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Thread: Solo boost to cut through the mix

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    Member bigcupholder's Avatar
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    Default Solo boost to cut through the mix

    I'm using a Marshall DSL40CR, switching from the crunch channel (medium gain) for rhythms to the lead channel for solos. I'm finding the lead channel doesn't cut through the mix enough with another guitarist so I'm thinking of putting something out front to boost the crunch channel instead. Right now I'm not using any pedals.

    What would give me maximum cut? A tubescreamer? A treble boost? Something else?

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    Last edited by bigcupholder; 01-17-2020 at 03:02 PM.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    maximum cut? treble boost. better idea for what you want? eq pedal.

    if you like the tone of the crunch channel and dont want to add dirt, then you pretty much can only make it louder. if you want to cut through, a treble boost is great but i will add dirt and change the tone. thats how it cuts through.

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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    I'd go for a non-Tube Screamer based pedal, like the Forza. It tends to emphasize frequencies equally, with no mid hump.
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    Junior Member lp1987x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    EQ pedal in the loop. To get any boost in volume, whatever method is used needs to be after the primary distortion source. I use a Boss GE-7 in the loop of my JCM800 Studio and it works great. A slight bump in the low mids and on the level slider and my solos really pop out.

    The other guitar player in our band has a Silver Jubilee and uses EQ's and Tubescreamers in front of his amp and his solos are never heard over the rest of the band. He made a comment after our last gig that he wished his solo boosts worked as well as mine. I told him to move the EQ to the loop of the amp and his problem was solved.
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    Member bigcupholder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    maximum cut? treble boost. better idea for what you want? eq pedal.

    if you like the tone of the crunch channel and dont want to add dirt, then you pretty much can only make it louder. if you want to cut through, a treble boost is great but i will add dirt and change the tone. thats how it cuts through.
    I suppose I worded that poorly. I would like to add more amp distortion rather than add clipping in the pedal. That's what I meant to say.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    eq pedal then. you can up the level and tailor the eq to give you the cut you need. old school treble boosters are great into crunchy amps but the germanium ones i really like add some of their own dirt

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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    I'm using a Seymour Duncan pickup booster.. sounds great.

    But I think any clean boost will do the trick for you.

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    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    You need to boost post-gain. Boosting up front, unless stupid mega-rod will only add more distortion, but not much volume.

    An eq in the loop will add both just the right frequencies for "cut" and a little volume to put you out front.
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Lots of great tips here. An eq in the loop is a great idea if you’re happy with your amp’s rhythm tone and then set it so the volume slider is up a little, the bass cut a little and your mid frequencies of choice are raised a little. You’ll have no problem being distinct on stage. You can also do it the other way around. Set the EQ for your desired rhythm tone with the volume set a little lower and then turn it off for your solo boost. I believe John Petrucci did something very similar with the built in eq of his Mesa.
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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    EQ in the loop is a great solution, as explained.

    It also kinda helps if both guitar players work together. If you're playing a solo, the other guy should back off a bit and viceversa. In that situation, playing a bit lighter will give each other more space.

    It's also good to consider your choice of guitars. If both of you are using Les Pauls for example, you might want to try a Tele or a Strat or something with a different tone, to make things contrast.

    And also I've found that playing just a bit quieter in general helps separate things more easily. No point in boosting here and there when the whole band's doing 110 decibels.
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    I use two different boost pedals in my floor board. I have an SD Pickup Booster (1st generation), and an EH Soul Food. They both do the job, and each has a different flavor. The SK is much more of a "clean" boost, keeping the same tone and just adding more volume. The EH pedal is kind of a Klon clone, it can definitely boost but also seems to add some extra upper mids and even attenuating the upper highs a bit while allowing the notes to bloom a bit. I use them both at different times, but don't kick them on together.
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcupholder View Post
    I suppose I worded that poorly. I would like to add more amp distortion rather than add clipping in the pedal. That's what I meant to say.

    Sent from my SM-G970W using Tapatalk
    That's not going to really help your leads cut through the mix if you're playing with much distortion.

