Gear, Rig, & Pedalboard Update – with Ambient Walk-Through

Took me a while, but it’s finally done. And in that spirit, I won’t bore you with some long intro making fun of Kurt Russell in Soldier. And Mowgli. And if you get that reference, you grew up in the ’90’s and had The Family Channel.

First Example of Tone from the Rig

Guitar Rig – April 2012


–Prairiewood Hardtop (Wolfetone Dr. Vintage pickups, coil tap on bridge pickup)
–1996 G&L Fat Strat (Duncan in the back, soon to be Anderson, coil tap on the bridge humbucker)
–Godin FFX acoustic & electric (soon to be Wolfetone Marshallhead and Wolfetone Dr. V pickups, coil taps on both pickups)

Meaning, I have the pickups sitting on my desk and am lazy.


Hartman Vintage Germanium fuzz–>
Fryette Valvulator buffer–>
Skreddy Lunar Module silicon fuzz->
Loop-Master bypass strip–>
(Tuner Out–>Peterson Strobostomp
(Loop 1–>Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 boost
(Loop 2–>Ibanez TS7 overdrive (modded, and in hot mode, used as a fuzz)
(Loop 3–>Boss OD1 distortion (original, possibly 1979/80…the insides don’t seem to fit any listed specs)
(Loop 4–>Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire overdrive/compressed distortion
(Loop 5–>Fulltone Fatboost v1 (12 volts)
(Loop 6–>Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 boost
Loop Master bypass strip–>
(Loop 1–>Arion SPH-1 phaser (original, ’80’s)
(Loop 2–>Danelectro Tuna Melt
(Loop 3–>George Dennis optical volume pedal
(Loop 4–>side one of Digitech Jamman
(Loop 5–>Strymon Brigadier
–>Strymon Timeline
(Loop 6–>Arion SAD-1 delay (black box version)
(Loop 7–>Strymon El Capistan delay and reverb
(Loop 8–>side two of Digitech Jamman
(Loop 9–>Boss NF1 noise gate (possibly something else soon…I’ve never turned this on)
Strymon Blue Sky reverb


Matchless HC30 (modded first channel to Spitfire specs, JJ tubes)–>
65 Amps birch 2×12 cab (Scumnico 30 mic’d & Celestion Blue sometimes mic’d)

Ambient Pad Rig

My guitar pre-recorded in all 12 keys loaded onto an iPod–>
Ernie Ball VP Jr.–>
Epiphone Valve Jr. or direct box

Secondary Acoustic Rig

Boss TU2–>
Ernie Ball VP Jr.

Miscellaneous Gear

Evidence Audio cables (Matt Solomon-made)
JJ tubes (Eurotubes-selected)
Curt Mangan pure nickel strings
Herdim blue picks (ya, ya, I know)

And last but not least, Brady Cases pedalboard case, made out of polypropelene, at Brady’s suggestion. Keeps that giant pedalboard surprisingly light. I can actually lift it into my car, but I still feel that everything’s very protected in there.


Rig Demo Video

Chapter Listing

0:00 Ambient Stuff
0:14 Rig Overview
0:33 ’96 G&L Strat
1:10 Prairiewood Hardtop
1:44 Godin FFX acoustic/electric dual run-through
2:15 Ambient Pad Rig
3:02 Matchless HC30 (modded)
4:11 65 Amps Cab (Scumnico & Blue)
4:28 Hartman Vintage Germanium fuzz
5:10 Fryette Valvulator
5:23 Skreddy Lunar Module silicon fuzz
5:55 Loop-Master bypass strip
6:02 Peterson Strobostomp tuner
6:07 Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 boost
6:11 Money-Saving Tone Tips (knob covers, strap locks, used gear)
6:46 Ibanez TS7 fuzz (modded, on hot mode)
7:11 Boss OD1 overdrive
8:00 Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire overdrive
8:39 Fulltone Fatboost v1
8:50 Electro-Harmonix LPB-1 boost

