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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:01 am 
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Mark III

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I feel like I have a lot of "elephants in the room" when it comes to the electric guitar. I'm always relieved when someone else observes the same "elephant" and mentions it.

My main guitar/amp setup is an EBMM JPX-7 (stock) through a Roadster 2x12 Combo. Guitar - cable - amp. Very simple, very straightforward. Over the years, I've noticed harmonics of all types, but especially pinch harmonics, are never easy to get through my Roadster. Also, they never "scream" for lack of a better term. I assumed "practice" was the best solution but another person made the same unprompted observation about Rectifiers in general. To put the matter in stark contrast, I played through the TC-50 combo for a good while the other day and pinch harmonics were effortless (and if I am to be totally honest, guitar playing was effortless!) I do not know how high up the harmonic series I was able to play but it was high and it was fun! The guitar I was playing was an EBMM Majesty which has a built-in preamp that provides a +20 db gain boost. Unplugged, this was an easy guitar to play but I also played an Ibanez JS2450 through the TC-50 and the experience was more or less the same.

So, my first question is do any of you find Rectifiers to be less harmonic friendly than other amps? If so, do you have any insight on why that might be? If not, do you have any insight on why that might be? Do EL-34's play a part in all of this?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:36 am 
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I use a clean boost with my rectifiers. One side effect is a noticeable improvement in pinch harmonics.

This seems less necessary with the Mark series. I haven't really noticed one way or another with my TC-50 yet.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:19 am 
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Mark II

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That's the way it is. It's partly due to Rectifier series' dark tone and partly because they are not that compressed. When you increase the gain, you also increase the amount of low-mids which can easily dominate the upper mid frequencies. This equals "more grunt, less scream". That's why boosting them benefits so many. You can increase the signal from the front to set the gain control where the lows are less drastic.

I think EL34 can help with the overall tone, but the most important changes with these amps come from preamp section.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:18 am 
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Shemham wrote:
That's the way it is. It's partly due to Rectifier series' dark tone and partly because they are not that compressed. When you increase the gain, you also increase the amount of low-mids which can easily dominate the upper mid frequencies. This equals "more grunt, less scream". That's why boosting them benefits so many. You can increase the signal from the front to set the gain control where the lows are less drastic.

I think EL34 can help with the overall tone, but the most important changes with these amps come from preamp section.

+1

The Rectos are very low-mid oriented, and turning up the gain will make it worse.

A good boost out front with the amp's gain at 12:30-1:00, and the presence & treble controls are the secret to these amps IMHO. I really like the TS-9 or OD-808 types, with the gain very low and the level very high. Right now I'm using a Mesa Grid Slammer with great results, and my fav, a TS-9 modded to be more like an OD-808. I use a compressor in addition to the boost for lead tones. I really like the Xotic SP for cleans and leads, and the Pigtronix Philosopher's tone is nice for leads also.

Dom

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:24 am 
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Mark III

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Thank you for your replies.

dipasco, I agree that the Mark series is harmonic friendly. If you boost your Rectifiers and play a Mark Series amp then the TC-50 may not have the same impact on you as it did on me.

Shemham, I appreciate your reply. It is informative, has a nice quip "more grunt, less scream," and confirms what I felt was true. I could get a boost pedal but for reasons that may not be logical, I would rather not go that route. When I was playing the EBMM Majesty and had the +20 gain boost engaged, I saw no reason to ever turn it off (I chose not to use the clean channel that day). Similarly, I know I would become dependent on a boost pedal and never turn it off. Same with wah pedals and octave pedals. I lack restraint, which is why I use a "guitar - cable - amp" setup as much as possible. However, when it is time to bring in the FX I get the Eventides out and various front end pedals. I see where a boost could help me, but I also see where it could hinder me if I didn't happen to have it with me. It also doesn't help that I am playing a rather dark sounding guitar into a dark amp with the EQ dialed in with a sparse amount of high end. I can work on that. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:06 pm 
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Mark II

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Yep, you got that right. EQ'ing Rectos can be challenging as it's not really that intuitive. Your guitar as well as the pickups play major part in that too so there're no exact settings one could really give for particular sound. With some guitars and pickups Rectifiers can actually sound like they were using boost due to their inherent tone. To simplify, it's all about upper mids. I remember once using Dimarzio Crunch Lab with RG-series Ibanez. That one didn't really need boost pedal thanks to its high output and mid spike.

Some setting generalizations could be made. If you want to set it, for instance, more Soldanoish/Marshallesque, you gotta turn the bass practically all the way down and raise the presence and mids somewhat from normal levels. This can help with the pinch harmonics and provide more musical feedback. At first, it might sound smaller and somewhat boxy, but after a while your ears will adjust. In the band context you shouldn't notice any major difference in the tone, but playing would feel easier.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:50 pm 
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I get that you don't want to become "dependent" on the boost pedal. However, if that were built into the amp, would you consider it to the be the same thing? If the amp were voiced exactly as if it had the boost, would you feel the same?

