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Low Input = Tone


The Real MC
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Most guitar amps have inputs labeled HIGH and LOW.  Most guitar players reach for the HIGH input because it is louder.  It makes sense to use the HIGH input because it doesn't load down the passive guitar pickups.

I was messing around with my "blueface" Vox Valvetronix and getting frustrated trying to tame the brittle high end without sacrificing the tone of the amp.  Tone control on the guitar, adjusting the EQ on the amp, changed to different alloy strings... nothing worked well enough.  I'm straight to the amp, zero pedals.

I decided to defy logic and try the LOW input... while the sound is marginally not as hot, the loading actually IMPROVED the tone of the guitar.  No more brittle high end, and the amp sounded BETTER.

I got a lot of good tones from the LOW input.  Not exactly the convention of the guitar world, but it worked.

Not every amp may yield good tone with their LOW input, but if you haven't tried it...

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+1 Real Mc',  I've had Fender tubers since the 70's (Twin, Hot Rod DeVille, Hot Rod Deluxe, and now Deluxe Tonemaster) almost all of my guitar playing life.  I always thought the 1 and 2 inputs were there just in case you wanted to run two guitars and never used the number 2.  Then a couple of years ago I read somewhere that acoustic electric guitars and guitars with internal mic's work best in the number 2 input.  Tried it and agree.  The number 2 has less volume/power than the number 1 on passive electric guitars singles and humbuckers, but it seems to work great with acoustic electrics and active pup guitars. I think it's worth experimenting with different guitars in the high and low input jacks. 😎

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Take care, Larryz
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I've been running the low input (if there is one) for decades.

I also lower my pickups down to reduce the output at the source. I've been using active EMG pickups since the 1980s so I have a very low noise floor to start with, might be a poor decision using P-90 or Jazzmaster single coils. 

 

Preamp distortion can be harsh, yet thin. This is true of both tube amps and solid state. 

If your guitar has good sustain and even response I think it sounds better if you can back off the front end.

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It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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The problem with playing an electric guitar is that you have so many choices and variables when you are searching for that particular sound that you can hear in your mind, but not yet from your amp's speaker.  For instance, if I'm using my Les Paul and my Electar amp, I have the volume, gain, bass, mid, and treble knobs on the amp to play around with, trying to get a great sound, and then trying to see if I can get a better sound.  And then I also have to contend with two volume and two tone knobs on my guitar, along with the pickup selector switch.  I have literally hundreds of sound variations that I have to listen to in order to find that mythical Holy Grail of tones that I am always searching for.  And if I add a pedal or two, now I have thousands of different sounds to explore in order to figure out what sounds good and what doesn't.  On the other hand, with an acoustic guitar, you pick it up and play, and that's pretty much it.  Sure, you can try different strings and such, but basically, you get one sound with an acoustic.

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I rock; therefore, I am.
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@ the Real MC, I found one of the places I read about the number 1 and number 2 inputs on my Fender Deluxe Tonemaster amp specs.  The same info applies to the Normal channel and to the Vibrato channel.  According to Fender "Input 1 produces full sensitivity, Input 2 has adjusted sensitivity (-6db) for slightly darker tone and cleaner response with high-gain instruments."  I don't know if this is a common thing with other brands but at least I now know why the number 2 input is a little different. 😎

 

@ Sharkman, +1 on all sorts of settings on the amp and guitar to play around with on electrics vs. an acoustic guitar.  When I switch guitars, I get to start all over on the amp and guitar but it's kind of fun!  Most of the time on my Gibson controls (i.e., 2 tones, 2 volumes and a 3way), I like to put the 3 way in the middle and adjust the volume and tone controls, on both pickups till I find the sweet spot.  Then I play it as though it's and acoustic guitar using picks and fingers to get different sounds.  I may increase the volume level on the amp if I switch from humbuckers to single coils, or plug in an acoustic electric.  I had to just stop using pedals so I would quit twisting those additional knobs LoL! 😎

 

 

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Take care, Larryz
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Low Input = Tone

Yep true enough. Both my amps have only one guitar input. On the Egnater Tweaker 15 watt head, I do not use the hot/normal switch on the hot setting, I always use the normal setting. On any amps that I have had that had 2 inputs, I always used the normal input not the #2 input, but I did use a Carl's Guitars volume box in the effects loop to mitigate the brights for a mellower tone.

 

I do not install the extra treble bleed capacitor across my volume pot which allows you to turn the volume down and reduce the trebs/peaks as you turn the pot down. With the treble bleed it would just reduce volume without mitigating the tone. The only capacitors I use on my guitars is the one from volume to tone pot.

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