#1
I just want some opinions on this really.

How many of you practice with a clean tone or overdrive/distrotion to the max? Why?

I got engaged into a converstation and a few guys argued that practicing with distrotion showed flaws in techinque more easily and it is more enjoyable.

My "side" of people said it was better to practice clean to help show accents, articulation, and dynamics in your playing.

Opinions? Thoughts?

And yes you can vote both because you can play everything clean then play everything again with your overdrive/distrotion maxed out for both worlds.
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#3
i find you can really hear your mistakes in clean. so play clean and when u get that perfect it is going to sound better in overdrive/distortion
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#4
Chords -> clean

Shred and so -> overdrive

I find more challenging play fast chops at high gain: if you want to play all smooth and so, you have to learn how to shut all the noise the gain gives you. You cannot practice that on a clean channel.
#5
Both.

Practicing with distortion is essential to having good muting technique. I've been with players who are experts on an acoustic but when they plugged in to an amp for the first time, they sounded horibble.

Practicing clean is very important for dynamics. People who only practice with distortion tends to have very weak hammer-ons and pull offs.

So yeah, always practice with both. Go from practicing with no amp at all to practicing with maximum distortion.
#6
It does depend what you're practicing, but I always think absolute beginners are far better off stating with an acoustic whilst they learn the basics before switching to electric when they're ready.

Some people claim that playing electrically amplifies mistakes, but I find (and I know a lot of people who agree with me) that playing with distortion actually hides mistakes which would be extremely noticable on an acoustic.

When you start practicing lead & palm muting though, you need to be on an electric.
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#8
Quote by boblittle
i find it really depends on what ur practicing...


May I ask you explain your opinion more?

Quote by BURNTHEPRIEST94
i find you can really hear your mistakes in clean. so play clean and when u get that perfect it is going to sound better in overdrive/distortion


I agree with your opinion. It seems that note accurcay and clarity is better practiced clean at first to me.

Quote by Atax1a
Chords -> clean

Shred and so -> overdrive

I find more challenging play fast chops at high gain: if you want to play all smooth and so, you have to learn how to shut all the noise the gain gives you. You cannot practice that on a clean channel.


Logical. To add more practicing clean couldn't heart to maybe add some dynamic effects to a fast lick. And also a counter-view, maybe practicing slow enough with a clean tone can elimanate all that string noise to begin with

Quote by mrbabo91
Both.

Practicing with distortion is essential to having good muting technique. I've been with players who are experts on an acoustic but when they plugged in to an amp for the first time, they sounded horibble.

Practicing clean is very important for dynamics. People who only practice with distortion tends to have very weak hammer-ons and pull offs.

So yeah, always practice with both. Go from practicing with no amp at all to practicing with maximum distortion.


Makes sense, I just like to hear more on what the acoustic players were horrible at. I'll presume muting for the moment!

Quote by GaryBillington
It does depend what you're practicing, but I always think absolute beginners are far better off stating with an acoustic whilst they learn the basics before switching to electric when they're ready.

Some people claim that playing electrically amplifies mistakes, but I find (and I know a lot of people who agree with me) that playing with distortion actually hides mistakes which would be extremely noticable on an acoustic.

When you start practicing lead & palm muting though, you need to be on an electric.


Elaborate on what kind of mistakes it hides? Picking Techinque? Clarity? Accuracy? Pick Attack? etc.

Quote by WaltTheWerewolf
I dont use overdrives, so im always practicing clean, unless my amps breaking up.


Care to explain some more? Why just clean and why not overdrives?
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Last edited by Xter at Dec 7, 2011,
#9
I usually play with overdrive, but that is because its the music I like. I think each has its application though. Higher gain settings mean you have to mute the strings more to avoid excess noise but playing clean lets you hear how well you are hitting a not.

If you aren't using too much distortion, I dont think it really matters, but when your line6 is is dimed, you are just hiding your mistakes.

I knew a guy who had never played out of a professional level tube amp and when he recorded with my friends uberschall, he thought it sucked because it highlighted his mistakes (even when playing dirty).
What?! There's a clean channel on my amp?!

Quote by GoodOl'trashbag
omfg i totally forgot about that, you sir are jesus christ.
#11
Quote by Xter

Care to explain some more? Why just clean and why not overdrives?



