Guitar volume vs amp volume

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by jonyorker, May 3, 2019.

  1. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    I came to guitar from the audio world where you need a good level from your source material, and so I used to dime my guitar, and then set up my amp. Now I roll the guitar back and then set the amp, and it works a lot better for me.
     
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  2. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

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    Depending on the guitar, amp, and musical style, rhythm volume is someplace between 3 and 7, fills up a little more, maybe 6 to 8, and leads (although I rarely play actual solos as opposed to short breaks) at 9 or 10. Sometimes use a Klon clone as a clean boost on top of that when really need a push. Also sometimes use a TS- or Rat- style OD with just a touch of drive/gain and the volume up.

    Amp volume set so that the lead volume is right. And everything else adjusts down from there.
     
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  3. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    I prefer to have my amp close to breakup, with my volume rolled back. I used to dime my guitar and then set the amp.

    Starting with the volume rolled back and then being able to ride my volume, works (and sounds) much better for me. I wasted a perfectly good guitar volume knob for years!

    As has been mentioned, one can get a great variety of tones and levels of breakup with the right balance between guitar and amp, and use of the guitar volume and picking dynamics.

    I can’t imagine ever again diming my guitar and then setting up my amp.
     
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  4. scooteraz

    scooteraz Tele-Afflicted

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    I see overall gain as a continuum. That is, the pickups put out a voltage basset on the amplitude of the string vibrations. From there, the guitar volume provides a gain loss. After that there is a gain add for the amplifier, which then provides the required voltage to the speakers for the volume neeeded. For any given room there is an amp setting that pretty much allows me to use the guitar volume between 3 and full on and get the tones I need. Rarely will the amp be dimed, as even my 15 watt amp (let alone the 50 W Mesa) will be too loud for most rooms I play in (unless I use some sort of attenuators).

    So, being an engineer, I see the issue as what voltage is being provided to the speakers versus what is needed, and work backwards from there.
     
  5. LuthRavin

    LuthRavin Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    It's not really that hard to do..once you start doing it. With a Strat it's even easier since the volume knob is right at your fingers..I'm the only guitar player in my band and when I get ready to go into a lead section I I usually let the last chord I play ring out, then run the volume knob from 8 to 10.. then simply reversing the process at the end of the solo..I don't actually put to much thought into it.. I used to do it with a volume pedal and everything cranked on the guitar..but it proved out to be to much of a hassle hitting the right spot on the return.. try it out..easier than you might think..
     
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  6. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Afflicted

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    Signal vs output...
     
  7. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I setup with the volume & tone maxed on my guitar. I set the gain up on the amp to the highest amount of gain I think I want for a no-pedals tone.

    Then I roll back from there on the guitar volume. I think this is a bit different than setting up the amp with the volume on the guitar rolled back. If you set up the amp with the guitar rolled back you don't really know what you're going to get when you roll the volume up on the guitar.

    I have tried quite a few amps where I think this technique gets you a better clean tone than setting up a clean tone with the volume maxed on the guitar.

    This roll off the volume on guitar technique is hyper critical when working with a fuzz too. It is kind of wild on my setup just how far you have to roll the guitar back when the fuzz is on to get some of the in between sounds that I love.

    I do have a Treble bleed in my guitar.. not having it sure makes this stuff more complex. Telecasters historically don't have a Treble bleed, I'd be curious which other guitars that came later started on day 1 with a Treble bleed.
     
  8. grolan1

    grolan1 Friend of Leo's

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    I haven't read all of the posts on this yet, but want to inject a different thought/concern. Gig volume (if you don't gig it doesn't matter then). I've found that in most gig settings (inside) I always am struggling to hear myself, so if you use the theory of guitar volume down with the amp up you might run into issues at gigs where you are just playing way to loud and not really know it. By setting your guitar on 10, then setting your amp for the desired overall volume you know you won't over blast the rest of the band throughout the gig. Make sense?
     
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  9. ponce

    ponce Tele-Holic

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    Helps a lot hearing that from a classicaly trained musician.;)
     
  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    This is one of those threads where everyone is right so I'll just add one little thing. Treble bleed keeps treble from rolling off when the guitar volume is rolled down. In many cases, that's a good thing. On many vintage guitars, treble rolls off with volume. That's not necessarily bad if the amp is set for the rolled off volume. When pushed to distortion, especially clipping distortion, treble is naturally lost and the sound compresses. Bringing the volume up for leads boosts treble at the same time making up for the loss when overdriving the amp. Everyone playing guitar in the 60's and 70's learned to manage this on the good old fashioned tube amps they were using. I don't know how to manage solid state amps the same way and digital amps are a complete enigma to me.
     
  11. WildcatTele

    WildcatTele Tele-Meister

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    The sound that you hear comes from a complex system where there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of variables that have an effect on what eventually makes it to your eardrums. That's why there are thousands of threads like this on message boards across the internet where people go to discuss how to get to a certain end result.

    Let's break (some of it) down, working backwards:

    The amp - speaker type, number of speakers, coil material, magnet size, tubes/solid state, tube type, power amp class, tone stack, gain stages, capacitor tolerance, tube age, rectifier type, knob settings...etc...you get the idea

    The guitar - wood type, pickup configuration, winding resistance, active or passive, magnet material, knob settings, string gauge, string material, action, nut type, finish type, bridge configuration, action settings....etc....you get the idea

    The player - pick touch, pick type, note choice, distance from amp, cable length, cable type...etc...you get the idea

    Just a sampling of some things I can recall seeing entire threads about how they affect "tone"...and we haven't even touched pedals, mics, sound system settings, or recording magic added into our system.

