You may have suddenly grown an affinity for learning how to play the electric guitar or you may have been a pro at playing guitars, but you may still be struggling with how to use electric guitar knobs.
This isn’t something embarrassing because a majority of electric guitar players do not know how they’re supposed to properly make use of the guitar knobs – otherwise known as guitar volume and tone pots. Even though it’s not uncommon, it is a rather huge loss for your process of playing the guitar well. Apart from affecting the sound of your electric guitar, it will also hamper the sound that comes out of your guitar’s amp. This is especially the case if you set up the toggle switch and tone your knobs in the wrong manner.
Not being aware of how to use the toggle switch and the knobs in the right manner will produce a rather obnoxious sound even if you’re playing your guitar in the right manner. So read on to know more about the secrets of unlocking the best sound your electric guitar can actually produce.
Manipulating your guitar to sound better by using knobs
There are multiple guitars available with different kinds of toggle switches. The Fender Stratocaster guitar has a five-way switch, while other guitars have a three-way switch. The toggle switch is also known as the pickup selector as it chooses the pickups that would be transforming the vibrations of the string into electrical signals.
All the different pickups emit a very different sound compared to the rest, hence it is important for you to choose the right pickup. That can only be done when you’re completely familiar with which position of the toggle switch selects which kind of pickup.
Using the different kinds of pickups
Choosing the right pickup for the precise type of sound you’re aiming for isn’t a piece of a cake. There’s a special kind of strategy that makes it easier.
If you’re trying to create a sound that moves towards the rhythms of rock music, then you would want a more sharply defined sound. When you’re playing power chords, you need a sharp edge that will, in turn, give way to an edge for powerful riffs.
If you’re trying to create a sound that moves towards the rhythms of blues music, then you would want a more warm and wobbly sound instead of a sharp sound.
Switching positions with the pickup selector
It’s important for guitarists to understand that sticking to one position of the guitar’s scale can turn out to be rather limiting. Instead, if you prefer to switch between the high and low ranges of the scale, the results would turn out to be pretty impressive. You can accomplish switching over the high and low ranges through the neck of the guitar.
If you observe the best guitarists on the planet playing their guitars, you’d see how they’re moving around their guitar’s fretboard as they switch pickups. It’s vital to understand that switching pickups can help you create the best sounds possible, but at the same time, create obnoxious sounds if not properly used.
As you play guitar solos on the higher end of the guitar’s neck, make sure you don’t use the bridge pickup almost all the time since it would end up creating a very sharp sound. Instead, try using the neck pickup when you are soloing on the higher end of the guitar’s neck.
As you reach the lower range of the fret board, make sure you use the bridge pickup as it creates just the right sound for it.
How to fine-tune your guitar with the knobs
The purpose of the knobs is to help you fine-tune your guitar to create an absolutely heavenly sound. If you drive your tone knob all the way to the lowest level, it will create a rather unpleasant sound, or a sound you’re not aiming for. It will result in all the high frequencies being cancelled. And in the end, only low frequencies would stay. This may be great for you if you’re trying to aim for a jazzy tone. Combine it with some great distortion and you will have some really impressive tones.
The appropriate way to use a tone knob is to turn it just a slight bit down. This is especially advantageous for people who’re not fans of the razor-blade sharp sound.
To finesse your guitar skills, it would be advisable to experiment as much as you can with these tone knobs.
Volume and tone-knob hacks
Most guitarists use the volume pedal to regulate the volume of the guitar. Instead, try using the volume knob for the same effect.
Start at the end and slowly turn your guitar’s volume to the range of 10. Start amping up simultaneously to the point that it starts to overdrive your guitar’s tone.
Now you must start dialling back the guitar’s volume which would help in cleaning up your guitar’s tone till the point it turns quieter. Turn it back up to boost your guitar’s sound as and when you require it.
It’s important to note that the volume knob acts the same way volume pedal does. Hence for switching up the gain over fuzz and overdrive. Dial it back so you can change the tonality of the guitar as and when you require.
If you use your pedals, you may get more of versatility than what you need. Hence using the volume knob seems optimum. Do not forget that most guitars have to go through a drop in their treble as they roll off the volume.
Instead of letting your guitar’s tone controls being set on a 10, reduce it to a 6. This will help in adding more treble than usual. This is, once again, a better option compared to your volume pedal.
Turn your tone up so that you can get more of a cutting sound. Roll your volume back and see what you can achieve.