Compressor settings for slide guitar?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by 9fingers, Aug 18, 2016.


  1. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Any recommendations for setting compressor parameters for a singing, sustaining slide sound? (ratio, attack, threshold, release)
     
  2. Rex Anderson

    Rex Anderson Member

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    Ratio 4:1 or maybe higher. Sometimes you need higher ratio (limiting) to get a lot of sustain.

    Attack: no faster than 10mS. Let initial attack through.

    Release: 200 mS Watch gain reduction meters and set bounce to rhythm of music you're playing.

    Threshold: set so you have 6-10 dB of gain reduction or more if desired

    Make up gain: set so it sounds the same as in bypass

    These are ballpark settings. Start there and play with the settings to see what gets you where you want to be. Might want higher ratio, longer attack and release time etc.
     
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  3. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Thanks Rex!
    Info copied and saved.
     
  4. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Squash it and crank it!

    This is the place for comp as an obvious "effect", as opposed to say vocals where you're typically trying for a more "natural" sound.
     
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  5. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    Absolutely!
    Lowell George used to run 2 comps cranked for his killer slide tone.
     
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  6. TheRockDoc

    TheRockDoc Member

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    This was the thread I was hoping to find :)
    if one were playing a song live that uses a naturally hi-gain amp and wants to back off enough to get a part of the song with a singing clean slide sound, what would someone suggest for settings? Part of it is needing a gate to cover the gain, so backing off that gate chokes off most of the clean sound as well :(
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2016
  7. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    OP here. I just recently got an Origin Effects SlideRig. (2 studio quality compressors chained inside). Unbelievable, instant slide magic. I can do clean (really clean if I want) singing slide with it, or get Santana hornlike sustain, a whole new slide experience. If I use a good Plexi setting on my Mustang III amp with the SlideRig in front, I get true infinite sustain at reasonable volume with my Supro Dual Tone neck pickup and ceramic slide. It is amazing to slide up to a note and hold it for any length of time with no decay, spooky. (I mean whole minutes if I want).
    It is making me really pay attention to right hand muting and intonation.
    It can be subtle too. Worth every penny
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  8. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    screw the gate, turn that mess off!

    use your manual noise gate, i.e., the volume knob, to turn off the noise between licks.
     
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  9. mixsit

    mixsit Member

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    The thing that bugs me about compressors live' in general is -if it's after your volume control- typical, once you do get it set for the effect you want, you loose that at almost any change in level at the guitar.
     
  10. pomfret

    pomfret Member

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    If I play slide with a little gain or with humbuckers, there's no need for a compressor. Otherwise, a Diamond or Mooer Yellow comp (every knob at noon) makes everything easier and better sounding.
     
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  11. TheRockDoc

    TheRockDoc Member

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    Thanks. The settings that are helping me so far are using the compressor first into the amp, and using some delay on the back end.
     
  12. Neer

    Neer Member

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    I prefer to turn the amp up pretty loud and use my fingers and retain all the dynamics. Unless you've got a Pultec or a Distressor or something like that, it just kills the tone and dynamics.

    I don't use a volume pedal usually, but one of the things steel guitar players do is to use the volume pedal only to increase the volume at the tail of a note, acting almost like a manual compressor. Takes a lot of skill and practice, but does sound real nice. Contrary to popular opinion, most don't use it to fade in notes and chord like a guitar player would. Not usually, anyway.
     
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  13. mixwiz

    mixwiz Member

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    dyna comp with both knobs pointing at 3 oclock for me.
     
  14. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    Lots of different types of slide applications, depends on what I'm going for.

    For slide on an armpit guitar within rock, pop, and blues settings, my fave combo is strat on the much maligned ducktone position #2 into a Vox AC30 with a Hot Cake pedal, no compressor. I set the Hot Cake's gain around 1:30 or 2:00, where it just starts to get into faux fuzz territory and the bass spreads out a bit, and notes bloom easily. I do treble retention mods for the volume pots on my electric guitars, which is a factor in how gain-additive boxes 'clean up' (some hate it, I love it).

