Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #106904  by Cmnaround
 Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:22 am
I have what is most likely a simple minded question, but figure you guys can help with some relevant advice. How much control can I have, or should I be employing, with my volume pot on my guitar?
For years I always played my strat maxed out at 10, with the naive assumption that backing off the volume would have a proportional impact on my tone, that is less volume would be a thinner and weaker signal from my guitar. So I max the guitar and my power amp volume never gets above 2-3. For context I am chasing Jerry tone.

Now playing a carvin w hotter double coils, and even at low amp volume with super clean settings, I get distortion and break up when my guitar volume is maxed at 10, but when backed off to 8 or so it's clean.

So if I have my guitar volume on 5, is it sufficient to still provide strong enough signal to maintain tone where I could crank my amp more to get more impact from driving my amp more? And do I need a unity gain buffer or similar to make that happen? Guess I am looking for some insight into how much I should be using my guitar volume, which I suspect is way more than I have been using, and how to balance that with my amp volume. Also if it makes a huge impact with standard wiring, carvin DC400A here w double coils, can be split to singles, or if I really should mod to include a buffer for enhanced control or tone driven mainly by my guitar volume pot.
 #106908  by hippieguy1954
 Thu Dec 22, 2011 6:41 am
My opinion (reguardless of weather or not you have a buffer and or OBEL) has always been to set the desired volume on your amp while your guitar volume control is about 50% to 75%. This way you have some control over your volume using the guitar volume control. The only slight problem this can have when you don't have the OBEL is that some effects don't sound as good unless you have max guitar volume going to them. So, it becomes a compromise between modding your guitar with the OBEL or being satisfied with less dynamics as far as effects go. This is not a huge problem concidering Jerry didn't use effects very much except for particular songs.
As far as the pre amp/buffer goes, I feel all guitars should have one. It really maintains the pick up signal going through all the cables etc..
:smile: :smile: :smile:
 #106910  by myoung6923
 Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:30 am
I like to set my guitar volume at about 75% so I have headroom to play with if needed. I pretty much never have my guitar volume all the way up.

But here's the thing... Effect sensitivity depends on input voltage - so, the lower you turn down your guitar, the harder it is to dial in your effects for what you want. So effects, like an envelope filter, almost don't work at all with a 25% reduced signal.

Without effects, turning down your guitar is no problem - but with them it starts to become a nightmare.

That's the beauty of an OBEL system - it allows for a full signal from your guitar to feed you effects, no matter where you set your guitar signal.

Another way of doing this is to use a volume pedal after your effects. Keep your guitar volume pegged and then back it down with the volume pedal at the end of the effects chain. It's a little harder to fine tune your volume with a foot pedal but it works fine and is a whole lot cheaper than an OBEL system.
 #107026  by Counterstriker
 Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:27 pm
I usually have my amp on a volume where it starts to clip kind of heavy when my guitar is full volume. So when I turn my knob down lower it cleans the sound up but still clips, then when I use distorton/overdrive (recently my boss bluesdriver!) I have that adding about 3/4 of the effect and the other 1/4 of the drive is from my amp, and it all can be done with the volume knob! I never really liked the tone of JUST the pedal, I like to mix it with OD/distortion pedals with the preamp overdrive!

Good luck! :smile: