How much gain do you use?

Darl

Member
Messages
1,958
I've been playing classic rock and funk covers and originals for about 5 years with my current band. I recently went back and listened to a bunch of rehearsal and gig recordings and discovered that what I thought was a nice amount of gain for some solos and parts is actually too much in most cases. It's easier to play smooth and fast with more gain - but it doesn't sound that good (to me): there's much less dynamics and it's sort of lost in the mix. I'm going to take it down a notch at my next gig this Friday and see how it feels and sounds. I'm not a high gain guy by any means - but was surprised at how even moderate gain doesn't sound as good as it feel or seems to sound at the time. This is over years with many different amps and pedals.
 

honeyiscool

Member
Messages
1,367
I'm the opposite. I always think I'm using a lot of gain because I like to have volume for sustain and feedback, but I actually play very clean, as I'm finding out whenever I hear back recordings. It doesn't even sound like I have any gain at all, even though I'm usually playing with the pickups running pretty hot and often a clean boost engaged.

I think the reason is because gain affects how much percussive punch your guitar tone has, and when I'm playing, I might confuse sound energy for gain, but really, I just play with volume, not with gain. I think that's the best way, personally.
 

sleewell

Member
Messages
10,588
considering we play modern hard rock I would say I use very little gain. I think our other guitar player uses a little more so having my guitar a little cleaner helps with our mix. I always have my volume knob at least 1-2 steps higher than my gain knob on both channels.
 

Tony-Cliffton

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,251
I try to have a little of that harmonic shimmer going. I like those big fat open harmonics. Like when you hit a cord and it's almost like you can hear every harmonic seperately in detail. I don't like totally squashing my tone with too much overdrive. I find that cleaner sort of gain translates better in a live mix, and recordings.
However, when recording sometimes a little more overdrive is called for, but I still look for that "wider" sound scape.
 

Hack Prophet

vile mighty wretched
Messages
7,287
Depends on the gig. With the more rootsy/americana rock stuff I use far less gain than (obv.) stoner/doom/sludge stuff.
 

monwobobbo

Member
Messages
6,663
.I've been easing up more and more over the years but still use a fair bit of gain when playing. I've also found that recordings make it sound like more gain is being used than actually was. even when recording digitally I've had to back down the gain to get a good recording that has plenty of balls but still has the dynamics others have mentioned. I've also found that when trying to duplicate another guitar players tone that this comes into play. you try to set the amp to the sound you hear on the finished product and end up wondering why you can't get it the same way. more often than not the answer is to much gain
 

ChampReverb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,841
I play a cleanish tone with a "wispy" overlay of breakup.

I really want to hear the basic guitar amp sound and the individual guitar strings coupled with really good dynamic response to changes in pick attack.

Other people can make more gain sound good but I always feel like my own playing starts to lose something as the gain goes up.

-bEn r.
 

Multicellular

Member
Messages
8,313
Depends what style. But either totally clean or i like to stack a few
Na6JSrs.jpg



But seriously, my experience recording gigs is that im getting a little more gain than I think based on practice settings. Not sure if Im just playing louder, distoring mics slightly or what.
 
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Rod

Vibrato & String Bender on Overdrive
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
25,121
Depends what style. But either totally clean or i like to stack a few
:eek::eek::eek:
Na6JSrs.jpg



But seriously, my experience recording gigs is that im getting a liitle more gain than I think based on practice settings. Not sure if Im just playing louder, distoring mics slightly or what.
:eek:
 

Axe-Man

Member
Messages
7,973
Well, it rather depends on the music you play.

It's hard to play metal with a Deluxe Reverb.

I use enough and no more. I use a lot less than some but more than others. I also boost rather than just piling on more and more amp gain.
 

HTSMetal

Member
Messages
1,809
Edge of breakup at best for rhythm work. I prefer to be able to control my amp's breakup with my playing intensity -- too much initial gain and your dynamic range in this regard diminishes considerably.

SD-1 with the gain control at 10 o'clock at most for solos or parts where I need to punch above the mix a bit....so I guess ultimately I don't use much.
 

Rod

Vibrato & String Bender on Overdrive
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
25,121
I'm using Budda amps these days so there's always Gain involved. Preamp and poweramp distortion . Rhythum channel, some Gain, lead channel, lots of Gain.... love it:):)
 

Phletch

Member
Messages
9,896
I play with waaaayyyy more volume than gain on my OD channel; like vol @ 2-3 o'clock, gain @ 9 o'clock. When playing single note stuff, the only way I can describe it is a "clean OD" - full with no fizziness or harshness, and sound like a really fat clean with gobs of sustain, and picking softly will yield an unclipped signal, so I get lots of dynamic range, too. With dyads or full chords you can tell there's some OD there, but there's plenty of note separation. The sound easily cleans up to a "clean clean" by rolling back the guitar volume.
 




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