    The gain and compression from the Hot Cake is mostly kept in reserve at the volume pot of the instrument, and I live @ around 50-60% of the volume pot's capacity for general playing. At this setting, the low end from the Hot Cake becomes more articulate, and the dirt cleans up well, so I can get a clean-ish, stringy slide tone and attack with some sustain. Then when I want to step on the gas, I can dime the instrument's volume pot, and the Hot Cake's low end gets a bit bloated and pregnant; perfect for upper register playing where notes really want to bloom and sing, and then I can back down my volume pot when I need more articulation for lower register playing.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    I wind up playing lap steel through a PA at gigs quite a bit, no tube amp. This started off as a logistical necessity, but I'm perfectly fine with it by this point. Cracks me up when guys ask me how I get my tone, and one cat even said I sounded just like David Lindley, ha... hey, I'll take it.

    My Supro six string lap steel in D has an old DiMarzio humbucker, and this is the only humbucker in any of my guitars. I use this instrument for rock, blues, country, etc. Depends on which board I'm using as to the exact boxes, but the basic premise is the same:

    gtr. --> comp. --> light OD --> clean boost

    All set for light to moderate gain. The basic tone/gain level is set with the OD, and the other two boxes provide some yin & yang... and the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. Clean boost adds clarity and definition to the OD, and compression does the opposite, it adds sustain and a little squish and sag. It's the combination that really does the trick for me. On my main board, it's Xotic SP --> Timmy --> Xotic RC Booster. Again, I keep gain and sustain in reserve at the volume pot of the Supro, and just dime it as desired/necessary.

    I use my eight string Gold Tone lap steel for honky tonk and western swing slide sounds. I want a big loud clean tone with some sustain, but no dirt. So it's compressor and clean boost, but no OD.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    I've used a noise suppressor at most every gig and session I've done for the last twenty years or so. I acknowledge that some folks don't get on with them, but my tone, sustain, and transients are fine. No FOH or recording engineer has ever even commented on my use of such, probably because there was no reason for them to be aware that it was even there. The Charlie Christian-style pickup in my Gold Tone eight string lap steel sounds great, but can be noisy even without a lot of gain. There's a couple of bars I work where the wiring & neon beer signs simply won't allow use of that instrument without a little help, so it's either use some noise suppression or don't even bother bringing that instrument to those particular rooms, just leave it at home. Obviously I'd rather bring it if I need those sounds, hence use of a BOSS or ISP suppressor.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
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  15. jtreso

    jtreso Member

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    great post. I've been trying to get a slide sound I like. I've never really used compression, but plugged into one not long ago and liked the results with sustain, but didn't care for how it squeezed the tone a bit. I've been looking at SlideRig compact Deluxe from Origin Effects or the Cali76 both are $395 OUCH! I dropped my MK 4.25 clean boost behind my Imagine OD and Joyo Ultimate Drive. I really dig it. Thanks again for this post.
     
  16. Major Dude

    Major Dude Supporting Member

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  17. evanderbelt

    evanderbelt Supporting Member

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    I've always had a hard time with compressors, having tried a Dynacomp and the Diamond. I got the SlideRig CD thinking that if anything was going to do it for me that would be it as slide is all I really used them for. Even with the blend control, I couldn't find a setting that gave me more sustain but didn't kill my attack. I want something that lets the attack through but then holds the sustain out longer. Do I just need something with an attack control, like a std Cali76 or the Mad Professor, which has a "Sustain" mode?
     
  18. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    derek trucks has some of the best sustain ever,
    and uses nothing but his guitar and amp.

    try that!
     
  19. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    super reverb with all knobs on "10"? where do mere mortals like us get to do that?
     
  20. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    but that is the bar that has been set..

    i guess if you are relying on the compressor to give you the sustain in a quiet situation,
    the most pros seem to use the good ole Dynacomp (i've had two of these thru the years)

    now i roll with a Barber Tone Press, and that will give you all the sustain you want.
     

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