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How to make a good sounding Distortion on a Fender amp?

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Hi there!

 

 

I have a Line6 POD HD500X, updated with the latest firmware.

 

I am probably not the only one wondering what's going on with the Fender amps when a distortion pedal is added to the chain. It does not sound good. :wacko:  For instance:

 

Get the SLO 100 or a Marshall amp, put it on a clean set up, add a classic distortion (rat) in front of it, it will sound good.  :D  :lol:

Do the same with any Fender or Vox amp, it will be ugly.  :blink:

 

Facial Fuzz seems to work better than any distortion or overdrive when it comes to pair it with Fender models.

 

What is your magical way to get good distortion with Fender amps?

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Fender and Vox amps are very top-endy amps. I have found even with the real ones a little less treble or presence is a good thing.

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Possibly a little EQ after the distortion device.

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I'll try changing cabs and mic, also the EQ after de distortion as adviced. I have always lowered treble settings on the amp and the distortions to make it a little better but still doesn't sound right.

 

What bugs me is that on a real Fender Deluxe Reverb, pedals like RAT, Tube Screamer, Big Muff do sound great in front of it. Unfortunatly while I can get a wonderful clean tone in the Line6 Fender 'dlx emulator, it seems to not behave like the real thing with distortion or overdrive pedals. 

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I use Fender amps a lot in real life - own four of 'em, actually. My DRRI is still my go-to amp for live playing. And I actually think it's pretty easy for them to sound bad with many distortion pedals. The line between it sounding crisp and tight versus fizzy and fuzzy can be pretty fine. I recently read an article by Nels Cline, and he said that when he's using a Fender amp his baseline starting point is putting the Treble at 2 and the Bass at 10. That may take the top end down too much, but I've tried that on that the HD models, and does seem to help. As far as the RAT, I think it's a very touchy pedal. Had one on my board for awhile and got rid of it. I feel like it has such a narrow range of useable tones. If you don't crank the filter control to 75% or higher (I believe the filter is such that the higher you have, the more it cuts), it's like a can of bees.

 

One thing to try to with the HD models is using the DEP controls. You can turn the master volume back for one thing. Also, I'd recommend turning the cab resonance to zero. Beyond that, I think keeping the drive on the lower end helps. The drive control is really the volume knob on the Fender models, and most of the time you would never run the volume on a Deluxe above 3 or 4. On a Twin, you're lucky if you can get it above 2 before it gets intolerably loud.

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Phil_m 

 

Thanks for sharing your experience. I watched a video posted on another topic "fizz.." It shows how to use the Parametric EQ after the amp to cut off the harsh frequencies. Very nice to get the tone right. 

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I would recommend the tube compressor prior to the amp. Threshold 38%, level 34%. Use the drive on the amp for dirt. Throw in distortion of your choice in front of the tube compressor, should be good to go

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Tube Driver overdrive model into the front of the Pete Anderson or Deluxe sounds real good too.I use those a lot.

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What kind of distortion are you looking for? There are so many different types.

 

By saying that a Marshall sounds good with a Tube Drive in front of it I understand that you're looking for a "Marshall" type tone.

 

If I was using a Fender sim I'd be going for a typical slightly overdriven distortion.

 

Let me know and I'll see what I can do.

 

Cheers.

 

Peter.

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I would recommend the tube compressor prior to the amp. Threshold 38%, level 34%. Use the drive on the amp for dirt. Throw in distortion of your choice in front of the tube compressor, should be good to go

 

I will try it, I use to always add a compressor before the distortions, thanks for the tip.

 

 

What kind of distortion are you looking for? There are so many different types.

 

By saying that a Marshall sounds good with a Tube Drive in front of it I understand that you're looking for a "Marshall" type tone.

 

If I was using a Fender sim I'd be going for a typical slightly overdriven distortion.

 

Let me know and I'll see what I can do.

 

Cheers.

 

Peter.

 

I am looking for a good clean Fender tone where I could add an overdrive or distortion before it and get good results. So I can play songs that have clean and dirt parts. Think Nirvana (Nice clean + distortion), Samshing Pumpkins (clean + Big Muff) and White Stripes (also clean + big muff).

Best result I have so far is Noise Gate --> Red Compressor --> Line6 Drive --> Big Muff --> SLO 100 Clean amp --> Parametriq EQ (Q at 75%, Freq at 82%, gain at 35%) -->  Delay --> Reverb.