8:56 Overdrive Stacking Demo

9:53 (Effects run-through…no demo’s until the end of the section)
9:54 Loop-Master bypass strip
10:02 Arion SPH-1 phaser (’80’s)
10:10 Danelectro Tuna Melt tremolo
10:42 George Dennis optical volume pedal
10:53 Digitech Jamman Looper
11:18 Strymon Brigadier
11:26 Strymon Timeline (with demo)
12:35 Arion SAD-1 delay
13:02 Strymon El Capistan delay

13:28 Effects Demo of Entire Effects Section

15:02 Boss NF1 noise gate
15:22 Strymon Blue Sky reverb
16:25 Quick Tone Tips (capo’s slides, powering your board)

16:50 Ambient Looping and Effects Walk-Through

21:02 Completely Clean Tone

21:16 Same Clean Tone adding delay and reverb

21:32 Ending with some Wanna-Be Rock with the Lunar Module and Matchless

Second Example of Tone from This Rig


I hope that gives a very quick idea of what some of the rig can do, and how I do some of my basic effects. Obviously, there’s a ton more that this stuff is capable of, but I figured 22 minutes was high time to stop. Keep in mind as you watch and feel the need to advise me to sell my gear and feed a country, that this gear feeds me and my family. 😉 This one pedalboard has to be able to create movie soundtracks, worship guitar, worship guitar while singing, r&b sessions, rock sessions, etc. I could split it up into a few different boards, but you’d be surprised how many times I’m asked to cross the ambient effects over style and genre lines. Secondly, 95% of this gear is bought used, and I’ll give a little secret…Guitar Center used section, in store and online. They often don’t know what they have or don’t care, as opposed to eBay and Gear Page, which know waaay too much. 🙂 And lastly, a good portion of this gear has been given by companies to demo, or by some of you kind blog readers, or as gifts on holidays when I just have as many watches and toiletry kits as I could ever use. Another secret…ask for eBay gift cards and save them up. This stuff has been collected over 10 years.

And having said all that, yes…it’s still probably more than I need. Tone is fun. Gear is funner.


78 thoughts on “Gear, Rig, & Pedalboard Update – with Ambient Walk-Through

  1. So, I haven’t watched the video yet… but I just noticed that you are running 2 LPB-1s and I find that amazing. Also, I wish I had a Brigadier, Timeline, El Cap, Blue Sky combo like that!

  2. David–you’re welcome. 😉

    Josh–not all of those were bought. The LPB-1’s were bought…best 40 dollar pedal ever. 20 used!

    KennyG–thanks so much, brother! Means a lot, because there’s folks out there that see the size of the rig and really want it to sound bad. Not sure why that is! lol

    • I hope you didn’t think I was judging you for having all of those. I just think its a sick combo. How are you liking the El Cap? If you had to have just one (Brig or El Cap) which one would you keep?

  3. Ha, you must’ve found a setting you liked on your Hartman fuzz and not wanted to change it (seeing as the volume and fuzz knobs are off). But I could see that. In my experience, the Hartman doesn’t have that much extra volume, I generally leave it at 8-10, and you can change the fuzz level so much with your guitar knob that you could also leave it at 10 on the pedal. But the blend knob, that makes a difference (or eq knob, I call it a blend knob because it seems to affect how much things stand out in the mix). Because I didn’t buy my Hartman used, I cringe at the idea of pulling off of the knobs, though I’m sure its quite painless/harmless. Anyway, not having all the knobs on you’re pedal makes you cool, as in, I don’t need all these things to get my tone. I can dial it in by meditating on the Edge.

  4. karl, on behalf of everybody, i would like to thank you for having this. now we can just show this to our significant others when they start asking why we have and continue to buy stuff!!! 🙂

    however, i hate you for making me want to get a fuzz pedal again!

  5. Caleb–Ha! That literally made me laugh out loud. Actually, those knob cover things so you can turn them wouldn’t fit on the knobs I bought for them, so I borrowed from the Hartman and forgot to buy new ones for it. I have little markings on the metal shafts so that I can change settings. haha And I totally agree with you on the midshift knob there. Totally useful!

