Old 11-15-2009, 07:34 AM   #1
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Default Amp Sim Tones ?

Having tried many if not all of the more popular free guitar Amp Sims I've noticed I can obtain a descent 'metal' tone, but have not been able to get close to the cleaner smoother tones of David Gilmour or Carlos Santana.

I find Amp Sims much too harsh in tone when driven. More than capable of the heaviest of heavy metal, or the cleanest of cleans such as Yes. But not capable of those 'in-between' tones. I'm wondering what others have found, or is it just my inability to coax these tones out ?

My set up is usually Amp Sim > LeCab. Along with a delay and maybe a few others.
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Old 11-15-2009, 07:44 AM   #2
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Follow the link in my sig and try some of these chains.

I believe amp sims need working on and come into their own when used in a chain with other FX, especially when you need a cleaner tone

I suggest the "Solo with Style" pack for the tones you want, but also highly recommend "The Signature Series", and "The Dan Quartet"

Then let us know what you think
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Old 11-15-2009, 07:47 AM   #3
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First, welcome to the forum.

And yes, it's my experience too; all the amp sim I've tried seem to have this "smiley face" type of response curve, that's one where the lows and high's are hyped but have this big black hole in the midrange, which impart a kind of harshness to the sound. Great for heavy metal, not so great for bluesy kind of grunge. I always find myself trying to boost the mid, and shelves the highs.

I thought it was the guitar I was using, but, since I'm not the only one to observe this, maybe not.
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Old 11-15-2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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Have a look at Tedwoods chains. You will see that there is more to them than just the amp sim and the cabinet IR. I find that having a compressor as the first item in the chain helps to squash those transients out that come with recording direct. In fact, once I started doing this simple task, things really started improving alot. I was surprised at how much.

Also, it is very important to have a good interface as that is essentially your guitar's way of getting to the computer. What are you currently using?
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Old 11-15-2009, 10:11 AM   #5
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I find that having a compressor as the first item in the chain helps to squash those transients out that come with recording direct.
I agree, I use JS DVC2JS for that. Another plugin that I think really helps bringing some warmth and life to the tone is Nick Crow TubeDriver:

http://nickcrowlab.blogspot.com/

I put this first in the FX chain. Works really well on clean tones in my opinion, if you use moderate settings.
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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I've found the clean channels on LePou's amps can be great for a Gilmour tone, especially if you crank up the input gain or stick TubeDriver in front of them. A Tube Screamer with the gain around 2 and everything else at 5 also does a lot (for me) toward getting that sound.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:15 AM   #7
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Thank you for your replies... I did go thru Ted's chains (thanks Ted, great site. Very informative, I hope you keep it up) But I was unable to produce anything close to that smooth, overdriven tone of David Gilmour, Santana or Brian May. The cleans were nice, though as I had said these are fairly easy to achieve. But I'm looking more for that creamy sustain in Comfortably Numb, Europa, or that singing lead tone of Brian May.

Bullshark, yes I agree it seems amp sims at least at this point have a long way to go. Though I will add I'm not a big fan of Acme Bar Gig, and when I substituted the BarGig amps for others like LePou's amps that Lokasenna mentioned (thanks Lockasenna) the sound did improve. Though still not there. At least to my ability... it could very well be my inability to use them properly.

Bfloyd and Magnolius, thank you for the advise. A compressor is something I haven't used before. I'll have to work on setting it properly. What are a few of the better ones most here are using ?

To me, I find my Tech21 Sansamp gets me much closer as it doesn't have that harshness to it. The sims seem to run from clean to harsh. With no middle ground. Good for clean or metal, but unable to hit that smooth sustaining Gilmour middle ground.

Interestingly when I search around for audio clips to hear what others are doing I seem to come across either very heavy metal clips or clean acoustic or country stuff. Either no one is doing a Gilmour / May type thing, or they're just not able to achieve it with their current setup/amp sim ?

However, if you have been able to match these tones please put up a short wav clip for us to hear along with your settings. It should be an interesting 'tone challenge' and great learning experience for those of us who are still learning...

