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tube distortion pedal
Old 3rd August 2005
  #1
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feyshay's Avatar
 

tube distortion pedal

I have a Les Paul Standard and Fender Super Reverb amp. The tone is great, but sometimes I would like some distortion. I have a POD, but have not been impressed with the solid state distortion. I've been looking at some pedals like the Budda Phatman, Tonebone classic, etc. The Super Reverb has a lot of gain. I don't want to add noise, only some distortion/crunch.
I don't need major distortion, more mild to moderate. I want something that won't muddy things up.
Anybody have experience with the Super Reverb and distortion pedals to make a recommendation?
Old 3rd August 2005
  #2
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Matt Grondin's Avatar
 

Mesa-Boogie V-Twin and Soldano Supercharger are good tube pedals... I love tubes more than words can describe whether it's guitar amps or studio gear, but I've gotten the best distortion/overdrive sounds out of Tube Screamers modified by Analog Man, or for a little more money, Analog Man's King of Tone pedal.... check it out:

www.analogman.com
Old 3rd August 2005
  #3
azz
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Second the V-Twin
Old 3rd August 2005
  #4
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Telecastr's Avatar
 

I've got both a Tubescreamer and a Vox Valvetone that I run in front of my Fender Twin. Neither are tube OD pedals, but both sound great. With the amp you've got, I don't really think the OD pedal has to be tube. There are plenty of great pedals that are solid state that sound great. Also check out the Fulltone Fulldrive.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #5
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s00p3rm4n's Avatar
 

Arrow

This is going to sound evil, but many of the "metal distortion" pedals by design don't add a ton of noise, can be cleaned up very easily, and can typically be set to provide either just a nice coat of rockish overdrive or verrrry slight distortion. Add to that that most of them are dirt cheap and carry EQ knobs and you're in biznass.

I use an 80's boss metal distortion or metal zone or something dumb sounding like that. It sounds great. Even more awesome is when the battery starts dying and it sounds like a flatulent Antichrist.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #6
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covert's Avatar
 

The Mesa Bottle Rocket, smaller and less costly than the V Twin, is also worth checking out. The old Hughes and Kettner 1/2 rack units, while not pedals, are pretty cool, and can be footswitched.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #7
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scotty-o's Avatar
 

Again, not a tube pedal but I've been using a Voodoo Labs Sparkle Drive in front of my Fender Concert and been loving it.

-Scotty
Old 3rd August 2005
  #8
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by feyshay
I have a Les Paul Standard and Fender Super Reverb amp. The tone is great, but sometimes I would like some distortion. I have a POD, but have not been impressed with the solid state distortion. I've been looking at some pedals like the Budda Phatman, Tonebone classic, etc. The Super Reverb has a lot of gain. I don't want to add noise, only some distortion/crunch.
I don't need major distortion, more mild to moderate. I want something that won't muddy things up.
Anybody have experience with the Super Reverb and distortion pedals to make a recommendation?
Hi feyshay,

is it a reisue '65 Super Reverb? I bought one too a few weeks ago, it's a fantastic amp but folks seem to agree that the Groove Tubes it comes with are sub-standard.

I need to burn in the amp first though. Even after 2 days of first playing the amp and hooking up a Boomerang looper to keep it going while I was away, I noticed a vast improvement to the tone but again, I'll wait a few weeks till I'll start worrying about the tubes.

But maybe you got an older model.

Anyway, I don't think that the Super is well-suited for distortion. It's an incredibly dynamic amp and there's almost nothing better out there as far as an amp reacting to your playing dynamics is concerned.

I often use a small Fender Blues Jr and funnily enough this amp, while not as dynamic as the Super, works just great with distortion, even heavy fuzz (I use a Dano Fab-Tone and a Fuzz Factory).
The Super on the other hand gets fizzy fast, again this will change with burn-in and better tubes but still.... as far as 'the Super sound' is concerned, my first thoughts are Television, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Muddy Waters, all these sounds are super-heavy in impact but on the clean side of things (relatively speaking).

