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> Lead Tone, Where the heck is my solo!?
Madfish
post Nov 21 2019, 03:58 PM
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During my last band rehearsal I encountered this problem where my solo got completely buried within other instruments. I suppose it was mostly the other guitarist dialling a very mid heavy rhythm tone.
How do you make your solo cut through in a live band context? Pushing mids? Boosting volume? Anything else?
I suppose tone shaping should be done in collaboration with all band members. What are are general guidelines that you follow?
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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 21 2019, 04:05 PM
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It is very likely you tone had too much bass going.

Bass territory is where bassist and kick drum should be + a little bit of rhythm guitar.

I would say start with rolling off the bass frequencies while in the rehearsal room, then try to add more midrange/treble!


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klasaine
post Nov 21 2019, 05:59 PM
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What Kris said and maybe try less gain.
Also, make sure that your distortion type isn't the same as the rhythm guitarist.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Nov 21 2019, 06:09 PM
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Good points by Ken, lower the gain to help you get a punchier sound that will stick out.

Usin different types of distortions can give you different spectrum of overtones, which is also a powerful mixing tool to help an instrument stand out.


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 22 2019, 12:01 AM
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Good points by Ken and Kris! For your lead tone, make sure it's different than your rythm tone. Not just louder. I see this all the time in new bands playing live. It's time for a lead, the lead player hits the foot switch to go to the higher gain channel on his rig, it's louder, it's got more gain, but it's not cutting through,. Too much gain will actually wreck your clarity and not articulation live. Not to mention bring up the noise floor, and risk feedback.

It's a good idea to have a lead tone that is tonally distinct from the rythm tone and typically a clean boost will help. E.G. a tube screamer with volume at max, tone in the middle and drive at zero. This way it will just push your drive channel a bit harder without adding a ton of extra noise/distortion. Also, a bit of E.Q. goes a long way for lead work. E.G. Whatever gear you are using, have an E.Q. as part of your "lead patch" before the gain stage. In other words, guitar/e.q/clean boost/amp head or amp sim. Trim some bass off of the eq around 100hz, bump up the mids a bit. Presto! Your lead cuts through.
Todd


QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Nov 21 2019, 01:09 PM) *
Good points by Ken, lower the gain to help you get a punchier sound that will stick out.

Usin different types of distortions can give you different spectrum of overtones, which is also a powerful mixing tool to help an instrument stand out.
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Adam
post Nov 22 2019, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 22 2019, 01:01 AM) *
Good points by Ken and Kris! For your lead tone, make sure it's different than your rythm tone. Not just louder. I see this all the time in new bands playing live. It's time for a lead, the lead player hits the foot switch to go to the higher gain channel on his rig, it's louder, it's got more gain, but it's not cutting through,. Too much gain will actually wreck your clarity and not articulation live. Not to mention bring up the noise floor, and risk feedback.

It's a good idea to have a lead tone that is tonally distinct from the rythm tone and typically a clean boost will help. E.G. a tube screamer with volume at max, tone in the middle and drive at zero. This way it will just push your drive channel a bit harder without adding a ton of extra noise/distortion. Also, a bit of E.Q. goes a long way for lead work. E.G. Whatever gear you are using, have an E.Q. as part of your "lead patch" before the gain stage. In other words, guitar/e.q/clean boost/amp head or amp sim. Trim some bass off of the eq around 100hz, bump up the mids a bit. Presto! Your lead cuts through.
Todd

I was about to say more or less that. A clean booster is a popular thing. Personally I prefer Boss' OD3 over a Tubescreamer but that probably depends on guitar/amp you are using. Try out different units if you can and pick the one that works for you smile.gif


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Madfish
post Nov 22 2019, 06:52 PM
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Thanks for all great hints!

I'm planning to use Bogner Ecstacy Red for my drive channel. I can't rely on an amp too much. Need to use whatever is available at the rehearsal room.
I also have Flux Drive at hand. Might use it to give Bogner a push.

Todd, since you mentioned using EQ. Isn't that what a tube screamer does? High pass and mid bump. If so, is it reasonable to use both at once?

This post has been edited by Madfish: Nov 22 2019, 06:57 PM
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Adam
post Nov 22 2019, 07:21 PM
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QUOTE (Madfish @ Nov 22 2019, 07:52 PM) *
Thanks for all great hints!

I'm planning to use Bogner Ecstacy Red for my drive channel. I can't rely on an amp too much. Need to use whatever is available at the rehearsal room.
I also have Flux Drive at hand. Might use it to give Bogner a push.

Todd, since you mentioned using EQ. Isn't that what a tube screamer does? High pass and mid bump. If so, is it reasonable to use both at once?

An EQ covers more bands while OD usually has a just the tone balance knob or lows/highs active filters (Fender-style EQ), so it's a personal preference that matters.


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Madfish
post Nov 22 2019, 07:49 PM
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QUOTE (Adam @ Nov 22 2019, 07:21 PM) *
An EQ covers more bands while OD usually has a just the tone balance knob or lows/highs active filters (Fender-style EQ), so it's a personal preference that matters.


Yes, I understand graphic EQ pedal would allow you to control multiple bands. I'm asking about this specific use however. People use TS as clean boosts precisely for the EQ it does as a side effect.
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Adam
post Nov 22 2019, 10:15 PM
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QUOTE (Madfish @ Nov 22 2019, 08:49 PM) *
Yes, I understand graphic EQ pedal would allow you to control multiple bands. I'm asking about this specific use however. People use TS as clean boosts precisely for the EQ it does as a side effect.

