How to set the volume on your amp.

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How to set the volume on your amp.

Postby straightblues » Wed Jul 09, 2003 5:00 pm

I played rock growing up. I learned to set my guitar's volume and tone at 10 and adjusted my volume knob on my amp so it was loud enough to be heard (usually around 3 or 4 on my amp). Then, I let an old blues guy borrow my amp. I was amazed at what a full and compressed sound he was getting out of my old Ampeg tube amp. Then he showed me the secret, he told me to crank my amp up to at least 7 and then turn down the volume on my guitar. WOW, all of a sudden my cheap tube amp sounded great, I could control the overdrive with my volume knob. I can't believe I played for 10 years before figuring this out!!!
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby dcblues » Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:47 pm

You mean your amp doesn't go to 11? :)

My Bassman goes to 12.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby blueswriter » Wed Jul 09, 2003 7:51 pm

Does it have the original price tags on it? Can I play it? Can I look at it?

BW
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby straightblues » Wed Jul 09, 2003 8:42 pm

Am I the only stupid one here or did others have the same discovery after playing for some time?
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby bluesmcgoo » Wed Jul 09, 2003 10:49 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Jul-09-03 AT 08:20 PM (EST)]Hey SB!

I also had that revelation after playing for a while. I see where you're coming from. The problem I have with it, is non of my electrics sound as good when their volume pot is reduced. Actually I do have a Strat that seems to retain it's sweetness when the volume's down, but I've never been willing to re-do my setup when I change guitars. your idea does seem to work well with the Strat, though.

I have a custom built Tele/Strat that I had the builder perform a mod to so it wouldn't lose the treble when I turn down the volume knob, but the end result seems to be that, in addition to retaining the treble, it reduced the linear taper of the pot. In other words, it goes from full volume to nothing in no time - late in the travel. And that's the guitar that gets most of my playing time. It's takes too much care to adjust it in a gig situation, so I usually just keep the volume and tone knobs full up all the time.

Thanks for the tip, though. I'm glad it works for you. What kind of pups do you find this works best with? Single coils or Humbuckers?
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby ricochet » Wed Jul 09, 2003 11:44 pm

Sounds like he put a resistor between the wiper and "bottom end" (CCW pole) of the pot. That's a popular way of making a log taper pot out of a linear one, but also with only about 1/4 the total resistance of the linear pot's rating. If you do it with a log pot, it really becomes nonlinear.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby bluesmcgoo » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:19 am

That could very well be what he did, Ric.

Call me old fashioned, but I prefer linear. All I really wanted out of the mod was to retain the treble. It seems, to my ear anyway, that the treble rolls off when you turn down the volume pot on most guitars I've fooled with. Single coils tend to be better in that regard, while I find that humbuckers REALLY lose the treble.

I might be predisposed to find fault with 'buckers, though. I've always liked single coils better.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby david » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:51 am

"Am I the only stupid one here or did others have the same discovery after playing for some time?"

This is the first I've heard of it. Actually, I've only been messing around with electrics for a few weeks. My Dean CE resonator has a built in pickup, but I just got an amp.

Both the Dean and my Delta King lose their treble when the volume is turned down, but I thought it was just cheap equipment.

I am still learning how to adjust everything together to get different tones. (When I get this down, I'm going to hit on Bluedawg for a Crybaby.)



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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:57 am

No, it's true. When you turn down the volume, the wiper of the pot that's carrying the signal on into the following amp stage is moving toward the ground end of the pot, with more resistance between it and the "high end" of the pot that the signal from the previous stage is coming into. There's a certain input capacitance of the following stage, whether tube or solid state. For a typical 12AX7, the input capacitance is on the order of 100-150 pF. (The tube's static grid-cathode and grid-plate capacitance are multiplied by the stage's amplification, due to the Miller Effect.) When you've got a resistance and capacitance in series, their product is a time constant. The bigger the time constant, the longer it takes to charge up to a given voltage. The high frequencies just don't have time to do it before they reverse direction. Effectively, the high frequencies are being held back by the resistor and bled off to ground by the tube's input capacitance. It's a low pass filter. The lower you turn your volume, the lower the high-frequency rolloff point drops. Since you can't reduce the input capacitance of the tube, the only things you can do to counter the effect are to drop the total resistance of the pot (as by adding that parallel resistor to the wiper that I mentioned), which will also reduce the gain, or add a small cap bypassing the volume pot for high frequencies as Fender did on the "bright channel" of their old Bassman and other amps. Neither is a perfect solution. But hey, we're talking about blues guitar, not hi-fi audiophool stuff!
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby ricochet » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:58 am

And why are single coils better in that regard? They've got more treble to start with!
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby bluesmcgoo » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:16 am

Wow! Thanks for the explanation, Ric. Up to this point, that was one of the "mysteries of life" for me.

And, David...get the wah wah. They're fun as can be. Especially when you first get 'em.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby david » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:18 am

Dang Ricochet, you shur talk purty...

I wish I could send my guitars and amp to your place and let you tinker around with it for about a week.

After breaking for dinner today, and taking additional time to let the heat and humidity die down, I decided to practice while the family was gone instead of sitting out under the shade tree. I plugged up the new amp and the Delta King, and was treated to a most annoying hum/buzz from the amp.

It did it with no instrument plugged into it, did it worse plugged in, stopped when I muted the strings, only to build back up again.

It did it with my Dean as well. That Leem amp had never made any background static before. That was one of the things I was checking for when I tried it at the store.

Any idea what could be causing this? Sunspots? UFO activity? Sweaty fingers? Better question: How do I stop it?



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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby chick french » Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:34 am

I like to turn my volume up to where it sounds good to me.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby jellyroll baker » Thu Jul 10, 2003 4:21 am

>Am I the only stupid one here or did others have the same
>discovery after playing for some time?

Gear manufacturers surpress this information in order to increase the sales of stomp-boxes and volume pedals. After letting this secret out, don't be surprised if you get a surprise visit from some big guys wearing suits. They also know who killed JFK.
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RE: How to set the volume on your a

Postby rustyslide » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:40 pm

>Hey SB!
>
>I also had that revelation after playing for a while. I see
>where you're coming from. The problem I have with it, is non
>of my electrics sound as good when their volume pot is
>reduced. Actually I do have a Strat that seems to retain
>it's sweetness when the volume's down, but I've never been
>willing to re-do my setup when I change guitars. your idea
>does seem to work well with the Strat, though.

I find that in order to use the volume on the guitar/amp like this, the amp really has to be turned up loud. Too loud for practicing. But, the louder the amp, the better the lower settings on the guitar sound.

Everything I've read about doing this suggests that the playing the the guitar's volume doesn't change the volume much but rather controls the gain, which is does not work for me: if I turn down to lower the gain, the volume goes too low, and vice-versa - if my guitar is at 3 and the amp at 11, if I turn the guitar up... whammo I'm deaf.

ramble ramble ramble
I got ramblin' on my mind.
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