Hi there. This post really belongs in "Guitar Gear and Accessories" but apparently I need to post here being a new member. I'm after advice about how to try and get a decent sound in a set up where your guitar gets plugged directly into the mixing desk and not via an amp.

The situation: I recently got asked to join a group of local musicians who meet weekly for a jam, and occasionally do gigs. At home, I've a decent-ish Marshall amp but it's huge so I don’t bring it with me to the weekly sessions. This means my guitar is going straight into their mixing desk. And it sounds really sh*t! The clean tone is thin, flat and really muffled, and as to the distortion... it's unbearable. I realise this is almost certainly because there's no preamp, but does anyone know anything I could do to improve the sound?

There's another guitarist at this group who's been coming years. He's got a decent guitar (Strat) but uses a fairly basic digital multi-effects pedal. His sound is spot on - clean or distorted, it sounds full and rich. Is it possible that his multi-effects pedal acts as a sort of pre-amp? I know it'll have a master tone knob so maybe he managed to find a sweet spot where it sounds ok?

It's frustrating cos all the pedals on my board are decent quality analogue ones, but they sound terrible there. To make things worse, the sound guy operating the mixing desk has only been with them 6 months and admits he doesn’t know how to operate a lot of the equipment. I've tried to speak to him about EQ levels and I just get a blank look.

I've read about sans-amp pedals - like the Tech 21 Blondie - but at £200, I'm kinda reluctant to shell out for one just for these jams.

My equipment: Gibson SG Standard, Vintage '52 Tele, and a whole load of BOSS pedals.