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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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question about boosting solos

Possibly a dumb question - I don't know as much as I should about signal chains, and struggle constantly. I have no difficulty getting my rhythm parts heard while playing live, but struggle getting enough boost for the solos to be heard clearly. (I don't know if it's important, but the band has one acoustic and sometimes just me on electric, sometimes two of us on electrics) I have tried putting a DS-1 into the guitar line before going into the amp, but I don't notice much of a jump in volume, even when the pedal volume and gain are cranked. The tone changes significantly, but I still get complaints that people notice my fingers moving but can't really hear what I'm doing. (of course, if they heard what I was doing, that might lead to other complaints, but that's an entirely different worry)

If I were to put a volume pedal into the effects loop with something along the lines of minimum volume at 80%-85%, max at 100%, would that be the right route to go for just lifting the volume up when I need it? Sometimes my cabinet is mic'd and I don't have to worry as much, but for smaller places it's not always practical and it's up to me to change it up.

I have abandoned the distortion pedal at this point. I was looking at EQ pedals that have a volume slider, thinking that might be the answer, but don't want to sink money into something that isn't going to do what I need. If anybody is an expert in this, please let me know what would work best and I will give it a shot. I don't mind buying new equipment if I know it'll work, I am trying to go with pedals that I already own first, though.

Thanks - D
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

eq pedal will work great
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Instead of boosting your volume for solos, how about reducing your volume for rhythm? Build a simple footswitch that uses resistors to reduce your volume.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 02:36 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

...which cuts gain at the preamp.

Really, the only company that does this right, in my experience, is Mesa. The "solo boost" feature they've pioneered absolutely rules - basically, you have a second master volume at your disposal that allows you to set a specified volume jump across all channels so when you want to cut through the mix you simply click a button and your volume jumps up at the poweramp.

I'm not sure what your current rig is and how much money you're willing to throw at the problem, but selling your current rig in favor a Mesa with their Solo Boost is certainly an answer - off the top of my head, all of the modern Rectifiers, the Stiletto, and the Nomad all have solo boosts.

Anything you stick in front of the preamp will just overdrive the preamp tubes, if you try to boost it. Any volume boost has to happen at the amp's poweramp, to be clean and effective.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 03:29 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

You have a definite volume issues period if you cant hear your lead playing. You need to be more out in the mix if you cant be heard clearly.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

I think it would be pretty accurate to say that I have the mechanical ability of a golden retriever, so building something is pretty much out of the question.

I like the idea of "EQ Pedal will work great." - might try that one if my volume pedal idea doesn't work.

As for throwing money at it, I'm wanting to do something that doesn't involve swapping my entire rig. I use a legacy halfstack right now, kinda like it and want to keep it, though a Mesa does sound nice. I was thinking money more in the $100-$200 range, the kind of stuff I can spend without raising any red flags the wife would notice. I don't think dinner would taste very good if I came home and said "I fixed my problem, bought a whole new rig." I think she'd kill me in my sleep.

Thanks for the input, I'll try the volume pedal idea and then the EQ pedal if need be, and I'll come back if they don't work.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Another Jemsiter with a Legacy. Should've known.

It's tough to say, then, because an EQ is only going to do more or less the same thing as a boost - it can't make the amp "louder," but can either strip away certain frequencies or overdrive it further in certain frequencies.

So, this leaves you with a couple options. I'm wondering if maybe your EQ settings on the legacy have something to do with it - sure, the best "crunch" sounds seem to come from slightly scooped midrange, but if you want too cut through the mix then actually boosting your mids is probably the way to go. If your midrange knob is any lower than 4 or so, this is probably the root of your problem - as it is, you might want to jack it up past the halfway point and see if the added midrange helps your solos cut through.

The volume pedal in the FX loop will work, sort of, if your amp has a series FX loop. If it's parallel, well, it'll probably sound a bit funky and you'll have phasing issues, but it's worth a try, I guess... The one main caveat though is basically you're bleeding off volume between the preamp and the poweramp. This means that first you DO have to find a way to make the pedal cut no more than 80% or so when you rock it full back or you'll have trouble consistantly setting levels, and second that since the signal hitting the power tubes will be that much lower when you have the pedal back, you'll be getting less power tube saturation. If that's not a problem for you, then cool.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 04:02 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

A legacy should have more than enough volume to be heard. I leave mine on 1 during band practice
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 04:53 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

All these suggestions..... and yet no one has suggested using the volume control on your guitar??? I guess most of you guys just "10" your guitar and try to work your tone from the amp only???

I suggest you crank your amp a little volume wise and learn to control it via your guitar..... just a thought. Oh, and much cheaper too. Besides, you may discover some "new tone" from your amp!
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 06:00 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by jemplayer55 View Post
All these suggestions..... and yet no one has suggested using the volume control on your guitar??? I guess most of you guys just "10" your guitar and try to work your tone from the amp only???

I suggest you crank your amp a little volume wise and learn to control it via your guitar..... just a thought. Oh, and much cheaper too. Besides, you may discover some "new tone" from your amp!
Cutting the volume changes tone in a negative or positive way, im assuming the guy is using this in a high gain format. IF he were covering old van halen this would work fine, but otherwise id say no to that suggestion entirely.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

easiest way to get a volume boost is to get an eq pedal and run it into the effects loop. if you want to keep your tone, leave the eq flat and use the level to just give a boost. if you want a different lead tone to your rhythm tone, get your rhythm tone solid and tweak the eq to taste and raise the level to get more headroom and a different lead to rhythm transition. i used to use this setup with my old 5150's and worked like a charm.

rich
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-21-2007, 07:58 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlp777 View Post
I think it would be pretty accurate to say that I have the mechanical ability of a golden retriever, so building something is pretty much out of the question.
Hey, I've met some pretty smart Golden Retrievers ........

Sounds to me like you are already driving your amp to saturation point for your crunch rhythm sound (I don't recall you saying what amp you use BTW), so unfortunately, EQ or an overdrive pedal on top of that actually isn't going to make you any louder, just more distorted (hence mushier in the mix, hence less distinct, hence: "we can see your fingers moving but....." you get the picture).

What might be a solution worth looking at for you is to run your amp pretty much clean, and think about a two stage overdrive pedal like the Radial Plexitone or Trimode - that way you have clean, crunch and solo - both Radial pedals let you set the volume of each channel independantly, so you can add 5dB or so for your lead breaks to make you stand out. They are fantastic pedals - I'd sort of suggest the Trimode over the Plexitube, as the latter (which I own, so I am speaking from hands on experience) is just ridiculously high gain, and you may not get it clean enough to get a dirty rhythm sound, depending on where your taste lies.

Hope that helps, or adds some confusion to the mix at least!

Cheers

David
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2007, 11:37 AM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by jemplayer55 View Post
All these suggestions..... and yet no one has suggested using the volume control on your guitar??? I guess most of you guys just "10" your guitar and try to work your tone from the amp only???

I suggest you crank your amp a little volume wise and learn to control it via your guitar..... just a thought. Oh, and much cheaper too. Besides, you may discover some "new tone" from your amp!
Going into a high gain amp, though, that's really more of a tonal change than a volume change. It'll clean up the signal and, with an Ibanez or something else with a high pass capacitor across the volume knob, brighten things up a bit, but it won't give you a "true" volume boost.

That said, it's worth spending some time learning how to ride your volume knob in a solo anyway, for those exact reasons.
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2007, 12:34 PM
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlp777 View Post
I have no difficulty getting my rhythm parts heard while playing live, but struggle getting enough boost for the solos to be heard clearly. (I don't know if it's important, but the band has one acoustic and sometimes just me on electric, sometimes two of us on electrics)
We're all making this assumption about high gain & amps..... the original post says he plays with an acoustic player, sometimes himself only on electric or both on electric.....

I still think some of his issues may be able to be resolved by working his guitar/amp combination along with good mixing when pumped through a P/A or making the other band members aware of what is getting lost or stepped on during a performance.

So many are ready to just jump on the "add a stomp box" wagon!

Yes, rolling off the guitar volume will "clean" up his tone to some degree..... less grind/singing harmonics/sustain but using his guitar volume to put his lead tone over the top and out front isn't that uncommon either.

Something isn't adding up already...... If there is an acoustic player, he must be completely lost in the mix if his leads are lost wouldn't you say? The dynamics of good music comes from controlling the amount of sound (SPL/DB) by each insturment and player as well as the musical dynamics constructed into a composition itself.

If related to that "chainsaw" rhythm tone and a "swarm of bees" lead tone..... well your all right, playing with the guitar volume won't make much difference.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-22-2007, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: question about boosting solos

you guys have some fantastic knowledge. I'm going to try to do the EQ pedal trick for just a little touch of boost, I don't need much, just a tad... the volume is aaaaalmost there on solos, but with the other instruments it can sometimes get lost in the mix, especially if the drummer is excited and hitting the cymbals like a red-headed stepchild.

Now, if I'm mic'd and running through the PA, I have almost no worries. If Pat is paying attention (which he almost always is) he knows when to boost and sits far enough back in the house to get a good balance where he is. It's more for the small shows where I just crank the amp and hope it's good based on thumbs-up and thumbs-down signs from the back of the house. If I put my overall volume where it would be for a solo to be the "main thing" that you hear, then I'm overdoing the rhythm volumes and drowning out lyrics. If I have my rhythm volume set for a good balance, solos don't do the "step out" to take center attention for those 30 seconds or so. I am hoping that the suggestion of an EQ in the effects loop would give me just that little bit of extra headroom to be clear, and I might try punching the mids just a little bit to make it stand out.

I appreciate all the input very much, and am overwhelmed with the "I think he means he does this..." type comments. Love it. The basics of what I do in my setup is use the clean channel for clean parts, sometimes through a chorus pedal depending on the style of the song. For the more distorted songs I use the amp's distortion (Legacy amp) - I really like the overall sound that it delivers, so I'm hesitant to just use the clean side and rely on pedals for the distorted parts. I do roll off the volume when I don't want full saturation sometimes, and sometimes I turn the gain down just a touch if I want clarity to the notes across a larger chord voicing (i.e. not just power chords) - I sometimes use a wah pedal, though I have replaced my Morley with a Dunlop because the Texas heat and humidity can cause the Morley to not work at all, which is a little disconcerting if it's a surprise, and it seemed to surprise me every time. Is winter ever coming back? I have to hope so...

If any of you extra friendly people live in the Houston area, feel free to stop by and show me what to do, I love to learn from the experts.

Thanks again for all the good advice here - can't wait to try some of this out this evening at rehearsal.

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chorus pedal , distortion pedal , high gain amp , overdrive pedal , power tube saturation , preamp tube , stomp box , tube saturation , van halen , volume pedal , wah pedal

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