Btw, I'm using a Gibson SG & PRS CE22. For live I use a Bassman with a Sansamp and delay. To record I use the Sans into a Korg 16 track. And I'm just learning to use Reaper...
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:40 AM   #8
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What Sansamp product are you using to get the tone out of? I'm a bass player and never really liked their bass stuff but haven't tried out the guitar stuff.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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btw, thanks very much Ted for your appreciated job.. your chains are what I was looking for...
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:27 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PRS View Post

Interestingly when I search around for audio clips to hear what others are doing I seem to come across either very heavy metal clips or clean acoustic or country stuff. Either no one is doing a Gilmour / May type thing, or they're just not able to achieve it with their current setup/amp sim ?

However, if you have been able to match these tones please put up a short wav clip for us to hear along with your settings. It should be an interesting 'tone challenge' and great learning experience for those of us who are still learning...
Well I'm not exactly David Gilmour but I do think it's possible to get other tones than clean and metal ones. I did a short guitar solo a while ago that have a sort of Gilmourish touch to it. So here is a clip of that and the template of the guitar track.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Gilmourish mp3 + template.zip (627.4 KB, 147 views)
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:08 AM   #11
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AcmeBarGig.

Red Shift Pickup Replacer + D.I.G. + MajorTom (Reaper)

Gilmour compressed his sound over and over again - AFTER EQ.

And don't forget: You can have the best plug around, producing the best simulations... but it all comes back to your guitar and how you're caressing (or torturing) those strings...

ZoD

P.S. With all the plugin choices out there, sometimes it's easy for me to end up focusing more on the "next" miracle plug - than it is on what's right in front of me....
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRS View Post
Thank you for your replies... I did go thru Ted's chains (thanks Ted, great site. Very informative, I hope you keep it up) But I was unable to produce anything close to that smooth, overdriven tone of David Gilmour, Santana or Brian May. The cleans were nice, though as I had said these are fairly easy to achieve. But I'm looking more for that creamy sustain in Comfortably Numb, Europa, or that singing lead tone of Brian May.
I do have some tones like that on my hard drive, well i have Gilmore and some May.


The Brian May is a tone that suits me very well with a bridge Humbucker on any guitar, the Gilmore tones sound like Gilmore playing something, but when I listen to Gilmore I find he uses a whole range of tones and multifarious FX, I would probably only go for a generic Gilmore tone for you to tweak to taste. I do have to say I compared alongside the Guitar Rig presets and it strikes me as much fuller, with better sustain but the high end is probably not as good -yet. One has to bare in mind the fact his pickups and everything else is different too.

One of the things that is hardly ever mentioned is the use of the tone control on the guitar. I normally save presets for guitars with volumes and tones full up, but you can dial in more "cream" and less "fizz" by rolling back a tone knob. If you are using two pickups try rolling back the tone on one pup and balancing both pups with the volume knob. This is really a "technique" rather that a tone an makes fro a great range you can flip between whilst playing, lot's of great players use this to great effect.

The tones I do are not meant to carbon copies, it's for descriptive purposes only and I expect the player to be playing his own stuff, not copying some other dude.

Anyway the new web site is probable still a couple of weeks away and when it's up there will new ones, and any of the old Track Template type (chains) will be discontinued.

I will also be zipping the whole lot into a folder with a directory structure - to make it easy to find what you are looking for. The down side to this is you have to download the whole lot when you might only want the new ones.

May I assume you are using a PRS ....erm ..PRS?
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:19 AM   #13
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Default Compressor

I'm having very good clean tones using LePoul plugins. I usually put a Kjaershusaudio Modern Compressor at the end of my fx chain, using aproximately 3:1 ratio.

Sorry for my bad english ...
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:09 PM   #14
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Ted out of curiosity...PRS mentioned a creamy sort of sustain...Have you had any luck using that Green color in the drive amp? I am just doing the DA upgrade and was thinking about loosing it(the green color that is)
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Old 11-16-2009, 08:37 PM   #15
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One of the things that is hardly ever mentioned is the use of the tone control on the guitar. I normally save presets for guitars with volumes and tones full up, but you can dial in more "cream" and less "fizz" by rolling back a tone knob.
I certainly agree! It didn't occur to me HOW MUCH I manipulate the final sound with my actual guitar configuration, until Tedwood mentioned it.

Good call....

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Old 11-16-2009, 09:26 PM   #16
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I would think the ease of getting a santana type tone is one of the complaints that are usually leveled against amp sims. His tone is very static. Using an adaptive compressor like major tom in front of some of the free amp sims using a neck pickup should get you pretty close, pretty fast.

