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Dynamics and amp

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  • Dynamics and amp

    Does the amp play a major role when it comes to the dynamics of your sound or is it just your playing technique and pickups that are the most important?

  • #2
    Depends on the style of amp and pickups... worst answer I know.

    Some amps have a sensitive touch and some types of pickups have extra sensitive response.

    Your playing will still be the most important factor and you should hone your control -as you command how much energy (Information) is imparted into the circuit for the other factors to work with
    “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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    • #3
      Amps with a master volume and the gain dimed will have less dynamics (that's the point) than a non-master volume amp. I'd say you need 50/50: an amp that doesn't compress everything as well as competent technique playing music that requires those kinds of dynamics.
      Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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      • #4
        IME amp gain coupled with pickups are significant in dynamics possible with the hands. Amp architecture also is a factor. Tube vs solid state vs modeler/emulation.

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        • #5
          A clean fendery type amp with low output single coils tends to have the most dynamic range on tap. It's very spikey and hard to control if you're not used to the sound. Light picking vs whacking the strings hard really rewards you with very different volume levels and expressiveness. A high output humbucker paired with a very gainy amp will have the least dynamic range. It picks up every nuance of your playing because of the compression and lack of dynamic range. Light picking vs whacking the strings hard doesn't change the dynamic range very much although there is some slight change in tone . . . but string muting and clean technique become more important.

          Neither is better or worse, they're just different sounds. Both require changes in technique to learn how to handle them properly.


          TLDR - The amp and pickups control how dynamic your guitar will sound. The technique of a player will determine how well you're able to utilize that dynamic range to create music.
          Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

          Originally posted by Douglas Adams
          This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by GuitarStv View Post
            A clean fendery type amp with low output single coils tends to have the most dynamic range on tap. It's very spikey and hard to control if you're not used to the sound. Light picking vs whacking the strings hard really rewards you with very different volume levels and expressiveness. A high output humbucker paired with a very gainy amp will have the least dynamic range. It picks up every nuance of your playing because of the compression and lack of dynamic range. Light picking vs whacking the strings hard doesn't change the dynamic range very much although there is some slight change in tone . . . but string muting and clean technique become more important.

            Neither is better or worse, they're just different sounds. Both require changes in technique to learn how to handle them properly.


            TLDR - The amp and pickups control how dynamic your guitar will sound. The technique of a player will determine how well you're able to utilize that dynamic range to create music.
            In my regular rock band, I play passive vintage level singles on my Tele for this reason -because it's a bigger band (with hammond, horns etc). being able to get above and below or sit in the the mix at the right volume is easier without riding a volume pot, volume pedal etc etc.

            In my heavy band I play active high gain and it's impossible to disappear and still play -but it's a 4 piece where sitting back isn't the goal. But we will have a full time sound guy to reconcile the balance.
            “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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            • #7
              I get my dynamics using a combination of lighter / heavier picking and riding the volume control. Crazy enough, as much saturation that the 5150 Overdrive has on tap, it cleans up really well riding the volume control. Surprised the heck out of me.

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              • #8
                Everything in the chain matters and effects things.
                The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.

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                • #9
                  The trick is to limit the amount of compression in the chain.
                  Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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