So Amp or Guitar

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by neuk01642, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Alreet people.

    So bit of a first-world dilemma.
    I'm selling of some unused equipment and I have a little squirrelled away and I'm at a point of having to make a choice.

    Do I go for an amp or guitar.

    So to paint a picture.
    I have an rig (Line 6 Helix, Matrix power amp a small collection of dirt pedals), and I'm reasonably happy with the tone I can get from it. But I have of late begun noticing more and more the difference in the sound of the gain on tube heads vs modelling and feeling a little bit like the tones I'm getting from the Helix while close to being awesome are just lacking a little (it's something about the high frequency decay of the distortion in high gain sounds). I've also been falling in love with the tones of a few amplifiers (Victory Super Kraken, REVV Generator 120, Peavey Invective, and the Fortin Maxwatt 50). So I don't NEED a new amp. I don't NEED to go back to tubes...

    I also have guitars (two to be precise). They're good 8 strings (both Agiles both loaded with Bareknuckle pups). Both have issues (some of my own doing some not) that do put a sheen on the playing experience somewhat and as they were both stock guitars there are things I would definitely change (scale length on one, go for multi scale, I made a poor pick up choice with one of them one of them came with an awful floating trem - I got it cheap off eBay so beggars can't be choosers etc). So I've been investigating either getting a custom made guitar to my specifications (probably go either with Waghorn or Carillon in the UK) or get something like a Skervesen (they come pretty close in most cases to my ideal guitar and their reputation is amazing) or RAN or something like that.

    I could address some of the issues with one of the guitar (pick ups) and still do the amp, is the other thing.

    So what would you do? Guitar or Amp?

    Like I said, first world problem... I don't actually need to do either.
     
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  2. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Doc McStuffins Contributor

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    Guitar before amp. Always. YMMV.
     
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  3. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, hearing you.
    That's kind of my thoughts. It would be amazing to get that guitar that means I just don't want to play anything else. But then I hear a screaming 100watt tube head... I have to stop watching RezaMatrix demo videos on YouTube...

    Thanks for chipping in man.
     
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  4. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    Try tweaking the helix some more.
    Every off the cuff demo comparison I’ve heard has had the high frequency thing your talking about but the really good patches can dial a lot of it out.
     
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  5. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Get on the Helix boards and learn how to dial in the unit to get the results you want, and you should be set.

    If you don't like your 8 with a trem, sell it and play the other one :yesway:.
     
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  6. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Believe me the Helix is an ongoing journey and I live on the Line 6 forum and the Helix FB pages and they're incredibly helpful. It's not a problem of tone so much as the nature of the way digital modellers/profilers handle gain. I had the same issue with my Kemper (although the Helix is actually better at doing what I want it too). It's an issue that many people have flagged (both tube nuts who hate modelling and people like me who love both). There is a quality to the high frequency decay in the high gain settings where it looses definition and washes out to a white noise hiss. I'm closer now than I've ever been to eliminating this but it's still not got the same high frequency clarity. This gives you problem because a lot of the bite and aggression in high gain tones I like comes from those upper mids and treble frequencies so EQing it out just leads to a flat tone without that definition and attack.
    In terms of the guitar. The trem is an issue and I would;t have spec'd it with that. But the guitar itself is a more comfortable scale length and has Juggernauts in and a maple neck so offers a different tonal palette. My other guitar which has VHiis (lovely neck pick up but the bridge is unbelievably bright) is an ebony board and 30" scale length. It sounds great but it's a bit of a monster to play and like I said, the VHii bridge was a mistake.
     
  7. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    The Helix is a journey that started about 6 months ago with a Kemper. It's close now and a painstaking journey through various amp models, cab IRs from multiple manufactures has got me closer than I've ever been. A lot of people combat this with EQ cuts at 4k and high cut at 6k but I just find this sucks the life out of guitar tone and I like the aggression and bite you get with a good chunk of high mids and upper frequencies and I find it absolutely helps maintain string definition in big chords.
     
  8. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Can you hear it in the mix?
     
  9. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Yep... well it's not so much what I can hear as what I can't. The note definition in chords just gets lost. It's like it's just a bit white washed over the top.

    Like I said, it's better now than it ever has been. I bagged a new set of IRs and they really seem to have helped retain the detail in the top end.

    And honestly, it's probably only me who can hear it but it's in my head now and it bugs me... I probably need perspective.

