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Unread 05-28-2013, 02:56 PM   #1
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Going for a more modern sound with my Blackstar ht-100

Hey guys, I've been mostly lurking around here for awhile and I had a few questions about upgrading my rig. Heres my current setup:
Heritage H-150 W/ Seymour Duncan 59's>
Blackstar HT-100>
Rivera Knucklehead 4x12 cab with celestion V30's

It sounds great, but I would like to get more gain out of the amp with less noise. When I'm using the red channel I have a HUGE problem controlling high pitched squealing (not humming). Even with the gain at 11:00 or so, it is noisy as ...., moving further away from the amp doesn't do shit. what causes this? Amp? Guitar? The main sound I'm going after is modern high gain(I'm finding myself becoming a tightfag I'm sure this board needed one more of those). I'm trying to put together a shopping list and put things in order of importance, so far this is what I'm considering:

1. ISP Decimator
2. Change Bridge Pickup
3. Tubescreamer
4. 10 band EQ in the loop
5. .... it, sell the amp and save up for a different amp

Simple is good for me, I literally have no pedals right now. I like using my guitar settings to change the sound rather than the amp. What do you guys think?
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Unread 05-28-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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Sounds like you are on the right track. The tubescreamer will really help. It will allow you to get a good high gain tone without turning up the amps gain to much. By boosting with a tubescreamer (TS gain at 0, level close to 10, tone at 5), you can set the amp gain much lower, then when you kick in the TS you will get that "chug" you are after at much lower gain. I would definitely try that first. The ISP or NS-2 will help too.

EDIT - one more thing - do your humbuckers have chrome covers? The covers can definitely cause high pitched squealing - if so, remove the covers, squealing will stop. I had squealing problem with a JB/Jazz set - i removed the chrome covers and it cleared right up

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Unread 05-28-2013, 03:25 PM   #3
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Hey, I too own own a blackstar ht100. I know it's not the same but I had a huge amount of hum. You could try solve your problem the way I fixed mine though. To solve it I bought an ISP G string. This allowed me to put the noise gate in the effects loop and also in the normal signal chain of pedals. The guitar also went in to the pedal. This allowed me to tackle the hum in three difference places.

It could also be caused by interference from other appliances in the room, so maybe change a few things around.

If you feel it could be the bridge pickup, try playing the guitar through a different amp and see if the problem persists.
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Unread 05-28-2013, 08:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice!

Quote:
one more thing - do your humbuckers have chrome covers? The covers can definitely cause high pitched squealing - if so, remove the covers, squealing will stop. I had squealing problem with a JB/Jazz set - i removed the chrome covers and it cleared right up
I hadn't thought of that, I just looked up how to remove the covers, I guess they are soldered on the bottom?

Quote:
Hey, I too own own a blackstar ht100. I know it's not the same but I had a huge amount of hum. You could try solve your problem the way I fixed mine though. To solve it I bought an ISP G string. This allowed me to put the noise gate in the effects loop and also in the normal signal chain of pedals. The guitar also went in to the pedal. This allowed me to tackle the hum in three difference places.
I have heard nothing but good things about ISP noise gates. Definitely second on my list after a tubescreamer.

I also need to replace my tubes, and I am strongly considering KT-77's how do you guys like those compared to the EL-34's? While I'm at it, what tubes do you guys like in the pre amp(2 x 12ax7 /1 x 12au7)?
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Unread 05-28-2013, 09:17 PM   #5
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No matter what you're doing, if you're playing high gain you'll almost always need a noisegate. After purchasing a noisegate I would probably opt for a higher gain pickup and then if you're still not happy with the tone either getting an OD or trying for a new amp. The Blackstar HT series can get some good high gain tones but they aren't characteristically 'modern metal' or anything like that; although, with an OD you can really tighten it up so it will sound pretty darn close.

Worse comes to worse if the Gate, pickup and OD don't solve the problem then wait for the new blackstar HT-metal amp series and grab one of those (in which case you could probably sell the OD).

For pickups I would suggest these (only limited to Duncans cause I don't know other brands well enough):

Duncan Custom
Duncan JB
Duncan Distortion
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Unread 05-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #6
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I'd actually put a noise gate number one on a list, before a tube screamer. The amp has lots of gain already in it and with some messing around you can find a good tone.

The KT-77's have a tighter bottom end which is pretty neat but overall they have a very mixed reception from people so it just depends on what your after really. I've always kept to EL-34's.

I've never felt the need to change the pre amp tubes but those are the one's that come installed in it! They just call them by ECC83 (12ax7) and ECC82 (12au7).
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Unread 05-29-2013, 08:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
I've never felt the need to change the pre amp tubes but those are the one's that come installed in it! They just call them by ECC83 (12ax7) and ECC82 (12au7).
Lol, I know which tubes they are, except we don't call them ECC83's here in the states, I just didn't know if anybody liked a certain brand in particular. Have you had to retube your head yet?
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Unread 05-29-2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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Squealing is not something you learn to live with, as opposed to hum - it's a defect and you should debug it.

Some possible causes, as mentioned, are faulty tubes and pickups.
Tubes first. When in doubt, get them changed. Worst case scenario, you've now got backup tubes.
Perhaps your guitar isn't grounded properly - when you turn the gain up, do you hear a difference in hum level when you touch the strings or knobs?

Another option, if a little more far-fetched, is a ground problem in your house. Is your amp power cable 3-prong?

As for tightening up in general, tubescreamer first. Pickups might be next on the list but i'm not sure - never tried a 59' in the bridge.
I'd skip the noisegate altogether, and an EQ will not help with gain or squealing.

If possible, learn to play with less gain - it'll make you sound tighter, reduce noise and be very practical if you ever record or play live. I play several kinds of modern metal in several bands and i've just never needed a noise gate .

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stamina requires constant upkeep,
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and you pay for grace.
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Unread 05-30-2013, 12:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Macragge View Post
Lol, I know which tubes they are, except we don't call them ECC83's here in the states, I just didn't know if anybody liked a certain brand in particular. Have you had to retube your head yet?
That's fair!
I changed the power amp tubes on mine a year after owning it.
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Unread 05-30-2013, 12:55 PM   #10
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Tubes: Maybe try Tung Sol in V1, JJ in V2.

You can lightly tap your tubes with a pencil or something to check if any are microphonic (if the tap gets amplifed through your amp, it's probably microphonic). That would be an issue worth addressing right away.
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Unread 05-30-2013, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Macragge View Post
Thanks for the advice!
I hadn't thought of that, I just looked up how to remove the covers, I guess they are soldered on the bottom?
Yup you just have to desolder the tacks on the bottom of the pickup- or you can just take a flat head screwdriver and a hammer and tap off the solder joints - the solder is typically the kind that doesn't melt easily with a radio shack iron so i've had to use the screwdriver method before. But if it's a squeal more so that typical feedback, then chances are removing the covers will fix the issue

here's the guitar i removed the covers on - it was a nice surprise to see the SD logos still o nthe pickups underneath the covers

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Unread 05-30-2013, 09:05 PM   #12
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Is a hissing or squealing pickup necessarily a sign of a defective pickup, or does it just happen with certain combinations of guitars/amps? I guess what I'm asking is will every Seymour Duncan 59 with chrome covers do this in my guitar? A JB might be better for what I do anyway I guess. Thanks again for the advice!
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