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Compressor pedals

p81

Member
Messages
587
I'm a newbie so take it easy on me...lol

Are compressor pedals worth buying? I see people say they only make a subtle difference. Do you get much difference in tone or is it mainly just volume control?

I'm big into playing reggae rhythm and I like guitar fills of many different genres so is this a quality pedal?

What are the best compressor pedals out there?
 

charley

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,536
A compressor is a wonderful tool to have. It can be as subtle as you want it to be. I find that subtle compression really brings my tone into focus, similar to a good EQ pedal. If you use compression and an EQ pedal, you can really control the nuances of your tone, and always dial your tone in to fir whatever room you are playing in.

If you are mainly an at home player, who doesn't play with others or record, a comp may not be necessary. General amp EQ should work fine for that.
 
Messages
500
there are many kinds of compressor pedals of varying levels of function & quality. if you are playing reggae rhythm mostly, I would assume you're playing mostly clean. I would recommend a compressor that gives some clean sustain, if you're going to dabble. do you live near any musical instrument stores where you could try out some of their stock? you can pay up to a f#<k-ton of $$ ($500 or so) on the creme-de-la-creme of compressor pedals (i.e. the Origin Effects Cali76-TX large box - I currently have their Cali76 compact among a few other comps, and it's pretty magical as it is), but over the years I've had decent results from less expensive models. I've used a Marshall ED-1 that I thought was great, I've seen them used for like $40-45, I had a Maxon CP-101 for many years, got that off Craigslist for $80, very musical, not at all noisy...many well-known pros (Nels Kline, for one) simply use the Boss CS-2 and find no need to get anything more elaborate for their purposes...I'd say try a few out in person, if you can. clean rhythm playing is probably the most likely kind of electric guitar playing that can benefit from some compression. is it necessary? probably not if you already like the sounds you're getting from your setup. but if you want more sustain, more even levels, etc., then that's how you get it.
 

LaceSensor1

Senior Member
Messages
3,429
yes.

A compressor can do many things. My favorite is with proper release time you can get a bouncy/funky feel to your percussive playing.

Another common use is for chikin' pickin'....in this case the compressor is really squashing the transients into submission yielding a more even volume across all strings and fingers.

Another use is for clean sustain. If you really wanted your clean solo to sing and sustain note holds.
 

p81

Member
Messages
587
there are many kinds of compressor pedals of varying levels of function & quality. if you are playing reggae rhythm mostly, I would assume you're playing mostly clean. I would recommend a compressor that gives some clean sustain, if you're going to dabble. do you live near any musical instrument stores where you could try out some of their stock? you can pay up to a f#<k-ton of $$ ($500 or so) on the creme-de-la-creme of compressor pedals (i.e. the Origin Effects Cali76-TX large box - I currently have their Cali76 compact among a few other comps, and it's pretty magical as it is), but over the years I've had decent results from less expensive models. I've used a Marshall ED-1 that I thought was great, I've seen them used for like $40-45, I had a Maxon CP-101 for many years, got that off Craigslist for $80, very musical, not at all noisy...many well-known pros (Nels Kline, for one) simply use the Boss CS-2 and find no need to get anything more elaborate for their purposes...I'd say try a few out in person, if you can. clean rhythm playing is probably the most likely kind of electric guitar playing that can benefit from some compression. is it necessary? probably not if you already like the sounds you're getting from your setup. but if you want more sustain, more even levels, etc., then that's how you get it.
Thanks for your response. Yeah, I live right near a guitar shop where I buy my gear. I may try it out in person. I was looking at the Boss CS-3. I've heard that compressors can give you a more nice amplified percussive sound when dampening your strings.
 

p81

Member
Messages
587
A compressor is a wonderful tool to have. It can be as subtle as you want it to be. I find that subtle compression really brings my tone into focus, similar to a good EQ pedal. If you use compression and an EQ pedal, you can really control the nuances of your tone, and always dial your tone in to fir whatever room you are playing in.

