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

NatGardner

Member
Messages
303
Here is a short clip I put together of one of my amps. PLEASE NOTE - the heavy guitar fades out completely before I rolled down my volume and played clean...

Henning Bottle Rocket Heavy and Guitar Volume Rolloff Clean Clip

Both the clean and the heavy were recorded with the same settings on the amp, I just turned the volume down on the guitar to get the clean. The amp is set for a super high gain tone...

Guitar had OX4 PAF clones in it. Overall amp volume was quite low - definitely not cranked. Amp has multiple masters...

Seems to me you can get perfectly clean sounds with just guitar volume rolloff...

Steve
Is it against the boards rules to call a polite BS? :) Are you saying you cleaned up that much ( from death metal to pristine clean) at the same volume with just your axe's volume pot? Sounds fishy, but I apologize if I am wrong and have my credit card out to buy that amp if you can make a vid


Peace --Nat Garder
 

Mr Fingers

Member
Messages
2,479
Going from borderline breakup drive tones to clean sounds is not that hard to attain. As this thread shows, there are numerous ways to do this, and I won't repeat them or add to it. I'll simply emphasize that you need to have the right volume pot, the right taper, and the right overall wiring (which to me is treble bleed and modern wiring, but doesn't have to be...) . You also need to know how to adjust your amp (of appropriate power) for what you want (some want power tube saturation; I do not...). Of course, what many people forget is that turning down the volume knob turns down the volume. If you want to go clean while retaining the same volume, don't count on the knob alone. And finally, having seen Roy Buchanan a number of times, I can attest to volume swell for effect, but otherwise he relied on his touch for volume changes. He hit the strings hard for loud notes, and more gently for softer notes.
 

mattthehoople

Member
Messages
527
I could do a complete jazz guitar gig (if I had the chops) with my Metropoulos Metroplex.

But for absolute clean, even Fenders can be too gainy.
 

Simon

Supporting Member
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6,728
You’re probably missing a treble bleed circuit of some sort on the volume pot(s) of your guitars. Without one you get just as you described: mud.
What this Guy said, I have to have them all my guitars, I hate mush!!! Veri-Treb is the one you want.
 

sah5150

Member
Messages
629
Is it against the boards rules to call a polite BS? :) Are you saying you cleaned up that much ( from death metal to pristine clean) at the same volume with just your axe's volume pot? Sounds fishy, but I apologize if I am wrong and have my credit card out to buy that amp if you can make a vid


Peace --Nat Garder
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
 
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cosmic_ape

Supporting Member
Messages
6,414
Well, you need a couple of things to do this right.

  1. A guitar with a good treble bleed circuit.
  2. An amp that cleans up enough, or a slightly overdriven amp that cleans up good with some sort of boost thrown in front for solos.
  3. An “always on” compressor pedal, either in the front or in the loop (try both); in case your cleans sound weak and thin in comparison.
 

Wee Jock

Member
Messages
308
2) If amp isn't overdriven, use a overdrive and/or fuzz pedal that responds well to guitar volume knob adjustments (Mad Professor Sky Blue OD, Roger Mayer Voodoo 1, Maxon SD-9, Effectrode Mercury Fuzz, etc)
If you were going to achieve your overdrive sound by using a pedal, I can see using the guitar vol to back off to a crunch but wouldn’t you just switch the pedal off to get a clean sound?
 

tinkercity

Supporting Member
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5,225
Treble Bleed is incredibly important especially with humbuckers from what I've found to do this. I do it with amps and pedals. It works and sounds great :)
 

tiktok

Supporting Member
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22,408
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?
For me, the trick is to dial in your amp with the guitar volume and tone less than full open. Some guitars have pots that don't work well with this. I've had to fiddle with several Fender style guitars to adjust that--none of the Gibsons I've owned have had the problem, be they from the 80's, 90's or more recent models. On a Gibson style guitar, I'd set the guitar volume pot to 5 or so, and the tone to around 7, then set the amp volume pretty hot--7+, and then tweak the amp tone controls and guitar controls to where I have a good clean sound. Then when you turn the guitar volume up, it gets louder, brighter and more distorted.

