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What Is A Guitar Preamp & Why Would You Have One?

Published 18 Sep 2020

Welcome to the show. This week Daniel and I are discussing guitar preamps: the kind of thing you’d find as the first amplification stages in your guitar amp, or indeed as a separate box in pedal or rack format.
Mick here: I‘ve been a long-time fan of Kingsley Amplifiers’ excellent valve pedal preamps; in fact I used to use them as the basis for my personal rig. I’m returning to that world with a recent acquisition of a Mesa/Boogie 50:50 stereo power amp for a bit of fun… which prompted Dan and I to ask a few questions about the benefits of this kind of rig.
We discuss pedals that call themselves preamps before explaining why that matters and how you might approach using them. It might sound kinda' dull, but hey, we’re nerds and we love tooooaaaaaan, man. Ha!

Questions arising…
Q: Yeah, but if you just set the Gladio/Benson/Broadcast differently, they'd do the same job as the Kingley?
A: No they won't. They don't have the output, presence or EQ of the dedicated preamps in any settings

Q: It all got quieter when you stepped on the Dimension C – out of phase?
A: In phase we think… but maybe can't handle the level from the preamps.

Q: Why no rack preamps?
A: All in good time… we'll get there down the line

Q: Ohmergahhhd, why did you use silly guitar pedals when we could have heard that awesome Soldano preamp instead?
A: Because this video isn't about the Soldano.

Enjoy the episode!

Pedals & stuff in this episode…

• TheGigRig Three2One

• Keeley D&M Drive
UK & Europe:

• Cornerstone Gladio

• Mythos Argo
UK & Europe:

• Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe
UK & Europe:

• Supro Tremolo
UK & Europe:

• Jam Pedals Ripply Fall
UK & Europe:

• Boss DC-2W Waza Craft Dimension C
UK & Europe:

• Source Audio Collider Delay & Reverb
UK & Europe:

• Kingsley Maiden

• Kingsley Constable

• Benson Preamp
UK & Europe:

• Hudson Broadcast
UK & Europe:

• The GigRig QuarterMaster QMX-4
UK & Europe:

* Why do we have preferred retailer links? Find out here:

Interesting bits and go-to sections…
- Intro playing: 00:00
- What are we doing today? 02:55
- What is a preamp? 03:45
- Line level? 04:35
- Soldano 30: main input vs FX loop return: 05:25
- Why an FX loop is useful: 06:50
- D&M Drive: front end vs loop return: 07:52
- Preamp or OD pedal? Gladio: 11:45
- Let’s add a Kingsley preamp: 14:55
- Preamp or OD pedal? Benson Pre: 18:56
- Preamp or OD pedal?Hudson Broadcast: 21:58
- Output impedance?: 25:35
- Line level & instrument level?:27:00
- Why have a preamp pedal at all?: 29:00
- Stereo power amp – Boogie: 32:00
- Why a power amp?: 33:28
- Clean tones?: 35:15
- And overdrive: 38:40
- Closing thoughts: 42:20

Guitars in this episode:
• Fender American Vintage ’62 Stratocaster – Mick’s video at
• 1965 Fender Telecaster - no video yet
• Gibson Custom True Historic ’57 Les Paul Goldtop, Murphy Aged

Amps in this episode
• Soldano SLO-30 and Zilla 112 / Warehouse WGS12L
• Mesa Boogie Fifty/Fifty Stereo Power Amplifier with Zilla 112 / WGS12L and Two-Rock 112 / WGS12L

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