One of the things you might be finding gross is the wet blanket over the speaker sound on so many of these sims. I have found better results by drawing out the curve of a speaker in reafir, runing a sweep of it and then running that in ReaVerb as an impulse
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Old 11-17-2009, 02:40 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tedwood View Post
One of the things that is hardly ever mentioned is the use of the tone control on the guitar. I normally save presets for guitars with volumes and tones full up, but you can dial in more "cream" and less "fizz" by rolling back a tone knob. If you are using two pickups try rolling back the tone on one pup and balancing both pups with the volume knob. This is really a "technique" rather that a tone an makes fro a great range you can flip between whilst playing, lot's of great players use this to great effect.
I use it too.
One thing makes me hesitant though. To get a nice effect I have to roll my volume knob down quite a lot - to about 2-4 in the 10 scale.
This makes the guitar quite quiet - I'm wondering about the reduced signal to noise ratio...

It is also impossible to change it later after recording if I change my mind of find some defects.

Is there a way to simulate the rolled back volume with a plugin?
The rolling back affects also the tone...
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Old 11-17-2009, 03:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyMcFly View Post
Ted out of curiosity...PRS mentioned a creamy sort of sustain...Have you had any luck using that Green color in the drive amp? I am just doing the DA upgrade and was thinking about loosing it(the green color that is)
KM
The green filter in your sims has significant sustain factor Ken, I didn't know what it did but combined with a 2x12 impulse its the one to go for if you want Vox on steroids Brian May sound.

Thanks for the tip Pipe, I'll see if Major Tom has any advantages over Reacomp as the upstream compressor

Carbon, I don't think there is anything in the S/N ratio as the noise seems to go down as much as the signal for me. I use a mixer into sound card config BTW.

If you use an upstream comp as I do you can use the output on that to simulate lower rolled down V pot, thus reducing gain at the amp and cleaning up the guitar in the same way, but I wouldn't say it does exactly the same since a guitar pot is likely to alter the tone to a greater or lesser extent too
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Old 11-17-2009, 04:55 AM   #19
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Another thing that will amaze if you haven't yet tried it is how different things sound out of the mix.

If you have been trying to get a good tone with trying it in a mix you will be wasting a lot of your time. Take the Santana tone out of the mix and I expect you find the tone itself nothing special. That means a lot of what you like is his technique. Don't bother asking how to get Santana's sound unless you can play like the man - really.

Santana, Paul Kossoff, Angus Young, to name a few give the impression of having a lot of distortion in their, but if you compare directly with a tone you think sounds like them (out of a mix) and listen them playing you find their tones are practically clean! what they have going for them is something that makes the whole amp sim thing redundant - it's called VOLUME!

I tweak my tones by running Spotify at the same time and make direct comparisons, the Signature Series, and the Dan Quartet were done this way and they sound fairly ordinary out of the mix, but almost exactly the same played along side. Of course you still have to allow a bit for actual sound of the guitars being used, because the strings, the pickups, the wood and the construction all make a difference too. I have a feeling the Larry Carlton tone won't sound a million dollars on a cheap 335 knockoff

There is no way to get the "guitar- amp - feedback interaction" of a loud clean tone without it being LOUD.

Therefore the best you can do is trick the ear into thinking it's loud with a bit of distortion and compression. It won't be the same, but that doesn't mean it isn't any good.

Personally I find the convenience and flexibility of amp sims far outweighs the shortfall of not being able to turn your amp up to 11.
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:21 AM   #20
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TOTALLY AGREE! Thats exactly what I wanted to start some work on...people call it air movement, but in reality thats not it...its the interaction of the speaker at varying levels of volume, and, IMHO a static IR is never going to be able to reproduce that. You need multiple IR files that dynamically switch based on input level of the guitar...

You are not going to simulate air movement, but what you can simulate to a certain degree is Speaker distortion, frequency changes, etc. All these things that happen dynamically in a speaker when it changes from low to high volume. Same principle as a Snare drum and how it changes its tone based on loud or soft strikes. I mean all these things are known factors...

IMO its this part of the chain that is lacking now...Tube code is pretty much there for a lot of developers, we need to get these guys working on the final stage, the cabinets...I know there is the NEBULA approach, and they have done a fantastic job. I think there are other ways that have yet to be discovered or explored. Hopefully in the future we'll see that..

