Getting Feedback at Small Club volumes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by MikeVB, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    Do some circuits lend themselves to being able to get controllable feedback?

    That is at similar volume levels would a tweed deluxe more readily feedback than a Deluxe Reverb or a Princeton Reverb? Plexi vs Vox, etc.?

    How about differences between humbuckers vs single coils vs P90 pickups?

    I'd like to be able to get controllable feedback at small club volumes and classic rock gain levels like Neil Young Crazy Horse up to say AC/DC at the gainy'est.

    Another example I love is the feedback during the first 10 seconds of Begin the Begin by R.E.M.

     
  2. ledzep618

    ledzep618 Supporting Member

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    I haven't really noticed it to be amp dependent so much as volume and proximity to the speaker dependent. In other words no volume = no feedback. In order to get feedback I find amps have to be set what most would likrly consider unreasonable small club volume
     
  3. The Funk

    The Funk Member

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    The more gain you have the more easily it will feedback. Gain acts as a compressor, so as soon as a little signal gets into a feedback loop, it will get amplified very quickly into controllable feedback. Getting close to your speaker will help get that signal into your pickups to create the feedback loop.

    No amp is specifically better than others. You need volume or proximity, and/or gain.
     
  4. ChampReverb

    ChampReverb Silver Supporting Member

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    These threads pop up every so often.

    I wonder how it would be if (in addition to your regular amp) you had a very small amp, on a stand, at guitar level, facing back at you that you could lean into when you wanted to get your strings ringing to generate controlled feedback.

    Is that a ridiculous idea?

    -bEn r.
     
  5. MikeVB

    MikeVB Supporting Member

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    I've wondered the same thing.

    I asked the OP because I had a Tungsten Crema Wheat that I could much more easily get to the edge of feedback than my current souped up BFPR clone.
     
  6. chewy teeth

    chewy teeth Member

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    I'm able to get feedback at low-ish volume with a Fuchs Blackjack21 mkII and humbuckers.
     
  7. Heady Jam Fan

    Heady Jam Fan Member

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    Feedback occurs when vibrations that started on the guitar strings go through the amp, out the speakers, and start vibrating the strings again. Its a feedback loop. Anything that increases the likelihood of that occurring will increase feedback.

    As people mentioned, proximity to the speaker makes a big different. Face the body of the guitar to the speaker, and move as close to the speaker as possible.

    The structure of the guitar makes a big difference. My hollowbody vibrates pretty aggressively in my hands when I'm playing at gig volumes (loud enough to keep up with the drummer). This causes the strings to vibrate and creates sustain and feedback. Usually a harmonic an octave above.

    People also mentioned gain. Compression plays a big role as it increases sustain and sustain is necessary for feedback (the note has to sustain long and strong enough to get the guitar string vibrating again). I use a TS9 into a Ross Compressor. I only set the sustain on the compressor at 9 o'clock, and even with a clean TS9 I can get endless sustain and feedback if I want as well.

    Different amps do make a difference in feedback. I definitely get more with my Mesa MKIII than my Fender DR. The Mesa is punchier and has more sustain.
     
  8. LPMojoGL

    LPMojoGL Music Room Superstar Supporting Member

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    A cranked 1974x is easy to get controllable feedback and endless sustain with, and is a pure blast to play. It's a living, breathing, classic rock machine.
     
  9. Geetarpicker

    Geetarpicker Member

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    I'm a junkie for controlled feedback, and a Trainwreck Express into a 4x12 (with no pedals) is my favorite amp for this.

    That said, the trick these days has been to capture that with much smaller rigs and using pedals. What works for me is to combine a compressor with a overdrive pedal, and in my compact gig setup I use a Wampler Ego compressor first inline into a Boss Power Stack ST-2 overdrive. I set the knobs on the Ego all on about 1/2, and run the ST-2 with the gain around 1/4 or maybe just a hair more. This works well for a Marshall style crunch and sustain into my clean amps being either a modded 1x10 Fender Champ II, or '64 Fender Deluxe 1x12, or even a '68 Marshall Superbass 100 halfstack.

    Being close to the amp is quite helpful but not essential if the volume is up a bit, though getting close to the transformers make hum pickup (from the amp's transformers) something you have to be careful about. I run a Suhr hum cancelling back plate on my Strat (w/Fralins) which helps with sustain by blocking noise somewhat. My other guitars have humbuckers to reduce noise. With the extra sensitivity of running a compressor and overdrive together running a regular single coil pickup can get difficult without some sort of hum cancelling.

    I also run potted pickups in all my guitars. This allows me to only have to deal with the string feedback I'm looking for, and not worry about any coil feedback. This allows me to run more volume, or compression, or gain without issue. Even my PAFs are potted in my Gibsons, and my Fralins come that way though I sometimes have to redo those out of the box to make them fully resistant to microphonic feedback.

    In the end the angle of the guitar in relation to the cabinet can make or break controlled feedback, and this cannot be understated! This angle is ever changing in different rooms and even note positions on the fretboard. Eventually you can learn to feel when the sustain is building... or not and move the guitar slightly to reign it in. In many cases it's not moving closer to the speakers, but changing the angle (like turning your body with the guitar) that makes all the difference. It's not an exact science though, and some guitars are simply easier to control and more alive in this department.

    As I mentioned some guitars are simply more responsive to controlled feedback. My original '59 Les Paul is stellar in this department, and it's simply easier to predict what is going to happen with that guitar. Historic LPs work well for this too but I've noticed the non custom shop Les Pauls are trickier to control, perhaps it's the neck joint differences that dampen their sustain, who knows. I've also noticed even the bridge makes a difference in controlled feedback, and when I swapped out the Nashville bridge on my newish Faded LP standard to a repro ABR1 bridge the controlled feedback was enhanced! My two lightweight ash body strats are excellent too, but take more gain or compression than a humbucker. I have had some alder and body strats that were more difficult to coax into controlled feedback so I guess the wood makes a difference too. I also think typically (but not always) a lighter guitar will be more responsive to controlled feedback than a heavier one.

    I do quite a bit of controlled feedback in this video, though I'll admit this was with the amp set very loud. Notice how close I am to the 4x12 cab, but how I still have to work the angle of the guitar in relation to the cab. This video was 100% without pedals. That said, I can get this level of controlled feedback with a much smaller rig at lower volumes (as mentioned above) but that requires some pedals for sure to get it to this level. Pardon the sloppy playing at the start of the video, but at least I ended that lick with infinite sustain! GK

     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2015

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