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Fellow Gigging Guitarsists... (Boost Pedal Question)

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Miles, May 20, 2011.

  1. Miles

    Miles Member

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    Thinking of putting something like an MXR Micro Amp or Zvex Super Hard on to boost the end of my pedal chain for lead parts.

    Here's my question:

    Some guitarists say that boost pedals only piss sound guys off and that they'll turn you down. Thus, when your boost is turned off, your sound drops even lower than your previous level.

    However, I've noticed that I've played enough gigs with inattentive sound men who could often give 2 ***** how you sound that I would like to be in control of subtle volume changes so that parts I need to stand out can do so.

    So, is a boost pedal appropriate in the gigging world? Or do sound men intuitively know when to boost your parts for a more lead-ish sound?

    PS - not bagging on the hard working sound engineers in many clubs. I should note that I have played many gigs where sound guys are super attentive to adding vocal effects on my lead vocal parts and bringing myself and our other guitarist up when it needs to happen.

    Many thanks!
     
  2. *Tweedster

    *Tweedster Member

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    A lot of sound guys soundcheck everything then hardly touch the board after that. I use my boost because I want people to hear me. I wouldn't count on the sound guy turning me up through the mains...
    Just run the boost a couple DBs louder..
     
  3. The P-Man

    The P-Man Member

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    In my experience, its pretty rare that a soundman always remembers to push you up in the mix for solos. On that basis, i always have a subtle boost just to lift me out of the mix for selected parts. The key words are 'subtle' and 'selective' use. If a soundman takes the time to mix the band and then the guitarist kicks on a huge volume boost for large parts of the set then the soundman will reasonably take steps to drop the guitar lower in the mix.
     
  4. David-R

    David-R Supporting Member

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    Don't count on a sound guy to know when you need to be boosted but if you're decently in the mix during rhythm parts you shouldn't need much boost to be out front for solos.
     
  5. Richard P

    Richard P Member

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    I think a good clean boost is indispensable for fine-tuning relative tone and volume changes, but that's not going to be true for everyone's gear. I think of it as an alternative to being close enough to my amp to monkey with it…which I'm usually not.
     
  6. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    be your own soundman
    have some headroom in your chain for a solo and dynamics boost
    when needed
    and with the proper boost ratio a soundguy will thank you as he deals with other issues
     
  7. TheReverendCommon

    TheReverendCommon Member

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    THIS.

    I have a feedback looper and a handheld noisemaker in my rig and have never gotten into any issues with the sound man because i worked out the volume issues myself
     
  8. jdel77

    jdel77 Silver Supporting Member

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    Or speak to the soundguy first and tell him you'll be boosting your own solos.
     
  9. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    Boosting your own leads is essential in bar band world. Most of the time, your guitar is well down in the mix, so if you want your solo to be heard, you gotta boost it.

    The key is to get with your soundguy to set a boost level that works with his mix.
     
  10. Lolaviola

    Lolaviola Supporting Member

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    True. The fastest way to get the soundguy to turn you down is if you are overloading the mic at the board. You would ideally check both the lead volume, and the main volume, so that your channel is mixable.

    I'm a big fan of having an MXR Micro Amp bacause there's nothing worse than seeing a guitarist wanking away, but no sound coming over the level of the music.
     
  11. mjcyates

    mjcyates Member

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    I always control my gain and volume levels from my board.
     
  12. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    great points
     
  13. attiQwl

    attiQwl Member

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    from my experience as a small venue soundguy - this is good advice. someone else said something about leaving proper headroom. it seems to me that people underestimate the soundman's musical intuition, ie. here comes a solo...if it seems like it's loud enough, he'll not boost it himself.

    maybe i was lucky in my experiences, but most FOH mixers have their own appreciation of guitar gear/pedals. if you're cool about it, you should be able to work all that out with them.
     
  14. germs

    germs Member

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    i've come to the conclusion that the idea of "live boost" for solos is a myth, at best.

    i can toss a pedal in my chain that will add more gain (but not more db). or i can use a pedal that will add more db, but not enough to get me over the cymbals on stage.

    the best thing is - if you have a dedicated soundguy - to have him know your songs and when to turn you up or hit the "Solo" switch on the board. it's why that switch exists.

    otherwise, try dialing down the volume knob on the guitar. or using less gain than you're used to. then kick on the gain (or knob) for the solo and you'll cut a lot better.

    i'm over boost pedals. worthless!
     
  15. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    unfortunately playing in unknown original bands I find this to be the case
    9 times out of 10
     
  16. sdd17

    sdd17 Member

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    Proper headroom in the amp so when you hit your boost pedal its not just more gain but an actual level boost

    you were lucky.
     
  17. Aaron Mayo

    Aaron Mayo Member

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    if you have a regular soundguy he might know when to turn you up. More often, I find it's up to me to boost myself with my volume control, a boost, or picking harder (depending).
     
  18. edgewound

    edgewound Gold Supporting Member

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    If you get a sound guy that is cooperative with the band, that's a plus.

    If you get a sound guy that's a complete control freak egomaniac, that's a problem.

    The sound guy should act as if he's there to help and work with you...even if that means knowing what plexiglass shields are for....and you might use a boost to change your tone/gain.

    If he can't pay enough attention to who needs boosting and when...he's in the wrong occupation
     
  19. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    2-3 dB is all you need. I actually use my boost more for the extra grit and sustain than to give me a dramatic jump in volume.
     
  20. whackystrings

    whackystrings Member

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    For me, I play the ear candy/solo/lead riff content in my band that has a 12-string acoustic guitarist as well another overdriven-electric rhythm guy.
    Cutting through all that is a major pain in the backside.

    Unlike those that wonder why the Tube Screamer must be so mid-y and make it the focus of so much derision, I use a somewhat flat EQ (Barber LTD-SR and/or amp grit) and use my TS for solos - it punches through the mix very nicely. TS for my main tone is not my cup o' tea but for boost it's great.

    But as much as a forgotten element the guitar's volume knob is for us lead players, rhythm players need use their own vol knob to turn themselves down during the solos. Anyone with me on that one?

    I wish our rhythm guitarists would do that. :waiting
    When I soundcheck my gear the other guys in the band do the freak-out "Holy Cr-p, dude, you are SOOOO loud! Turn it down!" yet they don't back off during solos and complain they can't hear me. Whatcha gonna do...
     

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