S/S vs tube amp preference

In answer to the question, “Why do solid state amps and heads seem to be more widely accepted by bass players, as opposed to guitar players who mostly seem to prefer tube driven?” at basstalk, I said:

As a almost 40 year guitar player and being a almost 25 year bass player, my answer is that I want tubes in the guitar amp so I can play them interactively, particularly on solos, where tone can be manipulated through dynamic playing, and even how you face the guitar at the amp. As a recording guitarist, I treasure my S/S Trademark 10 for the variety of sounds I can get, even as I curse it’s limited dimensionality in the playing experience. I have a S/S Pathfinder that sounds terrific, but also doesn’t really interact with the guitar. In short, S/S amps aren’t as much fun with a guitar.
When playing bass, I want more consistency of tone and to a lesser degree of level, and S/S does that easily. I have a Musicman HD130 that I love to play bass through, and among others I have a S/S PF500 that is so much easier to play bass through for the stated reasons. As well, the PF takes pedals better, which is important to me as I love filters; and OD and distortion can be found through pedals – I think – more convincingly when playing bass with a S/S amp vs. guitar with a S/S amp. In short, the cost, weight, maintenance hassle and difference in sound do not make the difference in fun – and I don’t think there is much of one – using a tube bass amp preferable or in any way superior to to a S/S (my Musicman sits in my bedio.)
But I could be wrong … :);-D


The thread is here: https://www.talkbass.com/threads/solid-state-amps-and-bass-question.1313299/


Los Altercocker Rockers, recording 08-17

LAC: ruff of “The Ballad of Roy Moore”, and notes


As postered on FB:

Thanx! It may be of interest to my recording brethren that the drums are a Roland TD 11 kit recorded live into a Zoom R16 along with the DI’d bass (Hohner BA2 into a Visual Sound compressor and Source Audio pedals) and the DI’d stereo guitar (Tele with pedals), all in my living room last Saturday. Those tracks were edited down from an 11 minute jam,and then I OD’d the lead (Tele into a Nightrain 50) and vocals (Luna to VC1Q) yesterday. I had CNN on the laptop when I was editing the initial tracks on the PC, and thus gained the lyric’s inspiration.

scumble: *somewhere between*


1. The Stickin’ Point 04:01
2. Runnin’ Fast 03:20
3. She Feels 03:22
4. Get Outta My Way 03:54
5. Her Mistakes 03:11
6. Somewhere Between 03:15
7. Old Fool 03:44
8. Early Days 03:01
9. Diamonds 03:14

The droogs was d-dyin’ off, it weren’t no contest and them had no
complaint, ’twas the way of it, and no mistake. But then there
splooshed another international issue, and so, like as not grumbling
but secretly happy, did *scumble* form from their arses. One from ye
merry olde, one from o’er there, they collided, colluded and created.
This, then, is their thing.

released November 1, 2017

Grankspoine: guitars, keys, horns, strings, percussion, sound-fx, pop-
sensibility, derrangements, actual musicianshite, fartwerk and
sequencing. Notable quotes: “Doya want a reference?” and, “Less
widdly, more bass”.

Vlayman: bass, vox, looping, lyrics and progressions, derrangements,
mixes and production. Notable quotes: “It won’t line up” and, “More
olive juice”.

Initial tracking and final mixes done at Fetacentral DDL, near Chi-town,
USA. Add’l recording and fartwerk done at
Grankie’s near London, UK.

all rights reserved

I mix with olive juice.

Handheld stereo drum track processing

In answer to a question at TOMB:

I dupe the Zoom stereo track to mono.
I use a bandpass filter 6th order, and keep 750Hz to 1800Hz.
This serves to isolate the snare hits as the highest-level signal.
Next I use a gate to clean up leaving only those hits.
Finally, I trigger a verb (sometimes after a little compression of the hits) and bring that up as 100% effect, little to no un-processed original signal (hits) and bring it up in parallel with the original Zoom drum track.

It’s similar to what I do with the kick, except that that is between 40Hz and 90Hz, and I often compress the hell out of it after the gate.

And don’t be afraid to use extreme EQ after isolating the hits. For example, a narrow-Q 6db boost at 80Hz can make a pretty cool deep kick, and it can counter any reverb you might have or put on the original Zoom drum track. Or I might use a lot of that gated mono snare if I need to center it more against the original Zoom stereo track – this (the iso’d snare) with a lot of EQ, say, pumping 900Hz up …

Another tip: if I use that kick, I might high-pass the original Zoom drum track; if I use that snare as a snare (not just a trigger), I may notch out some EQ for it in that original Zoom drum track, etc ….

