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Using overdrive pedals with modeling amps

Discussion in 'Amp Input - Normal or Bright' started by DougMen, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. DougMen

    DougMen Strat-Talker

    Jun 6, 2017
    Honolulu, HI
    I have a Mustang GT40 which I find sounds really superior to the Mustang 1 I had before it, and I've found that I get a much better bluesy tone with a Strat by using a real overdrive pedal between guitar and amp and the amp model gain just on the edge of breakup as you would with a real tube amp (BF Deluxe is my favorite model), rather than using the virtual stompbox pedals in the amp. Anyone else have the same experience?
    I also find that if I use the bass cut global EQ, the amp sounds a lot better, 'cause with a flat global EQ setting the bass tends to wash out and muddy up the mids and highs like on a stereo with too much bass.
    circles, Stratstruck and Yaralag like this.

  2. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Folks will be along shortly to tell you not to do that.

    I am not one of those folks.

    If your ears like it, that's what matters.

  3. nigelr

    nigelr Strat-O-Master

    Aug 28, 2014
    I like modelling amps, normally I can get a sound that I want without using pedals too. I'm not gonna tell you not to do it, but don't do it :)

    Dadocaster is right, do what works for you.
    Yaralag likes this.

  4. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    I own a Mustang III v2 and I love it.

    It took me a WHILE to tweak the amp models I use on it; 65 DR, '59 Bassman, Marshall.

    I EXCLUSIVELY use pedals in front of that amp. And I have owned vintage amps in the past and some darn fine recently made tube amps by George Alessandro, Carr and Fargen ('70 Super Reverb, Carr Rambler, Fargen Blackbird, Alessandro Working Dog, 70 or 71 Pro Reverb). So now that my short resume is out of the way...

    I get VERY convincing tube tone using a JRAD Archer, Fulltone Plimsoul, in front of that amp with my US Standard Strat, My Gibson LP and SG. I'm not the only one who thinks so- a number of guys around here of my vintage (OLD) who are dedicated tube guys have been amazed. One of them, a locally "famous" player, said he'd be tempted to go out and get a Mustang were it not they are made in China, not tube, etc. It's my humble opinion that those two things keep many guys from liking an amp such as the Mustang. I could be wrong...

    IF I'd have just got the amp, plugged in and put my pedals in tweaking / taking the time required to get good settings, that amp would have gone the same day it came in. As it is, I use it regularly and NO ONE has ever complained it sounds "Solid state", Fizzy, etc.

    I don't play metal, I'm not a jazz guy (although I incorporate some into my playing. I'm not Van Halen (don't get me started) nor am I Eric Johnson (who can 'hear' the difference of a fuse in his amp...:eek:) Mostly classic rock and southern rock, etc.

    Go forth and conquer. Let the naysayers say 'nay', let your ears do the listening.

    Not saying I'll run out and swear tubes off, but it's a viable amp with pleasing tone.

    I don't own a GT but assume it's a similar set up to the Mustang III?

    kchurch and velvet_man like this.

  5. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jun 8, 2009
    Area 51
    For the last 10+ years I've been using modeling amps and pedals - first a Line6 Flextone IIIXL, and now a Mustang IV 2x12.

    I came from using tube amps, but playing in a P&W band where controlling stage volume is an issue it was a constant headache trying to get a good sound at low enough volume.

    When I started with the Line6 I tried using some of the built in effects (mainly delays, etc.) but I always struggled with how difficult it was to tweak on the fly.

    I switched to 99% using pedals for my effects and using the modeling amp exactly as I would have used my tube amps - I've found that the Mustang excels at the clean Fender sound, so basically I dialed it in to sound as close to my actual Fender Twin as possible.

    The other nice thing about both models were the stereo effects loop (so I could actually use my TC SCF as it was designed,) and the XLR out with independent send control, so I could send the soundman the exact amount of volume that he needed to balance me within the mix regardless of my stage volume.

    The other game changer was the fact that overdrive pedals are much more touch responsive and "amp-like" than they were back when I first started playing out - in my rhythm loop I have a trio of Catalinbread "amp-in-a-box" pedals - a Galileo V1 (Vox) and a pair of Dirty Little Secret V3's, one in Super Bass mode and the other in Super Lead - and they react amazingly like the real thing - even with how they operate with boosters or fuzz before them. And if I need to add a little treble I just reach down and twirl a knob, vs deep diving into a preset.
    johnnymg likes this.

