When To Use A Compressor Pedal

REVEALED: When To Use A Compressor Pedal

Got a best rated compressor effects pedal for your guitar but unsure on when you should stomp on it?  Let’s see if we can answer this question here.

But to answer when to use a compressor pedal, my thought is that it is an “always on” pedal.  I just set it up, turn it on and leave it.

Are Compressor Pedals Worth It?

Is it worthwhile to invest in compressors?  Maybe.  It depends on a number of elements, including your play style and the goal you’re attempting to achieve.  Compressors work by changing the dynamics of your guitar’s signal.  This is a difficult notion for many people to grasp, but imagine it like this if you’re experienced with playing acoustic guitar.  When you use your fingers to play a note or strum a chord, it will sound different from when you use a guitar pick to play the same note or chord.  The guitar will sound louder, more aggressive, and possibly more resonant if you use a pick.  The guitar will sound softer and muffled as a result of your fingertips.  Different dynamics are at work, as you can hear.

Related – what does a compressor do?

The action of a compressor, on the other hand, is significantly more delicate than what has been explained thus far.  A compressor squishes the signal into a smaller frequency range.  Your peaks will be quieter, and your soft notes will be louder.  This effect can be used in a variety of ways.  Some guitarists like to use it in their solos because it evens out the volume of the notes so that they all sound the same.  Others use compressors as a boost to raise the level of everything, which might result in an overdriven sound depending on your other effects and amp.  Others like to use the effect to increase the volume of the notes as they fade out, adding additional sustain to the mix.  Other players despise compressors because they believe they crush the life out of their gameplay.

I’m not sure if a compressor pedal would be beneficial to you.  Punk music of all kinds uses distortion in some form or another, because distortion compresses your signal in some way.  In this scenario, a compressor might be excessive.  It could also be the “magic sauce” that holds everything together.
It’s best to give one a shot.

What Does A Compressor Guitar Pedal Sound Like?

If you are using it right, it shouldn’t sound like anything has been added to your sound like other effects would such as flange or distortion.  My favorite is the Wampler Ego.

What Is A Compressor Pedal Used For And What Is The Purpose?

So, why does a guitarist need a compressor pedal?  They are great for adding balance and balancing the attack.  It’s a lot easier to maintain regularity and have notes ring more evenly when you don’t use your nails.  I enjoy two-handed tapping, and having a compressor allows me to tap with a more consistent pressure rather than needing to press down harder on lighter strings.  It can assist the tracking of pedals that require tracking, such as the EHX 9 pedals, by giving the notes a balanced tone before the effect.  Then, of course, you can use a compressor to crush your sound and make it “pop.”

When I want a more constant sound, I use a compressor to remove some, but not all, of the dynamics from my playing.

Some specific compressor options:

Who Uses Compressor Pedals?

Most guitarists do.  I’m not going to list out a bunch of guitarists names but you can be assured that many of the top guitarists have some kind of compression in their signal chain.

Should I Use A Compressor Pedal?

It depends on your musical taste. Different pedals come with different effects so what works for one guitarist may not work for you. However, a compressor is extremely essential for anyone who plays country or funk music. Compression also comes in handy if you rely on clean tones when utilizing such techniques as tapping, pull-off, and hammer-on. Compressors also work perfectly with overdriven amps. Are you a country guitarist looking to achieve distinctive thick tones? You might want to go for a compressor with a slapback delay. If you normally play blues, you may combine a compressor pedal with a light overdrive pedal to put on some weight to the guitar tones. In any case, there’s a lot to benefit from compression.

Can Compressor Pedals Increase Sustain?

Does a compressor pedal help with sustain?  Yes!  When you sustain one note, it tends to gradually fade away.  Compression helps make it an even more gradual which helps sustain the notes longer.

Do I Need A Compressor Pedal For A Strat?

Yes!  I believe that the compression guitar effect is something every guitar can benefit from.

How Do You Use A Compressor Pedal?

When I first started working with compressor pedals, I have to admit that I was a little confused on how to use it properly.

How To Set Up A Compressor Pedal  To Get The Most From It

Level is a gain knob that gives a DB boost or cut to everything else the pedal does. If the signal is clipping your amp, turn it down, and if it’s too quiet, turn it up.

The amount of compression is affected by the threshold and ratio, which are occasionally integrated into a single “sustain” function on some compressors.  If your picking creates signal peaks and valleys, threshold cuts the tops off the peaks and ratio raises the valley floor up. If your picking creates signal peaks and valleys, threshold cuts the tops off the peaks and ratio raises the valley floor up.

Attack and release refer to the speed with which compression effects are applied and released from the signal received by the pedal.  This is something that needs to be tried out and varies a lot depending on the gear.

Snappy strumming, such as a funk rhythm, is characterized by a low threshold and a quick assault.  To smooth things out and boost sustain, little amounts of threshold/ratio mixed with a slower assault can be used with almost any type of playing (and is almost always in the studio).

Where To Connect A Compressor Pedal?

Some guitarists like to place this effect near the beginning of the signal while others like it closer to the end of the chain.  I would recommend trying different locations on the signal chain to see what works best for your set up.

What Does The Attack control On A Compressor Pedal Do?

Attack determines how rapidly the compression occurs, which is why a larger value might make the note snap as you strike it.

When Should You Use And Have Your Compressor Pedal On?

Always on is my recommendation.  Set it and forget it!