Need some help dialing a good tone on 7 string

Discussion in 'Beginners/FAQ' started by Edika, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Hi guys I need a bit of help with dialing a good tone on my 7 string. It seems that in general I can't get good sounds with anything below D, as I've tried a couple of guitars on Drop C and wasn't that pleased. I know that there are a lot of factors that come into play, from technique, pickups, amp, strings, pick, the guitar itself and so on so I'll let you know what I'm using and what's my problem so far.

    I'm using a Jackson SLAT3-7, which has alder body wings and is a maple neckthrough with a Floyd Rose bridge. It has the SD Dino Cazares Retribution pickups and is strung up with a 10-46 Rotosound set with a 60 Rotosound on the low B and in B flat tuning. It has five springs in the trem cavity. I'm mainly running the guitar through a Maxon OD808 to a Peavey 5150II (that has been recently retubed) and going to an ENGL 2x12 Celestion V30 loaded cab.

    The issue with the sound is if I have that the low B just doesn't sound good. The rest of the strings sound better. I've tried adjusting the pickup placement and when it is too close to the strings it got really undefined and when it's too far away too weak and boomy. In general I'm hearing too much frequency separation trending towards the higher frequencies. When I get the low B more beefy and the rest of the strings sound ok, it's way too boomy but when the low B is defined it gets an annoying jangly sound and the rest of the strings get too screechy. When removing bass and resonance it gets too thin but when adding it gets too boomy. I've increased the mids and removed a bit of highs and presence but it didn't help much. It sounds better and more defined on the red channel than the crunch on the green. I've tried it with the Laney but had worse results as it's not as tight as the Peavey. However it did sound good better on the Marshall Valvestate. Truth be told I have the volume on 1 to 1.5 and that might contribute to the mushiness, as I'm playing at home. I don't have this issue with my 6 strings and two of them have actives, one SD blackouts and the other EMG 57/66. They sound kickass and if I'm not happy a slight change in the EQ gets me where I want.

    So I'd like some recommendations with some settings on the Peavey 5150II as I'm sure most of you guys run a similar chain with actives. As a note I did change the tone knob as I didn't feel it affected the sound much and the input jack but didn't see any difference. Battery is fresh.

    The guitar was loaded with EMG 81-7/707 and it sounded less defined so the SD Retribution set was an improvement. I remember having the same issues when I had the Carvin DC747 where whatever I did I couldn't get the low B to sound good, even after a pickup swap to D-Sonic/AirNorton going to a Mesa Triple Rec so I'm not sure it's the pickups themselves.
    I don't know, I really want to make this work as I like how this guitar plays but I'm not really enjoying how it sounds and am toying with the idea of letting it go.

    TL;DR: Please share some EQ tips to get a good tone from my low B string!
     
  2. FifthCircleSquared

    FifthCircleSquared Threadender

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    When I played 7's, I had to use less gain then I otherwise would with 6's to get the lowest string to sound right (to my ears). I'm sure others will chime in with better solutions thought.

    Don't give up!
     
  3. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Yeah I know what you mean and I've tried that too but when I tried that it sounded really anemic. I'm sure if someone is layering tracks it makes sense, for 6 strings too, but playing at home or live is different I think. Anyway I might be a bit too gain heavy on my sound and getting used to less gain might help me.

    Thanks for the input!
     
  4. angl2k

    angl2k SS.org Regular

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    Please use more whitespace so your text is more readable.

    Back on topic, have you tried a lighter string gauge or different brands?

    I used to use D'addario 10-59 and the low B was pure mud. Then swapped to Ernie Ball 10-56 and low B tone improved. I finally settled on Cleartone 10-56 which had much more clarity to the 7th string.

    Also, check your guitar setup, check the neck bow and check string action. My Ibby had a slight underbow and the action was a bit too low. I adjusted it to the Ibanez recommended settings and slightly raised action on the 7th string and the difference was pretty noticable. Notes on the 7th string were much clearer after.
     
  5. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    Apologies and I hope now the text is more reader friendly.

    I'll see about changing strings as maybe they are a cause for this. I did try a Dean Markley 11-60 set that came with, but the guitar was tuned to A. I set it up to B flat for that gauge and had the same result. Then tried a D'addario 9-56 in E same thing.

    I did get some buzz and took the guitar for a setup and had the action somewhat higher than I usually would as I tend to be a bit heavy handed on my right hand but still the same result. Meaning that the variation was not that big to help with the above issue. I wonder if I tune it back to B if there will be any improvement.
     
  6. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    Get an 8 string. Once you've tried to dial that ....er in your 7 will sound great to you.
     
  7. TheWarAgainstTime

    TheWarAgainstTime "TWAT" for short

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    I've found that I need to use different settings on my amps to get an ideal tone from my 7 strings vs my 6 strings.

    For example, on my EVH and old 6505 into a V30 cab, my normal 6 string settings would be:

    Gain at 4
    Bass at 8 or 9
    Mids at 7
    Treble at 6 or 7
    Presence/resonance to taste depending on the cab/volume (usually 6 and 8, respectively)

    This is usually good enough for me with my 7 strings, but my more "ideal" settings for them would be more like:

    Gain at 3.5
    Bass, mid, treble all at 6. Maybe push the mids or treble up a notch if the particular guitar is inherently darker.
    Presence the same or pushed up a notch, maybe dial the resonance back one notch or two depending on the guitar/pickups/tuning.

