Gain V Volume

I ask the dumb questions so you don’t have to

What is the difference between Gain and Volume on my Bass amp?


Hm, very much in layman’s terms: gain does something to your input, i.e., it controls the input level, whereas volume controls the output level. If you crank up the gain too much, your signal gets distorted!

But, not to worry, there are guys in here who can explain this much better (and in more detail) than I ever could :smile:


Not at all “dumb”, @studio . … :slight_smile:

As @joergkutter said, the Gain is the pre-amp and the higher you set it, the more distorted the input signal gets. The Volume controls the overall loudness of the output.

If you set the Gain to very low or OFF, the input signal will be undistorted or “clean”.

HTH and all best, Joe


Yeah gain is a bit like overdrive.


So you can have a dirty ‘cranked’ sound at a low volume.

Set the overdriven ‘cranked’ sound you want with the gain knob, then control the overall volume level with the volume knob.

However - if you get near full volume with the volume knob, you’ll then start to overdrive the amp itself, so you’ll need to roll back on the gain, Unless of course you want a mega overdriven sound - if that makes sense.


Yep pretty much what they said. Gain is (usually) on the input, before the preamp.

This extends to effects pedals and any other preamp as well (including the ones in sims in multieffects boxes like the Zooms); the input gain boosts the signal pre-effect. This can be very useful, either as a neutral boost or for driving the signal into distortion or fuzz, or modulation effects that are sensitive to amplitude.