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

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

  1. WholeLottaGlove

    WholeLottaGlove Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys for all the responses. There is a wealth of information on this thread! I will certainly try dialing in my amp with the volume and tone rolled back a bit. Mainly, though, I’m looking forward to trying a treble bleed. After hearing some clips, it sounds exactly like what I’m looking for.
     
  2. Jarick

    Jarick Member

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    I started doing this a few years back. I use modelers not amps. So it works with better modelers and some amp models better than others.

    One of the things to be aware of is that bass signals eat up more energy than treble. So cutting the bass can help to clear up your signal. In practice, things that help you clean up with your volume knob are treble bleed circuits (on humbuckers especially) and "bright" amp channels (similar concept, a capacitor to filter lows). Beyond that, using a decent amount of gain helps but not having an overly gainy and fuzzy tone. You should be able to go from a little hotter than AC/DC to a nice clear clean tone with the volume this way.
     
  3. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    It’s one of those things that are oversold on forums. It’s one of those “wisdoms” like “all you need is a tele” that is only a partial truth. It works, sometime. Others not so much. It’s all dependant on context and what you need. Right now, i’m in two bands. one, a jazz thing, i can ride the volume, the other, a top 40 thing, i need clean and dirt to be independent of volume.

    There is no one answer
     
  4. Christopher Sullivan

    Christopher Sullivan Member

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    I prefer 50s wiring to treble bleed personally, but it makes the interaction between the volume and tone really sensitive.
     
  5. Johnny Ninefingers

    Johnny Ninefingers Member

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    It's not Jedi Knight stuff, it's just years of almost-good-enough workarounds bearing fruit. Learning to use amplifiers properly takes time; I say this because it took me until the mid '90's to be able to use a Twin to my advantage. (I was a Marshall 2204 guy all through the '80's, in the '70's I played all sorts.)

    When I started out, I had to try to make whatever amp I might have had sound as close as possible to the sounds my heroes made. And changing amps meant saving for a year or so... ergo, you just tried everything you could, and talked to other guitarists about how they did it, when you could. Often, the water cooler for guitarists was a guitar shop. It's marginally easier talking on here than it was talking to one of your heroes about his or her tone or technique in the old days; and TGP's collective dataset is pretty extensive.

    But it has to be said, clean tones from this technique work best with single coil p/u's.

    To be candid, I'm now old, and I won't be carrying my Marshall Stack up any more stairways, and the biz doesn't provide for the army of roadies that valeted our kit during Rock 'n' Roll's pomp. I can do it all now, including channel switching and multi FX, with a digital box. (Which means I've now got a couple of hundred digital emulations of my basic rig, with the odd tweak here and there.) The heavy lifting is now a thing of the past. And really, to be in the frame for the work that is out there you have to be either stunningly distinctive or hugely versatile. I'm opting for versatility as the easier option.

    But to reiterate, most folk get whatever it is they have to hand to give the best available sound for the job; and that's a good way of understanding your kit too. From experience, for example, I can tell you without any pedals it's easier to get a Marshall 2204 to sound close to a Twin than vice-versa; add a tube screamer to the equation and it changes.
     
  6. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    the exact vol / tone settings vary indeed, depending on many factors.
    my 6 / 6 were merely meant as a starting point.
    they are what I typically use with A2 PAFs and 4 hole Marshalls. :dunno
    most of my other rigs react somewhat similar ...
    ymmv,
    Rhino
     
  7. JohnnyBGoode

    JohnnyBGoode Member

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    I love how some Mesa amps I played clean up. However, in the last few years I've started playing with the guitar volume not fully open, so I actually choose gear that doesn't fully clean up when I roll off the volume knob...
     
  8. gigs

    gigs Member

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    Indeed.

    On my strat and tele, I found that the guitar volume somewhere between 3-4 with the amp a bit louder and hard pick attack gives some nice tone as well. Hard to do that live tho, with the amp volume so high.
     
  9. Lele

    Lele Member

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    I love the so-called "treble bleed" circuit, and I put it in all my guitars.
    Then there is anyway the matter of choosing the best values of the resistor and the cap.
    Imho a good compromise generally is a 150kohm resistor with a 1nF or 0.82nF cap (0.001uF / 820pF).
    The 1nF will behave better at mid/high volume while 0.82 nF could be a better option if very low volume is more important for you (with a balanced tone).
    Installing the circuit is rather simple, and even if there are many different versions of treble bypass circuit, this is one of the most balanced version to get a smooth change of the tone while adjusting the volume knob:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. the.godfather

    the.godfather Member

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    Yeah, it all depends on the particular guitar, pickups, wiring and amp. Sometimes it just doesn't work as well as others. I've had some guitars that have just refused to play ball when it comes to lowering the volume for cleans. As has been said already, it does seem to be something that gets oversold on forums a lot nowadays.
     
  11. Alchemist XP

    Alchemist XP Silver Supporting Member

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    ^^^^^^^ This.
     
