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WingedOctopus
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2011 7:41 pm
Posts: 230
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:51 pm 
 

I recently purchased a Boss Katana Air and am using a (borrowed) Mitchell MS400. I am having trouble getting a tone that I am happy with, and I think part of the problem is that I am not exactly sure what settings to tweak. I'd like to find a modern black metal tone that sounds like the kind that Thuldcandra or Watain used on Sworn to the Dark. Or something like the tone that Simon Smith uses in his videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8gZgkTbqJ4)

The Katana Air has a companion app that has a lot of built in controls including boosts like tube-screamers and distortion effects. I believe that these are the same as the ones that are available in the Tone Studio desktop app. Here's what I'm using currently:

Brown channel
Gain: ~75%
Bass: ~75%
Mid: ~50%
Treble: ~75%
Boost: ~75% (Tube Screamer)
I also have the noise suppression switched on and turned all the way up.

Before you call me a complete idiot, I will say that those settings were eyeballed from Ola Englund's video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOgZ2rKmIY I am inclined to think that my combination of the channel, gain, and boost are not right, but since there are at least 3 variables there (not to mention the different boosts and channel settings), I'm having a hard time knowing what should go where.

With all of this said, are there any resources for a beginner to learn how to get a good tone with the equipment that I currently have? Do you have any advice for me? Did you laugh at how ridiculous my settings are?
Thanks for any help!

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Element_man
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:37 am
Posts: 901
Location: Vancouver, Canada
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:59 pm 
 

Well there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to guitar tone (everything from pick material, technique, string gauge, amplifier, pickups etc etc) so getting an exact replication of something can be tough. But you should still be able to get something that you like with your stuff.

The first thing I would do is set the mids. Guitars are a mid-range instrument and the "mid" knob is like the nose of your tone--everything else is structured around it. So dial in a midrange with the amount of snarl/attack that you're into. Add treble for more brightness/harshness. Going overboard can make things fizzy. Experiment and add to taste. Unless your amp is extremely bright to begin with, I would personally keep the bass setting on the lower side. Low-end might sound cool when playing on your own but in a full band situation, those low frequencies are just gonna sound like mud and will likely get completely EQ'd out of existence on a record. Give yourself just enough to get a satisfying "omph" when doing low palm muted notes, but in general less is more.

The "gain" knob can be tricky. The more saturated your gain, the more compressed your tone will be. You often need less gain than you think. People often use higher gain to cover up poor technique as it can mask inconsistencies in picking and increase sustain. My advice is to turn the gain all the way down and slowly add it as you play a riff and listen critically to the sound. Play, listen, adjust, repeat. Most amps have a "sweet spot" where the saturation of the amp meets your playing. If you start feeling frustrated or like you're getting nowhere, take a break and give your ears a quick rest.

As for Tube Screamers and over Overdrive boosts, my personal favourite use for these is to keep the gain at zero but push the output level to max. This will add a clean push to your amp's tone, making it sound most metallic but with less of that squishy, compressed amp saturation. It will also suck out a lot of the flabby low end that comes with cranking up a tube amp. Your Katana might not have this issue, of course. Use the "tone" knob of the tube screamer to taste--higher values = brighter, lower will make it darker. I only add a bit of gain for a lead boost--to add a little extra saturation+volume to a lead or a solo section.

Give this a try and see how it works. remember--the guitar is a mid-range instrument so I think it's always best to start there. That doesn't mean the mids need to be higher than everything else, but I firmly believe that a great guitar tone starts with a dialed-in midrange.
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Ilwhyan
Metel fraek

Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:41 pm
Posts: 7947
Location: Lifeless shadows
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:53 am 
 

I have no idea about how to dial in a Boss Katana, especially with that guitar. With a high-gain Marshall, an Ibanez Tube Screamer, and a guitar with two hot humbuckers, I'd try something like this:
- Bass 5
- Mid 7
- Treble 6
- Presence 6
- Master 4, minimum
Tube Screamer:
- Drive 0
- Level 10
- Tone 6

Depending on how the mids sound, you could try to shape it more by trying different positions for the amp EQ mid control, and the Tube Screamer tone control. The Watain tone sounds like it has a certain brightness in upper mids, but also a dark, full lower mid range. That combination can be hard to achieve from a single guitar track without post-processing. Clean boosting the guitar into a tube preamp with an EQ pedal, and boosting around 100-250Hz, as well as 2k-4kHz, could do it, but it never works like magic because of harmonics and all that. Cutting too much from, say, 500Hz, might end up gimping the upper mid harmonics that you want that yourr preamp would otherwise generate. It's always a little complex.

Anyway, it depends quite a lot on your guitar pickups. If I had to recommend a guitar for that kind of tone, it would be an Ltd EC-1000 with EMGs.
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Guitarist/vocalist in Illusions Dead - death/black metal
Vocalist in Gloaming - vile, crawling death/doom metal

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