Basic Guitar Amp Controls Explained

Feeling confused on how to use amplifier settings and controls? Know how to set up and make the most out of your new guitar amp by learning the fundamentals of amp controls and settings. 

Guitars are probably one of the most popular musical instruments that people who want to start music first pick up. Learning the guitar is a fun experience and at the same time a frustrating one. But once you learn how to play at least one song, the experience is rewarding. No doubt from there you will begin to fall in love more with the instrument.

Of course, before starting to learn to play the guitar you’ll have to gather all the essentials; the instrument obviously, and a guitar amp.

You can buy a guitar amp at any instrument store or guitar accessories shop online. If the cost of a guitar amp is a bit too much for your budget, you can learn how to build a guitar amp from scratch. DIY guitar amp works as good as newly bought ones, plus you can save more money.

A guitar amp consists of various controls and settings. It can be confusing at first, but once you learn how each one works, it’ll help explore your sound for a more dynamic performance.

To get started on guitar amps, below are the basic controls of the sound device and how it works.

#1 Volume 

The volume control allows you to adjust the device’s sound level. A guitar usually has one volume control that acts as the master volume control. However, some versions consist of one volume control and a clean channel that controls the distortion.

#2 Gain

Amplifier process signals coming from the guitar’s pickups. There are two stages of signal processing; the first stage is ‘preamp’, controlling the gain settings. When the gain is turned up, it forces the preamp to work harder, producing a more distorted tone. The second stage is called the ‘power amp’, which controls the overall volume.

Control the gain according to the music genre you’re playing. For example, you’ll have to increase the distortion when playing heavy metal and minimal to zero distortion when playing country music.

#3 EQ 

The EQ (Equalizer), also known as tone control has a similar effect to treble and bass. It increases or decreases the treble and bass effect.

When the treble is turned high, the guitar recreates a sharper sound. However, when the EQ is down, the guitar produces a softer and mellower sound.

#4 Mids

The mids pertain to the amount of mid-range frequencies that are produced when playing the guitar. Higher mids help create fuller sound with more depth.

Also, the sound from your guitar won’t drown when playing together with other instruments.

#5 Treble

If you’re using a lead guitar, it is best to choose a higher treble setting, especially when it needs to cut through the mix. Take note that treble refers to the amount of high frequency of the instrument. Thus, a higher treble means sharper and crisper sounds. However, a too-high treble can be harsh on the ears and awful, especially when playing country music.

#6 Bass

The bass control adjusts the low-frequency sound from the amplifier. When playing, make sure to set the bass at mid-range. You can turn up the bass or lower depending on the sound you want to recreate.

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