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Thread: Screaming Leads, harmonics etc... Problem

  1. #1
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    Screaming Leads, harmonics etc... Problem

    I have a fender Custom Shop Nocaster-> catalinbread Dirty little secret-> byoc digital delay ->homebrew DrZ Route66

    I can get that massive marshall crunch open and clear (nice rhythm)BUT my lead lines don't have the sustain and the scream (i can hit the harmonic but it doesn't sustain or linger) that i get with a distortion pedal.

    If a use my BYOC mighty mouse or BYOC shredder I can get that harmonic searing leads BUT it's more compressed? or saturated?

    What can i do to get my Marshall crunch to sustain and scream like my distortion pedals without loosing that openess? I've tried a clean boost and it increases that awesome crunch but doesn't translate to lead playing? Would adding a compressor do this? Is the distortion pedal compressing, which enables those screaming harmonics to jump out? Thanks

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    That's not an insubstantial amplifier you're using... where's the volume knob(s) & Tone controls? Sorry, stupid question, but an important one if you're a fan of Non-Master-Volume amps (which I am). Not being a smartass, just asking for more information.

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    That's not an insubstantial amplifier you're using... where's the volume knob(s) & Tone controls? Sorry, stupid question, but an important one if you're a fan of Non-Master-Volume amps (which I am). Not being a smartass, just asking for more information.

    Justin
    well last night i revisited my situation and ended up maxing the volume (controling volume with guitar) treble at about 11 and bass on about 1. much much better but still a little short of what im looking for. on my dirty little secret i have treble on 11 bass at 0 and pre amp maxed and master volume at about 9 oclock. if i open up the guitar on 10 it's loud and does screm more, but still looking for more sustain

  4. #4
    Supporting Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Justin is on the right track. Getting the harmonic (or the fundamental) to sustain requires both sensitivity (gain) and acoustic feedback. Acoustic feedback is a byproduct of volume for our purposes. If you have less volume you need more gain. Conversely, if you have more volume you can get away with less gain. That will help you keep the open-ness. I think your troubles could be solved with a 100W Marshall and no dB restrictions. Short of that it's going to be a compromise. A little more compressed sounding due to higher gain. You can go a long way toward getting closer with careful EQ (hint: keep the high mids up behind the clipping stages as much as possible).Hopefully it's easier to tolerate the compromise once you understand the problem.
    Justin Thomas likes this.
    "I've heard magic defined as "a technology you don't understand". By that aphorism, the folks in this forum are practicing wizards, able to summon AND control the lightning demon, and make charms to allow others to use the demon in certain ways." R.G.

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    Thanks Chuck H, obviously i can only go so loud but i can up the gain on the DLS (switch to SL mode), i'll try again later. The DLS is a fairly new pedal to me so i'm still learning how to manipulate its sounds.

  6. #6
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattler66 View Post
    Thanks Chuck H, obviously i can only go so loud but i can up the gain on the DLS (switch to SL mode), i'll try again later. The DLS is a fairly new pedal to me so i'm still learning how to manipulate its sounds.
    I've had a DLS Mk II for many years. With that version there was no tone stack but just a Presence and Fullness (like Resonance) controls which were like subtle tweaks to the basic Marshall tone. What was cool about it was that it sounded good at most settings (no need to carefully dial it in.)

    The SL mode on your DLS should work better for you. BTW what kind of pickups do you have on your Nocaster? (I love the Nocaster pickups but I play blues and rock... no screaming leads and hard rock harmonics.)

    Steve Ahola

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    I've had a DLS Mk II for many years. With that version there was no tone stack but just a Presence and Fullness (like Resonance) controls which were like subtle tweaks to the basic Marshall tone. What was cool about it was that it sounded good at most settings (no need to carefully dial it in.)

    The SL mode on your DLS should work better for you. BTW what kind of pickups do you have on your Nocaster? (I love the Nocaster pickups but I play blues and rock... no screaming leads and hard rock harmonics.)

    Steve Ahola
    They are the CS nocaster set. It's a 2006 model

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    An amp like that is aimed at just enhancing and deepening whatever goes into it. Even the high gain preamp tube will not drive the amp section into saturation, but it might help to push the input harder. The lack of any neg feedback makes the gain envelope more linear, but more resonant as well, which makes the bass boomy and can make the high end harsh. Increasing the amp Treble may do the trick if not too piercing -- being that the amp is set up like having the Presence maxed. If it's the DLS Mk III pedal, I assume the internal switch is set to "Super Lead" with the Presence trim screw adjusted to your liking? Tried cranking the Midrange to 8 or so and reducing the Treble to ~3 with the internal Presence up high? Tried running it @18V? Tried cranking the DLS output into your clean boost and then boosting into the amp?

    Amp tone stacks actually boost the bass and highs when set flat. Less so on Marshalls than Fenders, The high end doesn't really flatten out until the Treble is at ~1. 3 is a good place to start, but you might reduce it more with higher gain and Presence settings. The Midrange actually boosts the high end as well, so crank it to drive whatever comes after it. Adjust Bass to taste. It doesn't flatten out until ~1 either. Download the Duncans 'TSC 1.3' for PC to see how common tone stacks work interactively. You know that cable capacitance adds up b4 the first gain stage, so a true bypass pedal without a buffer b4 it lowers the guitar resonance peak when disengaged. Low capacitance cables can be helpful.

    One of the ~$50 GFS pedals might be a good easy/budget choice for more gain.
    The newer Greenie & Brownie Classic pedals apparently come with the LM308 Op Amp used in the original Rat pedals with a corrected resistor value for a more Tone knob roll off. The slew rate of the LM308 limits the high end to ~5kHz, which is good for high gain sounds. All analog components with 3 really useful voicings and sounds great for ~$50. Heck, what beats a Rat into a Marshall?

    You could also use a Variac on the amp for earlier/crunchy/saggy break up. I saw a 5A 120V max one you can use for ~$60. It won't get you that singing sustain, but might be a cool option to have. Once you get a few pedals set up, you could use a passive A/B box for your lead and rhythm paths, eventually with another A/B on either side for different rhythm and lead options via Eric Johnson.
    Steve A. likes this.

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    Thanks for all that info. It really helps me understand a lot more. I'm gonna need with it more later on. I'll report back. Thanks again

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    An amp like that is aimed at just enhancing and deepening whatever goes into it. Even the high gain preamp tube will not drive the amp section into saturation, but it might help to push the input harder. The lack of any neg feedback makes the gain envelope more linear, but more resonant as well, which makes the bass boomy and can make the high end harsh. Increasing the amp Treble may do the trick if not too piercing -- being that the amp is set up like having the Presence maxed. If it's the DLS Mk III pedal, I assume the internal switch is set to "Super Lead" with the Presence trim screw adjusted to your liking? Tried cranking the Midrange to 8 or so and reducing the Treble to ~3 with the internal Presence up high? Tried running it @18V? Tried cranking the DLS output into your clean boost and then boosting into the amp?

    Amp tone stacks actually boost the bass and highs when set flat. Less so on Marshalls than Fenders, The high end doesn't really flatten out until the Treble is at ~1. 3 is a good place to start, but you might reduce it more with higher gain and Presence settings. The Midrange actually boosts the high end as well, so crank it to drive whatever comes after it. Adjust Bass to taste. It doesn't flatten out until ~1 either. Download the Duncans 'TSC 1.3' for PC to see how common tone stacks work interactively. You know that cable capacitance adds up b4 the first gain stage, so a true bypass pedal without a buffer b4 it lowers the guitar resonance peak when disengaged. Low capacitance cables can be helpful.

    One of the ~$50 GFS pedals might be a good easy/budget choice for more gain.
    The newer Greenie & Brownie Classic pedals apparently come with the LM308 Op Amp used in the original Rat pedals with a corrected resistor value for a more Tone knob roll off. The slew rate of the LM308 limits the high end to ~5kHz, which is good for high gain sounds. All analog components with 3 really useful voicings and sounds great for ~$50. Heck, what beats a Rat into a Marshall?

