Confused? Guitar Amp Settings Explained

Guitar Amp Settings - Love or Confusion?

Mama, we must get together and find out

exactly what we're tryin' to do

Love or confusion? Jimi Hendrix

Congratulations......You've just bought the amp of your dreams.

Maybe a little tube amp or that stack that looked so great in the store.

Could be it's the electronic wonder that models 20 different amps in 15 different ways.

Wow, info overload.

So how do you eat an elephant?... one bite at a time (Maybe some garlic :). Let's look at tube amps.

Let's start with something simple that could save you some money replacing tubes.

Guitar amp settings, the how and why.

The standby switch. Why is it there?

On a tube amplifier, you might find a standby switch. The standby switch has a couple of functions. One is to warm up the tubes before you start cranking on the amp.

This prolongs the life of the tubes - which can be quite expensive to replace and keeps them sounding their best.

It's also good practice to put the amp on standby if you are going to be away from it and are coming back shortly. It keeps the tube warmed up and ready to go.

You can also use it to shut off a runaway amp and figure out why it's trying to blow your ears out.

The next of the guitar amp settings is the master volume - This controls how much power is available to the amplifier. If you want it to be mellow set it low, if you want it to really get nasty turn it up.

Guitar amp settings - Gain control - this effects the amount of distortion that the amp puts out.

Tone controls - Bass for the lows, if you like a booming sound turn this up, mids for cutting through from the rest of the band. this is the reason the electric guitar was invented in the first place so experiment with this one, treble for the highs. Too much and you will sound harsh.

Channel Volume This is where it gets loud or quiet.


Be sure to check and follow the safety guidelines that come with your amp to protect your hearing and the hearing of others around you.

I recommend a decibel meter to give you an idea of what you are doing to your ears.

There are many musicians that wish they were more careful in this area.

Your sound is affected by your guitar, pickups, cables, effects, strings, the room your in and personal playing experiment.

All amps are different and respond in different ways and amp settings need to be adjusted to the conditions. What is in the room with you or how many people are there. so ya there are places where you can get the magic formula to sound just like whoever and that's OK for getting the idea but it comes down to what you hear at the time and place that you are.

In other words, Fake it till you make it. Guitar amp settings are a matter of personal taste and the situation that you are in with guitars effects and your surroundings. General ideas are really all I can give you and the rest is up to what you think sounds cool and the response you get from your audience.

Another thing I have personally noticed is that ears get tired.It seems an amp can sound amazing to me one day and completely lousy the next. How much sleep you get, your attitude that day, if you have been exercising, how much water you drink can all effect what you think you hear. Remember you are a major part of your sound too.

Guitar amp settings - Solid state amps with built in effects. The good ones have presets, amp settings that have been put together by Pros so you sound good right away with the twist of a knob.

Playing guitar is a creative art. That's why there are so many choices of effects, guitar and amps. I know people need to be held by the hand for awhile and that is why Line 6, Roland, and other amp manufacturers have presets built into their amp. Nothing wrong with that. It can be a big time saver.

I like 'em. Takes a lot of the guess work out and gets me back to practicing. Lazy? no, I use them as a starting point and tweak with them from where they start out.

Be sure to check out the related pages from this website below.

1. Best guitar pickups - How your pickups can add or subtraction from your sound.

How Guitar strings can completely change the sound of your guitar and amp.

2.Electric guitar tuning - Do you really know if your tuning is accurate?

Roy Barnett

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