That Jazz tone still escapes me !!

Discussion in 'Discussion' started by Chalky, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Chalky

    Chalky Well-Known Member

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    I’m a huge fan of Atomic’s’ bang for the buck and have used both AF12 and AFB for gigs sufficient times to to be confident about using them both in battle. Never had a problem, not once, and the AF12 even saved the day when a valve amp went phut once. But that was for a classic rock band and an acoustic duo last year, and the range of resident amp models and available IRs cover those genres well.

    However the one tone that escapes me is what I now need for a swing band ... there are reasonable modern jazz tones (think Metheny, John Scofield, Matt Schofield..) which can easily be synthesised form the resident cabs and or Matt Britt collections BUTTTTT I cannot find anything that resembles that classic jazz tone, think Joe Pass, George Benson ... lots of bottom end, no highs but still clear, no mud ... everything I have tried so far sounds thin and feels awful under the fingers, and when I benchmark my AF attempts on Logic and compare them against a Mesa or my Blackstar Artist I can immediately hear what’s missing .. yet I Just cannot seem to restore those frequencies. The Kornfield model sounds best to my ear but its gainy design makes it too hot for jazz, and again, when you compare it to a valve amp it misses that vital low mid that even the pre q compensation cannot restore .. ahem .. I mean, I cannot get it to restore EQs

    So I’m using my Mesa for now for the swing band and it works fine, but boy I would love to reduce all the weight and footprint and be able to use the AF12!

    is anyone else out there using AF12 for similar tones, and prepared to ping me their PS ?
     
  2. Quadfire

    Quadfire Well-Known Member

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    I like the Deluxe and US Clean amps with a tiny bit of compression. Love the Kornfield and would love a variation that tames the hair; the Mesa models in the AA seem more for high gain (not the full experience of my Boogie).

    I've had some luck tweaking The Amp Factory Preset "Clean Lux" from the Atomic web site. Not sure if these presets had the reverb levels cranked up due to the bug in older firmware.

    My expectations and taste here might be different than yours.
     
  3. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    I've been using an AF with big bands for several years, so I may be able to help out here.

    What guitar are you using, and what will you be monitoring with?
     
  4. caballero59

    caballero59 Well-Known Member

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    This is so unorthodox I hesitate to mention it but the tone my group all loves is a Cali76 Deluxe compressor, no amp model, and a Michael Britt Cab IR.
     
  5. DreamTheaterRules

    DreamTheaterRules Well-Known Member

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    Uh... try the Dumble!
     
  6. Jace Nuzback

    Jace Nuzback Senior Member

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    Here's a tip: We're always discussing different ways of "boosting" your signal in to the amp model for more gain.
    You can do the opposite too! Put an EQ in front of the amp model in GAIN ONLY mode. Then "lower" the level
    so you send "less" signal in to the amp model. This will help clean up an amp model like the Dumble.
     
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  7. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    I have used five different guitars - two solid bodies and three archtops - for big band rehearsals and concerts. I built a different preset for each guitar. The sound I'm going for is very similar no matter which guitar I use, but the techniques required to get there vary.

    My current preferred archtop is an Eastman AR403CE. The preset I developed for use with with that guitar does not include an amp block.

    My general approach to building clean jazz presets is to familiarize myself in detail with the unprocessed (but amplified) sound of the guitar. For that purpose, I will bypass every block in a preset. It may surprise you how close you are to what you need with everything bypassed. My next step is to identify any elements in the guitar's sound that I don't want - e.g., nasal coloration, too bright or too dark - and adapt various available filters to take care of them. A small amount of compression helps feel. Everything affects everything else, and small changes can make large differences; so I always make adjustments incrementally, one at a time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
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  8. caballero59

    caballero59 Well-Known Member

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    If I'm not mistaken, my idea of not using an amp model at all is similar to Jay's. I do use a Cab IR to roll off a bit on each end.
     
  9. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    I'd say identical. I use an IR as well. My big-band presets for the other guitars do use amp blocks, however.
     
