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

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by WholeLottaGlove, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    parallel posting ...
  2. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Not all amps do the guitar volume thing very well. But Pete gives a nice description of it here.

  3. G34RSLU7

    G34RSLU7 Member

    Nov 13, 2018
    you need a Linear taper pot and a treble bleed.
    Tom Gross likes this.
  4. Kelly

    Kelly Member

    Jan 6, 2008
    Totally amp dependant. The Fryette Deliverance does it better than any amp I've ever used. It doesn't need to be cranked, or a treble bleed used.
    In Absentia likes this.
  5. Wolfboy1

    Wolfboy1 Grandpa but...Not Yet Old! Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    Columbus, Ohio
    Really what you need is a Lovepedal. Maybe a 5E3 Deluxe, Purple Plexis or Tchula etc. These pedals in front of your amp are magnificant. (as are others I'm sure) Set your amp as clean as you can then set the pedal for just the right nastiness when your guitar is dimed. Then roll back your volume to clean up. Something I'd never done till I discovered LPs.
    PLX and classicplayer like this.
  6. NatGardner

    NatGardner Member

    Dec 17, 2014

    This is how you do it. Full volume and your tone adjusted for cut needed for your solo. I also keep an EQ in the loop with the volume and the mids up a bit This way I can boost the volume and cut of my cleans without adding gain. I also can boost the volume/cut of my leads without gain too.

    Once this technique is understood and mastered you will re think all the amps you bought and sold before and wonder if you should have kept some of them
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

    Jan 13, 2016

    There are the tricks in these videos.
    You may need a treble bleed (don't go 50s style wiring because turning down the tone drops the volume too).
    You need to set your amp and pedal breakup points. You may just have your gain set so high that any volume at all out of the guitar is giving you fizz.

  8. voorhiessa

    voorhiessa Member

    Mar 19, 2009
    only luck I've had is by:

    --amp with good amount of mids (like your Marshall)
    --using less gain that you normally would (but still enough for rock grit)
    --putting your guitar on 6-7 and setting up your cleans that way
    --accept that cleans aren't going to be squeaky clean...but probably good enough for band mix
    --accept that when you roll up for 10 for lead stuff, it's going to be harsher/brighter than you're used to........but probably better for band mix
    --I have a tele too, without the treble bleed, and this seems to work well.
    gearscrubs and classicplayer like this.
  9. Fusionshred

    Fusionshred Supporting Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    I've been playing for 40 years. Once I started getting into gear and soloing, I've used 2 channel amps. I've NEVER experimented on this concept except once after seeing an incredible demonstration of it in Steve Morse's instructional video and then walking into a music store, plugging into a 2203 into a 4x12 and cranking it.

    I couldn't really get it to work, but that's because my gain is high gain and my clean is jazz squeaky clean. I can't do it without a volume drop. I think I would have unrealistic expectations if I though a single-channel, non-master volume amp could cover this wide a spectrum. The best I can do is roll off volume at the guitar to go from searing high-gain lead to crunchy rhythm. BUT Morse got pretty close to this distortion-down-to-clean thing in that demonstration, just by using his pickup selector switch, volume knob and pick attack. When I first saw it, I was like "How the f*** is he doing that?!?."

    Those of you who can pull this off are like the Jedi Knights of the guitar universe. It seems like it would be so freeing.

    I'm often getting this romantic notion of selling everything and going with one single-channel Marshall, a cord, and maybe a delay, and that's it. LOL!
  10. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

    Dec 26, 2004
    If you value loud cleans that you can pump out with optimal tone and energetic playing for your rig, forget it.
    For rock/blues, if you are the main guy that sets the band level it works well.
  11. C-4

    C-4 Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    I love Red Bank, NJ! Florida now Europe later

    In a band mix, you will hear less of the grit attached to the note of a guitar with a rolled back volume control.
    The reason you are experiencing an unsatisfactory volume roll back could be anything from how you have your amp set, and guitar, to the values of the pots and caps in the guitar, regardless of whether or not you are using a specific type of pot, as you stated.

    It might also be your picking technique, as stated earlier in this thread. I never expect to hear from a rolled back volume control, the same feeling and exact sound of an amp set clean and my guitar volume wide open.
    ProfRhino and Thumpalumpacus like this.
  12. MrKite89

    MrKite89 Member

    Nov 15, 2014
    Milano, Italy
    Same experience here, 'till I bought a used '51 Nocaster NOS: on that guitar I actually love the tone of the bridge pu with the volume at 75% or so, best rhythm RnR tone ever into a cranked Vox AC30 or Fender DR amp, and if you crank the knob you get a slightly brighter tone ideal for leads...