    The second set of amp settings will remove a bit of excess low end and congestion in the mids that should make everything more defined. The thicker strings and lower notes of the 7 string will fill out the sound in a different way than the amp's EQ will, so the end result won't be an identical tone between the guitars, but two very similar tones that work for the different sonic ranges in different ways.

    EDIT: I also use a Maxon 808 to boost the front end of whatever amps I'm using, so our setups have that in common as well. Gain at 0, tone at 1:00-3:00 depending on the guitar, level at 10.
     
  8. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Try this!

    Gain:10
    Bass: 10
    Mids: 0
    Treble: 10
    Presence: 10

    This sounds best through a Line 6 spider in my experience
     
  9. endmysuffering

    endmysuffering I'm serious

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    I like 0 mids on my spider.
     
  10. endmysuffering

    endmysuffering I'm serious

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    Amen.
     
  11. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    :lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

    I so miss the like button. Even though I know you're joking, I did toy with the idea of getting an 8 string. After my experiences with the 7 strings though and my difficulty getting a decent tone my desire to go that route has died a horrible death.

    Some good advice so far and I'll give those a go minus the line 6 settings :lol::fawk:.

    I wonder if people using downtuned 6's have to do something similar in terms of EQ and gain as the string gauges would be similar for B or drop B.
     
  12. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    This is a general thing but you're probably better using a bit more volume if you can and a bit less gain, rather than skimping on the volume and trying to make up for it with preamp gain.

    I have a love-hate relationship with my 8 string because I struggle to dial it in, usually it comes down to using much much less gain and accepting that string 8 isn't going to sound like string 6. Also with the m80m I constantly have to remind myself to keep my picking hand on the bridge, it's way too easy to wander up and then wonder why palm mutes sound like absolute cock.

    I love using it on clean settings though. I keep thinking about selling it but it's just such a cool looking ridiculous monster of an item.
     
  13. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    ^Hmm that's quite interesting and it is something I've thought about myself.

    Thinking a bit more on the subject, the Marshall Valvestate isn't a bass heavy amp would be the main reason why it sounds clearer and more defined. I'll try a few of the suggestions during the weekend or this afternoon if I manage to have a bit of time.

    It seems like a trend though, the lower the note and the thicker the gauge, less gain is required to get a good sound.
     
  14. laxu

    laxu SS.org Regular

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    Most amps have just way too limited EQs so putting an EQ pedal or rack unit could help a lot. Generally you would cut some bass frequencies to keep the lowest strings from sounding boomy.
     
  15. oceanrose

    oceanrose Pete

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    Try experimenting with a different string gauge for the low B string. Increasing string gauge beefens up the tone in my experience, however go too thick and it may sould dull and less snarly. Personally i use a 64+52-11 gauge for A# tuning. Perhaps you could try using a 62 and see how that goes and take it from there.
     
  16. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    I dealt with the same thing a few years ago. I loved the tone on my 6ers but the 7 was always kinda boxy and lifeless. I put Bare Knuckle Aftermaths in, D'addario 11-56+Ernie Ball 74 for A std, and cut a bit more lows out on my MXR 10 band. Playing with the pickup height allowed me to keep my amp settings the same. I basically tried to set up the upper 6 strings nearly identical to my 6 string guitars in D std, and added the high tension 74 to keep the oscillation tight and clear.
     
  17. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Turn up your amp.
     
  18. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    So I had a bit of time to experiment with a few suggestions that gave me quite a bit of progress. The best results I've had with increasing the volume and decreasing the gain. I also used the red channel instead of the green that is tighter and more modern sounding.

    I've put back some lows (at 5.5) and resonance (6.5) and moved the gain to 4. Increasing the volume to 1.5 gave the low B more life! It's funny how you might know the theory behind how frequencies work but actually putting them in practice gives you that "aaah that's what it actually meant" moment.

    Going through my other guitars, I still preferred the sound of them but the gap has decreased dramatically. Clarity is a lot better and there's still girth to the the low string. I still need to experiment a bit more with the pickup height and give the volume a nudge more.

    I'm thinking about getting an EQ pedal, as some of you suggested, I'm just afraid I'll be endlessly tweaking and not playing as much. In any case my setup is really simple and I could use a couple of pedals for added effects.
     
  19. FILTHnFEAR

    FILTHnFEAR Dread it, run from it....

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    Get an eq pedal, it'll be your best friend, I promise. When I started beefing up my string gauges and tuning lower is was essential in getting the tone I was after.

    I suggest the Boss Ge-7, it irks me to play without it. MXR is cool too, as a lot of people will recommend that one as well, but I really like the mid range frequencies of the Boss over the MXR. I have both, but rarely use the MXR.

    But either way, you'll be amazed at the difference and wished you have gotten one sooner.

    P.S. At first you might do a lot of tweaking but once you figure out the settings you like, it's not really an issue. Least it wasn't for me.
     
  20. Edika

    Edika SS.org Regular

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    ^Hmm that's good to know. It's true that I've heard a lot about the MXR one's but it's good to have a vote for the Boss as they tend to be cheaper. I'll look into one. From what I've read so far the EQ is placed in the FX loops so it'll be an opportunity for me to use the FX loop of my amp for once lol!

    Using the EQ will there still be a requirement for the Maxon OD808, as it does have a slight EQ effect?

    On another note will a compressor have any benefit in the sound or will it just sustain? I assume for high gain tones it won't do much but it might improve the Peavey's clean channel.
     

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