  10. caballero59

    caballero59 Well-Known Member

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    On all country and rock songs, I use an amp model. It is only on certain type of songs that are jazzy and/or mellow that I don't want a sharp top end at all, but for that, it seems to be the sound that I've been searching for for a long time. At times, I'll warm this up just a bit with a Kingsley tube-based Page pedal (incredibly good stuff from Simon Jarrett) in front of the Amplifire. This doesn't add the bite of say a Deluxe but does add juiciness. I also run the Kingsley Crucible, a 1 watt push/pull tube power amp with built-reactive load in the effects loop. This also adds heft. It's a bit more complicated and expensive than just a modeler but it does sound dang good with the Cali76 adding nearly infinite sustain for cleans.
     
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  11. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the AF is doing relatively little for you, then. We're obviously approaching this from different places. The appeal to me of AF products is that they facilitate a truly compact rig. The generally modest compromises in effects variety and quality and signal routing that come with the products are easily outweighed by that primary consideration. If I needed additional signal processing devices to get sounds I was looking for, I'd have no use for an AF. If I decide that vacuum tubes are essential to a particular sound I want, I'll just play one of my tube amps.

    Adding the prices of the devices you list to the cost of an AF places you in the ca. $US1500 price bracket, and your rig contains items that require routine maintenance (vacuum tubes). That's well into the price range of some very powerful modeler/multieffect devices, and that's the direction I'd go if I were willing to build a larger rig in order to upgrade my sound from what the AF can produce on its own.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2020 at 10:08 AM
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  12. Chalky

    Chalky Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jay, I’m principally using a Gibson 336 with a stock Gibson under-wound humbucker, and I use a Seymour Duncan 170 class D amp to drive a Celestion F12-200 in a 1x12 Zilla cab’ to close-monitor, and sending left channel to the PA
     
  13. Chalky

    Chalky Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jace, noted
     
  14. Chalky

    Chalky Well-Known Member

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    I tried a Cali just two weeks ago, and have loads of Britt IRs, both excellent but what’s still lacking is the ‘fullness’ of the note .. AG sounds thin ... difficult to express in words but noticeable in terms of sound as soon as you AB with a tube amp. Many suggest shoving a decent overdrive in the front end but to me that defeats the attraction of the AF12 bring it’s small footprint and portability - either the amp models can replicate what’s needed, or not.
     
  15. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    That makes it apparent that none of my presets are likely to do the trick for you. The signal you send to FOH really should be quite different from the one that goes to the F12-200. Much of what will need to be done for your monitor - if it can be gotten to work acceptably - will be corrective in nature, i.e., to improve its response. Never having had one around, I can't help you with that, nor can I even offer assurances that you will be successful. I can offer some general suggestions, however.

    1. The guitar matters. A 336 is a semi-hollow. Tonally, those guitars are closer to solidbodies than to jazzboxes. As such, the sound will intrinsically be somewhat thinner. You'll probably need to do some fattening with EQ. If you're using an amp sim, do this after the amp, as otherwise you'll potentially just add mud and distortion.

    2. The guitar's setup matters. If you can justify optimizing your setup for jazz, you will want to use relatively heavy strings. I use .012" or .013" strings (wound third) on my archtops and .011" (plain third) on the solidbodies, which need to be more versatile. Some players prefer flatwound strings for jazz, but I use rounds, usually Thomastic-Infelds.

    3. Playing technique matters. Most jazzers play with a relatively light touch, although there are notable exceptions (e.g., Pat Martino).

    I'd begin with the procedure I outlined above. (Tip: for a big-band sound, you can apply a lowpass filter with a shockingly low corner frequency (as low as 1.8kHz) and still retain articulation.)
     
  16. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Well-Known Member

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    FYI, both of the guitarists you mention in the OP got their signature sounds through solid state (Polytone) amps.
     
  17. Chalky

    Chalky Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jay.. all noted ...I am sure the nature of the guitar itself is a big issue here, though I still get a far better clean jazz tone with my Mesa V25 Than anything I have yet found on AF with its resident amp models... re Polytone, I had a Kemper for a short while and imported a Polytone Profile into that but even then I wasn’t overly impressed .. I’ll have another go at tweaking when I’m in the right frame of mind but probably end up using the Mesa as it is so light and handy, not much more than the AF in terms of clobber to cart around... and use the AF as a backup if all goes tits up. The AF12 is such an impressive piece of kit but for this purpose I’m probably asking too much! Thanks to all for your advice.
     

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