Is it time to try a Compressor pedal again?

Do you play with a compressor?

  • Hell yeah, it’s “always on”

  • Nope, tried it but just wasn’t for me

  • Sometimes, if the song calls for a certain sound


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Dilver

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Curious what the performing and recording guitarists among us think of compressor pedals. Every couple of years I try one again but the subtlety is lost on me when I’m trying to keep a small pedal board.
 

BanditPanda

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No. Leave compression in the studio to the engineers and producers.
We should be able to get our optimal desired sound from our amps and guitars and failing that a minimum of pedals.
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BP
 

Shelkonnery

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Compressor pedals are more versatile than they’re given credit for.

They can be of great help in live sessions if you play many intricate clean parts throughout the set. They can be used as boost depending on how you set it. They can also be used for prolonging sustain.

Having said all that, I never use or have one.
The amount of gain and distortion I usually use are enough compression already.

Plus I like playing as dynamic as possible, especially on clean atmospheric parts.

I believe we should always be open to experimenting though.
 

dmac in SC

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My experience with compressor pedals is too much hiss, and kind of difficult to mix in with my overdrive pedals.
 

BadPenguin

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Personally, I don't see a daily use for one. That being said, I have one that I use with my EH Mel 9. It's the only way I can keep it from being 3 times louder then anything else. But I don't use it daily.
 

jonesy

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They have their place in live applications if used sparingly. The Dyna Comp is a good one, that's what I use when I need one. Often used more with Strats and Tele's (Nashville chicken picken sound) to fatten things up a bit. Not needed so much with Gibsons IMO. Gives a nice rounder sound to clean tones. YMMV
 

Rocco Crocco

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No compression is needed for dirty tones. For clean sounds they are handy for evening out volume, or at more extreme settings provide a nice effect for clean sounds. Compression is hard to grasp for people not used to "hearing" the effect. I have been playing in bands since the early 90s and at lower settings, I usually still can't really hear it.

If you're not in a band playing clean stuff, or recording, you really don't need compression.
 

Rocco Crocco

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This guy's videos are great. He explains things well and is not trying to sell you anything, even though he makes pedals.


 

kungpow!

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They're an odd duck. One trick pony to me. I use to crank the compression, for a real squashed sound, and clean, plucky stuff. Kinda fun. Meh...

What recordings were actually made with a compressor pedal? Heard the intro to Under the bridge by chili peppers was compressed, but that's all I know of.
 

1neeto

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I use compression almost exclusively with cleans when I want a certain sound. If I’m playing dirty tones with melodic long notes, I might hit it for the extra sustain. It’s not an “always on” effect for me, but it’s very useful when needed. Having a blend knob is extremely useful, so I recommend a compressor pedal with blend knob like a Keeley for example.
 

eddie_bowers

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Until I tried a DynaComp I wasn’t finding a compressor that worked for me. Turns out I wanted something less transparent. A Dynacomp can almost sound like a light overdrive but with better sustain.
I never pair it with distortion.
 

pillbug

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I use my compressor as a limiter to tame the pick attack transients.
im not a gigging or recording player though :shock:
 

Lester

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I wanted one to get clean sustain. But, it didn't really work out without getting to the point of too much noise.

Meanwhile, it takes away too much of my dynamics. Maybe for the Strat/Tele guys who want that country thwack. Doesn't do anything I like that I've been able to find... and I hunted a lot. Watched several videos of guys "teaching" me how wonderful it was. But it wasn't.

I can see it in the studio where an engineer is compressing to limit the overall variation in the completed sound levels. I can't see it as something that should be coloring my intentional playing dynamics.
 
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1neeto

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I wanted one to get clean sustain. But, it didn't really work out without getting to the point of too much noise.

Meanwhile, it takes away too much of my dynamics. Maybe for the Strat/Tele guys who want that country thwack. Doesn't do anything I like that I've been able to find... and I hunted a lot. Watched several videos of guys "teaching" me how wonderful it was. But it wasn't.

I can see it in the studio where an engineer is compressing to limit the overall variation in the completed sound levels. I can't see it as something that should be coloring my intentional playing dynamics.
If you want to play dynamically, then of course you don’t want that compressor on. It has its uses, sometimes a clean arpeggio or riff sounds great compressed, and if you want that consistent individual note picking without unwanted dynamics, especially in a live setting, then that compressor can be a hell of a tool.
 

EpiLP1985

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I’m contemplating the 4 Knob Keeley Compressor Plus.
 

TheWelder

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I like compressors with Strats and Teles, not as much with humbucker guitars.
 


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