    Has to be said, it sounds pretty good through a cab, just the IR's that seem to cause the issues. But that's how I have to record as I don't have the space to mic up cabs.
     
  10. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Sounds like you need to use less gain :2c:
     
  11. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Its a possibility but I've been up and down the gain settings countless times and if I go much lower then I start loosing the chunk on the lower strings when I palm mute. It just ends up sounding like I'm palm muting a pushed clean. The gain on the Helix rarely gets above a quarter and I'm pushing the front end with either a Fortin 33 or a Fortin Grind (I like Fortin pedals ;oD). I'm also not using crazy high output pick ups... I've got juggernauts in one guitar (13.3 and 8.9ohm) and VHII in the other (8.9 and 7.9). I really don't like excessive gain.
     
  12. Albake21

    Albake21 SS.org Regular

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    Well maybe I should ask, maybe it's the Helix? I owned a Helix for a month and I wasn't too sure about it. I sold it and bought an AX8. Let me tell you.... the moment I plugged it in and played.... unbelievable the difference in feel and tone. There is no competition with the AX8 vs Helix when it comes to high gain IMO. Then on top of that add custom IRs and your own tweaking... man a world of difference.

    With the Helix, I found myself looking everywhere using all these crazy tweaks and help just to get a decent high gain tone. In the end I just gave up and I'll never look back.
     
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  13. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Again, it's a possibility. I just don't want to bounce from Kemper to Helix to AxFx without giving the Helix a good go. It's closer than the Kemper (the Kemper just wasn't the right tool for the job)... who know. May end up trying to pick up a second hand AxFx 2XL now the 3 is out but not yet.
     
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  14. Albake21

    Albake21 SS.org Regular

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    I seriously recommend doing it. I was super skeptical about going from Helix to Axe FX in such a short amount of time, but man I'll never forget the first time I played. I was absolutely speechless. I now have said, if I ever upgrade/get a new amp it will only be for a newer Axe FX.
     
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  15. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire ERG hoarder/pickup tester

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    get rid of the pickup you don't like and the guitar with the trem. If you don't like aspects of those guitars then sell em or mod em. Use the cash from the pickup/guitar sale for a different pickup. That's what I would do first. I don't like keeping guitars that I don't like, or that have qualities I don't like.

    I'd say keep playing around with the helix and give it a fair go before selling it. Tube amps are fun but 100W is a lot for a bedroom player (hell a 30W is a lot for a bedroom player). Unless the amp has a built in lower wattage mode, I'd also look into getting an attenuator if you do get a tube amp.
     
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  16. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Thanks man. Yeah, I think the plan will be replace the maple board/trem guitar with 'the guitar' and then either sell the trem guitar or rip the trem out and put an Evertune bridge in instead. I'm also going to replace the bridge pick on the other guitar. I am going to have to learn how to wire and solder because changing pick ups is pricy enough without paying bench time as well...
    I hear you on amps. If I get one there will absolutely be a reactive loadbox purchased as well (Two Notes Torpedo Live or UA OX). I had a Marshall 50watt with a Two Notes Reload and that worked fine (just wasn't a massive fan of the amp - turns out I think I'm a 6L6 or KT88 man rather than EL34s).

    And yeah, I'm going to keep plugging away at the Helix for the time being.
     
  17. jsmalleus

    jsmalleus SS.org Regular

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    Another option would be to try the helix through a tube power amp rather than the matrix. I was using a gt1000fx to keep my gig rig (helix and Syn2) light, but while it sounded good, I started running it through tube power amps instead while at home and it made the high end/digital vibe it sounds like you're not digging pretty much disappear on both the syn and the helix. Some power amps more so than others. The difference was enough that I got a rack case with an extra space and wheels and now haul the extra 40lbs around to gigs and don't regret it. Global eq on the helix was enough to make things sound pretty good through the matrix though if you want to stay light weight.
     
  18. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Try dialling in the helix without any pedals in front. Also, try pick harder on your palm mutes :yesway: (think hetfield).
     
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  19. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    Yeah, I don't think the power amp is the thing causing the problems because when I run through my cab it sounds good, but as I said before I can't mic cabs in the space I record in (small kids, close neighbours, busy wife) so I always record direct out of the Helix into my interface and thats when the fizz seems to be most prominent).
     
  20. neuk01642

    neuk01642 SS.org Regular

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    I'll keep that in mind. Loathed to take the Fortin boosts out of the mix because they bring a whole world of aggression to the tone as well as tightening up the bottom end and hammering the mids.
     

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