Author Topic: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone  (Read 3650 times)

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Offline Sindarion

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Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« on: May 24, 2009, 08:40:43 PM »
Hi Everyone.

I'm having trouble getting a lead tone that I'm happy with.  What I'm after is a very smooth legato style tone with tons of sustain (think Steve Vai - For the Love of God).

Can anyone point me in the right direction as to what sort of effects or amp settings I could use to get close to this?  (I'm thinking some form of compression pedal + delay + maybe something like a tube screamer?)

What I'm coming up with at the moment just seems a bit too crunchy and not smooth enough.

Its for low volume home use mostly, I dont gig on guitar at the moment (thats what my Irish Fiddle is for :P )

I'm going through a 40w Line 6 Spider Valve 112 (the Bogner designed tube amp) and playing a JEM 7VWH (DiMarzio Evolutions Neck and Bridge).

Any help would be appreciated.

Offline 2112

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2009, 11:52:56 PM »
if you're after vai's passion and warfare tone, a good start would be to ditch the evolutions and swap them out for a set of PAF pro's which the earlier jems had; i don't know if that's what he specifically used on that track, but by using a lower output pickup you're going to be able to shape the sound from the amp alot more.
a big part of any great lead sound is the midrange, and often just jamming in your bedroom you'll want to pull the mids out to get that super chunky scooped sound; however this sounds like shit when you play with a full band because it's not going to cut through the mix in any way.
for the sort of lead sound you want you'd be using the neck pickup with a enough gain to give you plenty of sustain but without the sound get too muddy as well; experiment and see what works!
although as eddie van halen always says, tone is in the fingers.....
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Offline Ormsby_Guitars

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2009, 12:17:35 AM »
Yup, what Leon said. Less output is better for creamy tones. Alnico 2 magnet has less string pull than Alnico 5, and a slightly warmer rounded tone.

If you were to come to me for the pickup, I'd suggest an "Ormsby Old School" with Alnico 2 magnet.

Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2009, 09:46:25 AM »
Thanks for the advice guys.

To be honest I don't think its the pickups that are holding me back at the moment so much as my very poor knowledge of amps.

I dont know if its just the amp that I have or if I am missing something but I've fiddled around with Master/Drive/Channel Volume and I just cant seem to get rid of this quite rough, crunchy tone out of my lead settings.  It sounds almost like a string buzz but I swapped over to my LTD (which has a bridge set stupidly high at the moment) and there was no change.  Possibly since im mostly playing at home I'm not driving the tubes hard enough?  I might be dreaming but the problem does seem to get a bit better after I've given my amp a run for a while at medium volume, then I set it back to a low volume.

If I lived a bit closer to Perth I would try my guitar through some other amps at a music shop or something.  In any case the guitar is probably in need of a set up so I might organise a time for you to have a look at it, Perry.

Offline Ormsby_Guitars

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009, 10:18:05 AM »
Your amp will only amplifier the signal its being fed. The Evo neck is 13k DC resistance with a ceramic magnet (ceramic - harsh tone and amplified bass and trebles). What Leon and I have suggested is more around the 7.8-8.3k DC range with a different magnet.

If the signal is already hot (13k for a neck pickup is EXTREMELY hot), you wont be able to clean it up enough.

Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009, 12:34:17 PM »
OK thanks for your patience, I understand now.

So, looks like I'm in the market for a pair of new pickups.  Might be a while to get the cash as buying this guitar cleaned me out.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 06:47:46 PM »
You're never going to get a warm, smooth tone out of a Line6 Spider unless you look into achieving your distortion through means other than the amp i.e. nice pedals/rack gear etc.

Good pickups certainly help a lot though.

Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2009, 07:43:28 PM »
What sort of Amp would you recommend, then?  Considering that at this stage it is for home use, I'm not going to go out and buy a cab and head just yet.  Doesnt need to be anything more than 20-30 watts.  I mostly bought the Line6 for its versatility, I dont just play metal, if I want to bust out some Stones, Dire Straits, Zep or Gunners then the Line 6 works well for me.

Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2009, 07:44:36 PM »
And if I was going to achieve that sort of smooth lead tone through the line6, do you have any recommendations for pedals/outboard gear?

Offline beer_drinker

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2009, 05:03:30 PM »
Try a tube screamer, they give a nice smoother, more saturated lead tone. Also will slightly compress your tone. Very good for amps that have a dry tone. I recomend a ts-808(re issue) or a ts-9.

Offline MoonStruck

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2009, 07:48:13 PM »
You should be able to get a great tone out of that amp. They are great.

Offline Manny

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2009, 09:26:39 AM »
I agree...I tried a L6 valve combo once and the sound was huge.  Would love to have one...  :)
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Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2009, 01:41:52 PM »
Yeah the amp sounds awesome for 99% of what I do, its just the Legato style stuff that I cant quite get right - I'll get a Tube Screamer next time im in Perth and hopefully that might improve things a bit.  If not I might either deal with it or get new pickups.

