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"Boost" pedals...I don't get it...

Noah

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,422
I've been a working/gigging musician for over 20 years and( just can't understand boost pedals. I can't think of a single time when I've wanted to boost my guitar sound just to make it louder, unless it was to add overdrive and sustain for solos.
The boost pedals I've tried don't seem to do a good job of that ...only making things louder or just barely adding some gain, but not enough for fluid soloing.

I've tried dozens of overdrive pedals with a boost function and a few different independent boosts as well, and I just can't figure out a use for them. I usually end up selling them off or just turning the "boost" down all the way so I don't turn it on by accident. Can someone please explain how they use a boost? I must be doing something wrong since they are so popular. (i run a clean amp using ODs for gain and have never wanted to boost my normal rhythm sound...think it would make a crappy lead tone)
 
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Dubious

Member
Messages
2,145
personally i prefer to hit my pedals with a compressor - old script bottom dynacomp set to a slight volume boost / sustain to taste.

For "soloing" this adds a bit of grit but more importantly it adds sustain. I like that it just pushes a pedal into the next gear.
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,746
The art of the guitar volume knob is fading. Less refined players simply turn everything up on the guitar and pick and choose pedals for various textures. That's why we see "2nd or 3rd stage drive" and "always on tone sweeteners" and the "clean lead boost."

I think maturity is accompanied with simplicity.

I will temper that by saying I use a Rat into a Katana mini.
This tandem gives me an instant push to a preset level established as my solo boost volume. This becomes important when dealing with the, now prevalent, digital mixers. If I were to push volume past the point where it was gain checked by the FOH engineer, it would result in digital clipping and just sound awful. I would never know since I am using IEMs.

In reality, I usually switch on the Katana way before a solo/boost section and lower my guitar volume so I am free to walk off from my pedalboard to take a lead/solo break just by using guitar controls.
 
Messages
367
To me, the boost effect depends on how hard my amp is working. I set my amp up with some gain breakup so when I hit the front end with a volume boost it adds even more gain from the preamp tubes. I like this effect for lead runs and it's all the gain I need. I've stopped using an overdrive as I don't want more compression.
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
7,881
I can't think of a single time when I've wanted to boost my guitar sound just to make it louder, unless it was to add overdrive and sustain for solos.
The boost pedals I've tried don't seem to do a good job of that ...only making things louder or just barely adding some gain, but not enough for fluid soloing.
Sounds to me you just don't like clean(ish) solo or lead parts. That comes down to the type of music you play and if all your solos or louder parts have some grit, well there is nothing wrong with that.

My typical boost uses:
Quite simply, I already have overdrive on, everyone else is playing louder, I don't want MORE overdrive, just louder for a lead
Clean lead
Level balance for a quiet but not too quiet bit. There are parts I want to play really quietly, like for whatever reason, I do this more in bridge parts, palming the pick and gently strumming near the bridge for a different timbre, but not wanting the volume to drop TOO much.
 
Messages
6,837
The art of the guitar volume knob is fading. Less refined players simply turn everything up on the guitar and pick and choose pedals for various textures. That's why we see "2nd or 3rd stage drive" and "always on tone sweeteners" and the "clean lead boost."

I think maturity is accompanied with simplicity.

I will temper that by saying I use a Rat into a Katana mini.
This tandem gives me an instant push to a preset level established as my solo boost volume. This becomes important when dealing with the, now prevalent, digital mixers. If I were to push volume past the point where it was gain checked by the FOH engineer, it would result in digital clipping and just sound awful. I would never know since I am using IEMs.

In reality, I usually switch on the Katana way before a solo/boost section and lower my guitar volume so I am free to walk off from my pedalboard to take a lead/solo break just by using guitar controls.
Why are people who do things differently or use pedals instead of a volume knob less refined?

Stepping on a pedal set to a certain level can often be quicker than rolling your volume knob, not to mention some people like to color their tone for solos.

