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Learning to play clean, er.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by OlRedNeckHippy, Apr 10, 2021.

  1. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    I used to use a lot of dirt. I had blue, yellow and orange Boss pedals, and the blue one was almost always on. Not any more.

    A few years back I started trying to play clean, er, as clean as a 12 watt amp will let me.

    We landed this phenomenal country chicken picking, g & b bender, twin player, hense my inspiration. He's the cause of all this.

    Now, 2 years later, I've assembled the tools. Quality delay, comp, od (I still need a little crunch sometime), & boost.
    That high end comp pedal changed my life.
    I'm really digging it.

    He asked me to get the amp's 2 button foot switch working, so I did.

    Now, I've even played with the Reverb off! Wow. And two songs, so far, using the Tremelo. Holey crap! Never did that before. Amazing how much different the Delay pedal sounds with the reverb off.

    I feel learning to play clean, took me from an ok guitar player to a pretty darned good guitar player.

    I'm really impressed with it. "I'm a better player now than I've ever been", is kind of a dumb statement cause you get better every time you play, but I'm amazed by how much more fun I'm having now.

    Everyone should try it.
     
  2. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve really dialed back the gain over the years myself. Also rarely used compressors previously, but I’ve got one always on now. Playing clean can be very satisfying.

    Can’t take away my reverb from me, though!
     
  3. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's

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    Which 'high end comp pedal'?
     
  4. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Wampler Ego.

    My sights are now set on the Origin Cali76.
    And the DR Baggs Align Session for my acoustic.
     
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  5. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I play clean. I never liked distortion. I listen to it and even like it from others but it’s not my sound. Maybe it’s because I started playing in the ‘60s before the British Invasion. Maybe it’s because I still play like I played in coffee houses when I was in college. My gear reflects that. My only pedal is an equalizer, a BOSS EQ-200 which I use to improve clarity from humbuckers and Filter-Trons and remove harshness from single coils. My amp, a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25 gives me subtle compression. It’s touch sensitive, especially at 5 watts so how much edge is in the sound depends on how hard I (finger) pick. My #1 is a FCS ‘69 Stratocaster, a throwback to the clean tones I grew up with. I never tried to emulate anyone else’s sound. My gear lets me get cleans the way I like them.
     
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  6. Cosmic Cowboy

    Cosmic Cowboy Tele-Meister

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    Yup a lil slap-back and maybe some squeeze to help smooth things out, and I'm good. Lil somethin to boost my solos through a Super Reverb or a Twin is all a boy needs to knock the audiences dick in the dirt.
     
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  7. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Playing clean for 40 yrs.
    8 yrs prior to that was a fuzz pedal guy in hs.

    (Lately gotten into comp and reverb pedals, but no pedals all those decades before).
     
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  8. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Afflicted

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    As @JL_LI stated above, I can appreciate crunch, OD, and distortion (my life was saved by rock n roll), but for the past twenty-five years I've been playing all clean. For most of that time I used only amp-based reverb as an effect. In my middle age I've gotten a little into pedals, and now have a small setup going on. Generally, compressor, analog chorus, a touch of quick delay, and maybe some tremolo now and then. But mostly just a bit of reverb.

    I love playing within these limitations, with a simple setup, and mostly working on melodic and rhythmic ideas and songwriting versus chasing perfect tone. It's a source of peacefulness for me.
     
  9. stxrus

    stxrus Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you can play it clean you are way above the majority. Add a bit of hair (while still playing clean style) and the world opens up

    I’ve never been a high gain player but I realized I had too much dirt going most of the time

    My Marshall 18w clone goes from chimney to very hairy with a volume adjustment on the guitar.

    My Relic Drive pedal is always on and adds, to me, just the right amount of crunch be it Marshall clean or just breaking up without being too much
     
  10. Chick-N-Picker

    Chick-N-Picker Friend of Leo's

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    I hate too much crunch tone. Will ruin a song for me. I like things pretty clean for the most part. Maybe some amp reverb, occasional clean booster. Honestly, a good tube amp turned up to a good volume will give enough compression, but having a compressor pedal is still ok too, if somebody wants one.

    But I do like some crunch for certain songs as long as you can still hear what the player is playing and it just doesn't become distorted muddy mess.

    A good example of some crunch I like is whatever Brent Mason uses to get his crunchy tones on some heavier honky tonk country, like on Mark Chesnutts songs Come On In The Whiskey's Fine or If The Devil Brought You Roses. That is about as far as I like for crunch to go. Still clean enough to hear what the guitar player is actually playing but gives some kick.
     
  11. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I nearly always play clean. I only use a Boss Compressor for a boost and sustain.
    I like the tone of the guitar and amp I play and don't think a bit of dirt can be achieved on any old guitar /amp . Mostly , I just don't like the dirty sound of distortion etc.
     
  12. Cornelius TX

    Cornelius TX TDPRI Member

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    Another reformed dirt user here. Nothing beats clean tele through a decent amplifier, IMO.

    I started changing my ways when I started playing in a country band, and I haven’t looked back. :)

    Like the OP, it has made me a better player, especially my country playing.
     
  13. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I find myself going to both extremes lately. I use comp after my dirt and this let’s you roll the dirt back A BUNCH and still have it sound/react like a loud amp. Comp alone gives a bit of something to lean into at lower volumes. If your 12 watt amp is a Princeton then it has a beautiful compression to it at medium volumes.
     
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  14. PhredE

    PhredE Tele-Afflicted

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    Concur with the previous and might add..

    Playing clean will also help uncover problems with setup, frets, etc. -- sonic technical flaws that might not uncover themselves while playing with distortion or crunch (..especially with a Telecaster it seems). Playing clean also helps a player to develop their ear a tad better often times (you are farther 'under the microscope' in terms of sound, so errors and such REALLY stand out).
     
  15. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Afflicted

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    There does seem to be a range of crunchiness where you can hide mistakes, but they do tend to stand out more at the very-clean and very-high-gain ends. Adding delay or reverb helps immortalize them for a short while, too.
     
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  16. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Clean, with a bit of compression and some reverb/delay, and I'm a very happy camper!
     
  17. drmordo

    drmordo Tele-Afflicted

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    You might want to look for a MXR M76 - it's an 1176 in a stompbox much like the Cali76 but at a fraction of the cost. The MXR M87 is the exact same circuit, just labelled Bass Compressor.
     
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