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My experience, with single coil pickups: the Deluxe makes a nice medium hot lead tone with the tube screamer in front and if you like, the LA2A comp after for extra sustain. The twin has an unpleasant frequency curve to me and the bassman is too flubby in the bottom, although that can be nice for old school low distortion rhythm work.

 

BUT, for my money, the divided by 13 does the Deluxe kind of tone much better and smoother. It also does a really nice soft breakup for rhythm work or semi distorted lead. It's not as easy to adjust, with two gain knobs, but once i got it dialed, I preferred it way over the deluxe.

 

Keep in mind that the speaker is one of the most important factors in the difference between the Marshall sound and the Fender sound.

 

I don't like the sound of any of the Vox amps for distortion (but ok for clean jazz). Too harsh and grainy for my style.

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LA2A Comp??????

 

That's what the Tube Compressor was modeled from.

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I will try it, I use to always add a compressor before the distortions, thanks for the tip.

 

 

 

I am looking for a good clean Fender tone where I could add an overdrive or distortion before it and get good results. So I can play songs that have clean and dirt parts. Think Nirvana (Nice clean + distortion), Samshing Pumpkins (clean + Big Muff) and White Stripes (also clean + big muff).

Best result I have so far is Noise Gate --> Red Compressor --> Line6 Drive --> Big Muff --> SLO 100 Clean amp --> Parametriq EQ (Q at 75%, Freq at 82%, gain at 35%) -->  Delay --> Reverb.

 

I've never managed to get satisfactory results trying to "dirty-up" a clean tone with pedals...whether it's old school analog, or modeled. I've always found that setting things up that way (especially using actual pedals into a clean amp tone) takes away from at least one, if not both tones. So I've resigned myself to having my clean patches, and my dirty ones...and never the twain shall meet. It's less tap-dancing anyway...

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I've never managed to get satisfactory results trying to "dirty-up" a clean tone with pedals...whether it's old school analog, or modeled. I've always found that setting things up that way (especially using actual pedals into a clean amp tone) takes away from at least one, if not both tones. So I've resigned myself to having my clean patches, and my dirty ones...and never the twain shall meet. It's less tap-dancing anyway...

 

The problem I find when setting two diferrent patches (one clean, other dirty) is the lag of some miliseconds when you switch between them on the POD HD500X. That's a deal breaker for me, so I am trying to get things the same way I used to do with analog pedals with good results.  By the way, I tried a BOSS DS-1 before the guitar input and it sounds much better than I expected, but too similar to the Line 6 Drive FX included.

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The problem I find when setting two diferrent patches (one clean, other dirty) is the lag of some miliseconds when you switch between them on the POD HD500X. That's a deal breaker for me, so I am trying to get things the same way I used to do with analog pedals with good results. By the way, I tried a BOSS DS-1 before the guitar input and it sounds much better than I expected, but too similar to the Line 6 Drive FX included.

There's a way around that...set up dual amp chains, one clean and one dirty. Then assign the channel volumes to the expression pedal. Heel down for clean, tow down for dirty (or vice versa if you prefer). Seamless transition between the two tones...one fades right into the other. Priceless feature...

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There's a way around that...set up dual amp chains, one clean and one dirty. Then assign the channel volumes to the expression pedal. Heel down for clean, tow down for dirty (or vice versa if you prefer). Seamless transition between the two tones...one fades right into the other. Priceless feature...

 

Thank you cruisinon2! That's clever, I am not really sure how to do it step by step, but I'll look it out. 

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Thank you cruisinon2! That's clever, I am not really sure how to do it step by step, but I'll look it out. 

 

Wish I could say it was my idea...learned it here on the forums, lol

 

Not the easiest process to convey in text...but here goes:

 

Each patch can have 2 completely isolated signal chains.  If you're editing on the POD itself, with the amp block selected, hit the UP arrow, and you will see the amp icon move up, as the signal chain splits. You can now add another amp block beneath it. The upper path is Path A, and the lower one Path B. Assign the amp block to either Exp1 or Exp2 the same way you would assign an FX block to a footswitch...then double click 'enter' (I think it's enter...I'm not in front of the POD right now) and you should be able to toggle between the various amp parameters. You can assign any of them to the expression pedal...for this you want to select channel volume, and assign it to either "Min" (heel down)  or "Max" (toe down), depending on which one you want clean or dirty. Repeat for the other amp block, with the opposite Min/Max setting.

 

I realize this is not a wonderful description...hard to do with just text on a page. I may have left something out...trying to do it from memory at the moment. Hope it helps.

