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    Tone tips for the GM36

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    ConradK

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    Join date : 2015-09-09

    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by ConradK on Thu Apr 28, 2016 7:18 am

    Actually it can do both see below from tc webiste faq

    Question
    Should I place my Spark Booster in front of the amp or is it better to run it in the amp's FX loop??

    Answer
    The placement really depends on what you are looking for. If you place it in front of the amp the Spark Booster will boost the pre-amp signal in your amp and create a more overdriven sound, whereas if you put it in the loop you will boost the volume of your amp as the pedal will therefore be placed after the pre-amp section.

    ConradK

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    Join date : 2015-09-09

    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by ConradK on Fri Apr 29, 2016 3:54 am

    Tried it in the loop and quiet frankly it sound better in front of the amp -

    I find a cheap dan electro fish and chips 5 band eq (£30) works better as a volume boost for solos -

    In front of the amp - the spark boost just adds a wonderful compression to the sound of everything (it lifts the sound of everyhting) - it does not do this in the loop it simply provides a volume boost
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:42 am

    That's good interesting info Conrad.  I've found the same as you and a few others, putting a standard eq pedal into the loop can open things up.  I use a cheap Behringer EQ700, excellent quality for little money. (I suppose if I had paid £100 more I could have had a titanium enclosure finished in gold plating using classic NOS 741s and caps from the 70s with all wirewound resistors but I was a bit strapped for cash at the time Very Happy ).

    There is a difference between the sound of a cleanish preamp feeding a hard driven power amp and that of a hard driven preamp feeding a cleanish power amp.  In the early days of plexi Marshalls preamps were simpler with more headroom so were difficult to drive really hard.  On opening them up you got a greater contribution from the power amp than is generally found now.  As we know, that's one of the tricks to those creamy classic tones, keep your master volume open to work the pants off the output valves and transformer.  Your method of putting Boost both before the preamp and in the loop offers the two sounds in varying proportions if it gets used correctly. It also gives you a bit more tone shaping capability controlled by the loop setting which is stored in the voice patch.

    ConradK

    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2015-09-09

    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by ConradK on Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:05 am

    To be very honest i have no clue how the power amp and pre amp work - which comes first or last and how they develop the sound.

    I do know my tone is better with the master volume high (with power soak on) and my gain low (as opposed to low master and high gain). This gives me a "thicker sound" and is consistent with what i have read on achieving a good "rock sound" I also prefer a higher master volume and lower channel volume (you guys have said this makes no difference but it sounds better to me)

    I use my ears and experimentation these days - this can be subjective but given that I am the only one i am trying to please with my tone - it works for me. The audience doesn't notice or care whether i have a Marshall stack and a les paul or a 10watt practice amp with a £20 guitar!

    HOPEFULLY MY FINDINGS MIGHT ASSIST OTHERS: TRY THEM IF YOU WANT

    I now simply fiddle with my amp and guitar and would encourage other to do the same as I avoided doing this for ages (no idea why!)

    i choose a channel (and/or one of the pre sets the amp arrived with)

    Set my eq to middle (bass, mid and treble)
    gain to taste (for the sound im looking for) but rarely beyond 9 o clock
    set my prescence and reverb to taste (for the sound im looking for)
    then add chorus and/or delay to taste

    I then mess about with increasing the presence, resonance, gain and cutting eq settings (bass, treb and mids) Ill also mess about with the tone control on my guitar (the les paul tone control is a GREAT tone shaping tool!)

    TIP: A looper pedal in front of the amp helps with this process (as you can record one piece of music and then fiddle with the buttons whilst it plays) and adjust real time!

    Ill then throw overdrive pedals into the mix and see which sound i like - Once i find the sound i am looking for - i store it.

    TIP: I find it helps to play the original sound i am looking for (for example if i want a pink floyd sound) i play along with a track from the band and adjust whilst i listen.

    GENERALLY
    AMP: I have all of my sounds set up on 5 watts (My band says this is loud enough!) master volume is as close to 12 as i can get it (without the band moaning)
    channell volume about 10-11 o clock (once again as high as i can get it before the moaning starts)

    PEDALS
    Spark boost (used 80% of the time)
    OCD pedal (used on about 3 songs)
    NPN Monster fuzz pedal (used on one song)
    Mini Wah (never used except when i am messing about)
    Mooer cruncher (not used as of yet as I have not found a sound i like yet - needs more experimentation!)
    EQ pedal in the loop - only used as a volume boost for solos

    EQ:
    I tend to boost my mids
    Bass: I tend to cut this quiet far back (as the creamback is very bassy and also delivering bass is the job of the bassist!)
    Treble: seems to work for me between 9-11 o clock but no more than this.
    Gain: As a general rule of thumb my gain is never past 9 o clock unless im playing a heavily distorted piece (like the chorus in Zombie)

    GIGS WE DO
    We tend to play small pubs and mike up, so this process works for me and my requirements.

