Forgiving & Unforgiving Amps

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  • olafgartenolafgarten Frets: 1390
    I've played through some amps which would be called Unforgiving, but I think it's a myth, I sound equally crap through all of them.

    I don't think it is the amps which are unforgiving, but mainly the way they are set, if they are clean and have a lot of compression, you can hear quieter sounds like finger noise more easily, but that also allows more expression as you can reproduce more sounds.

    I could be wrong as some amps are inherently more compressed, but with a compressor and a noise gate, you can make unforgiving amps forgiving and vice versa.
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  • maw4neumaw4neu Frets: 182
    edited June 13
    randerson said:

    Interested in what others would deem forgiving amps or am I wrong about AC30s completely and just p*ss poor at playing these days?!


    I'd just like to point out for the record " I am piss poor " :-) plus I own an AC30
    Id just like to point out that, despite all the video and DNA evidence, it genuinely wasnt me, your Honour  ! 
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 947
    My AC15TBX was very unforgiving, if you looked at it wrong it would blow a power transformer. 

    Regardless  of what it's called, I want an amp that sounds good with the controls at noon, with any pedal and any guitar. For me it's a Bad Cat/Matchless/Vox type amp. 

    The old Marshalls at Water Rats were great, plugged in and played. 

    After 15 mins with a Boogie or Fender HRD I'm ready to apply lighter fluid. 


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  • Matt_McGMatt_McG Frets: 96
    I played a Laney Lionheart 5watt a while back, and found it definitely more unforgiving than the amp I was playing at the time (which was solid state, ironically). Handling noise was much more present, the attack on the note was very immediate, and the dynamics were very 'lively' which meant I had to be much more careful not to over-pick, or mis-articulate.

    That was with the amp set quite load, and on the edge of breakup, I expect I could have found settings that were less hard to work with, but I loved the sound of it as was.
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 549
    I think very generally EL84 and 6V6 amps tend to be the most forgiving amps to play.
    Maybe that's why I really got on great with the AOR30 (6V6). Possibly moreso than my Sound City 50+ (EL34). As much as I like the sag in my Superleague (EL34) it's still only third in my list.

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  • John_PJohn_P Frets: 1603
    Makes sense to me - sometimes a stiffer sounding less compressed amp is great and for some playing a little more compression and spongy sag is better.    For me it’s when I play my twin without having it really cranked up - say below midway on the volume and it feels very direct - great for allowing expressive touch but harder to make it sing - the right drive pedal can help.   Whereas play through a Marshall it has a little more give and compression - it feels more forgiving and suits legato and sustaining lines more - for my playing and the sounds I like.  
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  • p90foolp90fool Frets: 8546
    slacker said:
    Regardless  of what it's called, I want an amp that sounds good with the controls at noon,

    Why? 
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 5788
    fussy amp? Just slap a TS pedal in front.
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
    __________________________________
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 602
    I always felt like my Laney GH50L was really unforgiving. It was just stiff to play and felt "sticky" - not much compression I guess. It felt better with a tubescreamer boosting it. In comparison almost every Marshall I've used has felt really fluid and effortless to play despite using much less gain and without a boost. Way more fun. Not sure why that is. Personally I don't know why anyone would rather have an unforgiving amp that's not as fun to play.
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  • John_AJohn_A Frets: 1544
    fuck my life... what a load of bollocks
    My thought too ;)
    Do me a favour and like this:

    https://www.facebook.com/MarkedCoversBand
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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1868
    impmann said:
    Less pronouced mids... so you don't want to be heard, then? ;-)

    Seriously though - I don't really understand the 'forgiving' vs 'unforgiving' thing. I don't understand the terminology.

    Play an early Bad Cat Black Cat 30 or a Matchless DC30 and you'll probably get it right away.
    I have a Bad Cat Hot Cat 30r, let’s just say that what you put in you get out, perfect amps to actually understanding touch response and how to “bloom” notes using palm damping. I find amps like a JCM800 and Mk series Boogies you can take a lot of liberties with your dynamics and touch and it makes bugger all difference. Yes you can back volume off etc but with a properly dynamic amp you get the same or similar effect with pick control
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 881
    My MATAMP (King ST, 2xEL34's) is right up there for hardcore unforgiving amps.

     Absolute hi-fi if you get it right, the interactive eq just makes no sense if you want to soften it up a little. Dynamically, it punishes you for the slightest error.

    Most of the time it sounds lifeless and brittle. You have to adjust to it, take a view that it knows better than you do and adapt to the way it works. When you do this it comes alive and has the most amazing 3-dimensional sound. Clean and pure.

    It really needs pickups that suit it too, something with lots of rich harmonics. You also need to tune to it's sound, play a full chord and it clearly displays every string individually, any string that's even slightly off can be very noticeable. It really makes you play hard, you dig in and concentrate on being musical. You have to raise your game, no doubt about it. In turn it really shines if you use delay or echo with it, so long as you get timings right. It's like you can stack sounds into it and it can throw as many notes out clearly as you can individually put into it. You break before it does. 

    I know some don't get on with it, but to me it's exactly how I think, sometimes. Other times I don't want the hassle. I don't want to be picked on every time I fluff up. Since moving into the MESA fold I find that the opposite. You struggle to get a bad sound, great for just thrashing about on and probably much better creative tool. But when I want t get serious it's the MATAMP, every time.

    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • slackerslacker Frets: 947
    p90fool said:
    slacker said:
    Regardless  of what it's called, I want an amp that sounds good with the controls at noon,

    Why? 
    because its easy to set up. 
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2120
    impmann said:
    So basically a 'forgiving' amp makes a slightly crappy player sound better than they actually are (ie it hides sloppy technique) - is that what we are saying?
    We really need a short list of these then as a pinned thread, just for me if no-one else. ;)
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • xbrooomxbrooom Frets: 250
    I agree with @ICBM, according to the general definition of 'forgiving', the little fender push pull dual 6V6 amps have it. However I find that the even smaller single ended 6V6 champs/vibrochamps don't. They are more immediate and 'revealing' if you will.

    I love both of these types of amp.

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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32827
    brooom said:
    I agree with @ICBM, according to the general definition of 'forgiving', the little fender push pull dual 6V6 amps have it. However I find that the even smaller single ended 6V6 champs/vibrochamps don't. They are more immediate and 'revealing' if you will.
    There is a technical reason for this! The single-ended amps, while not in the strict definition Class A, do have many of those characteristics - including lack of compression.

    The irony is that what are most commonly called 'Class A' amps - cathode-biased, push-pull Class AB - sound the way they do exactly *because* they're Class AB and not Class A...

    A lot of this does probably sound like being a nerd for the sake of it - who cares, just play your guitar! - but actually I find it interesting to understand why some amps sound different from other ones.
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • xbrooomxbrooom Frets: 250
    edited June 17
    Yes, completely. I've had another amp, which was push pull (6V6), with low plate voltages and high current, which was operating very near a class A. An Alessandro blue tick.

    Obviously there were more factors to it, like the heavily filtered power rail and ultra linear output transformer. But as far as the preamp design was concerned, it was very very similar to a blackface fender.

    It sounded nothing like a fender, extremely fast response, very similar in some ways to the smaller single ended amp in terms of how immediate the notes popped out of the speaker.

    I wanted to like it (and in some ways I did), but eventually sold it, as I was missing that fendery envelope, roundness and tubyness to the sound.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 7197
    slacker said:
    p90fool said:
    slacker said:
    Regardless  of what it's called, I want an amp that sounds good with the controls at noon,

    Why? 
    because its easy to set up. 
    Don’t call you Slacker for nothing...

    When I got my Lionheart I made a great attempt to listen and try to dial in ‘the sound.’ When I stood back and looked it was everything at noon. 

    I have an idea in in my head about Forgiving and Unforgiving amps but it doesn’t necessarily correspond to what is being said on here so I suspect I’ve moved to the ‘load of bollocks’ camp on this one. But I’ve never used things like Matchless or Matamp so I’ll just stick in the ‘don’t really know’ camp instead. 
    Dum dum dum, dum dum de dum, dum dum dum, dum dummmm.
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 602
    @blobb that Matamp sounds like my idea of hell!
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 881
    ..you gotta get into it before you get out of it.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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