Influenced by alot of 50s/60s rock so 90% of the time my amp is clean, but i run it jumped so it breaks up aroung 4-5, i DO love the natural overdrive but for practice purposes i cant have it that loud in my house...the wife throws a fit, and when its slightly broken up it doesnt respond that much different than being pure clean, other than sounding gritty!

I do use a Sparkle drive for when i cant push the amp some, but its set to barely add any overdrive...just my style...I think im in the wrong decade! need a time machine.
#12
Quote by Xter
Elaborate on what kind of mistakes it hides? Picking Techinque? Clarity? Accuracy? Pick Attack? etc.

Mostly accuracy. When practing with distortion, even a poorly fretted note will still make enough sound for the learner to hear, therefore he thinks he's doing OK. On an acoustic, that same poorly fretted note makes no sound whatsoever, so he knows he needs to improve.

A more trained ear could hear through the distortion to know that the mistake has been made, but we aren't talking about people with a trained ear - we're talking about beginners and they need the clarity of an acoustic (or at least an electric played cleanly) to be able to hear what they're actually playing rather than a load of amplified distortion.

Yes, there are lots of techniques which can only be practiced electrically, but they aren't techniques which a beginner should even be thinking about until after they've mastered the basics, and it's only the basics I'm talking about when I say it's better to learn on an acoustic.
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Last edited by GaryBillington at Dec 7, 2011,
#13
Playing clean highlights fundamental mistakes, i.e. missing notes. It's good to start by playing clean to make sure you hit all the notes. And if the piece you're playing is clean, don't even bother sticking on distortion.

Playing with overdrive might on occasion hide dud notes (especially notes you kinda half hit) BUT there's other techniques involved in giving you a clean sounding overdrive; muting excess noise.

So, basically - if you're playing a song that's clean anyway, just practice it clean. If you're learning a song/technique/exercise that is often played with overdrive, start by playing it clean to make sure you hear that you're hitting the notes. Then practice it with overdrive and focus on muting excess noise.

Quote by Xter
Logical. To add more practicing clean couldn't heart to maybe add some dynamic effects to a fast lick. And also a counter-view, maybe practicing slow enough with a clean tone can elimanate all that string noise to begin with

Not really - overdrive brings out excess noise that you just wouldn't otherwise hear. Stuff can sound completely clean without overdrive, but as soon as you wham overdrive on it can sound dirty and messy. Try recording something clean (preferably something fairly fast/complicated) that sounds perfect. Then wham a a really high overdrive VST on it and it will sound horrible. Partly because of excess noise, and also partly because notes that are still ringing that aren't supposed to be don't sound too bad on clean, but sound awful on overdrive.
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Last edited by llBlackenedll at Dec 7, 2011,
#14
I practice stuff as intend to play it.

That would say, if i'm practicing a shreddy thing i'm going to practice with distortion of course.

If i'm practicing a song that is played with clean sound (Like gravity with john mayer) i'm surely going to practice it with clean settings.
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#15
I generally practice everything clean (actually not even plugged into my amp) but sometimes it's useful to practice with distortion. Clean/distortion show up different kinds of mistakes but clean is usually the way to go.
#17
If you ever are going to play with both then practice with both. It is that simple really.
#18
Interesting replies so far, I'm enjoying the opinions, so far it seems 50/50 with everything! Keep expressing and debating!

P.S. I'm not going to reply to every single reply now, I'm enjoying how well this is going though!
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#19
As long as it's not drowned in distortion. Your sound should be pretty tight so the distortion shouldn't drown the notes out. If you got shit distortion, I'd go with clean. But, pulling pinch harmonics playing clean isn't easy.
#20
Quote by WholeLottaIzzy
As long as it's not drowned in distortion. Your sound should be pretty tight so the distortion shouldn't drown the notes out. If you got shit distortion, I'd go with clean. But, pulling pinch harmonics playing clean isn't easy.

Heh, no, but if you can pinch clearly on clean, you can sure as hell do it on overdrive :P
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#21
Usually clean because I have neighbors and I can't get great distortion at low volume.
#22
Practice both ways.
They are different techniques that need to be practiced separately for different purpouses.
#23
Quote by Zeletros
Maxed out insane distortion will show much more of your mistakes than clean.


I have to agree with you, but it would sound horrible.