Finally, I have successfully with careful EQ used the iso’d snare and kick as the main drum sound, and then brought the original Zoom stereo track in like you might do with overheads, again, with EQ

I mix with olive juice.

Asked about EQin’ “heavy” guitars, I said,


(at TOMB),

I almost always (98% of the time) high-pass and low-pass.

Assuming you have stereo rhythm guitars (when you say, “heavy”), I often listen to just the guitars as a submix until I like ’em.

I bring that back into the mix and carve around it, mebbe having to drop some mids offa the toms (300-400-ish), and sometimes having to boost some top on the bass (900, or 1.1kHz, etc.); I start with relatively narrow 1.3 Q. Less often do I have to add top to the snare, or adjust the lead with anything other than the same pass-filters and level, but I do a fair amount of EQ on the vocals, last. All else (keys, percussion, BV’s, candy) is itself EQ’d to fit the basic mix. I really almost never carve into the guitars, but then, I’m a guitar player, and like my sound!

Next, I ride the rhythm guitars’ level (often as a submix), down 2-3dB mebbe under the verse, etc.

And yeah, mic choice is a great place to start. A 57 is a 57 – it’s a predictable kinda thing, and you go from there. I also like various old AKG’s on heavy guitars, EV N/D’s, the E609, even the Superlux 609-type. About 10-20% of the time I’ll also use a ribbon about 4′ off the speaker – height can change the sound, also, remember (ceiling vs. floor, for example), as well as what location (against a wall, in a closet, mid-room, etc.), and aim (point at the wall vs. the amp, etc.). Rarely do I use a condensor, altho’ I sometimes like a SDC for the distance mic, I more often use a MDC, LDC or tube, and sometimes as the only mic.

Mic distance (for me close = < 3″, mid = 4-12″, 12″+ = distance), and aim (usually brighter if straight at the center of cone, angle and towards the edge is often darker) also factor.

I sometimes think of all of that stuff as EQ.

Which reminds me to remind you of the old saw about “less distortion might = heavier”, or at least more clarity; same goes for FX, especially time-based stuff like reverb, etc.

Another concept, besides varying guitars/mic’s/amps (or try not varying them – I been doing that a lot lately! Altho’ I do tend to vary the pick-ups and the on-board EQ as well as pick attack and chord inversions) to get heavy, is mix depth; IOW, a stereo pair with reverb, a pair with less reverb, a pair with no reverb, can sound heavier than all in the same mix-space. It doesn’t hafta be reverb, either – delay, chorus, etc., can work, including in combination.

I’ll note that, more esoterically, (read: head further up arse) the recording pre-amp can make a pretty big difference. On guitars I like to go between a ISA 1 and a UA710 or 110, or sometimes a Altec 1589b or a PM1000 – I do believe they make a difference altho’ subtle, but the 710 with the tube gained up is much different than the 110 with the gain down. Plus, I like to pad after the pre externally, and work the tranny if available. I do tend to use the same pre set-up for all electric guitars on any given song.

Also, if ya have a few bucks laying around, try sompin’ like a Cloudlifter on yer dynamic mic. I use the Cathedral Pipes Durham – in some ways it’s sorta kinda like using an exciter, except it’s so much cleaner and better and certainly less “phasey”, but it is also brighter and usually with it seems to have more depth. Again, if I use that, I use it on all the guitars, but it might help to use it on only some in the submix.

Finally, I almost never compress electric guitar (unless it’s like a Scofield thing or jazz-box sound) but almost always peak limit 3dB or so. But if it’s high-gain, there’s no need other than mebbe some gain-rides on solos … That mix approach, of course, is different than playing into the compressor on my pedal board(s).

I mix with olive juice.

Bar mitzvah evening

Just returnt home from a Bar mitzvah party I made my son drive me to (w/ daughter – they know the kids – twins, they are, the kids) – great food, lotsa liquor (4 Jack-rocks, two glasses of a decent red), no eligible women.  3.5 hours attendance, for a co-worker.  Met two millionaires (already knew one of ’em). Met a lawyer from England, collects guitars – she’s 40-ish, a solicitor in the Smoke, wealthy family (real estate). Ate salmon, lasagna, chicken parm, chicken cacciatore, salad, creme brulee, that italian chocolate/coffee death shite, cheesecake (I only sampled the desserts, except ate a bit more of the brulee). 1.5 hour drive, got lost on the way home, listened to new Foos, Winwood, Filthy Friends and Govt. Mule – the latter was the best.