Pop guitar and compressors

jrjones

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Is it just me or is a good compressor one of the most important parts of getting the guitar sound right for pop guitar?
 

cap10kirk

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9,862
It's a matter of personal taste imo. For me, humbuckers are compressed enough as is, I won't run my guitar through a compressor.
 

Tone_Terrific

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38,146
At the mix ok, as needed.
In play, I quite dislike them if they are active enough to have any effect on the sound and feel.
 

dewey decibel

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11,487
Is it just me or is a good compressor one of the most important parts of getting the guitar sound right for pop guitar?

Nope! I hate compressors in the guitar FX chain, but love them in the studio. So I guess it depends what you mean by "pop guitar", but my guess is it's about getting a more processed, even sound, in which case I'd say just run some sorta modeling rig (which I've done). I want to get a Badcat Unleash largely so I can run a compressor in the loop to get more of an after-the-fact kinda compressed tone, someday...
 

jrjones

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I've found that a little subtle compression does wonders for evening out and bringing that studio feel to live gigs.
 

spence

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Be careful with compression. Tube amps compress naturally, so take that with a grain of salt.
 

C-4

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I've found that a little subtle compression does wonders for evening out and bringing that studio feel to live gigs.

The trick is to find the type of compressor you like, such as a Ross type which squishs hard, an over-easy type, which is also called a soft knee where you don't hear or feel the squishing, but it still is compressing smoothly, opto, type, et. al.

Then use just about 2:1 compression and insure that your guitar is set for either unity gain or just slightly boosted when the compressor is on. All you want from it for pop is to even out the strength of each note or make the chords play evenly with no notes standing out in the mix.

I use mine first in line to the amp input, but there is no hard and fast rule where it should be placed. That will depend on what you hear and how your other gear reacts to where you put the compressor.

You will hear differences of opinion concerning compressors. If you know how to use it, you will have no problem. The trouble is that some players don't know how to get the most from it. ymmv ;)
 

Kurt L

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6,554
Be careful with compression. Tube amps compress naturally, so take that with a grain of salt.

That's a great point. I like compressors but they're easy to overdo. Of course, overdoing it can sometimes sound great, too!

I have 2 pedal comps, like them both. As mentioned in another thread, the Janglebox excels at the Byrds Rickenbacker thing but really isn't a general purpose comp. I like the Keeley Compressor Pro I bought a few months ago for that... it does a lot of stuff well.
 

Ejay

Senior Member
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8,033
My approach in my live set up pop or not:):
Gainy sounds: enough sustain and volume consitancy in the sound itself, compressor does more damage then good.
Clean funky: no compression, you want the dynamics.
Clean comping, maybe if you need a clean sound, with a lot of sustain, and consistent volume in your mix.
Clean solo: thats where i use it a lot, gives some sustain, especially when using single coil neck PU.
You loose some "twank", but for a jazzy sound when playing a Tele or strat..try it!
 

Jim85IROC

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4,185
What is pop guitar?
6a00e39332d0098834013486688596970c-320wi.jpg
 

twoheadedboy

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14,684
Today's pop. Bruno, maroon5, etc.

Lots of different guitar sounds going on, even in this narrow selection of today's pop music. A lot of clean guitar sounds in today's pop music probably have compression on them. In a lot of cases, it's probably added in the mix, because most contemporary pop mixes seem to involve compression on almost everything. I wouldn't consider compression to be an essential element of pop guitar sounds, like it is with some clean country stuff.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
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19,047
The only place I found a compressor useful is with a 12 string guitar as it helps balance out the string pairs. Otherwise, removing the dynamics from my 6 string guitars is the last thing I'd want to do...unless I was looking for an unusual sound in a spot in a song. Leaving any pedal or FX on all the time seems like a crutch to me ;).
 

Ugly Bunny

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2,453
Keep in mind that a lot of Maroon 5's sound is the guitar - there's obvious compression happening, but after owning a Valentine for a few months now, I can attest to a great deal of the sound coming from the guitar's heavy gauge strings and pup configuration. But with a nice SP Comp on it, you can get some real nice "pop" guitar sounds. So it's both, really. I don't necessarily buy the whole "tube amps compress" thing. Yes, they do, obviously, but they don't compress in the same way and at the same volumes that an outboard/pedal compressor do. I think a clean tone, a good 2-knob compressor, and some thick, tight, snappy strings will get you there nicely.

EDIT: to elaborate a little on the thicker strings - you can hit them a little harder without them going out of tune as much (as all strings do to some extent) so the notes stay much purer. And pop music is nothing if not perfectly in tune ALL the time :)
 




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