I’m learning guitar, and I have an Ibanez GRX20. What effect pedals or multi-fx pedals should I be looking into for that crunchy, early 2000s VK tone if I wanted to do song covers of, say, PIERROT, Janne Da Arc, etc.? Or, basically, to get that Alternative Rock sound? Thanks in advance!
I’m just learning about tone and pedals myself, but I think if it’s distortion you’re looking for, then a ProCo Rat or Boss DS-1 would be a good starting point.
Perhaps you may get yourself a Line6 spider amp, they can be very versatile. I learnt to play with an spider IV and it never fell short of the VK sound I was looking at the time.
Think that the Boss DS-1 tone can be replicated on Boss’ multi-effects panel?
Yeah, I think you could get acceptable overdrive and distortion tones from those multi-effects. Would they be exactly same as the analogue effects? Probably not quite. But if you’re not obsessed with authenticity and analogue tones, multi-effects could be for you.
Personally, I tend to lean more towards the “real thing”. So what I’d do to sound like those guitarists, would be to get a bunch of classics like the DS-1, Rat and Tube Screamer and see where they take me. I bet those pedals are super common on visual kei records. Especially the ones from Japanese companies like Boss and Ibanez.
I use a Zoom G5, thinking about investing in the new Mooer board. I get a lot of nice tones from the cab sims/pedals on it.
Edit: I should also mention, I’m playing a Grassroots Sugizo model guitar; The original 90s S-type.
Pedals are mostly boss like 4 of them i have 2 zvex pedals and one ibanez pedal
Guitars are 1995 prs custom 24, ce 22 (with bird decal on the neck near the notes)
Prs is just great all around once you get comfortable you can go through others like fenders or strats
My sig is 2002 ibanez rgt3120 dropped to tune b expensive 6 string guitar
Dimarzio pickups, same brand electric stings they don’t matter that much
One shitty acoustic guitar made from garbage plywood.
Eernie ball man bass.
Ebtech hum eliminator
Some audio conditioning brand I don’t know where I got from
Mesa boogie is just a classic amp and distorter, Marshall is overused but good for easy plays
filters are just beeps and boops I promise you when you grab hold of playing guitar you will make the tune thats in your head,
even if youre bad at it in the end, editing is the new millenias savior, a lot of players do that and no one notices it.
whats your budget ^v^? if you have the ability to get a helix stomp I highly recommend that.
for cheaper options that can do alot just grab a boss gt-10 or a digitech 500 used for cheap,
gt-10 has really great routing options and the ability to edit alot, and the digitech rp 500 has better preamp sims but less ability to edit so its easier for plug and play.
Best overall price and quality option would be a helix stomp or a tech 21 flyrig, do not underestimate tech 21s sansamp technology, is all over 90s vk and hide actually used a programmable sansamp as his main distortion on the last live, Rammstein has it right next to a mesa boogie triple rectifier on many albums and it holds up against that too.
It would help if we knew a budget for you friend!
Generally, I think for that old-school type of tone you want something relatively bright sounding. I think a lot of them were using clean amps with distortion pedals - as others have said, a DS-1 from Boss might be a good place to start. I personally don’t love the sound of that pedal, it’s a little too one-dimensional I sounding for me. But I also think that about a lot of early VK tones in general.
The Ibanez Tube Screamer is also a pretty classic pedal, but I prefer it as a boost for something else rather than as the primary source of overdrive/distortion. That is, turn the gain knob all the way down, crank the volume knob so that it’s pushing whatever comes after it into more distortion (for me it’s usually the distortion of a tube amp), and set the tone knob to taste. The Tube Screamer has a very noticeable affect on the overall tone of your sound - it filters out a lot of low end, and has a bump in the midrange frequencies. This is part of what has made the Tube Screamer, and clones of the circuit, such a massive instant classic with rock and metal guitarists. While it might sound somewhat thin when you’re playing by yourself in your bedroom, in the context of the sound of a full band it tightens up the low end of your sound, and leaves room for the bass guitar and the kick drum in the mix. The push in the mids has also been very important for “djent”-like tones, which seems to be the go-to sound for a lot of guitar players these days.
This tight, mid-forward tone is what I generally associate with the term “crunchy” when it comes to guitar tone.
When it comes to amps, that’s a whoooooooole world unto itself. Amps have their own sounds, and vary drastically from one to the next. That said, the speakers and speaker cabinet also has a massive influence over the tone, arguably more than any other part of your signal chain. Plugging my Blackstar amp into my Peavey XXX cabinet makes the Blackstar sound way more like the XXX than if I plugged my XXX into the Blackstar speakers, and vice-versa. It’s DEFINITELY a bigger difference changing cabs than just changing guitars and nothing else.
A modeling amp may not be a bad place to start. I would, however, stay away from the Line6 Spider series of amps. They generally come with very cheap speakers (and cheap cabs if you get the head/cab versions instead of the combo amps). They have a LOT of different sounds, but with cheap cabinet construction and sub-par speakers, you just won’t find much use from it all after your ears start to develop a little more. To my ears, the Spider sounds very flat, and is overly bright and harsh sounding. This is especially a consideration with your guitar - from looking online, it seems that the pickups in your guitar are made with ceramic magnets. As a result, they will have a much brighter sound than something with, for example, AlNiCo magnets. Bright pickups into a harsh sounding amp is a recipe for an incredibly over-bright, “ice pick” like tone, especially as you turn up the distortion.
The Helix range, also from Line6, is FAR superior in my opinion, but they don’t come as a full-amp, it’s a floor unit that you can plug in to an amp or PA system, or use with your computer. That said, the Helix IS pretty damn good - the vocalist in one of my bands uses it for most of his guitar tones and all of his bass sounds (on songs where he plays bass), and I’m happy to use those sounds when I’m doing the production work.
The Boss Katana series of amps seems to be the king of budget-friendly modeling amplifiers. They follow in the same vein as the Line6 Spider, offering you tons of amp and cabinet models and a huge amount of built-in effects to play with, but benefit from modern modeling algorithms. I’ve heard some people get some killer sounds from them, and they come in a variety of sizes and prices. The 1-speaker (12 inches) 50-watt version is around 250 USD, and the 2-speaker (12 inches each) 100-watt version is around 500 USD.
I’ve noticed that with people starting out learning rock, there’s a tendency to crank up the distortion as much as you can. I was guilty of it myself for years. Something to keep in mind though - more distortion reduces clarity, and adds extra bass in a way that can get muddy pretty quickly. Dirty tones for alternative rock tend to be relatively low-gain (unless they’re using a bunch of fuzz). I used to think more distortion made for a bigger sound, but LESS gain allows for more punchy dynamics, as well as more clarity within chords. Even modern metal bands are using a lot less distortion than one might think.
I can spend up to 1000 on equipment without feeling bad, haha
Hey! For multi-fx pedals, i can spend about 3-500 on a good one. I didn’t mention this in the post, but I have a Marshall MG15R amp! As for a budget, I can go about 3-500 on pedals.
Then def look into helix stomp for digital or tech 21 fly rig series for analog.
Helix can take a long time for learning,
Fly rig series is nice for quick hands on tweaking.
If you are crazy like me actually building a rack system is fun but super annoying for bringing around