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Explain compressors

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  • #46
    Re: Explain compressors

    A compressor might help but what you are describing sounds like technique, not equipment. With strong enough finger vibrato you can keep a note going a long, long time with enough volume and/or gain. Develop good hammer on/off fingering and you can drift up and down that string all night if you want to. I used to play a slow solo of about 30 seconds or so, playing notes on three different strings, without striking the strings at all. Right hand at my side. My left fingers did all the work. No compressor, just a very sensitive SG with a Super Distortion pickup running through an EQ pedal for midrange boost into a solid state Randall RG100ES into a 2x12 cabinet with Celestion G12-65 speakers.
    I could do it with other equipment but that exact combination made it relatively easy. The mid boost into the gain channel provided enough levelling of the signal to act "compressed" without a compressor.
    Prior to that I had a Peavy Studio 50 amp and it took an Arion compressor with all 3 knobs cranked to get the same basic effect.
    With both setups the key was to keep the strings moving (vibrato, side-to-side) so the notes would not fade out or devolve into uncontrolled feedback.

    You could also try an eBow. I tried one once and found it less responsive than the SG/Randall pairing but it literally allows unlimited sustain on one string for as long as you want.

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    • #47
      Re: Explain compressors

      You say it is not about equipment but you list a lot of equipment. I have a Squier Affinity and a Blackstar Idcore 20 amp! I did try the Epiphone Les Paul Standard as people call it sustain king. Well not really a sustain king. Those who show a long sustain with a Les Paul Standard do use a lot of effects including a compressor. Its natural sustain isn't significantly longer than a Squier. So I returned it. Not worth $500 if the only thing I want is longer sustain.

      Also as a beginner I have not perfected pull off. Hammer on is easy. I would need to use more pull off's as I have to go down the neck. It would be many years before I can play for 30secs using hammer on's and pull offs. I dont want to wait for many years :-)

      I dont like the ebow. While the long phrases that I have to play are on a single string, I do like to be able to play notes that need another string in the same song and ebow doesnt allow me to make a quick switch between strings.

      I am going to try the Boss CS-3. No matter how much I read, ultimately it comes down to trying out something.

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      • #48
        Re: Explain compressors

        As a beginnner I feel you need to worry more about improving your technique and less about fx. No disrespect intended but thatís the truth. If you canít do an effective pull off, the last thing you need to be thinking about is compressors.
        When I was a beginner, I literally played a Crate G10 practice amp with some no name guitar for YEARS before I upgraded it or thought about fx.
        The first pedal I got was a boss delay because another kid in school sold it to me cheap.

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        • #49
          Re: Explain compressors

          +1....practise....no electronic gizmo of any kind will help you there....
          Just hard work and patience!

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          • #50
            Re: Explain compressors

            Originally posted by Vasshu the humanoid typhoon View Post
            +1....practise....no electronic gizmo of any kind will help you there....
            Just hard work and patience!
            There goes the neighborhood!
            Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
            My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

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            • #51
              Re: Explain compressors

              I have to agree with the practice statement, if you can't do pull-offs cleanly, then fx aren't going to be a lot of help.

              I am a little confused about some earlier statements, compressors do limit the louder parts, but they also boost the gain on quieter parts, that is the point (unless the gain/sustain is set to unity in which case it is being used as a limiter, not a compressor, similar but different).

              It's easy to prove, put a distortion pedal in front of a compressor and crank the gain on the distortion,without playing when the compressor off, they will be some hiss/noise coming through, when you turn the compressor on, it will get louder (again, play with the gain), so yes, it can, and usually does, raise the low level signals.

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              • #52
                Re: Explain compressors

                Originally posted by devastone View Post
                I have to agree with the practice statement, if you can't do pull-offs cleanly, then fx aren't going to be a lot of help.

                I am a little confused about some earlier statements, compressors do limit the louder parts, but they also boost the gain on quieter parts, that is the point (unless the gain/sustain is set to unity in which case it is being used as a limiter, not a compressor, similar but different).

                It's easy to prove, put a distortion pedal in front of a compressor and crank the gain on the distortion,without playing when the compressor off, they will be some hiss/noise coming through, when you turn the compressor on, it will get louder (again, play with the gain), so yes, it can, and usually does, raise the low level signals.
                +1 on practice, but TO maybe did a better job of explaining compression.

