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Confused about Compression/Overdrive etc.

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by mksolid, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. mksolid


    Jan 4, 2005
    Hi All,

    I was just reading some old posts that dealt with basically "taking up more space as a guitarist solos" and certain people were suggesting overdrive and certain people were suggesting compression. I can understand why overdrive would fill up the sound, but why would anyone suggest compression? I have a Demeter Opto Compulator and I couldn't even tell it was working until one day I really sat down and worked on my tone, and then I could tell that it just tightens up my sound a little bit, but it doesn't add anything to "fill in space"? "A compressor adding things" just doesn't seem like a phrase that makes sense. Also, if I turn the compression up past 1oclock or so, starting with my E-string, everything starts to get really squashed, like it no longer sounds at all like it should, but very muffled? Do people actually play like this to "fill up space"?
  2. xan


    Sep 10, 2004
    Perth, Australia
    doesnt really sound right to me either.. tho im no expert on compression. i would have thought maybe a sustainer would have been more appropriate for that purpose..
  3. The purpose of any compressor is to limit the dynamic range wich results in the ability to increase the overall volume.
    Think of it this way. Your guitar tone is great except when you play lightly its too quiet and when you hit it hard its too loud. To remedy this you use compression wich will limit the highs (volumes not frequencies) therefore affording the ability to increase the lows (volumes not frequency) When you turn the compressor past 1:00 you are squashing the dynamics considerabley. Compression is one of those things that you usually don't want to stand out too much and almost essential in live and recording situations especially when it comes to bass . I find that by limiting dynamic peaks in the bass my overall low end can ring out more. This also holds true with kick drums.
    Sustainers and limiters are both types of compressors.
  4. mksolid


    Jan 4, 2005
    Thanks a lot, you have cleared everything up for me.
  5. set correctly, compressors can increase the perceived sustain. They can also allow you to turn up your volume a bit without the danger of letting rip with any "thumpers" that rattle the windows! Basically, they make the soft notes easier to hear without simply turning up your amp.

    I would think that what you play during a guitar solo is more important than what effects you use. Change the bass line, get the drummer to vary slightly at the same time, change octaves, play double stops or chords - create some interest rather than just relying on a stomp pedal!