Do I need a compressor?

Discussion in 'Pedal Pushers Forum' started by Geckomecca, Jul 10, 2018.

  1. Geckomecca

    Geckomecca Electromatic

    Feb 1, 2018
    Gore, VA
    hello friends. Newbie here at Gretsch, but I am a huge pedal fan. I've never really understood compressors, and forgive me as I'm sure it's come up many times before, but as a garage/basement guitar hack, who only plays a few open mikes from time to time, do you all think a compressor pedal would be of benefit to my sound? Never really get the opportunity to play at really loud volumes, but feel I might benefit from "evening out" (don't know if that is a word) my chords and playing a bit. I usually just take the volume knob on my guitar down a notch or two and that helps a bit, but I wonder if a compressor might be a better option. Thanks for any info you all might be able to share!!
  2. Sid Nitzerglobin

    Sid Nitzerglobin Country Gent

    Jun 8, 2015
    It could certainly help w/ managing dynamics if that's what you're looking for. Aside from the HS filtertron equipped Gretsches I usually don't feel the need for one in my guitar set ups, but lots of people swear by them as critical, always on pedals.

    Out of what I've tried w/ guitar, a good option to get your feet wet could be to find a used Xotic SP Compressor and give it a try. Sounds very good, can be dialed for very natural sounding dynamic range reduction to over the top chicken picking pump, has nice and simple controls, price shouldn't be too bad, and it should sell fairly easily if you decide it's not for you.
    Geckomecca likes this.
  3. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    You just have to try it. IMO it kinda depends on the music you play and your guitar's role in the music. I like having a compressor as I hate messing with volume controls. I typically play lead/melody, and I want to be heard when I'm fingerpicking and when I slam on a power chord, without hurting people's ears or straining my picking hand. I have found a compressor that allows blending of the wet and dry signal to be a huge help.
    Geckomecca likes this.
  4. Bertotti

    Bertotti Country Gent

    Jul 20, 2017
    South Dakota
    I use my compressor all the time, air up tires, blow the crud out from around implement parts and engines etc.. Dead useful. Kidding

    I have a Jangle Box but only really use it for that jangle thing only it seems to do well, over the top twangy goodness and chime and only when I am in the mood, not real often but it is fun.
    Geckomecca likes this.
  5. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Oct 5, 2009
    Funny, was gonna humble brag about my 20 gallon dual piston oiless electric ;)
    Geckomecca and Bertotti like this.
  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Some people swear by compressors but I don't like them for live use.
    I use them only for recording applied by the DAW during final processing.

    Compressors flatten out your picking dynamics and therefore have 2 effects I don't like when used live.
    - takes out the light and shade in your playing by not allowing variation in volume. So you can't give variation by playing soft parts and loud bits.
    - compressors retard the learning process of controlling the strength of your picking/strumming.

    Riding the volume knob works better imo.
    You can adjust it quickly on the fly and you still retain your ability to vary picking dynamics with your fingers.
    Geckomecca and Bertotti like this.
  7. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    I always have one on. Mine is a Diamond, the full sized three knob yellow one and I like the way it adds some lift and ring to my notes. IE, a bit of sustain is what I'm after. It really helps those arpeggiated notes pop and for chords, it gives a more even sound. Love my Diamond. Always on.
    pmac11, Geckomecca and Stencil like this.
  8. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Compressirs have come far my friend. They may not work for you, but you CAN vary your volume with a compressor. I use mine as a volume floor / sustain, but not a ceiling as have a dry output. While the volume floor does limit the dynamics, it has little practical effect as the low volumes would be too quiet to be heard anyway.

    Personally hate riding volume knobs. Just doesn't work for me.

    Anyway, compressors are not for everyone, but there is a huge variety of types, features and uses.

    As Hobbes said to Calvin, how can i know my favorite ice cream until ive tried them all?
    Geckomecca and Waxhead like this.
  9. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    I use one and have it on 100% of the time. I really like what it does for the TONE of my guitars.........brings everything up and makes it sound bigger. I don’t use a ton.......basically turn it up until you can hear/feel it and then back it down a bit, but by that point it has really helped my tone bloom. Count me as a big, big fan.