    You could also use a Variac on the amp for earlier/crunchy/saggy break up. I saw a 5A 120V max one you can use for ~$60. It won't get you that singing sustain, but might be a cool option to have. Once you get a few pedals set up, you could use a passive A/B box for your lead and rhythm paths, eventually with another A/B on either side for different rhythm and lead options via Eric Johnson.
    Thanks so much. That's a lot of help. You have an awesome grasp of gear. I'll mess with it later and report back

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    Alright here's the deal.
    Amp Treble 11 O'clock Bass 7 0'clock
    DLS SL mode Treble 7 o'clock Mids full Bass 8 o'clock Gain Full

    Sounds like a roaring beast and screams like a banshee.......Perfect

    I can run my volumes any level and still sounds awesome, big full chords and leads. I wonder how big a humbucker would sound?

    thanks for the tips....

  12. #12
    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattler66 View Post
    Alright here's the deal.
    Amp Treble 11 O'clock Bass 7 0'clock
    DLS SL mode Treble 7 o'clock Mids full Bass 8 o'clock Gain Full

    Sounds like a roaring beast and screams like a banshee.......Perfect

    I can run my volumes any level and still sounds awesome, big full chords and leads. I wonder how big a humbucker would sound?

    thanks for the tips....
    If you can get the sound you want with an analog FX pedal plugged into a tube amp, more power to you! There is no shame in not being able to get there without the pedal. As for digital modellers... pffft!

    Steve A.

  13. #13
    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve A. View Post
    There is no shame in not being able to get there without the pedal...

    I disagree!

    s-l225.jpg

    Kidding, we can't all amp out...
    Justin Thomas likes this.

  14. #14
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    I only use pedals (well, distortion pedals) because 50W is too loud, apparently... whatever.

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "Sort of like not checking for toilet paper before taking a dump. ." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rattler66 View Post
    Alright here's the deal.
    Amp Treble 11 O'clock Bass 7 0'clock
    DLS SL mode Treble 7 o'clock Mids full Bass 8 o'clock Gain Full

    Sounds like a roaring beast and screams like a banshee.......Perfect

    I can run my volumes any level and still sounds awesome, big full chords and leads. I wonder how big a humbucker would sound?

    thanks for the tips....
    Excellent! Thanks for the compliments. I had some good mentors. It must be the extra amp gain from cranking the midrange. Reducing the midrange became more common when high gain preamps and the cutting scooped Metal sound became popular. I think it is somewhat changing back in Metal.
    Your DSL pedal may also have an internal Presence trim set @12 o'clock by default. The is no indication in the manual that it is a high end neg feedback circuit as in a real amp, so it won't open the gain envelope. The manual indicates that it's a 3kHz centered boost located after the drive stages, so it will increase the edge for a harder attack sound without generating more harmonics. A Treble and/or slight midrange knob reduction would then decrease the generated high end harmonics for a more creamy sound without loss of definition. The default setting might be fine with your amp settings.

    Next thing is to experiment with a low capacitance cable for a more open bell-like high end. I generally recommend getting both a 6' (~160pF) & 10' (~260pF) Rapco 'G1' series to try out. That's 25pF/foot + ~10F for the plugs.

    I also have some ideas for diode clipping pedals using Shotkky diodes with a pot to adjust the gain envelope, possible Op Amp "hot" bias adjustment with a better chip, and opening the Tone knob Low Pass filter up for a Germanium to tube-like sound. You should be able turn a cheap diode/Op Amp pedal into real gem with some cheap fixes. BYOC applies some of that in the new 'Green Pony' Pedal kit. I might experiment with this in future.

    BTW, love to hear demo of your setup at some point. Even a video made with a recent smart phone should be good, as the newer MEMS mics in them have excellent sound quality.
    Last edited by Fluoroscope 5000; 04-15-2017 at 09:19 AM.

