Effective Use of Volume and Tone Knobs

Effective Use of Volume and Tone Knobs

Indeed, there are tons of pickups available to choose from. Or along with one single amplifier, we can already switch the channel to the tone we intend for. Most of the time, therefore, we have neglected the “small potatoes” that can change the whole world—the volume and tone knobs.

Nowadays, most beginning players tend to leave their guitar’s volume up full and set the tone knobs in one place. However, as we grow from experience, we’ve found out that the knobs are more than solely controlling the volume and the brightness of tone. They can also sculpt interesting sounds, especially when connected to a valve amplifier.

In the following, we’ll be discussing how to use the volume and tone knobs effectively.

1. Play at half volume

Set the volume at half first. Then tune the amplifier to obtain the volume and timbre you want. Slightly adjust your guitar’s volume again until an excellent tone is attained. By doing so, you will be able to get a full sound without resetting the gain controls of the amplifier.

At the meantime, you can also control your distortion levels using the volume knob. Turn up your guitar volume so as to get a more distorted sound. On the other hand, lower the volume and you’d be able to obtain a cleaner sound. Lowering the volume in this way can also bring out a clean yet overdrive sound. This is most obvious when connected to a high output pickup.

During a stage performance, playing at half volume could bring great convenience to switching among guitars, especially when players are using pickups with different outputs. The guitar’s volume can be turned up or down in order to compensate the difference in output between pickups.

2. EQ pickup is the answer!

It seems that sound get dampened when the volume is turned down. In this case, that using an EQ pickup to boost the high frequency will be fine. While you’re using the EQ pickup as a sonic tool, the volume knob on your guitar can now be fully utilized for gain control. It acts like a boost controller so that you no longer need a boost pedal to achieve the same result.

3. Tone knobs as distortion control

When high-gain amplifier is used together with a high-output pickup, some ear-piercing high will be created. Set your tone knob at 7 can smoothen the high frequency. When a fuzz is applied, the tone knob becomes even more useful. It’s uneasy to deal with fuzzes, especially those emphasize the upper frequencies, such as Voodoo Lab Proctavia, Dallas Rangemaster as well as Treble Booster. In this case, turning down the tone controls can fine-tune the high frequency.

Optimizing your guitar controls can be an effective way to improve your sound. Let’s give the above tips a try!