View post (Balance Volumes Across Presets/Channels)

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ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,405
09/02/2018 9:00 pm

This is a great topic & I apologize for missing this post until now!

Originally Posted by: hdoran

I'm wondering what methods/tips/tricks you use to balance out your amp volumes on your different channels or presets.[/quote][p]This depends on the nature of the gig. But my overall plan is:

1. Know the nature of the gig ahead of time (songs, styles, relative band volume, room size).

2. Make a plan (guitars, amps, effects, power).

3. Test the plan.

4. Have a backup plan for when Plan A fails (be prepared to adapt, improvise & overcome!)

Originally Posted by: hdoran

I typically start with my medium gain and get that where I want it and then set other levels for others by ear. I'm often right (whatever "right" means), but am curious how others do this.

[p]This sounds like you already have an idea of the songs you will be playing & equipment you'll be using. So, the main variable for you might be the room you are playing.

If I haven't already played the place, I try to ask other musicians in the area about the size, any problems with sound, setup or power.

Since I almost always use Strats, my process usually involves picking the right amp for the job (small, medium, large? Just an pedal board to run direct?). Get clear on what kind of tones I need, set up my pedal board for those options. Then start to play through the gear, the songs, and this is important, using the same volume I expect to use at the gig.

For gain vs. clean I always start with unity: get the clean tone & the gain tone at the same volume. Then if it's a rock gig, make the gain tone a little bit louder. This is because most clean tones carry further & cut through the mix better. As soon as you engage gain, the tone can get muddled.

For any other effects I use the same approach. Start with unity with the clean, uneffected tone, then adjust for the nature of the music.

I also try to make as few channel or effect switches as possible. If I can get by playing a part or song by lowering the volume instead of switching channels or turning off an effect, then I will go with a tone that makes it possible. Say you are thinking you might need a chorus and a flanger. If I can get by with a chorus effect on the flange parts, I do that. It's better to have a simpler, streamlined board with less that can go wrong.

Try to rehearse EVERYTHING you might want to do live.

[quote=hdoran]Playing in my living room has no consequence if my levels are off, so I try and get things right so I can play a live show and switch tones/presets live.

That's true to a degree. But don't waste the opportunity to work on your live setup & tone at home. If you have to, set up sound baffles or dampening equipment. Go in the garage or basement. So much of playing live & using your equipment comes down to knowing how it will react in any given environment so you don't have to guess when you play somewhere new.

I've rented rehearsal spaces just to work on loud live tone setups. Or asked to set up early at places I'm unfamilar with.

Hope this helps!


Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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