  6. Stratstruck

    Stratstruck Strat-Talk Member

    Dec 25, 2013
    I second that.. My Mustang III V2 does a good job with an OD pedal.. I'm happy with it !!
    SnowStorm likes this.

  7. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 8, 2011
    Raleigh NC
    You can definitely use pedals in front of it. If it sounds good it is good.
    BallisticSquid likes this.

  8. randypttt

    randypttt Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 3, 2010
    I've had the whole range of Fender modelers, minus the new ones, and I've always used a booster in front of them.
    I like the BF sound also and the booster puts it just past the edge and sings like a nightingale. And fills out the sound a bit also.
    Works well with my Bassbreaker too.

  9. gonzo

    gonzo Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 4, 2009
    even if a modeler does not react to the incoming signal from a pedal, the same way an amp would, it doesn't matter if you are able to tweak the tone and gain the way you want.

    tools are tools.

    cool tones are cool.

  10. Chont

    Chont Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 25, 2012
    I have a Mustang IIv2 and only use one preset. A 57 Twin patch that Tweaked and got a base sound i'm extremely happy with. I'm very happy with how my Rat, Ultimate Drive and Screamin' Blues work in front of it. I also have a Fulltone 70 which works very well too with it. I'm still trying to get the zippery violin tones but not much luck there. I know its possible though because I've seen it done so i know its me and not the gear.

  11. Cerb

    Cerb Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 22, 2016
    I used to do that with the Yamaha THR5. Worked great.

  12. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2010
    The Midwest
    All I want from a solid state amp is a good "clean" tone--so that my pedals can take my sound wherever I want it to go.
    gwjensen and Raiders757 like this.

  13. Raiders757

    Raiders757 Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 2, 2016
    Got a Mustang III v2 and I really only use it for different amp emulations using a clean setting to run my pedalboards through. I don't even bother with the effects at all.

  14. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    As others said, whatever works and sounds good :).

    I'm doing the opposite...I use a multi-effects unit in front of my tube amp...a Peavey ValveKing 112 with a Boss GT-100. One of my favorite tones I use with my band is the tubescreamer through the lead channel on my amp with the amp gain set to 1. It gives definition to the distorted tone from the amp and gives it that certain something to cut right through the mix without boosting volume. It sings without being too muddy.

  15. amagras

    amagras Strat-O-Master

    Oct 26, 2016
    I used my pedals with plugins until Cytomic made The Scream

  16. velvet_man

    velvet_man Strat-O-Master

    Sep 7, 2016
    I have a Blackstar ID Core 100 modelling amp. I absolutely love it, and the built-in effects are more than enough for pretty much anything I need. Out of curiosity, I put my Tube Screamer in front of it and was amazed by how good it sounded. I also tried my Boss DS-1, but that didn't work as well. The Tube Screamer is now a permanent part of my rig again, though. I can set up three channels on the amp footswitch with sparkling clean, just a bit of breakup, and full-on crunch. Then I can kick on the OD on any one of those channels to kick it up a notch. It actually has me thinking about upgrading my cheap TS-5 for a better TS-9 or TS808.

  17. IronSchef

    IronSchef Senior Stratmaster

    May 17, 2012
    Flew Here On My Dragonfly
    great discussion - and I agree w/ the "no hard rules" line of thinkng... if it sounds good, you did it "right" :)

    I have a modelling amp, but its the SCx2 - one full-on Tube channel, and one Tube/modelling channel (amp effects can be added to both)

    I use Ch1 (tube) w/ a Mesa Throttlebox to get a wide range of tones - and use the Ch2 modelling w/o any pedals. I can dial in several different tones using just the footswitches this way!

  18. Nick in Seattle

    Nick in Seattle Strat-Talker

    Apr 7, 2016
    I have a Vox VT40+ modeling amp
    I use pedals on the clean setting but I can't seem to get anything I like otherwise
    And it's been said but it is the truth
    If you get the sound you want then there are no rules

  19. JohnDH

    JohnDH Senior Stratmaster

    I dont have a modelling amp but Ive had a couple of Zoom processors and tried some Boss units. I think low to medium overdrive tones are absolutely the hardest to capture digitally and analogue devices, even if only a good pedal, generally do better. That applies IMO, even to recent dedicated digital pedals such as Boss' Od-1x. Everything else can be done well digitally.

    So I think it often makes good sense to run your favorite analogue drives into a digital amp or processor.

  20. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 27, 2012

    What OD pedal do you use?