Tonight's rehearsal was a revelation. After 10+ years of playing bass, I've finally figured out how to EQ my amp so I can hear myself properly in the mix and still sound good within the context of the song. Don't get me wrong, I've been a manual-reading, information-seeking knob twiddler since day one, but I've never had someone show me how to get a good sound in a band context. I am a self-taught player and have not had the fortune of hooking up with an experienced mentor to learn from. I've finally stumbled upon it through trial and error. Like so many people, I'm guilty of spending way too much time trying to get my gear to sound fantastic when playing alone. Each new amp, cab, bass, pickup, preamp, etc always promises to be the cure to my ills, but invariably disappoints when subjected to the realities of playing with other people. As it turns out, I just needed to reclaim my mid frequencies. When sitting down with an amp, invariably I would goose the BASS control a bit to get a bigger sound. Next, I'd boost the HIGHS to regain some definition lost when the BASS was turned up. Sure, it sounded good noodling in my basement, but to some degree I always felt lost and powerless within the mix with the band. SIDEBAR: A note about my typical setup. I usually run my basses (Fender P w/flats and Fender Jaguar with D'Addario steels; both with aftermarket pups) into a SansAmp with the bass and treble boosted, the Presence set at about 9 o'clock and the Blend all the way wet. Then I go into the amp which has all the EQ set flat. /SIDEBAR Fast forward many years (and many thousands of dollars). I've had a GK MB212 for about a year and half. As it's been a long time, I read through the manual again to see if there was anything I'd forgotten along the way in terms of what GK considers the optimal method of using the amp. Their explanation of the EQ section made sense to me in a way that I've never quite grasped before. They referred to the highs as giving "definition," the hi-mids as giving "punch," the low-mids as the "body of the sound," and the bass as the "low end push." At the time I didn't think much more than "huh, that's an interesting way to give a frame of reference to frequency numbers." I then went on eating lunch and didn't think of it again. I've always liked how the amp sounds with just a bass plugged in, but I've almost always used a SansAmp in front of my amps to color the tone. For some reason, at tonight's rehearsal I took the bold step of turning the SansAmp off, setting the EQ flat and just using my bass and the amp to determine the tone. TA DA! I could hear myself clearly and I still sounded good. I then remembered the EQ descriptions in the manual and thought I'd try adding some "body" to the sound. I gave the Lo-Mid knob a slight boost and was in heaven the rest of the night. I even TURNED DOWN the Bass knob a hair at one point as it was a bit overpowering for the small room we were in. As each song required, I gave the tone knob on my P-bass a turn. It was perfect. While I'm sure this is no great revelation to many, it was amazing to me. I've spent so much time and money trying to get to where I was this evening. It's funny how the simple solutions often are the best. I'll now be doing a lot of experimenting to see how things work with the Jag sans-SansAmp. As a side note, I'll be getting some flats for it in the near future. Now, before any SansAmp owners try to talk me off the cliff of heresy, I'm not gonna run out and sell the thing. I'll be doing a lot more experimenting with the Blend knob and see what sounds I can coax out of it now that I know how to be heard. I especially like what the SansAmp does for a bunch of my pedals, so I don't think it will be going anywhere soon. It's just getting re-purposed from always on to who-knows-what. I welcome any comments or questions you may have. My purpose in writing this was to share the joy I have in hearing myself and sounding good while hopefully helping others who might be in a similar cycle. Fight the urge to go straight to the smiley-face EQ curve without first trying things flat in a band context. I spent way too much time EQing out the very thing that makes me audible. Give me the mids, baby!