I am posting this under "basses", but it may well equally belong under "amps/cabs" or "strings" or whatever. We all strive for the perfect tone for our musical styles (in my case a variety of rock styles, but not metal). I have three basses (J, a Jaguar modern player that acts as my P, and a Peavey fretless), three amps (two combos for practice/rehearsals, and one head/cab combo for gigs), and have cycled through lots of string sets (flats, rounds, now trying out a set of GHS pressure wounds). My question comes down to what was stated in this recent post about a review of a variety of P basses: I can spend hours tweaking amp settings, bass settings, strings, and get a sound I like but it all changes as soon as I get together with one of the bands I play with and the volume knobs get turned up and I mix in. No news here, but my question is: does anybody have any tricks to better assess tonal setups other than just tweaking things each rehearsal and gig? And related: None of my amps are anything special. I know the most important item in getting good tone is in my finger tips, but if I were looking to get better tone by spending money, it would be best be spent on a better amp. But how can you even evaluate any of these? It seems all you can ever get is a good "bedroom tone" evaluation, which means nothing. Probably no easy answer or shortcut (if there was one, I'd probably already figure it out). But I am sure some of you out there will have opinions.