Useful Tips

How to use a tube guitar amp


In this article we will tell you how to set up a combo. To begin with, consider what this is partially understood from the name: a combined device that combines a full amplifier, often with an equalizer and a broadband speaker system. It has one or more inputs to which you can send signals from any sources: microphones, electric guitars, synthesizers. Line outputs are also suitable: TV, tuner, DVD player or computer. Firms producing dozens of comics. Here are the most famous manufacturers: Fender, Marshall, VOX, Laney, Peavey, Ibanez. There is nothing wrong with such an abundance, the main thing is to know the front panel, the name of all the controls and the purpose of the plug sockets, which are usually called “jack”. But you should know that many companies drive a whole bunch of guitar effects into their devices, which increases the number of controls. Musicians practically do not use effects, since it is impossible to control them during the game. Everyone prefers pedals.

- On the front panel are all the controls, the main jacks, on / off power.
- Power on - off - “Power”.
- Volume control - “Volume”.
- The distortion level is “Gein”.
- The bass tone is “Bass.”
- Middle tone - “Middle”.
- Treble tone - “Treble”.
- The input is clean - “input” (normal, clean).
- Input overloaded - “drive” (hot, distortion).
- The input of the terminal amplifier is “return”, “poweramp input”.

Before turning on: volume to zero, distortion level to zero, tone controls (equalizer) in the middle position. Connect the instrument and carefully enter the volume. All settings are especially timbre is a matter of taste of the musician. Some amplifiers have over 16 equalizer settings, so the sound can be given any color. Keep in mind: unimportant guitar + cheap combo = big disappointment. If you are tuned, copy the sound of some cool group, for example: “I want a sound like Amatory or Stigmata”, Then both the guitar and the apparatus should be no worse than a class, otherwise it will be impossible to get the same sound as theirs - the maximum is approximate.

• Middle - minimum.
• Bass - maximum.
• Gein - maximum.
• Treble - experiment.
Classic rock tuning:
• Middle - 50%.
• Bass - 50%.
• Gein - 10-20%.
• Treble - 80-100%.
Do not get carried away by a high level of gain,)
, this can lead to feedback between the guitar and the speakers and you will hear whistling and howling.

How to use guitar tube amplifiers - pre-amplifier and power amplifier?

It makes no difference, a tube preamp, or a tube end, the "weakest" component is the lamp in what is in the other. At the end, the lamps operate in a heavier mode, therefore, if the amplifier is used for its intended purpose (i.e. turnips and concerts, rather than at home at a volume of 0.5 out of 10), they live shorter. Turn on / off: turn on "power", monitor for a minute or a little more, as the lamps begin to glow comfortably, then turn on "stand by", turn off in the reverse order, you do not need to wait. We protect the device from voltage fluctuations - a voltage stabilizer.

Also, from a difference, if the voltage suddenly disappears, it is not as dangerous as if it disappears for a split second - a few seconds and appears again, it’s essentially not difficult to make a device that in this case will allow you to turn on the amplifier again only after In the differential, you quietly turn off the amp toggle switches, restore power to the lamp unit yourself (that is, when the main wave of the network shock has already passed) and restart it in the above order.

How to turn on and off the tube amp for a guitar

NOT. turn on a tube guitar terminal (or a full-fledged one containing a preamp and a terminal in one case) amplifier, if a speaker / cabinet of the corresponding resistance and suitable power or its equivalent in terms of resistance / power (in common people, a lowbox) is not connected to its output.

OUT OF THE QUESTION. about "played, I hurry home, urgently for the amp, I throw whatever I get into the boot of the truck and leave in a sporty style, not paying attention to the road pits." After the game (and during the game), hot lamps are very sensitive to any shake, you can not transport, change the place of a working or still hot amplifier! Calmly, if possible, while smoking, we collect pedalboard tools, twist the wires and the latter calmly and carefully. from the stage / rep. we take the points away, hoping that all the components of the lamps have cooled down as far as possible.

The lamp does not process the sound, but amplifies it with its "not (completely) linear" nuances. The element of the lamp that wears out, as I said before, is the cathode, when we create conditions for its emission, i.e. we turn on the anode and give a signal, the stronger the signal to the grid, the stronger the anode “draws out” the current (the waveform of which repeats the waveform of the signal supplied to the grid, only many thousand times larger amplitude - that is, the lamp amplifies the signal) from the cathode, t .e. The main wear of the cathode during the game. If you leave only the cathode heating (ie, "stand by" is turned off), the cathode will wear out only for temperature reasons, i.e. until the heated metal is red, it still emits particles, which we observe when we see the light of a “quiet” amplifier.

This emission is microscopic and is usually not feared for it - if there is a break of 15 minutes between the two parts of the concert, no one usually turns off the cathode heating. When the anode voltage is on, cathode emission occurs due to the so-called quiescent current, i.e. it exists theoretically, but it is fought more because of the lamp’s own noise than for fear that it will “eat” the cathode, because it is present equally in any lamp operation mode, i.e. anyway, somewhere near the useful signal and when playing. Theoretically, it’s also not a lot of wear, but someone can already touch which wire, the guitar may fall from the riser and the boom will be dangerous, which is dangerous not only for the lamp and speaker, but in case of failure of the terminal lamps, and for the output transformer - the most expensive component of the amplifier.

Lamp wear when using a guitar tube amp at home

Playing all the time at home, the end lamps can serve longer than the preliminary ones. In normal working conditions (regular turnips / concerts), as already mentioned, the final ones are a year or two, the preliminary ones are 3-5 years old, which also largely depends on whether you play a clear sound, form an overload with pedals, or let the lamps overload preamp and how much. In general, we are looking for information on the topic "signs of dead lamps." In general, the correct operation of the amplifier can well extend the life of the lamps both in the preamplifier and in the terminal.

About setting up combos and effects

Let me give you a little advice: read gentlemen and ladies. Read as much as possible. Read classic literature, read good and smart books, and read, damn it, inscriptions on comics and your own pedals! The fact that you need to know your own device thoroughly, I already wrote in the first part of this article, be it a guitar, a lotion, a combo - you need to know how they work, how to configure, what are the ways to connect, where there may be weaknesses. We will assume that you have no problems with this, but there is an apparatus that you join in at the club and which you may see for the first time. And here the very ability to read becomes very useful. By and large, all combos, or rather, their control units are the same, just look at the notes to know what each of them means to select the desired connection / settings option.

Consider the guitar chain example as (most often) the most complex. In the simplest version, this is a guitar - a lotion of overload (we will not consider the lotion block, we consider that they are already used by experienced musicians) - a combo. The cords between them were also discussed in the first part. The most variant part of this chain, on which other settings depend, is a lotion. Let's try to consider the main options that may arise in this case:

  1. Simple "distortion" and the like. It is included in the preamplifier (input jack) of the combo or the head of the stack, it is configured in conjunction with the amplifier settings.
  2. Preamp It is included in the terminal amplifier of the combo or the head of the stack (socket "return" / "poweramp input"), the frequency settings of the combo are no longer valid, on a number of combos and stacks you can adjust the output volume, but not at all.
  3. Effects processor. The most difficult to configure, but at the same time, the most versatile device. Any processor requires careful tuning of many parameters, for which you need to be well versed in the subject and understand what you are doing. It is unlikely that you can use the factory presets of the processor to any degree. Processors can most often be configured to work in the mode in which you need to - you can emulate the distortion or preamp operation, or configure emulation of the terminal amplifier and cabinet in it, and even play “in line” - it all depends on your needs and skill . Unfortunately, there is no way to do without the latter. Although many are trying, on the one hand, realizing the need for processing standard presets, on the other hand, they have little idea of ​​how to achieve what they need. More than once I watched how the sequentially overclocked preamp and distortion built on the processor after that were included in the input of the combo and for some reason they were surprised that the sound was bad. Some, however, were not surprised, only I was surprised, and they probably got used to it.

So, briefly about what processor settings affect how the situation in the circuit. It is worth noting that these rules are not an axiomBy and large, each statement is in some way a simplification of the actual picture, but in this form they are most accessible and useful to beginners (you do not limit your development to reading this article alone). Actually the rules:

  • a preamp (preamp) is used on the processor - there is no need for distortion, the frequency settings occur in the preamp settings or with an additional equalizer, it is connected:
    • to the terminal amplifier through the return (return) of the gap effects combic
    • in line, if the processor uses emulation of the final amplifier and cabinet
  • distortion is used on the processor - the preamp is not used, it is connected to the combo preamp (Input jack), or to the line if combo emulation is set on the processor, frequency settings are made on the combo and / or using the processor equalizer.

Other effects also require fine-tuning, but to cover them all is simply impossible. The rule here begs itself - do only what you can. You don’t understand what this or that parameter is responsible for - do not touch or turn it on. And it’s better to google the name of the effect and read which parameter is responsible for what and what are the ways to configure it - then you can already experiment. In a word, we return to the name of the part and read, read, read. ABOUT

However, after that there’s also a combo, or even a whole stack, where you connect, and there, in turn, a bunch of “pens and knobs”. But you don’t need to be afraid of them, rather the opposite - in most cases it would be worse if they were not there. This, of course, does not apply to those who play “in line,” but, firstly, now not about them, and secondly, such a minority.

Regardless of anything, before starting work, always make sure that all volume controls (Volume) are in the minimum position, and the combo is turned off (the lamps are in the Standby position), only after that you can start connecting!

So, if you use an external preamp, or emulate it using a processor, your task is as simple as possible - to find the return socket (rarely, but sometimes has different names) and NOT INCLUDING a COMBIC, stick there, then, if the combo device allows you to adjust the overall volume, to build it, and if not, to build the desired level on the preamp, and that's it - you can play.

If you use the distortion pedal, or emulate it in the processor, you should connect to the input jack, and use the tuning options to the maximum. By the way, if there is a good amplifier on the site, and you have only a cheap lotion with you, you should think about playing through the built-in amplifier overload. To switch channels, you need to ask the sound engineer / organizer about the presence of a foot switch from the combo.

So, we look at the amplifier and again recall the name of this part. Read. We spend as much time on this as we need to understand what's what (but no more, because time is value on soundchecks). I’ll try to describe the most characteristic controls of amplifiers - they are, by and large, all the same.

Most often, we deal with two channels: clean (aka normal, rithm, cold - etc. - manufacturers' fantasies sometimes produce not the most associative options) - a clean, non-congested channel and Drive (aka Overdrive, lead, hot , distortion, etc.) - an overloaded channel. It is worth noting for yourself where the boundaries of the channels are located, which regulators belong to which channel, and use only those that you need.

The regulators of both channels are usually almost or completely duplicated, therefore I will describe it mixed up.

Gain - gain. Adjusts the preamp level, “overload”. If the guitar starts up too much, reducing the gain level can solve this problem. Here it’s worth stopping and giving one more advice on working with combos, which, however, applies to many other things that have controls, Avoid placing the handles in extreme positions whenever possible.. This applies primarily to gain. Most "superstars" of local scale, turning this knob all the way to the right, believe that the more gain they give, the steeper and angrier their sound will be. Most often this is not the case. In most cases, after a certain value, a further increase in gain on the character of the sound does not any longer significantly affect, causing only the so-called. "factory" of the guitar - feedback (feedback) with the combo. Of course, feedback can also be used for artistic purposes, but only when it is controlled and controlled by a musician, and not when the guitar begins to whistle hysterically in each second pause between chords.

Often, next to the gain knob there is a switch called something like "boost" or "hot", it usually increases the overall level of gain, as they say, for those who like it hotter, or as gain, for example, to solo.

Another common option is when there are two similar gain knobs (in this case, they usually put a switch between them) - most often this means that one of them is “weaker”, the second is more drive, the choice depends on your needs and on what character the music you play.

Volume (level) - volume. Almost the most important pen, but there is nothing to paint here. The main advice - try not to abuse the volume and set the level no more than necessary. Also do not forget to equalize the volume of clean and congested channels. At the same time, do not forget that overdrive has the ability to compress, that is, compress in dynamics, a signal that is not in clear sound, because with particularly dynamic parts the clear sound channel can be very high in level - always pay attention to this when trying to play during tuning with maximum dynamics.

Frequency Control Knobs(Bass, middle, treble) - designed to tune the signal by frequency. Often there is a separate frequency control knob (frequency, freq) next to the knob of the middle frequencies (sometimes others too) - it allows you to choose more precisely in which medium frequency range you want to work. Very handy thing. On some amplifiers, on most bass ones, for example, there are more frequency controls - up to 15 and higher. They provide finer tuning of the desired sound. Perhaps it is impossible to give advice on setting up this control unit - everything is determined by your needs. The only thing that can be recalled was mentioned above: avoid extreme positions of the controls, it is quite possible that you can achieve the same result by changing the position of other controls and the volume knob.

UPD from slavuti4 Another tip you can give here: “Better to reduce than to add” When there are not enough frequencies in the sound, do not immediately twist the knobs up. most often lowering other frequencies and adjusting the overall level gives a more successful and faster result. And it does not overload the device again.

Often add another pen master(master volume) - it determines the overall volume of both channels, clean and overloaded so that you can raise and lower it without changing the balance of the channels.

Sometimes they add effect or effect blocksuch as reverb, delay, chorus, etc. They are used extremely rarely due to the inflexibility of control (if necessary, they are configured in the processor or an effect chain is assembled), so you only need to check that the effects of the combo are turned off by a special switch, or by reducing the effect level knob to a minimum (this is one of the few cases when положение регулятора скорей необходимо).

Самое главное правило: если вы чего-то не понимаете, столкнулись с незнакомой вам конструкцией - не стройте из себя героя, не тыкайтесь наобум. Попросите звукорежиссера (если дело на концерте), администратора репетиционной базы или прокатчика оборудования помочь вам разобраться. Однако с другой стороны, не стоит их задалбывать по пустякам и без необходимости "просто на всякий случай".

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