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Do you use volume and tone knobs?

Cheesehead
April 18th, 2007, 03:09 PM
I just read a related thread on volume knobs, but it was more about technically how a volume pot works. Got me thinkin'...

Do you use volume and tone knobs when you play? How and why?

I used to use the volume knob more just for volume control (duh), as in "Can you turn that down?" but not so much for tonal variations. Then I read how my hero Albert King engaged both pickups, turned the bridge pickup all the way up, then adjusted the neck pickup for tonal variations (can't do this on a standard Tele but I can do it on my 72 Deluxe RI). That's gotten me experimenting more. I also read that Hendrix used to crank his Marshalls all the way up to ten, then control the volume with his guitar.

The tone control has always been a mystery to me.

TELECASTERbstrd
April 18th, 2007, 03:19 PM
NO.
I always leave my knobs wide open. I use my pick hand for volume level and try for great tone all the time. (playing country)

Pete Galati
April 18th, 2007, 03:28 PM
I use both to an extent. But it depends on the guitar, and the situation. I have a few guitars without any tone controls, and I'm slowly getting around to putting tone controls back into them. But it just wasn't a priority before, so if I needed another knob for something, I'd use the tone pot.

But I think the Wolfgang guitars are famous for not having a tone control.

Different tecniques. It's no big deal. I find that you can vary the tone plenty without a tone control, but just having them in the circuit changes the sound, which is my main interest in them.

Pete

markinlondon
April 18th, 2007, 03:40 PM
I use tone controls differently depending on the guitar. On a Tele I find rolling back the tone on the back pickup gives a nice vintage "boom" to the attack. On the front pickup it gives a plummy jazz tone and on both pickups it can add a little depth to the chime. On a Strat I'll often turn one tone control all the way down when mixing pickups to simulate a half cocked wah with distorted tones. This only works with heavily mid boosted distortion, a Rat is ideal.
I use the volume control to clean up distorted sounds and sometimes just to back off a little bite from the clean tones.

Big Steve
April 18th, 2007, 03:52 PM
I constantly use them. I set my guitar up for a nice ryhthm tone with the guitar volume at 7. Then when I turn it up for leads it gets more volume and grind. Sorta like a boost pedal if you will.

For tone, I strat at about 5 then adjust my amp. Now I can add treble if I need/want to. If you set your amp with the tone on 10 you can't add any treble back in.

I played about 10 years with them wide open before I really figured out how to use them properly.

Charlie Bernstein
April 18th, 2007, 03:52 PM
No.

ddewerd
April 18th, 2007, 04:02 PM
I use both, all the time.

For Volume, I run it about 75% open normally. That way I can get a bump if I need it, and it keeps the sound fairly clean. I use a tube amp, so opening up the volume 100% can introduce some distortion that I don't always care for. I also use a stomp box with multiple pre-sets that I use to boost my signal for solos without having to touch the volume.

For Tone, I run it about 50%. Depending on the song I make minor adjustments. Going to 60% noticably brightens it, while backing off to 40% takes some of the bite out. I rarely venture outside the 40-60 range.

I also play about 90% on my neck pickup (I think I'm in the minority). Even on the neck pickup, with tone at 60%, I can get a nice twang. I'll switch over to the bridge pickup for my more serious country licks. I never use both pickups (mid switch position) at the same time.

FWIW, I play a mix of country (new and old), light classic rock, southern rock, and blues. Nothing heavy or really overdriven.

Cheers,
Doug

Grin'n'pick
April 18th, 2007, 04:07 PM
I didn't used to until I started playing teles and more old school amps. Now I do and I feel my guitar sounds all the better for it. I always wondered why they were there but now I find I can 'fine tune' tone with them for both clean or overdriven sounds. It has sort of become second nature to adjust them for the sound in my head and the feel I'm looking for and accordingly I fiddle with them more than I ever thought I would. I think to a certain extent it would depend on the guitar and the electrics you've got, for instance I don't find my strat is as receptive to these kinds of adjustments as I find the tele, probably owes most to the cap values and the pups themselves rather than the model of guitar per se. On the rare occasions I play Les Pauls I leave them wide open, they just sound like I'm playing through a thick sock to me otherwise, but then after Fenders they often do anyway. :smile:

Chris Callahan
April 18th, 2007, 04:42 PM
I only recently started backing off the tone at the guitar and leaving it more trebly at the amp. I don't know why I think that sounds better but it seems crisper and less ice picky. Also I've been trying to use my volume as an old school channel switch. Down for clean, up for dirty.

