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Can modeling amps sound really good?


Doveshooter
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So.. I've got two guitars, the cheap-ass rocktile st-something I learned the basics on - it's set up very playable with lowered action and almost no fret buzz.

 

...and a dbz barchetta rx-r1 which i grabbed on the weekend they sold it for $200 a few weeks back ;)

big thanks to the cf-team for letting me know about that offer on this site, btw!

 

The dbz felt like I don't even have to change a thing out of the box, and sounds way punchier and more defined - the stock custom dbz pickups seem to be a huge improvement obviously.

 

 

My amp is a line6 spider IV15, with factory presets.

What I'm wondering is why the higher notes (17-22) sound weak and die out rather quick, is it because the amp is ok-ish but not great or do I need expensive pickups for better sustain there?

 

 

Oh and I've been playing self-taught for like 8 months, so I know the problem might still be bad technique.

What do you guys think?

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So.. I've got two guitars, the cheap-ass rocktile st-something I learned the basics on - it's set up very playable with lowered action and almost no fret buzz.

 

...and a dbz barchetta rx-r1 which i grabbed on the weekend they sold it for $200 a few weeks back ;)

big thanks to the cf-team for letting me know about that offer on this site, btw!

 

The dbz felt like I don't even have to change a thing out of the box, and sounds way punchier and more defined - the stock custom dbz pickups seem to be a huge improvement obviously.

 

 

My amp is a line6 spider IV15, with factory presets.

What I'm wondering is why the higher notes (17-22) sound weak and die out rather quick, is it because the amp is ok-ish but not great or do I need expensive pickups for better sustain there?

 

 

Oh and I've been playing self-taught for like 8 months, so I know the problem might still be bad technique.

What do you guys think?

 

I have this exact same amp, and havnt noticed a problem with sustaining high notes.  the guitars im using are an ibanez rg with inf3 pickups (cheap as hell), schecter loomis with emg707 active pups, and an ibanez universe prototype with seymour duncan custom wound pickups (basically SH8 invaders... but for 7 string).

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So many things contribute, or hinder sustain. On the higher notes generally a lot of gain will make them sing more but could and probably will make it seem like too much for rhythm stuff. Materials the guitar is made out of and neck type set neck, bolt on and neck thru all affect the sound and where the guitar sounds best. Also the gauge of the strings will have an effect. If you have 8's on it it won't sing like it would with 10's. I don't know the ins and outs of that amp but I think that maybe the total of your package, even how close the pickup is to the strings will have an affect.

 I'm Allergic To Stupidity. I Break Out In Sarcasm.

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The quality of your strings, as well as how they are maintained, will also have an impact on sustain and the "brightness" of the sound in general.

 

You should make sure you clean your strings before and after you use your guitar.  You should also make sure you change them regularly, the frequency depending on how often you play.  If you play every day, you should put new strings on every 6 weeks or so.  I change mine once a month.

 

During string changes is also a good time to clean and oil your fretboard.

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Thanks Izzy for pointing out that the amp is fine.

 

I've been handling the guitars with care and cleaning the fretboard when changing strings, but never thought about cleaning the strings before/after playing.

I feel stupid now, haha.. a small bottle of string cleaner has been on my shelf all the time, next to the lemon oil.

After cleaning the strings I can say it seems to help alot!     Thanks Wepeel

 

@Attitude: the neck pickup is really low and the bridge one is pretty high, so neck should have more sustain while bridge has more output, correct?

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You will only get those high notes to sustain if you play so loud that feedback from the amps makes the strings keep vibrating. There’s just not enough energy in the vibration of a short thin but of wire to keep going on its own.

Good point.

 

A little update by the way:

I've played a few other amps in a store a week ago out of curiosity with my dbz.

So at first I was gonna ask them what they think about upgrading from the stock pickups, but after testing a few mid-expensive amps and the exact spider IV I've got at home for comparison, I noticed that a vox vt20+ is the upgrade that I'm probably seeking for now. The spider sounds a little shallow/flat at similar distorted settings. Clean is not that much of a difference to be fair.

 

The spider isn't bad per se and the vox certainly is not the maximum improvement possible, it's just a similar 'phenomenom' I've had with headphones a while back. Cheap ones do fine, til you hear something a lot better.

No idea why I thought the cheapest amp on the market could be the perfect jack-of-all-trades for my bedroom jamming.

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Well, I'm not surprised you liked the Vox better. Vox stuff kicks butt.

 

They actually are tube/digital hybrids. There is an actual tube in the preamp, a 1-watt tube, which drives it's signal into all the digital stuff. The digital circuitry can change the bias of the tube even, so it can model different classic tube amps. I think they call it Valvetronix or Valve Reactor technology?

 

I have one of their high-end Vox modeling amps, a VTX 60, and it rocks. Can do that Van Halen brown sound really well. Too bad they discountinued the VTX line. Mine was $999 MSRP but got it for around $799.

 

While Line 6 can make some good stuff, like their high-end modeling gear like  their PODs, when it comes to amps, I found the Spiders not as satisfying to the more tube-like Vox amps. If you're going wear headphones only and only for recording,  then the difference isn't as big and in fact I may go with the Line 6 PODs as they got a ton of patches and extras.

 

But for amps, either bedroom quiet or loud with a band, I much prefer the Vox stuff.

 

I've only heard the VTX and budget VT line, but I'm sure the newer VT+ stuff should be good, too. They all use that Valvetronix Tube-hybrid technology, even the budget stuff. I'm pretty sure even that VT+20, so while smaller and cheaper, it probably does sound more satisfying than the other amps you tried.

 

You got good ears. Unless you've been playing awhile, not everyone can notice the subtle nuances of a real tube, even though, in this case, it's just a 1-watt tube being masked with all the digital modeling stuff, but it makes a difference, IMO. There's enough of the tube-like warmness and a hint of sparkle, that puts it over the edge of completely digital solid state amps.

 

Vox also made the floor versions called the ToneLab SE, but they have been discountined, and not sure if they replace anyting with it. It's their version of the Line 6 floor line of PODs. I really liked the ToneLab SE a lot, too.

 

 

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Line 6 modelling amps are worth a look and if you have a smart phone iPhone or android (which they have just launched an app for) then their amplifi 75 is a cool amp to take a look at.  

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The Vox and high end Line 6 amps are fine. But really it's do you want flat out copies of someone else's tone? I've owned and played with a lot of amps and software at this point. And if you want to dial in someone else's tone perfectly ask them how they do it. Many artists have given interviews or will respond to emails on the subject. Otherwise just find a sweet set of effects and play with them. There was another set of questions about this earlier I think. 

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