View Full Version : My first electric...
10-07-2000, 04:40 PM
I posted a topic a while back asking about Squier guitars and I said I was planning to get a Squier Stratocaster. Well, I changed my mind. I could afford it, so I decided to go ahead and get the real deal. So, this past week, I bought a brand new Fender American Standard Strat. It has the black body with white pickguard (like Clapton's), tremolo bridge, and single coil pickup configuration. I paid $525 for it. Is that a good price for a brand new American Standard Strat?
This is my first electric guitar, but I don't think I could happier with a guitar. It looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful and it plays beautifully. The strings bend easily (bending is sooooo much easier on electric than on acoustic), they're not hard to hold down, and they're easy on the fingertips. I really, really love it.
If I have one complaint, it's with the tremolo bridge. I have a tendency to rest my palm on the bridge while I'm playing, and since it's a tremolo I sometimes get unintended vibrato by accidentally pushing down on the bridge with my palm. Does anyone else have that problem?
As for my amp, I got an inexpensive practice amp, a Peavey Blazer 158. But I have a question about that. I was told by the guy at the guitar shop that I couldn't use a pedal with my amp since it's such a small, inexpensive one. Is that true? Is there any way that you can use a pedal with a small amp? Like an adapter or anything? I was really looking forward to trying out a wah or distortion pedal.
Any help will be appreciated.
10-07-2000, 05:00 PM
he lied to your ass, he probally wanted to trick you into buying something more expensive in an amp. i was using crybaby and rocktek distortion on my gorilla and my fender squire 15, and i had no problem. the peavy blazer has 15 watts and it should sound decent coming out cause my two prior practice amps were like 15 and 20 watts, and it should hook up the regular way with no special crap adapter. i think this is a simple case of the guy trying to squeeze some more money outta you for an amp i think.
10-07-2000, 09:17 PM
First of all, that's quite a good deal on a new American strat, I think they usually go for about $600-700, though I've never bought one so i might be wrong. As for the pedals, sure you can use them, what he probably meant was that there is no effects loop, that doesn't matter though, you can plug the pedal directly into the input of the amp, and the guitar into the pedal. You probably won't need a pedal for distortion, i'm sure its built into the amp. Wah can be fun to. Congrats on your first electric. I mostly play acoustic (archtop acoustic) and whenever I play my strat, while I don't like the sound as much, i must say it is a lot easier to play. Strings are so light and bendy.
10-08-2000, 07:50 AM
The tension on the tremolo is adjustable by a screw and by adding and removing springs - you can have the tension set so that the bridge is almost like fixed bridge. My American Deluxe is set up with 3 (out of 5) springs and the bridge lays almost flat on the body. Have a tech check it out.
10-08-2000, 12:23 PM
Thanks for the input, guys. Yes, my amp has a distortion channel, but it doesn't sound all that distorted. It sounds better if you turn the Pre and Post knobs up, but still nothing like a loud, rocking, fuzzy sound. Can anyone recommend a good pedal to give you a good noisy, loud (Hendrix-esque or Zeppelin-esque) rock sound?
10-08-2000, 01:58 PM
try turning the volume up, it adds alot to distortion when you are overdriving the amp.
10-09-2000, 06:07 PM
overdriving the amp? Is that safe?
10-12-2000, 07:30 PM
Overdriving an amp is a normal part of today's (and yesterday's) sounds. The early rock-and-rollers found that when they cranked up their old Fender amps, the signal started to distort and they said, "Hey, that's pretty cool!"
Boosting the input to the amp (or just cranking up the volume) starts to overdrive the preamplifier and power amplifier and produces a somewhat distorted sound that is fuller and has more sustain.
Overdriving a tube amplifier will produce a larger, "flattened" signal with (what most players consider) warm overtones. By any definition, this is a distorted signal - the output is different from the input.
Transistor (solid-state) amplifiers distort in a different manner - the top of the signal is "clipped" producing a flat signal with many odd harmonics. Adding an infinite number of odd harmonics to a pure audio signal produces a square wave, which is considered to be a harsh sound. This is why early transistor amplifiers weren't liked by many guitar players.
Newer solid-state amplifiers use different technologies to produce a warmer, tube-like sound.
To answer your original question, overdriving an amp is normally not dangerous to your equipment. I have been overdriving my 1965 Fender Super Reverb since 1966 - no failures from overdriving. If you look at the channel-switching amps available today, they are designed to be overdriven. The "dirty" channel uses the amplified signal from the clean channel to overdrive the amp.
One caution - the combination of power and distortion can take a toll on speakers. A large square-wave type signal can overdrive and damage the speakers. However, this is a risk that we all take when playing loud. I have never blown a speaker in my Fender, and it used to run on 10 at all my gigs.
10-12-2000, 09:25 PM
are you a guitar tech jon68?
10-12-2000, 10:58 PM
So what do I do, just crank the volume to 10?
10-13-2000, 06:10 AM
Jake, I'm an electrical engineer. I started working as an electronics technician on tube radar systems in the 1972. Now I work with computer systems.
Barry, most amplifiers are designed to provide clean amplification; the output signal is a replica of the input signal, just bigger. That's what everyone except guitarists expect. Guitarists (including me) constantly modify their tone. That's why there are so many effects pedals out there. Some guitar amps are designed so they won't distort or distort only slightly - old Fender tube amps weren't designed to distort. They distorted as a result of the technology of the 1950's. Tube amps from Fender add a little distortion while Marshall add a lot of distortion. Some channel-switching amps are designed so than you can go from clean to slight overdrive to heavy distortion without pedals.
All amplifiers will react differently to your setup. Start by setting the amp volume to the loudness you want. Set your distortion channel gain way up. Then play with the guitar volume at different settings. When the guitar volume is maxed, you should start to hear the amp distort. As you reduce the guitar volume, the sound should clean up. Strats use single coil pickups that have less output than humbuckers, so it is harder to overdrive the amp.
Hendrix used his Strat with an Arbiter Fuzz Face and Vox Wah running through multiple Marshall stacks to get his sound. I don't know what Jimmy Page's signal chain was, but I believe that he switched from using DanElectros and Telecasters to a Les Paul with Led Zep. On their first US tour - Page was using a Les Paul with a smaller combo amp. After the release (and success) of Led Zeppelin II, he switched to Marshall stacks while on the same tour.
When you're looking at pedals, overdrive pedals are usually trying to imitate the sound of an overdriven tube amp. Distortion pedals add more distortion and Fuzz pedals add the most distortion. I'd recommend that you take your guitar and amp with you when buying a pedal (but not to the store where the guy told you that you couldn't use pedals with the Peavey). You might want to look at some of the Boss pedals - they have a lot of different models that range from overdriver to full fuzz. Boss publishes the "Guitar Effects Guide Book" that gives a lot of information about different types of pedals. This is a free booklet and should be at your Boss dealer.
The combination of an overdrive or distortion pedal with your amp distortion should provide much more distortion and sustain.
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