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Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

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  • Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

    Can you still get high gain for heavy metal even if you don’t use a pedal or have high output pickups?

  • #2
    Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

    Sure. You just have to have a good amp. Which can cost quite a bit more than a pedal.

    Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk

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    • #3
      Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

      Gain is a function of the amp. If you want more, just turn up the gain knob and/or hit the strings harder so the amp has less work to do.

      A high output pickup allows you to use less gain on the amp and/or hit the strings softer. With a low output pickup, you just need more gain on the amp and/or a harder right hand to compensate.

      Those who cut their teeth on high output pickups will sound wimpy on low output pickups, until they learn to adjust their picking. Vice versa too. Those (like me) who cut their teeth on low output pickups will sound overly heavy and compressed on high output pickups...until they learn to use a lighter touch.

      There is no "for heavy metal" tone. Metal tones are all over the map. The best of them, IMO, are basically just a juicy, bluesy tone picked hard through a cranked amp, in the days when the only people who knew what "gain" was were the amp designers and techs – amps didn't have any gain knobs.

      So, if you ask me, not only can you get good overdrive with a low output pickup, but you can get the best​ overdrive that way. "Best" being subjective, of course...but those are the aggressive metal tones that I like the best.
      Last edited by ItsaBass; 06-11-2019, 12:39 AM.
      Originally posted by LesStrat
      Yogi Berra was correct.
      Originally posted by JOLLY
      I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

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      • #4
        Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

        "Gain" is often misused term. In this thread as well. What you really are after is distortion.

        Gain not a function, but a scale. Low output pickups put out less gain, high output put more. It doesn't create any grit or distorted tone (but hitting strings heavy does).

        With high output pickups you get distortion when output hits the first stage of preamp and overdrives it. That preamp can be any pedal or amp. Level of distortion depends how much headroom that preamp has.

        Most pedals do their distortion with clipping diodes, which is different thing. Some "high gain" (another misnomer, should be "high distortion") amps do that as well. Others (like 6505) cascade input through multiple overdriven tubes, each adding more, to achieve high distortion levels.

        So in a nutshell, everytime you overdrive next stage in you rig, you get distortion, which you do by adding gain. Some amps only have couple of stages to add distortion, so you need pedal or high output pickup for "high gain" playing. Others (like mentioned 6505) have multiple stages and will get there with any gain level at the input.
        "So understand/Don't waste your time always searching for those wasted years/Face up, make your stand/And realize you're living in the golden years"
        Iron Maiden - Wasted Years

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        • #5
          Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

          I take it you're after something you can just take your cable from your guitar right into the amp and be ready to rip. It sounds like you want something like a Mesa Boogie Mark V, Anything designed by Mike Fortin (modern Randall tube amps like the Thrasher), a Fryette Pitbull, one of the new EVH 5150s, just about any decent ENGL, the Marshall JVM and countless other amps (I'm not sure what your budget is but there's pretty much a solution for every income bracket) with lots of onboard distortion, but more importantly are designed for modern metal tones (tight, percussive, voiced with heavy riffs in mind from the ground up) right out of the box.

          The amount of distortion alone isn't as important as the quality of it and how it reacts to your guitar and playing. It pretty much comes down to what your specific musical needs are. The best way to get started is to get down to a music store or hit up some friends with those kinds of amps and give them a try until you find the one that does what you want. Remember that cabinets and speakers are a very important part of the equation too.
          The opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent those of the poster and are to be considered suspect at best.

          Lead guitarist and vocalist of...



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          • #6
            Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

            Heavy metal is how you play....

            That said it’s a lot easier to get an amp that will distort than try to do it with a vintage Fender or Marshall. You can get an older modeler, they don’t even care what pickups you use, they make everything sound the same. Newer ones can be tweaked to sound like anything you want no matter what you are feeding them with.
            Oh no.....


            Oh Yeah!

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            • #7
              Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

              Sure, the sound of metal comes from your metal heart.
              “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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              • #8
                Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                Plot twist: metal can be played on an acoustic guitar

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                • #9
                  Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                  Originally posted by Jacew View Post
                  "Gain" is often misused term. In this thread as well. What you really are after is distortion.
                  Maybe there's something of a language barrier at play, but the usage of "gain" in this post isn't entirely correct either.

