Fattening Your Clean (and cleanish) Tone: Delay, Reverb, Compression?

Blackie1956

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I'm looking to enrich my clean tone (to mild crunch). I do this a bit with reverb. I may do it with a little slap-back delay too, use to add a little more fullness. I do not own a compressor. "Should I buy one?" is the question I've been asking myself. I don't play funk or country, so I suppose the only reason I would buy would be to add sustain (which would help add some more fullness)...at the potential cost of also adding some squish and maybe some noise. I'd like the forum's input.

I am a living-room guitar player who plays the blues on his Nashville Tele. I have a SCX2 amp. Thank you!
 

codamedia

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What you are looking for is likely quite subtle, not an "in your face" effect.

Try a clean boost that isn't boosting much, or a mildly set compressor. The compressor will not "squish" unless you have the effect to high. Depending on the make/model, this control is called "sustain" or "sensitivity". Keep that below noon and you'll be fine. Boost any lost volume back up with the volume/level knob.
 

RetroTeleRod

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The Boss OD-3 Overdrive does an amazing "fat clean" with the drive off and the volume at unity or just above it. Personally, I prefer using overdrives set in this manner instead of compressors. My OCD also does an excellent job in this respect. (Though it costs a bit more than the Boss.)
 

aunchaki

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I can't really hear the point of compressors, though others swear by them (I have a CS-3). You could try a subtle modulation effect, like chorus. I do this with a thin-sounding piezo acoustic.
 

waparker4

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+1 on the Boss OD-3. Fattens and livelies up a solid state amp very well. (Afaik the super champ only has a tube power amp. Fattens up a clean tube amp nicely anyway )
 

joeford

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turn up!

if thats not an option, i like the boost/OD options set low as well. i'm not familiar with the SCX2 amp... but maybe try playing on the distortion channel set with the gain all the way down?
 

Mr Perch

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I'm looking to enrich my clean tone (to mild crunch). I do this a bit with reverb. I may do it with a little slap-back delay too, use to add a little more fullness. I do not own a compressor. "Should I buy one?" is the question I've been asking myself. I don't play funk or country, so I suppose the only reason I would buy would be to add sustain (which would help add some more fullness)...at the potential cost of also adding some squish and maybe some noise. I'd like the forum's input.

I am a living-room guitar player who plays the blues on his Nashville Tele. I have a SCX2 amp. Thank you!
I was faced with the same problem. I solved to my satisfaction by shelling out $30 for a Joyo Vintage Overdrive. I set it low, with drive at 11:00 and volume at 10:00. It still sounds clean, but fat and sustainy. I too am a blues player, so I think this might work for you.
 

artdecade

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Use a +/-6 cent detune from an Eventide 910/949. Put a slight delay on each side. Instant VH cleans. :lol:
 

MilwMark

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Nobels ODR-1 - all 3 knobs around 11. Roll back Tele vol pot a bit. Roll back Tele tone pot a bit. Fat. Little hair around the edges. Dig in, bit o crunch. Roll up vol pot, bit more crunch. Good clean fun.

Edit - Also, if the Super Champ is kind of SF/BF-ish, turn up the Bass. At home, I'll often have the Bass knob on 7 or so (whereas live its like 2-2.5). Nice and fat. Kind of like 11 Gauge's "loudness" button suggestion/use of an OD with a bass knob. It might already be in your amp, but at different EQ settings than the "flat" (everyone on 5-ish) many of us default to.
 
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Blackie1956

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I do have two Timmy pedals on order. One for me, and one for someone else. Perhaps Mr. Timmy will be the solution.
 

soulman969

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Funny you should mention all three of those pedals because that's exactly what I use to fatten up my single coils. A clean boost at the head of my pedal chain followed by a compressor set for very light compression and a little boost and at the end of my chain I have digital delay set for a very short single repeat to thicken the tone. The reverb is in my amps. This is all for cleans.

To that I can either add my Soul Food set for just enough gain to add some crunch and some additional boost for solos or crunchier rhythms or riffs. I also have the advantage of adding to that with my main amp since a Roland BC60 has two "crunch" settings that can be used on the clean channel. If I want more OD I can add in my OCD clone either with or without the boost and or the Soul Food so it's set up like a series of steps from clean to crunch to moderate OD.
 

