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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Volume Swells: A How To

Video!


I figured someone could benefit from having the video to show them the actual technique, since it's not really all that common.

I seemed to have started channeling Andy from the PGS videos somewhere through the recording process... "Here's my favorite setting."

Hope it helps, and please feel free to offer constructive criticism.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Great video, great technique. I particularly appreciate being shown what I can do without a pinky.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

I can't see using the technique on a Les Paul without the little guy (or big hands), but we don't always have to play those. Telecasters can sound the same, anyway, or very close.

There's always volume pedals...
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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Yeah, Strats and Teles are great for volume swells but Les Paul?

I never thought about using the neck volume. When I want to do volume swells with a Les Paul I always just turned up the gain/volume or use a volume pedal.

If my volume is high enough or has enough gain I sometimes don't even use my right hand to pick. I just hit the note or chords with my left finger/hand and use the right hand to lower/raise the volume.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Les paul volume swells? Cool video.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 08:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

The Morley volume pedals will always give you the best sounding swells as they actually use an LED and a Photoelectic cell as opposed to a typical volume pot that is in your guitar or any other brand volume pedal. The Morley allows your tone to remain constant where the volume pots destroy your tone when you back them off.....your highs are killed first and the actual gain gets messed with which creates a very undesired effect. You can check out my use of a the Morley volume pedals on a guitar I had custom made.....the guitar in this video does not have any pots at all.....no volume or tone knobs at all on this guitar.....check out the difference.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 09:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Loved the playing! I love pedal steel on guitar! Some stuff I do with my hands and other things, like bending a note in a chord, I like using a B bender.

I should look at the Morley. I have a Dunlop and it's only good clean. If I add volume or gain you can still hear the note being picked with the volume all the way off. I don't like that.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 09:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

If you're big into volume swells....eh, get single coils with 250k pots. Otherwise you're fighting a losing battle. (Or a Morely volume pedal.) 2 cents.

PS: A Strat is probably the best guitar for this sort of thing...
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Unread 04-25-2010, 09:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Both very good points, the 250K pots will render this method usable and of course the Strat has the best location for the pot if that's the route you'll use. I've got to grab me a B and G bender Tele, they are just too much fun.
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Unread 04-25-2010, 11:09 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

I'm not arguing that a volume pedal isn't better for this sort of thing - it clearly offers much better control and tone in this application.

This was more for those who don't have/want a volume pedal in their rig, and still want to use the technique. It works much better on a Tele than it does a Les Paul, and a Strat is way better than the Tele.

Scott, awesome video! Thanks!
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Unread 04-26-2010, 12:42 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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Originally Posted by WhippingPost View Post
I'm not arguing that a volume pedal isn't better for this sort of thing - it clearly offers much better control and tone in this application.

This was more for those who don't have/want a volume pedal in their rig, and still want to use the technique. It works much better on a Tele than it does a Les Paul, and a Strat is way better than the Tele.

Scott, awesome video! Thanks!

I dont want a volume pedal and use this technique a lot. Ive always been able to use this LPs, Strats are far and away best- but the guitar I struggle with is the Tele actually.

Scott- how does the Morley not affect the signal available to the amps's pre-amp in the same way rolling back a volume pot on a guitar or in a normal volume pedal?
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Unread 04-26-2010, 12:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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I dont want a volume pedal and use this technique a lot. Ive always been able to use this LPs, Strats are far and away best- but the guitar I struggle with is the Tele actually.

Scott- how does the Morley not affect the signal available to the amps's pre-amp in the same way rolling back a volume pot on a guitar or in a normal volume pedal?
FX loop.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 01:29 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

You know, I was hangin' out at that Guitar B Que...and I gotta tell ya...Roman Rist is really, really good at doing these.

Of course....he was playing a Strat.