    Rhoy–lol!! Glad to be of service! 😉 And it’s the Lunar Module, huh. Wow, that pedal is wonderful. Why’d you sell yours again? hehe

    –Josh, I forgot to answer…I got those knob covers off ebay.

    Kind of expensive for just a little knob, but not as much as doubling pedals for more settings or only buying pedals with expression pedal jacks and then the expression pedals, too.

  6. Wow…
    This post obviously took a lot of time and effort.Thanks for sharing it.
    It’s incredibly helpful to see and hear how you’ve put all of this together one piece at a time. It can be a little overwhelming to watch your ambient videos and all of the tap dancing you do.

  7. Thanks for taking the time to walk through your rig and show some of the sounds.
    Congrats on the new Wolfetone pickups! 🙂
    If you’re able to say, what gear was given to you by companies to demo?

  8. Is it possible you could be a “Tone-Hoarder”?…

    Ask yourself these questions:
    Does the thought of having to select only one delay pedal and one overdrive make you feel anxious and defensive?

    Do you feel safer having all of your gear surrounding you?

    Do you find yourself lashing out at loved ones who try to convince you to let go of lesser used gear?


  9. As expected… Well done and like I always tell people “Karl has the best guitar tone I’ve ever heard”.

    But I think I can get that tone with a guitar, amp and a cord!!!! 😉

  10. Great rig run down! Thanks so much for putting the time and effort in to this post. I think the greatest thing about your rig is that you know how to use it. I could take your same rig and get nothing as good as what you are able to create.
    Thanks again for sharing.

    Oh, and let the haters hate. No need to be apologetic. Just keep using your equipment and you’re ahead of most of us!

  11. Josh–I think the Capistan probably is the keeper pedal because of its feature set with the looper and the fact that there are few good tape delay modelers out there. However, for my purposes, that subtle ambient thing the Brig does is what fits my needs best. So if I had to choose one for my needs now, it’d be the Brigadier. But if I had to choose one and I didn’t have the Timeline, it’d be the Capistan.

    Jody–;) Everyone does.

    Chris–thanks, man. Glad it could be of some use!

    Dan–now to brave the depths of a hollowbody to install them! haha

    Chris–yes. 😉

    Justin–haha It’s the blasted Midi Mate. That thing is so much bigger than it needs to be.

    Sal–ah, thanks, brother. And I don’t know about that guitar–>cable–>amp thing. I think that cable may be sucking some tone. This is the only way to truly pure tone:



    Gtr1ab–thanks, man. Really appreciate that!!

  12. Awesome demo Karl, really cool stuff. Question for you, when you’re running your pads from the ipod into the VP, do you have a way to trigger them remotely? Or do you physically have to pick up the ipod and press play, then fad them in with the VP?

    • I push play on the iPod in the key I know I’m going to need first and set the iPod to repeat that track. Then I kick it on and off as needed. (Unfortunately I only have the 25K VP Jr right now and it won’t “fade” in or out. It’s either on or off… 🙁

      • The 25K Jr doesn’t fad? Huh, I never new that, I assumed all VP’s would be able to fad in, not just click on and off.

        • Yeah, I’ve got the 250K on order. As far as I can tell, it’s something about the the 25K being an “Active” pedal, and the others being “Passive”…

          Can any of you gear geniuses explain it to me?

          • I think it’s the taper of the pot, but I didn’t even know there was an active Ernie Ball volume pedal (outside of the modded ones).

          • I nt think the pedal is active. Unless im mistaken, it’s a 25k pot which is for active pickups. That might be the problem. If its getting a signal it can’t handle well, the taper may be heard as just on and off.

          • from the horse’s mouth! (EB’s FAQ)

            Q: When would I use an “active” 25k pedal as opposed to a 250k/500k “passive” pedal, and why?