 

POD's input settings may need to be changed too, depending on how you have them set. If you have a JTV, there are more options...

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Wish I could say it was my idea...learned it here on the forums, lol

 

Not the easiest process to convey in text...but here goes:

 

Each patch can have 2 completely isolated signal chains.  If you're editing on the POD itself, with the amp block selected, hit the UP arrow, and you will see the amp icon move up, as the signal chain splits. You can now add another amp block beneath it. The upper path is Path A, and the lower one Path B. Assign the amp block to either Exp1 or Exp2 the same way you would assign an FX block to a footswitch...then double click 'enter' (I think it's enter...I'm not in front of the POD right now) and you should be able to toggle between the various amp parameters. You can assign any of them to the expression pedal...for this you want to select channel volume, and assign it to either "Min" (heel down)  or "Max" (toe down), depending on which one you want clean or dirty. Repeat for the other amp block, with the opposite Min/Max setting.

 

I realize this is not a wonderful description...hard to do with just text on a page. I may have left something out...trying to do it from memory at the moment. Hope it helps.

 

POD's input settings may need to be changed too, depending on how you have them set. If you have a JTV, there are more options...

 

Cool I did it! Thanks a lot! 

 

I set up two paths like you explained using the Soldano Clean for path A and Soldano Crunch for path B, it really works great using the expression pedal to alternate both amps volume at the same time, plus the Soldano Crunch sound better than the Line 6 Drive IMO. 

 

The only thing extra I had to do, was to set up the left and right channels in the mixer to "center".

 

The POD drives and distortions have some unpleasant high frequencies and the video bellow show a trick using the Parametric EQ to lower them, it was usefull for me so I will post the video here it may help others:

 

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the patch was only a demo one...

i used the hiwatt+line6 amps purely 4 demonstration purposes.

u choose whichever amp fits ur needs.

similarly, the mixer left and right channels must b set according 2 ur needs as well.

glad u figured it out.

john :)

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The only thing extra I had to do, was to set up the left and right channels in the mixer to "center".

 

 

 

I knew I was forgetting something...lol. Glad it worked for you. Cool isn't it? The only real problem is that the extra amp block eats up DSP, so you might hit the limit sooner than usual if you're using a lot of DSP-heavy fx. I don't use a ton of fx, so it hasn't really been an issue for me.

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the patch was only a demo one...

i used the hiwatt+line6 amps purely 4 demonstration purposes.

u choose whichever amp fits ur needs.

similarly, the mixer left and right channels must b set according 2 ur needs as well.

glad u figured it out.

john :)

John thanks for your help! I'll take a look at your patch later at home!

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don't  bother, this was nothing special, just a quick off-line demo patch on the fly, implementing cruisinon2's decription :)

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I knew I was forgetting something...lol. Glad it worked for you. Cool isn't it? The only real problem is that the extra amp block eats up DSP, so you might hit the limit sooner than usual if you're using a lot of DSP-heavy fx. I don't use a ton of fx, so it hasn't really been an issue for me.

Very cool! As for the DSP, since I am using the amp "B" as overdrive, I am able now to get rid of the overdrive/distortion before the amp and use that FX block for something else. I did not run out of DSP Power, yet. :)

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Very cool! As for the DSP, since I am using the amp "B" as overdrive, I am able now to get rid of the overdrive/distortion before the amp and use that FX block for something else. I did not run out of DSP Power, yet. :)

 

I should also mention that you can do the same thing with the FX blocks that you did with the amp blocks, meaning you can position the FX (with the UP/DOWN arrows) so that it sits in either Path A or B. That way you're not stuck feeding the same effect into both amps, unless you want to.

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Here is a patch from my HD500 that gets a pretty good distortion tone with the Variax Tele model on the HD500 Blackface Lux model which you are welcome to try.  See attached zipped file TeleLux.

 

TeleLux.zip

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Also remember what sounds good to one person may not to the next. Besides equipment differences all the way along the signal chain -- guitar or variax, VDI or guitar input, studio out or one of the other output settings, line level out or instrument level out, 1/4" out or XLR out, guitar amp in or FX loop in or power amp or pa amp, or going straight to PA, then speaker choices - guitar cab or FRFR speaker or powered speaker, volume levels - bedroom, practice or performance.... All of these variables have very significant outcomes. Then on top of all that is the users opinion of what a "good distortion" really is -- classic 80's crunch, heavy metal, blues, yada yada yada... It really is difficult question overall...

 

Dave 

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