How to Use the Controls on a Les Paul

1981 LPC

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Another good one:

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUdq59CRcxk]Single-pickup guitar review round-up: modern electrics vs 1957 Gibson Les Paul Junior - YouTube[/ame]
 

Guitar Garage

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What a great thread thank you for posting this!! I love the playing example videos as well.
 

MrMountainHop

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The instrument starts where your fingertips end, and it finishes where the speakers move the air, and it includes everything in between. This technique is another part of the puzzle to get more from your instrument.:thumb:
Very well put. Thought it was worth repeating!

Thanks for the great post.
 

GitFiddle

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Thought Joe B. did an excellent job on the same subject.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkGCvLstPrE"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkGCvLstPrE[/ame]
 

xrr

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Because a couple of people asked about it, here is the stuff I wrote in another thread about using the controls on a Les Paul. The OP asked how to use the controls to get sounds like Page and other classic players. My reply includes some alternative suggestions on how you might EQ your amp to get a different range of noises, and get a little bit more out of the neck and middle positions.

Hope it's of some use. Here it is:



First, your volume controls do not just control your loudness, but also your level of distortion (‘gain’ or ‘overdrive’). If your guitar has modern wiring, lowering the volume will also reduce the available treble, as if you’d turned the tone down too. If you have 1950s wiring this effect is far less prominent.

Secondly, your tone control not only cuts your treble, it also reduces the amount of ‘space’ your guitar seems to take up in the mix. Turning your tone down can effectively pull you ‘back’ into the mix.

Enough basics. Here’s some pointers.

EQ Your Amp for the Neck
Most of the time you’ve probably set up your amp for a good tone from the bridge. Try this instead and see what happens.

1. Turn all your volumes and tones up to 10.
2. Select the neck pick up.
3. Adjust your amp so you get a good soloing tone for that pickup.
4. Switch to bridge. This will be too bright. Ice-pick through ear territory.
5. Tame bridge with tone control, until you’ve got a good soloing tone.

You now have your ‘boost’ sounds. Now turn the bridge vol down (about 75-80%), until you’ve got a good crunching rhythm sound. If you have modern wiring you may need to turn up the tone a little at this stage. You could now play the rhythm on the bridge, and switch to the neck for the solo.

Solo on Bridge, cleans on Neck
Turn up your bridge tone and vol. That’s your solo sound (ice pick and all). Turn your neck vol down to about 50%. If your amp is any good, that should be nearly clean. If you’ve got 1950s wiring, it won’t be muddy either. You may now play the intro to Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You on the neck pick up. Switch to bridge for the signature lick. Back to neck, or turn down bridge to 50-60%. For a more sensible bridge pick up sound, just turn the tone down a fraction to clip some of the hairs off it.

If your amp is good, it should be sensitive enough to clean up when you turn down, and also to clean up if you back off with your right hand an pick gently. Use both these effects to control your tone.

Middle positions

Leave your bridge in its rhythm setting, then switch to middle. Now turn down the neck to nearly nothing, then slowly turn it back up (to about 50%). Somewhere across this range you’ll hear three fairly distinct tones. It’ll start out sounding like the bridge on its own. Next, it will fill out (i.e. get some extra bass), and it might do this quite suddenly. This is a really useful sound for soloing, because it basically sounds like the bridge pickup, but it’s fuller and meatier without being in any way muddy. As you keep turning up the neck vol it will start to sound more like both pick ups. This can be sort of nasal, but quite good.

Once you get both pick ups to the same vol (~ 75%) you’ve got the classic middle sound. Many people find this a bit muddy, but if you EQd the amp for your neck pick up, you should be OK.

wow that's a nice tutorial !! I need to experiment with this...
But it makes me think that it's not robotic tuners that I'd like on my LP...
 

Splattle101

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I find it works for Fenders, Marshalls, Vox, Orange, what have you. If it's not working for you with a Mesa then...try something different. :D
 

iakbil

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This is a great thread! Thank you so much Splattle101 :) I am learning something every day on MLP :)
 

Bill Hicklin

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Anyone have similar suggestions for a master-tone axe like an Explorer or Vee?
 

Splattle101

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As a general rule, from the guitar you can always cut treble. You can't add it.

So if the amp isn't set bright enough for what you need, you can't do anything about that from the guitar. You'd have to readjust the amp.

But if the amp is set too bright for what you want, you can cut the treble by turning down the tone control.

So if it were me, I'd set the amp so the darkest sound from the guitar sounds good. That means adjusting the amp to suit the neck pickup. When you go to the bridge you can turn the tone down if you need to.
 

garybaldy

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I always start with all controls on guitar set at approx 6 to 7 (and vol pedal backed off a bit). You can add or cut anything then. Why does everyone start from dimed? This is an incredibly long thread for something so simple.
 

Otto tune

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Too much to comprehend all at once, so I did a Copy/Paste to a document. I need to sit down and try stuff one at a time.
Thanks.
 

tdarian

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Where do you guys end up with your Tones numerically on the dial?

I usually have the Neck Tone rolled back to #8, or "Off" for The Woman Tone.

I usually have the Bridge Tone no higher than #6.5, but it is often down around #4.

Volumes are all over the map, usually always under #10 with an amp set to clean up or get angry via those controls.

I've got a set of WIZZ PAFs, a MSSC wiring set-up with the Russian caps all of which I find way more responsive than what was stock in 2011.

After you set up yours by ear how do the numbers look?
 

Splattle101

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With a given amp at given settings, the actual control positions vary widely from guitar to guitar, depending on the taper of the pots and the pickups. But it also varies widely with different amp settings.

For example, I might turn up the guitar to 10, then turn up the amp until it JUST crunches when I hit a big chord. At those settings, a little nudge of the vol control will produce a clean sound. But if I crank the amp then I might have to turn the guitar down to 2 to get a really clean sound.

It all depends, and I am always adjusting the amp by ear, just like I tune by ear even if I'm using a tuner. That's because I don't care if the machine tells me it's in tune; if my ear tells me it's out of tune then it is! I don't play for the benefit of the machine. It's the same with the amp and guitar settings. I don't turn down to 5 and insist it's clean if it isn't. :D
 




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