            A: Passive vs. Active: Whenever there is a passive signal leading into an EB pedal, the 250K or 500K pedal is recommended (mono VP & VPJR 250K and stereo 500K VP pedals available). Whenever there is an active signal (powered preamp in the instrument, effects loop, etc.) leading into an EB pedal, the 25K pot is recommended (stereo VP and mono VPJR pedals available). If an active signal is placed before a 250K or 500K EB pedal, or if a passive signal is placed before a 25K EB pedal, then the consequence may be that the swell of the pedal does not act as designed. Either way, as stated above, try whatever combination you desire, and determine if it works for you. All of our volume pedals are designed to be as transparent as possible in a signal chain. However, whenever you add any component to a signal chain, the signal will change whether it is audible or not. Keyboards are generally served best by the 25k pedals as well.

          • Thank you.
            I originally got the 25K to put after the pedal board, I should be getting the 250K early this week.

          • Karl, you may say that but Ernie Ball are basically correct. Both the 25K and 250K are PASSIVE. This means they are essentially transparent providing you set them up correctly. The numbers relate to the in/out impedance of the pedal. The 250K is probably the less desirable option from a signal integrity p.o.v.. For example it has a relatively low input impedance (250K vs. 1meg of most pedals) and a high output impedance (250K vs. 10 – 100K of most pedals) which could lead to tone loss issues. The 25K on the other hand has a very good output impedance with the only problem being the input impedance. Placing an active pickup or transparent buffer in front of the 25K will change the input impedance to that of the buffer (which could be 10M for example) rendering it a much more desirable and potentially fully-transparent option – provided that it is buffered. With regards to the volume ‘sweep’ of the pedals from what I think I know both impedance options have a switch on them under the heel to alter this.

          • Awesome! Thanks, James. I always appreciate the technical info…I can be lacking in that department sometimes. Although this time, I was merely making a joke off of a very obscure Home Improvement reference. Lol

          • Eugh, I should have guessed by the ” 😉 ” . Still, 90’s American sitcoms are not one of my strongest areas! Glad that you appreciate it!

  13. Any tips for getting such a smooth sound out of your fuzz (other than it is a great pedal)?

    Love the Delays and Delays and Delays…oh and that little Dano pedal hiding in there, no worries I have the phaser and for the cost you tell me it isn’t as good as a Script 90.

  14. Zach & Chris–yep, that’s exactly it. I start them first, and then the volume pedal is in essence on/off. If I need to switch keys, then I do need to touch the iPod manually. But get an older one, stick some velcro on it and put it on your mic stand, and you’re set. 🙂

    Matt–lots of finger dynamics (really gentle playing). Also, don’t be afraid to make it bassier/middier than you originally think it should be, and use the neck pickup as much as possible. Actually, with fuzz, I use pickup switching a ton. Neck for the smooth leads, and then bridge to crunch it up.

    And you’re saying I said the Script 90 is better than the Dano? Or did auto-correct do something to the end of the comment there. hehe

  15. Thanks Karl. A few quick questions, having 2 other humbucker equipped guitars, why have a humbucker in the bridge of the G&L? Also, do you like the G&L over similiarly priced Fenders? Whenever I’m able to pick up a Strat again I’m interestedin G&L. Finally, (have I hit my limit in questions?) did you get rid of the DC Timeline or did I just overlook it? Thanks!

  16. Hey Karl,
    I’ve seen you write that you have used a Shure 58 to mic your amps.
    I’m trying to use one to mic a Blues Jr. Any tips on placement?

  17. Yeah I don’t know what happened there….I was trying to say I understand the use of the Dano Trem, I use the Phaser and for the money it is as good as any phaser I’ve used.

  18. Nice vid. I’m gonna work on mine now that I have time, and the new board. Also, I just paid for my custom Devi Ever fuzz. Can. Not. Wait. And I feel like you may be the only one who understands at this point in time. And that’s why I love you. 😉


  19. Nice video Karl! How much does your pedalboard weigh? It looks like you have a pretty slick music room from the pics!

