Bass Amp EQ Quick Tips

Bass amp EQ can be a tricky thing for new players. Despite all the thought you've put into your sound and your bass amp and cabinet placement, you might still end up with some frequencies that are too weak or too overbearing. Bass amp tone setting is part art and science; here are some tips.

Too Much Low End (Bass frequencies): As a bassist you can never really have too much bass frequencies right? WRONG! Sure, dealing out the cellar-dwelling low end is part of the job description, but not when you have so much thud that you can’t even distinguish the notes you’re playing. Rather than boost HIGHS or MIDS to compensate you can also try reducing the amount of bass – even if it feels like the wrong thing to do as a bassist. Another good tip is to get your amp off the floor, use either a chair or a milk crate or something else that breaks the contact with the floor and isn’t hollow itself. When your bass cabinet rests on the floor (especially on a hollow stage), the floor resonates with the cabinet causing a massive bass boost that can’t be EQed out of your sound. If nothing else works for you and you don’t mind investing some money to improve your sound, you can check out some sound control padding or foam (or any other applicable acoustic damper) to go under your amp.

Too Much High End (Treble frequencies): Too many HIGHS will give you a harsh and noisy sound, turn them down and see if your sound is improved. If you need some clarity you can position your picking/plucking hand closer to the bridge or try boosting some of the high mids frequencies. Playing at loud volumes especially if you have sketchy wiring in your electric bass guitar may not be addressed with bass amp equalization tweaks alone;.  you may require a noise gate or filter that will suppress those high frequencies from exiting your speakers. Does your bass speaker cabinet have a built in tweeter? Tweeters deal out the highest parts of the bass signal coming out of the speakers and often have a dial on the back or side of the cabinet that allows you to reduce the volume or disable it completely. If you still have too much treble in your sound, consider placing the bass cabinet directly on the floor.

Too Many Mid Frequencies (Mid-range frequencies): To most bass players the mid frequencies are our friends. They help add clarity, depth and snarl to the notes and allow us to maintain some sonic real estate that even loud and distorted guitars rarely occupy. But as you can probably guess, too much of even a good thing can be bad. Excessively boosted mid frequencies can give a ‘honk’ to your sound that is possibly more annoying than the other two problems combined. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered this problem as a direct result of room acoustics – more often it is from bass amplifier equalizer tweaking gone wrong without correctly placing and positioning your amp. To fix the MID problem, you’ll need to revisit your amplifier EQ settings after you position the bass amp in the best possible place



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