If you are mainly an at home player, who doesn't play with others or record, a comp may not be necessary. General amp EQ should work fine for that.
Thanks. As a newbie guitarist, I love the tone I get from a wah pedal. I was just seeing if I can get another pedal where I can get such a difference in my tone. I've been told that a compressor will enhance/amplify a very percussive reggae rhythm down stroke.
 

rschultz13

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,598
Maybe it's the flavor of day, but I'm really into multi band compressors lately. Baggs Session acoustic DI and the Boss CP-1X are on my boards, love them so far.
 

Memphistokid

Member
Messages
837
I use the Wampler Ego with single coils. I've found good compressors tend to be subtle and may not translate to "outstanding demos" per se but they are a valuable tool when playing....especially in a live setting. It definitely helped faster more difficult lead runs and rythmn passages feel more natural and fluid. At least ime.....
 

weyllandin

Member
Messages
827
So here's the thing... If this whole world of guitars and effects and band playing etc. is really new to you, you probably won't get much out of a compressor. I bought a CS-3 a few years ago and I was all like wtf is this s#!t

Compressors really have a more subtle impact on your tone, but you will have a hard time hearing what exactly it does until you have understood attack transients and the various parameters of a compressor, or at least have a remote idea of what a comp does.

I suggest watching a few videos on comps first, so you get the idea. JustNick does an excellent job on explaining those things in his youtube channel. Check out his Keeley Compressor Pro demo as well as his 'do I need a compressor' video.

All the best!
 

charley

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,536
Care to elaborate on this please.
Sure. What I mean by this is that a compressor is kind of like an additional eq. Obviously, you can really squash your sound if you want, but in general, I find compression most useful in a band mix. It helps keep your guitar tone separate from the bass, drums, etc. it helps avoid muddiness in a full band mix, and lets your guitar tone come forward in the mix. Unless you want the super squish at home, or are going for a specialized sound (Lowell George or Trey Anastasio, for example).

Now, I'm not saying it is wrong to use a comp if you aren't playing in a band or recording, it just might not be necessary unless you are looking for a more specialized sound
 

Pablomago

Member
Messages
6,198
Personally, I think a Boss CS-3 is a bad choice, but other people seem to like them. I use an old Dyna-Comp or a BBE Bench Press.
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,704
There are many styles and types of comp, some are obvious in your face effects, others are more transparent dynamics processors. Almost as many different flavors these days as there are TS varieties.

You've picked a very deep subject to get going on as a noob. Best thing you could probably do is watch as many demo videos as you can, read as much as you can about types of compressors then try to find one that will fit in for what your trying to accomplish.

Might start here.
http://www.ovnilab.com/faq.shtml
 

Agitator

Member
Messages
2,473
I've played reggae guitar for a long time using a Boss CS-2 compressor. Presumably the current CS-3 would cover a lot of the same ground.

My primary usage of it is for the muted-picking style you hear doubling the bass on a lot of reggae records. Helps keep the level consistent when switching between rhythm and the single-note picking, and helps keep the individual notes a little more consistent when I'm sloppy.

That may not apply to you if you play "strictly rhythm" (ha), but it still might come in handy to even out the volume level when you want to throw in those little countryesque licks that are common in reggae rhythm guitar playing.

The Boss compressors are not particularly popular around here, but I've always found that mine gave me exactly what I needed. So much so that I picked up a second CS-2 (as a spare) in trade for a Pedaltrain One I wasn't using.
 

Felixun1

Member
Messages
778
I have one of the old tried and true Keeley two knob compressors, and it's pretty much always on, unless I'm using a fuzz. (I find the compressor kind of squashes the fuzz sound, defeats the purpose). I play the neck pickup on my strat a majority of the time, and I really love what the keeley adds to that combination, makes the tone more focused and adds a little 'greasiness" to the sound, not to mention sustain. I also like what it does with my OD pedals.
 






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