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Gallien Krueger Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ishouldbeking, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I might be losing my mind, but I'm pretty sure something is rotten in Denmark when it comes to my GK 2001RB.

    I won't lie -- I don't know a lot about amps, and I bought this amp at a time in my life when I happened to have the cash to buy a big amp. So I went out and bought the biggest I could get with the belief that I'd never need to buy another. I was only 22 at the time; needless to say I couldn't afford this thing now, but I already have it, so I'm stuck with it for the time being.

    Here's the issue: I feel like the tone is just dreadful. Lifeless, can't get a decent warm sound for the life of me, and when I do it's just giant mush, with no cut-through whatsoever. If i try boosting the mids the sound just gets hideous... no warmth at all, lot of honk. Just not pretty. And on top of that when I switch to the overdrive channel I can't get the level of that channel even a quarter as loud as the clean channel. Even if I boost the gain and Level B all the way I get a really thick, murky, overdriven sound that's still pretty dang quiet.

    The amp had some issues when i first bought it back in '03. I eventually determined that the issue was a faulty speakon cable (i could only hear the tweeter, and just barely) so with another GK speakon I managed to get her ship-shape, though something still felt a bit off. The amp would overload occasionally when I was just practicing in my bedroom at low volume. It hasn't done that in a few years, but it's always made me nervous. And now I'm way out of warranty...

    Anyone have an idea of what I should do? I dropped an email to GK and haven't heard back yet... I suspect I should take it in to a repair shop, but I have a gig friday and even if the amp sounds horrible I need to play through something. (We have 3-5 more lined up in the next few weeks as well...) Also, something I wondered was could this be an electrical current problem? Most of the time I'm playing it at practice and admittedly i don't know how strong the current is there. We played one show where the amp sounded great (i just assumed it was good acoustics) and another show where it sounded terrible. And advice would be GREATLY appreciated, thanks!
  2. I've been playing with a 1001 for a couple years now and what I've found is that the GK sound is a super clean sound and we are often looking for a sound that has a little more grit and warmth and it's hard (for me) to get warmth out of my GK. My best results have come from cranking the master and pulling up the gain to get to my level and then working with the contour and presence controls quite a bit and rolling back on mids. Often folks will say add more low mids to cut through, but with the GK that gets clanky sounding, so I'm finding that holding back on the mids a bit and smoothing out the sound helps quite a lot.

    If you want warmth from a GK you should consider some sort of pre-amp. Nothing fancy I use an MXR Micro-Amp with great results.
  3. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    Does this happen with both of your basses , or just one of them?

    What type/brand Strings?

    Type of 1/4'' cables?

    Anything that you run through before that? (effects)
  4. I'm sure G-K will tell you to take it to a tech or send it to them for checkout. In order to insure your amp is in good working order it would need to be on a test bench with test equipment and someone who knows how to check out the different sections. Also they can measure the output and frequency response and check for bad connections or defective parts.

    All that said, if I were in your shoes and worried about a possible failure on the gig, I would do the following:

    1; remove the cover, blow out any dust with a can of compressed air.
    2; look to see if there are any visible bad solder joints or loose parts.
    3; clean the pots and jacks with a can of tuner cleaner (or whatever it's called now, Radio Shack will have it)
    4; replace cover and (this is important) tighten all the nuts around the 1/4" jacks (inputs,speakers,etc.)
    5; Since you feel like you never completely resolved the speakon issue, find a good quality speaker cable with 1/4" plugs and see if it works properly. (G-Ks are temperamental if you don't have the right type speakon)

    That's about all you can do unless you have more electronics training than the average bear. The reason I stressed the nut tightening is, mine started cutting out and distorting intermittently once. I took it to my tech/friend and that's the first thing he did. There was nothing wrong with the amp but the speaker jack nuts had vibrated loose causing it to sound like it was on it's last legs. Sometimes we overlook the simple things.
  5. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I'll have to try your advice. With my current project I'm going for a definite "thump", though for certain songs I've been using a DOD 250 overdrive to either give me a cutting overdriven sound for a melodic lead part, and occasionally to go for a real gritty and loud SVT sound. It's a passable imitiation but by no means perfect.

    So you crank the master and when you say "gain" do you mean you adjust the boost control or the input level? Where do you tend to set the boost, out of curiousity (assuming you meant input level for "gain")? And with the micro amp, do you just leave it on all the time to provide more gain?

    The problems seem to be universal on all of my basses. Given my main two basses right now are definitely low end. My MIM Jazz is strung with webstrings flats (which sounded great through an ampeg ba-115) and my SX P-bass is strung with Labella 760FL's (very nice strings). I'm not using my stingray for this band very much, but that's strung up with rounds, and obviously the tone is a lot different (relatively light guage rounds + active electronics + zingy pickup placement on the 'ray) but I haven't been able to get a great tone with that either... which is a shame, cuz it's a great bass.

    For cables I was using Quantums up until a week or two ago at which point I upgraded to some fairly basic (but quite excellent) Bayou custom made Canare cables with G&H connectors. The only thing I'm running through is a DOD 250 overdrive (the new one).

    I'm glad UNPLUG AMP was in capitals... I'd be the one to open it up while the amp is plugged in and running... in the rain. I will try all of the above, as it all seems like very sound advice.

    In general, thanks guys, for the timely and thoughtful advice. I really appreciate it. One last question: could my suspicions about power and electrical current possibly be the culprit? I'm relatively sure we're running too many amps, pedals, lights, and monitors through too few outlets. I have a lower end Furman power conditioner (bout $80) powering the head and overdrive pedal, but I know it's not a voltage regulator or anything.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    GK warmth is tied to the Boost control ... I ran mine anywhere from 9 to 12:00 on the clock dial. I set the input gain to reasonably hot but no clipping and then set the overall vol using the Master.
    My approach with the 1001 RB II was to get my basic tonality using the Contour - I was running a Bag End 2x10 which has a pleasing voice all it's own so I didn't need all that much goosing to get it happening ... Then I used the 4 band EQ tro 1. knock down the hi's, control fret clack and room boom. For me - that approach worked well.

    I was after warm, round, punch or 'impact' and room filling. Not that far off what I would have aimed at in my SVT days - just a buit quieter is all...

    I found the 1001 RB II really easy to live with. Really easy to get a goos sound with and' not finicky about cabinets. All around great head IMO. I certainly never felt like I lacked headroom...
  7. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    While you're at it, clean all the effects loop jacks with cleaner.

    I used the forerunner of the 2001, the 2000 RB, and didn't have any problem at all getting warmth from it with any good bass. It sounded as good as the GK I used before it, the 400RB, only bigger. I found the fattest sound was running it in bridged mono. I never used any effects or preamp to liven up the sound. It was all there in the controls on the amp.

    Wait a reasonable length of time for a reply from GK. Rent a head for your upcoming shows.

    Don't give up on the amp. It's a hard one to beat.
  8. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    Yeah, I'm not ready to give up on it. I do get the feeling that for the sound I'm after I might be better off with tubes, or just a regular old Ampeg, but for now I think I'd just as soon get this guy back in running order... it does have some sentimental value as my first monster amp.

    Two more questions for all you gurus: how does the presence control factor into my sound? It's one of those things I'm never sure how to set, as I can't tell what it does to my tone.

    And the last one: how do i clean the pots? I'll get some of the cleaner, but where do i squirt it? Or do i have to take something off? And how do I clean the jacks? I'm obviously not very experienced working with electronics. Thanks guys!
  9. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    for me the most useful setting for the Presence control - was off. I also used the woofer cut feature as a way to cut the hi's IIRC. Seems like one setting would act like a low pass on the woofer side which I was running full range. Basically a shelving treble control voice up hi somewhere. I actully can't recall if I set it that way and left it off or on at this point ...
  10. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I have practice tonight... i plan to try out some of the EQ tips you've all shared to see if I can help the tone any. But I'll be taking my amp back home with me... amp surgery is now scheduled for tomorrow night!
  11. Col200


    Feb 18, 2007
    I can relate. I bought it and was happy with it at first (better sounding than my ampeg due to the massive power output...1001RBII) but started to think something was missing. After many gigs, I was regretting my purchase. Too clean? Maybe. I found that if I cranked the "boost" knob almost all the way and controlled the volume with the master, it cured the "clean" sound. It actually changed my sound from "eh" to "wow"...no joke. THEN, I put a Sansamp in front of the thing and all of the sudden my "wow" turned into "HOLY SH(&@*@^#411111111111"...yeah, sounds great right now!
    Geddy Jazz
    Flats (chromes)
    Dr. Bass bl210 & Ampeg SVT 210
  12. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    I'll try that tonight too... It seems like the boost might be the thing I've been missing out on. I was never quite sure where to set it, and I think right now it's at like 1:00. I will definitely experiment.

    I keep getting the feeling that if I weren't using a pick I might not be having such a hard time with the tone. I just never learned fingerstyle... it sounds good when I play a few notes that way, but I'm a long way from being able to hold my own in my band without a pick.

    Also, a lot of it just might be that the "cleanness" exposes the cheap tone of my mim jazz and the SX. Maybe I need something to really color the tone and hide the fact that I can't afford a good bass right now!
  13. stubborne

    stubborne Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2009
    Rock Hill, SC
    Bumping this one back up. I'm having some scratch and hiss on some of the knobs on my 1001RBII, also a real nasty problem with the master volume. Found this thread or a few like it earlier, ran out and got my contact cleaner, got the cover off and I was staring at the back of the pre-amp board. I was able to clean and fix the worst problem by removing the copper donut and accessing the master pot. But I cannot for the life of me see an easy way to access the rest of them without removing the entire board. The pre-amp board blocks access from the top and the main board and fan assembly block access from the side. Any tips? Thanks in advance!
  14. I'd try different cabs, are you using it with that sealed 610 or the orange? It may sound better with other cabs, it may not be able to go as warm as you want it but but it should at least sound 'lively'

    I recently sold my VT bass pedal beacuse my GK1001rbII is sounding better and warm enough without it. In the past I've found that some cabs that have lots of mids or stiff speakers can make the GK sound not as good as they emphasise too much of the GK's mids and punch.

    edit: Lol, just realised how old this thread is.
  15. Me too! Dang, another wasted five minutes!

  16. ishouldbeking


    Feb 5, 2007
    Hollywood, CA
    Endorsing: SIT, Eastwood, Hanson
    Thread resurrected! Haha, yeah this thread (and the GK) way predated my 610 and Orange cabs. I was able to fix the problem though... basically I made an effort to tighten all the 1/4" jacks on the back of the amp and sprayed some contact cleaner in each one. A few of those jacks had become very loose (odd seeing as I never plugged anything into most of them), so i dunno if it was the tightening or the contact cleaning that did the trick, but it cured the crazy volume drops.

    The warmth part was indeed tied to the boost control. I found that it was best to totally max out the boost control, set the input level fairly low (which was where it sounded best) and control the volume with the woofer. I also kept the tweeter off. Ultimately the tone was more in the direction of what I was going for... but it wasn't really my sound, at the end of the day. Sold the GK head back in 2008 and got an Ashdown (which does a MUCH better job at my desired sound) and I even added a VT bass pedal for fun. I also sold the GK 410 and got an LDS sealed 610 which sounds great, but is a bit of a beast in the weight / transportability department, so the Orange 115 gets the most use now when I play smaller gigs. However I prefer the 610 tone personally. These days I just wanna get a nice SVT / Orange AD200B / Reeves tube head and run it through a good manageable 410... but that'd require more spending power than I'll have for awhile, alas.

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