Guitar EQ vs Pedal EQ vs Amp EQ

How do you deal with a solution where you have an EQ on your bass, pedal, and amp? Is one better at dealing with EQ than the other? I suppose it’s a similar question for distortion on pedal and amp. One thing that comes to mind is that you may not always be using the same amp, so best avoid using amp settings if you have a bass or pedal with the same thing? Or is it best not to use as pedal if your amp does the same thing as you have one less object in the signal chain? I currently just have a passive bass with an amp with EQ/Overdrive, but as I’m starting to think about pedals I was wondering about this question.


not the same circuitries + not at the same place in the signal path = it doesn’t sound the same :grin:

it depends on your gear, the tone you’re looking for, what and how you’re playing … no rule here ! you have to experiment and find what works for you !


I’m very sad with this answer. lol Take a page out of my book and write a minimum of twelve pages about bass porn pic you are posting!!! :crazy_face:

In all seriousness, I personally would love to hear a DEEP dive on this subject! The pros and cons of each. Why does the circuitries matter? Anything and everything related to the OP’s question would be fascinating and informative to me and I have a feeling to many others.

Heck though, I’m also the guy that just can’t justify/understand individual pedals when multi-effects pedals exist. So I clearly know nothing about all of this. :rofl:

Show us the way sages of EQ and effects!


Well, @terb described it well, each of them has different usage depending on where they are in the signal chain.

EQ on a bass is about shaping the tone of the bass itself, which will subsequently be modified by other effects and amps in the chain. This is the best place to modify the tone of your bass. The tone changes you make here are equivalent to changing how your bass sounds, and this will propagate through all the other effects and such in your signal chain.

Preamp pedals and EQ pedals have many versatile uses but one I will highlight is that they can serve as your final EQ and tone shaping before going somewhere other than an amp - either a mixer if live, or an audio interface if recording. Bass straight in to an audio interface usually sounds OK, but can sound a lot better if it is EQed a bit and maybe put through an amp sim or preamp pedal. Some really color the sound nicely and sound more “natural”, like you were playing through an amp.

The EQ on an amp is a final EQ of the sum of the entire signal chain before it - the bass and all the effects if any. Since it is last in the chain it is kind of brute force compared to the others, as it will apply EQ not only to your bass tone but also anything else added by the effects - reverb shimmer, distortion, fuzz, whatever. As such it is more useful for shaping sound to match the space you are in than it is for bass tone adjustments, which ideally will be on the bass itself or in pedals.


I just set my amp the way I want it (bass & treble at noon, midranges set to 3 o’ clock and “vintage” filter on), then make final adjustments with the knobs on my bass.

Still haven’t used any pedals or other effects, but if they made a “John Entwistle” pedal, I might seriously consider it . . . :wink:

Cheers, Joe :slight_smile:



But I’ll add another detail - it also depends on what kind of gigs/settings you find yourself.

For example, with SoulGlitch (the electronic project I’m playing with right now), we run everything into our own Behringer x32 rack mixer, and my bass/pedals are going into that direct from my Noble DI. So:
Bass -> Pedalboard -> Noble DI -> x32 (what actually goes into the house)
And then another out from the Noble goes to my amp, which is basically just for me to feel some bass on stage.

Because of that, I do almost all my EQing before the amp, since anything I do on the amp won’t go into the house. I just EQ the amp based on the stage, rolling the bass up/down if it’s too boomy or too thing, bumping a little treble for clarity, etc., depending.

Another tidbit - I use a ton of octave pedals in that band, and I find that if I boost the bass EQ on my bass slightly, it helps balance the low end between the clean signal and the octave pedals (otherwise the clean bass sounds a little wimpy).

Last thought (on this tremendously complex subject) - most of this stuff doesn’t matter than much for “normal” bass playing, in my opinion. Plug a P bass into an amp, set the tone knob where you like, dial the amp EQ a hair to balance to the room, that’s all you really need for most working gigs.


When I go to the guitar store I always try the Fender Rumble Amps. I’ve tried the 100, 500, and the 800 head with a 410 cabinet. I really want to like these amps but every time I try them I get a very muddy tone I can’t get rid of. I am assume it’s user error.

Can anybody give any tips on how to EQ a clean tone on the Rumble?