Offline Manny

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 09:23:33 AM »
Not sure if a TS is the answer...maybe a little bit of delay and reverb?
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Offline Ormsby_Guitars

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2009, 09:58:38 AM »
I dont think a tube screamer is the answer either. It negates the suggestion of lower output pickups.


Offline Ingasm

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 10:05:11 PM »
Ehh

I run an Ibo into single rectifier with a PAF up in the neck. Mids and bass at about 2-3 oclock, treble at 12, Run it through a pod XT with tubescreamer, subtle noise gate and light delay. Really light reverb,

Works fine for me.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2009, 12:11:29 PM »
You're still a fag, though.

Offline Ingasm

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2009, 12:13:27 PM »
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Forgot to mention, purple guitar = silky smooth lead tone. Invest in a purple guitar.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2009, 12:27:44 PM »
Needs to be suede.

Offline Ingasm

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2009, 12:37:12 PM »
Velour.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2009, 12:38:51 PM »
Speaking of velour, my '87 Magna has a sweet velour interior. Wanna buy it?

Offline dparker

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2009, 01:22:51 PM »
I'll give you $200 for the car? 8)

I thought the trick to silky leads was to pull emotional faces while playing... especially when doing slow bends and tremolo picking. Tone is in the fingers, and face.
I must slumber, per se.

Offline JohnnyC

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2009, 04:51:31 PM »
isnt there a preset on the spider valve called "4 the love of vai"
are you using your neck pickup?
have you tried rolling your tone knob down a little?
have you worked on you legato technique?


Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2009, 07:54:25 PM »
I'll give you $200 for the car? 8)


Mate, you can have the car for $100. You live in Mozzy Park yeah? I'm on Samson Street just off IGA. Come buy it.

Offline dparker

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #24 on: May 30, 2009, 08:09:57 PM »
I'll give you $200 for the car? 8)


Mate, you can have the car for $100. You live in Mozzy Park yeah? I'm on Samson Street just off IGA. Come buy it.


Haha... I live in Claremont... Is it the slightest bit functional? Also, I have an Automatic Transmission restriction at the moment. :-[
I must slumber, per se.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #25 on: May 30, 2009, 08:12:54 PM »
It is functional indeed if you're happy to drive in second gear. Can easily go at 60km/hr. You'd obviously want to get it fixed, but other than the transmission (auto), it's in reasonable condition.

When it's in "D", it slips out of gear into neutral, but as I said, "2" is fine. I had a quote from a mechanic for a $400 fix. so for $500 all up, it's not a bad car.

Offline dparker

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2009, 08:39:00 PM »
Hmmm... I'll consider it ey, seems ok otherwise... pretty desperate for a car at the moment, but I may be due to receive one in the next few weeks anyway (hopefully)... I'll be in contact if end up falling back on it. :P

Also, I'd assume Reverse and Park work?

It'd suck being capped at 60 though, as my regular travel requirements are gonna be on 80 roads and freeways, and I've been dealing with enough tailgaters while doing the speed limit.
I must slumber, per se.

Offline cyanide_christ

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2009, 08:40:51 PM »
If you bought it, you'd want to get the transmission fixed.

Offline 2112

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2009, 08:43:34 PM »

have you worked on you legato technique?


that's probably the most important factor! maybe it's just a case of doing some serious practice  :hmm:
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Offline Sindarion

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2009, 11:17:01 AM »
Yes my legato technique is terrible, I am after all a violin player (and playing a violin will teach you more than any instrument that tone is DEFINATELY in the fingers because you dont have frets).  I am self taught on guitar so anyone with half an ounce of talent would probably tell me "Ahh theres the problem... you suck!!".  There is indeed a "4 The Love" setting on my amp which to my ears sounds nothing like the recording but it still sounds good.  Thanks for all your suggestions, contradictory though they may be :P  I will keep experimenting and, more importantly, practicing.

Offline 2112

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Re: Smooth as Silk Lead Tone
« Reply #30 on: June 05, 2009, 01:27:03 PM »
Yes my legato technique is terrible, I am after all a violin player (and playing a violin will teach you more than any instrument that tone is DEFINATELY in the fingers because you dont have frets).  I am self taught on guitar so anyone with half an ounce of talent would probably tell me "Ahh theres the problem... you suck!!".  There is indeed a "4 The Love" setting on my amp which to my ears sounds nothing like the recording but it still sounds good.  Thanks for all your suggestions, contradictory though they may be :P  I will keep experimenting and, more importantly, practicing.
there are a bunch of AMAZING legato players, mostly fusion guys, who you should check out if you haven't already.
Allan Holdsworth is right up the top, and if you want some instructional stuff check out frank gambale's chop builder dvd, which basically goes through how he uses economy picking to achieve a super smooth tone.
for more of the rock/metal thing guys like rusty cooley, or for that matter anyone on the chops from hell website is worth checking out www.chopsfromhell.com has a lot of cool instructional stuff.
best of luck with it all man!
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