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Thread: LOUD guitar, quiet guitar

  1. #1
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    LOUD guitar, quiet guitar

    Playing live, you gotta be able to switch guitars fast, right? Extended silence loses an audience. Drastic differences in output and brightness between guitars that require huge amp reconfigurations are not tolerated in my setup. I try to keep my guitars relatively the same in terms of output and brightness so I don't have to fiddle with knobs. There's still a nice variety of tones between them. They each have their own character. I plug in and play and everything is great.

    So, my big 3 guitars at this point are in my signature. In a room by myself, switching back and forth between clean and dirty, there is no difference in volume between the two channels. The gain structures are about the same, one guitar isn't fuzzed out while another is clean on the distortion channel. They really seem to work well together. Output and brightness are all ballpark the same, and I don't have to fiddle with the amp.

    The biggest differences between guitars always seem to shine through at band practice. If I play my black CU22 (my baseline guitar) through the setup, everything is great. If I plug in my Santana SE, the guitar drops out of the mix a bit. It's the quiet guitar. When I plug in the Mira, the bass player and drummer tell me to turn down the master volume. It just cuts through the mix in such a way that it seems so much LOUDER than the others. It's really strange.

    Tell me about your experiences in this regard.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  2. #2
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    Use the Mira has you baseline, use boost and EQ pedals for the CU22 and Santana....

    The Mira obviously has very hot pups. Guitars are sit in the mid range therefor the mids should never be scooped. At least your amp is stable a amp that I bought a few years ago was self biasing and had a texture control that was a class A - AB sweep on it, every time I turned it on the amp sounded different and would cost me 15 minutes in finding my tone....thankfully I got rid of that and bought a better amp (shame I sold that recently cos that was a awesome amp), just work out what frequencies you can boost with the 2 pedals I mentioned I can recommend pedals but since this is a PRS forum you would have to pm me as I don't wanna get in trouble with the mods.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I use a compressor so every guitar I play is met with the requisite "turn down, you're too loud" comment.

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    Tell the bass player to turn up his volume and the drummer to hit harder...

    I had a really cool comp that had a pre and post gain on it so after the compression I could still drop the volume (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3FaeQtNm58)

    I read the original post wrong....throw a duvet/blanket over the speaker cab (not over the amp), you'll still get the tone and the break up of the amp but it will reduce the volume, loads of people do it when recording a loud amp.

  5. #5
    I have had similar experiences of volume variations between guitars due to the differences of the output level of various pickups. This was profoundly apparent when I first plugged in my first PRS custom 24 back in 1998. (HFS/VB) I admittedly had real trouble with finding the right EQ because the thing was SO sonically dominate across ALL of the tonal spectrum. What I have discovered is that a very flat EQ allows the natural resonate character of these guitars room to breathe, especially on clean sounds, where the difference is more evident. I have since sold all my other electrics, and have two Custom 24s that I play exclusively for my electric parts. I use 3 or 4 acoustic electrics, and all of my guitars are played through an AXE FX 2, where I have different presets with different output volumes programmed in for all of them, including boost stages for leads and such. This was also the solution I used with my previous multi-effects processor, and in both cases it has solved this problem very well. For those who aren't in favor of using a gadget like an effects processor to give you different output volume levels, check out the new PRS 2 Channel Custom amp. This amp has a " boost " for each channel that has a separate level contol on the back of the amp for both the clean and lead channels, and is FOOTSWITCHABLE! This is great for a boost of course, but if you are a two guitar guy, you could use the boost stage for one guitar, and the normal stage for the other WITHOUT ever touching the amp. I almost purchased one a few weeks ago, and still might yet. Very, Very cool, and sounds as good as any amp anywhere in my humble opinion.

  6. #6
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    What I was trying to say in my original post, is that my pickups pretty much have the same output levels across all the guitars. If one guitar had a high output pickup and another a low output, you might get a similar output due to compression on the dirty channel but the clean channel will not be the same overall volume between the instruments. In my case, I get similar amounts of distortion/compression on the dirty channel and extremely similar response from the clean channel.

    It's just amazing to me given the above facts, that the perceived volume of each guitar can be so drastically different in a band setting. the way some guitars emphsize all the right frequencies to slice through a mix like a hot knife through butter, while others blend into a mix like eggs into cake batter. Mmmmm, cake. I'm hungry.
    The Bovine Fury <-- stream and download our album "Eleven by Twelve" for free.
    05 Custom 22 with DGT pickups ~ 07 Mira with old birds ~ 08 SE Baritone Fralin/Suhr pickups ~ 03 SE Santana

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Beef View Post
    What I was trying to say in my original post, is that my pickups pretty much have the same output levels across all the guitars. If one guitar had a high output pickup and another a low output, you might get a similar output due to compression on the dirty channel but the clean channel will not be the same overall volume between the instruments. In my case, I get similar amounts of distortion/compression on the dirty channel and extremely similar response from the clean channel.

    It's just amazing to me given the above facts, that the perceived volume of each guitar can be so drastically different in a band setting. the way some guitars emphsize all the right frequencies to slice through a mix like a hot knife through butter, while others blend into a mix like eggs into cake batter. Mmmmm, cake. I'm hungry.

    this is kind of swinging back and forth but i'm sure that brings us back to the mid range frequencies rather than amplitude.

  8. #8
    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenJ1973 View Post
    this is kind of swinging back and forth but i'm sure that brings us back to the mid range frequencies rather than amplitude.
    This!

    My Mira is the best mid-honking guitar I own. When I want to be rude, clean or dirty, I grab my Mira (granted, it's got 57/08s, but still).

    I used to have a Badcat Cub 2x10 combo that was one of my all time favorite amps...when I was playing alone. As soon as the band started up, I couldn't hear that damn thing at all. The band would stop, and I was so loud I couldn't believe it. It's just that that amp had a very scooped sound to it. The bass and treble sounded fantastic, but there was no mid presence and the amp just disappeared in the mix.

    My recommendation is to get a good EQ pedal--check out the Source Audio EQ. It's got four user presets and is the quietest EQ I've used, including a Keeley modded GE-7 and an MXR 10 band. I love this pedal. It's small, clean, and flexible. You can save a preset for each guitar and you're good to go. It can even boost the overall output, to hit the amp a little harder.
    Last edited by Egads; 03-26-2013 at 01:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrenJ1973 View Post
    this is kind of swinging back and forth but i'm sure that brings us back to the mid range frequencies rather than amplitude.

    Agreed. The guitar with the most upper mids will always seem louder. Play a Dumble amp (heavy mids) while the other guitar player is using a fender (scooped mids) and the fender amp will have to be turned up much louder so that both guitars are heard at what seems to be the same volume. Same as in mixing a lead track into a backing. A mid heavy tone will require a lower fader setting (less volume) than a mid scooped tone to sit correctly in the mix. IMO, this is actually the way it should be. You get different guitars filling out different frequencies. In a live setting, the biggest problems arise when both guitar players are using the same guitar and amp. (I have been through this in a band I was in) The end result was that one of us had to turn down the tone pot on our guitar depending on which part we were playing to get a more even sound out in the audience.
    Last edited by Tag; 03-26-2013 at 02:24 PM.

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