, plugging the live out to the monitor for selfmonitoring (got the idea when I realized how much monitoring sucked pretty much everywhere) and the direct outs to the mixer. Worked great otherwise, but the monitor wasn't loud enough. Its rated at 400W RMS but the Spider was way louder @ 2x75W and the master volume set to noon. So that went out and I looked around for a cheap 100W tube amp that worked well with pedals, eventually decided on the Valveking 212. The Valveking sounds horrible by itself, but it shines with some pedals, add an MT-2 and with the right settings it metal heaven. Bonus points for being cheap and working as a 100W head if necessary. Don't have the money for a cab yet but some day, some day...

My guitar has been an ESP LTD KHV-MMV-04. Last year I got rid of the sucky bridge pickup, replaced it with an EMG-81 (18 volt mod) and helped the passive neck pickup with an Afterburner. It's good for a guitar that cost only 600 USD (for comparison, a new Gibson Les Paul Standard can easily go for more than 3000 USD. Actually that'd be a cheap specimen...), not a threat to proper guitars. A bit neck-heavy though. The reason I went for a Randy Rhoads style body is simple: For playability, it's the best shape there is. There's nothing in the way when you play the high notes and if you put your thigh between the wings, it automatically stands up in the classical playing position. No more bending over the guitar, can practice longer with less back pain. Also good for practicing lead parts. It's even better when standing up. I much prefer it to Strat and LP style bodies. Doesn't look as good but feel is more important than looks.

When I get rich (which, since I'm a student, means "when I get a job") I'm looking into buying a Roland VG-99 and GR-20 to play around with. Judging by the stuff I've seen on YouTube modeling technology (and midi tracking) has got to a point where stuff like transposing and guitar modeling (not just amp modeling) are actually usable. The GR-20 is good because I can't really play anything other than guitar, and it'll help me with making backing tracks for my vgmix projects. Also our keyboardist, as good as he is, has a habit of choking on the stage when we're supposed to be playing in synchro, so it'd help with that too. Also I can't wait until I see faces in the crowd when I pull off an accordion version of the Mario theme with a guitar. =)

Then, when I REALLY get rich (yeah, right) I'll probably invest in a custom shop Amfisound 7-string guitar (about the same price as a new Les Paul Standard, though MUCH better) and an Egnater modular amp. Those things are unbelievable.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby jubuttib » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:14 pm

Bradley Walker wrote:Good guitar tone is not "flat"... there are definite frequency that get boosted a lot and some that need to go away completely. That is what good amps do, they boost the right frequencies and clip the bad ones... That is why a resistor change and there here and a cap change or two can make an old Marshall sound so much better... there are guys all over the place making old tube amps sound so much better with upgraded parts.

True, from a Hi-Fi standpoint good guitar amps are pretty much the most disgusting thing on the planet. Upgraded/modded tube amps can be great, though I wouldn't want to start with a 5150, I'd rather use something that's already good and make it better. =)

That said some modded 5150s sound very nice.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Timko » Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:23 pm

Though most of high school, this was my rig.

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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby jubuttib » Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:46 pm

Timko wrote:Though most of high school, this was my rig. (Image omitted.)

Actually yeah, me too. I started playing during the my second year in the Finnish equivalent of high school, pretty much used the school's old nylon stringed acoustic until I graduated. I've since had two acoustics (one steel, one nylon) but I've always had to sell them to afford my gig gear. =(

Funnily enough I sold my first guitar (got it when I was 13 or something, didn't catch on then), a strat copy from the late 70's, about two weeks before I started playing for real, luckily I got it back with a little effort. I still have it.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby black udder » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:19 pm

I've been through more gear that I would have thought. Started out with a Peavey T-60 & Bandit amp. Both of which I sold. Also got a Gaelen Krueger amp which I sold (and have always regretted). Spent most of my playing time plugged into an X100 Rockman. Later I got an Roadstar Ibanez, and an Ovation acoustic (the baseline stuff - Ultralight I think). Still have those.

