Gain Levels? - Jemsite
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 6,200
Gain Levels?

What kind of gain leves do you guys use? I'm just wondering... I was playing with this blues rock group the other night, and after we got off the stage (we open this open mic night every Thursday), most of the band stuck around to back up the next performer. I went off to chat with some friends and grab a beer, but eventually I got back up there. Since this act was a bit quieter than we play, i cut both the volume and gain back a bit, playing lead through the "lead" channel of my TSL with gain and volume about 5, VPR mode on (amp was mic'd) with a gold lace sensor-equipped strat. I'd been playing with the gain about 7-8 all night, and I figured I'd need the extra compression the preamp gain would offer, but since I was planning to hold back a bit (the guy singing and playing acoustic was also a lead player, and it's rarely a good idea to try to upstage the band leader) I just cut it back a bit for a little more dynamic control.

Much to my suprise, not only was I able to break out all the legato licks I was doing on my (humbucker-equipped) 7-string with the gain a few notches higher all night, and the tone I was getting was just AMAZING, thick, but clear, with a very explosive attack but still smooth and even.

So, what I was wondering is have I always been over-distorting my guitar tone, or is this an unusually low level of distortion to be soloing with? I mean, i know you can do whatever you feel like tonally if you like what you hear, but I was wondering what some of you guys use, for preamp gain levels. Thanks,

-D
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 12:36 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I tend to use moderate gain settings, and I use my guitars volume knob quite a bit to back off some gain too. I also like to back my pickups away from the strings.

I find that over the years, I have used less and less gain, it just sounds better to my ear.

The exact level depends on the amp but its usually between 12:00 and 3:00.

I also like to use less gain and more volume for solo's.
glynn is offline  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 01:10 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
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Mike Einziger of Incubus never has his gain at full, and actually many other players do the same. I've been experimenting with different gain levels myself. Finding just the right setting that gives you full sounding distortion, but clarity, not mud, is great
Two hands31 is offline  
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 01:11 PM
 
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Location: Tacoma, WA.
Posts: 680
Depending on the amp, anywhere between 10 and 3 o'clock. I just use the Pod Pro now (mostly on the "Modern High Gain" setting)
and I put the gain at about 12 o'clock. In a live and loud situation it's about 10 to 11 o'clock with a touch more compression. That's with the Pods gain boost on too.
BucketBot is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 01:51 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kansas
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I play the gain at about 1 or 2 o' clock, then run a tubescreamer before the pre amp to give it that creamy umff
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 01:59 PM
 
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Location: Milton Keynes,UK
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Normally i have the Engl at around 11 oclock,with lead vol at 12,ish depends on how much the children fiddle

Rob
Jem7RB MK is offline  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Somerville, MA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Two hands31
Mike Einziger of Incubus never has his gain at full, and actually many other players do the same.
Well, there's a world of difference between "not having your gain at full" and having your lead gain at less than what you've been using for rhythm playing, though. I mean, I haven't maxed out my gain for anything other than a special effect in, god, like 5 years (aside from the initial "gee, let's see what this thing can do maxed out" thing we ALL do ), but I had this thing set seriously LOW.

I haven't gotten a chance to plug in and experiment at bedroom levels with the thing (the stack's physically reassembled in my living room, but i haven't hooked everything together yet and I haven't had any time to play), but I'm curious to hear what this sounds like at sane levels, and if it was just some really sweet power-amp grind carrying me through (although, the poweramp's pretty clean on VPR mode, and with my strat, i can't generate any substantial crunch from that clean channel until i turn off VPR and unleash the full 120 watts (EL-34's replaced with E-34's, running at closer to 30 watts a tube). so who knows...

Actually, side note- a guy with GREAT tone who does a lot of mildly distorted stuff is Neil Zaza- his "Staring at the Sun" CD has some incredible guitar tones on it. Great disc, too.

Side note off- Have i just been over-distorting for all these years? I haven't been maxing the TSL out by any means- usually less than 3 o'clock...

-D
Drew is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-23-2003, 06:39 PM
 
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Location: Maine (USA)
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I turn the gain and volume knobs to 11.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-25-2003, 01:10 AM
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: North Platte, NE
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I go back and forth a lot. I either have the gain on 4 or 8 on my Marshall. It all depends on what kind of mood I'm in. I'll find myself on 4 for a couple days, and then I'll go up to 8 and wonder how i played on 4 for so long. Then I'll get bored of 8 and go to 4 and love the way the sound breathes. Does that help? Probably not...
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
 
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Location: Somerville, MA
Posts: 6,200
I finally got the chance to screw around with the house to myself a bit last night, when I got a day off work and everyone else was either working (the parents), already left for college (my sister), or doing another marathon road biking training ride (my brother, who wears a duct-tape bracelet with "W.W.L.D" written on it- "What Would Lance Do?"). I pushed the power amp a little bit, at the following settings:

Gain: 5
Treble: 3
Midrange: 7
Mid Shift: off
Bass:4
Level: 7
Presence: 9
Reverb: 6
Deep: on
VPR: on

The result was MUCH closer to my favorite-ever tone, JP's G3 lead sound, than I'd have thought was possible from a Marshall. Smooth, clear, tight but full, and with enough sustain and compression for fast legato work. I jammed out on the "Damage Control" riff for a solid 20 minutes, it was so inspiring. Well, I tried, lol. I'm still a hack.

Strangely, something about the lower gain settings made it easier for me to do the Satriani-esq, "natural harmonic thing.Cool.

-D
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 01:45 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Milton Keynes,UK
Posts: 2,355
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpd111
I turn the gain and volume knobs to 11.
"look at that les paul,still got the ole tagger on it,Listen to the sustain on that" . "i can hear anything" . "Ahhh but you would if it were bein played,Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" etc....

Rob
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 05:08 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Minneapolis MN
Posts: 1,056
On the Ultra channel of my Peavey Rockmaster it's on full with the pre-gain pulled out, so it's a lot. But I always have the Crunch channel for less distortion.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-27-2003, 05:25 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 422
for most guitar parts, i've been in the less-gain-is-more-tone boat for a (well, not-too-long-of-a) while, but it just makes things sound GOOD. I have my gain at 7 on my carvin vm100 head for most parts, but will use a bluesbreakerII set to full boost and/or a DS-1 (L10;T2.5;D2) to boost gain for lead parts. wors out pretty nicely.

~A
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-28-2003, 06:52 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Irvine, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jem7RB MK
Normally i have the Engl at around 11 oclock,with lead vol at 12,ish depends on how much the children fiddle

Rob
Which ENGL do you have? I just paid a visit to Tone Merchants last night to play the Powerball for about 45 minutes. Pure sonic bliss. There goes my G.A.S. again...
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lace sensor , les paul , neil zaza , peavey rockmaster , pod pro , power amp , preamp gain , volume knobs

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