Did a quick test I've been meaning to do for a long time. How to get feedback at low volume? That's a question that's plagued us bedroom volume players for some time
There are some tips and tricks using various stomps in the kemper, but I think this may not be the optimal way. Mind you, this might not be either - but it sorta works.
I was thinking: OK, getting feedback requires loud volume or moderate volume and high gain, right? So why not try at a lower volume, but very close to a speaker - and with massive amounts of gain and compression - and then REAMP that sucker. Not rocket science and revelations (hey, that's a great album title!), but I couldn't remember anyone talking about this before. So I put my money where my mouth (thoughts?) were and did some testing.
I used my Avantone speaker, which is a SMALL speaker (4 inches maybe?) and put it right at the edge of the desk. I haven't had any luck before with my main monitors, but haven't tried this precise approach either - mostly, I used the avantone because it's easier to move.
Then I loaded up a profile with fairly high gain (could have cranked it some more, though!), added a fuzz stomp, made some semi-arbitrary EQ moves (which may have helped or hurt), and set amp compression at around 4-ish.
Volume in the room? Nowhere near neighbour-frustration-volume - but not at a "the kids are sleeping" volume either.
Commence recording and great fun moving the guitar around, capturing different overtones. What I learned (which is probably only news to me who has ALWAYS been a bedroom player):
- Different angles and positions result in different overtones - you can hear this in the clip below - when the same note turns into different overtones, that's because I've moved around.
- Some spots on the guitar neck seem to favour certain overtones
- Lower notes really benefit from laying the neck on the speaker cabinet. I suspect this is especially true for small speakers, since they likely vibrate more. Didn't test this particularly with higher notes, I think.
- Oftentimes, having the neck parallel to the direction of the sound (ie. roughly perpendicular to the speaker face, though not necessarily pointed directly at the speaker) yielded better results than facing the speaker with the body of the guitar.
- I need to find a less cramped position for playing with this - put the speaker in a better place
Further experimentation needed of course.
Then on to reamping - used the Michael Wagner erect 2 profile, with gain raised to 7 and amp compression raised to 2.
Further learned that it's probably best if you can obtain the feedback with the "right" profile right away, since you can't judge the amount of feedback you'll get in the reamp stage if you don't play that exact profile. Also, the result was fairly noisy (an effect of having the guitar that close to the speaker?), so I quickly did some subtractive EQ on the source DI and also on the reamped track. I bet some noise correction could be the ticket (audacity will be used next time) - so there should be some "non-playing time" recorded to get a read-out of just the noise. Also, the noise of the string against the fretboard is pretty evident, so I think the best method is getting a good strong feedback going (where you can hear it getting higher in volume even than the original note sometimes - and THEN apply the vibrato).
Anyway, here is the result - probably boring to listen to in it's entire length, but you can skip around.
In most cases, Soundcloud uses a bandwidth of only 128 kbps. As a result, what you hear isn't free of artefacts, especially the high end. For critical listening and also product comparison, please keep that in mind. Users who setup a comparison should use linear wave files and supply dropbox links.
I should point out that this was only a QUICK test as proof of principle. The final result is not perfect, and many things could be adjusted to get a better result (even more gain, fuzz and compression on the original recording used for getting the feedback - and more gain on the reamped profile etc etc etc....)
Let me know what you think, and if you have any experiences with this yourselves!