Turning down guitar volume pot for cleans... what am I missing??

mdrake34

Member
Messages
18,197
Either treble bleed circuit or 50s wiring – this is an absolute must IMHO
The treble bleed circuit in my DGT allows for fantastic volume knob cleanup into my Bassbreaker 15. I can go from R&B rhythm to classic rock crunch with the turn of the knob on my guitar.
 

GenoVox

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,168
Yep... I have either treble bleeds or 50s wiring in all my guitars. Most people think of 50s wiring on Gibson-style electronics, but it works great on Fenders too
 

tga-3

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
996
Dr. Z Route 66 excels at cleaning up with the guitar volume control...as does a good GE Fuzz Face, like an Analogman NKT 275 White Dot Sunface.
 

VICOwner

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,655
I’ve heard/read countless testimonies of how certain amps yield great clean tones on the gain channel by just “rolling back the guitar volume”. I have never found this to be the case. I always find, when I do roll down the volume, the tone gets dark and muddy, regardless of which guitar I use. The cleans aren’t really ever “clean”; all have a fair amount of grit. Marshall is supposed to be famous for this. I own a ‘87 JCM800 4210 combo and a Marshall DSL50 and haven’t been able to achieve the results that seem so abundant with everyone else. I don’t use extreme amounts of gain, either. Typically, the gain is set around 1-2 o’clock.

I use quite a few different type of guitars, but lean more towards humbucker bridge guitars. All have audio taper pots. When I use my Tele, I do tend to have better results, which makes sense due to the lesser output of the single coil pup.

I’m not saying it’s not possible to get great clean tones by rolling back the volume; actually, I know it is quite possible. Jeff Beck had amazing clean tones using the same type amp I own, the DSL50. Any tricks or tips I’m missing?
I have an amp that cleans up and stays dynamic, it doesn’t loose any brightness when you roll back the volume on your guitar. Roll it back up and man it gets thick.
 

rumbletone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,580
Thanks for posting!

Re no changes to settings, are you saying that the level/EQ/compression were the same during mixing too? To me the clean tone actually sounds louder than the dirty tone, and with more low end, and I don’t see how that’s physically possible unless the level is being raised for the clean tone.

The reason I ask is that if the initial post is about playing live and just riding the guitar’s volume for clean vs dirt - and just about any amp will get clean if you roll it back far enough - if it’s too quiet to hear when rolled down enough to be completely clean, it’s not much use in a live setting.

Do you have a raw clip - no changes to the mix/FX/EQ/compression - demonstrating dirty to clean by rolling back the volume? That would be instructive.

Nat - the only difference between the heavy tone and the clean tone in that clip is the roll-off of the volume on my guitar. I would never make that claim if it weren't true. Not one setting on the amp was changed. I did add some stereo micropitchshift from the Eventide H-3000 plugin to the clean sound in my DAW, but nothing changed between my guitar and the DAW except the volume roll-off on the guitar.

EDIT - There was actually one change. The clip was made with a guitar that has low output OX4 PAF clones in it - 8.3K bridge, 7.5K neck. Heavy was the bridge pickup, Clean was the neck pickup. So I did switch from the bridge to the neck pickup. I should also mention that the heavy part was doubled, while the clean was not.

Here are the exact amp settings (You can see there is a ton more gain on tap):



Here was the mic position:



I could easily re-create this...

Steve
 

rumbletone

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,580
Sure but that’s not fair because those Trainwreck circuits obviously have magic unicorn dust in them.

Seriously though - after I have a few more amp builds under my belt I’m going to try to build one - it really does seem to be the perfect circuit for touch sensitive playing. I’ve listened to your clips many times and they really are stunning.

Here is a (rather old, sorry!) video where I demonstrate the clean to dirty range of a Les Paul into a Trainwreck Express. No treble bleed used, no pedals at all. Notice how the tone controls also nicely scoop the mids on the clean tones, further improving the cleanup ability of the amp. After the first min of the video skip further to the middle where I more fully demonstrate the clean to dirty range. GK

 

sah5150

Member
Messages
629
Thanks for posting!

Re no changes to settings, are you saying that the level/EQ/compression were the same during mixing too? To me the clean tone actually sounds louder than the dirty tone, and with more low end, and I don’t see how that’s physically possible unless the level is being raised for the clean tone.

The reason I ask is that if the initial post is about playing live and just riding the guitar’s volume for clean vs dirt - and just about any amp will get clean if you roll it back far enough - if it’s too quiet to hear when rolled down enough to be completely clean, it’s not much use in a live setting.

Do you have a raw clip - no changes to the mix/FX/EQ/compression - demonstrating dirty to clean by rolling back the volume? That would be instructive.
The only thing I did was to raise the fader on the clean track a very small amount in my DAW so the volume was close to even with the doubled dirty track. That's it.

As far as live goes, I played hundreds of shows in the '80s and only ever rolled the volume off my guitar for cleans. Of course, you are going to lose some overall volume when you roll off the guitar volume to get clean, but the clean parts of songs are usually dynamically lower in volume anyway. If necessary, the engineer at the mixer can also raise the level on the mic'd cab a small amount as well (much like I did in the DAW), so rolling off to clean is perfectly valid live with my amp...

Once again, we are talking about a small volume rolloff here that doesn't affect the overall volume much.

