How to Sound Like Bon Jovi: Amp Settings Guide

Bon Jovi are an iconic American rock band with plenty of classic songs. Trying to set up your amp to sound more like Richie Sambora can be a bit of challenge, but in this article I’ll explain exactly how to sound more like him.

Just looking for amp presets? Scroll down to find a list of example amp settings for some of Bon Jovi’s most popular songs.

Quick Guide to Bon Jovi Amp Settings

To sound like Bon Jovi, start with the following amp settings:

  • Gain: 7-8
  • Bass: 4-6
  • Mids: 6-8
  • Treble: 5-7

It’s important to note that a one-size-fits-all preset isn’t all that helpful, and the numbers above should only be used as a starting point. To get the best results, follow this article through to get as close as possible to the Bon Jovi tone using your current rig.

The Basics

Before we start looking at Bon Jovi’s most popular songs, let’s go through the basic amp settings and address how to adjust them to achieve a close tone match. I’ll be looking individually at gain, EQ and effects in this next section.


On amps with 2 channels you’ll want to do for the overdrive/ distorted channel (as opposed to the clean one). You’ll need the gain pretty high for most songs so I’d recommend starting with this on 7-8 and adjusting from there. If it sounds too muddy then you can turn it down a bit.

On single channel amps, you’ll most likely need a distortion pedal run through a clean amp to achieve enough gain. Even on some dual-channel amps, using a distortion pedal to get your gain instead of your amp will result in a better tone.

EQ/ Tone (Bass, Mids, Treble)

There’s three controls to address here:

  • Bass: this adjusts the low-end frequencies. I’d recommend starting pretty moderately with this and putting it on 5 to begin with. If the tone lacks depth, turn it up and if it sounds too “boomy” then turn it down.
  • Mids: this is an important setting and should be moderate-high on most amps. I’d recommend starting with this on 7 to begin with and turning it up if the tone sounds too thin.
  • Treble: this adjusts the high-end frequencies. To get enough definition and prevent the tone sounding too muddy I recommend starting with this on at least 6. If it sounds too harsh, you can always turn it down a bit, or turn it up if you need more clarity.

If your amp only has a single EQ/ tone control then you’ll usually need to set it moderate-high (around 6-8) to favour the treble frequencies and provide enough brightness and definition.

Some amps have additional controls so make sure you also check out the brand-specific amp controls guide which is relevant to you, to get the most from your rig:


Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora used a lot of effects pedals on their most popular songs. Here are some of the most important:

  • Talk Box: this is a very unique and specific effect that is essential for songs like “Livin on a Prayer” and “It’s My Life”
  • Delay: e.g. “Runaway” and “Wanted Dead or Alive”
  • Chorus: e.g. “Wanted Dead or Alive” and
  • Harmonizer/ Octave: e.g. “You Give Love a Bad Name”
  • Wah: e.g. “Livin’ On a Prayer” (solo) and “You Give Love a Bad Name”

If you want your tone to sound right, then you’ll need those types of pedals for those specific songs and just adjusting your amp settings won’t help.

If you really want to improve your guitar playing then I recommend checking out Guitareo. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial here to get access to all the online lessons and start making real progress today

Amp Settings for Popular Bon Jovi Songs

Now let’s take a look at some example settings for the most popular Bon Jovi songs. These are not the precise settings used by the band and should only be used as a starting point. Skip ahead to the next section to find out how to troubleshoot common problems.

Livin’ On A Prayer Amp Settings

  • Gain: 7
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 7
  • Treble: 5
  • Essential Effects: Talk Box (verse), Wah (solo)

You Give Love A Bad Name Amp Settings

  • Gain: 7
  • Bass: 4
  • Mids: 8
  • Treble: 8
  • Essential Effects: Harmoniser/ Octave, Wah

It’s My Life Amp Settings

  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 8
  • Treble: 7
  • Essential Effects: Talk Box

Always Amp Settings

  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 6
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 6

Wanted Dead Or Alive Amp Settings

  • Gain: 2 (8 for solo or use overdrive/ distortion pedal)
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 6
  • Treble: 7
  • Essential Effects: Chorus, Delay

Runaway Amp Settings

  • Gain: 8
  • Bass: 5
  • Mids: 8
  • Treble: 6
  • Essential Effects: Delay/ Echo Filter

I’ve also made an article with example amp settings for over 40 popular guitar songs here to help you sound more like your favourite players.

Common Issues

If the settings above don’t sound spot on, don’t worry, this next section should fix it. I’ve listed some of the most common problems and how to fix them. Each problem has multiple fixes, but I suggest working your way down the list and making one tweak at a time and listening for the difference before moving on.

Too Much Feedback

  • Move the guitar and amp as far away from each other as possible
  • Position the amp in front of the guitar rather than behind it
  • Decrease the gain
  • Use a noise-gate pedal to reduce feedback

Muddy Tone

  • Decrease the bass
  • Decrease the gain
  • Increase the treble

Check out my guide on how to fix a muddy amp for more causes and fixes.

Lack of Sustain

  • Increase the gain
  • Increase the bass
  • Increase the mids
  • Use a compressor pedal

Thin Tone (Lack of Punch)

  • Increase the mids
  • Increase the bass
  • Increase the gain

Frequently Asked Questions

What amps do Bon Jovi use?

The lead guitarist of Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora primarily uses Blackstar and Marshall amplifiers.

What guitars do Bon Jovi use?

Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora plays a wide variety of electric guitars including the Fender Strat and Tele, Gibson Les Paul and Flying V.

Here are some more articles you might find useful:


Hey, I'm Heather. I started playing an electric guitar when I was given a Squier Strat for my birthday around 15 years ago. I now own an acoustic guitar and several electric guitars including my personal favourite, a PRS SE Custom 24.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts