the science of clean up

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ombudsman
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:20 pm

the science of clean up

Post by ombudsman » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:17 pm

So I've got a preoccupation with fuzzes and boosts that clean up well, because I like a bright, subtly boosted clean sound (it works well with the dark amps I tend to use) and I've gotten the best results along those lines with Rangemaster like pedals and 1.5/Vox two transistor circuits (but only sometimes) when the guitar volume is backed off somewhat.

Can anybody here drop some technology on me about what works the best to achieve this ? Either on the boost/fuzz side of things, or in terms of pickups and volume pots. I have noticed that some of my guitar volume pots are good at and others are terrible, so maybe the taper as well as the resistance are playing a role (as well as how those relate to the pickups I suppose).

Normally I like lower to medium output single coil pickups. However to my surprise, my Hilotron equipped Corvette and Fransch equipped Guilds and Premiers don't do this so well and my P90 Junior is just OK, while my hot output late 60s DeArmond Dynasonics are much better. And based on videos, it seems that Les Pauls with typical PAF style pickups are pretty good at it too. So I'm starting to wonder if high pickup output is better, and if individual alnico slug magnets are better for clean up than single bar magnets (the PAF notwithstanding). I don't have Fender guitars (don't like the necks) but telecasters seem to be good for this too so maybe I need to find something I like with a Tele or Jazzmaster bridge pickup.

The other thing I have noticed is that I like my fuzz sound best when my guitar volumes are near but not quite at full. Does anyone here use a passive volume pedal set to always do a small cut, or even something like a small pad or an input volume (which I have seen on some fuzzes) to avoid the last bit of harsh/fizzy high frequency sound of a fuzz ?
dreichula
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Re: the science of clean up

Post by dreichula » Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:10 pm

As far as the cleanup goes, I think that with some 1/2 transistor pedals your guitars volume knob ends up acting like a bias for q1? I could totally be mistaken though. Also have no input when it comes to pickups/pots effect on this. It could be that the right pickup-pot combo puts one in a sweet spot bias wise. This could all be wrong idk
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HorseyBoy
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Re: the science of clean up

Post by HorseyBoy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 10:06 pm

There's no science to it - it's one of those great unfathomable sonic mysteries. That's why everybody needs a bunch of guitars, amps and fuzz boxes. Just in case, you know? :badteeth: :tu:
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anemochore
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Re: the science of clean up

Post by anemochore » Thu Aug 09, 2018 6:18 am

^^^ :oldgrin:
Don't make me assume my ultimate form
ombudsman
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 8:20 pm

Re: the science of clean up

Post by ombudsman » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:12 pm

I don't want to overstate it, because there are so many variables and so much subjectivity, but I do think there are repeatable principles that come into play with clean up.

There are these true-isms about how certain circuits or transistors are better at it than others, which I have generally found to be valid.

Some of what I like about some combinations may be due to the net frequency response, and that has a relationship to the amount of winding on a pickup coil. I don't necessarily think the pickup side of the equation is necessarily simple, but I do tend to like the clean up of pickups that use an alnico slug magnet under each string better than those with one bar magnet. What's been surprising me is that the best cleanup I have is from a high output pickup (late 60s DeArmond Dynasonic).
sir h c
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Re: the science of clean up

Post by sir h c » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:47 am

So, two things at work here, AC coupled stages, and well biased stages. AC bias makes it so that if one stage has some skew in the input/output that shift doesn't get multiplied by each stage, so to keep the cutting off from happening.

Next, keep the gain per stage "reasonable", if you have all the gain in one stage, hard to clean it up, some on each stage, and some attenuation between some stages can allow the gain to be there, but not all in one place to keep it happy.

Finally, it is a ballet, choreography of parts, can you get all the bits to work right and in harmony. This is the art.

And a final thought from Dave Funk of Funk amplifiers, there is a reason many amps have some attenuation after each gain stage, so that all the clippings will come "closer" to gether.
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