A big part of a smooth, singing distortion sound is compression IMO. Something like a great Marshall Plexi will be very loud but also very smooth/compressed. The Super on the other hand is so dynamic and taut that even hooking up a distortion pedal will retain a lot of dynamics. But most distortion/overdrive pedals add some midrange boost that-when combined with the Fender's signature 'honk'- will make things ugly fast. At least that's my opinion, YMMV.
There's a thin line between gritty twang and tinnitus-inducing shrillness, especially when the guitar in question is also a Fender-type.

That's why I totally dig my AnalogMan Boss DS-1 , it really retains dynamics and low end and I was really happy using it on the few gigs I did with my new Super so far.
It's not muddy at all and cleans up nicely when you turn down the volume on your guitar.

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 3rd August 2005
  #9
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retropete's Avatar
 

I had a Soldano Supercharger for awhile -- got rid of it. Just not a great sound. The best distortion/overdrive pedal I've had (and I've gone through a bunch) has been a modified Robert Keeley Tubescreamer. (www.robertkeeley.com)

One of the cool things about it is that, once modified, you get less distortion on the low end of the scale, and more saturation on the high end. So it's great for just adding a little bit of warmth or bite, as well as saturation for fluid legato lines. He also upgrades all the capacitors to audiophile quality components -- thus opening up the sound. It's a big sound, not constricted.

I used to use it with a Fender Pro Reverb which I loved. Still have it, but now I'm using it with either a Bogner Shiva or a Soldano X88R through a VHT 50/50 power amp. I go through phases, but that pedal is ALWAYS on board. The Fulltone Fulldrive was another disappointment. Lotta people like em, but wasn't my cup of tea.

P
Old 3rd August 2005
  #10
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rghose's Avatar
 

Check out the Tube Works Pedals. I've had the "Blue-Tube" for a while and it sounds great! I picked it up on e-bay for $60.

Reuben
Old 3rd August 2005
  #11
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Superchargers are great. The power section and speakers are quite different on fenders vs. what you usually find in high gain amps.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rghose
Check out the Tube Works Pedals. I've had the "Blue-Tube" for a while and it sounds great! I picked it up on e-bay for $60.
I'll put in a vote for the Tube Driver pedal. It's got a very Marshall sort of thing going on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s00p3rm4n
Even more awesome is when the battery starts dying and it sounds like a flatulent Antichrist.
You should hear the Tube Driver when the tube starts going. Oh, man!

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 3rd August 2005
  #13
Gear Head
 
analog orange's Avatar
 

You should check out a Vari-Drive.

http://www.smfamps.com/varidrive.htm
Old 3rd August 2005
  #14
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feyshay's Avatar
 

a lot of options

Funny. Everyone had a good recommendation but no one commented on the Phatman or Zenman or Radial Tonebone classic (or Hot brit).
I like some of the recommendations for modified TS-9 and the analogman stuff. I bought a DS-1, but took it back to the store. I get better distortion out my POD. My complaint (and maybe this is just how it goes), the POD distortion option (Screamer, Rat--classic distortion, facial fuzz, etc.) seem to remove the bottom end. I'd like to keep more bottom end.
It is true that the Super Reverb maintains dynamics. (My tubes sound better every day, or maybe it is because I'm cranking more.) I have a '65 reissue by the way and will consider different tubes when/if these blow--unless someone has mod recommendations that they would highly recommend.
I'm somewhat of a newb to the electric guitar (been doing acoustic). I noticed some of the above recommendations add gain versus some talk about distortion. What is the difference? It seems to me that the Super Reverb already has a lot of gain, no?
Old 3rd August 2005
  #15
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s00p3rm4n's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by feyshay
Funny. Everyone had a good recommendation but no one commented on the Phatman or Zenman or Radial Tonebone classic (or Hot brit).
I like some of the recommendations for modified TS-9 and the analogman stuff. I bought a DS-1, but took it back to the store. I get better distortion out my POD. My complaint (and maybe this is just how it goes), the POD distortion option (Screamer, Rat--classic distortion, facial fuzz, etc.) seem to remove the bottom end. I'd like to keep more bottom end.
It is true that the Super Reverb maintains dynamics. (My tubes sound better every day, or maybe it is because I'm cranking more.) I have a '65 reissue by the way and will consider different tubes when/if these blow--unless someone has mod recommendations that they would highly recommend.
I'm somewhat of a newb to the electric guitar (been doing acoustic). I noticed some of the above recommendations add gain versus some talk about distortion. What is the difference? It seems to me that the Super Reverb already has a lot of gain, no?
Make no mistake: a Tubescreamer is NOT a distortion pedal. It's overdrive. There's overdrive, "fuzz", "distortion", and treble boosters. If you want actual distortion - that's like one of the Brit pedals, a Marshall Shredmaster, or a cheapo "metalzone/etc." pedal. A fuzz is something like a Big Muff Pi, Rat, etc. (although Rats are a bit unique in their sound). A treble booster is anything with "treble booster" in the name lol. Tubescreamers and their ilk will NOT distort - they're comparatively very low-breakup pedals.

