UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically use?

UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically use?

Postby redeyedjim » Thu Nov 21, 2013 3:33 pm

Next week is the two year anniversary of "Tiger-izing" my Kramer. I love it - the TCP-1, OBEL, and triple pickup setup have been great additions to the guitar and really transformed the instrument.

Now that I've been using them for a couple of years and feel pretty comfortable with components, I'm curious about the way other users use this setup. Specifically, if you have a UGB and OBEL, how hot do you usually run the guitar's volume into your amp or preamp? Do you run a hot guitar volume and weaker amp volume? Do you run a moderate guitar volume and a moderate amp volume? Or, do you run a weaker guitar volume and a hotter amp volume?

I've generally been running my guitar volume fairly high, say on 8 or so for most situations, and controlling overall volume with the amp, but I'm wondering if this is the right approach, and if I'd get a better sound by turning the guitar volume down and the amp's level up? How do those of you with similar UGB/OBEL setups typically run yours?
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby waldo041 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:08 pm

Preamp and Amp HOT. Set and forget for the most part for a consistent output.
Guitar volume, depending on space and effect in use(if any), in between 1/4 to 3/4 and never full on. For the most part at about 1/2 but I am always manipulating it.

When you get a chance check out Jerry and and his use of the volume control of his guitar. It is usually at or near the beginning of a show where you will see him adjust the preamp or amp and then he is done with that. However, he is always adjusting his guitar volume.

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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby Banana Boat » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:18 pm

Just outta curiosity what level do you consider to be "hot"..
Let's say on a mc250 w sms...

I know what levels are "not" in my garage
:-)

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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby waldo041 » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:31 pm

Banana Boat wrote:Just outta curiosity what level do you consider to be "hot"..
Let's say on a mc250 w sms...

I know what levels are "not" in my garage
:-)

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Sms = 1 to 2 o'clock (full on on rear pot if you have it, i would actually remove it when using a mac)
Mc50/250/2505/100/2100/2105/2300 (modded or else the high end may get to brutal) = 10:30/11 o'clock

Naturally the volumes increase or decrease with the choice of Mcintosh used. Also give or take a notch, but with this general setup, these settings are what i shoot for. Ymmv.

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"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby tigerstrat » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:56 pm

3/4 for comping/singing, full-on for solos/intros
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby Banana Boat » Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:43 pm

Hmm something to try...
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby Jon S. » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:41 am

I like to start my guitar's volume knob at around 6-7 and go up or down from there.

I keep my SMS and FYD trim pots dimed like everyone else. But I've kept the front gain controls mostly at 5. Seems like some like 'em a bit hotter than that. Time for more experimentation!

P.S. JBL K120 landed last night, 2nd SSP 1X12 (I have an E120 in the first) on its way today, copped my Ratdog tix 20 minutes ago - life is sweet!
"For me, I think the only danger is being too much in love with guitar playing. The music is the most important thing, and the guitar is only the instrument." Jerry Garcia
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby RiseandFall » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:18 am

This is a fascinating post.
I've always kept the guitar volume around 8 and bumped it up for solo's.
I have my front SMS volume at noon and the SMS back pot at about 90%.
My MC40 is maybe half way up.

With these settings I get a very Jerry-like mid 70's sound, but lack some sweetness. Will cranking the Mac all the way up and lowering the guitar volume knob perhaps improve things tonally?
The only reason I'm at all hesitant to try this is because I'm very dialed in at the moment. Sometimes dialing in takes an hour or so of painstaking fidgiting.
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby redeyedjim » Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:59 am

waldo041 wrote:Preamp and Amp HOT. Set and forget for the most part for a consistent output.
Guitar volume, depending on space and effect in use(if any), in between 1/4 to 3/4 and never full on. For the most part at about 1/2 but I am always manipulating it.

When you get a chance check out Jerry and and his use of the volume control of his guitar. It is usually at or near the beginning of a show where you will see him adjust the preamp or amp and then he is done with that. However, he is always adjusting his guitar volume.

