Which dirt pedal (if any) to pair with Aggie TH350 and use live?
Once upon a time, choosing dirt pedals was fairly straightforward for me, in part because I was always using them to help warm up and lend a "tubey" grind to my amps. I found that a Blue Tube worked best in front of my old SWR amps (it had periods of being "always on"), and I ran through a whole bunch of different dirt pedals in front of my Shuttle 6.0, including a Pork Loin, a Sublime, a Tall Font Russian, a Phat Phuk B, an OCD, an OxFuzz Bass, and a Tone Hammer pedal. So, yeah, I've gone through one or two in search of the perfect tone for me.
But then, something very cool happened, and I went out and picked up an Aguilar Tone Hammer amp (TH 350), and now that warm, slightly driven tone (I use gain and drive each at about 50%) is built right into my amp! I didn't find much need to use any dirt pedals with it for awhile, and ended up selling some off. I am extremely happy with my basic tone now, probably the best sound I've ever had!
However, I'm starting to think that getting a dirt pedal again might be helpful, for a few reasons:
1) I'd rather not have to tweak my amp in the middle of a set (or song) to bring up the gain and drive when I need to be a little more pronounced or driven.
2) I'm about to enter into the word of envelope filters, and I've heard that having a little bit of fuzz ahead of them can be a good thing.
3) I still suffer from dirt pedal addiction and can't really stand not having one currently.
My criteria includes the following:
- Must sound good with the TH350 amp (and my 2 1x12 cabinets). The pedals I listed above, while still sounding wonderful to me and fantastic when I hear demos of them that are recorded directly, seemed a bit redundant now when I get a warm driven tone from my amp that I love (although maybe I'm wrong, and warm+warm=excellent). I also don't want the pedal to take away from the amp's tone that I love - I guess that means it should be relatively "transparent"?
- Must sound good in a live setting. I don't really care how great it sounds in my basement, I need this to work live, and to make me pop up front in the mix when necessary (At present I play mostly classic/bluesy/Canadian rock along with some countryish tunes and starting to get into some R&B/mild funky stuff, with 2 other guitars and a drummer).
- Must play well with active and passive basses (I have a Warwick Thumb and a Squier Jazz).
So whaddya think TB? Any suggestions for me? Maybe I don't need a dirt pedal at all and I should just tweak with my amp...or maybe I just need a clean boost...or maybe I need an overdrive, a distortion, and 12 types of fuzz. I'm open to suggestions, and would appreciate any and all input. Thanks!
I understand your predicament as this is also an experiment I'm having fun with. Have found my perfect overdrive tone in the TH500 and want to be able to replicate that sound on the odd gigs where I have to use a provided backline.
Not surprisingly, the Tonehammer pedal is the closest so far, but isn't quite as 'refined' hence my dream of a revised Tonehammer 2 or mod being made available to the original pedal and then my mission would be complete!
Closest second choices include the AGRO (which can get very close with some tweaking) and the Xotic BB.
Have got the Darkglass Vintage on order and also the new EBS Billy Sheehan for the next round of fun, though the EBS isn't really aimed to match the Tonehammer. ;)
P.S. My basses are all 18v active OBP pre-amps with EMG humbuckers.
Thanks Andy. Its funny, I also had the thought that the best option would be a TH pedal! I wish Aguilar would make an "AGS" pedal for purposes like this, either that or a two-channel TH head.
I keep looking at the Agro and then moving away from it, then looking at it and moving away...so that's good to hear a vote for it. The demos of the pedal seem to suggest it can get into a fuzzy zone when cranked, so it might be able to serve the purpose of giving some fuzz for an envelope filter if needed.
Darkglass stuff is probably out of my price range, but I'll look into it a little more.
Appreciate the input!
Any other suggestions from the evening crew?
If you still Have the TFR I would use that for the fuzz into the filter. I also found the TFR to have a good sound in the overall band mix.
I've bought and sold many dirt pedals but the Agro is such a cool pedal I'm gonna grab a second - one for my always on low OD sound and the other for full on Cliff Burton style rage.
It is a diverse pedal, doesn't loose any low end to my ears and can be anything from tame and smooth to over the top and out of control.
The most transparent OD i have tried is the Fairfield Barbershop. it wont do high gain but for low gain dirt it is great.
My concern is that unless I go with something a bit more aggressive then I'll have all this warm furry goodness to my tone - that I will love - but I may not cut through the mix live, which is what I'll need a pedal to do from time to time...it won't be on all the time. Now, if I still had my Shuttle, I'd run a Barbershop as a constant on pedal. With the Aggie, different story I think.
Funny enough though I didn't really like the OxFuzz with the TH350. I know, I know, I probably didn't give it enough of a chance and wasn't patient enough to learn it, but it seemed like no matter what I did the two pieces of gear wouldn't cooperate well with each other.
I got rid of the TFR (in favour of the Ox, actually) before I got the TH350. I can see how that would have been fun to try, although I'd be worried that it would be a warm+warm issue, and I'd have no cut.
Maybe set the amp on the verge of breakup, and use a boost pedal.
my dirty channel is a th500 gain at noon drive at 9 into a 15 inch speaker
DHA vt2 std>TAFM W-gate>Bassmaster>Swollen Pickle>delay
VT2 and Swollen Pickle seem to give me the least trouble setting up but maybe thats because I have them set more towards OD and the other 2 are rockin balls out fuzz.
They all sound good alone or in any combination except for Pickle and TAFM together
EDIT: The pickle kicked off a bass big muff and The ODB3 never made it on.
Interesting, I've had a couple of suggestions for the Pickle as well. I'd never thought of that pedal as being fuzz to my taste before, but maybe it works well with the warmth of the TH350. I'll see if I can try one out. Thanks!
I have been using my Tronographic rusty box in front every head I've used for over a year... I never let's me down. Best sounding OD in a pedal for what I do because it does everything well and sounds like an amp.
It can be set up for high or low gain, has an eq and a boost channel. Set it up however you like and shred. Played it with my walkabout, ampegs and I'll be getting my tone hammer next week!
You'll hear from me again after I spend a little time with that!
Yes, please, it would be great to hear about how well it pairs up with the TH...especially when its being played in Canada! ;)
EDIT: I'm still very interested to hear what your impressions are of the RB+TH combination. However, I spent some time listening to samples and reading reviews of it, and I think it may be a great example of the kind of pedal I would have loved 6 months ago but I'm not necessarily that interested in now. The pedal sounds like it has a unique and distinct killer tone, so when I was looking for some colour and character to add to my Shuttle, I would have been all over this. At the moment though, I'm looking for a dirt pedal that has as little influence as possible on the inherent tone and character of the TH. Again, best as I can tell from the reviews and clips, this pedal would seem to have such a distinct tone that I'd lose the TH tone behind it.
Right now I'm giving a good run at using the Phat Phuk B as a ever so slightly coloured boost when I need it...I may end up sticking with that. It leaves me still wanting a good fuzz, but hey, who doesn't?
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