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ZBOX for guitar? (Read 1968 times)
Matchstikman
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ZBOX for guitar?
10/23/11 at 00:57:48
 
I am posting here instead of contacting Decware directly in case someone else has another solution.  Currently, I use a Fender G-DEC junior for practicing and just having a good time.  It is a very nice practice amp; however, it is a transistor amp and it would be nice if it had a wee bit of a tube flavor.  It does model several different other amplifiers and it very good for what it does but again...a wee bit of tube edge is in order.  Just a touch.

I was wondering if such a thing as a ZBOX for guitar existed?
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Rivieraranch
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #1 - 10/23/11 at 01:02:35
 
They used to make a ZEN guitar amp, although I don't see it on their current amp page.
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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #2 - 10/23/11 at 01:42:23
 
Hey MM. You might look into the Damage Control line of pre-amp effects "pedals." These are well built using two 12AX7 tubes with a generous power supply. You can bypass all the pretty darned good (digital) effects and just have your signal running through the tube stage and into your amp. Sweetens the sound somewhat. I have the Liquid Blues Distortion and the Glass Nexus units, and they're very good in any way you use them, and heavy duty. Used these are possibly cheaper than a ZBox for guitar would be, and possibly exactly what you are looking for. I use them with Fender tube amps and they improve the tone, I bet that's even more pronounced with a solid state amp.

http://damagecontrolusa.com/products/liquid-blues/



http://damagecontrolusa.com/products/glass-nexus/


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« Last Edit: 10/23/11 at 01:56:56 by Lon »  

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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #3 - 10/23/11 at 01:57:37
 
Thanks for the suggestions.  I've never seen these pedals before.

I do have a Fender Blues Jr. which rocks the house when it comes to tube tone.  The thing about the Fender G-Dec are the built-in drum and bass tracks that are in the amp.  I can dial in any key at any tempo with several different types of background music.  I can't beat it when it comes to turn on and go.
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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #4 - 10/23/11 at 02:11:32
 
Cool.  I've never really felt the need to do that sort of thing so I don't have experience with that.

There are other "rack unit" type of tube pre-amps for guitars that are out there between 150 and 200 and more. That may be worth looking into.

Or maybe you can buy one of these and use your Fender amp for the bass and drums, and play along to that with the Epiphone--will the Fender crank out those backing tracks without a guitar plugged in? I have one of these, haven't used it for a while, but it's very purist like a Decware amp: it gives out what you put in. With most guitars it can be pretty bright. . because most guitars are pretty bright. There's no tone control on the amp. It's all on you and your guitar. Challenging little thing that can get plenty loud and crunchy if you're brave enough.



http://www.guitarcenter.com/Epiphone-Valve-Junior-Combo-Amp-480260-i1979277.gc?f...
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #5 - 10/23/11 at 02:43:44
 
Actually, the Fender will play the tracks without a guitar plugged in.  I actually don't need another amplifier.  I just want to alter or augment the one I already have.   The sound is actually very nice; however, after you play a tube amp you can feel the difference when you switch to a transistor and I sort of miss that feel.

The preamp sounds good.

Speaking of no tone controls, I always disconnect the tone controls on all of my guitars.  I want as little interference between the amp and the guitar.  Any extra tone either comes from my fingers or I get the amp or a pedal to create it.

The thing about the Fender G-DEC is being able to play with an entire band at a button.  I love that.  

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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #6 - 10/23/11 at 02:51:03
 
Well I know you don't need another amp, but the Valve Jr. might be a more cost-effective way to get the tube amp sound you want, with a bonafide single-ended tube amp that costs less than other options. It's really quite a mother for the money, and it's just what you are looking for "a straight wire with gain" for your guitar.

I used to play with bands (but not on guitar). I'm happy now NOT to play with one. I either play solo guitar or along to recordings. I know that what your doing is very good for learning though.  I'm bound and determined not to learn guitar. Just to play it.

Wow, I find almost all guitars too bright and I generally play with the neck pickup and with the tone way down. But then again the sound I'm most fond of is the sort of Charlie Christian to Kenny Burrell clean warm sound, or the Hendrix driven sound (with a special love for the Hendrix rythmn sound like on "Remember").
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« Last Edit: 10/23/11 at 02:56:09 by Lon »  

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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #7 - 10/23/11 at 05:47:36
 
I just read that the Damage Control pedals are discontinued.
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #8 - 10/23/11 at 05:55:40
 
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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #9 - 10/23/11 at 13:55:49
 
Yes, that's why I noted "used" prices. They were between 250 and 500 new.
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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #10 - 10/23/11 at 13:57:08
 
That Electro-Harmonix looks dinky to me. I don't like those little boxes and the tubes look vulnerable. The power supply is also likely wimpy.
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #11 - 10/23/11 at 19:05:32
 
The Electro-Harmonix box does look dinky but I'll see what it is like in person.  I think they have one at the Guitar Center.  I could go try it out before I shell out some cash.  I just want it for dinking around in the living room so I don't need anything state of the art but I do want it to work.  That Damage Control stuff looked promising.  I wonder why they are discontinued.

There's got to be other options available that aren't so steep.
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #12 - 10/23/11 at 19:12:47
 
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #13 - 10/23/11 at 19:35:29
 
One more:

http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/stompboxes/sfx11_power_gri/

Ideally, I want to get a B.B. King tone.  I have a Gibson SG and I can get all sort of very heavy, very ACDC tones out of it, no problem.  I have a Fender Strat and I can get various Hendrix/SRV tones through the Fender Blues Jr.  What I have is an Epiphone DOT that I had heavily modded with Duncan P-90 pickups in the rear and a Dimarzio Super Distortion in the bridge.  I can crank this guy and get Ted Nugent tone if I want but when I clean it up it misses that tube edge that B.B. King gets.  Most people can't hear what I mean but I can so for me that is all that counts.

To get that kind of practice thing I have with the Fender G-DEC will require and drum machine and maybe some kind of music thing together.  So, I don't want to go through that much of an effort to set up something like that.  The Fender G-DEC is a simple and quick solution.  
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #14 - 10/23/11 at 20:00:51
 
Finally this unit:

http://shop.grantfidelity.com/Tube-Processors/

Geez, this one looks like it gives the ZBOX a run for its money.  In fact, it answers what I first asked about the ZBOX.
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« Last Edit: 10/23/11 at 20:14:20 by Matchstikman »  
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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #15 - 10/23/11 at 20:51:54
 
I don't know, lots of possibilities I guess. That Grant Fidelity stuff you'd have to use adaptors or wire in some instrument cord connections. I'm sure you could or would do that. Still, in your shoes, I'd look for a Valve Jr. or a Blackheart combo to plug in to. using your Fender amp for the bass 'n drums bits. Simplest, most tube solution. Yeah, putting tubes in front of a solid state amp does improve. But to me the real "tube-iness" is in the amp itself. Same holds true for me in Audio.

I'm familiar with Epiphone Dots. I think you should get that sound and I guess you're missing the tube amp component. Be sure you play around with the midrange control on the Blues Jr.-- that might help you to dial in the sound. I think it took me a half a year to realize that on the Blues Jr. the mid control is very influential on the sound. I usually had more mid removed from the sound than it would seem that I needed.
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« Last Edit: 10/23/11 at 20:59:22 by Lon »  

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Donnie
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #16 - 10/23/11 at 21:59:58
 
Dave Lancaster who works for Decware builds and modifies guitar amps, A buddy of mine has one and just raves about it.
http://lancasteramps.blogspot.com/
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #17 - 10/24/11 at 01:31:06
 
Thanks, Donnie, but I don't want to modify anything.  That is just too much trouble and resale, you can forget it.  I want an out of the box solution.

Lon, check this out.  The Grant Fidelity unit already has the proper connections built in for whatever use you have for it.  Here is a guy demo-ing it with a SS guitar amp.  Although he is doing a heavy metal slant to it, the idea is the same.

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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #18 - 10/24/11 at 03:54:40
 
Okay. Cool.

Going to go plug into my Valve Jr. now. Smiley
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Matchstikman
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #19 - 10/25/11 at 04:32:50
 
I know that two amps of the same make can sound vastley different.  Lon, what does your Epiphone sound like?  Here is a guy testing it out and it sounds like crap but he isn't that much of a player.  I mean, B.B. King could probably make it sing but that is B.B.  This guy makes it sound cold and brittle.  Ouch!!

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Lon
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #20 - 10/25/11 at 04:42:41
 
After the amp is broken in and warmed up it sounds to me pretty much the way the guitar sounds. It sounds pretty neutral, which as I mentioned above means that they can often sound bright with modern guitars.

It's not going to sound like a boutique amp, or a vintage small amp, but I use mine in the bedroom sometimes with my Jazzmaster and Mahogany Strat, both of which are darker sounding guitars.

I hate listening to things on the laptop, but I listened to that. I confess that on this laptop that doesn't sound that awful, and is an okay representation of the amp. I don't think it sounds crappy.
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« Last Edit: 10/25/11 at 04:47:49 by Lon »  

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jdek
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Re: ZBOX for guitar?
Reply #21 - 10/29/11 at 07:39:09
 
dfh
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