Easy Guitar Amp Settings Guide

Do you have a guitar amp but you don’t have experience in its settings? Or have you purchase a guitar amp and need some guidance on the settings? Do you need to make your music very interesting with clear sound from the guitar amp setting? Then here is the right place for you. I will cover extensively on the guitar amp setting guide. With this, you shall be assured to have a high-quality sound on your music.

Music is one of the things which become very critical in the settings made. Some people have very sharp musical hears and they will automatically get bored by the bad settings which lead to poor quality sound. To curb this, you really need this guide to get through your settings with no trouble. A guitar amp will boost the sound of your guitar though with the wrong setting, on the other hand, it will distort your music. This, therefore, necessitates the use of the guitar amp setting guide.

Don’t be deceived, each and every guitar amp can produce almost all the music tones you would love with proper settings rather than buying new guitar amps to get your tone. This can be seen, for example, when an experienced guitarist sets the amp you can feel a different and quality sound even if the guitar is not of high-quality. The problems do not lie on the guitar being used or the guitar amp using but in the settings provided. In addition, different types of music require different settings to give that specific tone. Follow on the article closely to capture each and every help you need to receive.

Guitar Amp Settings

As every amp is different from the other, the definition of specific settings would sometime become tricky hence the need to come up with the basic settings which will apply to each and every amp in producing a quality tone. This can be observed if you do an experiment with different guitar amps but use completely same settings; a different tone will be produced. With this guide, you will be able to get the best tone using your musical ear and getting the best tone you would love yourself.

Basic Controls in Guitar Amps

No matter how different the guitar amp is to the other, there exist some common similarities of the features of the amp. These are the controls used in setting the tone you need. Most of the modern combo amps usually have inbuilt effects that provide options for saving different presets while the older combos contain in most cases the onboard effects.


The basic controls in the guitar amps include;

  • The Gain knob – This knob controls the distortion of the tone produced by the amp.
  • Master volume knob – This is used in controlling how quiet or loud your guitar amp is.
  • The bass knob – It is used in controlling the thickness of the tone from your guitar amp.
  • Treble – Used in the control of how bright your guitar sounds.
  • Presence knob – Usually acts as a super treble control and used in making the music have higher end tones.

These basic controls will be in almost all guitar amps and, therefore, you will most likely to interact with each one of them. Other amps may have other additional features to increase the tone setting which will depend on the size of the amp being used.

Tips for Getting a Clear Tone

With a clean tone, the music will get into a different direction without having basically tuned to extreme settings based on the music you intend to play. Before you decide on the settings for the music to play, ensure that you first produce a clean tone from the basic settings on the amp. To achieve this tone, the following basic tips will apply as you set your guitar amp;

  • Use a clean channel where you have multiple channels or turn the gain knob down if no multiple channels. This will allow you to use clear settings without additional distortion which would be caused by channels with distortions.
  • Turning off your guitar’s effect pedals and amp effects. Effects could distort the tone produced by the guitar amps and this will necessitate them to be turned off. The effects will differ with different music. Starting, therefore to get a clean tone, you need to turn them off. With everything off including; boosters, compressors, reverbs and delays you will be sure to have a clear starting point in setting up your guitar amp.
  • Ensure that the treble, mid and bass knobs are at the 12 o’clock. From most of the guitar amps, this is the neutral setting for the equalizer. Having the control knobs at medium will give you a good start in the setting as each and everything is at its central point without being based on any side. With the whole equalizer being at its neutral, you will get the pure natural sound of the guitar amp.
  • Use low gain and then tune the volume knob to a suitable level. Without completely cutting off the gain knob, set it at a low level as high levels of the gain knob lead to distortion. You can set it to be at the 8 o’clock point while other knobs are at the 12 o’clock point. This will be important as while playing the guitar you may hit a chord in a hard way leading to distortion which is majorly caused by high gain levels. Use the volume knob to get to the comfortable place you love.