  16. #16
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    And you are still missing a few numbers in that equation.
    A classic Telecaster is not exactly the guitar indicated for soaring Metal leads:
    * weak pickup (compared to humbuckers)
    * single coil
    * relatively light body (damps sustain)
    * relatively light bridge (same)
    * bolt on neck vs *solid* glued on (same)
    * not sure about what string gauge you are using, but heavier is better (more metal mass, higher tension "spring" keeps vibration going on for longer time)
    Of course, adding tons of gain through a distortion pedal will compensate most of those problems, but then, unsurprisingly, sound will be "too compressed" , itīs artificial sustain vs natural one.
    Steve A. likes this.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

  17. #17
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    I read this somewhere, and tried it myself: "If you make ANYthing loud enough, eventually it'll sound like a Les Paul..." - Jimmy Page -

    Oh, wait, did somebody already mention volume being an issue? Nevermind...

    On the other hand, magic trick for Teles: 4-way Switch.

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "Sort of like not checking for toilet paper before taking a dump. ." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    Excellent! Thanks for the compliments. I had some good mentors. It must be the extra amp gain from cranking the midrange. Reducing the midrange became more common when high gain preamps and the cutting scooped Metal sound became popular. I think it is somewhat changing back in Metal.
    Your DSL pedal may also have an internal Presence trim set @12 o'clock by default. The is no indication in the manual that it is a high end neg feedback circuit as in a real amp, so it won't open the gain envelope. The manual indicates that it's a 3kHz centered boost located after the drive stages, so it will increase the edge for a harder attack sound without generating more harmonics. A Treble and/or slight midrange knob reduction would then decrease the generated high end harmonics for a more creamy sound without loss of definition. The default setting might be fine with your amp settings.

    Next thing is to experiment with a low capacitance cable for a more open bell-like high end. I generally recommend getting both a 6' (~160pF) & 10' (~260pF) Rapco 'G1' series to try out. That's 25pF/foot + ~10F for the plugs.

    I also have some ideas for diode clipping pedals using Shotkky diodes with a pot to adjust the gain envelope, possible Op Amp "hot" bias adjustment with a better chip, and opening the Tone knob Low Pass filter up for a Germanium to tube-like sound. You should be able turn a cheap diode/Op Amp pedal into real gem with some cheap fixes. BYOC applies some of that in the new 'Green Pony' Pedal kit. I might experiment with this in future.

    BTW, love to hear demo of your setup at some point. Even a video made with a recent smart phone should be good, as the newer MEMS mics in them have excellent sound quality.
    I'll see if i can throw together a small demo later today and post it. Funny you mention the Green pony, I have a few BYOC pedals and was having a chat with them and the Green Pony came up as possible way of achieving that Marshall in a box tone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J M Fahey View Post
    And you are still missing a few numbers in that equation.
    A classic Telecaster is not exactly the guitar indicated for soaring Metal leads:
    * weak pickup (compared to humbuckers)
    * single coil
    * relatively light body (damps sustain)
    * relatively light bridge (same)
    * bolt on neck vs *solid* glued on (same)
    * not sure about what string gauge you are using, but heavier is better (more metal mass, higher tension "spring" keeps vibration going on for longer time)
    Of course, adding tons of gain through a distortion pedal will compensate most of those problems, but then, unsurprisingly, sound will be "too compressed" , itīs artificial sustain vs natural one.
    I agree. I was getting the sustain and crunch i wanted with a BYOC Rat Clone BUT it was super compressed. That's why i was hoping to get there with an Marshall type pedal. And I did. But yeah i'm looking to get a more Rock specific guitar ala. Charvel San Dimas or EVH Striped

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I read this somewhere, and tried it myself: "If you make ANYthing loud enough, eventually it'll sound like a Les Paul..." - Jimmy Page -

    Oh, wait, did somebody already mention volume being an issue? Nevermind...

    On the other hand, magic trick for Teles: 4-way Switch.

