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Why do some players get XYZ dirt pedal only to use it with the gain off???

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,178
Wouldn't a boost or an EQ pedal with the volume up work better and be more flexible to drive the preamp? It seems that player wants a gainier pre of their favourite amp, not so much what the gain section of the pedal in question can offer.
(If this topic has been done to death, apologies in advance!)
 

Skreddy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,327
Some pedals have great cleanish/dirty boost sounds. For the life of me, I can't figure why someone would do this with a muff type pedal, though.
 

DC Music

Member
Messages
138
I see your point but some pedals impart a particular sound through the circuit even if the gain is off. A good classic example is a Tubescreamer where one of the best sounds is gain nearly off, output volume high. That juicy mid-hump is an exaggerated example of what can happen, but it's a good reason why dudes do this a lot.
 

SkeleTone

Member
Messages
24
I use an Ibanez OD850 with the gain almost off with a Vox AC10 or AC15, although it's a Muff type pedal. I got it for fuzzier sounds but liked the "gain off, volume up" sound even more in my setup - it is quite gainy even at that point. Maybe an EQ or boost would come close, but I'm happy with it as it is. There are no rules, sometimes things just work out totally different to what you expect.

Cheers,
Niklas
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
A Rat at low gain yields a stringy attack with plenty of sustain that is not overly saturated. John Scofield has made a career out of this application. Personally, the higher gain tones of a Rat do absolutely nothing for me, but I love this.

Wouldn't a boost or an EQ pedal with the volume up work better and be more flexible to drive the preamp? It seems that player wants a gainier pre of their favourite amp, not so much what the gain section of the pedal in question can offer.
Boost or EQ box is a different sound. Useful but different.
Not all desired tones are "amp-like".
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,178
Hmm, I'm not sure.
As for the TS application any EQ pedal with the volume up, any frequencies below about 700 Hz rolled off would boost your midrange. Rat, kinda similar. I guess all pedals do have certain gain structure characteristics and 'feel' properties that set them apart. The further the gain goes down IMHO the less those unique characteristics come into play.
Maybe the one pedal where this doesn't happen is the Klon Centaur. That thing is pretty much 2 pedals in one depending on where the gain is set, and I would say not many EQ's or boosts I've tried can match it.
I suppose I've always been bemused with the whole "Man this new dirt pedal just kills! I run it with the gain off and the vol cranked, it's great!" approach. Different strokes for different folks and their different amps, I guess :)
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,178
I wouldn't play music if I had to follow the rules
Awesome!
But I'm afraid you are following the rules, at least of musical theory unless you're playing a power drill over your pickups or playing your guitar with a whole elephant tusk or in a sealed vacuum etc... etc...
 

jdel77

Member
Messages
10,178
Im bemused a stomp builder has such a narrow view of how a product can work. Different strokes for different folks and their different amps, I guess :)
Au Contraire, my good man. I never said a pedal can't work that way. Of course it can. Rather, I'm the one bemused how some players would much prefer to never really use a higher gain pedal with the gain past 9.
Imagine buying a Bogner Ecstacy. And sticking only with the clean channel. Or a Les Paul and never playing with the vol knob past 7. Poor analogies, but the best I can come up with.
 

bluesjuke

Disrespected Elder
Messages
24,138
Not everyones needs are the same and not everyone uses pedals the same.
Mine are all set about 5db+ above unity with the amp.
There isnt a generic one size fits all approach or sound. You just make stuff happen as you like.
I dont like using eq pedals as a boost on a clean amp. It doesnt work for me. Neither does a clean boost. A drive pedal set with gain low but output high sits in side the sound of the amp better. Doesnt work for everyone.


Yes and I use them like this often.
Gives a good push and can enhance the amp's character while not really changing it.
This works great especially if you have a good amp.
 

Guinness Lad

Senior Member
Messages
15,853
Some pedals have a lot of gain on tap, but you have to understand turning the gain down a little and cranking the volume does the same thing to a degree.

So using a pedal in which you back off the gain but crank the volume might give you a more realistic lead tone. Less box sounding and much more amp like.

Also all these devices are run off 9 volts, that's a pretty wimpy signal so cranking the input volume would probably impact the preamp tubes more.
 

voorhiessa

Supporting Member
Messages
6,648
Setting up pedals is usually confusing to me. Even with the usual 3 knobs, I sometimes feel overwhelmed.

So, I typically go like this:
--gain cranked, volume just about unity, tone to taste...OR...
--volume cranked, gain just above unity, tone to taste.

Interestingly, often those 2 approaches yield very very similar tones.
 

BluesHarp

Senior Member
Messages
8,574
Its whatever sounds great for the musician, but in fine details.. its the differences in attack and EQ in the signal chain.

If a $1500 Klon works for you with the gain off, but makes your clean and other dirts sound 20% better.. then it works. Real simple.
 

thecornman

Member
Messages
2,385
I play through smaller wattage tube amps at high volumes with my band so my amp is always just at that breaking up level even with the gain set low! I only have one channel so it is my base sound. I use pedals to give more channels basically. I use overdrives for the most part for dirt. Even with those I do not have the gain set very high, because it would just be a screaming mess once I put it into my already hot amp. I will also use distortion pedals at times with the gain set low. The reason I use them instead of clean boosts is, because I want to colour the sound. I am not looking for a something that just sounds like my amp loader. I want and need completely different sounds at times. My band does not just play one standard kind of music so I don't want one standard sound. For myself transparent is not always better. As far as I am concerned pedals have so much gain on tap so people that are playing at quiet home levels can get that bigger sound. Not saying that is a bad thing. The more people it is going to work for the better. It is not hard for me to just turn the gain down when playing at band levels.
 

Tim Bowen

Member
Messages
3,481
As a gain "stacker", the most successful formula *for myself* has been to run: compression, then high gain to low gain, with gain on all pedals set fairly moderately. Goosing a foundational low gain, low compression OD with a higher gain OD or distortion with its gain set set low, works better for me than goosing same foundational OD w/ lower gain OD with its gain set higher. Often what is desired from "the gooser" is adding some of its character or EQ or compression or whatever - to the base tone. And that desired "character" may very well come in the form of a higher gain pedal set at a lower gain.
 

erksin

Senior Member
Messages
23,126
Hmm, I'm not sure.
As for the TS application any EQ pedal with the volume up, any frequencies below about 700 Hz rolled off would boost your midrange. Rat, kinda similar. I guess all pedals do have certain gain structure characteristics and 'feel' properties that set them apart. The further the gain goes down IMHO the less those unique characteristics come into play.
Maybe the one pedal where this doesn't happen is the Klon Centaur. That thing is pretty much 2 pedals in one depending on where the gain is set, and I would say not many EQ's or boosts I've tried can match it.
I suppose I've always been bemused with the whole "Man this new dirt pedal just kills! I run it with the gain off and the vol cranked, it's great!" approach. Different strokes for different folks and their different amps, I guess :)
EQs don't always have the same dynamic sensitivity or buffering characteristics or feel factor. I don't really see the problem - they're all tools. You use what works best. If that means a dirt pedal with the dirt rolled off then so be it.
 

charley

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,507
My favorite overdrive ever has been the Bearfoot Dyna Red Distortion! I run the volume at full, then use the gain knob really low. It sounds like the TS I always desired!
 

S. F. Sorrow

Member
Messages
8,337
I use a Fulltone Soul Bender with the gain to zero most of the time. Gives a warm creamy fuzzy/buzzy sound. With a neck pickup it's really nice.
 






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