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yossarian1156

Suggestions for Ambient Sounds / Pads

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The cover band I play in is adding some crowd-pleaser pop songs. I'd like to add some ambient / pad / synth sounds to my repertoire to help fill in the songs. I do not want to use the note generators to create pads and use the snapshots to change keys. I want to use effects / routing to give the guitar a bigger presence and sound a bit less like "just a guitar". 

 

Yesterday at practice, I dialed in a good tape delay with plenty of repeats and mix and threw a volume pedal in front of it to get some big ambient swells. That worked pretty well. Adding some reverb and maybe putting it on a separate path to retain some articulation in the guitar would help. 

 

What other techniques or effects should I be looking at to build out some sounds? Trying to do something like this using anything more than a delay with control over the feedback and volume is totally new to me. 

 

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This is a pad I use. Guitar tone knob almost all the way down - Vol pedal - Clean amp - a big Reverb with mix at 100%. I then also use the particle verb after the amp in parallel and mix with it's volume to taste. Swell in with volume pedal. Main trick is tone knob down and Reverb mix at 100%.

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Try this behind your amp block: Adriatic Swell > plate reverb> Standard Delay (whichever your prefer, I like the Transistor tape, but the elephant man works well too since it has modulation)> cave reverb and particle verb in parallel.

 

You could try expirimenting with different modulation or reverse delays, pitch shifts, etc.

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I assign a stomp to turn on parallel OctoVerb and dual delay, octoverb at about 35% mix (to taste), and the dual delays set at different note assignment, mix at 50-60%, high feedback to taste. Signal merges and goes into a cave reverb to smooth everything out. Volume pedal before the amp for swells. A bubble vibrato before the parallel Octoverb and dual delay will also keep the signal moving ensuring the ambient verbs and delays have something to work with. I call name that stomp "ambient". 

 

You can put a lot of control into just one stomp, use it to your advantage. 

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When using the octoverb, beware of setting the intensity parameter too high. If it's too high, for me usually anything above around 30, and things might start to sound a little 'unsmooth'.

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On top of what everyone else has been saying, I would add that liberal use of EQ can help out quite a bit as well. While I still hope for a true filter in a future update, you can at least accomplish the frequency portion already, and tie it to an expression pedal to create a cool effect.

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This is a pad I use. Guitar tone knob almost all the way down - Vol pedal - Clean amp - a big Reverb with mix at 100%. I then also use the particle verb after the amp in parallel and mix with it's volume to taste. Swell in with volume pedal. Main trick is tone knob down and Reverb mix at 100%.

Instead of changing the tone knob (because I know I'll forget to turn it back up), I'll use a rotary cab on slow speed, followed by delays and reverbs as everyone else has posted. It pulls out the tone while adding a little movement to the underlying sound. I guess I'd say it thickens the sound.

If using multiple delays, make sure the delay times are staggered. It helps fill in any gaps in the pad.

I've also seen someone use a reverb at 90-100% mix (not in parallel) and a very short or no pre-delay, so that the sound is almost all reverb and none of the original tone. You don't use a volume pedal or swell and it sounds a lot harsher than a typical pad, but an interesting drone effect. Like if your pad was being rubbed against a metal washboard. If I could remember the guys name he had a whole youtube channel devoted to ambient guitar. [Why am I being such a lazy Dilbert? It's like I just found out about searching the internet. Here's the link:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnXjoRC-GABh-aRYogZ7ayQ.]

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I assign a stomp to turn on parallel OctoVerb and dual delay, octoverb at about 35% mix (to taste), and the dual delays set at different note assignment, mix at 50-60%, high feedback to taste. Signal merges and goes into a cave reverb to smooth everything out. Volume pedal before the amp for swells. A bubble vibrato before the parallel Octoverb and dual delay will also keep the signal moving ensuring the ambient verbs and delays have something to work with. I call name that stomp "ambient". 

 

You can put a lot of control into just one stomp, use it to your advantage. 

 

I forgot about the Octoverb. Another good verb for pad sounds. Put it parallel in place of or as well as the Particle reverb.

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