Are you "less of a player" if you don't work the volume knob?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by jake5, May 23, 2011.

  1. jake5

    jake5 Supporting Member

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    So I read all these posts about playing low wattage amps and getting fabulous cleans by working the volume knob...then riding the volume up to get lead tones, etc...

    A lil' background on me...I'm a funk/blues/jam type of player...I play in an original band, but we also do covers--so for me, a big clean tone is always the most important thing out of an amp. Also, I'm the only guitarist in my band (guitar/bass/keys/drums)...so I cover all the guitar parts, and take about 70% of the solo's....I need to cover lots of tones in what we do from crystal clean, to chunky rhythm O/D type stuff, to somewhat heavy / hi-gain ish type of stuff (about the "heaviest" song we do is Warpigs).

    I've had SEVERAL amps over the last few years, but I always find myself working my way back to something that is in the 40 to 50 watt range and is very much Fendery in clean tones...

    So back to my topic...Am I less of a player b/c I basically jack my guitars volume knob to 10, and use that into the amp set clean to get the basis of my tone...then use pedals for varying levels of gain?

    I keep hearing how players do themselves an injustice by playing 50 watt amps at bar and club gigs...b/c they don't get true output tube distortion...and I get that, but w/ all the fine O/D pedals we have today...how much of an issue is this really?

    Again, back to my topic...Am I a lesser player b/c I can't quickly change my volume knob setting to go to a lead, while at the same time singing, while at the same time kicking in say a delay or chorus pedal?

    Are other guys playing in similar types of bands like mine using my theory? or are you guys doing the amp cranked, working the volume knob thing? I could see how that could work for me if I was simply playing lead guitar in a band...not singing too much, and not having to worry about covering all the rhythm parts.

    Also, to my ears...for some reason, the guitar just sounds better w/ the volume knob nearly all the way up...It sounds punchier, cleaner, fuller, etc to me...anyone else feel this way?

    I feel like my approach limits me to only using certain types of amps...maybe that's just how it is. Any thougts, suggestions, opinions, etc on how I may address this are welcomed.

    Holla,

    Jake
     
  2. Scott Auld

    Scott Auld Staff Member

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    I would not use the phrase "less of a player" because it is derogatory.

    I would say you are missing out on something.
     
  3. Yngtchie Blacksteen

    Yngtchie Blacksteen Member

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  4. jake5

    jake5 Supporting Member

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    Scott, please elaborate...what am I missing out on?
     
  5. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Silver Supporting Member

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    This is true of so many things.

    There are a lot of cool things that one hears about other guitarists using that may be a welcome additions to the toolbox/arsenal/palette.
     
  6. hubberjub

    hubberjub Silver Supporting Member

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    This is 100% correct, unless your guitar goes to 11.
     
  7. sgv

    sgv Member

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    I'm a volume-worker. I play through a 100 watt halfstack and attenuate the sound so I can run the amp cranked, yet still manageable. I'll attenuate the sound about 4db. Most of my rhythm playing is done with my guitar knob on 7, and I get a very chimey clean at 4 or 5. For the choruses and leads, the guitar is on 10.

    I'm playing original music, so I don't have the need to mimic several different sounds within one set. This is my sound, and I don't change it.

    The other guitar player in the band is very similar to your set up, with a bunch of pedals to manipulate the sound.

    I think it's just two different styles, there's no better or worse...just different approaches.
     
  8. guitarz1972

    guitarz1972 Member

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    I keep my volume full on 10 whenever I play except for when I'm doing swells or crescendos. I don't use very many pedals, but a Boost pedal for solos is one of them.
     
  9. aaronblues

    aaronblues Supporting Member

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    Depends. do you have a volume pedal??

    If you're getting all of your different gain tones from pedals, and if you're playing all the rhythm and lead, i would mess less with volume settings. Will surely be easier to mix live.

    i do a ton of volume messing, and in the past i did a ton of volume pedal messing. But i've always been a guitarist who "colors" the song, more then pumps out the riffs or chords. i've never been the main instrument of the groups i've played in, and when i was the guy playing leads, i would definitely be coming up in volume for those, then back down again....

    I've never liked Strats for roll-off tones, not really LP types either. I love many (but not all) Teles for this type of stuff. My #1 guitar i consider to be awesome for this stuff. But if i was playing just a Strat all nite, it would be all up most the time

    cheers!
     
  10. Tom Gross

    Tom Gross Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm not Scott (by any means), but I find that the volume knob allows one to alter the gain, attack, and other aspects on the fly during a song, solo, line, or even phrase. This can really help add dynamics and variation to one's sound as you play.
     
  11. DWB1960

    DWB1960 Senior Member

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    Just stop paying attention to these sorts of things and PLAY the damn guitar.
     
  12. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Gold Supporting Member

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    And there you have it..

    As long as you have the dynamics who cares how you get there.
     
  13. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

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    A lot of this can depend on style. With a blues band I used to ride the volume knob using a Dr Z Z28. I would play clean & then get some drive for lead tones. This technique typically makes your OD sound a bit louder than your clean sound. When I played in country bands I rode my volume knob some on the clean channel but never to transition between clean & overdrive. In a country setting I typically wanted my clean sound louder than my OD sound.
     
  14. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I don't know how you could play electric guitar and not use the volume knob. For me, it's much more about dialing in different levels of gain than it is about volume. Once your amp starts distorting, the volume doesn't change much, but the distortion level does, and I much prefer amp distortion to pedals. Dial the volume back for light crunch, up for heavy distortion.
     
  15. zztomato

    zztomato Supporting Member

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  16. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I do feel a bit crappy since i can't do gorgeous volume swells with my pinky controlling the vol knob while playing, but oh well. I do use the vol knobs tho, especially when in a middle position 2-pickup situation and I'm dialing in the tone to taste via pickup volume ratio/mix.

    edit: oh, i forgot - with my tweed amp and a tele, no pedals needed, i'll just crank the amp, then lower the tele's vol knob - when i want more juice, i roll the vol knob up and cya cleans, it's tweed roar time.

    huh. guess i don't suck THAT bad with vol control.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  17. riffraff7

    riffraff7 Member

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  18. mannish

    mannish Member

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    NO stupid question
     
  19. Alister

    Alister Member

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    Ever since I was about 8 years old, whenever someone told me I "must" do something, I would usually do the opposite. Now I'm 61, and it's still pretty much my modus operandi.

    But seriously, if it "works" for you, if it feels natural and helps you express yourself, then by all means. But for phuck's sake, don't do it because Greater Players Than Yourself make it into a commandment.
     
  20. evets618

    evets618 Senior Member

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    I love knobs.
    I love to play with them.
    Some of them are on my guitar.
     

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