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gui**** has pedal problem

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by lburton2, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    My gui**** has a "volume" issue with his pedals. Some pedals when engaged are just too damn loud and he can't find settings to make every pedal at the same basic volume... The real problem being that he sets his volumes while playing alone and not while playing in a live band setting..

    These volume differences are becoming a bigger problem when we gig out, because I see and hear the sound guys get frustrated trying to set levels. My idea, aside from commandeering his pedals and telling him not to touch the knobs, is to put a transparent compressor at the end of his chain and use it as a limiter of sorts.. Thoughts/concerns?
  2. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    I think a limiter at the end of his chain should help things. But the issue seems to be he doesn't know how to use his effects with others.

    Maybe focus on a good 'band' effects setting at practice and help him systematically note (like write down) where his knobs are set. Then he can do whatever he wants at home and when you guys hook up he can whip out his knob sheet and turn em where they belong.

    But yeah, a limiter at the end of his chain should definitely help his pedal incompetence issue, at least as a bandaid.
  3. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Houston, TX
    That might be a good idea...is he even aware that it's a problem? I can't imagine it taking that much time to tweak the volume on his pedals at band practice. Does he have a REALLY huge board?
  4. The Celestials

    The Celestials

    Jul 1, 2013
    Distortion pedals sound like they should be turned up louder than other pedals, but they shouldn't. All pedals should be the same volume.
  5. P-oddz

    P-oddz Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2009
    Milwaukee, WI
    It just sounds like a case of your guitarist only listening to HIS version of the band and not the ENTIRE version of the band. You and the other guys need to tell him he's too loud, or his pedals are cutting too much. You should listen to which pedals are the main offenders and give him notes on that. In my experience, if you start learning/knowing what pedals do what (including how they react with his gear), he'll be more receptive to your criticisms other than "dude you're too loud".

    Also, as mentioned above - once you nail where they need to sit - take a a dry erase marker or something to mark the settings on each pedal.
  6. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    If his volumes are that far out of whack, I don't think a limiter is going to work that well. At best, you'll get an even level overall, but it'll sound very obviously squashed. That's a sound that can be useful as an effect in itself, but I doubt it's something anybody would want to hear a lot of.

    Limiters are best used to tame short transient spikes in the overall signal, not as a solution to poor gain settings.
  7. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    He is aware of the issue.. But I think that the interaction of some pedals with others boosts his signal way louder than it should.. And yes, he does have quite a big pedal board. I think I will have to make a play date and go over his house to help him out with settings and write them down and see how that progresses. If that doesn't work I may have to have him buy a limiter to help... But as you've all mentioned, I'd rather not go the bandaid approach.
  8. sowilson


    Jul 5, 2013
    he could look at combining one or more voodoo lab pedal switchers with a voodoo lab ground control. Then, if he has one particular combinations of pedals that is too loud (after being controlled through the ground control) then you could add a compressor (or eq or a pad, something with an output volume control) configured to lower the output gain installed in that one effect loop setting.
  9. Crater


    Oct 12, 2011
    Dallas, TX area
    I use a volume pedal at the end my my effects chain for this reason. I use a homemade passive volume pedal made from a standard wah-wah pedal housing. I put mine second-to-last in my signal chain so there's a buffered pedal both before and after the volume pedal.
  10. nolezmaj


    Sep 22, 2011
    Volume pedal could help also, my guitar player uses it all the time very tastefully, even during songs - when solo comes up he can be louder, and when done, he is "back in mix" again.
  11. Eric_71


    Jul 22, 2011
    I think this may just be pedal discipline. If he has tons of pedals and certain combos make it too loud, he shouldn't use those two pedals (I am guessing they are dirt) together. One pedal can do a lot of things, but if you're not going to change the settings from song to song, you should really only have it in its one role. A tubescreamer can be a good lead boost or it can be good for adding some grit. But he needs to choose one and let it do that. That is my best guess for what is happening, so perhaps on your play date you can help him develop a strategy for pedal use.

    IMO pedals become unused/pointless after a certain number, so he probably has more than enough pedals to get the sounds/tones he wants. If my theory is right, he just needs to prioritize and then stick to the plan.
  12. BrentD


    Jun 7, 2008
    Lansing, MI
    If it's the distortion that's boosting too much, I'd recommend cutting the gain. Distortion is inherently less dynamic than clean, so typically one has to have the volume on a dirty channel or through a pedal set a little higher just to keep up (additionally, the distorted parts of a song tend to be a little louder and more aggressive anyway).

    But what is probably happening is that your guitarist is setting things up for too much distortion and that is causing him to get lost in the mix at any level lower than "too loud." If he backs the gain off, he will be able to hear himself better without having to turn up so much. It's a balancing act, and you might take some time at rehearsal to help him figure out that much less distortion is necessary to sound mean at high volume than at bedroom volume.

    Good luck!
  13. lburton2

    lburton2 Les Is More

    May 15, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    This is why I love talkbass
  14. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    In my experience handling a pedal board well requires practicing alongside 'normal' playing-if you want it it sound a certain way it needs (daily) attention. To put 20 mins a day into the pedalboard for a while should help.

    I have loop/pedal switcher. Before it goes a compressor, and after comes the volume pedal. With the switcher I can group pedals and negotiate them better, while the compressor at the start evens things out

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