  20. So I think I figured out how to arrange everything on my Pedaltrain Jr. Not quite as “luxurious” (:P) as yours, but:

    Turbo Tuner
    T1M Buffered Blend
    Home-made Fuzz
    Home-made MKC1 + boost mod
    Home-made Aeon OD
    Home-made Myton Blonde
    T1M Buffered Blend return
    T1M mini volume
    Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay (oh how I love it)
    T1M blendable ABY

    No, there’s no more room :p

    All I need now are two more levels, 6 more delays, 2 more drives and 14 more loopers/ midi controllers/ kitchen sinks and another 3 amps to run in true surround, and I’ll be getting close to Karl’s rig 😀

    I LOVE your rig.

  21. The Damage Control pedals seem to have disappeared…aside from the fact that they are…well…massive 😉 , any particular reason that they went? Is this a “permanent” (obviously no change is ever permanent on a pedal board) change?

    • I use it a both. I have both sides set up for tap, left (second) is quarters, right (first) is dotted eights.

      I have the modulation up on the left so it can be used for the space-filling pseudo-verb delay thing, but when the right is cascading into it, the sound is instant “Streets”.

      It’s a very warm, natural sounding pedal that blends dry signal with wet surprisingly well. Plus it has a very transparent buffer, so no need for extra buffery goodness at the end of the chain.

      You might not notice them right away, but each channel has a tiny tone knob that can really alter the analog vs digital tone. I like to run the right (dotted eighth) full treble, which is the most digital sound you can get, into the left (quarter) at about half-tone, which is nice and analog sounding. It’s really a good mix.

      Best thing about the Dual Tap is how easy everything is to set up. No presets, engineering degree or failing memory needed; just good, clean tone.

  22. Jonathan–In strats, I find that the middle pickup sounds almost exactly like the bridge pickup. So for that bridge single coil sound, I use the middle pickup, and then I’ve also got a humbucker when I need it. Saves me from having to switch guitars so much. Also, on all 3 of my guitars, which I should’ve mentioned in the original post, I have a coil tap. So all 3 can have the bridge humbucker split into a single coil. It’s not quite the same thing as having an actual single coil, but it’s pretty close. (And the Godin has a coil tap on both pickups.)

    On G&L’s, I think the ’80’s and ’90’s versions were much better than any Fender’s. They were boutique guitars. Around 2002 or so, when they started outsourcing to Asia for the Tribute and Legacy series, quality may have started to wane a little bit. They’re current USA models still sound good I think, but I’d look into their pre-2000 guitars.

    And yes, I did sell both DC Timeline’s. There’s a blind test I did a while back that’s on this site, showing the Strymon and the DC against each other, and they sounded almost exactly the same, with the Strymon of course having the larger feature set. So I kept that one. 🙂

    Chris–in general, the closer you place the mic to the center of the speaker, the more trebly it gets. And the more bassy it gets as you move towards the outer parts of the cone. Personally, I like it right in the middle of those two extremes, maybe leaning a little bit more towards the outer part. And then of course, adjust to taste depending on the sound of the board or your recording equipment.

    Matt–ah, got it! That’s awesome to hear. I love when those cheap pedals, like the old Dano’s, sound great!

    Naal–right on! Ya, I’m looking into buying a Devi Ever just to have on my board. I don’t need it, but I’d like to make that statement.

    Shawn–it’s fairly heavy, but not so much that I can’t lift it. Most of the weight is from the pedals themselves, as Brady at Brady cases convinced me to go with polypropelene which is really strong but also surprisingly light. That decision saved my life. haha And as far as the music room, it’s more like I have a pretty awesome wife…that’s our dining room. haha

    Mark–ya…sad day. hehe But somewhere on this site there is a demo I did of the Strymon versus the DC, and they sound almost exactly alike. And ya…that old SAD-1 just has never been touched by anything! Stoked you got one!

    Rhoy–I’ve only heard the Gold secondhand…I’ve never pitted the two against each other. But from what I’ve heard, I do like it!

    Justin–that sounds awesome!! I love all the homemade pedals. I need to get more into that!

