Why is my distortion sound so weak?

For discussion of Ibanez, other guitars, and general guitar topics.
Post Reply
Vaiagra
Member
Member
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:16 am

I play a Fender Highway Strat through a Princeton 650 DSP. I usually shift through the timbre filters. Gain = 10, treb = 10, mid = 8, bass = 10.

Can anyone help solve these issues (without spending any money.. I'm broke :cry: )

1) Virtually no sustain. What you pick at is what you get. You can forget about legatos with this set up.

2) Raising the volume over "3" (absolutely nothing) gives me screeching feedback.

3) Generally flat, boring sound. Lows are too muddy, highs are too skimpy, mid pickups are all that I use but don't offer enough attack or presence.

---

So do I need a sustainer, compressor, distortion pedal, EQ?

Thanks in advance,
Vaiagra
Miguel_A
Newcomer
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed May 31, 2006 5:21 pm

hey, sometimes cables can be a pain in the arse. check the cables, try other cables, test your guitar in another amp (or vice-versa).

stay freezy
Lucky
Member
Member
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:59 pm

Hi Vaiagra, well let's see...

Point #1... You might want to check and see if your amp has a built-in noise gate. It sounds as if you have a gate clamping down on your signal. Also (not a slam) this can be a technique issue.

Point#2...You say you have your gain set to "10". That will account for why you can't raise your master level very high without feedback.

Point#3...It sounds as if you have an amp issue. Again, a noise gate that's set too high can rob you of tone. Also, it may be that your particular amp wasn't the best purchase for the sound you are wanting. Only you can call that one.

Best of luck in getting it all sorted! :)
Pi2plank
Member
Member
Posts: 235
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 8:47 pm

the 1st stage in controlling distortion is actually the volume knob in your guitar...ive found out that you could actually play clean guitar even if the distortion in on, but thats if you keep the volume knob on your guitar down...thats maybe because the signal wave isnt clipped yet...

so i suggest you turn down the gain treb bass on your distortion 1st...lets say about 6-7....then turn up the volume knob on your guitar near max...then turn on the distortion & check what it sounds like...

& also as Miguel_A said it...it might be the cable :wink:
User avatar
Logic
Member
Member
Posts: 1673
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 4:32 pm

Quite a few suggestions here.
Although, I would look into your pickup highth. With the last fret on the neck pinned there should be a US nickles worth of space between your pickups and strings. A feed back screeching can be a result of faulty pickups or bad pickups to begin with. If you already have the pedals and stuff you should be set.
Balex the Shizzle
Member
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 10:26 am

Strat + High Gain = Feedback

The fact your volume control is so low to combat feedback is probably most of the reason it sounds thin. More gain doesnt mean a thicker tone.

I suggest turning your voume right up on your guitar, and turning the gain and EQ controls right down on your amp.

Play something, a powerchord or whatever. Turn up the gain until it sounds as gainy as youd like but without feedback. Try around 7, that will probably do.

Then do the EQ. Turn up the bass until you are getting the right amount of 'crunch'. Then turn up the treble until the sound is as cutting as youd like. Turn the mids up until its mixed as much as you like and you get the sound you want.

Hopefully this should solve your problems - but having your volume on 3 is more than likely the main cause for it it sounding plain and boring - same with full gain, full gain tends to destroy the tone of anything going through it unless youre using real high end amps.

Hope you can get something from my advice, tell us if any of this helps :)

Alex
User avatar
guyver_dio
Member
Member
Posts: 1164
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:18 am

I'd have to agree here and say your problem isn't equipment related. Judging by what your saying I wouldn't think it's a cabelling problem because in my experience with cable problem, the sound weakens then comes back and sometimes the sound drops out all together, which doesn't sound like your problem. It's your settings that is giving you the weak sound. I'd say almost all the time my guitar's volume is cranked to max and i would say the signal would be almost faded out all together on 3. I would say this is deffinately the problem. Your trying to drive a weak signal which just won't sound good. And like said before, the most probable reason you are getting feedback above 3 is because your gain is on 10. And like suggested before, to your gain right down, turn your guitar right up. Return your Eq's to about 5 as I always return my eq to middle and adjust from there. Play around on your guitar, turn the gain up and you should find you dont need to crank it to 10 to get a the sounds you want. Then adjust your eq's until you think you have a nice full body sound. It's all about judging it by ear, there are no set rules.
Lucky
Member
Member
Posts: 423
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:59 pm

Yeah now that I've re-read his post...#2 is vague. Raising the volume over 3 on the amp or the guitar? I figured he was talking about his amp...If it's the guitar then yeah your amp needs a stronger signal than that.
User avatar
resha
Member
Member
Posts: 3008
Joined: Thu Jul 15, 2004 11:09 am

Vaiagra wrote:Gain = 10, treb = 10, mid = 8, bass = 10
Eq's setting are always personal I know, but I suggest you to lower them a bit (maybe try to keep the same proportion, just say like T:7, M:5, B:7).
With your eq at its max you won't be able to raise anything if you'll need to; if you keep them down a bit and you'll need more bass or more mids you will able to raise them.
Vaiagra wrote:1) Virtually no sustain
How high are your pickups?
With single coils the tendency is always to have them higher than they should be; this will give you more impact on the sound, but will kill your dynamics and especially your sustain because of the magnetic field of the pickups that will not let strings free to vibrate.
You may need to lower your pickups too.