Anyways in getting back to the original topic, I mentioned the above in thinking that perhaps once we have the speaker world covered, we may in fact see some of that digital harshness PRS spoke of, removed.
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:06 AM   #21
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Here's a Santana chain I did, but I think would work equally well for Brain May as it more distorted than clean.

Iv'e been playing alongside some Santana songs to make sure it works ok, and then I remembered I'm supposed to be recovering from a heart attack and that's not a good idea - so there won't be any samples from me yet.

If this doesn't sound like either Brian May or Santana, you input signal is significantly different to mine and might well want looking at

BTW, you will need

TXE x30 amp sim, Boogex and FreeverbToo

https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/241959/Santana.rar
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:03 AM   #22
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well thank you all again for your great insight...

I do use a PRS, a CE22 with Dragons. For live a Sansamp Classic set to 'Cali Boogie' into a Bassman. I also occasionally use a Gibson SG.

Just to clarify I'm not looking to copy anyone's sound. Surely tone is in ones technique as much if not more than in their equipment. I was just using the May, Gilmour and Santana tones as a well known reference. I would imagine if I were to use their exact set-up I still would not sound exactly the same. However, that is the sound(s) that works best for my style of playing.

Magnolius, that was a nice sound. Very close to what I'd like to achieve. What guitar/ pickup settings did you use ?

pipelineaudio, could you put up a few of those impulses you mentioned if they aren't already available online ? I'd be interested in hearing them.

Ted I'm definitely looking forward to hearing your May and Gilmour tones. Though I suppose we'll have to wait for your new web site. Do you have any mp3 examples you could put up for us to hear ???

Yes, I agree rolling off the high end on your guitar will create a creamier tone. I do that in my live setup. Though honestly to my ear I feel I'm also losing some character and prefer not to use this technique. Or use it sparingly.

What I'm wondering, and I'll use my Sansamp as an example. Is the Sansamp Classic, first out was designed as a 'jack of all trades' as it were. It covers Fender to Marshall to Boogie. Now, they came out with a new line 'The Character Series' (they are all analog by the way) where each pedal is designed to do just one specific tone. For example, the 'Liverpool' does an AC30 Beatles Brian May type sound. Theoretically better than the all-in-one Sans Classic.

So I'm wondering, if the Amp Sims were programed more toward a specific tone than an all-in-one. Would they then reproduce that tone better ??? Now I understand that most Sims are in fact geared towards a certain tone or character however could that be made even more specific and thereby resulting in a better albeit narrower tonal range ? A Fender Twin Sim, or a Larry Carlton Sim for example. Just a thought.

I'll just add I also wonder if the speaker IR's aren't playing a major role in this ? Since they do play a role in removing the harshness.
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:09 AM   #23
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I'll just add I also wonder if the speaker IR's aren't playing a major role in this ? Since they do play a role in removing the harshness.
Once you find an amp sim you like, using everything else is in the impulses IMO - discounting the dynamics and feel created by compression, and add on FX.

Having said that I use a wide selection of amp sims too - just don't expect to get near the sound you with them with using an impulse that suits the job in hand

One of the reasons I use Boogex is to gain further control of the impulse sound - ie. trimming the High/Low pass filters, eq and dynamics
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:41 AM   #24
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Magnolius, that was a nice sound. Very close to what I'd like to achieve. What guitar/ pickup settings did you use ?
Thank you Well it is played on a stratocaster. For a Gilmour tone I would say using a stratocaster really helps. To my ears it's almost impossible to get that kind of sound with humbucker pickups. As for guitar setup I think I used the neck pickup with volume and tone controls set to maximum.
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:00 AM   #25
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When recording with ampsims, try playing in front of one of your monitors and getting near the treshold of feedback. You dont need to be very loud and even without getting into feedback your tone will be much more "livelier".

Try it
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Old 11-17-2009, 10:22 AM   #26
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What about driving a small speaker made especially for thet purpose near the guitar strings - anybody tried that?

Are there be any parameters that would make an ideal speaker for that purpose?
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Old 11-18-2009, 06:26 AM   #27
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Default Similar issue...

I've been trying to get the "Woman Tone" (see link below) for some time now with very little success using amp sims. I can get very close using my live gear, but it's near impossible to replicate digitally...anyone found a way to get this type of sound?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_tone

By the way I've been watching here for some time, and this happens to be my first actual post...excellent resource for recording this place! I think I'll go introduce myself in the "intro" forum...

