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Guitar Vol. vs. Amp Vol.


AeroG33k

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I used to think it doesn't make a difference, but recently I noticed (if you followed my threat about microphonic tubes) that it makes a HUGE difference. I'm playing a Schecter CSH-1 through a gibson GA-30RVS, usually at practice volume. When I have the guitar volume all the way up and the amp way low, I get a very biting, brash, trebbly sound (good with distortion, crappy for clean). Vise versa I get a warmer smoother tone. This needs to be adjusted as volume (overall) increases, but it made me wonder what causes this effect and if/how other people use it.

Any experience with this?

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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I have nothing but solid-state here; I haven't experimented with it much recently but since I have a "better" solid-state (modeling) amp, I may have better results. Maybe.

 

I mostly just lose volume; so much that it would be difficult to use without also adjusting the amp to compensate.

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I ussually play with guitar volume all the way up and crank the crap out of my Marshall when I can, but I like trebbily guitars. Maybe I should experiment more ya?
I am known as Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gombigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andri Charton Haymoss Ivanovici Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser the Third Dont hesitate to call
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Personally I really love the sound I get by rolling back the volume on the guitar slightly and increasing the gain/vol on my amp. I keep the volume on the guitar at about 7 or 8 - it really loosens up the sound and warms things up. When I need a boost, I just roll the volume back up with my pinky and it's all there...
Go that way really fast.  If something gets in your way, turn.
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When you drop the volume of your guitar...you are cutting back on its output...therefore things appear to get "mellower".

The amp is just amplifying what the guitar sends it...though yes, the amp will add some of it's tone to the sound...but when you roll back the guitar signal...you give it less and less signal to work with.

 

I generally play/record with the guitar's volume/tone all the way up...and then I'll adjust things at the amp...and of course, a pinch more during mixdown.

But there are occasions where by rolling back the volume just a pinch...not much more than 1 notch...that I can find a certain tone that works better.

However, I find that once you roll back much past 2 or more...you start to pretty much choking the guitar's output too much...and it just gets too dull.

 

The first thing that will go when you roll back the guitars volume too much...is your harmonics and the mid-high transients that give you the string articulation and clarity.

And it's not exactly the same as sending the full signal from the guitar...and then adjusting for a meatier tone at the amp.

I find that by giving the amp the full frequency range from the guitarI can much better adjust the exact tonewhere turning down the guitar, is a more broad hand way of doing that. You get more dulling than tone control.

 

Of coursewhen you are playing liveits easier to just work small adjustments at the guitar (unless youre going through the PA and the soundman is real good).

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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My volume and tone controls on my guitars are useless. I like them wide open most of the time. While a good tube amp sounds better cranked, and I cannot always do that, I simple put up with the tone of my lower practice volumes on my amp.

I tried using a volume pedal instead of the controls on my guitar, but I found a certain loss of quality.

There are times when I roll back the volume on my guitar but only because I'm playing too loud for the music I'm playing over and don't want to mess with the volume control on my amp for that little bit of time. Other than that, the volume control stays wide open.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Bbach1:

While a good tube amp sounds better cranked, and I cannot always do that...

You owe it to yourself to get the 5W Epi Valve Junior Head!

For only a $100...it's a no-brainer. :D

 

You can get all kinds of wide-open tone...at practically bedroom levels!

 

I love these amps (got two)! :cool:

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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Originally posted by Bbach1:

My volume and tone controls on my guitars are useless. I like them wide open most of the time. While a good tube amp sounds better cranked, and I cannot always do that, I simple put up with the tone of my lower practice volumes on my amp.

I tried using a volume pedal instead of the controls on my guitar, but I found a certain loss of quality.

There are times when I roll back the volume on my guitar but only because I'm playing too loud for the music I'm playing over and don't want to mess with the volume control on my amp for that little bit of time. Other than that, the volume control stays wide open.

Either try your volume pedal in the FX loop or get a couple of TORRES treble bypass shunts from torres.com and put them across your pots - they stop the signal going muddy when you turn down. I have them on the Ibanez Studio & the FrankenTele.

 

G.

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Originally posted by ellwood:

I run my guitar volume 2/3 for rhythm and open for lead lines.

Basically how I do it now too. For very melow, bluesy stuff I turn the volume down even more, but the harmonics really do suffer, so it's all the way up for lead.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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Originally posted by miroslav:

Originally posted by Bbach1:

While a good tube amp sounds better cranked, and I cannot always do that...

You owe it to yourself to get the 5W Epi Valve Junior Head!

For only a $100...it's a no-brainer. :D

 

You can get all kinds of wide-open tone...at practically bedroom levels!

 

I love these amps (got two)! :cool:

I've heard about them. Maybe one day I'll actually give em a try. :thu:

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Originally posted by Geoff Byrne:

Originally posted by Bbach1:

My volume and tone controls on my guitars are useless. I like them wide open most of the time. While a good tube amp sounds better cranked, and I cannot always do that, I simple put up with the tone of my lower practice volumes on my amp.

I tried using a volume pedal instead of the controls on my guitar, but I found a certain loss of quality.

There are times when I roll back the volume on my guitar but only because I'm playing too loud for the music I'm playing over and don't want to mess with the volume control on my amp for that little bit of time. Other than that, the volume control stays wide open.