    IDEAL SOUND / TONE USING THIS AMP
    I look forward to playing a festival where i can back line it as in that scenario ill: set my sound by having the amp on 18 or 36 watts - with the master pushed, a drive pedal (just boosting the signal ie. very low gain and colouration) and the amp gain low. Ill then use the tone knob to roll off the highs and sculpt my tone, as this set up sounds bloody fantastic BUT it is simply to loud for the average rehearsal or pub gig! i have tried this at home for limited amounts of time and it is your classic rock sound!

    This above process, is working for me as I am finally happy with my tone and i find that if i am not happy then i have enough tone sculpting tools to get the tone i want (with some experimentation)

    ROCK ON!
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Fri Apr 29, 2016 8:30 am

    That's a great post Conrad, and one that I will force myself to keep in mind when I go on one of my "rants". You have restated most of the things that I preach about in the one post I think Very Happy.

    You're point about the audience not caring about gear issues at all is one that I have made and I think VJ also, and in the same vein your point about using your own ears and experimentation is spot on to my thinking also. You can't take anyone's word, (mine especially), for anything tone related. Although you can and should try out what they say in reliably set up test conditions before poohpoohing it. And the worst thing to accept as Gospel is the "common knowledge" of the music industry. It is almost invariably wrong. As an example, your looper tip is great as it allows comparisons to be made with exactly the same input signal. Not being a looper player I would never have thought of that!

    I take your point about the Master v Channel Volume controls. Remember, the fact that they are assumed to be one connected to the other is pure supposition on my part based on the model I do know, the TM18. If they are connected directly then you cannot be hearing any difference at all, there is absolutely no mechanism for it possible. What is 100 / 2 / 5 and what is 100 / 5 / 2? That's exactly the principle involved. But if the GM should have a buffer between the two controls then it may be possible there is a subtle difference by driving that buffer harder, but if that is the case the buffer is flawed! Wink So yes, I'm with you completely, use your own ears and assessment, and everyone should do just as you are doing and make sure the conditions are pretty rigorous so your test can compare only the factors you are intending to.

    ConradK

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    Join date : 2015-09-09

    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by ConradK on Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:15 am

    Yes agreed bud

    i keep an open mind these days - for example when someone asked if i had tried the spark boost in the loop i immediately tried it and thought "that is not for me" but the point is i tried it!

    I also recently read that the OCD pedal doesn't like a buffered pedal after it - it plays better with a true bypass pedal after it (as it has germanium diode in it - no idea what a diode is!) - so i tried it with a true bypass pedal after it and it does actually sound better! Point is unless i had tried it i would never have known.

    Yes you are correct on tone - you need to judge this yourself. Mess about with your gear and find what TURNS YOU ON as ultimately that is the only person who matters. I KNOW when i have a good tone as i "lose myself" in the music - i forget where i am, i rock back and forth like a madman and simply lose myself - when that happens, i remember why i enjoy playing guitar and why good tone is so important to ME!

    Last tip for everyone out there: and i think you touched on this during one of your posts bordonbert?

    You HAVE to adjust your rig real time. When I am rehearsing with the band, if i find a sound is too bassy then ill stop adjust the bass , store it and then start playing again. The band don't like it and it does waste time but hey - who cares ! I didn't spend all this time and money on my gear to accept a sound i don't want to hear!

    Doing this also ensures i have sounds stored which sit well in the mix. We all know that the sound you achieve at home is NEVER the ideal sound - I now set all my sounds with boosted mids to cut through and low bass as the bassist will fill those frequencies.

    TO MY EARS : when i listen to Led Zep i hear jimmy pages sound as mid and treble heavy with very little bass - he seems to let the bassist do the job of bass and he kinda "floats" over that with his mid and treble frequencies. The facts could be totally different but that what i hear and try to emulate when creating a good rock tone

    I AIM FOR A
    mid heavy sound (2-4 o clock), but no so mid heavy that it tears you face off,
    low treble (9-11 o clock) and
    very little bass (7-9 o clock)

    This seems to sit well in the mix
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:38 am

    Right Conrad, the "settings at gigging level" issue is a useful one for you to have repeated.  If I can add something for myself here, it really helps to have the same patches stored at gigging levels and at home levels.  I have a block of banks I set that way, 1-10 say, with 18W(ish) patches in.  Then I duplicate them from banks 20-30 and set the power soak to 5W for home use.  They will always need a touch of tweaking to balance them up in their respective situations but that is a very minor difference.  I keep the numbering exactly the same within the blocks so when I'm practicing at home I'm training the memory to get to what I want live.

