Back in the 80s when I got into recording I learned that a small amp turned up loud records huge, even when mic'ing a little speaker. The constant battle I fight is my hamfisted technique; I'm either at 1 or at 10, and there's no middle ground. "Finesse" is not something in my guitar bag. I always struggle to fit some in.
Tim Pierce just posted a vid about this--about amp volume and pick control. It's a good one:
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When I read the topic title it reminded me of a guy I work with (okay, used to work with since the pandemic began) back when we would play full band gigs (with real electric guitars). If we played a venue with a house system and sound man, he would turn up his amp and play extremely soft so that he would be cranked up in the mix, then let it rip when we began playing. This ensured that he would be the loudest person on the stage.
But after watching the video I realized that Mr Pierce is not on that kind of ego trip. His advise is sound and not easy to achieve. I've often noticed how many of the pros are able to produce some really aggressive sound yet seem to be barely attacking the guitar. I can sometimes get close to this at a basement band rehearsal, but once out on a gig I have a tendency to tense up and what little finesse I might have goes away.
Thanks for posting this. I'll make sure and some back to it on occasion.
Post by larryguitar54 on Apr 21, 2020 17:45:46 GMT -5
I"m going to be a bit of a contrarian here. Good advice but perhaps not practical for the majority of us.
Tim is totally right about how to get nice tone. Another guy I play with does exactly what he suggests and there is no question his tone is better than mine. He plays his LP on about 5 and rarely goes above 7. I'm closed to 'dimed'. But the reality is he has been a professional touring musician for 25 years and he has complete control of the dynamics when he goes from rhythm to lead.
The problem is I don't have that luxury. I have a day job and am lucky if I gig once or twice a month. My sole goal is to minimize any ghost notes and sharp attacks.
So I'm generally set on about 8 to roll off that sharpness and then give it a good bit of compression to even things out. I can pick harder but it's not going to get that much louder. It merely goes into a little bit of drive and more sustain. I will hit the gain for more headroom.
However I do wish the run of the mill rhythm player would heed the advice. You would think playing rhythm would be easy but in reality it's actually difficult to do that well. You really need to have some control there. I think slamming all 6 strings on a dimed Strat on the bridge pickup is a really good way to empty out a bar after the first set.
Peegoo, thanks for the video. That was really good.
I like the guy's idea of playing along with recordings, because I have been doing that for over 55 years now. The other night, I was playing my Squire Affinity Strat along with a mostly acoustic YouTube by Ricky Skaggs's daughter. I played very sparingly and picked rather softly. I surprised myself how professional I sounded.
I was using the Strat's neck pickup (a thing of beauty, IMHO). I agree with larryguitar54 about diming the amp and slamming chords on the Strat's bridge pickup. Nasty sound! If I ever get a "real" Fender Stratocaster it's gonna be HSS.