Do you clamp your guitars? No, I’m not asking if you use a capo. I’m not asking if you’ve got a stranglehold death-grip on the neck when you’re playing. I’m just asking in general – do you clamp your guitars?
If you do, that’s great! What kind of settings are you using? Do you clamp in parallel, or are you a more straightforward clamper?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about (or you have a bit of an idea and would like to perfect your clamp game), then this guide is for you…
What The Heck Is Clamping?
Contrary to popular belief, you can clamp any and all guitars. Even open tunings and extended ranges react well to the process. The process of clamping is just like any other form of dynamic processing – it gives you better control over your mix. For guitars in particular, clamping can take even a rough demo and bring a professional shine to it.
Clamping, above all else, is a specific method of compression. It’s not doing anything crazy to your signal and it’s really not too far out of line from what you’d do with any other part of your mix, but it is an important element to your guitar mix if you’re looking for a wall of sound that your competition would kill to have.
Using a clamp setting on your guitar compressor is kind of like the middle of the road approach. It’s for when you need your guitars to hit hard, but not so hard that they bury other parts of your mix. You want something solid and controlled without being overbearing.
Some compressors are better at this than others strictly based on the algorithms behind this. Unfortunately, very few have the versatility to step up to any and all compression challenge. While your favorite compressor might live up to the task of taming your guitars, it might not have enough punch to give you a more aggressive tone.
We built BG-Guitars with the goal of having this flexibility in mind. Rather than giving you generic controls with a single compression algorithm, BG-Guitars has three modes stepped from Tame to Smash. And right in the middle? You guessed it: Clamp.
What Guitar Clamping Does To Your Tone?
Not a thing if you don’t want it to! That’s the beauty of not completely smashing your guitars through a compressor. You have the option to retain your original tone or spice it up with a bit of harmonic accentuation. A good compressor will give you controls over the tone, harmonics, and even the mix if you’d prefer to process in parallel.
Transparency can be key in a dense mix if you’re looking for control without sacrificing the sound of your guitars.
On the other hand, some guitars need some additional flavor. See how Fluff beefs up the guitars on his demo tracks using BG-Guitars:
Did you hear the extra push the guitars get when the rhythm guitars come in with the Clamp Mode enabled? The guitars went from somewhat dark (struggling with dull strings?) to a harmonically pleasing stack and plenty of punch.
Using the right type of compression on your guitar bus is an absolute necessity if you’re after a full, rounded mix.
Have You Picked Up The Right Compressor For The Job?
If you’re not using a compressor built and catered to your specific instruments, you’re missing out on a level of control that engineers would’ve killed for in the days of analog. While BG-Guitars works to clamp down on the dynamics of your guitars, the rest of the Bus Glue series is optimized for the other major elements of your mix.
Learn about the entire JST Bus Glue Bundle collection here.