Compressors for guitar. Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Owning an Alembic » Fun Stories » Compressors for guitar. « Previous Next »

Author Message
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4632
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, August 28, 2015 - 6:16 pm:   Edit Post

It looks like my series guitar could hit the stage this weekend on our first public gig together. Pre-empting the situation, I recently bought a two channel Peavey Tube Sweetener which I plan to use between the guitar and my Roland JC120 to give it some warmth . I have also been thinking of using a stereo rack compressor to smooth out the dynamics. I presume this will be put last in the chain before the guitar amp inputs. At my disposal currently I have a Behringer MDX1400 and another brand that I used in my ADAT studio setup some years back.

I plan to use both channels of my JC120 if I use the series I guitar on the gig and I wonder if I should have the same settings on each compressor channel. Also do you have a view as to which pickup I should have my effects running through?

Any insight you could share would be most welcome and my safe position is to stay mono all the way from guitar to amp but I'd like to try something different.
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 6219
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2015 - 8:41 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzy, sorry I can't be of help, I was always taught to put the compressor first in the effects chain.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 2106
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, August 29, 2015 - 11:18 pm:   Edit Post

The compressor should go after all the of the effects that are gained based (i.e., envelope filters, unless you want to compress the output of the filter, which I've done a bunch).

As far as which compressor to get, well, that's a huge question. Different compressors sound very different. If you want something fairly invisible, for basic dynamics control, and inexpensive, the RNC is very nice. For a colored sound, and at a higher price, the sky is the limit.

If it were me, I'd probably check out some of the stomp box options. They can sound very good. If you are planning to run a separate effects chain for each pickup, you can then pick a compressor appropriate for each (maybe transparent for one and colored for the other).

I'd suggest you go to a music store and check out a whole bunch of them. What works for one person might sound terrible for someone else.
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4638
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 4:05 am:   Edit Post

I'm gonna have a bit of a play this afternoon and try a few options out. I tried the rack compressors I have on bass before but I found they added hiss into an otherwise quiet signal chain which kind of defeated the purpose. So that idea never hit the stage. it may be different on guitar so today will be an experimental time to help me decide for this evening and ongoing guitar gigs.
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 919
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 11:03 am:   Edit Post

RNC is a nice unit and a great way to get started using a compressor! Most compressors add some amount of noise. Optical comps are interesting (Meek, etc).

I played a gig last night where the guitar player used an envelope follower (auto-wah) that seemed to add some sweet compressor-like tones (ok, Jerry-tones).

Personally, I use a guitar amp that has natural compression that comes in as I crank it up, but it has lots of great distortion, so if you want a clean sound, it is not a good idea. I use a compressor on any acoustic guitar I record as I think it adds to the sound.
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4640
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, August 31, 2015 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

Well all went fine with the gig and I have more things to consider when using that guitar live again.

Here is a breakdown of what went down.
(a) I managed to get a good results on my stereo compressor using the option that allows the use of channel 1 to set both channels the same. I had a high threshold setting which only kicked in as a limiter when I use my distortion pedal or Qtron pedal which worked great. Unfortunately it was a bit noisy when switched in but not audible in the mix of the music. The Tube Sweetener did a great job of taming the painfully sharp JC120.

(b) I used the effects on the neck pickup only, feeding both channels into the two channels of the Roland JC120 amp. That way I was able to set the effects and the clean bridge pickup initially using the amp at soundcheck then during the gig by using the volumes on the guitar. I think that seemed to give a cleaner and more defined sound from the guitar than using the guitar in mono and having both pickups going through the effects board. Interestingly switching to mono from the DS-5 also sends the bridge pickup signal through the treble output so I had that still going direct into the JC120, I then had the option to include or exclude it using the amp volume control. It's early days at the moment and on this first try out I think I like having the clean bridge and wet neck combination when using effects.

(c) For the gig last night, i think the series guitar was really overkill and a constant worry about getting it dinged since I was in a small space between the drum cymbals, the mixing desk, an upturned table with long protruding cast iron legs behind me, mass of cables under my feet and the guitar wielding band leader/lead singer walking across me to get to the mixer between tracks. So if It's out on gigs with that band again,which is unlikely, it would have to be a venue with a large proper stage where I have space. But at last it's been on a gig and earned me some money. :-)
I can imagine using it on more jazz based gigs really.

gtrguy I know what you mean about natural compression, it's a great sound and I have an a fender twin amp that does the natural compression superbly. But for this gig at least I wanted to try the stereo options of the guitar.
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 922
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, August 31, 2015 - 5:49 pm:   Edit Post

Wish you had taped the show and could post it here!

Add Your Message Here
Username: Posting Information:
This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.
Options: Enable HTML code in message
Automatically activate URLs in message

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration