Yay! A compressor thread, is there a more polarizing effect here on TGP? well. I like my EQD Warden. Do I need it? Some people will have you believe that comps are a crutch, I can partially see that. For me personally, I prefer it as a part of my sound, especially on my strat and twelve string, as it makes a fuller sound for cleans. I had to stop there because for me it was "hey, this is a dangerous road to be going down!" There are some crazy expensive comps out there and if I get into them too much, my cats will starve!
so. Tl;dr, pertaining to the nessicity of compressors, I really think every serious tone shapologist guitarist out there should have the experience of playing around with a comp in order to see how they can use it. It's a tool. But my warden has pretty much become a part of my sound, especially how I feed it into muffs. So, yes...
I, MFNLGZ, NEED a compressor pedal in order to shape the tones I use.
Yes. I make music that involves lots of tapping+hammer-ons+pull-offs+sliding where a compressor is of real help. I also make music where I play along with equally loud delay lines, hence the smoothness of a compressor is warranted.
I wouldn't say I *need* one, but I use one regularly. It's set to light compression, with a bit of direct signal mixed in. The idea is to get roughly the same amount of compression on the clean sounds as I get with a light overdrive turned on, to help the clean guitar sit better in the mix. But I could easily do without it - especially if I can crank the amp up to provide some compression on its own
It's very useful, especially on clean stuff...it can make you not have to pick as firmly on notes for one thing or lighten your touch, or add that extra bit of sustain on ringing notes or even your sound out if you find some of your strums have louder spikes than others, or all of that stuff at once. Currently have the Xotic SP.
When I finally bought a compressor it was like a light switch flipping on, and I realized right away how much I'd been missing it.
Here's the thing guys: guitar forums/discussions are dominated by guys who play blues or blues-influenced music. Blues greatly benefits from the dynamics of hitting the strings hard for drive/softly for clean tone. But for those who play other styles of music that's not necessarily a good thing. I play indie rock/jangly sounding stuff/shoegaze/etc. and none of these styles really benefit from that; it's much better to have an even, consistent sound (like a compressor helps to provide.) I don't totally kill my dynamics by any stretch (I use an SP Comp with both knobs at about 11 o'clock) but it definitely helps to make my clean tone bigger and more sustained.
Long story short, it really comes down to what kind of music you play. If you're doing Hillsong/Bethel style worship music, compression is absolutely essential.