Oh, and what about your strings?!
Are they too old?! New strings sound better than old, dark & beaten strings!

Vaiagra wrote:2) Raising the volume over "3" (absolutely nothing) gives me screeching feedback
If the gain of your amp is at 10, when you add volume you won't be able to control anything that comes out of your guitar. Remember that ultra high gain works fine at home, at low volumes, but if you play at high volumes it will make your sound uncontrollable and noisy.
So -again :roll: - lower your gain will help; try to keep your guitar's volume at 8/9 and find the right setting of your gain so if you'll need more volume for a solo, you can raise your volume at 10 (or you can buy a booster). Doing this you will totally control any sound of your guitar and prevent unwanted feedback.
Vaiagra wrote:3) Generally flat, boring sound. Lows are too muddy, highs are too skimpy, mid pickups are all that I use but don't offer enough attack or presence
I think this are the general consequences of all the previous stuff i.e. eq, gain, pickup height...
You maybe use your mid pickup because it's not so powerful than neck or bridge ones and can help you in not getting that feedback, but it can sound so flat...

Remember that with a sound that fits your need (which you have slowly create manipulating all the previous matters) you'll be more free to express yourself in a kinda stream of consciousness when you play, because you won't need to concern about what is coming out your amp or any noises or whatever... You'll be sure that sound speaking everything will be ok and you'll only gotta plug and play :wink:
feratu
Member
Member
Posts: 109
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 8:40 am

I've never played that model, but it sounds like your amp may be prone to that kind of feedback...look what people say about it on Musicians Friend.com

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/ ... rc=3WDTWXX
(notice the guy that rated it "10" equates sound quality with loudness lol)

Sometimes "less is more" when it comes to distortion (especially when recording..). Try rolling back the distortion as well as the treble. If that doesn't help, try setting all your EQ to "0" and then work from there. I have a Marshall that I used to think sounded like crap. Eventually I figured out I needed to set the Bass at "1" the treble at "1" and the mids at "7-8". Sometimes it just takes trial and error to unlock a good sound from your amp, and sometimes the settings for the best sound are completely counterintuitive.

I know you said you don't want to spend cash, but have you considered a guitar with humbucking pickups?
<will>
Banned
Posts: 116
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2004 1:00 pm

If you put the treb to full on a fender amp... its gross.
Trust me man i've been using a fender twin for years and putting both the gain and the treb up is a nasty plan.
although I don't know what your guitar sounds like so I can't really comment but try dropping your treble to about 6 or 5 and keeping your bass at 8 with mid to about 6.
As for the fender amps gain.. forget about it.
Purchase a DS-1 Boss distortion pedal and drop the gain on your amp to about 2 or 4 and then you can raise your volume up and get a heavily impacting sound.
hope that vaugely helped.
Will
xxx
Vaiagra
Member
Member
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 9:16 am

Hey,

Thanks for the replies. Here's the deal (with a few more questions)..

1) Lowering the overdrive gain from 10 to 7-8 works like a charm. No more feedback and hissing. Thanks!

Ideally, I'm saving up for a proper distortion pedal.

This is a total fvkking cliche, but what's the closest I'll get to Steve's distortion on the rhythem guitar in "Building the Church?" If there are any Cubase people in the house, what's the closest pedal to the "Steve's Horsie" filter patch in Guitar Rig?

2) SUSTAIN -- well.. I think the kind of sustain I'm after can only be acheived with an actual sustainer. What I have realized is that pick action, bending and vibrato have a lot to do with overall sustain.

I've heard good things about the Keeley compressor pedal? Does anyone here use that pedal? What are your thoughts?

3) SOUND.. after all, I'm playing a Fender. The cleans and subtle overdrives sound great on this guitar, and after all that's what its purpose is.

I should have bought a superstrat to begin with. Damn Jems are too expensive though. I want my next axe to be a 7string, so what's the closest alternative in terms of body mechanics, pickups, sustain and tremelo locking systems to a 7-string Jem (which I've played once and absolutely loved)?

Mille gratzie,
Vaiagra
Balex the Shizzle
Member
Member
Posts: 481
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 10:26 am

The sustain doesnt get better when the volume on the guitar is on full?
Post Reply