I think a 3-band EQ that most amps use and guitar's tone balance are fine. I'd try OD as a booster, targeting mid-treble freq and boost those because chances are it will be just enough. A larger EQ, I'd maybe use for acoustic guitar but for the electric it seems like an overkill to me. ODs are easier to find in Used market too.



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Todd Simpson
post Nov 22 2019, 11:10 PM
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The tube screamer is doing a high pass yes! smile.gif On top of that, adding a bit of targeted mid boost and more bass sculpt with an actual eq pedal can yield great results in terms of cutting through. The tube screamer just has a tone knob, so not a lot of granular control.

Adam mentioned the 3 band eq on the amp. That's more for tone shaping the actual amp stage. I am suggesting adding an external eq before the tube screamer for more control over the overall tone. EQ on the signal before it hits the primary gain stage (your bogner pedal for example) has a huge impact on overall tone.
smile.gif

'When I'm building patches in overloud or on my 11 rack, I always use a parametric EQ at the head of the fx chain. It allows a high degree of control over the signal. Much more than just a screamer, which I also use in my signal chains, just after the EQ. Still, your mileage may vary, start with a screamer. smile.gif


EDIT: Just thought of something. Adding an eq does mean buying yet another pedal. I use them in software so nothing extra to buy. Also, it means knowing enough about eq to effectively shape the signal where the screamer makes most of those decisions for you so it's just a lot easier to use. So cheaper and easier to use just a screamer. If you find it's still not cutting through, then it might be time to add an eq and learn about more advanced tone shaping.




QUOTE (Madfish @ Nov 22 2019, 01:52 PM) *
Thanks for all great hints!

I'm planning to use Bogner Ecstacy Red for my drive channel. I can't rely on an amp too much. Need to use whatever is available at the rehearsal room.
I also have Flux Drive at hand. Might use it to give Bogner a push.

Todd, since you mentioned using EQ. Isn't that what a tube screamer does? High pass and mid bump. If so, is it reasonable to use both at once?


This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Nov 22 2019, 11:34 PM
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jstcrsn
post Nov 23 2019, 12:29 AM
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QUOTE (Madfish @ Nov 21 2019, 03:58 PM) *
During my last band rehearsal I encountered this problem where my solo got completely buried within other instruments. I suppose it was mostly the other guitarist dialling a very mid heavy rhythm tone.
How do you make your solo cut through in a live band context? Pushing mids? Boosting volume? Anything else?
I suppose tone shaping should be done in collaboration with all band members. What are are general guidelines that you follow?

if no one has said this already ... turn of reverb , its great for jamming but sucks in a mix
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Adam
post Nov 23 2019, 11:04 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Nov 23 2019, 12:10 AM) *
The tube screamer is doing a high pass yes! smile.gif On top of that, adding a bit of targeted mid boost and more bass sculpt with an actual eq pedal can yield great results in terms of cutting through. The tube screamer just has a tone knob, so not a lot of granular control.

Adam mentioned the 3 band eq on the amp. That's more for tone shaping the actual amp stage. I am suggesting adding an external eq before the tube screamer for more control over the overall tone. EQ on the signal before it hits the primary gain stage (your bogner pedal for example) has a huge impact on overall tone.
smile.gif

'When I'm building patches in overloud or on my 11 rack, I always use a parametric EQ at the head of the fx chain. It allows a high degree of control over the signal. Much more than just a screamer, which I also use in my signal chains, just after the EQ. Still, your mileage may vary, start with a screamer. smile.gif


EDIT: Just thought of something. Adding an eq does mean buying yet another pedal. I use them in software so nothing extra to buy. Also, it means knowing enough about eq to effectively shape the signal where the screamer makes most of those decisions for you so it's just a lot easier to use. So cheaper and easier to use just a screamer. If you find it's still not cutting through, then it might be time to add an eq and learn about more advanced tone shaping.

That was my point more or less. I assumed you needed to boost a specific range of frequencies to cut through and overdrives are great for just that smile.gif


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Todd Simpson
post Nov 23 2019, 11:34 PM
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Agreed smile.gif Overdrives are great for that . For most folks the added eq is probably overkill. For some folks, the lack of tone control on the overdrive isn't quite enough. I've been building patches using both for quite a while which is the main reason I suggest it.

QUOTE (Adam @ Nov 23 2019, 06:04 AM) *
That was my point more or less. I assumed you needed to boost a specific range of frequencies to cut through and overdrives are great for just that smile.gif
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Madfish
post Nov 29 2019, 04:42 PM
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This got me thinking recently. How about using volume/tone knobs to boost volume/treble for the solo? Do any of you do that?
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klasaine
post Nov 29 2019, 05:32 PM
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QUOTE (Madfish @ Nov 29 2019, 08:42 AM) *
This got me thinking recently. How about using volume/tone knobs to boost volume/treble for the solo? Do any of you do that?


That's an 'old school' way of doing it especially with the guitars volume control. With passive pick ups gain will be reduced when you back off the guitars volume control. Usually but not always the tone becomes a bit darker as well. You can also use a volume pedal at the front of your fx chain.
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Todd Simpson
post Nov 30 2019, 11:15 PM
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Very good point. Some blues guys use this approach, but usually setting their amp up for solo tone ahead of time and backing off volume for rythm given that blues rythm doesn't need that much gain. It's not the same in a metal/rock band which is why folks use a clean boost an EQ pedal or both.

QUOTE (klasaine @ Nov 29 2019, 12:32 PM) *
That's an 'old school' way of doing it especially with the guitars volume control. With passive pick ups gain will be reduced when you back off the guitars volume control. Usually but not always the tone becomes a bit darker as well. You can also use a volume pedal at the front of your fx chain.
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