Cheers!
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Old 11-18-2009, 07:07 AM   #28
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Quote:
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I've been trying to get the "Woman Tone" (see link below) for some time now with very little success using amp sims. I can get very close using my live gear, but it's near impossible to replicate digitally...anyone found a way to get this type of sound?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_tone

By the way I've been watching here for some time, and this happens to be my first actual post...excellent resource for recording this place! I think I'll go introduce myself in the "intro" forum...

Cheers!
Do you have an example of that tone, it's not very easy to simulate a tone when all you have to go on is words

I have found all tones are achievable given enough time and attention to the details. Some are more difficult than others (such Dual Rectifiers) but they can be done well enough if you split the signal into two amps

The only reason they cannot be perfected for wholesale distribution is that people will use different guitars and pickups.

If I remember the sound well enough, I think my starting point would be my Vintage Bassman (it's one of Acme's "Brain" heads), but I would put an ReaEQ in front of the amp for some mid boost and drive the thing like crazy. then carefully select a 2x12 green Celestion impulse or similar
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:10 AM   #29
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Do you have an example of that tone, it's not very easy to simulate a tone when all you have to go on is words
Yup...I do.

Listen to "Sunshine of Your Love" the intro and solo. Or "I Feel Free", the guitar solo. Or "White Room" the very opening note. All three songs written during Clapton's Cream days.
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:32 PM   #30
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Do you have an example of that tone, it's not very easy to simulate a tone when all you have to go on is words

If I remember the sound well enough, I think my starting point would be my Vintage Bassman

Ted, thank you for the Santana chain. I'll run it thru it's paces this weekend...

As to actual examples I'd say Europa (Earth's Cry, Heaven's Smile) would be an excellent example of this often elusive tone.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBDLQ...eature=related

Enjoy !


The closest I've come was a PRS (buckers) into an old Bassman with some modest delay. Perhaps a good starting point...
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Old 11-18-2009, 02:34 PM   #31
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...but I would put an ReaEQ in front of the amp...
...EQ in front of the amp sim... Ahhhhhhhh...gotta try that...
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:30 PM   #32
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I couldn't find a well enough recorded Woman tone anywhere, but I saw Cream and Blind Faith when I was a bit younger.

Anyhoo, this is how I remember Woman Tone from those hazy days

http://www.box.net/shared/btxbz1sz5y

I used a Tokai Love Rock with the neck pup up full with the tone rolled right off, and the bridge pup volume on about 8 with the treble up. that's how Clapton is said to have done it with his SG

You need ABG's Series 60, and Guitar hacks Edge 45 Impulse.

Here's the chain

https://stash.reaper.fm/oldsb/242822/Woman-Tone.rar

Thanks for asking cos this is really the epitome of creamy (pun intended)
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Old 11-18-2009, 10:20 PM   #33
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One word...Amazing...I still can't believe the tone you get from those Metal Series heads!! I never designed them to sound like that...LOL Great job...

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Old 11-19-2009, 06:20 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by JohnnyMcFly View Post
One word...Amazing...I still can't believe the tone you get from those Metal Series heads!! I never designed them to sound like that...LOL Great job...

KM
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. As others here have said amp sims do sound buzzy. With all do respect tedwoods example wasn't really all that good. it reminded me of those cheap fuzz boxes we used to use years ago. and was no were near clapton or santana. in fact i played it for some friends, some musicians, and they all agreed. again sorry and no disrespect meant. theres a big diference between driving a tube amp and compressing a slightly distorted amp sim. I hope sim programers will deal with this. to me and many of my musician friends sims are good for metal, but thats really it.

just my honest opinion, sg
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:32 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BurningSG View Post
I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. As others here have said amp sims do sound buzzy. With all do respect tedwoods example wasn't really all that good. it reminded me of those cheap fuzz boxes we used to use years ago. and was no were near clapton or santana. in fact i played it for some friends, some musicians, and they all agreed. again sorry and no disrespect meant. theres a big diference between driving a tube amp and compressing a slightly distorted amp sim. I hope sim programers will deal with this. to me and many of my musician friends sims are good for metal, but thats really it.

just my honest opinion, sg
It sounds a little buzzy outside of a mix SG, with no other FX on the track or the master. The chances are that if you put your ear up against Clapton's speaker it would sound a bit buzzy too - you are losing the definition in the mix.

