gain questions

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,023
I'm curious to see how other folks are using their gain set ups / pedal configs mainly in live settings. I always hear less gain is more and don't necessarily disagree. I play a lot of covers (classic rock / blues songs).

I have a Wampler Superplex for higher gain (last in chain), Bondi Sick as for medium gain and Barber Gain Changer for low gain (first in chain). After all that I use a TC mini spark to boost for soloing.

I find that I'm usually leaving the Barber on most of time and stacking it into the Bondi (GC is first in chain) and not using solely for a low gain application unless it's a more mellow portion of the song.

I've tried a lot of tweaking, swapping orders, etc.. and am just wondering what other folks use, or how they would use a set up like mine in order to cover a lot of ground. Just don't know if I'm sold on a low, med, high set up and or if I should get rid of the GC to fund something else.

Any constructive advice is appreciated.
 

jordane93

Member
Messages
8,883
I go low gain to high gain. First is a VFE blues King set on a low gain, edge of break up sound. Next is a Timmy set for medium gain and volume boost (stacked with BK). Next is a Selah Scarlett Love V2 set the same as the Timmy. Finally I have a Spark Boost at the end of my drive chain for a clean boost.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,023
do you use them usually stacked? or do you ever just use the timmy?
 

DecoWaves

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,118
I have the Gain Changer as my one an only gain pedal at the moment -- as you know from other threads, I am looking at a Muff Variant like the Musket or Iron Bell for both a bit higher gain & different distortion tone to compliment the Gain Changer.

To be very honest, I think the Gain Changer does from Low --> Med/High Gain very well. The higher gain has a real bite and clarity to it (less fuzz) but lacks higher sustain. I run a modded MXR Dyna Comp in front of it and, when clicked on, it adds just enough to really drive the Gain Changer to the next level (but nothing crazy-like).

I have had many a situation where I can lean over and flip the switch between the Low/High Gain settings on the Barber GC, while leaving the Gain Dial untouched, and it goes from a great rhythm tone to solo tone. Or ... I can leave the Gain Changer on the High Gain settings to deliver some serious power chords.

I have come to the conclusion that I can probably cover most of my Gain needs with one pedal as I play Classic Rock, Blues, and Reggae and I love the spectrum of great sounds I can get from the GC ... so ... in many ways I am debating buying an additional Gain pedal at all. BUT ... that being said, I can also see that by having a second pedal, I can diversify my drive/distortion types and tones (adding more sustain for leads), and if needed, make it easier to go between two distinct sounds with a couple of quick steps on the pedal board.

I mentioned on a previous thread that I was hoping to do this with a Barber Direct Drive, using that as an alternative to (or in tandem) to the Gain Changer. While it was a fantastic pedal in its own right (with distinct British Flavor), it was almost too similar to the Gain Changer to my ears -- or at least I was able to dial in many "close enough" settings.
 

Rumbeer

Member
Messages
356
I also have 3 gain stages with a boost at the end of the chain. Low to high gain as well for stacking combinations. I have my BB Preamp for the low gain bluesy stuff, than the Mesa Flux Drive for mid gain fusion warm liquidy tones, and finally the Xactone Atomic OD for high gain. I usually hit either the Flux and Atomic with the BB for more when I need.

Also have the Ep Booster which is at the end usually always on to thicken everything up some more and also as a boost if needed.

I love this set up, because I can pretty much cover any musical ground in any situation with whatever amp I am supplied with.

In terms of the gain settings, I never run any of these maxed. The Atomic is usually around 1-2 o'clock which is a great crunch and rhythm setting. For solos I will hit the BB which has the gain set under 12 o'clock.
 

cubistguitar

Member
Messages
6,032
I have pared down the dirt to my essential fun boxes.

PTD Bone Machine GT is the low gain dirt
PTD Tornita is the fuzz

these are patched to an "Clean/Dirty" loop switch, I do not stack these two.

TC Spark at the end for amp push and mids lift.

