If you’re new to electro-acoustic guitars, or you’re struggling to dial in a great tone, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve created this guide to help you understand a bit more about acoustic amplifiers so you can get the perfect sound that you’re looking for. So let’s get started!
The first thing to talk about, is the bass setting. This refers to the amount of low-end frequency that plays through your amplifier. If you have high bass settings, then the sound will be quite “boomy”. But if you have the setting quite low, then your sound will be on the thinner side.Turning the bass too high can cause feedback. So make sure you don’t get carried away when trying to thicken your tone.
Next on the list, is the mids setting. The “mids” refers to the amount of mid-range frequency you’ll hear through your amplfier. Generally, having more mids, results in a thicker and beefier tone. It also helps when you’re playing with other instruments live or with a backing track, as the mids will prevent your sound getting lost. Having less mids results in a “scooped” sound. This means that it can be hard to pick out the guitar amongst other sounds.
You’ve probably guessed it, but treble refers to the amount of high-range frequency you’ll hear. Increasing the treble setting causes your tone to become brighter and twangier. But if it’s too high, then it can sound a bit too harsh. You’ll want to turn your treble up if you’re struggling with the clarity of your tone. Having a higher treble setting is good if you’re struggling with your guitar sounding a bit muddy.
EQ stands for equaliser, and it allows you to control the frequencies, like the treble, bass and mids setting. Some guitar amps will just have an EQ control instead of individual treble, bass and mids controls. You can adjust the EQ setting to give you more low-end or more high-end frequency sound, hence increasing the bass or increasing the treble respectively.
Not all amps will have a presence control, but if you do, then you should definitely make use of it. It does what it says on the tin, and gives your tone a bit more liveliness and prevents it from becoming dull. It’s classically associated with acoustic guitars and can give you that authentic tone if you’re playing with an electro-acoustic guitar.
This is another effect that’s not found on every amp, but is a great tool if you’re lucky enough to have it. Reverb is kind of difficult to explain. But basically it occurs naturally when any sound hits a surface and reflects back to create an echo effect. Turning the reverb up will help to sound more acoustic, but don’t go too high or it’ll start to sound artificial.
What Settings Should I Go For?
This is a difficult question to answer, without knowing the following things.
- What amp you have
- What guitar you have
- The kind of tone you’re after
- Turn all your settings to 12 o’clock to give you a good place to start from.
- Begin by adjusting the bass setting down to 0. Play a few chords and individual notes.
- Then turn your bass setting all the way up. Again, play a few chords and individual notes.
- Consider which tone you preferred, the low bass setting, or the high bass setting.
- Then slowly adjust the bass setting in the direction that you preferrerd, starting again from 12 o’clock until you get to the level you’re happy with.
- Repeat this process with the rest of your controls.
- When you’re first starting, only adjust one control at a time so you can pinpoint exactly what effect each control has on your tone.
Electro-Acoustic Amp Setting Examples
If you’re looking for some template settings to try out and see if you like them. Here are 5 electro-acoustic amp setting examples for you to give a try, happy playing!
Classic Balanced Acoustic Amp Settings
The bass and mids are kept relatively even to keep a balanced sound. The treble is low to reduce the sharpness and create an overall warm sound. The presence gives the sound a bit more liveliness but without taking over and the reverb gives the tone a bit life.
Bright Acoustic Amp Settings
The bass is reduced and the treble increased to add some sharpness and clarity to the tone giving it a brighter character. The presence is also high to make the tone more raspier. The reverb doesn’t really need to be high to create a bright tone.
Shimmery Acoustic Amp Settings
This is similar to the bright acoustic amp setting example but the bass is increased and the treble decreased to give it a more balanced tone. The presence is mid-way and there is a bit of reverb to give the tone a bit more character.
Warm Acoustic Amp Settings
The bass and mids are moderate-high to create a warmer tone and the treble is dialled back to prevent the sound being too harsh. The presence and reverb are low to keep a natural and true warm acoustic tone.
Scooped Acoustic Amp Settings
The low mid-settings and high bass and treble give the kind of scooped effect that’s consistent with country-style music. It’s best when played without any other instruments and creates a twangy and lively tone.
Can you Use an Electric Guitar Amp with an Acoustic Guitar?
The answer is yes! If you don’t want to pay for another amp just yet, and you already have an amp designed for an electric guitar, then you can still use this. There are just some things you need to keep in mind.
- Always make sure you’re using a clean channel. Avoid any gain or overdrive when playing with an electro-acoustic guitar, it usually won’t sound very good!
- The sound will usually be a bit more artificial and sound less like a true acoustic guitar.
- You may have to adjust the EQ settings to compensate for using an electric guitar amp.
Now you know plenty about the settings to use to create the best acoustic guitar tone, here are some quick tips so you get the best out of your guitar and amp!
- Elevate your amp using an amp stand to prevent your sound being too “boomy” and give it more balance. The Gator Combo Amp Stand on Amazon is a great choice if you’re looking to elevate your amp safely.
- Look after your cables! Kinks, stretching and bending can lead to feedback and a reduction in the quality of your tone. Make sure you purchase a high quality cable, something like this very affordable cable on Amazon is a great option. Then make sure that you store it properly and avoid damaging it whilst it’s in use.
The distance from other sound equipment, especially microphones, can also affect the amount of feedback you get. Having your microphone as far away from the amp as possible will help to reduce feedback. You can also try having your amp at the front of the stage.
If you really want to get the best out of your amp then check out our post on the 7 tips to make your amp sound better for some more information.
So there you go! That’s the ultimate guide to acoustic guitar amp settings! I hope you’ve found this article helpful, thanks for reading. Here are some other posts you might find useful: