#1
Hi all,
Im looking for a little help better understanding the knobs and science behind them. Ive been playing almost 3 years now. Its something I picked up a bit later in life @ 35 years old. I love playing Guitar. Its an instrument, a puzzle, a toy, a hobby, a passion... everything.

Lacking the practice time that some here are lucky to have (married twice, 2 kids + one on the way, corporate job, you know the drill) all my focus and practice has been on playing more and playing better as fast as possible to best jam with others. Its been all barre chords and scales and rhythm.

But now as my playing is improving I am finding my lack of knowledge on what the electronics do is holding me back. Its gotten to the point where I really only bring my Strat to jam because its easier to get the tones I want without irritating dudes while I fine tune and setup my gear.

My setups are simple... I have a Fender Blues Delux 40w tube amp, a studio Gibson LP and an American Std Strat. I also have a 30w line6 Spider I practice on as it takes headphones. The only pedal I use regularly is the green Ibanez tube screamer. Sometimes a Wah when we play those Reggae rhythm Dispatch tunes. Ive never learned any real lead guitar but Ive been told my rhythm playing is very melodic and I use simple riffs and pieces of scales between chords. The playing part is coming along well. But when it comes to my equipment?

My problem is simply I dont know what I am doing. Time to start learning.

I know the sounds I want but Im essentially throwing shit on the wall till it sticks and this is LAME on my part.

Is there some nice explanation of the difference between the following:
level (tube screamer pedal)
volume (guitar + amp)
drive (pedal + amp)
tone (guitar)

And the pickup toggle switch on the guitar... up for rhythm, but is that the pickup closer to the neck or bridge?

I would love to print something up to read on the train... Maybe a lesson Im too lazy to browse for?

Thanks and cheers,
Mike
he of tranquil mind
#2
On a les paul, if nobody has screwed with the wiring the "rhythm" is the neck pickup and the "lead" is the bridge.... though most people don't follow the principle they're named after at all (and usually just go with the bridge pickup 90% of the time for rock music). Its more of historic naming convention back from the jazz days.
You can identify which pickup is active by tapping on each pickup, you should hear the tapping sound through the amp if the pickup is selected

Tone on guitar is basically a treble control, if you roll it down it removes the high frequencies.

Level on a tubescreamer is the same as volume.
Drive is basically the amount of distortion. Gain is usually the same thing.
You kind of have to balance out the difference drive and volume (i.e. less drive is usually quieter so you need some more volume for it too match).
Last edited by seljer at Apr 11, 2012,
#3
Alright,

The pickup selector is up(rhythm) that is the neck, down (lead) for bridge, and middle is a combination of the two for a les Paul or any normal three way switch.

A strat has three pickups, so up is neck, middle is middle, and down is bridge, with the I between settings a combo of either neck/middle or middle/bridge.

Volume is just what it says, it controls volume. On a tube amp the higher the volume typically they will sound better. A guitar volume does the same, but you will notice the more you roll it off, the more treble (high end) you will lose.

Drive for the pedal and the amp are the same, they add more gain, or distortion.

Level for the pedal is volume, but lots of people will turn the drive all the way down for tube screamers, and the level all the way up. It sounds really nice, try it.

The tone on a guitar, the more you roll it off, the more high end and treble is lost. I usually just leave it at full up, (as I think most do)

Hope that helps some, any more questions feel free to ask
#4
Quote by fishmike
Hi all,
I love playing Guitar. Its an instrument, a puzzle, a toy, a hobby, a passion... everything.




Like that ^^

Just remember that really it doesn't matter what combination you use. I stay in the rhythm pickup almost exclusively. Its good to just think about the way the guitar is designed for example seeing the neck as two equal components and the pickups in relation to the strings and how they sound. Obviously if you play harmonics on the 6th strings back along the string to the bridge you can hear the difference and understand why a treble humbucker would be at the bridge position. I find that playing some lead through the neck pickup will give some fullness and texture.

When using the volume on your guitar as opposed to the volume on the amp you can quickly push your amp into overdrive. This works like a charm with my Vox. Set the amp so when your guitar is at like 8ish if is AS loud as you intend on playing throughout the song then you can dial it back or clean it up as you may hear.

If you need to practice anything it is the roots and like a E pos barre and an A pos barre would be awesome to study. IF YOU KNOW open chords, if not just try to memorize major minor and seventh chords. Don't worry about memorizing tab, like studying, that will make you frustrated. Take it one step at a time. Remember whats most important. Glad you found the guitar and are actually playing it.

good luck
#5
Btw what I mean with the barre chords is you can do
A barre right underneath with an A pos you get a D and then V chord go up to an E in same position

Then you throw in like a lick you make from the blues scale in A

This might get your lead going.
You may be surprised how much lead is just from the major and minor pentatonic scales. Maybe you should just focus on one song really pick it apart.
#6
Quote by COREYTAYLOR721
Btw what I mean with the barre chords is you can do
A barre right underneath with an A pos you get a D and then V chord go up to an E in same position

Then you throw in like a lick you make from the blues scale in A

This might get your lead going.
You may be surprised how much lead is just from the major and minor pentatonic scales. Maybe you should just focus on one song really pick it apart.
great advice... and I can say this because I have taken it. Smartest thing I did was teach myself where all the E/A shaped barre chords are for every key. I quickly learned by removing the chording fingers and leaving the barred finger (open notes) you have that chord's pent minor and can right away just hammer on and get some easy fun licks going.

I have the HUGE advantage of a few years of piano when I was a kid, so I have some solid understanding of keys and where to go with chords and notes etc...


Thanks guys... this is already incredibly usefull
he of tranquil mind
#7
im glad i read this thread. Up to now I've thought rhythm meant the bridge pickup and lead meant the neck, and I thought i was insane for being the only guitarist on the planet who preferred neck pickups

im assuming down on a 5 way switch is bridge as well?
#8
Quote by Mr E Meat
im glad i read this thread. Up to now I've thought rhythm meant the bridge pickup and lead meant the neck, and I thought i was insane for being the only guitarist on the planet who preferred neck pickups


Don't worry the stoner rock guitarists are with ya there

Quote by Mr E Meat
im assuming down on a 5 way switch is bridge as well?


Yeah

I mean it could be wired to be neck too, but in the case of 99.9% of guitars, it's the bridge.
#9
Quote by Mr E Meat
im glad i read this thread. Up to now I've thought rhythm meant the bridge pickup and lead meant the neck, and I thought i was insane for being the only guitarist on the planet who preferred neck pickups

im assuming down on a 5 way switch is bridge as well?
ironically I do prefer the neck pickups quite a bit. I would challenge anyone to find a warmer thicker tone than what I get from the neck pickup on my Strat through that amp. The only thing that sucks about that amp I have is you need volume to get those tones, so its lousy to practice on. I keep meaning to check out the Blues Jr. My friend bought a 5w practice tube amp (Marshall) but I dont love the clean tones so much there.
he of tranquil mind
#11
Quote by COREYTAYLOR721
guess I am a stoner rock guitarist then lol
you sound resigned. This should be a badge of honor
he of tranquil mind