by Liam Cain, 31st July 2018
Stevie Ray Vaughan played very loud with cranked Fender and sometimes Marshall amplifiers. To create his trademark midrange sound from the Strat, he used an Ibanez Tubescreamer. We will look at how you can get the SRV style tone at lower volume levels using stage gaining.
Unlike Stevie, we will use a clean amp as our base sound. Having a clean amp allows us to control the volume - ideal for the home guitarist. Next is the first overdrive pedal in your chain. Use a full spectrum overdrive, often called a transparent sounding pedal. It should boost the EQ range evenly with no pronounced midrange bump. Set it for a mild overdrive sound to replicate a slightly breaking up sounding amp. We now have the first stage of gain achieved. This base now requires the Tubescreamer to add the classic SRV midrange sound. Remind yourself how this sounds live with this clip of SRV from 1989.
Because of the volume, he played at, when he kicked in a Tubscreamer SRV was using it as a coloured boost. Therefore, the overdrive gain would be set very low, with the pedal level (volume) on maximum. For our purposes, use more gain. Adjust gain to taste and keep the level suitable for the neighbors.
If you want to use this set-up on stage, add an EQ pedal after the overdrives. You can boost the volume when you take a solo. You can see I set the drive levels on both pedals at 10 o'clock and the eq is flat on the boss pedal with level boosted for live playing.
The key to gain staging for the SRV style tone is to not set the gain on the first overdrive pedal with too much overdrive. The Tubescreamer pedal is used after the first pedal to add its midrange colour to the mix.
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