  23. Sorry, those last two comments must’ve gotten caught in the spam folder. Fished ’em out! 🙂

    Justin–the Strymon Timeline sounds almost exactly the same, if not better. So I kept it over the DC ones, as it had the larger feature set.

    Michael–you’re not specifically talking to me, but just so you don’t feel left out…’Hey!’ 😉

    And for everyone, here’s the video and the post of the Strymon Timeline versus the Damage Control Timeline and why I chose the Strymon and sold the DC’s:

  24. Karl:

    Jonathan–In strats, I find that the middle pickup sounds almost exactly like the bridge pickup.

    I suspect that there is a large posse of Strat aficionados with torches and pitch forks heading your way right now because of this statement. I am really surprised to hear you say that! The middle position on my Strat is about the only position I don’t use. I really don’t like the way it sounds. I use 1,2,4,5 all the time for different things. (2,4 the most then 5) I may also have posse after me after this post… I’m probably weird though, I really don’t like humbuckers in strats. I used to have one in mine and I have played maybe 10-15 different fat strats throughout the years and I haven’t liked the sound of any of them.

  25. haha That’s true…them are fightin’ words! I should probably revise my statement to say that in strats where the bridge pickup is slanted I’ve heard a difference, and with a humbucker in the back you do pretty much lose the 4 position sound altogether. But I still don’t seem to notice a huge difference. And it’s not quite the same thing, but all 3 of my guitars have coil taps on the bridge humbucker, so I can get the bridge single coil sound if I like. 🙂 (I should’ve mentioned that in the first place…fixed.)

  26. Josh:


    Jonathan–In strats, I find that the middle pickup sounds almost exactly like the bridge pickup.

    The middle position on my Strat is about the only position I don’t use. I really don’t like the way it sounds. I use 1,2,4,5 all the time for different things.

    I’m the same way. Probably in the past 20 years or so that I’ve played strats I’ve used the middle p/u by itself maybe 3 or 4 times. Just never cared for it on it’s own and certainly don’t think it close to the bridge p/u. Maybe that has to do with the height I usually set it to? Dunno.

    • apparently, only you and Clapton (and a whole lot of other guitar greats)! 🙂

      and as a sample for those interested, the last solo was middle pup …

  27. Ok thanks for the mic’ing tip Karl. I’m going to have to get some extra hands involved so I can listen to the differences.

    rhoy – Thanks for the Clapton. Just the right groove to get me going this morning.

  28. Karl, what thickness is the polypropelene on your board? Also, dont you miss your Tim? I believe that words like “my world has changed” were used with a certain unhindered abandonment when you talked about that pedal…

    FWIW, I love my middle pickup when used with another one, but not on its own; save for my other strat with an SD lil’ 59 coil tapped; actually that might explain it…

  29. Thank you Rhoy and Daraithe for the justification of the middle pickup! 🙂

    And no worried, Chris!

    Oh, and the poly is double sided about an inch thick, maybe less. And the Holy Fire had more headroom than the Tim. I’ve bought and sold about 5 or 6 Tims over the years, so I’m sure my life will be changed again soon. 😉

  30. One of the worst decisions I’ve ever made was selling that guitar. I sold it a couple years back during a rough financial period. I definitely miss it. However, if I’d still had it, I never would’ve tried out the G&L, which I bonded with quicker than any guitar I’ve ever played. So..mixed bag as always when you’re a gear hoarder without the money to actually hoard it. 😉

  31. Karl:

    So..mixed bag as always when you’re a gear hoarder without the money to actually hoard it.

    I still prefer “Tone Hoarder”…
    It makes you sound more idealistic than materialistic. 🙂

  32. Gosh…what a great run-through.

    It’s pretty ridiculous how much this blog has influenced my playing and understanding of gear.

    Thanks for being a great resource Karl.

    (now, I’m off to therapy to deal with my impulses to sell off body organs to acquire pedals, amps, guitars, and LPB-1s…)

  33. Looks like my last comment didn’t go through, hopefully my first comment ever doesn’t wind up being a double post.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while Karl, but I had to come out of hiding to comment on (what I think is) the left hand acoustic in the background. Don’t remember seeing a post mention it at any point, so I’m curious what it is.