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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Reading this thread, I took my Pickup Booster out with my Strat today, and wow! That is some magic combo right there, with the Resonance switch on 1.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Not to derail this thread, but this has been on my mind since last night: why do you guys need to work so hard to cut through the mix? Single notes stand out.
    I have played in several noisy two-guitar bands (punk, post-punk, alternative, industrial, and straight classic-rock style) and in all of them the only time either one of us boosted was to increase gain for more sustain and compression. In two of those bands I used an eq pedal to reduce highs and boost lows and mids to give single-string runs more heft. Kinda the opposite of trying to stand out more.
    Nobody ever said they couldn't hear the solos and every recording I ever heard of any live performance the solos stood out just fine.

    I am not being sarcastic, I just wonder if some are putting too much spotlight on their solos? There is a lot to be said for sitting IN the mix.

    If this is what bigcupholder had in mind (more sustain, compression, and girth) then just about any boost pedal, eq pedal, or overdrive with the volume up & gain down should do it. But if the rhythm tone is rockin it shouldn't need to get louder to get heard?

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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    I don't have this problem, and it isn't why I use a boost, but I can see that with more modern styles (progressive metal, etc) where players are after a very consistent & compressed sound, might have an issue with this. Especially with 2 guitars, a bunch of preamp gain, active or high output passive pickups, and effects. I used to play with a busy keyboard player who occupied all of the guitar frequencies with a distorted Hammond. I could use any help I could get trying to get louder so I could be heard.
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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Dave Locher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I don't have this problem, and it isn't why I use a boost, but I can see that with more modern styles (progressive metal, etc) where players are after a very consistent & compressed sound, might have an issue with this. Especially with 2 guitars, a bunch of preamp gain, active or high output passive pickups, and effects. I used to play with a busy keyboard player who occupied all of the guitar frequencies with a distorted Hammond. I could use any help I could get trying to get louder so I could be heard.
    I had not considered the possibility that the rhythm tone might already be heavily compressed. Good point! That probably explains 90%.
    As for the Hammond, if he was blotting out your solos then wasn't he also burying your rhythm tone? Sounds like a job for the sound guy or band leader ("Hey buddy, turn down the organ a bit!") rather than a boost?

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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Locher View Post
    Not to derail this thread, but this has been on my mind since last night: why do you guys need to work so hard to cut through the mix? Single notes stand out.
    I have played in several noisy two-guitar bands (punk, post-punk, alternative, industrial, and straight classic-rock style) and in all of them the only time either one of us boosted was to increase gain for more sustain and compression. In two of those bands I used an eq pedal to reduce highs and boost lows and mids to give single-string runs more heft. Kinda the opposite of trying to stand out more.
    Nobody ever said they couldn't hear the solos and every recording I ever heard of any live performance the solos stood out just fine.

    I am not being sarcastic, I just wonder if some are putting too much spotlight on their solos? There is a lot to be said for sitting IN the mix.

    If this is what bigcupholder had in mind (more sustain, compression, and girth) then just about any boost pedal, eq pedal, or overdrive with the volume up & gain down should do it. But if the rhythm tone is rockin it shouldn't need to get louder to get heard?
    In my experience, most guys don't pick as hard soloing as they do when playing rhythms.

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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Locher View Post
    I had not considered the possibility that the rhythm tone might already be heavily compressed. Good point! That probably explains 90%.
    As for the Hammond, if he was blotting out your solos then wasn't he also burying your rhythm tone? Sounds like a job for the sound guy or band leader ("Hey buddy, turn down the organ a bit!") rather than a boost?
    For me, it was a matter of writing a part with the right tone for every specific part of the song. When I boosted the volume for a solo, I'd also radically change the tone.
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    my banana hammock hosts a leetle peppercini and has hit the skids Aceman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    more modern styles (progressive metal, etc) where players are after a very consistent & compressed sound, might have an issue with this. Especially with 2 guitars, a bunch of preamp gain, active or high output passive pickups, and effects.
    That would be us. We both use a "louder" button on the guitars somehow. Mine is on the amp, his is an MXR Micro Amp. I might have (compressed) gain, reverb and delay going on a solo. It could easily disappear.
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    Default Re: Solo boost to cut through the mix

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    That would be us. We both use a "louder" button on the guitars somehow. Mine is on the amp, his is an MXR Micro Amp. I might have (compressed) gain, reverb and delay going on a solo. It could easily disappear.
    You guys do a good job of not having that issue, though.
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