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Should I get a compressor?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by insomniac2295, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. So, I'm in a band that I occasionally do two handed tapping in, along side my usual playing that I do with a pick. When I switch between playing with a pick and tapping, I notice that there's a slight(but noticeable)decrease in my volume.
    I've been using an EQ pedal to give my sound a boost while I'm tapping. It allows me to compensate for the lost volume and get up in the same ballpark as my normal volume but, it's not always spot on and sounds irregular some times. Should I get a compressor to fix this little annoyance?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You could.
  3. Ahh, Jimmy. I was waiting for your reply haha. I did some searches on compression with tapping and your name popped up a lot.

    Would a volume pedal be better, perhaps? I've never used compression before and I'm not sure if I would like having it on most of the time just to even out those few parts where I do some tapping. Even though the volume pedal seems a bit more practical to me, (since I would have full control over my volume in spots that I need it verses using something that's meant to smooth out peaks and valleys in normal playing) the majority seems to shout "compressor!"
  4. slight compression maybe so that your normal playing doesnt sound squashed or you lose dynamics? I always have a much lower tapping volume than normal playing volume and im hoping to fix this with technique and compressor on my new head im getting shortly...
  5. if you have been and are okay with the idea of hitting a pedal every time you are going into a tapping section, why not try getting a clean booster pedal?
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I don't do much tapping anymore but I used to do it a lot when I played in a 3-pc. I did it the hard way, though, and just tapped harder. I tried a volume pedal a couple times and I had such a problem with inaccuracy that I quit. And back then I didn't have a comp. I'd say a comp or a clean boost in my experience is the way to go. I think maybe you might have to compress too much to get what you want out of it, but maybe not.
  7. 51m0n


    Jun 30, 2005
    IMO yes.

    Set up correctly it will lift the volume of tapping helping it cut through.

    A compressor will not reduce your ability to play dynamically - after all I defy anyone to set up a compressor such that when they stop putting a signal in it still comes out. If you pluck quieter less volume will come out unless you set up a brick wall limiter at -infinity db threshold blah blah blah - which you wont do!

    It will mean you have to slightly exagerate your dynamics to achieve the same effect - in procatice IME & IMO after 10 minutes you wont even know.
  8. ga_edwards


    Sep 8, 2000
    UK, Essex
    IMO, if compression is good enough for Billy Sheehan, a master of the tap, it's good enough for me.
  9. TrevorOfDoom


    Jun 17, 2007
    Austin, TX
    ask Bongo. he knows all.
  10. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    The EQ is incapable of making your signal sound irregular. That means it's a problem with your technique, just needing more practice. Yes, a compressor can help bring tapping up to a more "present" level/fullness, and I do think it could be a bit better for the job than a simple gain boost like an EQ or booster pedal (though those are perfectly good approaches). But while you're practicing at home, leave the comp switched off. Practice until it doesn't sound irregular at any volume, with or without the EQ. Then use the comp when you play with the band, and it will all mesh together nicely.
  11. You're misinformed. It's not my tapping as a whole that sounds irregular, and my technique is fine. It's the difference in overall volume between picking and tapping, which I think anyone who plays with a pick would have trouble with. I have been using the Boss GEB-7 to give myself a slight EQ change and a volume boost(with the volume slider on it)to get up to regular playing levels while I'm tapping after coming from picking.
  12. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    :eyebrow: Is that another way of saying "I wrote something I didn't mean?"

    You wrote that boosting with the EQ pedal "sounds irregular some times." What did you mean exactly?
  13. No, its a way of telling you that you misunderstood what I was saying. If you would have read past the first sentence in my last post, you would have read what exactly I meant.
  14. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Let's break it down.

    -your playing level is controlled by your hands.
    -the EQ level is fixed, either on or off.
    -transitioning from pick to tap, there is a change in levels, which needs compensation.
    -engaging a gain boost of any type will compensate for that change, as long as you adjust your playing to compensate for any difference between the fixed boost level of the pedal, and the actual level change needed to sound right in the mix.
    -only playing technique factors into whether you can make that compensation as needed.
    -therefore your technique is not fine.

    Also, there's a significant difference between "you are misinformed" and "you misunderstood". As it happens, though, you were right the first time. I was misinformed by what you wrote.
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Eh, I kind of have to disagree. If you're slamming the bass with a pick, maybe, but I used to do it and never really had any volume compensation problems. I don't think there's a technique problem either, but tarting down your pick attack will definitely help compensate.
  16. I love some of Tony Levin's old Orange Squeezer tapping tones.
  17. If you have to change your technique when you step on a pedal to get the desired results would that not mean the EQ does have the ability to seem irregular depending on the settings of the EQ? Doesn't sound like technique to me, but it could be operator error.....
  18. MonkeyBass


    Mar 22, 2009
    Denver, CO
    This is my first reply on the forum. I've been looking around here for months and finally have something to say!!

    Anyway, I play a gig where I go from slapping to finger picking to tapping all the time. I use a dbx 160A compressor (the same one Les Claypool uses) and it really helps... and my technique is just fine.

    I find that the compressor helps smooth out the edges (especially when I have to use that weak ring finger on the right hand). Also a small amount of distortion (I use the SansAmp Bass Driver), with the compressor helps smooth out my tapping.

    The compressor, if set correctly, won't destroy your dynamics. Since it reduces the volume by a set ratio the dynamics will remain, they'll just be less extreme. I usually set it at 4:1 and set the threshold so that it only grabs the extreme peaks. It also helps keep the low B-string from rumbling the whole stage. I hope this helps.:)
  19. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Go to a music store with your bass and demo some comps there. If you think the sound you're getting from one of them is what you want then there's your answer.
  20. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Use one or don't, but I hate the "compressor will destroy your ability to use dynamics" argument or the"compressors help cover bad technique" thing. Yes, they can do both those things. They can aslo be a useful tool if set properly for the intended use. Some people like to squash the crap out of their signal as an effect. Some people like a very subtle use. To each their own, right?

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