I want to fatten up the tone of my stock 2203.

Matthews Guitars

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I really like the ability of any of my 1959s to deliver a fat, wall shaking tone by jumpering channels and mixing some of channel 2 in.

I"d like to get some of that same thump out of my 2203 which is currently in stock form. It sounds pretty thin but yet it is my go-to amp when I want higher gain.
Boosted with a Tube Screamer set to max clean boost, I've got all the gain I want. But it's too thin for my tastes. Oh, it'd probably sit well in a mix, but that's not a concern for me. This is my sit at home and have fun amp. I don't gig. I don't record. I wouldn't want to immortalize my bad playing in any event!

Sure, I could experiment with a few things and figure out something by trial and error, but I can also ask here and somebody might have a short simple answer for me instead, that gets me to the goal with a minimum of fuss and less time spent modding the amp.

So, if you have any mods you know of that will fatten up the 2203's bottom end while maintaining a reasonably tight response, I'd sure like to hear about it.
 

Matthews Guitars

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As of yet I've done nothing to it. It's dead stock. Or equivalent to dead stock. When I got it, it had a replacement OT with no cross brackets on it, and it was a 6550 amp running EL34s and not even biased right for them. I've corrected those sins, found a correct OT for it, mounted it with the proper brackets, and put 6550s back in and biased it properly. That enormously improved the amp.

I don't want less treble, I want more bass. Not necessarily a deeper cutoff frequency, but more output in the low region.
 

Vesperado

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Try my mod towards the end of the page?
 

Matthews Guitars

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Incidentally I want the changes made within the amp. Doing it outboard by any pedals is not desired. I may also elect to increase the amount of drive available within the 2203 as well but that's a secondary consideration. I know of several ways to do that.
 

Matthews Guitars

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The point of a 2203 is to be able to run at less than earsplitting levels. Even then, at higher master levels, it doesn't come close to the thump that the 1959s can deliver.
 

Matthews Guitars

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Are you familiar with a 1959 with the channels jumpered and the bass channel (2) turned up somewhat, to add bottom to the lead channel (1)?

That's what I want with the 2203. That kind of fat bottom end.
 

Matthews Guitars

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You name it, I've tried it. Bass...Mid....Treble order: 0,0,0 up to 10,10,10. Any settings you can think of. It sounds good, it sounds tight, it doesn't even sound like it's lacking bass UNLESS you compare it to a Superlead with some normal channel rolled in. THEN you get the huge difference. The Superlead can rattle every window in the house. It pushes some air. The 2203 doesn't get close to that.

And it's not the cabinets. Doesn't matter which 1960s I'm plugged into.
 

playloud

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You name it, I've tried it. Bass...Mid....Treble order: 0,0,0 up to 10,10,10. Any settings you can think of. It sounds good, it sounds tight, it doesn't even sound like it's lacking bass UNLESS you compare it to a Superlead with some normal channel rolled in. THEN you get the huge difference. The Superlead can rattle every window in the house. It pushes some air. The 2203 doesn't get close to that.

And it's not the cabinets. Doesn't matter which 1960s I'm plugged into.

I know what you mean. I jammed with a guy last week who brought along a Suhr-modded 2203 and the first thing that struck me was how tight the bottom end was. This was what stood out compared to stock 2203s I've played through in the past, which have always seemed noticeably thin in that department.

I'll be playing with him again on Friday. Could try to get a peek inside the chassis and see what was done?
 

Techdeth

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Incidentally I want the changes made within the amp. Doing it outboard by any pedals is not desired. I may also elect to increase the amount of drive available within the 2203 as well but that's a secondary consideration. I know of several ways to do that.
Use a boss eq 7 to add some lows
 

Gene Ballzz

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In my +50 year experience of playing these sorts of amps, your dilemma seems to simply be the nature of the some of the main differences between the amp models. The parallel tube stages of the 1959 produce a stronger signal, but with less gain compared to two tube stages cascaded into each other. The "thicker" low mids of the 4 holers have always been my preference over any of the cascaded models, at least for my own use. Not "more" low end, per se, but more pronounced and supported. With that said, a 2203 does a better job of it than a 2204, although the 2204 can often "kinda" give the illusion of it, due to the compression when cranked beyond what you can get away with on a 2203. Not to blaspheme, but have you even actually ever tried an SC20, or a really good attenuator (like a JohnH) to allow that 2203 to open up and breathe a little bit?
Hard To Put It Into Words, But Its There!
Gene
 

AlvisX

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Here is the quick ,on the road tone fix for those amps ...as Ive had zero complaints yet

Pull the brite cap ,it's too bright anyway
Pull the two 470pf (or whatever the value) peaker caps
Take one of those 470pf peak caps and put it where the brite cap was
Easy , effective and sounds great with stratocasters
 
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Matthews Guitars

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I don't use strats. Generally kind of hate them.... I'm a humbucker guy to the bone.

Not interested in using an EQ, certainly not a measly 7 bander, to try to band-aid this. I can install a Metro zero loss FX loop in the amp TODAY, and then use my Alesis DEQ-230 in the loop and call it done, but the point is to change the performance of the amp itself, with a straight cord being my entire signal chain. If I use an EQ, and I love to do that, it's a 31 bander. It allows precision tone shaping in a way that nothing else can match. I do plan to put the loop in the amp anyway, but not as a fix for this issue.

I do realize that there is filtering that happens every time you stack a gain stage. That no doubt causes some of the bass loss in the 2203, but one added gain stage shouldn't account for THAT much loss.

Playing with the bright cap isn't going to add missing bass. It may tame a too-bright top end, though.

I'm now looking at some cathode bypass capacitors in the schematic. Increasing their size should fatten the tone up.
 

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