                Compressors on their own don't boost anything unless makeup gain is applied; compressing with gain set to unity is NOT limiting. Limiting uses an infinity:1 ratio so that signal level never exceeds the threshold.
                Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

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                • #53
                  Re: Explain compressors

                  Actually TO's explanation was the one I thought could be potentially confusing, generally speaking, if you are using a pedal compressor in a guitar signal chain (which I think was the OP's original question), you are using some gain/sustain to bring up the lower levels, otherwise you aren't getting any increase in perceived sustain.

                  And yes, rushed explanation of limiting, thanks for the correction.

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                  • #54
                    Re: Explain compressors

                    Originally posted by devastone View Post
                    Actually TO's explanation was the one I thought could be potentially confusing, generally speaking, if you are using a pedal compressor in a guitar signal chain (which I think was the OP's original question), you are using some gain/sustain to bring up the lower levels, otherwise you aren't getting any increase in perceived sustain.

                    And yes, rushed explanation of limiting, thanks for the correction.
                    I can see where it would be confusing. His description is technically correct, but many (maybe most?) pedal compressors kind of hand wave the whole makeup gain thing.
                    Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                    And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Re: Explain compressors

                      Yet, it is pretty much their main reason for existence.

                      This is easier than typing.

                      Master your knowledge and use of the audio compressor in your home recordings and music productions.


                      https://www.practical-music-producti...o-limiter.html (again, thanks for the correction, true limiting is setting a hard ceiling)

                      Back to the OP, if playing legato on a single string for some specific amount of time is your main goal, get a copy of Troy Stetina's Speed Mechanics for Lead Guitar and camp out in the left hand section (I think it is the 2nd section).

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                      • #56
                        Re: Explain compressors

                        Any compression ratio of 20:1 or greater is considered limiting.
                        Why don't you take your little Cobra Kais and get outta here?!
                        My collaborative PROGRESSIVE ROCK PROJECT, As Follows.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Re: Explain compressors

                          Originally posted by TwilightOdyssey View Post
                          Any compression ratio of 20:1 or greater is considered limiting.
                          Did not know that, thanks!
                          Originally posted by crusty philtrum
                          And that's probably because most people with electric guitars seem more interested in their own performance rather than the effect on the listener ... in fact i don't think many people who own electric guitars even give a poop about the effect on a listener. Which is why many people play electric guitars but very very few of them are actually musicians.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Re: Explain compressors

                            Boss CS-3 is on its way. Will see what it can do for me. If the compressor doesnt get the job done, then I will resort to techniques. If I try too many things as a beginner, I will only get frustrated. I havent even mastered plucking yet. Half the time I am plucking the string below the one I should be plucking. LOL.

                            As long as I am playing on one or 2 strings I am good. That is why I decided to play this kind of music and not chords. In fact I have put a foam piece near the nut under all 6 strings to eliminate sympathetic vibrations. So I cant play open chords on my guitar anyway. Basically all 6 open strings are muted to eliminate sympathetic vibrations. I know you will say palm and finger muting. Well not there yet. I may never get there as I am not 11 now! So foam to my rescue..

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                            • #59
                              Re: Explain compressors

                              What youíre doing isnít going to be good for your playing in the long run.
                              Youíre avoiding all of the most important basics in favor of what is easy and ďinstantly gratifying ď
                              Guitar playing is hard and takes a TON of practice and work. Iíve been playing 30 years and recently went back to lessons again because....well, guitar is hard and I need to learn more.

                              But to each his own. Good luck.

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                              • #60
                                Re: Explain compressors

                                Originally posted by mupi View Post
                                You say it is not about equipment but you list a lot of equipment. I have a Squier Affinity and a Blackstar Idcore 20 amp!

                                I am going to try the Boss CS-3. No matter how much I read, ultimately it comes down to trying out something.
                                I did say that. What I meant to say is there was no one single magic piece that made it work, it was all those things combined.
                                You are right that you have to just try things. You might love the Boss. I really like what the Arion did for me but it was very hard to control set that way. But the key was a responsive, resonant guitar that would really vibrate when played. It's not how long a plucked note sustains that matters most, it's the guitar's willingness to vibrate sympathetically to the frequencies the speakers put out. At some point the amp is driving the guitar strings and then you have infinite sustain.
                                And just to be fair, everyone saying practice more is right. If the compressor pedal makes you like your sound more then that will likely motivate you to practice more. Good luck!

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