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How do you use your gain?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Iheartreverb, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. Iheartreverb


    Oct 31, 2013
    So as I play through different gear quite a lot I'm always having a bit of a fight between gain and master to get the balance right. I can probably be accused of slightly under driving but usually (through something like an SVT 450 or MAG300) end up with the gain around 11oclock and the master about 3oclock.

    The reason I ask how you use yours is because some people talk about running the amp flat and controlling everything via pedals like a sansamp and stuff (which I assume mean gain as well as EQ flat).

    For me the biggest issue with my tone (or the tone I like) is getting the amp loud without any distortion.

    So how do you set yours up? Any thoughts?
  2. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    As recommended in the Ampeg manual, I adjust the gain until the Peak LED flickers on strong signal peaks but is not illuminated constantly while playing. I have seen the same suggestion in manuals for amplifiers made by other manufacturers as well.
  3. David Hayes

    David Hayes Guest

    It depends. If I want clean I run the master about 3/4 or better and use the gain knob for volume. If I want break up I do the opposite.
  4. shawshank72


    Mar 22, 2009
  5. Clouz

    Clouz The Ayatollah of Jack and Cola

    Jan 26, 2013
  6. The Regulator

    The Regulator

    Aug 10, 2005
  7. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    With solid state or hybrid amps, I crank the gain up till I hear audible distortion, then I back off it slightly for a clean sound. With tube amps, I crank the master pretty hard and then I'll turn the gain up, at which point I'll still use the master to control volume but it's not as touchy as the gain. And I ignore all lights, because they can be deceiving.
  8. Dan Knowlton

    Dan Knowlton Sarcasm: Just ONE of the many services I offer! Supporting Member


    Dan K.
  9. Joel Schirripa

    Joel Schirripa

    Dec 21, 2013
    Gain is the control of how much signal is being let into your amplifier, when there is too much gain saturation occurs which gives you the distorted tone that some players really like. When setting gain leave the master volume very low and slowly turn the gain up until you hit very mild distortion and then back it off to get a clean tone. After that you can adjust the master how you like to get what volume you need. Just keep in mind that when you change your equalization your gain is affected so you will need to adjust until you get the clean tone you want. Leaving your eq flat only includes the bass, mids and treble being kept at 12 o'clock, on other amps you might have more eq options but it doesn't include gain anyway :)
  10. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    I set gain for the amount of overdrive I want, somewhere between clean and fuzzy. I rarely use a completely clean tone.