I tried playing this along with some Vintage tracks and it doesn't sound at all buzzy once it gets blended with the drums and bass. I could make it less buzzy easy enough but I wouldn't ever have a real life use for it if I did. The key thing to the Woman Tone is really the mid frequencies and the sustain, which I think are pretty hard to fault on this, if you really want less highs all you have to do is change the high pass slope in Boogex. Everything else is done for you

Did you try playing with it in a project at all?

I don't agree that amp sims are only good for metal at all. I have three good tube amps here in my studio, I don't use either of them to record and I don't play metal - I play Rock, Country and Blues. While it is true you might not be able to get exactly the tone you dream of, as I have said many times, you won't get that tone even if you own the same equipment without a lot of trouble, and you still won't be able to if you haven't got the technique. Make sure you are bearing all these things in mind when evaluating the sound coming from an FX chain


Maybe I should have done a sample of a mix so it doesn't sound so naked
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:36 AM   #36
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need any "extra body" sounds out of your rig?
just slap an antress simil distressor plug at the end of the chain...

improved the low end of my hagstrom viking on most of the Ted's fine chains..
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:50 AM   #37
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Yeah in terms of mix I think you would hear a big difference...Thanks for your thoughts though SG.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:46 AM   #38
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Here it is with a different impulse (further way) I don't think it sounds so naked with this one.

http://www.box.net/shared/5ml0ciq7m1
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Old 11-19-2009, 06:49 PM   #39
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Thought I'd add my 10 penn'th.

This little demo was done with the AcmeBargig front end and then everything else is Native Reaper.Nothing really mixed etc.

Rhythm played at neck.Lead at bridge.

http://www.box.net/shared/zb4493ebof

and here's the FX Chains.

http://www.box.net/shared/sr36zou1xq

Hope it's useful to some one.I'm sure it would sound better with a better guitar but my cheap Strat doesn't do DI that well.I'm sure a nice Les Paul with a real humbucker could be nice through them

Note to self:Must change those strings<grin>


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Old 11-19-2009, 08:24 PM   #40
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Forgive me for skimming, and apologies if this has already been covered...

Have you tried working with stuff upstream of the amp sim? By that I mean pick, string gauge, knob settings, guitar, pickup, and preamp gain-staging?

Th manufacture of the guitar itself is a fairly expensive thing to experiment with, but the weight and resonance of the wood does make a difference. Moreover differences in pickup height absolutely matter-- if your sound turns too easily into "bad" distortion, it is often a problem of a pickup that too easily distorts, or a preamp/DI input that is overloading, perhaps very subtly, in ways that the screaming harmonics of guitar overdrive exaggerate. Sometimes just rolling off the volume or the preamp input makes a noticeable difference in tone-- those are analog amplification stages, after all.

Way too often, guitarists ignore the neck pickup, and the tone knob. Feeding an amp with "woman tone" (neck pickup, tone rolled way off), and then cranking the highs gives a vastly smoother tone that can still be made to scream and howl, but in smoother, creamier ways than brittle bridge/full-tone sounds. Specifically, neck pickup with the tone knob rolled off, played through an amp with the treble cranked and bass rolled off sounds way different than bridge pickup/full tone through an amp with more neutral or "bassier" tone settings.

Picks matter, a lot. Not just the gauge, but the material, and the grip/picking motion. There are picks like the "dusty" Dunlops that have a very different texture and sound, and switching to a lighter or heavier gauge pick can have sometimes counter-intuitive sonic results, as can changing to a different string gauge. Moreover, there are two common pick grips-- the "parallel" grip, where the pick is held between the flat thumb and the fist-like knuckle of the index finger with a picking motion from the elbow, and the guitar-teacher-hated "pencil grip" where the pick is held between "pointed" thumb and fingers and most of the picking motion comes from the wrist, not the elbow.

If you can play well with one picking style, it's not usually that hard to switch to the other, and each sounds and "plays" a little different. For example, it's almost impossible to play fast sweep-picking passages or consistent chords with the "pencil grip", but it can allow for meatier palm-muting and more expressive harmonic control.

Last but not least, a lot overdrive sounds are achieved with distortion or compression pedals as much as the amp overdrive. Whether you are using sims or the real thing, a rat, big muff or a tubescreamer pedal sounds very different from an overdriven tube amp.
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