I use both methods for different applications. One isn't more refined than the other.
 

ChampReverb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,455
When I want to be louder I use my volume pedal.

When I want to vary the degree of breakup I'm getting I adjust my guitar volume control.

I have several overdrive pedals for variety but I tend to set them for pretty low gain.

If I really needed a boost pedal I could just roll the gain way back on one of the overdrives.

But, do what works best for you.

-bEn r.
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,746
Why are people who do things differently or use pedals instead of a volume knob less refined?
Apologies. Poor choice of words. My personal situation is that for several years I did just what I described, used all guitar knobs full up and adjusted tones with pedals. It was an epiphany when I started playing with more amp volume and lowering guitar volume and experimenting with more appropriate tone cap values for my playing.

I know there are many players that do not mess with guitar knobs... Many of those players are just starting out on the tone journey.
I also see many players looking for the "multi stage drive" answers that are either/or/both less experienced and not using guitar volume controls.

I didn't mean to presume a lack of skill was a cause for the situation, I made a wider generalization than I should have based on my own experience colored observation.

You must admit, if you have a volume knob on your guitar and don't use it, you are missing out on something. Like a window you never open.
 

Noah

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,422
Thanks guys for the comments. From reading what others have written, I guess I just use my 2nd OD for a boost and to add extra gain for solos...and some player don't need/want the extra gain/sustain. For chicken' picking parts I kick on a compressor and that gets me the sustain without the gain. I guess for my type of sound a boost just isn't the thing. And lol on the "refined" players thing. I do fiddle with my volume/tone knobs all night but also realize that much of what I'm doing gets lost when there's a loud 6-7 piece band on stage(we have pedal steel, violin, two guitars).
 

TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,292
The art of the guitar volume knob is fading. Less refined players simply turn everything up on the guitar and pick and choose pedals for various textures. That's why we see "2nd or 3rd stage drive" and "always on tone sweeteners" and the "clean lead boost."...
You can use the guitar's volume knob and use pedals for textures, too.

I use my guitar's volume & tone knobs constantly and still use an "always-on" sweetener. I use the sweetener (EP Booster at unity) because I love what it does to the overall sound and it also functions in place of a buffer, ie. helps maintain the highs lost from cord capacitance, etc.

As for boosters, it's not about getting more volume, for me. It's about getting a bit more gain and/or an EQ shape that helps a part (lead or rhythm) in the band mix (this is going into a dirty amp).

I've also found I love using boosters into a dirty Marshall and then rolling down the guitar's volume, some great sounds there.

It all just adds to the range of tones available: the range within the guitar's volume/tone knobs without boosters, plus those with a booster, etc.
 

PVH

Member
Messages
108
I use my Timmy as a boost mainly for tone shaping. My Carpe Diem already has a dedicated solo boost - I use the Timmy at unity gain to cut a little bottom end for solos. This allows me to have a little more "thump" in my rhythm sound but no mud when I take a lead break.
 

Salsg

Member
Messages
271
The art of the guitar volume knob is fading. Less refined players simply turn everything up on the guitar and pick and choose pedals for various textures.

In reality, I usually switch on the Katana way before a solo/boost section and lower my guitar volume so I am free to walk off from my pedalboard to take a lead/solo break just by using guitar controls.
Poorly chosen words here, definitely.

What you seem to forget is that maybe someone doesn't want to tone change you get from riding the volume knob. Maybe some just want the same exact tone just a little louder or a lot louder.

For some styles that method of volume control may work for others it may not, but it is very uncool to be so snobbish that your way is better. It isn't. I've seen guitarists use that method and it not work very well either
 

TheoDog

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
19,746
Poorly chosen words here, definitely.
You might double check my reply to @AParrotLooksAt4O and see if it tempers your outrage. There is certainly always a place in the gear community for boosts of all colors. In spite of my over-generalized comment, I use a Keeley Katana mini specifically for a clean boost.

Cheers.
 




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