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  • Always wait for a minute listening to the tone after a change has been done. After any changes in the guitar amp setting, wait for at least one minute before making the next changes so that you can give time to your ear to pick the combination and the tone provide. Sudden changes might not provide the tone needed at once unless you first give an ear to it.
  • Have a thought on the dislikes of the tone produces as well as what you like about it. This will assist you in getting the correct decision making on the changes to do on your guitar amp settings. Before any adjustment, therefore, there will need to think critically about what changes to make rather than tweaking the knobs randomly.
  • Make small changes in the settings to fix your preferred tone. After knowing where to make changes, do the adjustments at small intervals until you get the tone you love. These changes should be made one at a time to realize the solution for the distortion in the tone produced. Get to learn how changes in a knob lead to changes in the tone which will be helpful in setting up different types of tones on different types of music.
  • Use of additional effects on the additional tone you want. Depending on the type of music you want to play, you might be required to add some effects after a clear tone has been obtained. This is because different types of music will require the total difference in the tone such as the blues music will require additional effects different to the rock music.
  • Make some necessary adjustments. On addition of some effects, there will need to make some changes such as when you start using a guitar pedal you might need to adjust the gain knob. The adjustments will involve small tweaks; therefore, avoid huge adjustments which might distort the whole music.
  • Note the settings through writing them down. Write the settings together with the type of music the settings match with. This will be used later for reference purposes in which you will not need to find the settings again but automatically apply the settings depending on the tone you need.

With the tips clearly followed, setting up your tone for different types of music then becomes an easy task. Let us have a look at different settings on different music. Note that different music will require a different tone and hence this becomes a necessity in knowing the type of music you want to play your guitar and the tone which match that respective tone.

The following are discussions on different settings of various types of music.

Setting Your Guitar Amp for Blues

As it will be each and every guitarist wish to give the best sound on each type of music, getting to know the different settings on your guitar amp become paramount if you really desire to give the best to your audience. Lack of knowledge on the type of music you are playing may lead to distortions and also be disturbing rather than be exciting to the congregation.

With proper settings, one model of a guitar amp may produce complete different tones and sounds hence necessitating for the knowledge on this area. With these tips for the blues music, you are likely to produce a perfect tone for the blues and you are sure that the audience will enjoy it.

Quick Guitar Amp Settings

Follow the below steps to obtain the best outcome there:

  • Set all the guitar amp knobs to 5 which include Bass knob, Middle knob, Treble knob and the Presence knob with an exemption of the reverb and the vibrato if your guitar amp contains them.
  • Ensure that the guitar is connected and plugged in a clean channel in your guitar amp. Avoid channels that might lead to distortion not based on the settings made. On the channel also ensure that there are no overdrive buttons that are pushed in to give you a fresh start.
  • Turn on your volume knob to about 3 or 4 from the labeling on the knob. This is, in most cases, the average volume that will sound well in most of the guitar amps with a few exemptions which might be due to the use of a high wattage amp.
  • After the above settings have been done, pick the guitar and play the E major chord then followed by the G Barre Chord and note the tone produced. You should note that whether the bass does overload the amp or giving a distorting sound on playing the above notes. If the bass distorts the tone, then turn the bass knob down to the point where it is clear.
  • By the use of the higher strings with your guitar at 10, play it and determine whether there are any distortions or if the sound seem to be thin. Where these results are observed, turn the amp at a small range and, on the other hand, turn the volume down on your guitar to make the sound much wider.
  • When playing the guitar chords and striking them hard, note whether there is a tone piercing to the ear. Where this is observed, lower the treble knob while if it does not sound to have a piercing on the range, then turn the treble knob up.
  • Note the clarity of the note as you strike through the guitar strings especially while striking the strings in a hard way. To get the best out of this, you need to make adjustments on the volume from your guitar rather than from the guitar amp.
  • After all the settings are clearly done, avoid sitting and playing directly in front of the amp so that you can be able to get the proper sound and the tone produced by the amp. Allowing the sound to pass easily without any barrier will ensure that it produces the tone as a set.
  • If you don’t love the final result, then manually experiment with the use of each and every knob of the guitar amp to get what you feel is satisfactory to you. From this, you may be able to get new discoveries on producing the blues music.

Setting Your Guitar Amp for Metal Music

This guide on the guitar amp settings on the metal music will assist you in optimizing your metal tone. Ensure that your guitar is a decent distortion source for the metal music. Before having the setting for the metal music, look at some of the best suggestions on what to use for metal music. This will ensure that you have the best experience while setting your guitar amp as well as through playing this metal music.

The metal music ideas include:

  • Prefer using humbuckers i.e. double-coiled pick-up for your guitar rather than the use of rails.
  • The string gauge of your guitar should be thicker. Avoid very thin strings.
  • Use heavier picks rather than the lighter or medium as they work best in the metal music.
  • Use a neck pickup while playing your guitar for the metal music.