    Now to some people that would seem to be one Hell of a fart around with settings but, if you are already a GM36 Control App user and have saved your patch lists to GM36 files, you could add my little GM36 File Manager app so that organising this sort of thing is really easy!  It allows you to compile a new list of voices from your existing ones in seconds so duplicating them is just selecting them and hitting a copy button twice, 5 seconds, and then reordering of them in the list to suit, 20 seconds.  The File Manager app also now allows you to edit each patch so even changing the PS setting is a doddle too.  Then you store them to a new .GM36 file and use the existing control app to load them into the amp.  I know the Control App does this sort of thing but it gets a little lost in amongst the other fantastic stuff it does and the overall patch list interface is not so obvious with the graphic type display.  I wanted a really simple and familiar interface which only works with just the patches in a way with which I am already very familiar.  I put a little thinking time into that and made the background working very reliable even if the display stuff still has to be proven in a range of systems.  It's there for anyone to download for free to play with.  I can say that there really hasn't been a great take up yet!
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Fri Apr 29, 2016 12:02 pm

    Oh, by the way, don't be confused with the germanium diode thing, it's just a bit of hypish techy info.  Normal modern silicon diodes have a knee voltage of about 0.6V where they turn on and start to clip.  And there is really no difference at all whichever type you use, there are no magic ones for better tone despite what the pedal choppers maintain.  Germanium diodes start to clip much earlier at around 0.2V and they tend to have a slightly more gradual clip.  They still clip horribly harshly to my taste and there are really simple ways of making the clipping more gradual or at different levels to suit what you want with modern diodes.  I've always wondered why this isn't done in existing pedals and made adjustable, I've never seen anyone do it at all.  But that takes thought and "everybody knows" that a couple of back to back diodes is just the way it's done.  With 6 diodes and 6 resistors you can use the existing circuit without any change and make it range from much more compression like, through crunch, to the same rather horrid harsh rectangular fuzz that most people seem to rave over.  But hey, open minds are really not a thing most of the music fraternity possesses, it's still a very conservative arena for the most part.  (Metal attitudes really are killing the diversity of rock! Wink )

    There is a suggestion of how to do this here:  Limiting Signal Level Gradually With Diodes The valve stage and tone controls in that schematic are irrelevant to us, but if you look at the final part of the circuit you can see the stack of diodes and that is what I'm talking about. Don't use just a pair, you only need about 3 in each direction with pots on two of them each way and you have a great way of altering the way the circuit limits (clips) from very gradual to very abrupt, and you can even introduce even harmonic and odd harmonic distortion as you wish.
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    Kelly47

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    Behringer EQ700 & Co

    Post by Kelly47 on Sat May 07, 2016 7:36 am

    @BORDONBERT, how does your eq setting look like with the EQ700 in the effects loop(for Strat)? At what point in the loop sits the 700? Which tubes you have currently in the preamp and which factory preset you used live?
    best regards

    Kelly
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Sun May 08, 2016 7:11 am

    Sorry Kelly I'm not really a Strat man.  I have a USA but don't use it enough.  It sits in my computer room and only gets used for working out stuff I'm learning for the first time.  I'm still in love with my Lesters.  Out in the real world I use a LP Traditional for everything standard and for ZZTop slide, (now fitted with Tronical/G-Force tuning and sounding just as great as ever despite the negative hype).  EADGBd tuning gives you a mix of riffing on the bottom 5 strings as standard and open G slide on the top four.  I then use a LP Junior with a single dogear P90 for other slide work, (with G-Force tuning out of the box this time).  This also leaves me a LP Junior Doublecut with two soapbar P90s for twanging around on Stones type stuff at home.

    It may limit my range of sounds but I don't mind that.  As an example, I love Clapton, Clapton plays a Strat, I play his stuff on a LP, I'm never going to be able to play things exactly as Clapton plays just hopefully listenably as myself, so why should I want to sound exactly like him down to the strings and pick?  Some of my favourite covers bands are the ones who just do a stonking good version of numbers in their own right rather than go the whole "Tribute" route which I don't usually go for.

    I use the EQ700 to sharply roll off the extreme top end, do a bit of mild cut of the other treble against the bass, and can introduce a bit of a hump to the middle for Marshally sounds.  I also use it as much to adjust on the fly for the room in some extreme locations.  I am not a prolific pedal man and the ones I use are my own designs so there are no other pedals in my loop to worry about.  I play in a pub band and we're old.  If you can't plug in a decent guitar into a decent amp and play a decent song so it sounds listenable then you are in the wrong arena!  I don't rate pedal boards with 101 little boxes carrying 501 different switches and 1001 different blinking lights.  They're too often there to impress but I'm afraid they don't impress me.

    Anyone who thinks differently should listen to Paul Jones (top Brit Blues harmonica man and singer who hosts THE Blues show on radio over here) interviewing Bonamassa about his latest tour, it makes you think.  Joe has had an epiphany for this "Blues Of Desperation" album and tour.  All of the sheds of gear has gone and he just uses a couple of '59 Fender Twins and a couple of Bassmans and his guitars, and that's for the tour live dates too.  And he reckons it surprised him to find that he got the tones he wanted just with that setup.  It's an hour long interview starting at 3:45 with tracks from the album played too.  The gear talk starts at 22:00 and the rest is really interesting too.  I may criticize JB severely for his current money grabbing attitudes but he is incontravertibly a great guitarist and a very intelligent guy.

    Here is a link to the site, it will only be available for a few more weeks then will have to be pulled so listen while you can:
    Blues Of Desperation Interview


    I think we all know there is that sharpness to the top end of the GM36 which you have to work on.  I think some of it may even come from the wide bandwidth of the output stage.  Some boutique amps have a quite throaty restricted top end which gives them their characteristic sound, (I mean this in a good way).  They seem to achieve this not only by using the preamp as a tone mechanism but the output stages too.  That makes me wonder if some of their legendary (and expensive) creaminess is because the output stage is actually designed to filter out the harsher edges of distortion from the earlier stages in the way a "better designed" high bandwidth output stage would not.  If the GM36 is left high bandwidth in its output valves and Tx any harsher harmonics produced after the tone controls or not able to be tamed with the Treble/Presence controls say will stay there no matter how you set things.  Some sort of tone control immediately before the output stages would act on those harmonics too.  Just a very rough idea as to why that EQ in the loop approach may work.

    I'm like most people here, I settled on JJs for my valves now.  I have tried a couple of others but the JJs seem to give me a favourite mellow feeling so I stick to them.  I can't see there is anything at all to be gained by farting around for months if not years spending more and more money to get the "perfect" combination and being basically unhappy with the sound all of that time because it isn't the "magic blend".  I still find now that, even in the same place at the same settings, my sound seems different from day to day anyway so there are other factors at work.  These negate the 1% improvement over my JJs those Hyper-Tachyon Driven Outer Mongolian Zirchonian Glass Enveloped types I found after a 2 year trek into the Himalayas give me.  VJ as always has this point down pat as he has had the chance to go down that route and is great at questioning "conventional wisdom".  In the great old days of rock no one at any level ever worried about different valves to the extent they now feel is compulsary or you are a knobber!  Which valves was Jimmy Page using in his Marshall setup onstage in the 70s?  They may be classic originals but I'll bet they were just that, originals!

    I have 2 x 5751s in the first two places (you'll come across me doing my best to steer people away from 12AT7s a lot here!  Rolling Eyes ) and a 12AX7 in the V3 slot.  The 5751s are there because I wanted to open up the control settings for the range I use.  I have no use for the extreme high gain sounds the GM36 can produce, it's just not my music type, and the lower gain (with the correct match of other more important factors unlike the 12AT7, Wink just couldn't resist it) gives me better control.  I use JJs in the output too.  And for presets, I don't use any of the factory ones.  I decided to start out from scratch and set up my own so, as I recently had my eyes opened to the Ultra channel with very low gain, they vary across the whole range of the amps capabilities now.  I may not like a skip load of pedals as an approach but I do believe in the setting up of banks of as many voices as you can use for different numbers to control with the likes of the FSM432.  One click and it's done and that's the way to do it.  It certainly won't work for everyone but it does for me.
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    Kelly47

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    Behringer EQ700 & Co

    Post by Kelly47 on Sun May 08, 2016 9:51 am

    @bordonbert, thank you for the detailed answer.
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    Nixxo13

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by Nixxo13 on Wed May 11, 2016 6:36 am

    bordonbert wrote:
    I use the EQ700 to sharply roll off the extreme top end, do a bit of mild cut of the other treble against the bass, and can introduce a bit of a hump to the middle for Marshally sounds.  I also use it as much to adjust on the fly for the room in some extreme locations.  I am not a prolific pedal man and the ones I use are my own designs so there are no other pedals in my loop to worry about.  I play in a pub band and we're old.  If you can't plug in a decent guitar into a decent amp and play a decent song so it sounds listenable then you are in the wrong arena!  I don't rate pedal boards with 101 little boxes carrying 501 different switches and 1001 different blinking lights.  They're too often there to impress but I'm afraid they don't impress me.

    Anyone who thinks differently should listen to Paul Jones (top Brit Blues harmonica man and singer who hosts THE Blues show on radio over here) interviewing Bonamassa about his latest tour, it makes you think.  Joe has had an epiphany for this "Blues Of Desperation" album and tour.  All of the sheds of gear has gone and he just uses a couple of '59 Fender Twins and a couple of Bassmans and his guitars, and that's for the tour live dates too.  And he reckons it surprised him to find that he got the tones he wanted just with that setup.

    i totally disagree on this one with you.. the amount of peddals is not always pointing to a lack of player skills IMO its depending on the type of music your playing... if your playing your playing manly blues typed of things, you dont need much but a good amp and guitar.. but when playing progressive rock types of things, youl need more! check out Guthrie Govan and Dave Kilminster for example Wink both TOP players who uses a lot of peddals very on the artist there playing with.. so to set anyone who uses a lot of peddal in the "its there to impress corner" thats not quite so i think.. Wink
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Wed May 11, 2016 7:35 am

    Yes, don't get me wrong Nixxo, I don't mean there is no place for the pedal players.  We have our own VoodooJeff here who uses a fairly complex setup, (by my standards at least geek ).  I've heard some of his music, (stunning), and he couldn't play anything like the same sounds without using multi effects.  What I tried to say is that, if you took Guthrie Govan say, ([name drop alert!  Embarassed ] he actually lives and jams not too far away from me and I have seen him pubbing for free with a friend who knows him to nod at), to a decent guitar and amp without anything else available, he would still be able to put out a storming performance.  It's his basic skill and musicianship which is the foundation of what makes him great.

