2010
06.29

Tone Secrets Reviewed on Guitar Tone Overload: Check it out!

Read the review over on Guitar Tone Overload of Don’s DVD “Tone Secrets”

2010
03.15

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2010
02.14

I will be discussing five common amplification choices: American Tube, British Tube, Hybrid Amp, Solid State Amp, and Digital Simulation Amplifiers.  Each one of these amps is capable of producing great and usable tones.

Tube Amps: These amps use vacuum tubes to amplify the sound coming form your instrument.  This technology was commonly used the old tube radios of the mid 1920s.  Today’s tube amps use same technology as those old radios.  They produce a warm sound that compresses and changes character as the player increases the volume or plays harder.

A Word About Maintenance: Tube amps need regular maintenance to perform their best.  Make sure your tube amp has tubes less than two years old and has been checked by a qualified maintenance tech.   If your amp has never been to the local shop, get it checked out now.  You should hear a noticeable difference with some fresh tubes and adjustments!

American Tube Amp

This type of amp is common to the sounds of early Rockabilly, Country and Rock and Roll music, and the little amp that really produces the crushing rock sound behind all those silent stacks at the arena.  This amp has a bright and dirty sound that accentuates midrange frequencies and adds a characteristic chime at the end of the notes.

American Tube Amp, Amplifier

American Tube Amp

British Tube Amp

The British Tube amp was introduced in the 1960s in the United Kingdom.  An American tube bass guitar amplifier provided the design foundation behind the British tube amplifier.  Many 60’s British guitarist found the American Tube amplifiers too harsh and slightly annoying. This amp is common to the sounds of post-British Invasion blues influenced bands.  This amp produces a full range clean sound that accentuates the high and low frequencies.

British Tube Amp, Amplifier

British Tube Amp

Hybrid Tube Amp

Hybrid Tube amps are a large category of modern amps that are designed to combine the several amp qualities into one amp.  These designs often combine British and American tube amp designs others will combine vintage and high gain recipes.  These amps are useful as so many sounds can be dialed in from one unit.

Hybrid Tube Amp, Amplifier

Hybrid Tube Amp

Solid-state Amplifier

The solid-state amplifier is has no tubes and is powered by transistors.  This style of amplifier excels at clean unaltered tones.  This amp is also a great platform for players that use multi effects units.  Solid-state amplifiers are commonly used in jazz, R & B, and in live and recording situations when the sound needs to be clean and clear.

solid-state amplifier

Solid-state Amplifier

Digital Simulation Amplifiers

Computer technology drives this design.  These amplifiers can simulate all the classic amps and create some that never existed.  The best of these amps come close to sounding like the real thing.  More pros are using digital simulation amps while on tour so they don’t need to carry many expensive and fragile amplifiers.

Digital Simulation Amplifiers

Digital Simulation Amplifiers

2010
02.03

Power Ratings:

Amplifiers come in X different power ratings.  Many players dream of a 100 watt vintage marshall full stack.  However this may not be the best choice if you drive an AMC Pacer and gig at small bars.

5 to 9 Watts: A common 9 watt amp is the Fender Champ. These amps are referred to a practice amps.  Mosts amps at this rating are portable tube amps.  They are mostly used for practice at home but are also useful for recording.   A cranked up small tube amp can sound very full and punchy through a studio microphone.  I love the sound ad portability of my 9 Watt Kendrick tube amp.  Unfortunately, I have blown it up three times trying to compete with the sound of a live drummer.

15 to 25 Watts: The Fender tweed Deluxe is a good example of this power rating.  These amps are the perfect size for small bars and restaurants.  They are small enough to easily carry, they don’t take up much room on a small stage, and they are affordable, achieve a good tone and are usually load enough to complete with a controlled drummer.  Many players use these exclusively and mic them for larger gigs.

30 to 45 watts: A Marshall JTM 45 or a Fender Bassman fit this category. These amps are best suited for clubs and mid sized rooms.  These amps can maintain a clean and clear sound at higher volumes than the 15 to 25 watt amps.  These amps typically have more than one speaker and can move more air and create a sonic presence that the listener can feel as well as hear.

50 Watts: Most Marshall JCM series amps are available in this wattage.  This size amp works well for large clubs and outdoor gigs.  They typically are paired with one or two 4 x 12” speaker cabinets and move more air and create more physical presence than the 30 to 45 watt amps.

100 Watts: The most common big stage amplifier is the 100 watt Marshall stack. These amps produce great tone at a volume that can be easily heard 1000’s of feet away. These amps move so much air to create a sonic and physical experience like no other amplifier category. These amps are perfectly suited for very large clubs, arenas, and big outdoor festivals. These amps are common with big rock bands but also can be seen on stage with country, pop and world music artists.

2010
02.03

A good guitar amplifier is critical to any tone recipe.

Amplifier choice is equally important as your guitar choice.  The “right” amplifier choice will allow the player to:

  1. Get as close as possible to that perfect tone in your head.
  2. A sensible power rating that matches the size gigs you typically perform.
  3. Will comfortably fit on the stages you perform.
  4. Will fit in your car with your guitar and other gear you will bring to a gig.
  5. Is affordable within your budget.
2009
11.06

You have purchased the signature guitar of your hero. You bought the green pedal, you played with a peso, but you still hate your tone! I can help! This DVD will help you understand how guitars, tube amps and effects pedals may be combined to achieve unique, appealing tones.