I made this video recently going through some of the clean sounds that the Boss MG-10 amplifier can make. I’m playing through my original one that I got in ’89 and I’m also using a Steinberger Spirit guitar which I got in about 2001.
I’m not using any effects between the guitar and the amp but I recorded the sound with a Samson G-Track USB microphone which went straight into the computer.
The first thing to notice about the amp is that being a transistor amp it starts up very quickly; as soon as you switch it on, the sound is ready. There’s no warming up or “standby” like you get with a tube amp.
I started out with it set with the gain, volume and master volume all at “two” and the bass, middle, treble and presence all at “five” and as I mentioned in my introduction video if all the EQ controls are set to “zero” you get silence. It’s a feature of some other guitar amps as well; no tone = no sound. I’m not really sure why.
Now, back with the EQ all at “five”, the Steinberger Spirit has got H/S/H pickups, meaning a bridge humbucker, a single coil sized pickup in the middle, and a neck humbucker.
The bridge pickup is nice and bright and set with the amp like this, it just “sounds like a guitar” to me! A sort of “friendly sound”, and it just makes you want to sit and play without worrying about sounding like anybody else.
I could play like that for ages but the EQ is very powerful so if we take the presence and treble up to “ten” you get a much brighter sound. This is where the little four inch speakers really start to chime.
If I add in the middle pickup you can hear that “quack” that you tend to get with that combination on a guitar, and the bass control is interesting too; if we add more bass you can hear a bit more body but those four inch speakers don’t boom out with deep bass.
If we add more middle you can also hear a bit more body and we get another color to our tonal pallete, and it’s all still very musical. Switching over to the neck pickup it’s bringing out a nice jazzy sound, but there’s a tiny bit of breakup happening with the fatter frequencies that come out of the neck pickup and it’s not in a very musical way.
This is not an amp where you start with a nice clean sound and build distortion on top of that. If you start to turn the gain up and expect a bit of crunch it’s not going to happen; instead you actually get a horrible blasting sound, so you really have to “tame that gain”.
If you cut out the middle there’s something interesting going on; still usable and musical. Cut out the bass and it’s interesting…back to the bridge pickup..it’s different again.
Now if we take out the treble and put the middle full up, well it’s definitely different…but I’m not sure it’s actually much musical use!
So let’s get the treble back up to “five” and the bass back up to “five” and suddenly that middle control starts to make sense.
Hopefully that partly explains how the EQ controls work together on the amp, almost in the sense that if you move one, you should expect to move the others too to compensate.
Although I love amplifier modelling boxes, I was never very convinced by how those emulated EQ controls which had to be applied to all the different amp models really worked in comparison to a real life amplifier like this.
Check out the video for some actual playing and watch this space for overdriven sounds, coming soon!