Irman Peck came by the other day to listen to some recordings that I'm working on. I'd pulled out a bunch of effects pedals. Irman saw an MXR dyna comp and suggested I use it. The next day he sent the following message, by text:
Plug your Dyna Comp into the wall-wart or stuff a fresh 9 volt into it.
Plug your bass into the Dyna Comp. Plug the Dyna Comp into "THE STUDIO BASS" and get a substantial volume level. Set the compression (or sustain) level on the effect to approximately 3/4 or 3 o'clock. While constantly plucking a low bass string and constantly switching the effect on and off, adjust the other (volume) knob so the volume with and without the effect is exactly the same. Select the split coil (precision bass) bridge pickup for the fattest sound.
With the compression turned on, try plucking the bass with both your fingers, and a pick. Both the sound and the feel should be noticeably altered. The sound should be more controllable. More tone. Less uncontrolled sound. The feel should be different. You should be able to dig in more, with better results. Less volume peaks. More consistent tone available to your fingers or pick. Experiment with the compression (or sustain) knob. My Dyna Comp pedal is very powerful. If I go beyond 3/4 it seems to saturate the effect and loses the result.
If you're not getting enough of the effect, turn compression up more.
Conversely, 3/4 May be too much. You may want to try 1 or 2 o'clock.
You just have to re-check the volume balance (of effect and no effect) every time you change the compression setting or the pedal will become this weird little line amp fucking with your levels.
If used correctly, you will be surprised how slick and professional it will make the bass sound.
The only reason I don't use it sometimes, is to have a more natural, raw and wild tone. Almost to sound acoustic. In a way, compression is my normal sound and straight is an effect I use occasionally. Pluck a bass note, let it sustain and you can hear the compressor work. As you pluck, the compressor slightly reduces the volume of the note. As the note slowly decays, the compressor slowly responds in kind by slowly returning the volume it removed.
The illusion is that there is a much longer sustain than is actually real.
If you're playing constantly, the amp can be turned up very loud as the compressor is constantly reducing the volume, the amps true volume only to be heard in places where you leaves spaces, sweet controlled amp feedback ensues. You can choose to let it feed back by pausing.
Overdrives, distortions and tube amps at high levels, as a by product, all naturally compress their signals. Loud electric guitarists have utilized this natural effect since the beginning (blue cheer, Hendrix). The compressor very effectively imitates this effect.
Once you get the feel of this thing with the bass, you should try a heavily compressed sound on the guitar. Use one of your small amps (Randall?) that has a pre amp gain knob you can turn all the way up while keeping the overall (main) volume relatively low. You should end up with a lot of sweet, wild but controllable feedback at a relatively low volume, turning your guitar into a monster, and you into a rock god (!) Knowing your sound, I can say that this could be new information for you and could be information that could conceivably turn you into a different kind of guitar player.
You should try overdrive and distortion pedals both before and after your compressor for not only explosive but extremely controllable results.
Have you ever played your guitar through the studio bass? Keep the tone controls where they are but turn any pre amp volume (channel volume, not main volume) all the way up.
Between the overdriven tubes, the ballsy bass tones, and the four smaller vintage speakers, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.