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How To Make A Guitar Amp Sound Better

miscellaneous Oct 19, 2017

A Guest Post by Alex Frank

Musicians are nerdy people – ever searching for a better, more profound sound, tinkering with their gear, and what not. Now, it's only normal that the idea of making your guitar amp sound better crossed your mind, as it did to so many people before you, and we're here to share some insight and help you succeed.

Your amp – the things that can, and can't be changed

First of all, there are just so many things you can do to tweak the quality of your amp. The things you can change are primarily your habits concerning the maintenance and usage of your guitar gear while your amp won't change so much in its physical form.

On the other hand, people with adequate skills could try re-coupling certain wires, changing outdated hardware parts, and such, even though these things aren't really necessary to get the best sound from your guitar amp.

Tips to make your guitar amp sound better:

Number #1 – Use heavy duty strings

Beginners usually don't know too much about strings, and they often buy the ones that are recommended by the shop owners. Sometimes you'll get lucky, but, more often than not, you'll get a set of strings that is generally good, but not for every situation.

Heavier strings are, perhaps, harder to play on, but they will definitely improve the quality of tone your amp makes. The logic behind this is quite simple – bigger size equals more mass for reverberation, hence better sound.

Number #2 – Improve your guitar technique

This might seem too self-explanatory and obvious, but most people think that their amp should sound perfectly on its own. The truth is, it won't. You can only sound as good as you are, not as good your amp is.

On the other hand, high-end amps will always sound better when compared to low-end ones, but a masterful guitarist will be able to pull out the quality from inferior amps while beginners will "misuse" their amps, in a sense. Get some lessons, practice hard, and you will notice how your amp responds to the welcome change. Learn more technique at music instruments center.

Number #3 – Neatly organize your pedal rig

This is a tip for people who use several pedals primarily, as you will find it useless if you're playing on the drive. So, you might be already acquainted with the possibility of using several pedals simultaneously. At the very least, you must have seen rock stars use several pedals on stage.

Now, the trick is to find the right position in your guitar rig. Of course, you can arrange the pedals as you see fit, but don't make a mistake of organizing your rig so that you can easily press the pedals – make sure that they're connected in a proper way. Certain pedals will make your amp sound fuzzy if they're first in line while others will lose most of their strength if they're too far back.

Experiment, try out several options, and you'll do fine. There are no specific rules which you need to follow – this tip is primarily based on raising awareness of improper pedal arrangement and how that affects the sound quality of your guitar amp.

Number #4 – Regular Maintenance

There are two kinds of people when amp maintenance is the topic. First group of people take perfect care of their gear – they clean the outside and inside compartments of their amps, brush the dust off, take their amp in for repairs and regular check-ups. On the other hand, there are people who think that plugging the amp from the power source will be sufficient. Don't be that guy.

In truth, most guitar amps are constructed from millions of tiny hardware pieces, and there's a possibility of some parts running out of fumes without you even noticing. You might notice a slight change in quality of your sound after a while and mistake it for a circumstantial technical error that will "fix itself in a while". It won't.

Everything about the construction of a guitar amp is precise and accurate, and, even though most amps feature a hard casing, they're not impenetrable. Dust particles are exceptionally dangerous, as they could infiltrate virtually any kind of material, not to mention that they deal damage after large periods of time.

Number #5 – Adjust the settings every time you change the volume

Every time you change the volume on your guitar amp it will produce a different sound in terms of quality, not only volume intensity. Simply put, the volume knob pumps everything up, including the bass and gains.

Even though it takes a trained ear to notice the small details, most musicians are capable of noticing that there's something off about their sound once the music starts playing loud. The usual culprits are the lows, so consider keeping them down once you crank up the volume.

Number #6 – Tweak the pickup height

Pickups are supposed to be in line, which is usually the case with factory-grade pickups. However, most people change their pickups, as the ones you get when you buy your guitar won't cut it by a long shot. This is where certain problems can occur, as different pickups don't match the height of your ordinary, built-in ones.

This is fairly easy to deal with, though, as all you need is a proper setup, which is usually quite affordable, if this is the only issue you want to sort out.

Number #7 – Raise the action on your guitar's strings

Low action means more playability while high action means better sound, plainly put. It's your choice, but if you want to get the best sound from your amp, you might want to consider the latter.

Number #8 – Check for possible mistakes in EQ settings, tuning, etc.

This is, perhaps, one of the most common problems people face. Even though this problem doesn't have anything to do with your amp, it will affect how it sounds, or, better yet, how you sound. A guitar which is out of tune will never sound good, and you might mistake it for an amp problem. If you want to learn more about skill tuning, read this article.


A Guest Post by Alex Frank

Alex Frank has worked sound technology industry for 10 years now. Today, he is an affiliate blogger who likes to educate his audience more about sound technology. Follow Alex here


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