Looking for more distortion from an amp, what kind of pedal do I need?

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
I got a great deal on a Peavey mini-colossal that I couldn't pass up.  I've heard great things about them and it should be here this week.  I went out on a limb with buying it before playing it, but I really like the idea behind the amp.  Anyway I've heard to get a real high gain sound I need a pedal, although I haven't verified this yet.  I'd like to get a classic rock crunch leaning towards maybe even some heavier distortion but not scooped metal sound. I've played with pedals before but I only used them on the amps clean channel and used the pedal for all the distortion.  Would something like a tube screamer be used to boost the already distorted signal to get more gain?  If so do I run the distortion pedal through the effects loop or straight in?  I want to keep the good tube preamp sound without using the preamp out of a pedal, I've never really liked the tones I get from most distortion pedals, but I've always used solid state modeling amps.  This is going to replace my current practice amp (My cube 15) I can't wait to get it this week.
 

jimh

Senior member
Messages
1,344
Just a thought, but you could try a 'clean' boost pedal to push the input of the amp harder, to get that slightly crunchier sound, rather than a full on distortion pedal.

On Ted's recommendation I built a BYOC Triboost (http://www.buildyourownclone.com/triboost.html), and I love.  Really pushes the amp hard. Very cool classic / hard rock sounds from my amps.
I also own a Visual Sound Jekyll and Hyde, which is basically a tubescreamer clone and a separate modded Boss DS1 clone in one box.  Good pedal.
 
I

ildar

Guest
Depends on what kind of distortion you're looking for. To echo Jack's statement (somewhat), cranking up a Class A amp will give great power tube distortion-think Malcom Young, Pete Townshend, 1000's of bluesers, et. al.
However, if you want a more "fluid", saturated type of distortion for lead lines, there are a million options when it comes to ways to get that.
 

GoDrex

Senior member
Messages
3,619
That amp is only 5 watts AND it has a power attenuator built into it, so you should be able to get some decent distortion from it.

 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
"I'd like to get a classic rock crunch leaning towards maybe even some heavier distortion but not scooped metal sound."

Class A 12AX7/EL84 amp, just dime the controls on the amp and use the volume control on your guitar to control level/"crunch".
 

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
Cool, I'm glad to hear it should be fine as is.  I'm always impatient and wondering what I can tinker with to get different sounds.  I'm actually really happy with my roland cube for a heavier distortion (Considering how cheap it was) I picked up this amp for more of a classic rock sound, I'm guessing it won't do VH style stuff.  I guess my question was more towards whether you would layer a tube screamer with your current distortion to get a higher gain type sound, or use it alone for all the distortion?  I was really looking at getting a little giant but I like the power soak on the mini to really be able to crank it, and the price was the same as a little giant head and cab.  I've played on friends tube amps but always had modelers so sorry if my questions are noobish, I'm just used to dialing in a setting rather than using stomp boxes and such.
 

jackthehack

Senior member
Messages
5,630
Or check this Blackheart thread for a myriad of other tube swapping possibilities:

http://www.unofficialwarmoth.com/index.php?topic=2456.0

My favorite is a Sovtek 12AX7WB/Groove Tubes GT Silver series EL84
 

DocNrock

Senior member
Messages
4,295
To modify my statement above, you could get a Telefunken for V1 (12AX7), and get a pair of Mullard EL34s for the power output section.  Then you'd be able to not only get the tones you're asking for, but also an awesome clean and gain that should peel the paint of the walls, if you want.
 
G

guitlouie

Guest
These fellas are, as usual, right on.  I would, if I were you, get the amp amp play around with it for a while first.  That said,  I LOVE pedals.  A Tube Screamer's true purpose is to boost a clean to fairly clean signal to get a "tube amp at full bore" tone for solos and such.  They can be used on an already distorted signal, but they don't really excel at this type of thing.  Pro Co Rats and Boss DS-1s are a bit more suited to distorting the distortion.  Of course this is just one man's opinion and I find playing with pedals to be a "the rules are made to be broken" proposition.  I guess that's why I still have a trunk-load of pedals even with all this modeling stuff out there.  
 

Ted

Senior member
Messages
526
A nice clean boost will the trick and give you a rich classic rock tone. 

Tube screamers are massivelly over-rated. I have one and I would not use it as a boost.

Boost the amp input not the FX loop though cos you want to push all this pre-amp valves.

Also Jack hit the nail on the head, you gotta go loud, but if you can't go with a pedal. 
 

upnorthbacon

Active member
Messages
91
Just an update for anyone who cares, I'm really happy with the amp.  It has a really nice gritty distortion but It would be nice to have a little more gain for more modern rock.  I plugged in an old boss metal zone with the distortion turned down and just used it to boost the input.  It came out really nice sounding, bright and just enough gain.  I might look at swapping in some different tubes to get a little more gain without having to use the pedal.  I haven't taken the tubes out but I can see that the preamp is a JJ tesla.  I don't know much about tubes I'm still learning, I'd like to find a cheap tube to get a little more gain.  Do I need to replace the power and preamp tube to get more distortion or can I just swap the preamp?  I see there are a ton of cheap 12AX7 tubes, I'm still trying to read up to find a good high gain one that's inexpensive.  Oh and the "power sponge" is awsome, what a great feature!  I'm not real impressed with the stock 8" speaker, I've read it needs to be broken in so maybe it will get better.  Either way I'll be buying a different cab at some point to try too.
 

DocNrock

Senior member
Messages
4,295
If it's a JJ tesla, I've heard that is a great tube.  For most amps, you would only need to change the preamp tubes.  In one that you can really crank like yours, you might consider swapping out the power tube(s), as well.  You could consider going with power amp tubes that are less "hard."  That means they will break up with a little less power input.  The trade-off is that you'll lose some clean headroom.

BTW, congrats.  If you notice my avatar, it's your amp's bigger brother (JSX 2x12).  :icon_biggrin:

 

crow55

Active member
Messages
44
jackthehack said:
With that Class A tube circuit, you don't need a pedal, just turn it up...

although he is absolutely right, if you want somethin extra either an EH english muff'n or an ibanez ts-808
 
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