    Too many day to day players, (I think the majority in some areas, I won't say metal), see their pedal setup as a mark of how high they stand in the hierarchy and how close to their idols they get, even when the pedals just really get in the way.  It's necessary to get a level of skill with a basic guitar, an amp and your fingers, and keep working on that simplicity at the same time as you may then develop your complex pedal necessary skills.  How many shredders do you think can do what they do on an acoustic?  Why can't they?  So having a shed load of pedals does not mean that a player is unskilled, only that they may perhaps be hiding behind them.

    In a general working band context, how many times would you say you need to use a pedal for it to be classed as a necessary part of your rig?  Many will say just once and I won't argue with that, it is their opinion.  I would maintain if you can't get by without it for use in only one number then you have kind of tied yourself into something that's gone beyond just a desire to play.  I have played with guys who have boards with 20+ pedals and an inordinate amount of complex switching circuitry to select combinations of them all.  Then they play an entire set where they use maybe a boost, distortion and chorus only.  What's that supposed to be all about?  Remember, I did link this into just day to day pub bands.  I'm not talking about your creative professionals, they are working to a different set of requirements.
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    stargazer747

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    Changed as a player because of the GM36

    Post by stargazer747 on Sat May 14, 2016 1:49 pm

    I moved this post here as it sounded more appropriate given the topic...

    Since buying the H&K GM36 and making the move to tube amps from all my years of solid state amps I have changed a lot of what I was always used to because of this amp, and maybe for good reasons;

    1- Because of a tube amp's tone is different than SS amps I have altered the way I play especially my picking style and adapted some new techniques I have learned by watching youtube video clips of well known musicians to enhance the tone driven on the amp
    2- using the windows software to manage presets, I have created many that are adjusted to the tone a particular guitar provides, see details below*
    3- since I first picked up the guitar I was not one to get into stompboxes or pedalboards, although I did try over the years with so many of them, but now been coming around to using a midi foot controller with the amp to switch between channels, I do find I have more control over my sound now
    4- learned a lot about tubes and their value to the overall tone, specifically that this model is a bit brighter more "trebly"
    5- appreciate a far lesser FX saturated tone, and ultimately now less dependent on it, because of the more natural sound the guitar makes thru a tube amp

    * Certain equalization fine tuned to a specific guitar due to an amp's more treble or bass output and saved as presets for both clean and distortion channels:

    A) USA San Dimas Jackson Randy Rhoads Floyd Rose with Seymour Duncan humbuckers - very hard rock/metal sound, even though they are not hot active, Dean Markley's Blue Steel Cryo strings size 9-42;
    -decrease gain set at 11 o'clock
    -increase volume set at 3 o'clock
    -decrease treble set at 10 o'clock
    -turn back mid set at 9 o'clock
    -increase bass set at 3 o'clock

    B) Gibson Les Paul Custom with traditional chrome covered humbuckers - very bright tone, alternate between Gibson Bright Wires and GHS Boomers strings size 9-42;
    -increase gain set at 2 o'clock
    -increase volume set at 3 o'clock
    -decrease treble set at 11 o'clock
    -mid set at 12 o'clock
    -increase bass set to max

    C) EVH 5150 III Wolfgang locking nut & fine-tune tailpiece with EVH zebra humbuckers - very "bassy" tone, probably Eddie's design to get more of his famed warm "Brown Sound", EVH 5150 III strings 9-42;
    -increase gain set at 3 o'clock
    -decrease volume set at 12 o'clock
    -increase treble set at 1 o'clock
    -mid set at 10 o'clock
    -increase bass set at 1 o'clock

    D) Laguna strat Floyd Rose with custom factory alnico humbuckers - a very balanced tone both highs & lows with pull-out tone control to change into single coil, D'Addario XL Nickel Wound & Ernie Ball Slinky strings size 9-42;
    -decrease gain set at 1 o'clock
    -increase volume set at 4 o'clock
    -decrease treble set at 11 o'clock
    -turn back mid set at 10 o'clock
    -increase bass set at 2 o'clock

    All my guitars are factory built with no modifications. Of course all this is the results of many hours of trying and tweaking equalization for each of the guitars thru this amp and listening to them all carefully as I adjusted each settings, once I settled on the right equalization for each of the guitars I then added whatever FX I preferred if any and saved the presets to one of the free numbered locations within the 128 available. In no way am I suggesting that this will work for everyone, these adjustments worked well for my guitars on this amp and with my particular playing style and type of music. I can only say to others to work out the sound as you go along and you will appreciate what this amp can truly do for you. There is no one set out of the box plug and play, you have to learn your tones as individual as they are, I guess originally that was what I was expecting, as with most solid state you can settle on some of their presets right out of the box, but what I learned with the GM36 tube amp, its more personal. And I learned to like it that way.
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    namklak

