I said I’d add some more posts if there was interest. Well, I’ve had so many hits on these postings since the first one four days ago and plenty of forums appreciation as well, so I’m going to consider that interest until someone tells me otherwise! Gotta give a shout-out to the good folks at GuitarAmpModeling and KVR, especially, and the many members at Gearslutz as well. My internet experience would be much less entertaining and informative if it weren’t for all you ladies and gentlemen.
A user over at KVR encouraged me when I said I might put up a post with a couple of more standard dirt pedals into Amplitube Fender amps. After a bit of discussion we settled on the Digitech Bad Monkey, an all-analog overdrive with a tone similar to the venerable Tube Screamer, but with active EQ circuitry and more gain on tap along with some other cool features at a very wallet-friendly price. The second pedal was my pick, the Vox Joe Satriani signature Satchurator distortion, because A) he suggested a DS-1 and Satch was a DS-1 user exclusively for his dirt tone back in the ’80s and B) I love it. The Satchurator’s product literature describes it as “based on a discontinued vintage Japanese distortion pedal,” though it definitely doesn’t sound like a DS-1 (more like a DS-1 into a JCM800, which if I remember correctly was Satriani’s setup back then).
Clip 1 – Digitech Bad Monkey into Fender Deluxe Reverb
Okay, in this first clip I’m using the great Fender Deluxe Reverb model with a little bit of its own very lush reverb dialed in and some tape delay to fill out the sonic space even more. I play a bit clean and then I kick in the Bad Monkey. There will be no ambiguity as to when the Bad Monkey’s going, because much like a regular Tube Screamer, it really kicks the amp into high gear. I have the amp dialed in to where it’s clean except for the slightest hint of overdrive when I REALLY dig into the strings, but add the Bad Monkey to the mix and it starts to wail:
Clip 2 – Vox Satriani Satchurator into Fender Pro Junior
There isn’t any clean tone in this clip. I’ve dialed in the Pro Junior so that it is quite clean, it won’t overdrive at all even when digging in hard. I chose the Pro Junior because it’s a great, flexible amp which in this virtual world can comfortably provide a whole range of tones that might be difficult to achieve in the real world because of its relatively low wattage. Here, headroom is only as hard to come by as the quality of the post-amplifier volume boost, and X-Gear’s volume boost is just fine when it comes to bringing the lush clean output of the amp up to a perfectly useful level. In reality you’d only have this kind of tone at relatively low volumes, and adding a powerful pedal into the mix would likely push it too far towards its own uniquely British/American hybrid overdrive. When you’re wanting to hear the pedal’s tone, that wouldn’t do… But here in the box we can do whatever we want, more or less, so I’m taking advantage of that by using the Pro Junior for its shimmery clean to host the Satchurator. The Satch is a pretty high gain pedal, as you can probably tell (remember, as in all of my Fender clips so far I’m still using my trusty SCN-equipped MIJ Contemporary Special 22 strat!), but it’s also articulate and smooth but with some real punch, characteristics which complement and are highlighted by the Pro Junior’s clean tone.
Hope these are helpful to those of you wondering whether to look harder at Amplitube Fender. If you’ve got the rest of the Amplitube products (or even a mix and match collection of them), you’ll be able to integrate the Fender amps and effects smoothly into them. If you’re like me and you have some favorite pedals in the physical world, there won’t be anything stopping you from benefiting from their killer tone in the virtual one. Perhaps tomorrow’s clips will include demonstrations of how free VST effects can be used in conjunction with Amplitube Fender… I don’t know, we’ll see what everyone thinks and how the response is to this pair of clips 🙂