~waldo


Thanks, waldo -- this is the opposite of what I've been doing, but the more I think about it, the more right your approach seems. Before I added the UGB/OBEL I spent 30+ years playing with standard, passive pickups, and my approach was always to keep the guitar volume on full unless I had a very good reason not to do so, one of those "lessons" you learn as a teenager that are hard to unlearn later. I carried this behavior over to the new electronics, (well, substitute "80%" for "full") and while it definitely works and sounds good this way, it sure isn't necessary, and it doesn't let you get the most tone out of the preamp and amp. I'll have a chance this weekend to crank things up and am going to try the approach you outlined above.

RiseandFall wrote:This is a fascinating post.
I've always kept the guitar volume around 8 and bumped it up for solo's.
I have my front SMS volume at noon and the SMS back pot at about 90%.
My MC40 is maybe half way up.

With these settings I get a very Jerry-like mid 70's sound, but lack some sweetness. Will cranking the Mac all the way up and lowering the guitar volume knob perhaps improve things tonally?
The only reason I'm at all hesitant to try this is because I'm very dialed in at the moment. Sometimes dialing in takes an hour or so of painstaking fidgiting.


Yeah, it's exactly that missing sweetness that's been bugging me, but I couldn't put my finger on where it might be hiding. I get a good, useable tone with the approach I've been using, but I think I'm missing some of the tones I could be getting from the preamp and amp, and substituting that with a more neutral tone from the UGB. The buffer's tone isn't bad, but by nature/design it's a bit sterile, and I think turning that down and turning the preamp and amp UP will give me more to work with -- I can play the preamp and amp more, as they will be better represented in the final mix. No harm in trying it, worst that will happen is that it won't sound as good and i'll go back to the way I've always done things.
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby waldo041 » Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:19 pm

The buffer is the component that allows for this approach. It is used to isolate the cable capacitance from the high impedance a regular guitar setup would have, this includes the volume pot whether 250k or 500k. All this creates a filtered effect that is heard in the standard guitar when you play with the volume control less then full on. Full on equals no resistance, which in turn does not react to the cables capacitance. It is when you add that resistance of the potentiometer which is combined with a cables capacitance that creates the low pass filter that begins to filter out the high end. For most buffer users this is the "phenom" they initially hear when they first use a buffer. The clarity is like taking a blanket off the speakers. The other huge benefit is that the tone stays the same throughout the potentiometers rotation. So cranking the preamp and twin and dialing in the rig can pretty much be done consistently the same with a tweak here or there. Reverb would be room specific, but the guitar would be where the overall volume is set.

~waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby shadowboxer » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Very interesting ideas in this thread.
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby myoung6923 » Sat Nov 23, 2013 7:12 am

I put it at about 3/4. That way, I have a good amount of headroom to adjust as needed.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us

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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby Banana Boat » Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:06 pm

Wow....just took me to the place I've been looking for since I got my rig together!!!

:-)

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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby czyfingers » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:20 am

Don't feel bad....I did the same thing for years....guitar wide open and adjust the amp. It wasn't until about 5 yrs ago, when I got serious about copping the "true" Jerry tone and building what's now turned into multiple rigs that I actually read thousands of pages here and figured out that a wide open guitar pot all the time is a Jerry tone/technique killer. :? I also could've noticed him regularly fiddling with the knob in the collection of 25 or so Dead DVDs I own too.
All good things in all good time I suppose.
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Re: UGB/OBEL users -- what guitar volume do you typically us

Postby Jon S. » Sun Nov 24, 2013 5:33 am

Don't start paying close attention to the Tele masters like Gatton, Kirchen, and Volkert. Soon you'll only be also adjusting your tone control constantly, you'll be doing simultaneous volume + tone controls rolls essential for those accurate dieselbilly truck horn Doppler effects (gotta flip that control plate first, though).
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