J-man
April 18th, 2007, 05:28 PM
I use the volume controls to reduce/increase distortion, and I attempt volume swells and violining techniques (and fail =]).

I never really used tone controls on my Strats or other guitars till I got my 60's Classic, something about the sound of Tele pickups reacts much better to use of a tone control than Strats (IMHO).

teleclarkster
April 18th, 2007, 05:32 PM
I use them both.

RomanS
April 18th, 2007, 05:36 PM
Use em all the time; I usually turn the volume pot slightly down for rhythm playing and up for solos; and I always turn down the tone pot a bit when switching to the bridge pickup - it just sounds fuller that way...

maestrovert
April 18th, 2007, 06:02 PM
i play the Tele's controls in addition to playing the strings.....in leaving the pots full on, one can miss out on so much of the Tele's nuance and capabilities......

Jes' m.h.o.
y.m.m.v.

Geo
April 18th, 2007, 06:11 PM
I usually adjust the amp controls with the Tele vol. and tone control
up ~3/4. There is room for adjustments as needed with that.
On one Tele with hotter pickups I leave the tone all the
way up as it has a bleeder that brightens up and thins the
mids as the volume controls is lowered about 1/4.

Otherwise just use the occasional volume knob "swell" effect or tone knob
"sweep" of wha effect.

chickenpicker
April 18th, 2007, 06:53 PM
I tend to leave the volume wide, but roll the tone back (on my tele, that's the way to get that distinctive tele bridge pickup tone). My neck pickup's disconnected from the tone circuit though, because it sounded wooly with the tone rolled back.

elavd
April 18th, 2007, 06:53 PM
Take also a look at this thread of mine:
http://www.tdpri.com/forum/bad-dog-cafe/72858-%22wrong%22-play-like.html
:wink:

The String King
April 18th, 2007, 07:19 PM
"I also read that Hendrix used to crank his Marshalls all the way up to ten, then control the volume with his guitar."

Thats what the Three Kings did too, if i'm not mistaken.
I do it too. But with a Blues Junior... and they go to twelve.

Any one here ever put the reverb on 12? I can still here the power chord I played ringing in my ears now...

Tim73
April 18th, 2007, 07:30 PM
I NEVER used to touch them. I then watched a country guitar tuition DVD where a technique was shown getting wah wah from playing with the tone. i also found that if I roll back the tone a little with texas specials, it gives a better sound. The volume I play with less so.

marc sosnoff
April 18th, 2007, 07:48 PM
i play the volume at 7 or 8 tone at half tweak from there
seems teles more than other guitars work best using the vol and tone

Buckocaster51
April 18th, 2007, 07:48 PM
Do you use volume and tone knobs when you play?

Is this a trick question? :wink:

Some others have told me to crank 'em both wide open and get your volume and one with the amp.

That might work for them.

It doesn't work for me.

I tend to set the guitar knogs on the "fives," set the amp for the volume and tone I want, and then use the guitar knobs to take it from there.

I have the Buck Owens' Ranch videos. Don Rich is constantly on those knobs. (At least in the segments recorded "live.")

Good enough for Don Rich...good enough for me.

:grin:

hal
April 18th, 2007, 08:34 PM
I leave the volume open all the way. I roll the tone knob back a little when I go to the treble pickup.

tweedtone
April 18th, 2007, 08:42 PM
I'm continuously adjusting them for different sections of different songs. Recently added no-load Tone pots to my three main gigging guitars and it's opened up further worlds of tonal variation.

I tend to run my amps fairly bright and use Bardens - most of the time, I run the Tone knob around 8.5 so that when I really need to take the top of people's heads off, I've got the headroom in the upper range. Watch/hear the pinched harmonics fly! :)

Chris S.
April 18th, 2007, 09:00 PM
I ONLY ever use them to control the volume and the tone, respectively. :idea: They don't seem to do much good for anything else. :confused: Hope it helps, CS ;-)

jjz28
April 18th, 2007, 09:05 PM
I NEVER used to touch them. I then watched a country guitar tuition DVD where a technique was shown getting wah wah from playing with the tone. i also found that if I roll back the tone a little with texas specials, it gives a better sound. The volume I play with less so.

