Built in Modulation FX in a Digital Amp vs. Real Pedals into a Valve Amp

Built in Modulation FX in a Digital Amp vs. Real Pedals into a Valve Amp

When you start searching for the ultimate tone, one question that comes up regularly with guitar players is the question on built in effects being worth it, or if its best to stick to the good old fashioned stomp boxes.

In this article and video we will explore that in a little more depth as we shoot out the built in effects of the Blackstar Silverline, vs some real pedals in the loop of the Blackstar Studio 10 6L6.

Let’s focus on Modulation. There are 4 main types of modulation in the Blackstar Silverline:

• Phaser
• Flanger
• Chorus
• Tremelo

Most guitar players will typically place modulation effects in the effects loop of the amplifier, of course this is not set in stone, it’s all down to personal preference, but this is where most guitar players will use these effects. This is because the effects loop sits after the preamp of the amplifier, meaning your modulation effects retain their full characteristics and are unaffected by the preamp EQ and distortion.

In the Silverline, the amp acts as if the effects are already at this stage of the circuit.

In the video both amps are set clean with the tones matched as close as possible.

Built in Effects

Having built in effects is a great way to get started with effects. If you are new to the world of effects and want to try out a few things, this gives you a platform to do so. It gives you access to a bunch of tones that you don’t have to spend any additional money to get into.

It also means you can have a guitar amp with a bunch of tones ready to go without needing to carry any extra gear.

With a digital amp like the Silverline, you also have an unlimited amount of amp tones available to pair with your effects. You may want an American voiced chorus before switching into a British voiced overdriven Phaser tone. You can do this all from one amp.

The downside to built in effects is that there is only so far you can tweak them, based on the effect parameters. In most applications this isn’t a problem, but if you’re a tone tweaker, you may feel limited by the parameters on offer here.

Real Pedals into a Valve Amp

If you want to go down the road of using real pedals with a valve amp, you first need to dial in your core amp tone. With something like the Studio 10 6L6, it doesn’t have a range of voices and responses available like the digital Silverline, so you must first commit to a solid tone that you want to build on.

Once you’ve done that, you can then experiment with different types of pedals in the loop. This also means you can move the order of the effects around, stack multiple modulations and really dig deep with your tweaking.

It also means you can swap things out any point for other variations of the same pedal.

The downside to this method is it requires a little more trial and error to find the perfect match. You have to spend some time working out which pedals work best with your tone and which order to place them in. If you love constantly evolving your tone, this method will suit you.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, Guitar.com and more.

He works with mgrmusic.com to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, mgrmusic.com has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.