This cool beginner guitar lesson on amp settings gets you up to speed with what the basic knobs are. Find out the best settings for your style of electric guitar playing.This guitar lesson covers all the basics you need...from getting a great sound from your amp to what to look for in a guitar amp.
Clean or Distortion?
It's All In The Hands
That's right! If you aren't getting a good sound at the source no amount of equipment will help you. But hey, that's why you're looking at an online electric guitar lesson like this...to learn and study the instrument. There's plenty of TAB and songs out there on the Internet. Not many people take the time to actually study the instrument.
OK. You've been practicing and you're getting a good sound with your fingers and pick. One of the most common mistakes I've seen over the many years I've been teaching is a "bum" guitar cable. Or a loose jack (where you plug the cable in) or dirty pots. Not the dishes ;-) The knobs on the guitar crackle and fizz. If any of this describes you, fix it now :-)
Alright. Your hands are good. Your guitar and cable are good. You're in tune. We are halfway to getting a good...no, make that great! Guitar sound. let's move on to the amp settings, shall we?
In the video, I'm demonstrating with a little Roland cube amp. I show you the various knobs and how they affect the sound. This particular amp has some effects built in. That's something else to think about as far as getting a sound. Again, it depends on your needs. If you're in an ensemble (fancy word for group) situation, you'll probably want pedals that you can switch on and off with your feet. Some amps come with foot switches. It's definitely more convenient to be able to switch sounds with the click or stomp of your foot :-)
The first thing to be aware of is the input. That's where your cable goes. If you use pedals, put them between your guitar and amp. There are lots of opinions about the best ways to daisy chain effects pedals...beyond the scope of this lesson.
Next item. Volume. This is the loudness knob. You possibly have 2 of these if your amp has 2 channels.
This brings us to Gain. Some call it overdrive, some distortion. The more Gain, the more distortion. You'll need to turn the Volume down as you turn the Gain up...unless you want to drive your neighbors crazy. Not recommended :-) Headphones are another option, but they're uncomfortable after long periods. Personally, I prefer hearing music in the open room. Another basic error I see is people just cranking the Gain. That's fine if you know what you're doing with your amp settings. Otherwise, it's usually a very unpleasant sound. This is because the sound of the guitar actually gets smaller. Huh?...
More Distortion equals Smaller Sound...how's that? It just means that there will be less bass or bottom end, and less treble or high end. On very expensive tube amps this isn't the case. On simple practice amps it is. In the guitar lesson video I demonstrate a few basic amp settings. A good clean sound, a classic rock and also a heavy metal type of sound. Keep in mind there are many more options. As you keep playing and listening you'll make more discoveries.
It's All In the EQ...I know... I said it's all in the hands, and it is! EQ is right up there, though. EQ means equalization. It refers to the blend of bass, mid and treble frequencies just like on...oh, never mind! I was gonna say your stereo. Well, maybe you remember that ;-) Again, I'll show you the best amp settings in the guitar lesson video. Tweaking knobs on your amp will also train you to listen and notice things you may not have noticed about guitar sounds before.
Digital Amps and Pods...can make the whole concept of amp settings "moot". Now it can be as simple as dialing in the sound of your favorite player... and Presto! you've got his or her amp settings! These amps are a little pricier than basic practice amps, but not usually as expensive as a good tube amp. There's a lot more I could say here about technology and guitar amps. I've done my best to keep it to basic practice amp settings as well as give you a basic overview of other possibilities.
It depends on your goals. Bedroom or rehearsal room?
Your budget and commitment.
If you're recording at home, you don't even need an amp. It's better to have one for practicing though.
Talk to sales staff at music stores. Read brochures. Ask other players. Do your research. Just get a good little practice amp for now. Deal with the rest later. Learn how to really play. Learn how to tweak the knobs a bit. Yeah, now you're talkin' my language :-)
Hope you found this guitar lesson on amp settings helpful. It's been my pleasure to perhaps play a small part in inspiring you to keep dusting off your guitar :-)
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