Quote: Originally posted by spiderjames on 16 February 2006
You should be able to get close with any small all tube amp if you run it wide open. Some of the reason his guitar sounds the way it does is from the volume at which he plays. Running an amp wide open causes the power tubes to distort and the signal to compress quite a lot, as apposed to only distorting the preamp tubes which is what happens when you use a gain control with a master volume.The sustain comes from the compression and the sheer volume of the amp(now we have a legimate reason for playing at unreasonable volumes).The only way to do this at a volume level that wont get your band fired from your gig is to use a very small amp wide open.You may still not get enough volume to get that infinite sustain but a good compressor will help.I used to use two amps One with chanel switching for clean/crunchy rhythm sounds and an A/B box to switch to an old alamo tube amp for leads. Still it was too loud for some rooms and I would have to use a Dbox instead. My V-amp Mesa Boogie setting gets a reasonable facsimile at low volumes if you run the compressor. You can also run an attenuator on your head and get tube dist. at lower volumes. I have heard this is hard on your amp but I have no experience in that regard. hope my 2 cents worth helps.
When I was in a blues band for a couple years, I used (amongst other things) a Fender Prosonic with a Marshall Power Brake. Actually the only other things I had in my signal chain were a Univibe and a modified TS-9 (had the original components put back into the signal path and the eq/filter shaping was changed.) Used to get tons of compliments on my tone and folks always thought I had a rack or something stashed away behind my onstage rig. My custom 62 Strat with the custom neck, Van Zandt Vintage Plus PUs, and the custom setup might have had something to do with it as well... :-)
I never had any problems with either the amp or the Power Brake, but on the other hand I ran my amp through a good tube tech shop once a year to make sure it was biased properly, test the tubes, etc.
Anyway, being able to push the output stage(s) of the power amp hard is definitely one of the keys, and that's what the power brake allows one to do.
Not to pick nits, but I've read that the classic tube output stage distortion/compression/tone is as much about the output transformer being pushed into saturation and serious hysteresis as it is the tubes, but it's likely a lot of both.
I do know that after a longish night of pushing the Prosonic through the pbrake into its' own speakers, the output transformer would be HOT, so there's definitely something going on in there.
BTW, I used to chuckle at all the people who'd want to know what pedal I got my tone with or how my preamp settings were run...
The simple fact is that 12ax7's (or the equivalents thereof) can generate tons of "crunch" and all, but to my ears never can get close to the power tube distortion/sound. Some boneheads used to stand there and argue with me about how they could get the same tone or better out of *my* rig or other rigs without the pbrake and using only solid-state or 12ax7's/etc. I gave up, I guess there's some folks who'd argue with their own mothers for having given birth to them or whatever. It got to the point that I'd just ignore them once it became clear all they wanted to do was talk about themselves...