These ideas are likely to boost your metal tone in which you can then move on to setting your guitar amp for the metal music. Now let us discuss the various ways to set your amp for the metal music.

Guitar Amp Setting by use of numbers

In order to optimize your metal music tone, you will need to have some three basic results you will aim to achieve. After they are accomplished, the rest will lie highly on the guitarist preferences on the metal tone. The basic results include;

  • Low-end tone – This indicates that the metal music tone needs to have higher levels of the thickness of the equalizer and the bass level. This is as a result of the thicker strings used in metal music and lower power chords.
  • Sustain – This is the length in which your played signal rings after hitting your strings. This will be as a result of higher gain level increasing the distortion’s heaviness.
  • Saturation – This is the amount of distortion on your played signals mainly affected by the gain levels of your guitar amp. Metal music tones usually require having higher levels of saturation. This can be achieved through the use of gain level distortion or use distortion from your guitar pedal.

With these three results from your guitar amp settings, you will have in your metal tone in which you can then customize them to have the tone in line with your preferences. Follow these specific guitar amp settings on your metal music to get the clear instructions.

Setting Your Guitar Amp Knobs

In order to have the low-end with sustained tone, you will need to have kept the amp’s bass and output at a high level. Where the guitar amp contains a presence knob, ensure that it is kept at low levels as it will increase higher ends rather than the preferred lower ends of the signal.

Use your mid and tremble knobs at the half of the full level with the bass knob higher than these two knobs. The gain knob, on the other hand, should be maximized to ensure that the distortion will be increased while hitting your guitar strings. This is as seen below.

The settings to be used can be summarized as;

  • Gain – 10/ 0 where you prefer using distortion from a pedal.
  • Bass – 8
  • All mids – 4
  • Treble – 4
  • Presence – 0
  • Reverb -0

The rock music with the above recommendations will give you a high-quality tone that matches your sound expectations. Using an amp might not give a complete distortion in the music compared with the use of a pedal that provides quality distortion. This, however, can be countered by getting a high-quality amp as most will contain their own distortion sources. Examples of these guitar amps to use include; Marshall JCM 800, Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and Diezel VH4.

If you choose to use pedals, you are not left behind. These will be the best pedals for you in getting the metal tone from your amplifier. They include Boss ST-2 Power Stack, Boss ML-2 Metal Core, and Boss MD-2 Meta Distortion. The pedals will always contain equalizer that can be used in place of guitar amp setting through replacing the gain knob.

Guitar Amp Setting for Rock Music

Rock music is one of the best music tones loved by most people. This music is very similar to the metal music and they will share a lot of guitar amp settings. The rock guitarists will use their guitar amps with low volume. This will necessitate various adjustments to the guitar amp settings which will include the following;

  • Deep lows – This will require high levels of the bass adjustments above the other knobs. The bass knob will be tweaked upwards to attain the deep lows. You can set the bass knob at  2-3 o’clock
  • Low Mids – Adjust the mid knob downwards to 0 as in the rock music, the deep and the high levels are one that is only emphasized hence causing the mids to be cut off.
  • Low volume – With the deep lows, a low volume will be necessary hence the master volume knob should be turned down to provide a cool tone rather than a loud one.
  • High distortions – The rock music will use distortions which can be obtained in a similar way with the metal music through the use of a guitar pedal or through turning on the gain knob higher than the other knobs to get increased amounts of distortions especially when you hit the strings hard.
  • Sustaining as the rock music will contain delays and this will be increased through the gain knob. With the higher gain, you will add, pinch the harmonics you would like to add to the music.
  • Treble knob – This should be higher as you will require a bright tone. It can be put at 1-2 o’clock

The rock music can use both the humbucking and single-coil pickups as compared to the metal which requires only humbucking to give the quality tone. This will matter only on your preference for the rock guitarists. The deep lows with high brightness make it be cool while playing.


The enjoyment of music depends upon each and every setting made on your guitar amp. You will either love the result or you will be frustrated with the settings made on the amp. In this article, we have discussed on the guitar amp settings guide on different types of music. This is likely to guide you towards the music you ever had a thought of. Follow the ideas extrapolated in the above article and music enjoyment will be completely inevitable to you.

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