Either try your volume pedal in the FX loop or get a couple of TORRES treble bypass shunts from torres.com and put them across your pots - they stop the signal going muddy when you turn down. I have them on the Ibanez Studio & the FrankenTele.

 

G.

Good suggestions. Doubtful I'll mod the pots but might try the voume pedal in the fx loop. Thanks for the suggestion Geoff.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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Miroslav is right. Get the VJ head. Killer tone at practice levels. I leave mine at 1 o'clock and control the volume and tone from my Strat or Tele. Yeah, I like twang! Get a few different cabs and really enjoy yourself.
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doesn't sound good to the rest of my appartment block though ;-).

 

I do want a VJ very bad, but I don't have a cab and those are comparatively pricey. I'm not the do-it-yourself guy. Either...sure, there are combo's, but the head just seems so much more appealing to me. Especially since I could take it to practice and use someone else's cab...but that kind of defeats the purpose of having it at home for lower level/recording.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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The head is $100. Go to Musicians Friend and get a 1x8 or 1x10 clearence combo for $75 or less and just wire in a jack. It's not hard and if you pick up a clearence Behringer, it'll have a nice sounding speaker and the amp controls are on top, so you don't see them readily. If you just snip the wires you can leave the amp portion in place, or take the amp portion out and fill the space.
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Every electronic circuit has gain stages - guitar-cable-preamp-poweramp-speaker is quite a complex circuit.

 

Working our way backwards, a speaker has a sweet spot - it has a place somewhere in-between not moving at all and moving so much the cone is in danger of unseating itself from the gap in the magnet structure. Some speakers are more efficient (more air moved per available power) than others, and of-couse they have different frequency response from each other. Find where your speaker sounds best, and choose an appropriate power amplifier.

 

A tube power amp also will have a sweet spot somewhere between clean and distorted. IMO tube power amps are the key to (one great) guitar tone - match the power amp at the distortion level you want to the speaker and most of your job is done.

 

The preamp simply should bring the electrical level of the guitar to the level and impedance that the power amp needs, as well as providing variable level, tone controls, etc., If the preamp provides too much gain, the power amp will probably suffer from input distortion - that tizzy trebly sound (not always bad) and it will probably amplify the additional noise from the louder-than-necessary preamp.

 

Same thing with the guitar - too much output from the guitar will overdrive the front end of the preamp, not letting the power amp appropriately distort.

 

In my never-ending quest for tone (I've never found the ideal, and probably never will, and neither will Eric Johnson!), I have found that the power amp is most of the sound, and each preceding stage should be set a little lower than I initially try. If every circuit before the power amp is driving each subsequent stage too hard, the end result will probably be noisy and limited in an unfortunate way.

 

Like everything else about guitar tone, it's all subjective, and all tones are good!

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Originally posted by Junior 1:

The head is $100. Go to Musicians Friend and get a 1x8 or 1x10 clearence combo for $75 or less and just wire in a jack. It's not hard and if you pick up a clearence Behringer, it'll have a nice sounding speaker and the amp controls are on top, so you don't see them readily. If you just snip the wires you can leave the amp portion in place, or take the amp portion out and fill the space.

Well, my Gibson amp has a pair of very nice Vintage 30s which I'd love to use as a cab, but putting an extra input for a head in there would destroy the resale value, right? I'm pretty sure I'll keep it for a long time anyway, but I'd feel bad messing up it's all original state that it came in. And what if I have the need for some other amp or guitar and need to sell it? Somehow it's like cosmetic surgery, you know what I mean?

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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How about an attenuator ($100) to give you a master volume type control between the amp's output and speakers? Click this picture for a link...

m_mass-front.jpg

 

I found even the 1w Z Vex Nano was too loud when cranked for drive through a 2x12 cab. An attenuator is the best way to reduce volume whilst still being able open the amp to where it sounds best.

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The results you get from lowering the guitar's volume control(s) are dependent on the pots and the pickups you have. My Anderson w/Joe Bardens maintains its tone almost the entire length of the volume pot sweep. My hamer w/ Gibson Classic 57's is about the same. My G&L LEgacy w/ Kinmans loses some tone after hitting about 6 onthe volume pot.
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I thought about using an attenuador, but it's a combo, so that's not quite an option. For $100 I'd rather get a small practice amp for home use. That Z Vex nano looks really cool, but WOW more than $400?!?!

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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I use an attenuator with a combo, it's no big hassle, unless your amp is closed back? Just a matter of extending the speaker cable in the amp and getting another short speaker patch cable to go with it. This way, I can get my AC30 down to 'tv' levels, the only practical way I can use it at home.

 

I guess it depends whether you want to have your main sound be useable at any level (attenuator) or a different tone that's a more appropriate volume for smaller gigs and practice, like the Epi. Be aware though, 5w is pretty damn loud through a 2x12 when there are neighbours around!

 

Best of luck, Tea.

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I just had an idea...since the amp is stereo, and I'm pretty sure the amp's speakers get bipassed when connecting an extension speak cab, couldn't I just take a dummy 1/4" plug on one side of the speaker output to bring it down to one 12"? It probably won't do too much for volume reduction, but it's worth a shot. People are sleeping around here, so I'll try it tomorrow morning.

-Andy

 

 

"I know we all can't stay here forever so I want to write my words on the face of today...and they'll paint it"

 

-Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)

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