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Old 08-17-07, 01:13 AM   #1
RedHairedScot
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Guitarists

Yo!

I've got a long history of the good acoustic guitar stuff, and a little bit of electric on the side, but I've started hanging out with the wrong crowd. There's a group of grad students (plus recently graduated me) that want to get together and play, and they're decidedly ska-punkish.

Technically it's no problem at all, but I'm having a hard time getting a nice crunchy, punky tone. I've got a Washburn Chicago-series electric guitar and a DigiTech RP-300A modeling effects pedal. I don't think the hands are a problem, but the crunch just won't happen.

Any hints? Other resources? Hmm, I'm in Austin -- maybe I should find somebody giving lessons? (I can just see that: "Hi, I'm used to playing Bach -- so now how do I play punk?")
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Old 08-17-07, 03:50 AM   #2
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First you use an alternate tuning... Dropped D or some such, then PM, Lem in PA. He's an old punker.
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Old 08-17-07, 07:49 AM   #3
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Lose the DigiTech.

What amp are you using?
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Old 08-17-07, 07:51 AM   #4
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Pass the dutchie on the left hand side. Then play. Everything should sound fine then. If not, pass the dutchie on the left hand side again.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:18 AM   #5
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If nothing else his appetite will be sated.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:21 AM   #6
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Yeah, I think it might be the modeling pedal. What amp are you using? A nice tube amp would probably give you a good crunch. Otherwise, I've gotten pretty good sounds out of the orange Boss distortion pedal.
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Old 08-17-07, 08:35 AM   #7
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First you use an alternate tuning... Dropped D or some such, then PM, Lem in PA. He's an old punker.

Thanks for props, Stacy !

But...'Old' ???
Thats sooooooooooooooo wrong !!

Ancient or prehistoric is more like it !

Hmmmmmm......Im at a loss though cuz my Son has a digitech modeler and
Im able to get some crunch out of it. Its flaky though.....so maybe something
just isnt clicking inside...a short, perhaps ?

What kind of amp are you using ??
There are many interpritations of Ska. Do you mean Specials type Ska, or Rancid type ??
I would recommend about 25 watt amp, minimum and a distortion pedal,
one with a tube would be most ideal. You can tune down a half step but
I dont think that would be necassary for what you are doing. If you are
doing Specials old sckool style, you really dont want too much distortion.
If you are Rancid-411 you want the big crunch only a pedal or 100 Watt Marshall
will give.
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Old 08-17-07, 10:53 AM   #8
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Run the amp wide open and use those powerchords and palm muting.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:00 AM   #9
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Gibson+Marshall=Awesome

This is the formula I use
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Old 08-17-07, 12:28 PM   #10
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I would suggest a semi-hollow body guitar. Dearmond-now-Fender makes a good one, and the Ibanez artcores are okay - but don't get the whacky wammy bar. I'd also suggest something large enough to get to enough volume to get a good level of feedback, if you want it, but something that will be small enough to add a bit of crunch to your pedal. As for pedals, go for the boss OD-1. I run a old Fender Twin, and that works well, by the way, but I was lucky to get it. I find that the small crates are neat, as well as the 2x12 that fender makes for kinda cheap. This is, of course, for the Rancid Style Ska mentioned above. The same guitar will cross styles, however - it's just a question of whether or not your distort or voice the full chord.

Also, wear a porkpie. It helps your tone tremendously.
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Old 08-17-07, 12:32 PM   #11
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Real, old skool Ska doesnt really have any distortion at
all. Fenders through whatever they could get. Its all
in the timing and chopping up the chords right.
But yeah...the PorkPie is a prerequisite !
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Old 08-17-07, 12:35 PM   #12
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Gibson Les Paul + Marshall stack...best crunch ever!
Can be used for just about anything.
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Old 08-17-07, 01:06 PM   #13
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Wind the distortion back further than you think. Pick a nice amp model, like a fender or marshall, drop the gain down to minimum and give the guitar a whack. Keep turning the gain up until you can get a good crunch with a hard strum but if you stroke it gently it still sounds nearly clean. Digital stuff can sound good but most of the gain settings are too distorted and fizzy. Also, use big strings. I use an old cheap little Zoom processor, an also cheap jazz semi and Ernie Ball skinny top heavy bottom strings and get some pretty big sounds...
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Old 08-17-07, 01:17 PM   #14
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+1

I like fat strings, high action and low impedence pickups
getting the tone off the amp. When you play loud there are
too many crossover tones when you use a lot of distortion,
sometimes it ends up sounding real muddy. Rolling the distortion
back, low impedence, big volume gives the axe lots of cut-thru punch.
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Old 08-17-07, 11:47 PM   #15
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I'm no expert, but when in doubt, buy a full stack. It may not sound good, but it will be loud.
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Old 08-18-07, 06:21 AM   #16
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Very cool.

I have a simple midsize Crate amp, so I took the advice of wolfbrother and Lem_in_Pa and tried out a higher-end amp at the local guitar store. The Marshall was a bit pricy, but there were two or three that did a good job. Even the bigger Crate was a little silly-sounding, but there was a midsize Line 6 that had a nice sound to it. It also has a few effects built in that sound better than my pedal which are supposedly the same as their original effects, and they sound happy too. (Or maybe they just sound better 'cause they're through a reasonable amp.)

I had also forgotten that I was using some crazy lighter-gauge strings. That's easy enough to fix.

And as for "punk or ska", the answer is: both and neither. It's the result of sprinkling a horn player or two into a punk band. It works much better than, say, rap + accordion or blues + chainsaw, but it's still ok. (Well, that one song with the chainsaw wasn't bad..."Lumberjack"...it was just 12-bar blues, so who knows?)

Anyway, thanks everybody! This weekend I may wind up poor but musical...
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Old 08-18-07, 10:40 AM   #17
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I use a half stack assembled from a Marshall DSL100 head, and two Mesa 2x12 cabinets. In three pieces, this is a half stack that won't kill your back to carry.
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Old 08-18-07, 10:48 AM   #18
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I prefer a massively overdriven Krate Amp. Drive the input til the signal clips and there ya go....instant grungy punk sound.
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Old 08-18-07, 11:00 AM   #19
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Speaking of the Les Paul...when I went in looking at the amps, I saw a nice Epiphone Les Paul. I'm a big proponent of the "Earn the bike you ride/guitar you play", and I don't honestly think I'm good enough for a new guitar, but it is oh so tempting.

Plus, I've had this Washburn electric since HS (12 years!) and it's never let me down...
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Old 08-18-07, 11:50 AM   #20
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The guitars I play are as prole as the cheepo bikes I ride...nothing special at all.
A mex-o-caster is what I use most. Nothing special by anyones sandards but I
love it. At the risk of sounding cliche....whether its bikes or guitars, what you
make of it comes from within. If Keef Richards picked up the your Washburn
and banged out a flaming version of a 'Stones tune you would be just as blown
away as if he did it on a '59 Les Paul. Its the heart, not the equipment

That being said, a Epi Les Paul might be the most underrated, bang for the
buck guitar made. Whatever you do, dont ever trade the Washburn because
you WILL regret it later !!

KEep playing !!!!
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Old 11-19-08, 11:37 AM   #21
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Just play like this kid and let everybody else drop dead if they want to!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAhZZc_Bwps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MseYT...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXosp...eature=related
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Old 11-19-08, 12:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Hobartlemagne View Post
Gibson+Marshall=Awesome

This is the formula I use
Absolutely True (tho I preferred Hiwatt and Ampeg, but still), but it also = deaf, or worse, tinnitus.

Wear ear protection - sure wish I had
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Old 11-19-08, 04:04 PM   #23
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^^^^^ What him sed.
My right ear is shot.

Im waaay overamped with a 100 watt, all tube 1/2 stack
which is really too much. A 30 watt tuber turned up to 8 or 9 will
sound better than a 100 watter turned up to 4 or 5
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Old 11-19-08, 04:34 PM   #24
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Tube amps driven into power tube distortion will give a nice crunch. Depending on your volume needs this may mean getting a lower wattage amp so you can get into the natural break up of the power tubes. Some tube amps that are a bit cheaper than Marshall's and other big names are Peavey(Valveking, Windsor, VTM60, VTM120, Butcher), older Carvin's, Sovtek's, and others that aren't coming to mind right now. I have a Peavey VTM120 that in many ways sounds better than my Marshall JCM800, but it really is all personal choice.

As others have mentioned the Gibson+Marshall formula is a no-brainer and does indeed usually sound pretty damn good. Try different combinations and develop your own sound.
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