I just don't fully get it...compressors

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by Occam, Mar 1, 2006.

  1. Occam

    Occam Member

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    What is it about them that so many people seem to like? Evening out of volume seems like something that should be corrected with playing technique, some folks run them hard into amps for overdriving them or for sustaining clean tones but I've never had a problem sustaining a powerful clean not for a second or two and very rarely if ever need to go longer than that. I guess some people like to set them for super squish to suck away all pick attach but that seems like a rare, niche sort of tone at best but so many people here have them. I had a rack compressor years ago and it just never did anything for me...I was a bit of a gear neophyte at the time so I'm sure part of it was my misunderstanding of the effect but to this day I just don't understand the widespread appeal.
     
  2. Scott Peterson

    Scott Peterson Staff Member

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    Listen to some country or funk guitarists and you'll start to understand. The extra sustain is what matters. The 80's type of squashed metal tone is not, IMHO, the best use of a compressor. Instread, used properly, a little of it goes a LONG way.

    In country, with the hybrid picking, it can sound uneven even in some of the most qualified hands. A compresser makes it all flow.

    In funk, it is all about being part of the ensemble and not about "GUITAR" per say, and again it is more about just flowing consistently.

    In its place, the compressor is a great tool. But it is just that.
     
  3. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    I really only use a compressor for playing guitar solos in Cowboy music.

    Which I seem to be playing a lot of these days, and me a natural born surfer type from Redondo Beach - go figure.

    I tried one of Bjorn Juhl's Pine Green Compressors at NAMM (Thanks Barry & Dean) and bought one. Best compressor I've ever heard. It's my 'new' one - the old one sounds pretty good too - it's a Demeter Opto-Compulator.

    OK, to be honest, I'm thinking about trying the 'new' one out in a blues setting - for playing cleaner solos - we'll see (GRIN)

    But as Scott says, they're just a tool you can use to get a sound. When you play on your own doin' chickin 'pickin stuff, it's pretty easy to get sustain. I do it on my couch all the time sans amp. But when you're with a band, in a bar, with a ton of people and a superb but really loud steel player .... it's nice to have a little help. You don't have to hit the strings so hard or so accurately.

    Helps me relax during solos. When you're playing really clean and quiet, that's nice to have.

    A little compression kind of like playing loud - the volume 'helps' you out a little. A cranked amp gives you a little compression. As Bjorn Juhl says, it's easeir to add compression when you want it and be able to turn it off than it is to have it (in the amp design or settings) and NOT be able to get rid of it.

    Hence, the stomp box compressor.

    Dana
     
  4. billygoat

    billygoat Member

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    Plug into a diamond comp, and you'll get it...I thought I hated compressors till I tried that one.
     
  5. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    I hate them, even for country music (which I admit I don't play often anymore), & don't own one. If someone really wants "that sound" I suppose I would use one, but it's never come up so far. My style is based partly on picking dynamics, which stomp box compressors can totally remove. A bit of compression in the studio sounds great, but we are talking another magnitude with the quality of studio units compared to a $100-200 stomp box. A cranked tube amp and an overdrive pedal are almost always enough compression for me.
     
  6. eric-d

    eric-d Member

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  7. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    Slide / 12-String Electric's / Fingerpicking Clarity / Squashed Rhythms / Clean Boost / And so on / And what not / Do so

    It's probably the most versatile and required pedal for electric guitar. Okay, probably not if you're playing blues. But still...
     
  8. drolling

    drolling Member

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    HAH! yeah, my 3rd pedal was a comp, and after (ab)using a fuzz & a phaser, I couldn't even hear what the dang thing was doing. Thought it was broken for the longest time..

    Eventually I figured out how to set it to compensate for my ham-fisted pick attack and became totally dependent on it to cover up my sloppy playing.

    After weaning myself off of it for some years, I brought it out of retirement when I found myself suddenly fascinated by country & western - a style of music previously abhorrent to every leather-coated brain cell in my thick and hairy skull.

    Moving along to nice coiffures and funk & groove oriented rhythm playing, I pulled back the 'sustain' & advanced the 'attack' so I could *feel* the compression as much as I could *hear* it - and became reacquainted w/the old addiction..

    Fast-forwarding to my present old & bald reality, I'm pretty much back to square one where I can't hear it anymore - unless I turn it off;)
     
  9. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Member

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    If you play clean alot I feel like a compressor is a necessity. I don't ever use compression for distorted tones because distortion compresses the hell out the signal by definition.
     
  10. 58lespaulman

    58lespaulman Member

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    I love the Diamond Compressor, and I never liked compressors before. I owned the Keeley three times and sold it every time. But the Diamond is here to stay.

    Shane Pasqualla
    WET ANIMAL
    http://www.wetanimal.net
    http://www.phensic.com
     
  11. JackButler

    JackButler Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I have tried about 5, from cheapt o really good, not Diamond though. It is ok, but I also felt it just killed my own dynamics, but I mainly play gritty hard Blues.
    I think maybe it is for some and not for some. But now on my singing mic, whole nother ballgame:>)
     
  12. mickey69

    mickey69 Member

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    they're also good for taking a dirty tone, backing off the volume to clean up the sound, but not lose too much volume.
     
  13. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    Right on. My sentiments exactly.

    I recently just started getting into the country vibe, learning some Brad Paisley. I have been playing for over 30 years and have ALWAYS used my right middle and ring fingers along with my pick (can't play "Righteous" any other way). With country, you are seriously working your right hand - picking and popping strings left and right. Ocassionally, you are going to grab a string just a little too hard - and and the compressor will smooth that volume difference out for you. That doesn't mean you are a "sloppy" player.

    A compressor, when used properly, definitely has its place. No, you don't need it to play Metallica, but it is an undeniable tool for playing country, funk, and just clean, chimmy tones.
     
  14. spentron

    spentron Member

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    With a good one, you can get AC/DC big amp sounds with only preamp grind. I've also used it to clean up a distorted amp so you can hear a fuzz come through. The best I've tried is the ADA MP-1, with full tone controls programmable for every MIDI program. The Boss ones are basically reverse-sweep lowpass envelope followers and are only good with whacko effects combinations.
     
  15. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Compressors are like Tabasco Sauce. A few dabs bring the stew to life. Too much ruins it.
     
  16. jpagey

    jpagey Supporting Member

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    And check out Skunk Baxter's stuff.
     
  17. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    I use a compressor for the feel it creates upon my fingertips..
    & for the way it smooths out the tone on my beloved EMG sincle coil's..

    Rarely do I use it for sustain, though that's certainly a nice bi-product..

    & what Scott P. said about funk guitar application is of all importantance in my musical world ...
     
  18. sabbath90

    sabbath90 Member

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    the right compressor can bring out a lot of chime from just about any guitar. listen to the first 2 big star records to understand.
     
  19. giggedy

    giggedy Member

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    brings about a good feeling, I use mine after my od, and use the volume know to clean it up while not losing volume.
     
  20. homerayvaughan

    homerayvaughan Member

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    I don't care them either. I think may be easy for some people get hung up on them as a bit of a crutch, or a necessity if they play country, which I don't. Chances are, if I notice the sound of a compressor being on when I hear guitar, it's probably not a good thing. I'm sure used sparingly they do serve a purpose for some.

    More than anything, the players I listen to that I like the tone of do not, for the most part, use a compressor as an essential part of their rig. I just can't get past the dynamic squashing. If I hit a note hard I WANT it to be loud. If I hit it soft I WANT it to be soft.
     

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