    Don't ask me why, probably a combination of the inherent tone of the pickups\guitar and the impedance of the circuit (I have the old\original "Blend" circuit installed)...

    All my other guitars are just meh in this application...
    stratpaulguy86 likes this.
  13. TopJimmy5150

    TopJimmy5150 Member

    Aug 8, 2005
    I do this all of the time playing live. I tend to run clean amps with an OD on in front of them all of the time (or a digital emulation of the same thing). My tone isn't wildly distorted...my tone goal tends to be the Van Halen 1984 guitar tone. It's not a pristine clean but good enough. I'm not a big fan of radical departures from my standard sound.
    classicplayer likes this.
  14. rickt

    rickt Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2018
    North Carolina
    As others have said, a treble-bleed circuit will eliminate the muddiness as you turn down the volume. The other component is the amp. Each amp is different, even among the same make and model. And, yes, some amps will not yield a pristine clean. There are a lot of variables that can be tweaked to get the best tone out of your rig (guitar-->cable-->amp).
    RockDebris likes this.
  15. mikefair

    mikefair Supporting Member

    May 11, 2008
    Cincinnati, OH
    If you need proof that it can be done, check out this track. The cleans are pretty clean and there ain't a pedal in sight.

  16. HughesP

    HughesP Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    Some people like the treble roll off, because it also serves as a cut in presence in a live mix...

    One option is to set the amp EQ with the guitar rolled down. Realistically, most of us spend more time on rhythm volume rather leads anyway.

    And yes, You’ll still have more treble content on your leads, but they’ll now have lots of cut, and your cleaner sounds will be more to your liking.
  17. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

    Aug 9, 2004
    There are two approaches to NOT losing treble from the guitar when you turn down the volume (the mud you mentioned, OP, comes from the guitar not the amp). One is the treble bleed circuit, basically a cap in parallel to the volume/tone controls that lets some of the treble leak thru to the output jack no matter what you do with the controls. The other is what's called "vintage wiring" where the tone pot is fed from the wiper of the volume pot (IIRC) so that, as you turn down the volume the effect of the tone circuit on brightness doesn't change. That's the kind of treble conservation that all the old Gibsons and Fenders used to use.

    The second issue is the one of compression and the amount of distortion people have talked about. As an experiment see if you can find a Ge Fuzz Face and a Big Muff. Hook em up to a clean amp and turn the gain to 80% and the volume to even with your clean sound. When you're playing thru the FF, turn down the volume on the guitar-notice it cleans up gradually while also thinning and getting a little quieter. Try the same thing with the BMP-no clean up, roars until the volume drops to nothing. That's because the BMP is WAY more compressed than the FF. With your amp, the kind of settings where this would work are with the gain knob at 9-10, then turn up the master volume until the rest of the amp is starting to get you the crunch you need. Now turn down the volume: voila! That level of volume from a JCM800 is usually pretty brutal, though, so the other thing you might want to think about is an attenuator so you can have your crunch and eat it too!!!!
    RockDebris, Rockinrob86 and LordByron like this.
  18. eoengineer

    eoengineer Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2017
    Winchester VA
    This is in line with my experience. My Superlead is more responsive to volume rollback than my Mesa Mark III lead channel, the Mesa still does well.
    To echo some other posters though, you can’t roll back from master of puppets crunch to a fender clean. You will either need to play with less gain or be ok with dirtier cleans.
  19. bluesoul

    bluesoul Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Central IL
    Depends on how much gain (amp overdrive) you start with! Big difference between getting and amp in crunch territory vs overly saturated. Low volume and lots of preamp gain won't clean up well. Cranked amp just breaking up will. Getting an overdriven sound from the cranked power section of an amp works much better for volume rolling...and most folks need some boost for solos. Some amps are much better as to how they clean up.
    spentron and Thumpalumpacus like this.
  20. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

    Jun 26, 2015
    Right. I usually recommend people dial the amp with the guitar's volume and tone rolled back some. Where exactly depends on the pots, but it doesn't matter a whole lot since they are variable. When the guitar's V and T are both all the way up, it will be bright. And of course, picking position affects tone.

    I don't recommend treble bleeds. I've never found one I really liked. 50s wiring works well.

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