-Ever look inside a Wah Wah?........tone pot,on it's side, graduated with a toothed arm, pretty simple eh?.....most brilliant ideas are! JJ :idea:

shades
April 18th, 2007, 09:06 PM
Heck yah...the volume and tone controls offer a wide range of sound.
Usually the volume is set at 7 allowing room for a boost...tone at 4-6 for some meaty sound and 7-9 to let 'er belt it out. Changing the selector switch provides a bunch of options. Once my amp is set i usually leave it be. Dang Teles are mighty cool that way...

:cool:

dual_tone
April 18th, 2007, 10:59 PM
oh, heck yeah! the extent to which i tweak the knobs depends on the guitar, amp, and song/style. i know where i like them for each guitar/amp/tone/style, so it's not like i'm constantly tweaking them. it takes some work and experience to get to know what you like, but then it's easy to dial in the tone you want.

mellecaster
April 18th, 2007, 11:45 PM
I ONLY ever use them to control the volume and the tone, respectively. :idea: They don't seem to do much good for anything else. :confused: Hope it helps, CS ;-)

+1 Here.....:{)

Wop Geronimo
April 19th, 2007, 12:12 AM
For my tastes, keeping the V/T anything but wide open hampers the tele dynamics.......HOWEVER........ I use them a ton if I have 500k pots in a tele.

-PickupTruck-
April 19th, 2007, 01:06 AM
Ever sit up close at a Jeff Beck concert? He is constantly tweaking both. He is such a master that as he goes to do every phrase, he already knows how to adjust the tone/volume to make it come out just right. It's exhilarating and depressing at the same time to watch such a master.

BillyC
April 19th, 2007, 02:35 AM
I don't have a tone control,I have two volume controls on my main tele

degsycaster
April 19th, 2007, 02:47 AM
For my tastes, keeping the V/T anything but wide open hampers the tele dynamics.......HOWEVER........ I use them a ton if I have 500k pots in a tele.

I have 500k pots on mine so occasionally I have to. Otherwise people in the audience could get hurt!!!!

jjz28
April 19th, 2007, 03:44 AM
I don't have a tone control,I have two volume controls on my main tele

...thanks Billy, that's the third great idea I'm going to steal in the last month of my new membership here at TDPRI. What a wealth of info and ideas! I'm lovin' this stuff! JJ :grin:

Sarge
April 19th, 2007, 06:54 AM
If they put it on a tele it's there for a reason...so I use em', not so much for swells but when trying to get certain sounds when using the 3 pick up positions.

Disastercaster
April 19th, 2007, 07:26 AM
Any one here ever put the reverb on 12? I can still here the power chord I played ringing in my ears now...

I'm on a big surf buzz at the moment so, yeah! It's great!

Well, my Gretsch doesn't have a tone pot but I use the mudswitch plenty, and rolling off the volume ever so slightly get a great jazz tone.

I never really bother with them much live though. They normally create such subtle differences that it's not worth fiddling around with in the heat of the moment.

20texas20
April 19th, 2007, 08:10 AM
Us 'em both. I tend to play with a fair amount of overdrive on the amp so, the volume is used to clean up the sound when needed. The tone I use to fit the song or portion of the song.

I start out with the volume at max and the tone at about the mid point.

I also use the pup switch.

Cheesehead
April 19th, 2007, 08:47 AM
I ONLY ever use them to control the volume and the tone, respectively. :idea: They don't seem to do much good for anything else. :confused: Hope it helps, CS ;-)

Wise acre.:rolleyes:

I see in this thread that I'm not the only one that used to leave 'em wide open.

Cheesehead
April 19th, 2007, 08:52 AM
But with a Blues Junior... and they go to twelve.

