Revised 12/03/07
Revised 12/03/07
The Musician's Point of View
what it is
how to use it

what it is
A Volector is a convenient simultaneous dual signal gain control.

A volector is a single joystick that controls two pickup signals' gain at once, and thus serves as both a master Volume control and a pickup balance Selector.  A volector is preferably mounted on the body of your guitar, just below the commonly picked section of the strings between the neck and bridge pickups.  In that location, a volector can be used while picking to easily control two signals, with striking results.
Volector position
        The control pattern is simple: tilt the joystick handle forward along the strings toward the neck pickup to fully select the neck pickup signal.  Tilt it back toward the bridge pickup to select the bridge pickup signal.  Tilt the handle up, toward the strings, to mute/suppress the sound.  Tilt the handle down, away from the strings, for full volume from both pickups.  Intermediate positions produce intermediate signal mixes, as you would expect.  Because the two pickup signals have different sounds, this easy, smooth panning selection enables a tremendous range of expressive phrasing.
Result diagram
Two signals define a spectrum

A two-channel guitar, rigged with a different effect on each pickup's signal, provides the complete spectrum of intermediate tones through the volector's precise control.
        If a distortion box is connected only to the bridge pickup's output signal and not to the neck pickup's signal, tilting the stick toward the unprocessed neck pickup produces a cleaner total sound.  Distortion increases as the joystick moves toward the bridge.

Volector provides a better way

        A volector significantly reduces a player's need to stop picking to adjust signal volume.  The joystick's linear action is easier to use than twin rotary knobs.  It's also easy to see and feel where the control is currently set.  The joystick can be nudged and left at a desired setting, or the picking hand can move along the strings while playing, casually escorting the stick.

        A volector gives practical independent control of two signal volumes by one movement.  The player's picking hand can, while picking, accomplish exact, immediate gain control of both pickup signals.  In instruments that have two signal output channels, the volector allows smooth, rapid panning between them.  It's like being able to use two pedals without having to stop dancing.


how to use it
From the musician's point of view - How to Use It

The guitar is cabled to a two-input amplifier via a stereo guitar cable in the usual way.  Standard effects equipment may also be connected normally.

The volector joystick is easy to move to any position within its travel limit.  It stays where it's put, so it can be used like traditional controls often are, "set it and forget it."

To set overall volume, think up-soft and down-loud.  To choose pickup balance, shift sideways toward a desired pickup, or keep to the middle for both pickups equally.

In its simplest use for occasional changes, a nudge to the stick does the trick.

More advanced volector technique includes changing pickup balance while playing a phrase.  A riff can start clean, and slide toward a distorted crescendo.  Or start with an echo, and resolve to intimate clarity.
        Preliminary setup is choosing your desired tones or effects for the two pickups' signals.  The natural sounds of pickups in different locations on the guitar's body are normally quite distinct, so the use of effects modules is not needed to take advantage of the volector's versatility.
        The volector is located conveniently close to the picking area of the instrument strings.  Once playing begins, the stick can be moved while picking to select from (or slide along) the entire spectrum between one signal's sound and the other.

Below are two pictures showing picking hand postures for continuous volector control.  The pick is held normally between the thumb and first finger.  Any free finger's tip may rest gently in the fingertip cup, so that moving the hand forward or back along the strings naturally draws the cup along with it, shifting the balance of the pickups' signals.
Volector position
A simple linear movement of the picking hand along the strings takes the stick's end with it.  The familiar tone control accomplished by picking near the bridge for a lead riff, or close to the neck for a rhythm phrase, is enhanced as the joystick tilts with the hand's movement to alter the blend of the signals toward the appropriate pickup.
Volector position
For a swell, moving the cup downward increases overall volume.  The bottom point of the joystick's travel square is full volume from both pickups.  Conversely, stick straight up toward the strings mutes the output.  For tremolo, wiggle the stick up and down.

Overall volume = up-soft, down-loud.
Pickup balance = sideways toward a desired pickup, middle is both.

Tip for experimenters: The envelope of notes and phrases can be finely controlled with a volector.  Rhythmic circling or patterned movement of the cup while playing can produce interesting results.

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