Do you play with electric guitar knob often?

Do you change pick up choice
Do you touch the volume or other knobs often?

I am new with electric guitar so I wonder

I never touch the tone knobs. Volume I change; lower for rhythm/chords, higher for solo parts.

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I barely ever touch the tone knobs. For me they almost never enhance the sound, and are usually replicated to a much better standard on the amp itself.

Volume I do play with a fair bit, since it doesn’t just simply change how loud/quiet the sound is, it can change the actual tone a great deal. For example, a very dirty sound at full guitar volume can be cleaned up by lowering the volume.

As for the pickup switch, yep, I use it all the time. I have a strat with three single coil pickups and a five way switch, and each position has a very different tone. If I’m messing with an amp and find a tone that is almost there, often a different pickup can finish it off nicely.


Yeah, the pickup selector is something I use quite often, depending on if I look for a sharper and more brittle or a more bassy kind of tone.

I don’t neglect the tone knobs either as I think they can make a difference when I use my wah-wah pedal, for example. With the tone turned up (i.e. at the treble end), the wah effect is much more pronounced, whereas with less treble it blends in more with the “normal” tone of the guitar.

My Epiphone Les Paul has a coil-tapping function which means that the humbucker pickups can be “split” and have a tone resembling single-coil pickups. At first, I couldn’t make much of it, but since I’ve had my Epiphone Casino that has single-coil P90 pickups, I warmed to the single-coil sound and use it more often on the LP as well.


Tone alsway open
Volume almost almost on full, sometimes a bit dialed off

Pickup change? all the time!

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I am still learning all that my guitars can do. So, yes, I play with the knobs and switches a lot.
My G&L V12 has two MFD Humbuckers. Each one has a mini toggle switch that allows me to split the coils (for a single coil sound), parallel and series settings. In addition, there is a volume knob and two tone knobs. One tone is for treble and one for bass. Throw in the 3 position pick up selector and the combinations are seemingly endless. There have been times when I play songs or scales just switching things around to discover what it sounds like.

Yes I play with everything, you don’t really discover the tonal variations that your guitar is capable of unless you do. Also by messing around with the tone and volume knobs it gives you a good indication of whether the Pots and Caps are any good, sometimes upgrades in that area can work magic!

Plenty of potential for different sounds by how you play and what knobs you twiddle.


I’m exploring with pickups quite a lot now as in progressing but as for volume and tone, no not really. Along with amp settings it’s too much to comprehend!!

I always experiment with the pickup switch to find something like. I sometimes use the volume control, especially with crunch tones.

Whether I use the tone control or not depends on the guitar I’m using. I find on some guitars the tone control isn’t that useful. On others it is very useful.



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I too fiddle around with volume, tone and the selector switch.
I find that some songs sound beter in a certain “setup” than others do in the same.
So i often change the settings, depending on the songs.
Goes for the amp too.
Once you get down this rabbithole of sound, there’s a fantastic ride waiting for you.
Wait 'till you get round to using pedals. Oh my… :grin:


All excellent advice. Thank you

Only really if playing clean . For distortion it’s just all whacked up full and mostly bridge but might use neck pick-up for mellow lead tones.

I imagine most famous guitarists on stage won’t go fiddling much - some even disengage those controls from the guitar circuit or have guitars with just one pickup. It’s just all more things that can go wrong otherwise. Most of the sound processing is all done through their pedals.

But I think there’s also plenty of players that do interact with the volume and tone knobs live. Probably, not your average metal or punk players but more bluesy or classic rocks players.

When playing clean it might sound more pleasant to my ears to roll off volume and tone slightly.

Also, for ambient guitar sounds you can use the volume knob to create volume swells. Although, if that was a big part of your sound- would maybe be easier to just get a volume pedal.

If you’re playing loud in a band , you could set up your main rhythm sound on your amp with volume back off a quarter or so on guitar and then you can crank the volume knob for a lead sound or if you want something extra. .but again, could do that with a boost pedal. I might try it but it’s only really relevant if you’re playing in a band situation.

Another “trick” is if you have two pickups and can control the volumes independently , you can turn off the volume for one pickup and then use the pickup selector as a killswtich , you rapidly switch between them to create a stuttering affect. If you do this with feedback it can sound cool - like morse code or something

Definitely worth experimenting.

My general settings is both volume and tone dialled back to around 8/10. Also very much depends on what I am playing, the HBs on the Washburns sound really full and mellow when dropped to about 3/10 but I’ll use different settings for bridge and neck. Not so much the Gibson but between 7 and 9 is normally good for tone. The Roadhouse Strat has a 6 way switch ranging from super clean trademark strat single sound to P90s, so again tone variations can make some subtle difference but I tend not to touch that one too much.

These days I leave the volume as is and use the Mustangs Exp pedal for that and same as the new Pod Go.

My old Affinity with Iron Gear HSH is ultra configurable as all 3 pickups can be split and the lower tone control actually blends the 2 HBs, so with the “standard” 5 way switch I can engaged all three Pups, so adjusting the tone helps a lot depending on the configuration I am using.


The classic “trick” (not really a trick as it’s by design) on Gibson guitars is to set the volume for each pickup differently so you can switch between a “Rhythm tone” and a “lead tone” by switching pickups.



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I never touch the tone knob.

I’ll sometimes roll back the volume knob to clean up the distortion - to go from heavy distortion to a cleaner sound and back.

Pickup selector I only change when trying to emulate someone else’s tone.

However, my main guitar has two pickups with independent volume knobs and sometimes I’ll turn one all the way off and use the pickup selector as a kill switch.

I was thinking about this thread when I did my practice today. For the first time in a long time, I fiddled with the tone knobs. I found a tone I like a whole bunch better than what I’ve been playing all this time, so thanks for asking the question!


I use the volume knob on my guitar to go from overdrive (verse - volume=10) to clean (chorus - volume=5-6) when playing Summer of 69 with a backing track. Just like Justin says in his lesson about the song.

The sound does clean up for the chorus, but it also becomes more quiet in the mix.

I guess that it’s normal for amplifiers (less input signal, less output signal).

But, I wonder if it’s easier to record with an overdrive pedal (on/off) than by playing with the guitar volume knob ? This way the volume of the guitar track in Reaper vary less between the verse and the chorus or it does not matter ?

Some months ago after fiddling around, I decided to keep tone knob on my Shechter somewhere in the middle, because all the way up the tone is just way too bright for my liking.

So here’s my suggestion, dial your guitar volume back to 5 and then set your amp volume to how loud you’d like it for the chorus…. Then play with your volume knob in the guitar to a volume that suits your Verse. You probably won’t need to go to 10 though.

Your overdrive solution will work as well and in all honesty lots of people don’t worry too much about vol knobs on guitar especially if using pedals.