the an­swers

Guitarist - - Pedal Board -

This is the fun­da­men­tal of all elec­tric guitar sounds, James: gain struc­ture. And you’re right, dif­fer­ent ped­als sound rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent with dif­fer­ent amps. But don’t de­spair…

01

Gain, com­pres­sion and EQ: a Tube Screamer works so well with a black­face Fender be­cause it of­fers the amp a bit of com­pres­sion, a kick in mids and enough gain and level to take all that sparkly clean stuff into nice over­drive. By con­trast, both your amps have a lot of avail­able gain, quite a bit of com­pres­sion in the front-end and a to­tally dif­fer­ent EQ char­ac­ter.

We’d be look­ing at a full-range boost that can boost clean sounds, and/or drive the amp’s OD into sweeter drive and com­pres­sion with­out overly colour­ing the sound. Hav­ing some bass at­ten­u­a­tion will help with clar­ity. Fuzz-wise, the world is your oys­ter. Mar­shall and Orange amps tend to like fuzz be­cause you can have the front-end of the amp break­ing up slightly. Fuzz Face, Big Muff, Tone Ben­der, Power Driver… all sounds that you should ex­per­i­ment with. As for ODs, there are just so many. Avoid a big mid hump, we’d say, and go for some­thing with plenty of siz­zle if you’re play­ing in a rock style. You may not even need an OD with the right boost and fuzz com­bi­na­tion. 02

If it’s a ger­ma­nium fuzz, run that first. Then you can use the boost to boost it louder. If the fuzz plays nicely af­ter the boost, try that, too, for some wild com­pres­sion and gain. As for boost and OD, run­ning boost first will push the OD into much heav­ier sat­u­ra­tion; run­ning it af­ter will give you a level lift af­ter the OD… but only if your amp is set rel­a­tively clean. If the amp is set dirty, you’ll just get more gain and com­pres­sion. In that case, try the boost in the loop. Good luck!

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