                  Originally posted by Jacew View Post
                  Gain not a function, but a scale. Low output pickups put out less gain, high output put more. It doesn't create any grit or distorted tone (but hitting strings heavy does).
                  Gain is a scale; specifically how much signal strength is increased by a stage of amplification be it a pedal, amp, or something else. Passive pickups don't have gain by definition because they don't amplify anything. Active pickups incorporate a preamp stage which can amplify signal, but they're typically designed merely to output a low impedance signal. Low or high output pickups simply produce a weaker or stronger signal respectively.

                  Originally posted by Jacew View Post
                  Most pedals do their distortion with clipping diodes, which is different thing. Some "high gain" (another misnomer, should be "high distortion") amps do that as well. Others (like 6505) cascade input through multiple overdriven tubes, each adding more, to achieve high distortion levels.
                  High gain is absolutely the correct term for these amps. Their preamp stage(s) have large amounts of amplification (gain), and subsequent stages are designed to run out of headroom intentionally causing distortion. With tube amps it's even possible to change the amount of available preamp gain by using different tubes. For example the 12AX7 spec states an amplification factor of 100, while a 5751 has an amplification factor of 70 and a 12AY7 has an amplification factor of 45. These factors literally compare how much gain the given tube provides.
                  Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                  And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                    Sure, as long as the amp is high gain. In my mind a discreto guitar power amp (PowerStage, Stealth) and a preamp pedal (Mooer UK Gold, AMT S2, etc) are am affordable way to create am affordable and small high gain amp head.
                    Who took my guitar?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                      I'd love to try an AMT dual stage pedal through a Powerstage 700 into a full stack of Texas Heat and Swamp Thang speakers.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                        It's pretty obvious he just wants to know about amps you can plug right into and get a good metal tone. Why is that such a big deal? Even chiding him for what he means by "metal" isn't necessary as most amps you can dial in for an up-to-the-minute modern tone can cover early, lighter styles as well. It's a simple question one sentence long. It doesn't require such over-analysis.


                        Originally posted by IMENATOR View Post
                        Sure, as long as the amp is high gain. In my mind a discreto guitar power amp (PowerStage, Stealth) and a preamp pedal (Mooer UK Gold, AMT S2, etc) are am affordable way to create am affordable and small high gain amp head.
                        This is a very good option for affordable and not to mention compact way of achieving those sounds which is a godsend if you're interested in playing any shows that involve flying interstate or overseas so if any of the amps I mentioned are out of your price range, this is a perfectly legitimate way of going about it. Some of them are even modeled in those Mooer micro and AMT preamps. You can check them out here.

                        https://amtelectronics.com/new/cat/g...egend-amps-ii/

                        http://www.mooeraudio.com/nav/PREAMP-24.html

                        I'm pretty sure some of Mooers multi-fx have all their micro-preamp sounds built in. The preamp live does for sure. I kinda want one of those because it seems like an affordable, floor-based Kemper.
                        The opinions expressed above do not necessarily represent those of the poster and are to be considered suspect at best.

                        Lead guitarist and vocalist of...



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                        • #13
                          Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                          Originally posted by DankStar View Post
                          Plot twist: metal can be played on an acoustic guitar
                          Especially useful if you're very into recycling and want to collect beer bottles thrown at you by the crowd. :P
                          Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                          Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                          This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                            Originally posted by Demanic View Post
                            I'd love to try an AMT dual stage pedal through a Powerstage 700 into a full stack of Texas Heat and Swamp Thang speakers.

                            Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk
                            I have not tried the Powerstage 700 but I have the Stealth Stereo, costs less and still is quite loud, you can use it for stereo rigs, wet/dry rigs or mono rigs.
                            Who took my guitar?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Heavy Metal without Pedals or hot pickups

                              Originally posted by PFDarkside View Post
                              Heavy metal is how you play....
                              .

                              Not really many metal songs turn into surf music when played without distortion.
                              "It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you." -Bon Scott

                              "Let me put it this way: the 5150 will treat
                              you better than any girlfriend, because it screams louder, it's easier to pick up, and it shuts up when you take your plug out." -Rip Glitter

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