Steve
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
6,488
The treble bleed circuit in my DGT allows for fantastic volume knob cleanup into my Bassbreaker 15. I can go from R&B rhythm to classic rock crunch with the turn of the knob on my guitar.
yes, when it comes to PRS, I usually either choose the DGT (not least for its perfect bleed), or a SC with no bleed and 50s wiring.
two very distinct voices when using the pots, I wouldn't want to be without either.
ymmv,
Rhino
 

Tootone

Member
Messages
5,346
Dunno if OP still following but you can try this, without needing to crank your amp.

I set this up into a Fender Blues Deluxe set clean/low volume.

I used a Cali76CD into a TurboRAT but you could probably use any compressor and OD.

Set up the compressor for a boost (above unity gain) and set for mild to medium compression - not full squash limiting.

Set the OD up for mild drive. On my TurboRAT I had the Distortion set around 9:30 O'clock, at unity gain.

With just the RAT engaged I get a nice overdrive sound (just past the "edge of breakup). With the compressor on, feeding into the RAT, I get more of a crunchy sound, approaching lead ...a bit louder but not saturated. The RAT is set a little brighter than normal.

Now I can use the volume knob on my guitar to go from Heavy Crunch, down to Overdrive, down to Hairy Clean without losing volume or losing treble.

The compressor is already removing top end direct from the guitar when it is on. As you turn the guitar down, it is driving the OD less so starts to clean up. Also although the guitar is losing treble as you turn it down, the bright OD is restoring it, and compressors treble cut is having less of an effect as the signal is reduced to near or just below its threshold.

The volume stays the same because because you are only removing compression from the compressor not the OD pedal.

I get all this on a Strat by going from volume on 10, and turning down to about 8. Past this point it gets quieter and duller... so don't go there.

Anyway... thought I'd share this if you want to have a go yourself and find a similar balance with your own pedals.
 

StompBoxBlues

Member
Messages
19,936
Dunno if OP still following but you can try this, without needing to crank your amp.

I set this up into a Fender Blues Deluxe set clean/low volume.

I used a Cali76CD into a TurboRAT but you could probably use any compressor and OD.

Set up the compressor for a boost (above unity gain) and set for mild to medium compression - not full squash limiting.

Set the OD up for mild drive. On my TurboRAT I had the Distortion set around 9:30 O'clock, at unity gain.

With just the RAT engaged I get a nice overdrive sound (just past the "edge of breakup). With the compressor on, feeding into the RAT, I get more of a crunchy sound, approaching lead ...a bit louder but not saturated. The RAT is set a little brighter than normal.

Now I can use the volume knob on my guitar to go from Heavy Crunch, down to Overdrive, down to Hairy Clean without losing volume or losing treble.

The compressor is already removing top end direct from the guitar when it is on. As you turn the guitar down, it is driving the OD less so starts to clean up. Also although the guitar is losing treble as you turn it down, the bright OD is restoring it, and compressors treble cut is having less of an effect as the signal is reduced to near or just below its threshold.

The volume stays the same because because you are only removing compression from the compressor not the OD pedal.

I get all this on a Strat by going from volume on 10, and turning down to about 8. Past this point it gets quieter and duller... so don't go there.

Anyway... thought I'd share this if you want to have a go yourself and find a similar balance with your own pedals.
Very nice writeup on a useful strategy to try!
 
Messages
656
In the early 70s I had a 50 watt Marshall head. No master volume.
With my Les Paul Custom the amp sounded amazing with the volume on 3-4.
What I did was use the neck pickup on full volume for solos, and the bridge pickup on 6 for clean tones. The treble and prescence knobs were up high on the Marshall to make up up for the lost treble on the guitar. And the full blast neck pickup benefitted from it too.
Kind of like primitive channel switching.
Only time I ever did something like that. But it worked well IMO
 

ProfRhino

Member
Messages
6,488
In the early 70s I had a 50 watt Marshall head. No master volume.
With my Les Paul Custom the amp sounded amazing with the volume on 3-4.
What I did was use the neck pickup on full volume for solos, and the bridge pickup on 6 for clean tones. The treble and prescence knobs were up high on the Marshall to make up up for the lost treble on the guitar. And the full blast neck pickup benefitted from it too.
Kind of like primitive channel switching.
Only time I ever did something like that. But it worked well IMO
this. :agree
 

classicplayer

Member
Messages
609
In the early 70s I had a 50 watt Marshall head. No master volume.
With my Les Paul Custom the amp sounded amazing with the volume on 3-4.
What I did was use the neck pickup on full volume for solos, and the bridge pickup on 6 for clean tones. The treble and prescence knobs were up high on the Marshall to make up up for the lost treble on the guitar. And the full blast neck pickup benefitted from it too.
Kind of like primitive channel switching.
Only time I ever did something like that. But it worked well IMO

I am just about doing the same thing with my Les Paul into an Orange Dark Terror. Where I don't try to
copy anyone else's technique or tone, it works wonders because it allows me more freedom to control all from the guitar with only one reverb pedal in the amps' effects loop.


classicplayer
 

LPMojoGL

Music Room Superstar
Supporting Member
Messages
8,936
Many amps clean up well with guitar volume. Any overdriven non master volume Marshall or Fender are great at this. Plenty of master volume amps, too.
Here is something I recorded this morning, comparing a Naylor to a Wizard. I stay on the dirty channel, just flicking the pickup switch on my LP with the neck pup turned down.


 

twotone

Member
Messages
3,343
I've tried it and it works okay, I guess. The only drawback is if it's done too much the guitar's volume pot wears out and I'm not too keen on opening up the guitar and soldering a new one in (which I have done a couple of times). One of these days I have to try out an opto-electronic volume pedal.
 




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