Today's Thoughts about Volume

I believe Tone is a skill, like reading, or playing chords, sight reading could be similar to plugging into an amp for the first time, like the ones in the different venues or rehearsal studios, and 'prepared' reading could be the equivalent of using your own equipment. Both can be improved with practice and experience.


Volume is an important part of guitar tone, if you are too loud, could probably make the people in the audience uncomfortable, and if you play too soft they won't hear you, the amount of volume also changes the bass and treble response,... so,... How loud should we play?


Would love to have a formula for that... but unfortunately I don't. When I started playing I was the typical guitar player "this one goes to eleven" kind of thing. Always wondered why the people in the first two rows were blinking at every note, and ended up half deaf after some rehearsals and gigs. 


When I started gigging regularly, started caring about my volume a lot, I just did not want the audience to ever think that It was too loud. Also in certain gigs when there is a PA, and everything is Mic'd up it is important to find a comfortable stage volume. 


In my opinion, in a lot of music I listen to, the snare drum is quite present and clear, so I decided to match my volume to that, however, it depends on the drummer (some of them are louder than other ones), but I narrowed down the possibilities quite a lot. Depending on the style and the gig, the drummer will adapt and raise a little the volume or I will turn down a bit. 


Played a lot with a lot of different drummers and tried to find a volume that would be good for the audience, and that would blend well with other instruments.These days I use the same volume all the time, it's loud, but a lot of the high end is gone, so it's not ear piercing (however I wouldn't recommend to put your ears close to the speakers)  ;)

However when I use an amp for the first time I still try to make my guitar as present as the snare drum.


Also in my pedalboard I have a Volume pedal for fine adjustment but will talk about volume pedals in another blog.

Today's thoughts about gear

This week commented on Facebook that I am done buying gear, I might need to get an amp soon, and would die to change my Fx processor for something with better quality, but after that is done, I won't be buying anything else.

Don't get me wrong, I love gear, I have tried/bought/sold/trade a lot of stuff in the last 15 years. And I will keep an eye on the market, as it is constantly evolving, but,... shouldn't we have a certain criteria when deciding the amount of gear we own?

Along the years, the only thing clear to me has been that I do not collect instruments. If it is in my room is because it has a function and a price tag according to it, space is limited, transportation is costly, and money important.

I haven't owned that many guitars in my life. The first one was a Spanish guitar. I learned my first chords with it. I don't remember the year. I took my first lessons with it and played it for a long time. My first electric guitar was a Fender Stratocaster US Standard. I did know nothing about tone. I disliked very much the noise of the single pickups.

After this first guitar I have owned others with humbuckers, hollow bodies, etc... until I started wanting the sound of single pickups again. Also, nowadays it is possible to get rid of the noise without losing tone so that is the way I went, and found the guitars I use now. I hope I never have to replace them.

If you play well paid gigs it is a good idea to have two guitars (similar if possible) for backup.

Also it's good to have an acoustic, and a nylon just in case, and why not a “Jazz” guitar too, and backups if you gig with them. (Of course depending on the gig)

Some amplifiers are quite versatile this days, and very good sounding, a well serviced amp can last for a really long time, of course I would like to have a few of them and different settings but lets keep it real, unless you are gigging like crazy with many bands, you could probably manage with one good versatile amp. If you need to hit the road or finally got that awesome gig that pays a lot, you could probably buy one by then.

However, I would advice to try, and learn as much as possible about the new models coming out, and of course about the most common ones.

If you get to record a lot of guitars at home, amp simulators are great these days, I would not use them live, unless I am playing in a really well paid cover band, but for home studio settings are great. (Once more, if you make money with them)

Fx and stomp boxes are so much fun to try and change, even though I end up always going back to the same 3 pedals, I love trying new stuff, I probably will buy/sell pedals once in a while,...


One more thing,... this is just a thought, not dark intentions behind this note. Please share your opinions, I would be glad to hear them.