(In fact, every guy I've ever seen in person who just nailed these...Strats, Strats, and more Strats. I think it's a Jeff Beck thing to be honest about it...)
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Unread 04-26-2010, 02:05 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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FX loop.
Right, so it functions the same way as a normal pot equipped vol pedal might in an FX loop (or in front), but its better doesnt alter the frequency response as a pot might.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 02:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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Right, so it functions the same way as a normal pot equipped vol pedal might in an FX loop (or in front), but its better doesnt alter the frequency response as a pot might.
Exactly, they are just super clean, which I require being a country player and also a pedal steel guitar player. Someone using distortion all the time wouldn't care too much, but my tone has to stay crystal clean and bright at any volume and this combination along with tons of compression is a winner and is the standard way of getting this sound in the Nashville circuit. Plus, it helps to run your amp twice as hot as you would really ever need just so you have plenty of clean headroom for those clean notes to just last forever.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 02:28 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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Exactly, they are just super clean, which I require being a country player and also a pedal steel guitar player. Someone using distortion all the time wouldn't care too much, but my tone has to stay crystal clean and bright at any volume and this combination along with tons of compression is a winner and is the standard way of getting this sound in the Nashville circuit. Plus, it helps to run your amp twice as hot as you would really ever need just so you have plenty of clean headroom for those clean notes to just last forever.
Its the golden rule- if it sounds good, do it.

Personally, id be leary about sticking, say , 30 ft of cable in the FX loop between pre amp and amp. But horses for courses.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 02:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Then there's always the Eddie Van Halen Method on Cathedral. If you look closely, his volume knob on his guitar looks as though it is pretty much off at about 8 on the knob and goes right from nothing to full volume from the 8ish postion to 10. It does what it's supposed to do for this one song. It's quite possible that this one guitar is set up that way and meant to only be used on this tune. Either way, it's interesting.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 02:39 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

I swapped my pots so the bridge is on the top! Split coils and then swell sounds? Sorry, awul pun. But i still want a morely, its just not the same, maybe if i had 250k's i never thought of that. So i can try out the morely, (there's alot out there), are there any lemons in the range to avoid?
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Unread 04-26-2010, 08:47 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

For those wanting to swell the bridge pup on a Les Paul, this is worth trying - use the middle position...

Bridge vol at 10, neck vol at 0 (to begin) & use the neck vol to do the swells.

Because both pups are on it kicks in a lot louder earlier in the sweep of the pot, but (a) the bridge pup will dominate the sound, & (b) it still looses the pick attack.

Kudos for this one to Phil Keaggy
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Unread 04-26-2010, 08:57 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Dickey Betts is the master of volume swells. Listen to Elizabeth Reed from Live At the Filmore.... He calls using a volume pedal "cheating", BTW...
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Unread 04-26-2010, 09:15 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Cool video tutorial, thanks for this. That's also a wicked looking Les Paul. Thanks
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Unread 04-26-2010, 09:33 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

peter green and gary moore both pull this off very well on les pauls !

edit: see cowboy song, thin lizzy at the sydney operah house on youtube.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 09:47 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

For Strat and Tele KNOB volume swells I suggest Hughie Thomasson (Strat) or Roy Buchannon (Tele).

Dickie Betts for Les Paul KNOB swells and Mark Knopfler for Les Paul VOLUME PEDAL swells.

Study these guys and you'll learn a LOT about volume swells.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 10:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Joe Bonamassa does GREAT Volume Swells with his LP, and yes, he uses the neck pick up!

It sounds great (3:45):

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Unread 04-26-2010, 01:13 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

This band came through Richmond over the Christmas holiday called the Congress, based out of Denver, I think. Their slide guitar player(LP)was playing slide and doing this crazy volume swells; I immediately went home and began trying to master this technique as well. Yes, it is very hard to do them on a LP because that pinky has to really stretch, of course, for slide, atleast I, pretty much exclusively use the neck pickup.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 04:44 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Quote:
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I swapped my pots so the bridge is on the top! Split coils and then swell sounds? Sorry, awul pun. But i still want a morely, its just not the same, maybe if i had 250k's i never thought of that. So i can try out the morely, (there's alot out there), are there any lemons in the range to avoid?
The Lil Aligator is actually the one that is best out of the box. Pretty much all of the others need the little cutout in the light guide inside reshaped. Morley puts a --[] shape in the cutout which takes you from 0-10 with no inbetween.....so you have to open them up and use a small flathead screwdriver to make the shape like -< so that the volume actually goes from 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 nice and smooth like it should. I don't know where they get the people that put these things out, but they are not musicians. lol But at least Steve Vai thought enough to have his 'Lil Aligator signature model Morley Volume do a proper taper. So, it works nicely.
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Unread 04-26-2010, 05:57 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Quote:
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<snip>but the guitar I struggle with is the Tele actually.
Anything specific giving you trouble, or is it just the reach? Have you tried reversing the control plate, and putting the volume knob where the switch would have been?

