Footswitch + Attenuator = ?
Old 11th June 2009
  #1
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Footswitch + Attenuator = ?

Hey guys. One of the biggest things a lot of guitarists struggle with is volume between rhythm and lead. I like to use nice boutique amps with one channel, and I don't like losing tone.

The problem is this: I need two different volume settings. One is for lead and one is for rhythm. The thing is, this can't simply be done with a "boost" pedal, because all those do is add pre-gain, which is not what I need. I know it's easy enough to build an inline attenuator, which you simply put post distortion, but my problem is, I use amp distortion and my new amp has no effects loop.

I'm trying to find a way to build some sort of volume attenuator (I guess really a POWER attenuator) that I can have my max volume set (for lead) and then step on the pedal and have my volume attenuated without losing tone. The problem is, I don't really want a box sitting on top of my amp, and I really need a footswitch.

Even if there's something available to buy that will do it...any ideas?

Any suggestions?
Old 12th June 2009
  #2
why not use 2 different amps at different volumes?
Old 12th June 2009
  #3
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yup, id go with two amps and an A/B Switch
Old 12th June 2009
  #4
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that's a good backup plan. I'll keep that in mind. The amp setup is at my church (sound guys are sub-par) and I don't exactly have a way to use two amps at the moment. It might be possible in the future.

Any other ideas? I read it's not a good idea to have an FX loop put in your amp; I hear it alters your tone in a way that doesn't sound as good as without it.

Would there be a way to put in a passive volume control in between my amp and my speaker that I could turn on an off with a footswitch? Like...a 1M pot in a box that I kick on? I just worry about the power coming out of the amp.
Old 13th June 2009
  #5
You're going to end up changing your tone of your amp and potentially messing with things you don't want to... especially on a boutique amp. You're better off using a clean boost honestly. The only way not to effect the tone is with two amps. Or get an amp with two channels on it and switch between them.
Old 14th June 2009
  #6
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What clean boosts do you guys recommend?
Old 15th June 2009
  #7
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I'm looking at getting a mxr micro amp for that same purpose. I've got a keeley tubescreamer that I love, but I keep it on almost all the time. So the mxr would just be for a slight lead volume boost.

I've got a singe channel boutique tube amp. I think the clean boost will work for you as a volume boost if you don't crank up the pre amp gain on the amp. And I think you'll get better tone pushing the power tubes, rather than the preamp tubes.
Old 15th June 2009
  #8
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that micro amp is AWFUL. Don't get that. I've tried that thing and it hisses like crazy (yes, I was using an adapter, the battery wasn't dying)--It's not even true bypass. I don't hardly let anything touch my rig unless it's true bypass. The best clean boosts I've used are the Fat Boost, the ZVex Super Hard On, and the Katana boost.

A clean boost would work theoretically, but it's going to add pregain, and I don't want that. I love the sound of driven tubes, but I'm already driving them into distortion--my amp is at 9 out of 12 right now--sounds amazing, and I want to keep that tone! I don't just want to "add gain" for a solo...I want to add VOLUME. That's why I'm in this bind.

I decided to make a footswitchable MIC pad. Sounds odd, but actually works well. Luckily the soundguys were friendly. I made a passive attenuator in a pedal with XLR jacks that I plugged into the board mix and then ran a cable out into the closet where the amp is. That way, my tone is kept exactly how I want it, but when I kick on the switch, it pads the mic 10dB, which turns me down for rhythm.

Not bad, eh? haha.
Old 14th July 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K. Osborne View Post
that micro amp is AWFUL. Don't get that. I've tried that thing and it hisses like crazy (yes, I was using an adapter, the battery wasn't dying)--It's not even true bypass. I don't hardly let anything touch my rig unless it's true bypass. The best clean boosts I've used are the Fat Boost, the ZVex Super Hard On, and the Katana boost.

A clean boost would work theoretically, but it's going to add pregain, and I don't want that. I love the sound of driven tubes, but I'm already driving them into distortion--my amp is at 9 out of 12 right now--sounds amazing, and I want to keep that tone! I don't just want to "add gain" for a solo...I want to add VOLUME. That's why I'm in this bind.

I decided to make a footswitchable MIC pad. Sounds odd, but actually works well. Luckily the soundguys were friendly. I made a passive attenuator in a pedal with XLR jacks that I plugged into the board mix and then ran a cable out into the closet where the amp is. That way, my tone is kept exactly how I want it, but when I kick on the switch, it pads the mic 10dB, which turns me down for rhythm.

Not bad, eh? haha.
Old thread, but interesting idea.
The sax player in our band needs to turn up when he's soloing.
The problem is, at most our bar gigs we don't have a sound engineer to turn him up.
I thought about the idea of a foot switch mic pad and googled which lead me here.
Any ideas on the easiest way for a muppet to make one of these using standard parts from an online audio store?
Old 14th July 2011
  #10
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Try the Keeley Katana boost - it's what I use for my solos after my Timmy and Direct Drive pedals, so that I can get clean, dirt or crunch boosts. Very transparent, and just louder. Has a pull-boost feature on the volume knob that adds more distortion, but I've got enough of that. Definitely hits the amp hard.

Worth trying out.
Old 14th July 2011
  #11
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Whats wrong with the volume control/Variable attenuator on your guitar.
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