It's a technique from the non-master volume days, so if you're hoping to go from squeaky clean to endless sustain, it's probably not going to work. If you want a distorted sound that's the same volume as your clean sound, it's not going to work. If you have a channel switching amp that's designed around pre-amp distortion, it may not work, or more likely it'll work on one channel and not the other, again depending on the circuit and the range of clean to overdrive you're looking to get. You may also find your s/n ratio in the "clean" range isn't what you can achieve with a discrete channel switching amp. If you're also trying to use a variety of dirt pedals, it probably won't work--the amp is really hot in this setup, and most dirt pedals are designed around a robust input level, so if your guitar volume is lower than normal and your turn on your dirt box, you're probably going to get a volume and hiss boost without the accompanying clipping sustain.
 

Highway Man

Member
Messages
378
Is it against the boards rules to call a polite BS? :) Are you saying you cleaned up that much ( from death metal to pristine clean) at the same volume with just your axe's volume pot? Sounds fishy, but I apologize if I am wrong and have my credit card out to buy that amp if you can make a vid


Peace --Nat Garder
Plexi plus fuzz face will go extremely clean with the volume knob.
 

NatGardner

Member
Messages
303
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.

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
I am a 2 small club gig a month guy. Thats a $2300 50 w head. I was hoping you had a small 18w weekend guy amp. Thanks
 

sah5150

Member
Messages
629
I am a 2 small club gig a month guy. Thats a $2300 50 w head. I was hoping you had a small 18w weekend guy amp. Thanks
All good, man! When I was playing the LA clubs in the '80s I got all my cleans from the volume knob on my guitars so I wanted the same thing out of my amps. I just found the results of this little clip test interesting...

Steve
 
Messages
4,368
There’s a lot of good info in here. I’ll add that, counterintuitively, I’ve found a good compressor to work well to balance the levels and pump the clean up a bit.

I'll also add that you're better off with the guitar's volume a little higher and picking lightly, than you are lowering it down so it's squeaky clean when you're heavy handed. That's how you enter the mud zone. Clean it up, and don't forget about picking dynamics, as you would with any clean sound.
 

ebenezer

Silver Supporting Member
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2,092
Putting a treble bleed on your guitar's volume pot is a definite must on humbucker guitars.
 

aynirar27

Notable Member
Gold Supporting Member
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31,558
Bridge on 10
Neck on 6

T-tops and tubes
 
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SlightReturn

Member
Messages
93
The Kinman treble bleed mod does it for me. I don't like the other mods.

.0012mF cap and 130k resistor wired in series. The bare leg of the cap goes to the center lug of the vol. pot, the leg with the resistor on it goes to the outside lug.

https://kinman.com/perfect-guitar.php#volumePots


That makes a huge difference for me. All the difference in the world. Really breathes life back into the guitar and is super natural sounding.
 

woof*

Member
Messages
7,463
If you can’t do it with your amp, you are using the wrong amp. High gain amps don’t this this very well usually.
Being able to go from clean to scream with your volume knob is the great joy and expressive thing in guitar playing.
I do this every day on either my Super Reverb or Superbass.
 

Stone Driver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,170
If you were going to achieve your overdrive sound by using a pedal, I can see using the guitar vol to back off to a crunch but wouldn’t you just switch the pedal off to get a clean sound?
Totally can do it that way, and depending on the song it might necessitate it. I just personally prefer the gradual dynamics (aka “50 Shades of Overdrive to Cleans” ) with using the guitar volume knob and friendly gear down the signal chain. It took me a while to appreciate it and this is totally subjective, but it really feels more “fun” to me to play like that. Kicking on a Octavia mid song is a gas though too :). Different strokes!
 




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