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by namklak on Wed May 25, 2016 8:27 am

    So I've been listening to live recordings of my setup, and when I use a Tube Screamer with boost into the GM36, the close mic'ed recording is way more "distorted" than what I perceive while playing.  It almost sounds like two TS's in series.  That lends credence to speculation that there is a TS-like circuit on the input of this amp - ya know, diodes in the feedback of an op amp.  Maybe that's why ConradK preferred the Spark Boost - that would effectively result in only one TS-like circuit in the path, which if okay (if that's what one wants)...   Using loose definitions, a TS circuit "distorts" (clipping with odd harmonics), while a tube "saturates" (random harmonics in a less predictable fashion) - two different sounds.  They can sound good together, or maybe you don't want that...

    I have played with this - using an OD with about 6dB of gain into the GM vs no OD and turning the GM channel Gain up, for the same effective level - those two sounds are different.  OD produces more distortion, Gain produces more saturation.

    This kind of surprises/disappoints me as this amp is so flexible/configurable, yet we have a TS jammed down our throats with no option to disable (like with a midi control msg).  Don't get me wrong, I use TS-like devices a lot, but I configure the gain/level.  Plus, what if I just want tube saturation?  Why can't I just pummel the front end like with Vox/Fender/etc amps with an OD or TS to get more tube saturation instead of TS distortion?

    So, some people have talked about mods to this amp (mostly changing cap values to modify the tone stacks), I have a different suggestion.  Remove the diodes in the feedback of the op-amp, and replace them with 1k resistors.  1K ohm is chosen because that is approx what a diode represents when mostly on.  This would also lower the gain of that op-amp stage, allowing more range on the amp's Gain controls (for those of us who never go above noon on the Gain controls).

    My warranty is up in 6 months, this may be on the horizon for my GM....

    I believe there were certain Marshalls that had this circuit, and it was a common mod to change that...

    In the mean time, I use a Line 6 HD500x to control midi, and for input side effects to the GM guitar input.  The HD has a level control and I am already playing with dumping the level by 3-6dB (I normally have it set for unity gain from HD500x guitar input to output), and then turning the GM channel Gains up - I'll let you know if this has any success.  By reducing the signal into the GM, I can reduce the action of the input TS circuit by not triggering the diodes - and maybe get more range on the GM Gain controls.


    Last edited by namklak on Wed May 25, 2016 11:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    VoodooJeff

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by VoodooJeff on Wed May 25, 2016 9:29 am

    BB, I am again humbled by the reference.

    Truth be told, I don`t use a lot of effects. I guess my rig does look complicated at a glance, but it`s really very simple, as far as pedals go. I have my two GM`s and one effect pedal, albeit a fancy one (Eventide H9). Just a carefully honed bit of delay on my lead tone, a tiny tick of reverb on my rhythm tone and a cool reverb/delay mixed in at about 20% on my basic clean tone to darken it up. I don`t even use the wah very often. Of course I do have some more adventurous sounds on tap as well, with various harmonizer and whammy functions giving me sounds that aren`t possible otherwise, but that`s a small fraction of my tone and reserved for the more wild Buckethead type stuff. And to be completely transparent, I do have a looper in there for the occasional solo guitar gig.

    I`ll offer a tone tip that has nothing to do with turning knobs, or even the gear at all. Something I have all of my students do is work on developing their personal tone fingerprint by playing single notes from one octave worth of whatever scale goes with the chord I`ll play for them. I get them to play one note at a time, no faster than quarter notes and they can`t leave one note until it has developed the "bloom". It teaches them to explore the various ways to extract a note from your gear with articulations of the hands. They discover that by subtle manipulations of the note (how they get to it by bending/sliding/legato as well as the tiniest, most subtle changes in left and right hand attack) they can literally change how that note is carried out of the speakers. For instance, they will eventually learn that they can brighten up a note by picking it closer to the bridge, or soften it by picking closer to the neck. Regardless, there is a point where the note seems to come alive and take on a very organic,living sound. Knowing how to make that happen is a lifelong quest for many of us, but it does happen for those who pursue it. It`s also why I do NOT like digital modelers at all. They rob us of that, and for me, it`s the true DNA of the sound, and why modelers will always sound like a clone of something else, never the real thing, never allowing a true personal tone to come to life.
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    namklak

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by namklak on Fri May 27, 2016 1:23 pm

    Following my previous post - introducing a 6dB LOSS going into the front of the amp changes this from an 80s amp to a 70s amp. It gives the GM channel Gain controls more range, and you get more tube saturation and less tube screamer distortion. Try it and let your ears to the talking...
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Sat May 28, 2016 9:42 am

    Great idea well laid out Namklak.

