Both my bass and amp have EQ knobs. Usually I keep the bass’ at neutral, and the amp’s with treble down a bit. Should I reverse this? If I have knobs on my bass, should I just use them directly?
I’ve honestly just started playing around with the settings on my bass to try and get the sound I’m chasing.
A long time ago I think it was @howard that suggested to just simply experiment with the bass, mids and treble rather than set them to how other people thought they should be set.
I think that was excellent advice
Yeah. Think of it this way - the knobs on the bass control the tone of the bass. The knobs on the amp control the way the amp sounds in the room.
If you have nothing between the bass and the amp, this is a pretty esoteric concept. Still useful though - the preamp in the bass and the preamp in the amp can stilll be different with how they shape sound. Fender amps often have a mid scoop when flat, for example.
The best bet is, as @mac says, to just play with them and find what you like. You’re not going to break anything
I tweak mine when playing in active EQ all the time, except when recording.
Perhaps for consistency I’ll leave the amp as neutral and then rely on the active EQ knobs on the bass directly, tweaking them of course depending on what the bass is actually going into.
Definitely a good way to feel out the bass EQ, yeah.
This becomes a much bigger difference when you start putting effects between the bass and the amp. That’s when the distinction I mentioned becomes important - the EQ on the bass sets the bass tone, which then goes through whatever effects you are using and is modified. Then it goes in to the amp, which is no longer EQing just the bass, but also the tone added by all the effects. At this point the controls are quite different in effect, because you have placed the preamps at different places in the signal chain.
I’m at the opposite end of the scale. I don’t use an amp at all, and always record clean bass and apply all EQ, effects, and amp sims in the DAW. But that’s because all I care about is recording and not playing live.
Read through this. It’ll help you get a handle on when to use what.
How To Adjust Your Bass and Amp Sound
@fosskers just buy a P Bass and you won’t have to worry about any of that EQ stuff!
Heh just bought a brand new SoundGear, can’t turn back now
That’s what I have too @fosskers
You’ll have some fun with the EQ on that
That’s what I’ve been doing since I got an active bass, @fosskers . . .
Good luck in finding the sound you like!
Further advantage of that approach: I won’t always be near the amp to change something, but the bass is always right there
Goofing around with the knobs is real fun.
I made a little sheet to, hopefully, help get you started on trying out different combinations and listening for differences in what the two different pieces - bass and amp - can do with each other.
This is NOT by any means a reference or bible or rule for how to set things up. It’s just some beginning suggestions.
The take away is (as has been nicely covered by these rad other folks here):
The bass can change the most, and can change song to song.
The amp is something you adjust - hopefully once - per situation (gig/rehearsal) to set it for the best possible sound to accommodate the music and the room, and to get your sound and volume to work with the rest of the instruments and environment.
Bass adjustments might be drastic - things all the way up or down depending on the song or the vibe - amp adjustments are usually moderate - between 9 o clock and 3 o clock on the dial, and usually hovering around 12.
Try some of these out, and see if you connect to the controls and the different things they do to the sound.
Thanks a ton! I’m going to experiment with this later on.
This is great! Thanks Gio
Good grief that was great! I went ahead and quoted that whole post over here…
How To Adjust Your Bass and Amp Sound
- The “upright” settings were fantastic, sounded pretty authentic.
- The punk/metal settings sounded legit, although I don’t know any songs to test them on haha.
- The slap settings sounded mostly the same as “neutral”.
Also, I don’t have a tone knob, as far as I can tell.
Which SR do you own? If it has an active/passive switch, often the passive tone control is on the treble knob, like Yamaha does.
Send a photo of your controls, and maybe we can get mores specific on what knobs/switches do here.
And - stoked you were able to get some new sounds out of the bass with my goofy map.
EQ = tone with more controls
EQ = tone knob with more controls
So tone up = more treble leaning
Tone down = more bass leaning
Mids = will need some experimenting. Hi/low mids etc. start with them flat and play with them after you are comfy with bass and treble.
I don’t really mess with them much unless I want slap or super dark boomy.
Generally I find mids are the most important to be able to tweak. I usually either want to boost or cut them, depending on what I am playing. I won’t buy another 2-band EQ, I’ve owned three and always wanted a mids control on them.