Photo 5

Now let’s go full sandwich, inserting midrange from the third amp between the bass and treble “bread.” Since the CJ11 sound as miked here is funky to begin with, I dialed in only a narrow EQ slice (Photo 5) for a retro-trashy transistor-radio tone. Ex. 5 solos the CJ11 briefly before the Carr and Marshall clone join in.

Which version is best? It depends on the context.

Clean meets mean. Just for contrast, let’s retrace our steps with a cleaner tone. Not entirely clean, though: As the soloed amps in Ex. 6 reveal, I’ve kept the Marshall clone a bit trashy in hopes that I can “distress” the clean sound without surrendering its clarity.

Same sequence as before: The three amps appear together without EQ in Ex. 7.

Ex. 8 is the Carr and Marshall clone only, with no EQ.

Ex. 9 removes the lows from the Carr and the highs from the Marshall clone. You hear each amp soloed, and then both together.

And finally, the deluxe amp sandwich in Ex. 10. As before, you hear the CJ11 first (stripped of both highs and lows), and then the three-amp blend.

But is it worth it? Say it with me, people: It depends on the context. (I envy my fellow PG columnists who have snappy tag lines. If I had one, that would be it. But sadly, “It depends on the context” lacks the simple power of Dirk’s “Keep on modding” or Pete’s “I wish you good tone.”)

The devil’s advocate thinks this technique is a waste of time. “A good guitar and a good amp are perfect on their own,” she says. “Besides, it’s usually a bad idea to put off musical decisions till the mix. Just choose a tone and commit to it, damn it!”

The devil’s advocate makes a strong case. But for better or worse, you’d never get these composite sounds from a single amp, and there are many classic examples of cool and distinctive tones wrung from multiple amps. So if you’re of an experimental bent, give this method a go!

Until next month … it depends on the context! (No, that totally doesn’t work.)