Anyone else "amping hot"?


Friend of Leo's
Dec 3, 2012
Austin, Texas
I don't know the term for this so pardon my arbitrary description. I hear a lot of people complain about a variety of amps not sounding good unless they are played at high volume and often end up too loud for practical situations, whether at home or on a gig. Something I started doing in the last year or so that has gotten me around this is turning my amps up (Tweed Champ clone with a 12" ceramic speaker and more recently, a Henriksen Bud 6)...either all the way or much higher than is practical and then rolling my volume off on the guitar until I find the sweet spot. In most situations, I find this works better than trying to dial in the sweet spot with the guitar volume (and tone) wide open. Now, admittedly, I use my volume and tone knobs probably more than the average cat, especially since I play jazz most of the time, but this has worked really well for me.

I feel like what we're after when turning up an amp is more natural compression and harmonics, which are sometimes hard to get lower on the volume dial (on the amp). I don't know if this would work with every amp, b/c the Champ is a fairly compressed sounding amp anyway (to my ears) and the Bud has the Input Gain knob, which adds more amp compression as you turn it up.

Discuss, brothers.
This is the Roy Buchanan method. He used a SF Vibrolux Reverb with the volume, treble, and bass all on 10, and the reverb between 2 and 4. He controlled the volume and tone with his hands and the knobs on the guitar.

Also note that Leo Fender's first amps were sold as a pair along with his lap steel guitars, and the amp had no volume or tone controls.

This is why I build amps that sound great with the volume control dimed, and they're still low noise.

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