    Justin
    The only "mod" i did was change to modern wiring, I wanted to keep it stock. Yeah my amp all cranked can get some decent crunch for chords but for leads it's not a high gain amp and needed to be boosted. It's more a vintage type i would say

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    The ~2.3H inductance Nocaster neck pickup is probably just fine and bell-like with an average 12' ~400pF cable b4 the first preamp stage, but the ~3.7H bridge pickup may produce a rather piercing sound as the resonance is down in the ~3.5kHz "ice pick" zone, assuming 250k pots and 1M Ohm input. I have a similar Wilde 3.6H L280SL Strat pickup with a copper base plate that benefits greatly from a ~200pF cable. It's more open and sweeter with good definition...really just perfect with that value, and very versatile. ~200pF 6'~8'cables were the norm b4 the mid 60's coiled stage cables became popular, so a "vintage correct" sound with your Nocaster requires such a cable capacitance value. Fender pickup inductance & cable capacitance values were specifically coordinated for the Hi-Z Fender amps being developed. Changing any one of those factors just sullies the intended result. If you don't have one, order the two Rapco "G1" cables I recommended and see which you prefer. I'd probably go with the 6', but it's your call. I actually went through this with another Tele player at the Scuffham forums. He preferred the 10' cable...it's all good. You'll probably notice a more sensitive dynamic quality on the bridge pickup, especially when playing finger-style, and tone knob changes will be more effective.

    There's no reason you can't play many styles of music on a Tele. Many Rock and Metal players actually use Tele's now. The body may or may not damp much depending on the weight and wood integrity. Bolt-on necks actually damp less than a glue-in due to increased coupling force. Mahogany glue-in necks may sound like they have more sustain because there normally isn't as much high end to die out as with a hard Maple neck. The thicker body of a Les Paul type does improve low end sustain, and the rearward angled neck may have some effect. I agree that a TOM style bridge damps less than a Tele bridge, but thick barrel saddles and tightened plate screws do well for sustain.

    You can actually alter the sustain quality with a hard plastic bracket in the neck pocket. I cut out some 1.1mm thick Lexan brackets in a certain way for a few guitars to maximize coupling force and minimize neck damping. It improves the low end punch and high end extension a bit for a bigger sound. My brother noticed the same result with a few guitars. It won't make much difference with a harder/heavier body wood. I made a quick 2 part video showing just what I did located within this folder: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bx...khoYnl3ZHVmSG8
    Last edited by Fluoroscope 5000; 04-15-2017 at 08:53 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Thomas View Post
    I read this somewhere, and tried it myself: "If you make ANYthing loud enough, eventually it'll sound like a Les Paul..." - Jimmy Page -

    Oh, wait, did somebody already mention volume being an issue? Nevermind...

    On the other hand, magic trick for Teles: 4-way Switch.

    Justin
    Agreed. That should have a big warm lead sound with the Nocaster set in series with the classic mid dip. The "HOoP" wiring with a 5-way switch is also popular for a sweet "swampy" sound without any loss of highs and the added bass cut pos for the neck.

  23. #23
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    Actually I may do some exploring on mine... Thanks for that site!

    Justin
    "When receiving a shock I emit a strange loud high pitched girlish squeak." - Alex R -
    "Sort of like not checking for toilet paper before taking a dump. ." - Chuck H -
    "All I ever managed to do with that amp was... kill small rodents within a 50 yard radius of my practice building." - Tone Meister -

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    Finally got around to making a quick video, please forgive the sloppiness, it's my first video. thanks

    https://youtu.be/ws3_3o75LNY
    Last edited by Rattler66; 05-31-2017 at 12:20 PM.

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    Great! Nice job, playing. I have to say that the amp sound is essentially drowned out by the room reflections, and the string noise coming off the guitar makes it hard to hear the attack sound. For future reference, it's OK to use a camera mic, but the speaker should really be within ~1m of it to be able to hear the sound clearly in a really live room like that. Otherwise, glad you got the sound you like.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluoroscope 5000 View Post
    Great! Nice job, playing. I have to say that the amp sound is essentially drowned out by the room reflections, and the string noise coming off the guitar makes it hard to hear the attack sound. For future reference, it's OK to use a camera mic, but the speaker should really be within ~1m of it to be able to hear the sound clearly in a really live room like that. Otherwise, glad you got the sound you like.
    Thanks for the advice. I'm going to try what you said. Good ears I didn't even realize the room effect

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