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

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

  1. llemtt

    llemtt Member

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    First of all you have to use a low capacitance cable...

    300pF to me is maximum acceptable capacitance if straight into amp input (otherwise you need a buffer!!)

    then everything else (amp, wiring, bleed,...) rightly comes into play.

    cheers
     
  2. McShred

    McShred Supporting Member

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    2 things are critical to making this work.
    1. treble bleed cap (so things don't get muddy)
    2. HSS guitar, switch to position 2, bridge split and middle pickup.
    in my experience, you can't get convincing clean tones, using this method, out of a les paul or similar. You need two pickups in parallel and the commensurate reduction in output that occurs.
     
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  3. Bighump

    Bighump Member

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    Most excellent explanation of setting this up. I watched a video on Youtube when i was first starting to play guitar again and he went over this and how to get many varied tones out of a Les Paul and this was one of this topics. Well done!
     
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  4. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    about MV in general :
    the MV itself is not necessarily evil - the trouble begins when you use it. :p
    power tubes are so much better at cleaning up than preamp tubes, and if you use a MV as intended, to make the amp quieter, you rely on preamp drive, as the MV throttles the power going to the big bottles by definition.
    there is only one solution against loud amps that still retains (most) of the feel of a cranked amp (including cleanup & touch sensitivity) - a good reactive load / reamping setup, and it's a great solution !
    Alternatively, for recording or home jamming, a load box with IR speaker emulation via PC will achieve the same.
    both options let you crank your amp and set your own listening volume.
    TGP is full of related discussions, so I won't go into more detail now.
    as always, ymmv,
    Rhino
     
    classicplayer likes this.
  5. Quad4

    Quad4 Member

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    Anyone have success with this using a power amp provided by a modeler/profile (Amplifire, Helix, Kemper). Then it becomes less of an issue of what amp you own.

    If so, recommendations on the amp models that work best?

    I realize this is flame bait.....
     
  6. RockDebris

    RockDebris Member

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    And Ty Tabor did this all the time as well and his sound practically defined the kind of "clean" tone I like. (I put that in quotes because it isn't really clean, its a bit of crunch. which actually fits well within a rock or power-trio context.)

    Very similar to you, I had heard about this and witness Tabor doing it all the time, but I didn't have the right setup to make it work. The first time this really clicked for me was when I order a set of Kinman single coils in a pre-wired harness that had the treble bleed circuit. Most of the guitars I have now use one. The Charvel Guthrie Govan has an AMAZING one ... it's almost voodoo magic to me how I can turn the volume of that guitar down to 1 and get shimmering cleans.

    There is definitely a case for having a matched approach between your guitar's volume circuit and the amp settings. A hotter pickup with a treble bleed circuit is my preference. The treble bleed circuit is a must (for the tone I want). A hotter pickup boosts the amp input a bit and allows for a lower gain setting on the amp while still giving me the amount of drive I want (works better with tube amps where signal level at the input has a certain behavior). A brighter tone overall helps too, single coils, JB pickup, etc. just for the sound that I'm after.
     
  7. massacre

    massacre Silver Supporting Member

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    Works for me

    Amp is 6w tube amp 5y3, 6v6, 6sn7
    Single channel, no reverb, tone and vol controls only.

    Guitar has single 7k ohm P90, 1 vol 1 tone control. Pots are stock ‘59 centralab 500k linear taper with stock .047 oil in paper cap.

    If I dime the guitar volume and roll back the treble, it will break up, distort. If I roll back the volume and add tone knob, it cleans right up.

    Ymmv
     
  8. macmeda

    macmeda Silver Supporting Member

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    Awesomest thread ever
     
  9. vortexxxx

    vortexxxx Member

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    Rolling down the volume can greatly effect some pedals too, giving you extra and different sounds depending on the volume level coming from the guitar.
     
  10. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I was thinking of negating, not using the MV as intended. Just not sure (I’ll just try it and see, but thought to ask here too) it will do it. If I crank the MV, get the volume to a sweet spot then try turning down guitar vol and dial the amp eq in?
     
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  11. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    yup, sounds like a plan. :aok
    super simplified, you are dialing in the amp for rhythm volume, not for lead as so many people do.

    it's not about philosophy, it's only logical - by turning the MV down (CCW) from its "bypass" position (fully CW on most amps), you reduce the signal going to the power tubes, making them run cleaner and cleaner, the more you turn down.
    this takes away the best part of the beautiful dynamic response we're talking about here in this thread. Sure, the PI *, the preamp stages and even most pedals will clean up as well to a certain degree as you roll down your guitar controls, but it's more of a "hard cleanup" (custom word ! ), getting massively quieter as well in the process.
    power tube drive on the other hand is closer related to compression than to a distortion pedal in a way, of course there is also some overdrive involved, but mainly lots of transparent compression.
    If you have a non-stomp box compressor (DAW plugin for example), you might have noticed there's a considerable part of the range where the output volume barely changes, but the dynamic character of your signal does - it's shaving off the transients (peaks), but not really reducing the bulk of your signal so much.
    With power tubes, this translates to the cleanup we experience.

    if you can, set up the following experiment and all this awkward theory will become crystal clear :
    MV amp > load box > adjustable level (mic pre or similar) > level meter (in the computer).
    feel free to add some kind of speaker emulation.
    now experiment with various settings of amp gain and MV, while always adjusting the resulting end volume to a certain reference point on your meter, say -10dBFS, or whatever works for you.
    as this will take listening volume out of the equation, you can try out all the opinions and tricks in this thread in a 1:1, apples to apples scenario. :cool:
    hearing is believing ...

    have fun, it's all about the playing experience after all, the physics merely work in the background, like it or not.
    be clever, make them work in your favour ! :D

    ymmv,
    Rhino

    * about PI - any kind of MV (not counting attenuators), be it pre- or post- PI, will reduce the signal to your power tubes, no exception.
    but a post- PI MV will allow you to keep PI overdrive intact as you roll it down, most people will prefer this behaviour.
     