Quote:
Originally Posted by huw View Post
For those wanting to swell the bridge pup on a Les Paul, this is worth trying - use the middle position...

Bridge vol at 10, neck vol at 0 (to begin) & use the neck vol to do the swells.

Because both pups are on it kicks in a lot louder earlier in the sweep of the pot, but (a) the bridge pup will dominate the sound, & (b) it still looses the pick attack.

Kudos for this one to Phil Keaggy
Nice! Never thought of that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatb0t View Post
Cool video tutorial, thanks for this. That's also a wicked looking Les Paul. Thanks
Thanks! It's a 1998 Smartwood Les Paul (pics are halfway down the first page), with a set of WB/BCR 67/07 Greenies. Sounds fantastic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyb21 View Post
This band came through Richmond over the Christmas holiday called the Congress, based out of Denver, I think. Their slide guitar player(LP)was playing slide and doing this crazy volume swells; I immediately went home and began trying to master this technique as well. Yes, it is very hard to do them on a LP because that pinky has to really stretch, of course, for slide, at least I, pretty much exclusively use the neck pickup.
Derek Trucks uses this style a lot in his slide technique. Fantastic stuff.

Glad I could help anyone I did, and thanks to everyone for their feedback!
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Unread 04-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

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For those wanting to swell the bridge pup on a Les Paul, this is worth trying - use the middle position...)
Hah! Funny, huw, that you should do it exactly as I do. Works just great - in fact, the sweet, hollow-sounding tones and chirpiness of the middle position heightens the ethereal quality of the swell.

ScottGrove, the volume swell and steel techniques you introduce in that short video are really good, man. I got to sit down a bit with a steel guitar when I first went to work in a country band, but not everyone gets that chance. If a player learns the stuff you introduce in that clip, and gets it sorted out in a few keys, he or she can go and get a job and make a living. I did - in fact, I don't know what the market out there is like now, but getting that stuff down saved my starving skin, when I was fresh out of school and desperate! Plus it really cleans up your playing, forces you to perfect your understanding of triads on the guitar neck and is just really, really fun to do.

I never did finish it, but I did manage to tab out the intro of a great Merle Haggard tune a while ago. It has some nice steel licks that I put on guitar. If you are interested, just skip the text, the tab starts in post 12.

Nice start to the conversation, WhippingPost. Some players flip a Tele's control plate around, and swap the position of the volume and tone controls, so the volume pot is first, then the tone, then the switch (front to back). That trick seems to help players with smaller hands.

Last edited by Quill; 04-26-2010 at 07:08 PM. Reason: just wanted to add the link to the tune
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Unread 04-26-2010, 06:42 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottGrove View Post
The Lil Aligator is actually the one that is best out of the box. Pretty much all of the others need the little cutout in the light guide inside reshaped. Morley puts a --[] shape in the cutout which takes you from 0-10 with no inbetween.....so you have to open them up and use a small flathead screwdriver to make the shape like -< so that the volume actually goes from 0-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 nice and smooth like it should. I don't know where they get the people that put these things out, but they are not musicians. lol But at least Steve Vai thought enough to have his 'Lil Aligator signature model Morley Volume do a proper taper. So, it works nicely.
thankyou scott, for the price they are i think ill have one next week
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Unread 04-26-2010, 06:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Volume Swells: A How To

Steve Morse, the king. The volume swell stuff starts at around the 4 minute mark.

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