    Now, I am responsible for posting the levels that the TubeScreamer front end kicks in at.  I hold my hands up, it was based on what I really do know about the TM18, there is no schematic available for the GM36 so that is pure surmise on my part.  The threshold levels that the different stages kick in at are pretty high on the TM18 but as you say, if your ears genuinely tell you something and it can be repeated at will, then that's what you run with.

    I will say that I always run my guitar volumes down around 7 for my LP Trad 57 Classics, giving me the ability to drive it up when I feel it needs it.  I can then get a great 70s feel within the amp.  And at times on really classic numbers I look down and find the guitar volume has sunk to about 4, so maybe I'm unconsciously finding what you have just laid out, that that cut reduces the pre front end TM overdrive.

    I'm aiming to try out what you said in the next few days and seeing if I find the same and how repeatable it is.  You know my thoughts on relying on our ears, I will be rigourous and I am not easily swayed to accept it unless I'm sure it has been genuinely proven.  But as a theory what you say makes perfect sense as long as that solid state TS type boost circuit:  a) exists!  b) has lower threshold levels that the TM18 would suggest.

    Maybe there is a case for having a Boost pedal that has a third Cut option. Easily done!
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    namklak

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by namklak on Mon May 30, 2016 1:03 pm

    Unfortunately, there is never an easy answer - going too low causes the wonderful GM NoiseGate to trigger falsely...
    Yes, what I am saying is anecdotal, but my perceptions seem to show that the gm has a similar circuit at the tm.  I'm hoping BB and others report their findings, since (again) my findings are anecdotal.
    Yes, the guitar volume would work wonderful for this.
    In general, my ears were somewhat fooled - it was listening to a mic on my speaker that really heard uh what I didn't want to hear.  I don't have a mic preamp but I do have an sm57 in my gig rescue kit.  Maybe someone in my band has a usb preamp they can lend me...
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    gravydb

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by gravydb on Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:02 am

    Here’s a video of my band performing live. We write record and perform original music. It’s not the greatest AV quality as it’s just my wife with her iPhone, but it’s ok. This was autumn 2015, my first gig with the GM, and I’m quite happy with it. I had owned the GM for about a year prior but the band was on hiatus, during which time I tweaked and tweaked and tweaked (perhaps too much) at home. When we finally had our first real rehearsal shortly before the show, I realized I didn’t have the amp set properly for a ‘live’ situation (despite my best attempts at home to factor all that in). So back to the drawing board I desperately went, I knocked down the power from 36 to 18 (which in hindsight has been the biggest positive impact on my overall sound). I also reduced the treble a bit, raised the mids a bit. In fact you might laugh, I have found my favorite EQ setting to be noon across the board! No matter which channel! I know, pathetic right? I use the Clean channel for my cleans, gain at about 2 o’clock. For crunch I use Ultra but with low gain, about 8 or 9 o’clock. For solos I use Ultra with more gain, maybe 10 or 11 o’clock, and a little more volume as well. I had learned pretty quickly that I don’t care much for the other 2 dirty channels, they are too loose/coarse for my tastes. The Ultra channel (with low gain) is the right flavor for me, modern and tight.

    The song itself is a bit of a one-off for us – we’re normally slanted toward ambient progressive rock, but this one is much more straight ahead, I don’t where it came from! At any rate I’m open to any critiques that might cross your minds regarding my tone. Keeping in mind it is an iPhone recording and she was standing too close to capture the mains (you’ll notice the mix changes as she moves about). Also she’s not the best cinematographer as you’ll notice soon enough Smile  I’ll keep her anyway…

    But I just thought it'd be cool to share how a GM sounds with a live band and with my particular settings. Thanks for checking it out!

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/21676603/IMG_1500.mov

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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:24 am

    Hahahahaha, at last someone has bitten the bullet!  Excellent!!!!  Congratulations for being one of the first of us along with VJ to post yourself live Gravy, that takes some courage.  Let's hope the dominoes start to fall now.

    Playing live is one thing, it's here and gone, but when you are having to listen back to yourself and then post it no matter what your reservations may be that's brave.  For the record it sounded great to my ears.  I'm used to hearing playbacks of rehearsals recorded on an iPhone for convenience.  They aren't amazing but they are better than I had wanted to admit not being a hard core Apple fan. clown  Yours has come out great.

    Interesting to hear you say your eq has flattened out, I'm kind of finding the same thing beginning to happen too.  While I have now discovered the allure of the Ultra channel, I haven't gone over to the dark side completely, I still use the Lead for some lead work and Crunch for normal rhythm work.  I don't play for such a modern sound though, I still try to get my tones further back to the 70s.

    Excellent piece of work my man, I loved it.
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    gravydb

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by gravydb on Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:22 pm

    Ha! Yeah I'd be lying if I said I didn't cringe a little after hitting 'send' on that one! HA!