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  12. stratotastic

    stratotastic Member

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    As with any discussion on TGP, we need to filter this through the fact that most people here are bedroom guitarists playing at don't-wake-the-baby volumes. How many of you use the treble bleeds in a band setting at volume? My experience is that mud at lower volumes has never been an issue with a cranked up power section. My all-time favorite clean sound is a Bassman at 10 with the guitar volume halfway. I understand the mud at low volumes from putzing around at home (the rare times that I even plug in at home), but it doesn't really bother me because home playing is its own thing.
     
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  13. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Member

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    7 pages of BS...

    [​IMG]

    ^ How Jimi really got his clean sound.
     
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  14. Tommy_G

    Tommy_G Member

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    The first response outlining treble bleed or vintage wiring shouldve stopped this thread :) because all the extraneous info simply creates uncertainty and confusion.

    Every humbucker guitar Ive ever owned needed treble bleed installed. For rock n roll, I set my bridge tone/vol controls for a light crunch and my neck p/u for creamy overdrive. For ballads I do the opposite.

    The vol control acts as an "underdrive" pedal. You pick the capacitor size that manages brightness relatively constant as you roll down. I prefer to brighten slightly as I roll down. That seems to help the amp respond to my settings. Pretty sure my bleed capacitors are 0.022 uF.

    Guess what? ... even the tone controls work as they should after a treble bleed mod.

    Further I find humbucker guitars far too sour in the mids for nice clean tones at max guitar volume. A treble bleed vol control cuts the bass and mids from the signal as you roll the pot down.. allowing you to match the amp gain setting with optimum tonal balance coming from the guitar.

    I have no idea why guitars are not equipped standard with these. Usually, both the vol and tone controls are useless without them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  15. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    This HAS been a great thread. Ties into another one I started on Allman brothers, etc.
    Lot of good ideas and points, but some are contradictory with others.

    Seems like if winnowed down to the essence of the most comments here. And as always YMMV, and it may depend on MV or non MV amp, etc. But for a lot of us...things to TRY...and see

    1) Set your amp with guitar vol down some. Anywhere from say 7-8 or even lower. Set the amp so it sound good.
    This tip, I did by chance as a kid with my first real amp (Ampeg VT-40). worked beautifully but it wasn't my expertise, or any knowledge that got me there, I just assumed you didn't turn the guitar up to ten unless you wanted a big solo sound. But later on in years I forgot this.

    2) you may, or not need a treble bleed cap on the guitar vol. Depends on guitar, amp, what you experience. However, since the guitar is as-is at the moment, try with whatever it is now... just keep in mind that would be an option if it darkens too much. One can also try to adjust the amp to compensate (though this might get to trebly on 10).

    3) Several videos here are excellent to check out, one instuctural ("Amp in the zone") specially.


    What else?

    But even though much of the advice is repeated, sometimes with small "differences" the main advice is good, and some folks here describe it so well it is good to see the same advice with just differnet phrasing.
     
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  16. mikendzel

    mikendzel Member

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    I've read a lot of posts where people are saying their clean is with the guitar volume on 7....

    As someone who gigged a non-master Marshall circuit, getting cleans by rolling his guitar volume down, I can tell you that those people are wrong. The cleans happen at 4-5. Now, I have a treble bleed circuit in my guitars, and it is NOT a miracle cure to losing treble; from 9-6 on the guitar volume, I do lose treble. The treble balances back out around 5. The signal is pretty darn clean at 4, but fattens up a bit at 5, your sweet spot is somewhere in there.

    Set the amp knobs for desired clean-ness with the guitar volume on 5, then roll the guitar volume knob up and see where you are. On a NMV Marshall style circuit, you'll probably need to take some bass out in order to keep it tight. Don't worry, in a mix you'll actually appreciate the fact that you can now discern your guitar and the bass, and the bass player will stop cranking his amp up!

    This will get you to "angus" levels of gain. You will need some extra juice by way of treble booster/boost/od, in order to hit VH1 levels of gain; boosts or od pedals with the volume cranked an the gain low provide the best in-the-mix results in my experience.
     
  17. CrazyChester216

    CrazyChester216 Member

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    This is essentially what I do also. My amp (and OD pedals for that matter) is set louder and brighter than it needs to be and I dial both back on the guitar to sit well in the mix. That way you have the option of extra presence with a little turn of the guitar knobs.
     
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  18. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    Just a little question. All consensus MV amps are not as good to use these methods.
    But, my MV Budda SD-18 for example has a clean and OD channel. On the Clean if I raise the MV, and then lower the volume (kind of negate the MV) aren't I getting it similar to a non MV amp?
    Maybe not...it depends and I forget exactly where the Master comes in to the circuit.
     
  19. Lele

    Lele Member

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    I use the treble bleed at performance volume level, and imho it's very useful or even essential.
    Nevertheless... YMMV.
     
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  20. broken_sound

    broken_sound Silver Supporting Member

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    A few things that'll help this situation...a buffer and some sort of treble bleed circuit if you have dark pickups.

    Off topic but not to dissuade you from the JCM800, I'd like to point out that on those two channel 800's there is a decent amount of channel bleed from the distortion circuit to the clean circuit, you should be able to get true cleans with a guitar volume reduction on the clean channel.
     

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