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#972295 - 08/15/12 01:08 AM Tube Amps and Muddiness  
Joined: Feb 2012
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Was at the guitar center today, trying out a 52 reissue fender, talk about pricey.

But I tried the vox ac 15, and a few fender tube amps.

Why are they so muddy? I found the only I could get a real bright was by either cranking trebl all the way right, bass all the way left.

Or flipping to lead on the tele.

Then I go to solid state Marshall and its clean as hell.

Why are tube amps so highly regarded and sought after when its so hard to get a clean sound out of it?

#972374 - 08/15/12 09:30 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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Saint Petersburg. FL
Tube amps can be clean or distorted or both - depends on the guitar pickups, the amp design and the volume setting. Tubes provide a pleasant sounding distortion which is what people like while solid state distortion is or was harsh and nasty sounding although solid state has come a long way.

For clean tube sound, play through a Fender Deluxe Reverb, or a Twin Reverb. Even a Fender Blues Junior is pretty clean unless you really crank it.

Vox and Marshall amps are loved for their overdriven tones more than their clean so they may not be for you.

The tone controls are there for you to use. If you like a very bright tone with the treble up and the bass down, that is fine.

Hot or overwound pickups on the guitar will lower the amount of treble and increase the distortion or muddiness. Run of the mill Tele pickups are not overwound but some Teles have way different pickups in them.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#972394 - 08/15/12 12:57 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
Tube amps can be clean or distorted or both - depends on the guitar pickups, the amp design and the volume setting. Tubes provide a pleasant sounding distortion which is what people like while solid state distortion is or was harsh and nasty sounding although solid state has come a long way.

For clean tube sound, play through a Fender Deluxe Reverb, or a Twin Reverb. Even a Fender Blues Junior is pretty clean unless you really crank it.

Vox and Marshall amps are loved for their overdriven tones more than their clean so they may not be for you.

The tone controls are there for you to use. If you like a very bright tone with the treble up and the bass down, that is fine.

Hot or overwound pickups on the guitar will lower the amount of treble and increase the distortion or muddiness. Run of the mill Tele pickups are not overwound but some Teles have way different pickups in them.


I had a blues jr a while back and I was never happy with it. Same problem, have to play rhythm with the lead pickup. otherwise it sounds like you;re wearing headphones.

Marshalls have always been really clean, which I like, but then the sound is more hard rock or heavy metal, which is not really what I do.

I guess a pedal eq would do something, but I find cranking treble only thins the sound out without cleaning it up.


#972413 - 08/15/12 05:08 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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I guess your definition of clean and mine are not the same.


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#972414 - 08/15/12 05:21 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
I guess your definition of clean and mine are not the same.


yes I guess. Playing through a tube amp sounds like having the tone knob of the guitar rolled to th emiddle instead of all the way to the right.

A muddiness in the eq.

Not so much a muddiness due to distortion.

#972418 - 08/15/12 06:07 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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At the very beginning of this track is my Strat plugged into my Ampeg tube amp. I would call that clean - there are some more clean fills as the song unfolds.

Dream On Down to the Keys


Colin

I try to critique as if you mean business.....

http://colinwardmusic.com/

http://rosewoodcreekband.com/


#972485 - 08/16/12 12:54 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Originally Posted by Colin Ward
At the very beginning of this track is my Strat plugged into my Ampeg tube amp. I would call that clean - there are some more clean fills as the song unfolds.

Dream On Down to the Keys


sounds good, I was playing a strat through a vox vt 15 sounded good. 600 bucks for that bad boy.

Have to sell 600 downloads to get that back lol

#1137726 - 02/24/18 12:01 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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joro Offline
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Meas Boogie.

Specifically a Nomad 55 with one 12" Celection.

Clean or dirty it is all you have ever wanted and all you will ever need,

gigged with one for many years on the Boston Circuit and always sounded good either with my Taylor or my Les Paul

#1137727 - 02/24/18 12:02 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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also, you can change the bias...run 6L6s or EL 84s

#1137729 - 02/24/18 12:49 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Back in the 70's many of the jazz players were using solid state amps for a cleaner less distorted tone. I personally do prefer a solid state amp like the acoustic Crate amp usually used by classical musicians in large venues - No longer made but you had better have a good sounding instrument for it to work. Oddly my Gretsch Astrojet sounds sweeeeeeeet through it. Better than it did when I ran it through my old Vox Bentley II tube




#1137780 - 02/24/18 06:07 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: Sue Rarick]  
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Originally Posted by Sue Rarick
Back in the 70's many of the jazz players were using solid state amps for a cleaner less distorted tone. I personally do prefer a solid state amp like the acoustic Crate amp usually used by classical musicians in large venues - No longer made but you had better have a good sounding instrument for it to work. Oddly my Gretsch Astrojet sounds sweeeeeeeet through it. Better than it did when I ran it through my old Vox Bentley II tube


Yes!
I have one...awesome amp.my $5.00 amp

Last edited by joro; 02/24/18 06:15 PM.
#1137816 - 02/25/18 12:27 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
For some reason they still make tube Amps brand new. Why? Because people want them. Now Solid State Amps are probably cleaner and much more accurate. Tube Designs are from way back probably developed from Military designs of the second world war. Like everything else there are a lot of differences in amps and you just have to try a few out to see which one you like. There have been many, many outstanding recordings made with tube equipment long before solid state became available.


Ray E. Strode
#1139213 - 03/30/18 10:03 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Some people have even moved on to software amps.


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#1140644 - 05/10/18 05:31 AM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Kolstad Offline
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I love tube amps. like Colin said, you can get any sound you want with the dials, and they have enough volume to gig with. If you hear a muddy sound, it is most likely the pickups in the guitar you use. The amp just amplifies what you put into it.


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

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#1140650 - 05/10/18 07:52 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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TC Perkins Offline
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Virginia
I have never had an issue with tube amps being muddy unless the tubes were fried.

If you want a pristine clean that can be made as bright as you want it - ROLAND JAZZ CHORUS amp is the deal. They keep their value, too; I just sold my Roland JC-120 (1984) for $650 which is way more than I paid for it. I assume the newer models will hold their value but that is no guarantee.

The trick with tube amps is getting to know them. For instance, with my VOX if my guitar pickups are turned up (no pedals) there is some harmonic distortion even at minimum settings. Many tube amps are designed so that they will really respond to your playing and pickup volume so nailing the strings with your pick and having your pickups turned up will give you saturation. This varies widely by amp but is a general trend in all of them.

Another point I would like to make is use whichever pickup you like the sound of on each particular passage. "Rhythm" and "Lead" pickup designations are bogus. I tend to use my back pickup (treble or "lead") more on chords and my front ("rhythm") pickup on single notes which is a trick I picked up from Santana. I just flip the pickup settings, volume, and tone until I get the sound I want and ignore what the pickup designation is.

I second Joro on Mesa amps. I really want a Mesa Boogie - those amps are incredible (but VERY pricey).

Peace,
TC


If it has strings I will find a way to play it!

You can hear my tunes at https://soundcloud.com/tc-gypsy
#1141371 - 06/04/18 12:33 PM Re: Tube Amps and Muddiness [Re: December X]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Well the op says he was using a USA fender re issue, a $1000+ guitar. I doubt it's the guitar

Tube amps can never be as clean as solid state, just as reel to reel tape recording can never be as clean as digital. But there is warmth and subtleties that come out with tubes that becomes a trade off

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 06/04/18 12:33 PM.

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