Hey UG,

I recently upgraded my pedalboard with a boutique OD/distortion pedal to replace my old (but unbreakable) boss os2. I was looking for a more organic distortion, the os2 provided a cold, tough distortion that just screams 90s. Now, I've liked that pedal, but I think it's not what I was looking for anymore.
The pedal I have right now suits my needs perfectly, but I have been using it just like I used my os2, meaning:

Fender jazzmaster ---> os2 ---->vox ac30 (I have a lot of other pedals in my board, it just doesn't matter for this thread) and volume at 12' preamp, master at 9'. Pedal volume is near 6', 7' (meaning almost off) , otherwise the volume difference is too big between clean and dirty.

the question is: I like having the preamp at around 12 where it's about to break up and gives lovely chimey vox tones without distortion unless you play very aggressively. same goes for the master volume. However, if I go over 6 or 7 on the pedal, the volume change is too drastic. Should I try lower amp volumes and higher pedal values? am I missing anything if I keep my pedal levels low, like you would when keeping a tube amp at a low level?

I would love to just try this but I don't have my stuff at home and wanted to hear other experts on the matter.
If you like it at unity that's fine ( pedal set so volume remains the same whether pedal on or off). Do what works for you and gives you the sound you like
If you're getting a tone you want from the pedal, I wouldn't worry much about how your knobs are set. You're not "missing out" on anything as you would be with a tube amp not running hot enough to get the tubes cooking.

What type of music are you playing? I ask because I play in a Southern Rock/Blues Rock act and run a pretty simple board (Wah, 2 ODs, cheap "faux reverb" delay, noise gate) and I use my guitar's volume knobs to control both volume and gain. With my main OD on I'm able to go from a good clean tone to heavy rock tones all from manipulating the volume knob. My 2nd OD is there to stack with the 1st for my highest levels of gain and volume available (as well as a few other uses, but that's it's main role and the rest isn't relevant here).

This type of setup works for me because I'm playing a simple rig, even if I am running 2 amps (which I do most of the time) and because the style of music I'm playing doesn't require me to tap dance around a larger pedalboard. If you're turning pedals on and off more often, I can see this being harder to implement.

In a nutshell, if you're using your OD in a way where it's basically either "always on or off" depending on the song you're playing, then using your volume control on the guitar could be helpful.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.
sjones ok that's a pretty good answer. I suppose I'd be missing out on something if my amp wasn't hot enough, which isn't the case. Working the volume knob on the guitar itself is good enough, but I guess being lazy drives me to stomping on pedals rather than turning on knobs. I don't know if that makes sense, but I find stomping on a pedal during a set to be more precise than turning up the volume on the guitar itself.

That being said, the last few rehearsals, I did rely more on the volume knob than on the pedal itself for volume.

I play mostly post-punk, rock, alt rock and hard rock with some shoegaze now and then so OD/distortion is almost always on, with delay during solo parts.

thanks for the feedback.
Fujicrow No problem! Glad to try to chip in some advice while lurking UG.

An alternative to using the volume knob would be to add in a volume pedal to your board, especially if your music requires a more active picking hand, which can make it inconvenient to be fidgeting with your volume knob.

For "rock" in general, I think a good starting point for this method is to set things so that at somewhere around 7 and 8 on the volume knob you're able to get your "rock-rhythm" tone. When you roll up to 10, you should be in the ballpark for where you'd want to be for a lead tone and volume.
Quote by Zeppelin71
Umm. . .uh. . .your mom touched sjones' dick. YOUR MOM TOUCHED OUR GUITARISTS GENITALS IN A CAMPER AT A BIKER FESTIVAL! truth.