11 Gauge

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I don't play funk or country...

While a comp is hardly just a tool used for those two genres, depending on what you do play IMO tells the tale a bit more.

So:

...play the blues...


...Would have me leaning away from the comp. But that's FWIW...

I am a living-room guitar player...

That is more of the challenge, IMO. You need not think beyond why the typical home stereo has (or at least had) a "loudness" button - the same effect was (or is) wanted - keeping things from sounding thin at low volume.

So it's not completely incorrect to view doing the same thing with guitar as possibly giving a sort of caricature-type of quality to things. You just need to find something that's acceptable to you, IMO.

I'd think that the vast majority of dirt boxes that now have a bass control - when this was something that was either rare or more of a gimmick (in years past) - is a telltale sign of something designed for use in the bedroom/living room. So you may want to try a few of those out. There's stuff at all price points, so I wouldn't even know which one to suggest.

I really think that 'the trick is best done well' when two things are done:

- just enough treble is rolled off to de-emphasize what might sound like it's thin: nice and simple

- not so much of an emphasis of all lower frequencies as a bump in the "right ones" - more of what might be considered mid-bass, and possibly in the 200Hz to 500Hz range. So maybe mid-bass to 'lower mids,' but it's really a fuzzy application of terms.

...with the second one, I guess the point I'm trying to convey is just randomly boosting all frequencies can have as unpleasing of an effect as overtly boosting just a few narrow ones (e.g. with a graphic EQ).

None of this takes into account how clean you are setting your amp. IMO, the cleaner the better, since it sounds like you only want a smidge of harmonic clipping. Trying to do this at low volume with a combo of dirty amp and a pedal that's also clipping IME makes the odds exceedingly small to have it work in your favor.

Personally, I've had great luck with something called Soulsonic's "Folk Driver," but it's a DIY dirt box project.

FolkDriverBlue.jpg


...Well...maybe Martin is still building them. You can always enquire here:

http://www.soulsonicfx.com/

If not, the DIY community knows about it fairly well, and there are no doubt quite a few variations for how someone could make it. The circuit itself is simple, which makes it a great project for lots of tinkerers that you might know.

I might as well also throw the runoffgroove.com Peppermill out as a suggestion:



http://www.runoffgroove.com/peppermill.html

(I'm a bit of a poster boy for it, by my own admission).

Again though - it's more of a DIY thing, even though it's again something on the (very) simple side. IOW, if someone you knew had the skill to slap together a tweed Princeton, the Peppermill would be the stompbox equivalent.

And - IMO at low volumes the Peppermill may even sound more on the thin side, or more on the "crunchy Fender" sort of end of things. That's how it sounds to me, anyway. It's not so much the typical overdrive/distortion sound as it is just a lot of brilliant harmonics (when the gain/drive is maxed).

Maybe RoG's own clips are worth considering, since they are both with the Peppermill D.I. into a sound card - no amp at all:

Peppermill clip one

Peppermill clip two

...hopefully some stuff to at least consider...
 

DavidM1

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I use some tri-chorus. The pitch modulation is less obvious than normal chorus. The effect is subtle but it removes the plink from the note on clean. Another alternative is chorused delay.

A compressor makes your lines more obvious over a busy background. The extra length to the note helps it stand out. However, it can get in the way a bit because it doesn't feel quite as natural to play with compression.
 

Ricardo Moraes

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HI. First of all, try a good tube amp. I use a Serrano Commando. To fatten the tones of my guitar, when necessary, I use a good compressor in transparent mode (either a Barber, or a Carl Martin Pro) and a booster that may have a tad of saturation (the Xotic RC is tops). That's all.

But I like choruses, reverbers, delays, phasers, flangers, ocatavers, auto-filters, etc. for toy playing.

Abrzz.

R/
 

beep.click

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Boss EQ pedal. Strip out the 200 hz and boost the snot out of 400 hz. A very pleasant surprise, when I did it one day by accident.
 




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