Ultimately, it has become standard practice to boost high-gain amps, especially rectifiers, to get them to scream. Almost every heavy rock player I'm aware of does it, and they leave the pedal on all the time, unless they are playing clean. So I look at rectos and a boost pedal as two parts of the same thing, not a codependent relationship. I also see it with Bogners, Framus, etc.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:19 am 
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Mark III

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elvis wrote:
I get that you don't want to become "dependent" on the boost pedal. However, if that were built into the amp, would you consider it to the be the same thing? If the amp were voiced exactly as if it had the boost, would you feel the same?

Ultimately, it has become standard practice to boost high-gain amps, especially rectifiers, to get them to scream. Almost every heavy rock player I'm aware of does it, and they leave the pedal on all the time, unless they are playing clean. So I look at rectos and a boost pedal as two parts of the same thing, not a codependent relationship. I also see it with Bogners, Framus, etc.


First, remember I said my reasoning was not necessarily logical. But to answer your questions, if the boost were built into the amp and could be turned on and off I would be able to hear the difference tones, prefer one over the other, and more than likely only use that particular tone. That would bother me. If the amp was voiced a particular way with nothing to compare the tone against, I would consider it a good amp and that would not bother me.

I am not looking for a solution, I just wanted to know if anyone else had observed the same thing. Good questions though; they made me think. :idea:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:47 am 
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Mark III

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Shemham wrote:
Yep, you got that right. EQ'ing Rectos can be challenging as it's not really that intuitive. Your guitar as well as the pickups play major part in that too so there're no exact settings one could really give for particular sound. With some guitars and pickups Rectifiers can actually sound like they were using boost due to their inherent tone. To simplify, it's all about upper mids. I remember once using Dimarzio Crunch Lab with RG-series Ibanez. That one didn't really need boost pedal thanks to its high output and mid spike.

Some setting generalizations could be made. If you want to set it, for instance, more Soldanoish/Marshallesque, you gotta turn the bass practically all the way down and raise the presence and mids somewhat from normal levels. This can help with the pinch harmonics and provide more musical feedback. At first, it might sound smaller and somewhat boxy, but after a while your ears will adjust. In the band context you shouldn't notice any major difference in the tone, but playing would feel easier.


My guitar has a CrunchLab 7 in the bridge position. :lol: This from the Dimarzio site: "The Crunch Lab 7™ is noteworthy (bad pun alert) for what it doesn’t do — it’s not a screamer, and it’s not about thundering lows." I think a pickup that is "not a screamer" being played through one of the darker Rectifiers is enough to confirm my suspicion. That is not to say there are not adjustments I can still make.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:45 am 
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Mark II

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Hah, funny coincidence with the pickup! Yeah, I recall it wasn't that bright, but it was tight and had pretty high output.

Frankly, I wasn't too happy with the stock sound either as the lead sound was never singing in the way I liked. I ended up modding Recto's preamp closer to SLO/earliest Rectos which helped a ton. There're few resistors which add some lowend beef and grunt, but take away highs and mids at the same time. These resistors can be jumpered easily by anyone with a solder station and some minor experience - and it's easily revertable. Of course, at this point it's fair to question why to buy a rather expensive amp and end up modifying it?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:53 am 
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Single Recto

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Hmm. Personally never had this problem myself :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:36 pm 
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Mark IV

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Modern mode CH 4 has a mid boost in the EQ and the Presence allows control over the final treble filter in the preamp. The Presence will allow the harmonics for nearly the entire fretboard to be heard when set between 9:00 and Noon, with mid control not scooped, or the bass turned up too much.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:50 pm 
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Mark III

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afu wrote:
Modern mode CH 4 has a mid boost in the EQ and the Presence allows control over the final treble filter in the preamp. The Presence will allow the harmonics for nearly the entire fretboard to be heard when set between 9:00 and Noon, with mid control not scooped, or the bass turned up too much.


Thank you afu! I agree that these settings work, or at least, they are revealing.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:56 am 
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Nah, pinch harmonics are no problem on these amps. The register is just a little lower. It is in the attitude of the playing which results in pulling off good sounding pinch harmonics. Playing it to just get that noise usually results in a poor squeal. Play the squeal like you are trying to rip off some skin and it'll sound way better. It is OK to make the Guitar God face at this point.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:48 pm 
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I never really noticed this with the Roadster before. Now that I revisited this not so long ago after reading this post, I would agree with you. Seems a bit more difficult to get a good ring out on the pinch harmonics especially further up on the fret board. A compressor on the front end or even the grid slammer will help to some degree.

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