In terms of real distortion, I've heard the Chandler tube driver is good but that the production was spotty - some pedals are awful, some great. I don't know if it's actual distortion either.

I will say that I know the SIB Varidrive well, and that it's an actual distortion pedal, and that it kicks actual ass. It's a distortion pedal that can be fuzz if you so choose, and any way you want it is delicious. It's kinda on the pricey side, but it's well worth it for the range and quality of sounds it makes. Billy Corgan is a huge fan of them as well (used them on the last few pumpkins albums because they were more varied in sound than his mainstay Big Muffs).

So yeah - real distortion, with options - try the Varidrive out. Just, I beg of you, make sure you PLAY the pedal through your rig before buying it if at all possible. Fender amps tend to be very finicky (from what I've heard) with effects - I know they supposedly like Big Muff pedals, but but but... etc. Just make sure you know what can of worms you're opening.
Old 4th August 2005
  #16
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Kjellhulk's Avatar
 

You should really try and get your hands on a Chandler Realtube Overdrive!!
Love it
Old 4th August 2005
  #17
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Nerve Nickels's Avatar
 

matchless dirtbox is very good for bluesy-dist

matchless hotbox is also good for hotness

foxrox zim (not tube) is on my list as well as the chandler....
Old 5th August 2005
  #18
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KROK's Avatar
The perfect pedal for you (Or should I say 3 pedals in one)........
HBE Power Screamer!
This thing is simply amazing and plays well with many different amps.
Old 6th August 2005
  #19
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i 2nd both the blue tube and chandler comments.
if your trying to just get a bit more gain or push the amp a little harder a tube screamer is probably perfect.
but also would throw in the Tube King, its a big silver pedal made by ibanez but dont let that scare you off.
or a boss blues driver thats a decent one too.

if you can get it the HAO rust driver is cool too.
Old 16th August 2005
  #20
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feyshay's Avatar
 

what I bought today

Thanks for all the suggestions. I looked on some forums and one relatively cheap pedal that couldn't go wrong was the Ibanez TS9. I tried out a number of pedals, although didn't try out the Varidrive, Soldano supercharger, Fulltone Fulldrive, or Budda Phatman. I found that any distortion pedal that I tried, I was generally unhappy with. None of the distortion pedals that I tried sounded better than those simulated within the POD. They all lost bottom end and did not have enough subtle distortion. This might be a matter of my own taste or just how the Fender Super Reverb is. (These were not the boutique types though, since I would have had to order them and ship them back if I didn't like them.)
The TS9 Turbo Tube Screamer allows for some higher gain, while maintaining the bottom end. I thought it had the best versatility of the under $200 ones that I tried. I ended up getting it for $90. It gives just a little bit of grit on the solo and the slightest Tom Petty/Neil Young crunch on the chords.
I'll keep the rest of your suggestions in mind and will still consider the AnalogMan adjustments. I appreaciate the recommendation not to rule-out a solid state pedal. The Super Reverb does give enough saturated fullness tone.
I find that even at the lowest gain it still gives a little too much distortion with a chord strum, but I think my ears will adjust.
Old 16th August 2005
  #21
Old 16th August 2005
  #22
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s00p3rm4n's Avatar
 

Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by De chromium cob
You're an evil man. And that is not a distortion pedal. That is a destruction pedal. And a societal menace.
Old 16th August 2005
  #23
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s00p3rm4n's Avatar
 

Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by feyshay
Thanks for all the suggestions. I looked on some forums and one relatively cheap pedal that couldn't go wrong was the Ibanez TS9. I tried out a number of pedals, although didn't try out the Varidrive, Soldano supercharger, Fulltone Fulldrive, or Budda Phatman. I found that any distortion pedal that I tried, I was generally unhappy with. None of the distortion pedals that I tried sounded better than those simulated within the POD. They all lost bottom end and did not have enough subtle distortion. This might be a matter of my own taste or just how the Fender Super Reverb is. (These were not the boutique types though, since I would have had to order them and ship them back if I didn't like them.)
The TS9 Turbo Tube Screamer allows for some higher gain, while maintaining the bottom end. I thought it had the best versatility of the under $200 ones that I tried. I ended up getting it for $90. It gives just a little bit of grit on the solo and the slightest Tom Petty/Neil Young crunch on the chords.
I'll keep the rest of your suggestions in mind and will still consider the AnalogMan adjustments. I appreaciate the recommendation not to rule-out a solid state pedal. The Super Reverb does give enough saturated fullness tone.
I find that even at the lowest gain it still gives a little too much distortion with a chord strum, but I think my ears will adjust.

Please note that the sound you were looking for is overdrive, not distortion. That said, congrats on the tube screamer.
Old 16th August 2005
  #24
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feyshay's Avatar
 

overdrive pedal

http://www.geofex.com/effxfaq/fxterms.htm

I was lumping the two together, but you did help clarify the difference. I guess I was looking for a good overdrive pedal to give me some smooth distortion.
Old 16th August 2005
  #25
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doorknocker's Avatar
feyshay,

I also think that you made a really good choice with the Tube Screamer!

You mentioned being new to electric guitar, so here's a few suggestions:

Work with the volume control on your Strat. Set the Screamer to the most distorted setting you'll need and turn down the volume knob to get a cleaner sound with less sustain.

I remember reading a Stevie Ray Vaughan interview where he mentioned that leaving his Tube Screamer on all the time and turning down the volume on the guitar would give him a CLEANER tone than what he'd get without the pedal on.

It's really true, distortion/overdrive pedals have a way of 'focussing' the sound, it's the same as say a slightly distorted vocal cutting thru a mix better than a 'pure' signal.
Technically it might be more distorted but the psychocoustic effect is a 'cleaner' sound. Welcome to the Zen of electric guitar!

Another interesting thing: I recently thought about putting my Prescription Electronics Yardbox on e-bay. I never really used it much but I thought I'd give it another try first. The Yardbox is a loose clone of the Tonebender Fuzz, a pedal that was an essential part of both Beck and Page's sound.
It's got a vicious amount of piercing mids, especially with a Tele or Strat, so I always had it on the fulll bass setting.
But I now realized that it sounds amazing thru my 1971 Marshall Super Lead, I'm gonna keep it for sure.
With my new Super Reverb though, it's instant 'TinnitusVille', way too piercing, just an ugly sound. Now I know that my Super needs to be burned in first but i'm 100% sure that I'll never use the Yardbox thru this amp. That's why I think theTube Screamer is ideal with the Super Reverb. The Super has plenty of bass so that you'll still get a solid signal with the Screamer.
This often is a problem with these kinda pedals. I really liked the sound of my FullTone Full-Drive2, but I got rid of it because of the 'weakening' effect it had on the sound.

Even the Analog Man DS-1, a pedal that I really love, is rather too bright with the Super. It's perfect though thru my well-worn Fender Blues Junior and very organic and tubey thru the Marshall.

I'm just mentioning this to show you that even after 20+ years of playing, I'm still amazed how little 'standards' there are. You might find a combination that totally works for one amp/pedal/guitar setup while sounding like utter **** with another combo.
Not to mention that it might work for you but not at all for another player.

It's amazing how much variety in tone you can get just by adjusting your playing technique, kind of pick or no pick, the angle and spot where you hit the string,etc

It's still amazing to me and it's what keeps me going.

Good luck with your new setup!

Andi
Old 16th August 2005
  #26
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proxy's Avatar
 

Another vote for the Mesa Twin, although right now I'm using the H&K "pedal" and am digging that too. The medium crunch I love, the clean tone I liiiiike, and the overdrive I really love, but it has a particular strength - a certain round, semi-wooly (???) almost metally, but a little glam sounding. It has two outputs as well, one for amp, one for a board.

