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Questions about compressor

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by positiveplus, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. positiveplus


    Dec 24, 2013
    Hi !
    I'm a guitarist currently trying to grasp bass guitar. I've started learning finger picking, but I've noticed the difference in volume between notes (adding less or more pressure) I play which I can't always control. I'm trying to get the proper technique practicing at home, but I've thought about using a compressor to average the sounds during band rehearsals for the time being. My questions are:
    1. Does a compressor change the tone of the guitar at all ?
    2. Are there any major differences between cheap and more expensive compressors ?
    3. Can I use a bass compressor with a guitar (or vice versa) without the risk of damaging the equipment like with an amp ?
    Thanks for you replies.
  2. bjelkeman

    bjelkeman Bass player wannabe Supporting Member

    May 9, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden
    1) Some do and some don't. Often a compressor is used to "fatten" the sound a bit. More expensive compressors like the Cali76 is more transparent, or the EBS Multicomp is milder.
    2) Cheap compressors are often a bit more noisy and will have a less transparent sound, but some people like that.
    3) Some compressors are used equally well with bass or guitar. Like the Empress Compressor pedal, or the Mad Professor Forrest Green. I doubt you would damage anything with these.
  3. eddododo

    eddododo Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2010
    I'll be that guy real quick
    normally I hate the kind of post im about to make, but in this case I think its right

    Skip the compressor for awhile and really learn to control that technique, itll be worth it;
    aside from learning to play with control (that's why bass is hard!), youll be able to use compressors LATER to enhance your dynamics and style, as opposed to wasting expensive gear on 'bailing you out'

    I have been playing for 14 years or so and I JUST got 'good' enough to use a compressor to enhance my sound/vision, and I would never have been able to if I could not always control the sound I am putting out;

    be patient and let your ears be your best GEAR for the time being
  4. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    There's one in every thread. ;)

    Just kidding; actually, I agree with you. Plus, I don't think a compressor would really solve the problem anyway. Compressors rein in the extremes, but uneven playing is uneven playing, compressed or otherwise. And if you're using such an extreme compression setting that you really are evening everything out to one volume level, you're talking about a very synthetic tone. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you're going for that.
  5. Vlad5

    Vlad5 Chronic Knob Twiddling Tone Chaser

    Feb 17, 2011
    New England
    ^^^ This, this, a thousand times this! :hyper: ^^^

    Give yourself a couple hours and sit down to this web site, the writer is a member of this forum.
    It really is very well written, and will teach you a lot about what's available.

    And to reiterate what's already been said...

    Practice dynamic control with your fingers.
    Going from classical guitar to electric bass, I already had finger dynamic control well ingrained in my muscle memory.
    Very different feel from acoustic guitar to electric bass, but the principles of finger pressure, attack angle and release angle are the same.
    Finger pads or finger nails, knuckle hits or finger tip hits. Soft pressure, hard pressure.

    Search the techniques forum here for more better explanations..

    Also, if you're coming from electric guitar, try using a pick with your bass.
    I don't usually, but when I do, it is noticeably easier for me to control dynamics since the material hitting the string doesn't change density much (like different fingers will).
    Of course, I'm not very good with a pick, so take that with a grain of salt.