Set my amp so volume knob on guitar regulates distortion


Hi everyone. I have seen 2 rig rundown videos where the artists tech's (Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana) say they dial back their volume knobs on their guitars (prs & stray) to get a clean tone and crank it to get distortion and sustain. I have a code which I  have only been playing in my apartment so not to loud. I haven't been able to replicate this kind of technique. I have my code set to plexi through 100 watt Marshall. I'm playing a epiphone sg. Not an expensive one. So my question is what exactly is the hang up? Is it because it's not a tube amp? Is it because the pots or pickups in my sg are not super high level? Is it because I have to keep the volume down in my apartment? Is it all of these things? I'm asking because I'm considering changing the pots and or pickups but I wanted to run this by you guys and get your opinions.



asked 19 Apr 2022 at 11:35 PM

Answers: 3


In general the lower the input level of the guitar, the less distotion you will get, therefore turning the guitar down will "reduce" the level of distortion.

2 points I would dare to suggest.

1st point, most importantly, it you have an extremely distorted patch with a LOT of gain you will virtually have to turn the volume almost completely off on the guitar to make a difference. Most people have way too much gain on thier patches anyway. What I would do is turn the guitar full up and reduce the gain on the patch the the level you need, it will probably be a lot less gain than you think. Then turning the guitar down 30%-50% should make a noticable change to the gain.

2nd point I would suggest is, when you turn the guitar down, be gentle when playing the guitar, this will also make a big difference, then when you turn up the volume you can go for it to get your fully distortion.

In general the above should work with most amps and certainly I can do it with my Marshall code 25.

If you want more info check out the excelent youtube video from That Pedal Show titled "How to set overdrive and distortion pedals in a band". This makes it all clear.

answered 22 Apr 2022 at 11:40 AM

Joliet Jake (87)
Thanks so much! I'll watch the video. I do have the gain up high. - ROD HILLEN 22 Apr 2022 at 03:57 PM


Oh, man. I guess my curiosity has made me go too deep. Still, man, I love your station. I wish I had the same room! Tbh, I’ve just started studying music, so all that stuff seems too complicated for me. Anyway, I think I’ll manage to figure out how it works. Actually, it all started when my father got me some Iron Age Accessories ? last year. Before that moment, I had already been playing the guitar for a couple of years. And, you know, recently I’ve become extremely interested in musical engineering. I think it’s about to become my no 1 passion. Thanks for your replies.

answered 23 Sep 2022 at 10:50 AM

Dorian Kussel


Hmm, haven't heard of it. I play stratocaster more, but considering that you have an sg guitar, I think it will be much easier to do what you want. It seems to me that this is more of an upgrade for a guitar than for an amplifier. after all, distortion is obtained due to volume overload. I'm not so well versed in how the guitar is technically arranged, I rarely buy different?, well, I?think it's possible to increase more volume that the volume knob increases. but personally, it seems to me that such an upgrade will not give the very sound that you want. I think maybe you should contact a guitar master?

edited 24 Nov 2022 at 01:28 PM

Kanypony Kanypony

answered 16 Nov 2022 at 04:01 PM

Kanypony Kanypony
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