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How do you guys set your amp sound

Posts: 395
I am interested on how you guys set your amp sound. Just the basics. Volume, bass, midrange and treble. There are so many variables. Just wondering what works for you. I am asking because i was moving things around today. I have a ampeg tilt back amp that is on the floor. I dont have a monster stack that i stand in front of. Just a bedroom bass player i am. I put it on a stand today and the sound i was hearing was totally different. It was really good. Better in fact after lifting it off the floor. But i needed to adjust the amp a bit. Which got me wondering. Is there a basic setting that most bass players use. Or is it just what sounds good to you. Silly question i know but i am experimenting with sound and what sounds the best now after lifting it up. I dont want to mess with the amp to much. You know set it and forget it. Adjust the tone on your bass when needed.
LoudLon [moderator]
Posts: 1930
A bassist's tone is like their fingerprint; everyone has their own little quirk. I tend to set my amps to medium treble, full bass, medium gain to give it some grit, and a hint of distortion to give it some fuzz. As for volume, it depends on if I'm home alone or not.
Posts: 1103
This is a moving target for me. There's so much that plays into my tone setting. Mostly what sort of room I'm playing in, and what type of song.

In my basement, where I practice, I have mostly mids up, and my low and high knobs are up a little. So like on a clock face, my mids are set to 2-oclock, and my low and high is set to 9-oclock. I like a clean sound, so no distortion, but I use a little compression and a little reverb from my pedals. A little gain (about a quarter dial).

When I'm playing out my settings can be totally different. In boomy rooms, I turn my lows almost completely off, and go with high mids and low highs for punch. Outdoors, I pump the lows up. It also depends on what sound system we're playing through. We play through a BOSE system in small indoor venues, but through a huge JBL system with 15-inch mains and 18-inch subs for outdoor gigs. I'm constantly adjusting my eq and effects. But overall I like a clean, punchy tone.
Posts: 395
A bassist's tone is like their fingerprint; everyone has their own little quirk. I tend to set my amps to medium treble, full bass, medium gain to give it some grit, and a hint of distortion to give it some fuzz. As for volume, it depends on if I'm home alone or not.
Interesting. Thanks. My amp is that ampeg tilt back design. So it was on the floor basically like a monitor facing towards the roof. When i put it on a stand and the amp was facing right at me. The sound changed. It sounded good but to much treble. I like a low full rich bass sound with some growl to it. I always have the volume at max and control it with the bass volume. So i had to boost the bass control on the amp to max the midrange to about 4 and the treble the same. I added some chorus and it sounds great. While doing all that it got me wondering how you guys modify your sound. That is why i was curious and the question. Thanks for the input. Little bits of info here and there help other bass players.
I most of the time set a little distortion, some fuzz and a lot of compression on the pedal(s). Much of the highs is rolled off on the bass, while the eq on the Behringer BXL1800A is set completely flat.

Fine tuning of tone, done on one of the pedals, depends on what fits best. I aim for filling the gap(s) in the low end of the mix.
Posts: 530
Yep, getting the amp off the floor will change the sound. There's tons of physics that go into it, but basically you're getting a better reflection off of the floor now. Pull it a foot or two from the wall and it will change again. In a corner, center of the wall, center of the room - it's going to change the sound.

My tone config tends to vary based on what bass I'm playing, which varies with what music I'm playing.
  • My P-Bass clone with flatwound strings tends to have the tone knob rolled all of the way down, and on the amp the bass will be up a bit, mids and treble at 12:00 or so. Classic rock tone for that type of music
  • My Fender Jazz with rounds has the bridge pickup up, tone and neck pickup around 75%, with the amp having bass and treble around 11:00/12:00 and mids toward 2:00. Jazzier sound for music that sounds good with it
  • Any other bass is pretty random - I tend to play around with the settings and haven't really found a go-to setup with them yet. Sometimes that's because of the options available, some I just haven't found what I like yet. It depends on my mood and the music.

The space, the amp/cabinet, the bass (and the strings), how and where you play - they all go into the tone you get. Playing the exact same setup with fingers over the end of the neck will sound very different than playing with a pick just off of the bridge.
Factory is tested and set for twelve o’clock I like to start with bass at one o’clock and treble at eleven o’clock and mids at at twelve and tweak from there I mainly use fender Basses so I I start with tone knob on a quarter and go from there.
Posts: 395
What you are saying Nick is right on the money. I didnt realize the dynamics of moving your amp around and the change it makes in sound. Until i did it. Just a bedroom bass player like i have said. If you factor in the strings you use. Your amp position. The size of the room. The bass if its active or passive. All guitars are not made equal and have there own quirks. If you use pedals. And how you set your amp tone and bass tone. It can make a big difference. It can make a good bass sound bad and a so so bass sound really good. Crazy the variables. I have a few more questions but i will start another thread at another time. Thanks for the info as usual…
Posts: 1
I keep my amp at full bass, half mid, and full treble. I also have the pickup volumes at full. I like to play with an “in your face” kind of sound, and that definitely gives me what I want.

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