Generating enough Gain without overdriving the effect(s)

I tried my hand at recording a rendition of Silent Night in GarageBand using an Orangewood mahogany 3/4 body six-string and a ToneWoodAmp through a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 on my Mac.

I've found generating enough signal to get into GB's 'sweet spot' to be irritating at best, nauseating at worst. More than that, GB defaults to sending projects out to MP3 or WAV at the level of a whisper.  ARRRRGGH!

So I couldn't initially find a way to generate the volume/gain/signal needed for GB without overdriving the ToneWood, ending up with the guitar swimming in reverb aspic (1960s ugly food reference.)

UNTIL . . I discovered the Decay parameter.  (O:

Trimmed the Decay back until I had a crisp yet sweet reverb wrapping itself lovingly around every note and chord. BRILLIANT.

P.S. If you want your GB exports to actually be HEARD, try going to Settings (Preferences) / Advanced and un-checking the "Auto-Normalize" checkbox, which seems to do exactly the OPPOSITE of its description for a lot of users, including me.

Thanks for the tips! Feel free to share  your rendition!


I got the Tonewood Amp for Christmas and it was the biggest suprise! I'm loving what it does with my guitar but have a little issue:

I play a Martin HD-20 with light gauge strings and as long as I pick or strum very lightly it sounds great but if I strum even medium hard it goes into clipping easily. This happens across all the effects evenly. I've turned down the master gain to 5% and turn down the individual settings of gain as well. Is it just my guitar or is there something else I can do?

Hi Mark! What kind of pickup system are you using in the Martin?

When you get the clipping notifications, does the unit sound distorted or feedback? The notifications are okay as long as they're not constant and they're not accompanied with feedback or distortion. Any time I start to dig in and strum on my personal unit, I get clip notifications, but I set the Master Gain low enough that they don't cause the unit to sound bad.

I don't know the pickup brand because it was installed when I bought the guitar. It has no outside adjustments and I think it is mounted under the bridge. I set the gain down to 5% and cut back on the gain within the sounds such as delay and plate. It sounds good picking or light strumming but any medium or stronger strumming gives me muddy distorted clipping. I don't get feedback since it is turned down so low.

I bought an additional x brace for my Seagull 12 string with a built in mic and equalizer. It sounds great and am able to turn it up to 20-25% gain without clipping.

Ah, it may be one of Martin's passive undersaddle pickups. They are SUPER hot and a bit hard to tame with TWA. The strategy you used with reducing Master Gain to 5% and adjusting the effect gain and volume as well is what I would have suggested.

So glad you found that it's working great on the Seagull!

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