Compression pedals... What's the point?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by AtlMusicMan86, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. AtlMusicMan86

    AtlMusicMan86 Member

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    So I've been wrestling with the idea of owning a compression pedal. I'm very satisfied with my tone and have been acknowledged by many for it but most of the people I know have a compression pedal on their board and I don't. Am I missing something? What does it do exactly for your tone?
     
  2. pickleweed

    pickleweed Member

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    if you like your tone, then no, youre not missing anything.
     
  3. SG_Seth

    SG_Seth Member

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    Sustain. Can also fatten up single notes. I don't use one either and I consider my tone nice and fat with plenty of sustain.

    Country guys like them as well for chickin pickin
     
  4. theroan

    theroan Member

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    I thought I needed one to even out the volume of my strings for volume swells. I eventually sold it. Couldn't really hear much of difference and I was always trying to balance it with the volume of my boost pedal. Just not for me.
     
  5. AtlMusicMan86

    AtlMusicMan86 Member

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    Gotcha, thanks for the reply! I normally just use a BBE Sonic Stomp to get more note clarity and it works great. I just wanted to see what all the hype about them was.
     
  6. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    :agree

    Though I find that if I get interested in something, it usually nags me until I try it...

    I would say to avoid buy pedals to become happy with your tone in general as there is likely something fundamentally wrong if you don't like your base tone (guitar or amp issues). But pedals can add to the versatility. Like if I am playing some pickin' into a dirty amp, a compressor can help even out the notes, especially if they are intermixed with chords. I also use a comp when playing Jam.
     
  7. bobbyatomic

    bobbyatomic Member

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    I don't usually hear people say this, but for me I find compressors very useful for evening out the levels when doing fast licks, they're very good for shredder type stuff, can make runs sound incredibly fluid.
     
  8. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    This "hype" has been around since the 70's. :aok
    IMO, the hype that you may see has to do with folks that are really chatty because they are excited about a particular compressor model, not because of the actual effect that compression has on a guitar signal.
    Another thing to keep in mind that there were several models of guitar pedals that came out in the 70's and 80's that have their own distinct colour that they impart on the signal and those are considered the classic holy grails of guitar compressors. In a studio, racks of compressors will do the the job to even-out the levels for something to fit in the mix but those old 2-knob comp pedals were historically used for their not-too-subtle squish and sustain. Many guitarists didn't actual record with a compressor pedal but the hard squash you hear on the finished, mixed, mastered recording is something that guitarists want to emulate when playing the piece so the closest to getting that effect is via a pedal.
     
  9. spakuloid

    spakuloid Member

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    Compressor can be used to:

    1. Tighten up flubby low end on certain rigs

    2. Add a bit - or a lot - of sustain to notes depending on how they are set

    3. smooth out a fizzy or raspy high end (treble)

    4. tighten up a saggy feeling amp - making it more responsive to the pick attack

    5. even out signal levels when used first in a chain of multi pedal rigs (though lots of people like to use them after overdrives - like Trey from Phish).

    6. Squash your tone for that kind of effect typically abused by 80's session guys and some county players

    7. Used to add a bit of grit to an otherwise clean sound - almost like a treble boost - but more predictable

    8. Give you a violin tone when used with stacked overdrives

    9. paperweight

    I love compressors especially the cheaper ones like Boss and MXR. The more expensive ones like Keeley are too clean sounding for me. Analogman makes a great Orange Squeeze that I like.
     
  10. teleclem

    teleclem Member

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    They're great for swells too with a volume pedal.
     
  11. Gary Brennan

    Gary Brennan Old cavorting member Gold Supporting Member

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    Simulated sustain characteristics of cranked amp without overly cranked amp.

    gb
     
  12. Ed Reed

    Ed Reed Senior Member

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    They also help put pedal builder's kids through school.
     
  13. 10strings

    10strings Member

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    I love the sustain, the evening out of volumes, the added punch for palm muting and I love the added richer tone the "Diamond only" provides.
     
  14. pickleweed

    pickleweed Member

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    ..........well that didnt make any sense :huh
     
  15. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    First of all, I am a fan of both Gilmour and Knopfler and the solos you mention are out of this world. I think you read too much into what that guy was trying to say.

    Second of all, I don't think that the previous chap is calling out to say that those guitar tones are crap, although I am just waiting for someone on this thread to point out that your spelling is crap. Oh wait...I think I just did that. My bad. Just because someone likes their own tone despite not using Effect XYZ does not equate to them dumping on other people's tones.

    The message that I believe he was trying to get across is this: too many guitarists read this message board or take advice from other guitarists and come to some sort of conclusion that they are missing something simply because they aren't using it.
     
  16. strat56

    strat56 Supporting Member

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    The best thing to do is try one and see if you like it. I have one on all the time, A Barber Tone Press. I'd tried others and didn't like them. This one has a blend knob so you can mix as much or as little of the compressed tone in with the "dry" signal as you like.

    I hybrid pick and for me it helps to even out the volume of the "popped" strings with the picked ones not mention it does add a little girth to the tone.
     
  17. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Moderator de Emporio Staff Member

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    Dude....relax. The guy didn't say he wanted to sound like any of those artist...did he? He doesn't need to be a TGP Lemming, and buy something just because it's the Flavor of the Week.


    Now...to the OP's point, the right Compressor can really do a few things to your tone. I use mine to sustain Clean Chordal Passages, as a Boost, and to add some color to R&B and Country Music parts that my band plays. A compressor is just another Tool in the Tool Box.
     
  18. lumco

    lumco Most of the roads I travel are muddy Gold Supporting Member

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    This is interesting thread. I bought compressor after compressor thinking because I play country I had to have one. I didn't bond with them and I tried almost every brand-sold them all. I just use my boost or OD pedal and keep gain low and it seems to be the same thing, I am assumming that these pedals have some built in compression allready and that seems to work for me.
     
  19. spakuloid

    spakuloid Member

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    Any Andy Summers Police era tunes are going to have that classic compressed sound - I think he was using an MXR or the original Boss CS-1 with the treble switch - someone chime in here... Anyway I loved that tone as a kid and kind of got into it from there and now I use the CS-3 pretty much as an always on thing to level out my sound a bit but you'd never be able to tell that it was on for the most part. Just adds some tightness to my overall sound that I really like.
     
  20. Stratobuc

    Stratobuc Member

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    What they do is provide a means to control the dynamics of your sound. To me - that's not manipulating the "tone" but rather the volume. I suggest you borrow one and try it to see if might be useful to you. There is a huge difference in the sound of different brands and types of compressor pedals. I've owned many - and my favorite is the RAF Mirage.
     

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