I used to practice depending on how the song is. If its a rock song and needs distortion and go ahead and play it with distortion.
But after I learned the November Rain solo on a distorted channel and played it on a clean one, all my bends sounded so off and my pull-offs were pretty weak. So now I practice on clean for stuff that requires technique(bends, hammer ons, etc).
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#24
Start off clean - clean tones have far more dynamic response, traditionally, and will show how you sound without layers of gain on top. However, it's important to throw distortion/OD on as well to practice muting and elimination of excess string noise.
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#25
Both, but mainly clean. And unplugged, for me. That's just how I've rolled.

It's hard to tell if my advanced sweeps are ringing properly with distortion. The notes go by so fast, a muted string sounds similar to an open string. But if I stick it on clean, I can really hear the dead notes I hit.
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#26
As a general rule I'd say practice is overrated compared to rehearsal or performance. But to the extent that you're going to be doing it, your practice situation should be as much like your performance situation as possible - same basic tone, same guitar, ideally the same amps and effects and full stage volume if possible.

People on the internet are way too concerned about "mistakes" and not nearly concerned enough about being able to get a tune across convincingly.
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#27
Quote by Even Bigger D
As a general rule I'd say practice is overrated compared to rehearsal or performance. But to the extent that you're going to be doing it, your practice situation should be as much like your performance situation as possible - same basic tone, same guitar, ideally the same amps and effects and full stage volume if possible.

People on the internet are way too concerned about "mistakes" and not nearly concerned enough about being able to get a tune across convincingly.


Not being able to get a tune across convicingly is a mistake.
#28
Quote by Even Bigger D
But to the extent that you're going to be doing it, your practice situation should be as much like your performance situation as possible - same basic tone, same guitar, ideally the same amps and effects and full stage volume if possible.

Your neighbours might have something to say about this.
#29
The best answer is to practice on both.

Practicing on clean will force you to have good dynamic control and to have more consistent timing. I've found that things that sound even when distorted can be slightly off tempo when played on a clean channel. Consequently, when I'm learning a fast picking line, I use a clean channel first so that I can be sure that my notes are articulated and even.

Practicing with distortion will make sure that your muting technique is correct, which is equally important.
#30
Quote by llBlackenedll
Playing clean highlights fundamental mistakes, i.e. missing notes. It's good to start by playing clean to make sure you hit all the notes. And if the piece you're playing is clean, don't even bother sticking on distortion.

Playing with overdrive might on occasion hide dud notes (especially notes you kinda half hit) BUT there's other techniques involved in giving you a clean sounding overdrive; muting excess noise.

So, basically - if you're playing a song that's clean anyway, just practice it clean. If you're learning a song/technique/exercise that is often played with overdrive, start by playing it clean to make sure you hear that you're hitting the notes. Then practice it with overdrive and focus on muting excess noise.

Well said.
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#31
Quote by MetalCommand
Your neighbours might have something to say about this.

Yeah, they'd say rent rehearsal space so you don't have to practice in your basement. And they'd be right.
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#32
Practice clean.
Play clean or overdrive.
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#33
Quote by Even Bigger D
Yeah, they'd say rent rehearsal space so you don't have to practice in your basement. And they'd be right.


Oh I guess you're referring to practicing with a band, then right yes it's clearly better to have a proper rehearsal space. I was more thinking in terms of just normal practicing on your own (technique/learning new stuff/whatever) in which case going to a proper rehearsal space all the time would be incredibly inconvenient for most people.
#34
OK so here's a good example:

When I was learning "Under a Glass Moon", I found part of the intro difficult (1:02-1:07 on the youtube video). I couldn't understand why as I was sure I could usually play at that speed. Anyway, I thought "OK I'll try it clean". So I did. And it sounded fine. So I whammed on the overdrive again and suddenly I couldn't play it properly again. I soon realised, when I slowed it down a fair amount, that actually I WAS hitting the notes but it sounded really messy and horrible because I wasn't muting the excess noise (and my middle finger on my picking hand was occasionally lightly brushing the strings which sounded really nasty on overdrive).
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#35
The best way for me is to practice with both clean and distortion where practicing with clean sound you will hear your true dynamic and articulation where it also makes you hear your mistakes easier once you make them which will help you to develop and correct them in a faster way while practicing with distortion will help you to master the muting those other strings that you are not playing and extra noises. As muting when the sound is distorted is harder than the clean one.

\m/
Last edited by Chayakorn at Dec 9, 2011,