Everyone said I needed one

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,129
Harlow, Essex, UK
A compressor, that is. Well, bought me a Boss CS-3, which is, I’m told, a good basic unit. Just been playing about with it for an hour or so. Honestly? Well, I can hear a sound change when I play whilst turning it on and off and on and off and…………but exactly what it’s doing to the sound, I’m not sure. OK, single notes seem to ring longer with it on and the sustain above 1/2 but that’s about it. I have by no means a refined ear but, apart from the Level knob increasing and decreasing the volume, (seems to work in tandem with the sustain knob?), the changes seem marginal. I’m heading to YouTube to listen to some demos. Am I missing something, are there some magic settings I don’t know about, do the guitar and amp settings determine the effect the pedal has? Just really looking to be educated in the art of compressing!
 

Stratafied

Dr. Stratster
Oct 29, 2019
15,288
North of South
A compressor, that is. Well, bought me a Boss CS-3, which is, I’m told, a good basic unit. Just been playing about with it for an hour or so. Honestly? Well, I can hear a sound change when I play whilst turning it on and off and on and off and…………but exactly what it’s doing to the sound, I’m not sure. OK, single notes seem to ring longer with it on and the sustain above 1/2 but that’s about it. I have by no means a refined ear but, apart from the Level knob increasing and decreasing the volume, (seems to work in tandem with the sustain knob?), the changes seem marginal. I’m heading to YouTube to listen to some demos. Am I missing something, are there some magic settings I don’t know about, do the guitar and amp settings determine the effect the pedal has? Just really looking to be educated in the art of compressing!
I never said a word 😄
 

Triple Jim

Guy Who Likes to Play Guitar
Silver Member
Feb 27, 2018
8,612
North Carolina
You pretty much have it right. They reduce the dynamic range of what you're playing. Compressors are generally subtle. They tend to reduce the loud and increase the soft. If you set the sustain somewhere reasonable and strum steadily pretty hard, and set the level so the loudness is the same with the compressor in or out, then play something soft, you'll see that the volume is boosted.
 

Sparque

Seriously-Stratified
Nov 20, 2019
699
Harvest, AL
I have the CS-3, and it offers limited utility for me.

Some songs, or rather some segments of some songs, just sound better with it on.

It's not though, and it's never going to be, an 'always on' effect.
:(
 

Della Street

Parasite
Platinum Supporting Member
Jan 9, 2022
1,510
USA
A compressor, that is. Well, bought me a Boss CS-3, which is, I’m told, a good basic unit. Just been playing about with it for an hour or so. Honestly? Well, I can hear a sound change when I play whilst turning it on and off and on and off and…………but exactly what it’s doing to the sound, I’m not sure. OK, single notes seem to ring longer with it on and the sustain above 1/2 but that’s about it. I have by no means a refined ear but, apart from the Level knob increasing and decreasing the volume, (seems to work in tandem with the sustain knob?), the changes seem marginal. I’m heading to YouTube to listen to some demos. Am I missing something, are there some magic settings I don’t know about, do the guitar and amp settings determine the effect the pedal has? Just really looking to be educated in the art of compressing!
my cs-3 was noisy. i got rid of it.
not to make any of the knowledgeable people here upset, but "sustain" from compressor is not quite the same as duration of the open or fretted note we usually mean by sustain. using pedals, that kind of useful artificial sustain is what you would get from fuzz.
i use my cheapo amazon compressor all the time. i love it and must have it. but what does it do? i'd say like this - it makes me sound more "professional" and more like the guitar music we hear on the records. i think it does this by somehow adjusting the level of the sound for better consistency? it's still totally possible to play softly, but everything just sounds better defined or something... i don't know.
 

guitarface

Most Honored Senior Member
Nov 11, 2012
9,418
New Jersey
Well, the good news is that since it doesn’t do much you can use it as an always on pedal.

On a slightly more serious note when I had a cs-3 I put it in front of my overdrives and I felt like it kept a little more definition to the notes while playing with OD. I dunno.
 

CarlosI

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2014
298
Johns Creek, GA
My understanding of compression was, for the sound wave your notes make, without a compressor the wave is all over the place and distorts, with the compressor it contains the wave within a parameter and prevent that from happening. Thus compressing the sound within that parameter.
 

StratUp

Dr. Stratster
Sep 5, 2020
11,055
Altered States
About a year or so back I took on hot rod Lincoln
pickin' it nice & even was a mf'r
Compression helped even it out for me

I think that's the other end of Compression... country pickin'. It does that and it does sustain... often combined with clipping / distortion in pedals.

I thought compression with a 5-knob that let me control limit, ratio, and clipping would be the cat's meow, but I still didn't get much from it except for the above. In regular playing it just killed my dynamics. As a sustain/distortion device... sort of, maybe.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,129
Harlow, Essex, UK
Try playing with compression settings while hybrid picking and see how it affects the volume and attack on thin strings compared to thick.

Also, if you want the compressor for sustain, you perhaps have it after the gain stage pedals. Whereas for dynamic control it’ll be further up front.
I was looking for dynamic control rather than sustain. I t is set well up front, second in line only to a booster pedal.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,129
Harlow, Essex, UK
Well, the good news is that since it doesn’t do much you can use it as an always on pedal.

On a slightly more serious note when I had a cs-3 I put it in front of my overdrives and I felt like it kept a little more definition to the notes while playing with OD. I dunno.
Hee hee! And, yes, that's where mine is. I may try the 'leave it on' method. After a a few rehearsals turn it off and see if I notice the change.
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
12,129
Harlow, Essex, UK
I think that's the other end of Compression... country pickin'. It does that and it does sustain... often combined with clipping / distortion in pedals.

I thought compression with a 5-knob that let me control limit, ratio, and clipping would be the cat's meow, but I still didn't get much from it except for the above. In regular playing it just killed my dynamics. As a sustain/distortion device... sort of, maybe.
Mainly country pickin' is the impression I'm getting. I do (or attempt to do?!) that a lot, hence my buying a compressor.
 

somebodyelseuk

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 29, 2022
1,533
Birmingham UK
A compressor, that is. Well, bought me a Boss CS-3, which is, I’m told, a good basic unit. Just been playing about with it for an hour or so. Honestly? Well, I can hear a sound change when I play whilst turning it on and off and on and off and…………but exactly what it’s doing to the sound, I’m not sure. OK, single notes seem to ring longer with it on and the sustain above 1/2 but that’s about it. I have by no means a refined ear but, apart from the Level knob increasing and decreasing the volume, (seems to work in tandem with the sustain knob?), the changes seem marginal. I’m heading to YouTube to listen to some demos. Am I missing something, are there some magic settings I don’t know about, do the guitar and amp settings determine the effect the pedal has? Just really looking to be educated in the art of compressing!
They make quiet stuff louder/loud stuff quieter. AKA 'compress' the dynamic range.
That's it.
Any 'tonal' changes are a side effect of how quick/slow/long/short they do their bit.
 

touch of gray

Strat-O-Master
Jul 10, 2022
790
Bismarck, ND
Like any pedal, you just have to work with it for a while until it starts working for you. I have a Keeley Compressor Mini in front of my overdrives that I use as a “general fattener”. Compression is set at 12:00, enough to hear the difference, but not so much that it fundamentally changes playing dynamics. I use it more with single coils than humbuckers. In that respect, it is almost always on unless I am using a fuzz pedal.
 


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