    One of many things I love about this amp - each channel has it's own special characteristics, allowing different players to pick and choose which ones suit them best. If someday down the road I find myself playing more classic material, I'll probably gravitate toward the Crunch and Lead channels. They're great but atm they're simply not the flavor I want for the original material. I had avoided even trying the Ultra channel for several months thinking it was probably too 'metal'... I was wrong... with low gain it's a nice basic distortion, just with a more modern twist than the other channels. Different strokes for different folks and that's where the GM excels - versatility.

    Oh and just another detail on my rig - my cab is a 2x12 with greenbacks - I just thought I'd mention that because in the video you are mostly hearing it directly. The iphone captured little FOH (which is why the vocals are a bit low in the mix).

    Thanks for the kind words BB! Smile
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    namklak

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by namklak on Thu Jun 09, 2016 8:30 am

    Gravy, I'm assuming you were using the built-in effects?  Nice tune.

    Yes, I'm finding more and more to dump the treble and boost the mids - lately my treble has been at 10-11 o'clock and mids at 1-2.  I play in a big band so I need more mids to cut thru.  Videos at
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPSI4hwViP78TKGppUwyvR1RkDB6FQeIy
    everything from Feb 2015 on I use the GM.  I'm the guy far audience left, mostly SG.

    Has anyone pulled the gm all the way apart - which would break the warranty seal?  I'd love to see a pic of the bottom.  I want to see how easy it is to get at one of those zener diodes in the input op-amp circuit.  I love to lift one end of one of those diodes...
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    gravydb

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by gravydb on Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:29 am

    That's correct, I don't use any outboard effects, just the GM's. And on that particular tune (other than the heavily flanged intro) the fx are fairly dry, to suit the straight-ahead nature of the song. However I generally prefer a pretty good dose of delay and reverb.

    I'll check out your video as soon as I get the chance! Thanks for sharing!

    I'd love to hear other folk's rigs too! Be sure to describe your settings!


    ps - yeah I've pulled my GM (and my TM before it) apart many times, to swap out or troubleshoot the tubes. Personally I think it's ridiculous that the warranty is voided by opening the amp. My prior amp, a TM18, was serviced under warranty once and they never mentioned a word about the seals being broken. They'd have gotten an earful from me if they did!!! But onto my point - I'm not planning to open the GM up anytime soon but if I do I'll snap some pics for ya.
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    bordonbert

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    Re: Tone tips for the GM36

    Post by bordonbert on Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:54 am

    Got a trick for you Namklak.  I'm sure you know that you don't remove the bottom end cheek screws when you take the cover off to change valves.  The tamper seals are on those two screws.  Well, I found out that you can remove the 10 base screws and slip the bottom off by using the same procedure.

    For anyone who doesn't know this just do the following:


    • Stand the amp on its feet.
    • Remove fully both of the screws on the top edge of both end cheeks.
    • Remove fully the screw on the back end of each handle leaving the front ones untouched, (they only hold the handle onto the end cheek).
    • Loosen both of the screws on the bottom edge of both end cheeks by a turn or two, no more.

    The lid can now be removed to gain access to the valves.  Also, if you remove the 10 screws holding the base on it before you begin, it can be slid slightly to one side to free the other edge, slipped out of that end, then slid back the opposite way to be removed completely leaving the end cheeks in place and with the tamper tags unbroken.  I THINK!!!!!!  I have done this on my TM36 which uses the same case, so I'm sure the process works for the GM36 in terms of getting off the base without needing to remove the bottom screws.  I can only assume the tamper tags are left untouched as I can't see any evidence of them having been disturbed in my own amp.

    You won't be able to dig much deeper than that in terms of a breakdown of the boards but you will be able to see the board copper sides and the general build quality which I was impressed with.  If someone could check this with an out of warranty unit and report back your findings re tamper seals it would be appreciated.


    Edit:
    Mind you Namklak, remember that those zeners didn't kick in in the TM18 until quite a high input! I've posted this before I know, but for those who haven't come across it here it is again.

    We have 4x 3.9V zeners in there all in series in the feedback loop. 3 are in one direction, 1 is in the other. So we effectively have a breakpoint starting at approximately 3.6V + 3 x 0.5V = 5.1V in one direction and 3 x 3.6V + 0.5V = 11.3V in the other. Those figures are a little below the quoted voltages as they will start to kick in a little gradually as you know. The feedback zeners have a 10k resistor in parallel with them which gives the stage an unboosted gain of 3x, so the input for clipping in one direction is about 5.1V / 3 = 1.7V. In the other it kicks in around 3.7V. There is also a pair of back to back 2.7V protection zeners across the input locking it around 3V max undistorted input.

    I suspect the second higher breakpoint is there only to prevent the opamp from clipping internally no matter what stupid thing we might do which is one of the precepts of good opamp usage, you don't let the things go outside of their design parameters, including supply voltage. The diodes in the feedback loop clip gracefully and recover instantly (as far as we are concerned) with the opamp remaining in a well behaved condition and still offering absolutely no distortion of its own, the internals of the opamp being allowed to clip won't do that.

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