Why use a compressor?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by mike80, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    This might be sort of a noob question...I've been playing for 15 years, but one effect I've never messed with is a compressor. I use one on vocals and drums when I am doing recordings, just to keep the levels consistant, but I have never tried using on on a guitar.

    What is the purpose behind using one on guitar? Am I missing out on something? I mainly play newer rock music with a lot of gain, but I'll play clean for some parts. Would a compressor help out on my Dual Recto's cleans?
     
  2. shaneygoo

    shaneygoo Member

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    i don't know i think they started in the studio to polish and keep things even and worked their way into pedals, but they're an effect in themselves

    try one if you don't think you need it then you don't
     
  3. marcher5877

    marcher5877 Member

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    I use a compressor to keep my levels steady. In the band I play in, I basically alternate between clean, a wah and a TS-9. I need to keep all 3 of these different tones at the same level so I have my compressor at the end of my chain.

    When I am playing clean, the compressor boosts my indvidual note playing to keep it even with my chord strumming.

    When I use my wah, it prevents to much high end or "brittle-ness" and also keeps the levels in check.

    When I use the TS-9 its changes the tone but note the volume so much.

    It also overall "sweetens" my tone. Hard to explain but you can hear the difference. I play a semi-hollow body, so I keep the sustain on the compressor down why down and use the compressor volume as my volume output. My amp volume will be set to the room and not touched untill a different room.

    BTW, I use an analogman comprosser and I love it! Its the secret to my tone! Thanks Mike!
     
  4. geetarman

    geetarman Member

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    Can't speak for others but I simply use it to add sustain to clean lead lines or evening out clean rhythms.
     
  5. emjee

    emjee Member

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    That's a fair question. I didnt really understand what they did either.
    But then I went to Youtube and saw a demonstration of what a compressor does. Very informative. Just put "guitar compressor demo" in the utube search engine, it should come up in the first ten posted clips.
    Hope this helps.
    MG
     
  6. HandOfTheHost

    HandOfTheHost Member

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    I was in a similar place having never used comps until a couple years ago. Now I find using one helps beef up my clean tones so there's no perceived loss when going from an overdriven/distorted sound to a clean. I have mine last before the amp.
     
  7. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I find three good uses of compressors - one, squash it hard to get that chicken pickin' tone. two, set a subtle noise ceiling so your dynamics don't redline that poor mixer. Third, if you want to bring out some passages with a softer touch but still be heard over the drummer. that said, i currently own none because i'm a bedroom guy now, and rarely redline anything and just enjoying controlling dynamics manually - plus, i ain't no chicken picker!
     
  8. Flyin' Brian

    Flyin' Brian Member

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    It depends. I use mine for:

    An effect; Cranking it up squashes the attack for the perfect chicken pickin' sound.

    As a boost; I often set the gain on my compressor at some level above unity so it kicks up the output of my board and pushes my amp for solos.

    For sustain; I use a Barber Tone Press, which allows me to adjust the balance between compressed and uncompressed sound. By setting it to mostly uncompressed, I can get a very nice clean or over driven sustain without squashing the attack of my notes or affecting picking dynamics.

    To smooth out everything; I play best when I pick VERY lightly. The compressor helps to maintain and level signal, but will alow more if I want it.
     
  9. mike80

    mike80 Member

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    That's along the lines of what I was thinking, keeping levels even, but I have everything in my rig setup so that I don't have significant volume changes, and I'll vary my pick attack to help keep notes and chords even.

    I guess I really didn't give much thought to the sustain thing. I have a couple compressors in my studio, so I may hook them up and experiment this weekend. I can hear how it changes the sound when applied to vocals, but I've been pretty happy with my guitar tone, so I didn't really want to fiddle around with it, but I think I might give it a try now.

    I'll have to check out that YouTube clip.

    Thanks all!
     
  10. LPguitarman

    LPguitarman Member

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    I use my compressor as a boost / sustain for clean leads and distorted leads. Right now it is my lead boost for all types of tones, clean, dirty and even metal when used with my Grunge pedal.:RoCkIn
     
  11. dannyschmanny

    dannyschmanny Member

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    i like it as an effect mainly, over the years i have a very even playing style and spent the time to setup my tones and levels to be as even as i need them. i will squash like the guys who use it for chicken picking, but even more so so it almost starts pumpking and use that for clean chording for especially poppy tunes. has a really nice sound to it. will also use for extra sustain as well.
     
  12. Waffles

    Waffles Member

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    they keep sound compressed, and keep all your sound level
     

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