    So this is a very long way around saying "A big part of the fun of this whole lifestyle/hobby is discovering your own system that is pleasing to your own ears." But if we all just went into our bedrooms and did that there wouldn't be any cool threads like this to spend our time reading :)
     
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  12. Mr Ridesglide

    Mr Ridesglide Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Very interesting -
    Amps (to me) always have a spot on them where they begin to really work. It may be halfway, but usually just beyond that point. That's where I set them to. I have several amps and can match it up to a stage or a room so that I'm not under nor over powered as a rule. Having said that, in a perfect world for sound production folks in a live setting, the guitar players would find that spot and not adjust anything from that point on. I am a sound engineer's nightmare. I get my amp set up to where it sounds great, perhaps a shade hairy, then turn my Volume down just a bit; say 20% perhaps. This give me great chords, great pick attack feel and yet leaves me room for dynamics as needed. I am not a huge fan of pedals, but do "cheat" and use a tube driven gain stage for again dynamic purposes. Running my guitar full out doesn't always seem to give you the best chords in many situations anyway does it? Mind you, I'm not ever playing with high gain amps and playing music that we used to call metal.
     
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  13. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

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    I've heard that those early electric guitar players, like Charlie Christian, would rely heavily on amp volume keeping guitar volume quite low (less than 5).
     
  14. bigben55

    bigben55 Friend of Leo's

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    I either use pedals+loud clean amp+guitar vol maxed, OR no pedals+cranked tube amp+ lots of gtr vol manipulation. I have a different amp for both choices. I usually use hotter guitars(LP, P90 tele) when going straight in and the strat or tele with pedals. Not always, but usually. For band gigs, I prefer pedals. For blues jams, etc, I'm straight in.

    That said, when riding the gtr vol knob, its rarely ever lower than 5. 5-7 is mostly clean, 7-8 is a breaking up rhythm, 10 for leads. I do have a Kinman style treble bleed in the P90 tele, but that's the only one.
     
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  15. horseman308

    horseman308 Tele-Holic

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    I've been very interested in this thread and this topic, as I just have not had much luck making this work for me. Can some of y'all chime in about how much gain you're using or what kind of sounds/music you're playing.

    My band runs the gamut of old country, blues, Southern and classic rock, more contemporary hard rock, Americana rock. So, I like to have multiple levels of gain in my arsenal to fit the song, and typically I want my rhythm and lead sounds to have the same amount of clean/dirt, just at different volumes.

    I love the idea of getting everything gain-wise just from the amp and guitar, but that's never given me what I want to hear, and I wonder if I'm just looking for something that doesn't work on a simple setup.

    Sent from my SM-G930P using Tapatalk
     
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  16. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Friend of Leo's

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    For covers of multiple genres running into a clean amp and using pedals for dirt makes complete sense. Especially if one is doing faithful covers and needs different flavors of dirt.

    To get the same level of dirt regardless of volume it’s best to have a tube amp with plenty of clean headroom and use pedals for dirt, or rely on preamp distortion. I like to clean up some when I turn down. I consider it a useful feature.

    We do mostly originals with a few covers that we feel free to “take liberties”’with and make our own.

    Our covers are in similar genres as yours. I roll back for cleans, up for crunch, and might step on a pedal on occasion if I need “more” but I live pretty much on the edge of breakup or right beyond. I like to play around in that zone. Play soft for cleaner stuff, and dig in for some grit without adjusting anything.

    I don’t really think I have been of much help, but I’m not sure you can do what you want plugging straight into a tube amp. Maybe.

    You possibly could with solid state or digital is the best I’ve got.
     
  17. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I always love pedals, since it gives me more range.
    However, Joe Bonamassa is in the Amp vol camp, and
    rolls his guitar vol and seems to do great.
    That said, I have seen others that forget to roll
    back vol, and the entire bands creeps louder all night.
     
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  18. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Afflicted

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    I have only two tones - clean and dirty. I switch between the two with either the amp's channel selector, or a Boss O/D if |I'm using a single channel amp. The only situation where I don't have the guitar on 10 is playing my P90 LPJ clean. Rolling it back to 8 or so brings out a lovely clean.
     
  19. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This is why I was mentioning you can set up with your guitar volume on 10, set it up for your broken up tone/crunchy rhythm tone and set the volume level up for that so you're not too loud, then roll down to clean it up. It's probably not that much quieter with a tube amp due to compression. This stuff really relies on the amp being compressed when you roll the volume up to a dirtier tone.

    You of course may need to also factor in use of a drive or fuzz on top of it all.

    You're only getting surprised by the volume level when you roll up if you didn't account for that when setting up.

    But if you set up with the guitar on 10, set the amp clean, and set the volume for your max level you can't change things with the guitar volume.
     
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  20. Dukex

    Dukex Tele-Holic

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    Depends on the amp and the guitar and the tone I'm after. I just play my own stuff at home and do not use pedals, so I futz around with the knobs on both and just seek the tone that sounds best for the current piece or part I'm playing.

    For example, with my Tele through my Vox AC4HW1, I feel I get fatter cleans by cranking the amp master, backing off the gain, and rolling off both the guitar volume and treble to taste. But when playing certain shuffles and leads, the master is backed off, with both the amp gain and guitar volume cranked.

    It also depends which pickup I'm playing.

    Each amp and guitar combo is different...and it's a continual learning process...and then my tastes change. :D
     
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