    And while I’m at it, thanks for writing such great posts all the time. I love reading the blog. It’s been a big help as I make the tone journey as far away as I can from my old Line 6 rig. My ears thank you; my wallet hates you.

  34. Hey, Luke! Thanks for the kind words!

    And good eyes, bro. That is a left-handed acoustic, and it’s my wife’s, as she plays left-handed. That’s her piano, too. I’m a lucky man. 🙂

  35. Karl, I’m looking into getting either a 1X12 or 2X12 cab, and I’m wondering whether you could address a couple questions I have:

    First, why did you ultimately go with the 2X12?
    Second, what are your thoughts on open-back vs. closed back cabs?

    In researching, I get the impression that your 65 Amps cab is a ported closed-back. Is that right?

    Thanks in advance!

  36. The 65 is a 2/3 closed back. And I went with the 2×12 just because it sounds bigger live. Normally I only mic one speaker, but it’s nice for me. haha The other reason is for two different flavors of speakers when recording, or if sound guys want to take more time with the guitars. 🙂

  37. Hope you don’t mind me commenting on old posts, but I noticed you listed your HC30 ch1 as modified to Spitfire specs. My main amp is a DC30, and I haven’t heard of anyone doing this before, but sounds interesting.

    Can you go into any of the details or tonal differences?

  38. Ya, no worries! The main difference between the original Lightning preamp that the DC30 has on channel 1, and the Spitfire preamp, is that the Lightning has interactive eq controls. The Spitfire has one tone knob, which I always found easier to get better tones out of. I also like where the mids ‘knee’ is on the Spitfire. The Lightning always sounded just a tad too rumbly for me, whereas the Spitfire seems to cut a bit more. Granted this is all through my speakers and with my guitar, so rig probably has a lot to do with preference. 🙂

  39. That’s cool that Phil did that for you. I feel like I would miss the interactive vox top-boost style controls myself, although I do love the single notched tone control on channel 2. I’ve never played through a Spitfire myself, so I’m sure my perspective could be changed with a little experience.

    What tube are you using for the EF86?

  40. I’m using a JJ. I’ve tried Tung-Sol and the original Matchless had, and I think the JJ fits well for my style. Haven’t tried vintage yet as they always seem to break on me. haha What are you using?

  41. Does JJ make a new EF86? I went the vintage route and found an old Mullard on ebay for $30. It was sort of a crap shoot, since there’s no real way to tell if the seller is reputable, but it was (relatively) cheap, so I went for it. It sounds pretty amazing, much smoother than the sovtek that was in it when I bought it (used), and I haven’t had any reliabilities issues with it in the last year. But I strictly play acoustic for my services, so my electric gear sits snugly in my studio.

    I use JJ’s for the power tubes, which I’ve always loved their EL84’s since I had my first AC15, and I surprisingly love EHX 12ax7’s in it in each slot. I even tried Tungsol reissues, Groove Tubes Mullard reisues (GT12ax7-M), and a vintage Mullard 12at7, but always like the EHX’s, which are fairly cheap tubes. They just had a saturation character and texture that really fit the amp. Hey, whatever works right?

    Are you using the dual 5v4’s in the rectifier or the 5ar4?

  42. Wow, very cool. I’ll have to re-check EH’s. I’m using JJ’s all over, after a recent test of Tung-Sol’s proved pretty bad. And JJ does make a new EF86. I used to do the vintage thing, but it seemed that a good 50% of them went bad, and I ended up not being able to afford that. Still, at one time I had a set of Telefunken power tubes that were just spectacular. I still dream of that day. haha

    And I’m using the 1 5AR4. 🙂

  43. Yeah, I didn’t like Tungsols very much in this amp, but love them in V1 of a Vox.

    I’d recommend the 5v4’s if you haven’t tried them yet and you like your sound more “syrupy”. They’re not made anymore, but I got a NOS pair from SND Tube Sales for $30 + ship that have worked very well for me.

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