Nigel: "These go to eleven.":lol:

Used to own a Blues Junior. Nice amp!

rand z
April 19th, 2007, 09:04 AM
i read an article years ago in guitar player magazine that suggested the best sound from any pup comes from having the "current" so to speak running at full peak... optimizing the inherent qualities of that particular pup. so, i try to run at full volume on any guitar and use my hand(s) or sometimes a volume pedal to control the dynamics.

as far a tone... well, im constantly slightly adjusting the tone as it seems to need micro adjustments at various parts of a song to either "cut" through the mix or "blend" with the mix. even at different positions on the fretboard, to my ear, there need to be adjustments made for tone i.e. on the lower strings near the nut i sometimes will tweek the tone to allow more highs to surface so as to cut some of the muddiness, and conversely ill attenuate some of the highs the higher up the fretboard on the unwound strings so as to not "tear" anyones head off with shrillness at higher volumes especially on solos.

this technique evolved naturally over the years playing in many live situations.

imho.


rand z tropicalsoul.net

nasonm
April 19th, 2007, 09:05 AM
I fiddle with them every now and again, but I don't usually mess with them too much.....plus now that I have a J5 Tele, I don't even have a tone control (just 2 vols)

faxx
April 19th, 2007, 11:26 AM
I sometimes use the volume to get a vibrato effect by repeativly wiggling it up and down...works well when playing big chords (especially on a closing chord).

Apart from that not often.
I'm still waiting for my Squire 72 custom II to arrive and because of it's 2 volume & tone controls I can see myself experimenting a little more with volume.

JCollins
April 19th, 2007, 11:50 AM
I use both controls, all the time. I set my amp up to be louder and brighter than I think I'll need it, and control everything from the guitar.

0le FUZZY
April 19th, 2007, 11:55 AM
NO.
I always leave my knobs wide open. I use my pick hand for volume level and try for great tone all the time. (playing country)



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BlackASATClassic
April 19th, 2007, 12:26 PM
I constantly tweak them. Solo boosts, trems, swells, wah's, all kinds of stuff.

fabiomayo
April 19th, 2007, 05:23 PM
Use em all the time; I usually turn the volume pot slightly down for rhythm playing and up for solos; and I always turn down the tone pot a bit when switching to the bridge pickup - it just sounds fuller that way...

Exact same way here. :wink:

Robert H.
April 19th, 2007, 08:39 PM
I use them. That's why they're there. Like a steering wheel and brake pedal. Can't just floor the gas pedal all the time.
What tone do you want for each song? What tone do you want for lead as opposed the rhythm?

AnArmyOfJuan
April 19th, 2007, 11:42 PM
I always used to set 'em on full throttle and go for it. now that I have two amps that react better to guitar volume changes, I'm starting to use them more. as an example of how rarely I've used them in the past, my first build, the Jensen Mjöllnir, has only an on-off switch. :P

Stubee
April 19th, 2007, 11:48 PM
Heck, I'm new to Teles and thought one of the cool features was the responsiveness of the controls. I use the tone control a fair bit, esp. with the bridge pup for rhythms & some other stuff, leave volume probably 75% full as a minimum when playing with other guys, boost that for some leads. Also vary tone & volume with attack, they're nice & sensitive to that too.

zoppotrump
April 20th, 2007, 05:54 AM
only the volume for dynamics, for i boost for leads . never touch the tone pot.
take care
zoppotrump
:O)

Chicago Slim
April 20th, 2007, 07:46 AM
It took me 30 years, to learn how to fully use my volume and tone controls. Now real singers, and recording artists will hire me, because I know how to stay off their vocals.

montyphoto
April 20th, 2007, 09:51 AM
I just read a related thread on volume knobs, but it was more about technically how a volume pot works. Got me thinkin'...

Do you use volume and tone knobs when you play? How and why?

I used to use the volume knob more just for volume control (duh), as in "Can you turn that down?" but not so much for tonal variations. Then I read how my hero Albert King engaged both pickups, turned the bridge pickup all the way up, then adjusted the neck pickup for tonal variations (can't do this on a standard Tele but I can do it on my 72 Deluxe RI). That's gotten me experimenting more. I also read that Hendrix used to crank his Marshalls all the way up to ten, then control the volume with his guitar.

The tone control has always been a mystery to me.


Full speed ahead with both volume and tone. Both are cranked to 10. Pedal control for volume, ONLY!!!