Better Than Amp-Like?
Do you remember the last time you plugged into a really good amp and got to turn it up loud? What a feeling of POWER! The guitar seems to be playing itself. The compression and sustain and treble ’rounding’ and the dynamics turn the guitar and amp into a single responsive tone machine.
Think of an amp you enjoy playing… Why? What sets it apart from the others? Just the right amount of sustain? The EQ? The breakup? The responsiveness? Is it the way the whole circuit responds to your touch? This phenomenon is a wonderful thing!
But it can be difficult to reproduce at varying volumes from venue to venue, and as tubes and circuits wear they respond differently, and that ‘magic’ can be gone just like that.
One alternative is to run a series of pedals into a clean amp to simulate the various stages that an amp uses to create these wonderful tones…or a partially driven amp that will easily slip into overdrive when pushed correctly.
An amp usually has four major sections that affect the performance and tone of the output:
Preamp > Power amp > Transformers > Speaker
And finding the right base tone for your rig is like finding the core of your voice around which everything else turns.
And that’s why most BJFe/BearFoot pedals are based on things that amplifiers are capable of doing, but only under certain limited circumstances…the right combination of pedals can allow you to get exactly the sound you want and be able to reproduce it night after night just by adjusting your controls to each situation.
Often the place to start is by adding the dirt to a clean or edgy tone.
Bjorn Juhl has designed a full palette of classic tones to base your own sound around.
The small, warm, easily-driven amps like the Supros are a great place to start.