    As an aside.......I recently got one of the newer MXR Dynacomp Mini’s and must say it’s quite different than the original big box Dynacomp...........much more transparent and subtle(which I’ve been liking)and doesn’t really do the super squash thing(which I don’t use or like anyway). Cool compressor for small cash.
  10. Pine Apple Slim

    Pine Apple Slim Country Gent

    Dec 14, 2011
    North Alabama
    Im pretty ham handed with the right hand, esp if I get excited. I like having a light comp always on. Light enough to still retain some dynamics but not squashing the signal. I have the Diamond mini and it works for me.
    Geckomecca likes this.
  11. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Check out this video. I have the compact deluxe, its awesome. You can hear how the compressor helps creata robust wall of sound.

    Billy C, Geckomecca and stevo like this.
  12. Sarah93003

    Sarah93003 Friend of Fred

    The last band I was in the Lead player was a huge fan of his Keeley four knob compressor. I bought a Hotone Komp compressor for my pedal board but I haven't used it yet.
    Geckomecca likes this.
  13. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    I've been wanting one of these for a while. The original one with the transformer in it was fantastic (non Lindhal), but they don't make it anymore and the used ones are ridiculously priced. Should have bought when they were being made. But this new compact deluxe looks awesome. I want one.
  14. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    I wasn't a big fan of compressors, although I liked the increased sustain I could dial in on my Boss CS-3. I got in on a discussion of compressors here, and I learned about turning up the compression until you can just barely hear it. It completely changed the way I felt about compressors. Now I'll have to try rolling it back slightly from that point to see if I can get that "Tony Tone." Yeah, I know . . . I'll need new fingers first. ;)
    Geckomecca likes this.
  15. Geckomecca

    Geckomecca Electromatic

    Feb 1, 2018
    Gore, VA
    WOW!! Thank you Gretsch Friends! I certainly did get a lot of great information here from all of you! I am sorry to not have replied to each of your kind responses, but I have read each one and am happy to have the feedback. I will be saving my pennies and finding room on my board for a compressor (still deciding on which one) and give it a go. Thank you ALL for your input and experiences.
    -geck (aka mediocre guitar player)
    EchoTwang and TSims1 like this.
  16. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca
    Here is my response to the use of compressor on my friend’s vocal recordings he posted on FB.

    Me: Compression is for wimps and commies. Pure trickery that betrays the beauty of the instrument and voice.

    Friend: What about fascists? Is it for fascists too?

    Me: I don't think so. Hitler would never have used a compressor. Part of his whole shtick was how he spoke and a compressor would have made him sound like Metallica's St Anger, effectively writing him off for about 8 years... which... come to think of it... prolly would have been better for the world. But I bet he would still have done a record with Lou Reed effectively pissing off everyone.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Magic likes this.
  17. stevo

    stevo Country Gent

    May 1, 2012
    Not liking the Keeley GC-2 anymore?
  18. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    A compressor changes the overall feel of the guitar. Especially on clean guitar tones many guitars like the help of a compressor. I think clean modern country sounds are demanding a compressor.
    For crunch or overdrive sounds I found themm not to be helpful since these sounds are already compressed and the compressor amplifies unwanted noises.
  19. DougCraft

    DougCraft Gretschie

    Apr 24, 2018
    Northern Colorado
    I have been routinely using compression on my Line 6 Amplifi 150. I have configured banks of 4 patches for each of my guitars - two high gain - two clean, and switch between banks using a FSB Shortboard. I found it helpful to adjust levels using the compressor on clean settings so I don't have wild swings of volume going from high gain to clean patches. I do not notice any untoward effects on the tone - it's subtle if it is is there. Nothing that obscures my picking style or attack. The amp sounds great to my ears. Of course, I am blessed with ears that do not hear minute changes in timbre -nnot a cork sniffer or tone connoiseur.
  20. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    No, the GC-2 is wonderful. I needed a mini for the current board.
    stevo likes this.
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