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My new Ibanez sounds "dull" and lifeless ... why?


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Hi there.

I'm new to this forum but hope to be a constructive and helpful member.

I've recently replaced my old and battered Ibanez Radius with an Ibanez S470 (black) but I'm a little disappointed with the sound I'm getting from it, to my ears it's very dull and lifeless, the distortion I get is very raw and "high gain" and I'm looking for something "smoother" and more emotive.

My amp is a Roland 20X Cube and I use no additional effects or processing. My question is how can I improve the "quality" of my sound and achieve a more dynamic and expressive tone ? I bought the guitar online so never really had the chance to test it, from what I've read and heard on the web it's a good guitar so I'm thinking that the problem lies with the amp I'm using.

I've considered swapping the stock pickups but don't know what would be my best options I've read that seating Seymour Duncans into an Ibanez can be problematic so do I opt for Di Marzio ? I've also happy to consider a new amp, but again I don't know what to aim for - another digital modeller or perhaps a simpler valve amp with additional processing done via a separate unit ?

I attempt to play songs from bands like Marillion, Rush, Whitesnake, Satriani ... that sort of thing and that will give you the kind of sound I'm aiming for .. not too "metal" or "high gain".

Any advice will be gratefully received.

Thanks for reading.

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i'd say the problem is in your amp, but I'm a bass player, so I don't know that much about guitars etc. But yeah, definately replace your amp. How much would you be willing to spend on an amp?

There is a trading section on this site and there have been a few Marshall valve combos for sale which are probably perfect for your needs. Have a peek, always a bargain to be had.

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thanks ...

sorry should have said, I used to play through a Marshall MG50DFX but sold that on as it was too loud for the house ...

I tend to agree with what you guys have said and point the finger at the amp, maybe I should take my Ibanez down to R&B and see what sounds best with it ?

I want to get away from modelling amps and thought that a "small" basic valve amp (VOX / Marshall / Peavey)would be good, as long as it has reverb I'm happy :up:

Thanks for your replies ...

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You have to be really careful, just about any valve amp will be louder than that Marshall, especially if you want distortion/overdrive. Generally I'm very happy with the tones I get in the house with my Micro Cube which I assume isn't a million miles away from the Cube 20.

As I said, if you were happy with the other guitar but not the new one, then it points to the guitar. I'm not familiar with either of these, what are the main differences, ie pickups/scale/bod construction/trem unit etc?

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I would say the pickups are the weakest point in your setup. Also. I own a Roland Cube 15 as well as a Fender Super Champ XD (small valve combo with retail just over 200). I think it is more than possible to get good sounds out of Roland Cube amps although I don't think all the models of them are entirely equal.

Being 'dull' and 'lifeless' is a bit subjective but I would question maybe how your guitar is relating to your playing. Your string height, action and technique make a big difference. If I play a guitar that is slightly out of tune or the intonation is a bit off, it drives me up the wall and makes me feel like a bad player when it is not my fault.

The only way you can really know what your weakest point is, would be to repalce each part of your setup indivually.

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I like what your saying Mark, when I got the guitar the neck wasn't screwed down properly to the body, perhaps the intonation in out ? In fact I think the guitar might benefit from a pro set up. Could anyone recomend someone local who could do a pro set up on an Ibanez with a ZR trem ... ?

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hahahha BM's prices on some things are shocking although the chaps that work there are good people and are very helpful.

Think I'll take the guitar for a set up and get the PUP's swapped out, and then reevaluate the amp, thanks for the advice.

Cheers !

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