Love the tone of the Bone Machine GT and just need a bit more mids ( and a mild bass cut) to really push sometimes. The Tornita is fun and very fuzzy, so the mid lift is good for it too. I really don't use much of the gain range of the Bone Machine, just the volume and a little gain for a warm great tone. For liquid meltdown uber nasty I switch to the Tornita (it has the gain maxed and you set bias and volume), I fuss with the bias knob a lot live to cut thru the fudge. The Tc Spark is one of the best utilities I have ever used. It has color, but not too much and it is variable from a dry clean to a fat bassy push, or a mid hvy push. I use the mid hvy setting, turn down the bass some and turn up til the amp is singing.

I keep thinking I would like a MXR Badass Distortion for a high gain option thats not so fuzzy. I wouldn't use it very often though.
 

DecoWaves

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,118
To my earlier post on this thread, for demo purposes, I just sampled two different clips with my Barber Gain Changer on the highest gain dialed in and with two different EQ settings although they might not have been picked up as well in the recordings. I did not have my Dyna Comp on which would have kicked it up just a notch or two higher but this gives you and idea (lead-wise) the spectrum of gain that the Gain Changer can do ...

[SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/don-slesnick-iii/barber-gain-changer-hg-eq-mid[/SOUNDCLOUD]

and

[SOUNDCLOUD]https://soundcloud.com/don-slesnick-iii/barber-gain-changer-hg-max-eq[/SOUNDCLOUD]
 

phazersonstun

Member
Messages
3,124
Playing an LP & a Tele into an older clean Hotrod Deville 212.
I'm in 2 cover bands that do '70s to current radio of most genres.
Original band is a folk / rnb / rock thing.

I use 2 gain pedals & a post gain clean boost for a bit of additional volume for leads.

OD-3 always on. Gain 1/2 way up.
Middle position w/ the volume rolled down on either guitar is my bass tone.
Roll the volume down for cleaner or up for mid gain.
MXR SBA distortion stacked after the OD-3 for high gain.

My boost (sort of) after my gain stages is a home made 2 knob passive volume box that toggles between the two pots.
I set the amp with one pot all the way up for leads & the other gets dialed down to rythm volume.
 
Messages
199
I run a Tubescreamer into my Timmy. I leave the Timmy on all the time with the gain around 11:00 then I just use my pick attack to control the amount of grit that comes through. I kick on the Tubescreamer for more gain when I need it.
 

DecoWaves

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,118
I apologize if this is obvious or well-known but perhaps something often overlooked ... Whether it is layered High-Gain to Low-Gain or Low-Gain to High-Gain, the last pedal [Active] in the chain is the one that effects the color/tone the most. When I had both the Gain Changer and the Direct Drive, I played around with this (when stacked) to see how the combined sound was different from the individual.

My Mojo Hand Iron Bell is en route .... very excited ... there are no intentions to stack it as it has a OD circuit integrated into the design per-se but I will probably try it out anyway to see what tones I can dial in. I mentioned before that I am pretty content with the Gain Changer as is for most all of my OD needs which has lead me to look at how modulation effects mingle with the Gain Sounds for richer tones (ala Chorus). I run the Phaser before my Gain pedals to tame the effect some ... much like one would place the Wah first.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,023
Let me know how the Iron Bell goes. I'll let you know how the Civil Unrest goes too. Gonna put that into the mix too. My plan is to put Civil Unrest first and then boost it with the GC or Bondi. Or... But it between GC and Bondi...for mixed results.
 

FLYING V 83

Gibson Geezer
Messages
5,598
Do you run your amp totally clean, or just a hint of grit?
Sounds like you play more 'crunchy' songs than clean, hence the GC being on more than off.
Maybe try running the amp dirtier and use the GC as a gooser for the other two.
Should be a change from bumping them after with the Spark, you might like the stacking better.
 

dpgreek

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,023
I run my amp totally clean. It's a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. Settings on clean channel:

Treb - 8 Bass - 4.5 Mids - 6 Presence - 8 verb comes from pedal.

I do a lot of clean sounding parts (no gain) too. But maybe it's worth a shot.

So you recommend using the drive channel and keeping drive low for a verge of break up sound?
 

FLYING V 83

Gibson Geezer
Messages
5,598
You could try that, although many here don't think highly of the HRD's drive sound.
I play strictly 2-humbucker guitars, run them into my Mesa set clean but loud so the guitar's volume is @ 5 clean, then roll up to 7-8 for crunch.
Trying different things is half the fun on the tone quest IMO.
 






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