"How do I use time-based effects with my overdriven amplifier?" I get asked this question all the time. For many people, an effects loop works *ok*. I say *ok* because there is, IMO, a much better-sounding way to do it. In fact, I consider this method to have astounding sonic qualities, myself. This method that I'm referring to is known as the *WET/DRY* method. It's pretty simple to set up. You will need several items:
It makes sustaining notes at lower levels a lot easier, and SOUNDS and FEELS bigger and louder, without completely blowing away the rest of your band. You can even use a VOLUME PEDAL on the signal going into the effects amp, so you can vary how much effect you have as you are playing.
"Can I put a delay in between my guitar and overdriven amplifier?" Running a delay in between your guitar and overdriven amp can yield some nice results. Having the delay level set very low, you won't actually hear the delay's slapback until you stop playing, and make room for it. This is useful for keeping your sound nice and clear, yet providing some effect when you play a staccato section, as well as having something to fall back on, besides dead space, if you miss a note (my main reason for one!).
The length of your guitar cable (or cables) between your guitar and amp affects your sound. Longer cables add more capacitance, which rolls off higher frequencies. This is frequently promoted as a bad thing, and many advertising dollars go into promoting cables with minimal capacitance, however, treble reduction from longer cables runs can be desirable. People seeking the warmer guitar tones from the 50's, 60's and 70's can benefit from adding a length of cable into their rig just for that reason, as it's often a very musical way to reduce highs. Before the use of wireless systems for guitar, long cable runs onstage were the norm.
How you hold the pick has a huge effect on your tone, and is extremely important when playing through a dynamic amplifier that lets every nuance of your playing shine through.
Let's look at standard pick shape, also known as the 351, since it's very common.
Of course, adding in the thumb and index finger will increase the area of the string being hit, making the sound even thicker and more interesting.
A thicker pick will give you thicker tone. This is mostly because you can get more power out of a thicker pick, which drives the strings harder, which drives the pickups harder by causing them to generate more AC voltage, which drives the first stage of your amplifier harder, and so on. I prefer a Fender 351 Heavy, because of this. Again, though, this is personal taste. Some players enjoy the low end roll off cause by thinner picks, myself included sometimes, especially in certain recording situations and with certain guitars.
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