For this article a few tips on how to explore the sounds of your guitar (or bass) amp.
If you have just bought a new amplifier you may wonder what the possibilities of your amp are. If you are one of those people who do not change the settings of your amp you may be interested in exploring the sounds your amp has to offer.
First and formost keep the controls of your instrument (bass or guitar) fully open. In a closed position you can never explore what your amp has to offer since your instrument does not give a full signal to your amp. You may find this an obvious comment but you be surprised in how many people try to work with their amp and getting the right sound while the volume of their guitar (or bass) is half way down! You can back off on volume once you feel you have the right sound of your amp, but start dialing in your tone while your volume controls are fully open!
Plug in your instrument and play an open chord, just hold this chord while you dial in all your tone settings, keep repeating the process as you dial in all the various controls. Play a bit, as an open chord responds differently compared to playing further up on the fretboard.
It does help if you already have an idea what kind of sound you are looking for. If you are new to the amp just keep on playing with controls until you find what you like.
Some guitar-and bass amps do have active tone controls: put all tone controls on zero and you do not get a sound. In case your amp does have active controls put all of them at 12.oo o’clock and treat this sound as your starting point, adjust treble and bass according to how you like the sound to be.
Pre-and Power amp controls:
Approach them in the same way as what I mentioned above: Just play an open chord and dial in the controls until you find what you like.
Some amps do have on-board EQ settings, this usually relates to bass amps. To set them up, use same approach as before. Usually the EQ will add (or cut) some of the basic sound of your amp. Before you use the EQ, set up amp without using the EQ then start adding tones with the EQ until you like it. Adding too much EQ will create distortion, cutting too much with the EQ will take away from your basic tone. Balance the sound until you feel you have the right tone. Sometimes an EQ can be what you need when you play with a band: You may be able to boost the low end a little bit which will make the bass more audiable compared to drums and guitar.
Happy exploring and hope to catch you soon again,