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Crunch Rhythm vs Lead Volume on Guitar

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Motterpaul, May 19, 2011.

  1. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Played a gig last night. I have a 93 les Paul and a Marshall DSL 401.

    The first time I put on the OD channel the soundman assumed I had some kind of Mosfet fuzz tone. No. In fact, I had the gain set at only about 11:00, treble at 10:00, mids and bass at 3:00. I was on OD-1, not OD-2.

    Why would this sound scratchy/fuzzy like a fuzztone? I switched over to my PRS and it was better.

    But that was just the first frustration. At the first break people were saying they couldn't hear me, including my leads. We had a soundman and I was miked. he had a set list with who did solos, I assumed he was following it but I don't know.

    Looking back, I should have just turned up more (I did turn up some when I heard that) - but I still have two problems -

    1. Why would a stock 93 LP standard through a JCM 2000 DSL 401 sound fuzzy if you are not overdriving the gain or treble?

    2. When playing a crunch rhythm (not a clean sound) but then having to play a lead - How most of you lead players get the volume boost you need for leads?

    The hard part with question number 2 is that any amp already on an even a lite OD setting can only give you a limited amount of additional headroom when switching from lite OD-1 to heavier OD-2, because the preamp is already close to saturation anyway. I did what the manual said - turned down the gain setting so you have a bigger difference between OD-1 and OD-2 but it still was not enough difference.

    How many of you use your guitar volume knob to lower for rhythm and then boost for leads, or maybe a volume pedal? I don't really want to go with an OD Pedal but I might, but even OD pedals have limited boost ability once your preamp is already in gain mode.
     
  2. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    I set up my amp and soundcheck with guitar volume rolled down to around 6 or 7. I set my amp master so I can barely hear myself underneath the singer. Soundman should set level so FOH guitar is audible but underneath singer. With everything balanced, I have enough juice to cut when I turn it up for a solo.
     
    Riffmaster227 likes this.
  3. tone4days

    tone4days Member

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    can you use the two pickups, and their associated volume knobs, to get your lead volume / crunchy rhythm volume sorted? ... i like to do that on my PRS SC245 .. then i just flick the pickup selector

    i like the bridge pickup for chords/rhythm work ... i roll the volume way down to clean up for clean ish parts and then back up to about 7 to get crunchy - usually end up rollin the tne down to 7 or 8 too ... i keep the neck pickup volume and tone dimed for leads .. just toggle between em and good to go
    good luck
    t4d
     
  4. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    I had a DSL-401 for less than a week. In all honesty, it was one of the worst sounding amps I've ever owned. What kind of pickups are in the LP? It's possible you have the treble turned up too high too. If you have the amp on the floor aimed at your feet, you won't hear much of the high end and you may have turned up the treble to compensate. Make sure the amp is aimed towards your ears as much as is possible so you hear what the audience hears.

    As to the volume thing, I put a volume pedal in the effects loop. That works like a foot controlled master volume.
     
  5. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    Set your guitar volume to 5 or 6.
    Set up amp for pleasing rhythm tone.
    Turn guitar volume up higher for leads. Also, consider setting pleasing rhythm tone with both pickups on, switch to one pickup for leads.
     
  6. mkl13

    mkl13 Silver Supporting Member

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    Put a eq pedal or clean boost in the fx loop of the amp. Step on that for solos and adjust the volume boost to taste.
     
  7. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    I always have a rig that will allow me to boost solos 3-5dB.

    Takes the worry out of it - and you can hear yourself much better on stage.
     
  8. Lance

    Lance Member

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    It may also have been mic placement. If it was right up on the outer edge of the dust cap, it will be quite a bit more trebly that towards the edge of the cone. You can also use a typical Tubescreamer pedal with the gain at unity, and the level boosted. It'll drop off the low end, and boost the mids so you'll cut better.
     
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  9. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Thank you for the specific answers - really!

    While I do see the guitar volume as an easy and viable solution, I don't really care for the sound of my guitar with the volume turned partly down. I guess it stems from my audiophile days when partially closed pot just means less tone. It also seems not exact enough to use the knob because every time you move it (sometimes you have to do it pretty fast) you can easily end up in a different spot.

    The same is true with a volume pedal - you can't reset it for where it was every time - you have to guesstimate.

    I also don't like using the neck pickup for rhythm all the time. It sounds too mushy to me.

    So - in the end I guess what makes the most sense is the boost switch (stomp box) in the effect loop. I just didn't want to have to add another 20 feet of cable to my signal path - but it is parallel so I guess it doesn't really hurt.