I’m still trying to figure out all these nuances with tone myself. My ears don’t hear much difference, yet, even though I watch these threads and see you guys hear even a tiny difference right away. I may hear a difference when a knob is on some extreme setting. Or when my bass is out of tune. And I have a very general idea when I feel that something “sounds good.”

So I don’t have an answer. Maybe another Rumble person can comment? I want to start learning this stuff, and an answer on an amp that I’m familiar with would help :upside_down_face:


I never noticed that with the rumble but what you might want to try is boosting the mids a little and rolling the bass off very slightly.


It really is super complex and like @terb said, something that you play with to find the sound you want. There’s basically tons of variations depending on what you are looking for, especially with EQ/preamp/OD pedals and where you put them. And like @JoshFossgreen says, for just getting down and playing and practicing, jamming and so on, really matters very little.

I edited my post above to elaborate a little, posted my original at 3am so sorry if it was a bit light on explanation :slight_smile:

Basically this is something you don’t need to worry about unless you want to. Even for gigging. I happen to love this stuff to death, but I’m weird that way, I was very into effects, sound programming and signal chains from my previous life as a synth player/programmer, and the types of music I like are heavily effected.


Does it matter how many pedals you run the signal through in terms of signal integrity? Like what if you ran it through 10 pedals that were all OFF. Would you get the same signal intact?


There actually are issues with this and there are ways to mitigate them. The short answer is that you want most of your pedals to be True Bypass, but you want at least one buffered bypass pedal in there, and depending on your pedal chain, maybe more than one. I have three, which is more coincidence than anything else - one would have been fine.

Basically, true bypass prevents signal alteration by the pedal itself, and buffered bypass helps mitigate signal attenuation due to too much cable and pedal chain length. It’s more complicated than that but that’s the basic gist.


@eric.kiser, it may also depend on what bass you’re using as well as the room acoustics . . . :slight_smile: . . . I currently have the 100 and it sounds very clean with my Squier jazz

Ditto what @howard said:

Of course, it all takes LOTS of experimenting, and everyone’s situation is different.

Cheers, Joe


PS @Vik and @eric.kiser . . .

IF it ever happens that I upgrade, I think I’d go with the Rumble 500 . . . :wink:


It’s such a champion. I have yet to find something I just don’t like about it. Is it perfect? No. There are amps / cabs / combos I played around with that are “better” in some aspect. But overall better, no. I don’t feel qualified to give a seal of approval on amps, as I’m still learning a lot about them, but, I see that 500 come up a lot, and no one really complains about it. The bass player in a band I watched last night had one. The 9 room rehearsal studio downtown that I practice at uses them in about half the rooms, and even keeps a spare in the hallway! Gio even uses one.

That being said, I’ve never really had to turn up the master volume past, oh, about 11 o’clock. And that was just cranking it up. It’s mostly at maybe 9 o’clock! So - I feel like the Rumble 100 or 200 are also just fine, practically speaking, because, in so many ways, they are basically the same amp.


I especially appreciate the idea of light weight (~34lbs) vs the power AND the capacity to add a second cabinet . . . :+1:

Thanks, @Vik . . . and wishing you continued success!

Cheers, Joe

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I consider trying a Rumble 100 …


I have the 100 and love it. I did a lot of research beforehand. The 100 has the same head as the 200 and ,500 (or mostly anyway). From what I gathered the 100 only works for rehearsal and small (like pub) gigs. And only if the drummer isn’t a smasher. I just wanted it for home practice though so it is great for that.


yeah if I change my amp I will like that :

  • a very transparent amp (because I shape my bass tone with my external preamps)
  • with an effect loop (because I want to be able to bypass the integrated preamp)
  • a light and compact amp
  • powerful enough for rehersals and small gigs , but I know 100w is enough for me because if needed I will ask to be plugged into the PA
  • with smaller speaker(s) than 15"
  • not crazy expensive

the Rumble 100 seems to fit those requirements. I just don’t know if the power amp and speaker would be transparent enough for my needs.

Also I think that I could sell my current Ampeg at least the same price than a new Rumble 100.

I guess I should come to a shop with my bass and preamp and just test if it could work for me.

(or I could just sell the Ampeg and go amp-less, like @howard )


For what it was, I really liked the tone on my Rumble 25. Plus used Rumble 100s turn up, and bought that way they hold decent resale value.