Hello Ive been struggling with my amp settings for quite a bit now. My amp happens to be a Roland cube 40 and I'm still intermediate at playing so I still don't have a processor or any other effect pedal. So my problem is that I dont get the long lasting smooth distortion tone. For example consider the solo of wither by Dream Theatre or Farewell Ballad by Zakk Wylde. Do I need to put the gain at its max (I usually get a rough sound with that)?

Could anyone suggest me good settings for the amp without the need for processor or any other effect pedal. Thanks

  • Sustain originates in the string and guitar construction itself, you mention an Epiphone. I have the same guitar and can tell you the sustain is not that great. All I can think of for you to get is some sort of e-bow device. Opinions differ on what makes sustain greater/shorter but novice/intermediate guitars aren't typically built for sustain.
    – Kyle
    Aug 15, 2016 at 10:10
  • Actually I think its not about the sustain coz' when my amp is in JC Clean it has a very long and good sustain but I dont find that when distorting it. Aug 15, 2016 at 10:16
  • In that case the distorted patch in the Cube may have a gate element to it cutting off any signal below a certain dB threshold.
    – Kyle
    Aug 15, 2016 at 10:41
  • So do I need to decrease gain and increase volume can you suggest me where the gain and volume should be set in that case? Aug 16, 2016 at 6:48
  • Yeah, set the gain at 0 and go from there. It's all a matter of personal taste and experimentation really, gain shouldn't generally be maxed out unless you're going for a ridiculous tone :D
    – Kyle
    Aug 16, 2016 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


Typically, increasing the gain will improve your sustain - and taking gain up so far it dramatically clips the input signal will act as a compressor and increase gain.

Petrucci also uses a dynamics processor and a range of very good valve amplifiers and effects...Some pictures from that site:

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These allow greater sustain and controlled feedback without excessive noise.

With your current guitar and amp you may just not be able to achieve the same tone.

Here's a logical structure for Petrucci's rig - this can also help you understand just how different your kit is from his:

enter image description here

  • My guitar seems to make noise at lower strings its just not thin and crisp. Cant I adjust my amp so that atleast I get a good tone? Or atleast close to many guitarists on youtube Aug 16, 2016 at 6:44
  • Once you find the guitar and amp that work for you, stick with it - all guitarists struggle to find 'their' tone. After 28-ish years gigging, I have finally found the amp that gives me the tone I like, and I have played everything under the sun. Some amps just won't do what you need.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Aug 16, 2016 at 9:56
  • Im just curious that are there some sounds that actually need processor and cannot be made without them? Aug 16, 2016 at 11:22
  • and maybe thats the reason why I dont get specific sounds? Aug 16, 2016 at 11:31
  • 1
    Of course there are many sounds that need processors, but get your guitar and amp combo right first.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Aug 16, 2016 at 12:17

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