    I had my DSL 401 sitting on top of a 2x12 Avatar cabinet loaded with a Celestion Gold Alnice and a Vintage 30. The amp itself has a Gold Alnico. I had the amp and the cab each rated at 16-ohms with the amp switched for 8-ohm parallel.

    Maybe the problem with the amp is the speaker - maybe I need something a little less brittle sounding? He had miked the amps 401 Celestion gold alnico.

    This soundman wouldn't do a soundcheck - he insisted he could just dial us in on the first song. It is how he does all his bands. I hate not having more than 30 seconds to get a decent sound.
     
  10. Agitator

    Agitator Member

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    If you don't like tweaking your volume knob, try getting a clean boost pedal, or one of those volume drop pedals that EHX makes.

    Ay caramba. What a racket.
     
  11. stevel

    stevel Member

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    You need a volume pedal with a minimum volume setting. You set the minimum so toe up is your rhythm volume, and toe down will be lead volume.

    Caution: if you decide to go this route I found that some manufacturers do not give you enough sweep on the dial - I bought a Boss FLV500 with the minimum volume but the lowest it would go was only about 85 percent of the maximum. I ended up using a Morley because it was "customizeable" with the optical circuitry.

    Steve
     
  12. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    True, the electric guitar is an instrument that requires considerable skill and dexterity to operate in a proficient manner.

    Do you operate your amp with all controls on 10? You realize all the tone you're losing by not doing so, right? Plus, even when a control is all the way open, there's still signal ('tone') loss.
     
  13. Agitator

    Agitator Member

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    Wow, what a helpful and unpatronizing answer.
     
  14. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    No - if you read my original post you see my settings...

    I have a 93 les Paul and a Marshall DSL 401.

    The first time I put on the OD channel the soundman assumed I had some kind of Mosfet fuzz tone. No. In fact, I had the gain set at only about 11:00, treble at 10:00, mids and bass at 3:00. I was on OD-1, not OD-2.

    When I say 10:00, I mean like on a clock - I had the treble and the gain turned down less than half on. And it still sounded scratchy and broken up, like a cheap fuzz. Now, it didn't sound that way to me, but it did to the mic he was using.

    Oh - I get it, you are making a joke. Ha ha. Still. Like I said, I really don't like the sound of a guitar with the volume pot turned down, I hear a distinct tone difference. You don't?
     
  15. CowTipton

    CowTipton Silver Supporting Member

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    What Steve said.
    A volume pedal with adjustable potentiometer (min/max range).
    You can set it to whatever you want like 90% heeled and 100% toed and it should not effect your gain too much like a boost pedal might in your already "too fuzzy" signal.

    Hell, I've even shimmed my old Dunlop before. I stuck a piece of wood under the heel to limit the sweep range. Done it with the Crybaby too.
     
  16. Motterpaul

    Motterpaul Tone is in the Ears

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    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing - just put a shim in there. I am thinking a stompbox is more for me, though. Just give it a volume boost or cut - it is more exact.

    Yeah - I worry about the split second I have to go from lead to rhythm - and for me its easier to think one thing "stomp".

    Its like with modeling amps where yuo have a pedal board with five preset sounds. I usually forget I have to hit a different pedal to turn off what I just turned on. It easier for me to think binary.

    This is about the stuff you have to think about while you are playing- and it has to be exact and instantaneous. I guess it sounds overly simple to some people - but I tend to care about little things a lot.

    To me not caring if you have your volume knob or pedal within the same spot more or less by 10% is like saying you'll use a coil cord as long as it works.
     
  17. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    The soundguy should be able to capture something close to your true sound.
    OTOH, you should also be hearing your true amp sound so something is amiss, here.

    The nofail recipe: play clean as you can, turn it up to mild od on the clean channel, adjust eq (stop fiddling) then boost with a Tubescreamer or similar.
    Fixing the FOH is more trouble.
     
  18. Agitator

    Agitator Member

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    Seriously. One of these:

    [​IMG]

    Or one of these:

    [​IMG]

    Seems like one of those will make short work of your problem.
     
  19. DrSax

    DrSax Member

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    I truly don't know, too many variables, but the first thing that jumped to mind: mids and bass (especially) at 3 o'clock? Wow, I play a Les Paul too and if I set the bass that high at a gig it certainly would be a mess with a capital M.
     
  20. fjblair

    fjblair Silver Supporting Member

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    Not helpful and a bad analogy.

    I think backing off guitar volume makes for a muddier, darker tone in most cases. I much prefer to use pedals to boost volume for leads. I've used volume pedals, EQ's, compressors and overdrives to give a lead boost.
     

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