How To Adjust Your Bass and Amp Sound

Helping people figure out what to do with all those knobs.

My most basic process.

  1. Set amplifier EQ (bass, low mid, high mid, treble) to noon (50%)
  2. Turn off tone controls (bright, contour, vintage, etc.)
  3. Turn off effects (drive, compression, etc.)
  4. Dial in Bass
  5. Dial in amplifier
  6. Turn on tone controls as desired
  7. Turn on effects as desired

Some things to consider.

  • We have lots of options for tone control. As @howard has said, it helps to think of them like this
  1. Bass controls are for manipulating the tone of your bass
  2. Pedals controls are for manipulating your effected sound
  3. Amp controls are for adjusting for the room
  • If you’re having trouble dialing in your sound, try using headphones to get the base sound. Then unplug and fine tune from there.

I’d say - “for manipulating the tone of your bass.” But otherwise great post!


Reference here… Show Us Your Basses (Part 1) - #3046 by Brian.RichardS

Step One

Drive: off
Bright: off
Treble: 50% (set at noon / 12 o’clock)
Bass: 50% (set at noon / 12 o’clock)
Volume: Whatever sounds comfortable/good

Step Two

P Pickup Volume: 50%
J Pickup Volume: 0%
Tone: 50%

Step Three

Step Four

Leave them off till you find the basic sound you like on the bass.
Then use them as needed, as you like. Don’t think you have to ignore them because you’re a beginner. Especially that drive knob. Overdrive is a lot of fun. :+1:

Part of doing all this is you finding a reference point to work from. Usually the 50% mark on any given knob. This way you can return knobs to that position and start over if you start to feel like you’ve lost track of what knobs are having what effect.


Good call - Edited. Thanks.


Thanks, Eric. I’ll experiment along the lines you’ve outlined.


The concept you’re chasing here is called “unity gain”, and basically it means that all of your pedals are set such that the volume is the same whether the pedal is bypassed or not.

Unfortunately I don’t know a better way to do it than adjusting all pedals to do this. And this is tricky when it comes to pedals with no separate output level knob, or when you want to change settings.

One thing you can do is put a preamp last in your chain and control the overall master level of your board with its volume knob, before going to the amp or audio interface. At least then it’s mostly one knob. But that doesn’t solve the whole problem (as different gains in the chain itself will change how subsequent pedals sound.) But that’s what I did before selling it all and moving entirely into the DAW.


Thanks @Gio.
Quoted you here for future reference.


Thanks, again, @Gio.
Quoted you here for future reference.