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Using your guitar volume knob?


New here
Hi Fractal Community!

I`m going to uptabe my Axe-Fx soon and midified most of my patches (from FW13) and I hearing many things about that, using your volume knob on your guitar to increase and decrease gain. I`m a working musician since almost twenty years and I never use it in that purpose before. Am I missing something? Is it the right or I should say commun thing to do?

Please help me with this issue!



Forum Addict
Well your not alone, since the early 80's with my ADA MP1, I was able to setup 9 patches that had different levels. So I didnt use the volume knob that often. I'm finding nowdays especially with the AXFX, I can hit one of my louder patches , roll off the volume a bit and get this mojo. Old dog, new tricks. For me anyway....


Forum Addict
I`m going to uptabe my Axe-Fx soon and midified most of my patches (from FW13) and I hearing many things about that, using your volume knob on your guitar to increase and decrease gain.
Good luck during the uptabe!!! :eek:

Kidding. For volume on the guitar it can completely make or break a tone. I learned only a few years ago how big of a difference it makes watching some John Mayer videos closely as well as Eric Johnson.

I have FX 15.03 on the AFX II right now and did not notice a humungous change in tonality for the gains. I need to spend some time with it... In general depending on what guitar you are playing it makes all the difference in the world. Watch some of Eric Johnson's YouTube vids on how he can control his gains/tones just through a roll of the knob. Pretty awesome! Here's a Hot Licks Session where in the intro he gives a full example of his range of tones.


New here
London John,

Should I tweak must of my amp with a certain saturation that I can decrease with my volume? How do you adjust your sound with that way to work in mind?


A while back I was trying to get what I thought was a good blues tone.
I thought John Meyer had a good thing going with "Gravity".
Did some searching on the internet for his setup.
Noted he kept his volume about 7 and tone about 6. (According to the article).
So I setup my volume at 7 and played. Not loud enough (lost all my volume). Hmm.. Upped the volume on the amp. Louder, but not very bluesy sounding.
Started to crank on the Gain setting on the amp and reducing the output volume on the amp. Sounded much better, but hmm..
Played with it a while just doing my thing. Then I adjusted the volume on the guitar and found that made BIG changes in tone.
Apparently when you turn the volume down on the guitar, the signal coming out to the amp gets really tiny. The amp needs to be setup to be very sensitive to the small signal that is coming in. If you up the volume on the guitar, the signal can now almost overwhelm the input of the amp, causing the input tone to break up and sound awesome!
Wish I learned it years ago. Now it seems so obvious..
Due to the signal from the GTR being pretty small, updating your guitar to reject external noise and running a good guitar cable starts to be pretty important.
The signal from the guitar starts getting pretty small, but external noise is still blasting. You want that out!
I have found the the biggest difference is with Single Coil pickups. Now I am often playing with the volume on my guitar about 4. The dynamics become more sensitive with the volume at that level. Playing softly vs playing loud. Give it a boost in GTR volume to 7 and I can almost chase myself out of the room.
It's the best toy I have found. Then I had to restart playing with all my guitars all over again playing with the volume knob and noting how they change tone.
Some of my cheapies started to sound the best!


Fractal Fanatic
Use mine a lot... I have a cc attached to my gate so I can turn off when I roll down the volume for certain songs.


I rarely play with the gtr vol or tone maxed.

Passive / vintage Strats are especially affected by this. I never ever play my Strat with the volume or tone maxed.

On modern wired Gibson's and a lot of other brand passive humbucker guitars, there is not much difference in tone maxed or barely rolled off. But I still barely roll off both volume and tone out of habit.

With the so called "50's wiring" which I use, the affect on tone of even small roll offs is apparent to my ears and I like it. (Google up 50's wiring Les Paul).

The song "La Grange" by ZZ Top is a good example of a Strat volume rolled off then rolled up into a Marshall.


I tend to use it a lot with the Div By 13 amp rather than the Lonestar/1987x (clean presets) and the IIC+/HBE (extreme dirt). One of my main presets (I have 3 :)) have it. I love that one.
PRS Customs' volume pot also is sensitive to small changes IMO.


I have a strat with Active Lace Sensor pickups and therefore it takes relatively very little guitar volume knob setting to saturate ( drive into the red) the Axe FX on many presets. One of the most enlightening additions for me has been a volume expression pedal w/ my MFC 101 whereby I can increase or decrease output volume via the pedal as opposed to the guitar volume knob - thereby retaining tone/saturation at various sound levels.


Forum Addict
Whatever gets you your end result, you can use your dynamics in your picking too. I use both and sometimes I'll use my volume pedal too.the latest firmware definently goes from mellow to full on Scream


It isn't right or wrong, but it is a way to get a lot more variety of sounds out of your guitar and have a lot more control over your tone. I played for years without ever touching the volume or tone knobs. I had a 3-channel amp which gave me clean, dirty and really dirty and that was enough. It was only in the last couple of years since I started using the AxeII that I "discovered" the guitar's volume knob. Now I am totally addicted to using it and can't stop.

I've found the volume knob isn't too effective when using models like the Mesa Mark IV that have tons of preamp gain. It works best for me with non-master volume amps (I use the Marshall-type models a lot) when I turn the power amp volume all the way up and also have a drive pedal in the chain. Then you can go from a nice chimey clean to all-out distortion and everywhere in between with the turn of your volume knob. I love the extra control this gives you. Combine that with changing your picking attack, including using your fingers, and you can experiment with different sounds for days. All without touching the amp model.


Rolling off your volume knob is the best way to get great tones. Most definitely when you want to get a great bluesy tone or when using a wah for a much clearer vocal effect "ala" Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan vibe. Then when you want that screamin' lead max your knob all you want no pun intended lol


Guitar volume and tone controls -> amp (or amp sim in the AxeFX) = infinitely variable channel switching.

I started using them when I picked up my first good amp (1968 Fender Super Reverb), about 2 years after I started playing electric. For the way I play it was, and is, the ideal way to control gain (clipping/overdrive). The AxeFX II works as well with the guitars controls as with a valve amp. Some amps / amp sims work better than others (less gain, more dynamic range, no significant drop in output signal level). This trait, with rare exception, is a 'make or break' factor for me when selecting an amp sim.

Some guitars do this better than others with the factory pickups, pots, wiring, and passive components. I have modified pretty much every electric guitar I've ever owned whose electronics performed poorly in controlling gain, providing a smooth even taper, and/or retaining a balanced frequency response when guitar volume is rolled off (actually, come to think of it, I've never owned an electric guitar for any longer than a demo timeframe that I left completely stock - I seem to tinker with anything in near proximity for any length of time).

Definitely something worth experimenting with as it may well provide more versatility with very little additional effort.


so you have gigged for 20 years and never used the volume knob for volume/tonal variations? how is that even possible?
That's exactly what went through my mind (not bagging on the OP, mind you).
I rarely ever switch channels (and I'm a mid-heavy gain player) during the course of a gig, I just roll the volume back a bit to clean things up.

This is actually one of the things that really impressed me about the AxeFx, how it responds to input volume almost EXACTLY like a tube amp does.

I'm a HUGE volume/tone knob monkey, even moreso on my Strat that has a blend knob in lieu of one of the tone controls.


Forum Addict
This is actually one of the things that really impressed me about the AxeFx, how it responds to input volume almost EXACTLY like a tube amp does.
Same here for most of the amp sims. Some of them are more or less responsive depending on what guitar I am using. My PRS Swamp Ash Special has the narrowfield pickups which add a completely new dynamic and makes playing much more fun when experimenting with volume control.

Side note: this is a really discussion so far, I like the different backgrounds and experiences shared.
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