  12. OotMagroot

    OotMagroot Member

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    The volume clean up thing only works for me when I am running an amp loud. At bedroom levels it still works somewhat, but nowhere to the degree than if your amp was at gig level. Set up your rhythm, dirty sound with the guitar on 7. Since the OP is using humbuckers, he can also lower the neck pickup but raise the polepieces (if applicable). If using something like an HSS guitar, goto the middle pickup.

    If I'm doing clean amp and pedals (which is what I do now), I usually run two drive pedals at the same time and turn one of them off to clean up - or turn BOTH off for super cleans. Just thought I would throw that out there too.
     
  13. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    I won't disagree, been doing the fully programmed, Top 40, MIDI rig thing too myself, sometimes even DI. :omg
    whatever does the job and pays the bills ...
    all home built and programmed of course, I know my way around 19" gear damn well, can still map out an entire tone offline on a piece of paper.
    but I always hated it, the brutally compromised dynamic freedom feels like playing with one hand tied behind your back ... :rolleyes2:
    somehow I always found back to my usual country rock "Top 40" bands, still some money to be earned (certainly not as much), but best of all, I could enjoy playing again, cranking my little Classic 50 and just having fun, doing it all from the guitar ! :dude

    ymmv,
    Rhino
     
  14. classicplayer

    classicplayer Member

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    This is a very informative thread and darn useful IMHO. We should thank WholeLottaGlove for starting this, ProfRhino for simplifying too much info, and everyone else who explained their own way of accomplishing this aspect of playing guitar and amp.

    Yes. If I were playing out, I could get my amp volume much higher than the home player that I am now.
    I've worked out (at lower “bedroom” or home volume), how to go about this manner of being able to clean up my tone. It does work at the volumes I play at, just to a lesser degree than say, playing stadium levels. I'm fortunate in that the Orange amp, with four gain stages, allows me a large amount of leeway with respect for the the ability to control clean to grit by rolling my Les Paul's volumes up or down.
    It's true that playing at home volumes on a 15-watt tube amp won't be as dramatic or cover a lot of in-between tones as much as goosing the amp in a large venue. At least, this information would benefit me
    should I return to playing out.

    For those players who, like myself, want to keep the act of playing simple and far less complicated,
    learning this skill of controlling your sound just from the guitar is a godsend..


    classicplayer
     
  15. Litterick

    Litterick Member

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    This interview with Jeff Beck might be helpful. The trick seems to be keeping the volume down, and using a Champ instead of the Marshall.
     
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  16. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    lol, you got me there ... :D
    I'm never completely happy with verbal descriptions, but they often work better for me than YT clips. :dunno
    the YT compression totally mangles finer details, and there's no way in hell you can "video" feel ... :rolleyes2:

    the only real way of experiencing tone and all these things we talk about here is to plug in and play - ideally together with a friend, so you can bounce impressions and ideas back and forth. :aok

    because ymmv,
    Rhino
     
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  17. classicplayer

    classicplayer Member

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    Absolutely! I didn't me that you were actually “simplifying” overly so, but simplifying a lot of the postings given up to the point you posted your own information. You turned my thinking on.....as in “Light Dawns Over Marblehead”. You have to me from Massachusetts to get that


    classicplayer
     
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  18. stargazer747

    stargazer747 Member

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    A bit more difficult to achieve if the guitar's pickups are very high output which tends to stay dirty regardless of where the volume is or are distortion models or are those active ones that have a battery powered preamp onboard they too can remain dirty. Also hard if you are using any sort of pedals still on like a boost (especially ones that get a bit of dirt as you up the volume), overdrives, fuzzes, and distortion. One trick I have developed to get a fairly clean tone by rolling back the guitar's volume to around 4 or 5 when using my single channel Orange Jim Root and Dark Terrors is to have a compressor (always on) set modestly and step on my EQ pedal set in the "V" form, this pulls some of the mids out making my clean tone sound almost like an acoustic/electric guitar.
     
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  19. 108

    108 Member

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    try using a volume pedal instead of the volume knob. that more or less simulates a “treble bleed” on the guitar, which i find way more usable to get cleans from a dirty amp.
     
    stargazer747 likes this.
  20. ProfRhino

    ProfRhino Member

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    this probably is because these loudmouths already clip the input stage of your amp, before the signal even reaches the gain control.
    I use low to medium wound PUs myself, in case I really need "more power", it's so easy to achieve with modern amps and pedals ...
    we're not in the 60s anymore !
    ymmv,
    Rhino
     

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