How to set an amp for a jazz bass

Written by lee johnson Google
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How to set an amp for a jazz bass
What you get out of your Fender Jazz Bass is dependent upon your EQ settings. (outlaw bass image by Lee O'Dell from

The settings on your bass amp determine how your bass sounds, and if you are not familiar with adjusting the EQ settings on bass amps, it can be difficult to get the sound you are looking for. Fender's 60s Jazz Bass is a bass guitar with a rosewood fretboard and a maple neck. It has two single coil pickups, each of which with a dedicated volume knob, and there is a tone knob which adjusts the sound across both pickups. After you've set these to your liking, the only hurdle is setting up your bass amp.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Position the amp close to a wall. If the amp is in the centre of a room, the sound will reverberate back from the nearby walls quickly and result in a jumbled mess of sound. The best position for a bass amp is about a foot away from the wall, with the back of the amp facing the wall. This allows the sound to reverberate freely around the room, resulting in a better tone.

  2. 2

    Plug your jazz bass into the amplifier and turn it on. To establish a baseline sound, set the controls all to "0" and see how you sound. Tone is all about personal preference, so it is important to think about what you feel about the sound when making your adjustments. Bass amps operate on equalisation (or EQ for short), and the dials or sliders on bass amps give you the option of pumping the lower frequency, middle frequency or higher frequency sounds as you choose. Ensure that any optional EQ options, such as "Bass Boost" are switched off. These can be added in later if needed.

  3. 3

    Boost the lower frequencies if your sound is too tinny or high pitched. The lower frequencies on bass amps are located to the left of the slider EQ controls and the number is lower in Hz. The lowest frequencies on most bass amps will be 40Hz and 100Hz. If the higher frequencies (around 4-10 kHz) are turned up higher than "0," bring them back down, and if they are set at "0," try taking them down into the "-dB" region and see if the sound is improved. Also, boosting the higher middle controls (around 1kHz) can give the high-end to your sound a little more depth.

  4. 4

    Turn down the low frequencies if your sound is too deep and muddy. It is tempting to push the low end frequencies up to the max, but you can easily lose definition in your playing if you do that. Setting it closer to "0" should clear up the problem. If this doesn't help, you may need to lift your amplifier onto a different surface. Bass amps resting on the ground can make the lower frequencies resonate with the ground and cause problems. Put something between your cabinet and the ground to resolve the issue.

  5. 5

    Find an EQ guide for your desired music style if you're looking for a specific tone. For jazz, turn the 1kHz control up by around 5dB and turn the high-end down by 1dB. Cut down 200Hz by up to 9dB, and turn 100Hz up 1 or 2 dB. This should give you a standard jazz sound. This can then be tweaked to suit your needs.

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