I picked up a Fender Princeton (I believe) 65w amp and played that for awhile, then sold it and went without an amp (except for the rockman) for years. Stopped playing for awhile and when I got back into it, I picked up the Korg Pandora px4. Great device. Eventually I picked up a fender strat and a Heritage H-150 (basically a les paul from the Kalamazoo factory after Gibson set them free. As was stated earlier, a Gibson LP is just too expensive for most folks (a standard, anyway). I've modded the strat with a new bridge, new string holders, new tuning pegs, nut, pots, pick guard and pickups. The pick ups are Bill Lawrence and are just great. Made a world of difference. I also had it rewired so the 2nd tone control blends in the bridge pickup. Also picked up a Taylor acoustic somewhere along the way and then a couple years ago I got the Fender Cyber-twin II.

Was just hanging out in the shop while a buddy was looking for a small amp and I started noodling around with it and couldn't stop. It's the most versatile amp I've ever played. It's much like the line 6 or other modeling amps, but has a tube pre-amp and also has all the classic old fender amps built into the circuits. For what I do, it's just great. I can dial in a bunch of different sounds and along with a few pedals, I can keep myself entertained. It also has a direct out so I can plug into my pc and record digitally.

I'll throws some pics up later.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby jubuttib » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:00 am

I've had a VOX AD30VT (I think, can't remember exactly), the 30W modeling amp from VOX that has a preamp tube. It was pretty god awful for my needs, no metal in there whatsoever. Good for blues, jazzy stuff and straight up clean sounds, but suck for anything else. From my experience with this thing (had it for a couple of years, too poor to buy a better one) and trying out pedal format modelers with preamp tubes I don't really see them doing much compared to tubeless modelers.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby mzuleger » Wed Mar 24, 2010 5:57 am

Here's what I have:
Guitars:
- 1990 Gibson Les Paul Custom Shop (not simply an LP Custom) black - Snapped the neck on this baby twice, those are painful memories.
- Gibson SG Special back - my go to guitar
- Fender HM Strat
- Fender mexican teli
- BC Rich Mockingbird
- Washburn Acoustic
- Washburn Bass
- Random guitar I've been building from scratch (this is much harder than I thought it would be... I don't recommend it).

Amps
- Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier rack mount head through a Mesa 4x12
- Peavey Special 112 practice amp (crappy tone)
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Bradley Walker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:31 am

AciDBatH666 wrote:Image


Cool swirl on that bass...

I bought my wife a Shecter Damien 3 bass for Christmas as a starter bass. I got it real cheap, and thought it looked very well made. Aside from the plastic input jack I would say I was right. It plays incredibly well. It has EMG pickups and active tone controls. Those EMG pickups sound awesome with bass. They are so compressed and smooth (kind of what I don't like about them in a 6 string). An idiot can get a good sound with these.

My wife hates this picture as she just got up and she was wearing my old robe, but I love it... Practicing to Guitar Pro.

Image
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Beable » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:32 am

jubuttib wrote:I've had a VOX AD30VT (I think, can't remember exactly), the 30W modeling amp from VOX that has a preamp tube. It was pretty god awful for my needs, no metal in there whatsoever. Good for blues, jazzy stuff and straight up clean sounds, but suck for anything else. From my experience with this thing (had it for a couple of years, too poor to buy a better one) and trying out pedal format modelers with preamp tubes I don't really see them doing much compared to tubeless modelers.


I used one of those for awhile. Great amp for what it is, IMO. I outgrew it, but it was a nice compromise for when I didn't really know what I wanted or needed. It was nice to be able to play really loud or really quiet or use headphones.
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Re: Guitar Rigs

Postby Bradley Walker » Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:34 am

mzuleger wrote:- Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier rack mount head through a Mesa 4x12


Racks suck... amps sound so much better when they are mounted in a wood box. :D :lol:
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