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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by bluesholyman, Dec 20, 2019.
That explains A LOT!!!
You either compress with a pedal and have some change in tone and how your notes feel while you play, or you will be squashed in post, perhaps without any obvious impact on your tone.
I've been playing country music for years without a compressor. Guys like Guthrie Trapp, Redd Volkaert, and Marty Stuart play country music just fine without. They all have very different tones and styles from each other, but none are going for that 90's country squashed tone. If that's what you're aiming for, then you might benefit from one. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
Well, I’m just getting into country as a guitarist, played in country bands for years as a drummer. Told by several people I need a compressor. Bought one a couple or three months ago, not sure yet whether it makes a huge amount of difference either way. Will keep messing with it and see.
I've always associated a compressed clean tone with 90's Country (Brent Mason, Vince Gill) as has already been noted by others. I personally prefer the "tone" of the Bakersfield tele sound (Don Rich, Roy Nichols, Gene Moles), without a lot of compression. I play using low wind twangy pickups and a Princeton Reverb so I get all the natural compression I need. I tried a compressor pedal for a while, but found it was overkill.
Pickups also make a big difference. I have some Fender PV 64's and found they have a nice snappy compression all their own.
Compressors are for people that:
A: hate / can't use dynamics
B: hybrid pick mostly
I find that when using a real amp, a compressor sounds bad. When using a PCB/digital/modeling amp a compressor can help. Then again, most anything can help.
Properly adjusted pickup height negates the need for a compressor, I find.
I don't play much if any country and have little experience using a compressor pedal but I thought a compressor pedal was used more for a feel thing, evening out the string volume and adding sustain which you can then palm mute or not. I thought the change in tone was more of a by product of that than the main objective.
I won a Yamaha compressor pedal as a door prize in the 80s at a guitar clinic and messed around with it for a while but it wasn't much use for what I was playing at the time. Didn't affect the sound a whole lot but it did feel different playing with it on.
Pete Anderson playing with Dwight proved you don need no stinkin compresssor to getcher twang on
Cool track. The TV studio was most likely using limiters though. That's where the pedal compressors really stem from. A lot guitar sounds of the mid 60's use a DI to a studio compressor or limiter then to an EQ then to tape with no amp. For sure on a TV feed they would have a limiter strapped over the final signal. Blowing a transmission tower by feeding it too much level could cause dead air in those days. Once you know how to listen for it, compression is all over the place on recordings post 1960. The Beatles used all sorts of compression when they were tracking. Those recordings were a big reason why other engineers started coveting a Fairchild limiter and trying to figure out what tricks they were using to keep the guitar levels so even. McGuinn with The Byrds is a classic example of guitar hitting a compressor/limiter then going straight to tape.
Of compression, you don't really need it to make great country sounds. Technique will always reign supreme, but a well designed compressor pedal can make the job easier. I am not a country player, but like to use compression to clarify my signal. People get hung up on whether they can hear the compression, so they end up setting their pedals for too much squash. I look at compression as a means to add clean sustain when not using dirt boxes or to add articulation to my beloved fuzz pedals. For certain country sounds, an older MXR Dyna Comp straight into a good amp is always a winner.
My concept for most of this gear stuff is if it sounds great, then it probably is. Turning off your devices to know what your raw feed sounds like is a helpful guide. Compression is easily screwed up by setting a compression level too high. however, once you bond with a specific compression pedal it can be a great experience. My personal weapon of choice is the now discontinued Origin Effects dual channel Slide Rig. That pedal just killed it for my needs. Too bad they don't make that version anymore, but miniaturization is the rule of thumb for pedal boards.
He must have changed his mind after the fact. Pete knows his way around a recording studio, so I bet he loves an UREI LA-3A on a guitar track. His technique is flawless, so he probably doesn't need pedal compression, but his pedal just gives a bit more sweetness to his playing. Guaranteed he isn't making much if any bank from this pedal:
Yeah not much a fan of post-Dwight Pete, or post-Pete Dwight for that matter. Good example of that deal about the whole being greater than the sum of it's parts, and all...
I don't necessarily need it to play country but I do like it for a clean boost/sustain.
Ins & outs of using compressor
FWIW... Albert does not play with a compressor... but the tone you hear on the recordings are heavily compressed. IE: You will not get his "finished" tone without a compressor. Vince Gill is an Albert Lee protege... Vince uses a compressor and has a "finished' guitar tone.
That doesn't just apply to Albert... that's recording in general regardless of the guitar player or even the style of music.
There are four or more layers of studio compression on pretty much everything we hear... every stage has an impact on the sound.
Track Compression (specific to each instrument/vocal...)
Bus Compression (specific to instrument and vocal groupings)
Master Bus Compression (mix)
Mastering Compression/Brick Wall Limiting (mix)
Bottom line.... you don't have to play with a compressor, but if you are after that "finished sound" you might find it very helpful.
When I bought my first electric guitar (naturally a Telecaster), Guitar Center was running these package deals where you got a particular Boss pedal free with certain amp purchases. Their "country guitar" package was a Fender Deluxe Reverb and a Boss CS-3. Not knowing any better I bought that. They also had a "heavy metal guitar" package which was a Marshall amp and a Boss Metal Muncher, a "blues guitar" package which was something or other and a Boss Blues Driver, etc.
You could certainly do worse.
Hmmm, back in the day it was done live without compressors. OTOH, I (me, myself) can’t do it (yet) without compressor and a bit of slap-back. So...is it doable. Yes. Is it doable for me? Not so much. Is it doable for you? Only you can decide.
No compressor here.
I use the big TC Electronic Hyper Gravity compressor (not the mini). I like it and got used fairly cheap around $70 . It does have the blend and of course the TC toneprints that can be downloaded and used (which I haven't done). Besides the toneprint setting there are 2 builtin types: vintage & spectra. I use the vintage setting with the blend about 10 o'clock. Does what I want and seems fairly inobtrusive.
Vince Gill has done quite well with a CS-3 compressor... just sayin'
That sound is very compressed... so much so you can hear it pumping! Just because a player does not use a compressor does not mean his sound is not compressed elsewhere.... and we are hearing the "elsewhere".
Here is one of Albert's most famous recordings... you CANNOT get this tone... as we hear it... without a compressor.
Here is another vintage Albert.... same thing.
That really doesn't count though. If you're playing out live, or playing in your basement, the room isn't going to be "compressed". Albert did not and does not use a compressor. He didn't use one for any recordings. Like thumbpicks, he says he can't get along with them.
The studio may compress but the amp isn't; at least from a pedal. That was my point.