- proxy
Old 16th August 2005
  #27
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feyshay's Avatar
 

tube screamer

Door Knocker,
Just to clarify--I don't have a Strat, I have a Les Paul Standard. I noted exactly what you are talking about last night when I continued to mess around with the TS. I was trying to get even less distortion and found that when I turned the volume knobs on the guitar down to below 4 it was all sweetness and then higher volume got the nice distortion.
Why mess with volume knobs on the guitar when you could just turn up down the volume pedal before the TS? Shouldn't that have the same effect?
Old 16th August 2005
  #28
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feysah,

a Les Paul is obviously a totally different beast! But though I'm very much a Fender player I must say that one of my fave tones ever is Mike Bloomfield with his Les Paul through what I believe was a Fender Twin on the old 'Super Session' record. Sweet and stingy!

Though a Paul will normally not get you a pristine, bell-like clean tone like a Strat can, the basic technique with using the volume control is the same.

I'm not a technical person at all but it's important to know that changing the resistor value (or whatever it is, TechSlutz help me out!) on your volume control can make a tremendous difference sound-wise. This is equally true of the tone controls. Too many people are spending big bucks on new pickups in search of a tone they could get by spending about $ 3 on potentiometers and some experimentation.

Turning down the volume control and hooking up a volume control will yield different results for the most part.

Using your volume control lets you change the loading of the pickups. For example, the way most Teles are set up, turning down this way results in a much thinner sound that is often great for rhythm guitar. Using a volume pedal will have a similar effect, sort of. It will be a smoother change, the basic sound will be the same as with your volume pedal in the full up position, only softer and with less sustain.
Using the volume control will basically let you change the sound much more. This is especially true for chords, where too much sustain and overdrive will result in mud, whereas thinning out the sound by turning down your volume pot will yield a much clearer chord sound.

If you're using effects, then the placement of the volume pedal is crucial.
The possibilities are endless, but the way I do it is placing the volume pedal after compressor and fuzz/distortion pedals. This lets me do 2 things:

- Using say a heavy fuzz and adjusting its level without losing the 'size' and color of the effect.

- Using the volume control on the guitar to get a less prominent fuzz sound and less volume.

Using the volume pedal before the Fuzz would have a roughly similar effect like turing down the guitar volume i.e a cleaner, less sustaining sound. Again this depends on the type of potentiometer you use.

So in a way, my volume control acts as a gain adjuster, while the volume pedal is like a master volume. Combine this with using the tone controls and you got plenty of options.

Check out B.B King (especially the 'Blues is King' live recording). He's a master at using his tone and volume controls. He might do things like playing 3 notes of an intro with the volume up and the tone control down but with a soft attack from his pick, thus getting a singing, sustainy, dark, compressed sound and then INSTANTLY switching to a low volume and open tone setting that, while picked hard, will give him a staccato, bright and cutting tone.

I place my echo/delays after the volume pedal. This lets me do swell effects and I also use it for lap steel guitar to get pedal steel effects.

This COULD be done by using your volume control (some Tele players use their pinky to adjust the volume and/or tone controls while picking at the same time)
But in most cases, it's much more convenient to use a pedal.

I use an Ernie Ball volume pedal, it's got a tuner output so that I can tune silently on stage, very convenient!

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 16th August 2005
  #29
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cdog's Avatar
I've played them ALL and this is the ONE.

Matchless Hotbox, Soldano, VHT, blah blah blah they're all crap once you've played the Stage Hog.

Sell your other pedals you will NOT regret it:

http://www.stephensonamps.com/stagehog.htm
Old 7th May 2007
  #30
Here for the gear
 

I own a ToneBone Classic, a V-Twin and the S.I.B. Varidrive. I've used countless other pedals but certainly not all of them. The Varidrive is my favorite. Much more complex sounding than the Tonebone. The V-Twin is a good pedal but it's the Mesa sound that you either like or don't like. The Varidrive is a true Class A preamp and the signal path is all tube, unlike the Tonebone. The 2nd generation has a lower gain switch on the side to reduce the gain. You can also substitute a 12AT7 or a 12AU7 for even lower gain sounds. You can generally find them used for under $200 which I do not find unreasonable in comparison to many of the solid state pedals out there. They are not currently in production but Rick is working on a new 2 Channel Varidrive that I expect to be awesome.
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