Amp settings tutorial - complete beginner

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p_p_s

Full Access

Joined: 05/09/20

Posts: 4

Hi All,

Just few days ago (at 38 years old) I started my adventure of learning to play a guitar.

I've bough a Yamaha Pacifica 112VM RM and a Boss Katana 50 MkII, and started with the first Fundamentals lessons on GuitarTricks...

Now, when it comes to the amp - I have no clue what all the knobs are about, and it seems that none of the resources I find can explain it "like I'm 5" - I just don't get it.

e.g. why are there 3 different volume knobs? one on guitar, and 2 on the amp (vol & master). Which one should I use when?

Also, what are the "channels", why do I adjust the "clean" channel (?), etc.?

Similarly, I have no clue what the "tone" knob does on my guitar, and when I should play with it...

I did try to look for a lesson on these on GuitarTricks, but didn't find any.

For the moment (it's literally my 3rd day learning to "play" the guitar), all I did was selecting "Clean", Gain to 0, EQ settings to middle, and no effects...

Still, no clue what Tone on my guitar I should use, which is even more confusing as it has no scale on it ;)

What helped you understand those knobs and settings?

Will it come "on it's own"...?

Where do I start?

Any hints are more than welcome :)

#1

Hi All,

Just few days ago (at 38 years old) I started my adventure of learning to play a guitar.

I've bough a Yamaha Pacifica 112VM RM and a Boss Katana 50 MkII, and started with the first Fundamentals lessons on GuitarTricks...

Now, when it comes to the amp - I have no clue what all the knobs are about, and it seems that none of the resources I find can explain it "like I'm 5" - I just don't get it.

e.g. why are there 3 different volume knobs? one on guitar, and 2 on the amp (vol & master). Which one should I use when?

Also, what are the "channels", why do I adjust the "clean" channel (?), etc.?

Similarly, I have no clue what the "tone" knob does on my guitar, and when I should play with it...

I did try to look for a lesson on these on GuitarTricks, but didn't find any.

For the moment (it's literally my 3rd day learning to "play" the guitar), all I did was selecting "Clean", Gain to 0, EQ settings to middle, and no effects...

Still, no clue what Tone on my guitar I should use, which is even more confusing as it has no scale on it ;)

What helped you understand those knobs and settings?

Will it come "on it's own"...?

Where do I start?

Any hints are more than welcome :)

Captain_Crunch

Full Access

Joined: 04/12/20

Posts: 28

Hello!

Besides that on each song lesson here you will be told about the gear and settings needed to get close to the record sound... you can google a bit around. I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGVQ84h1JfI

cheers,

#2

Hello!

Besides that on each song lesson here you will be told about the gear and settings needed to get close to the record sound... you can google a bit around. I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGVQ84h1JfI

cheers,

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 227

Hi p_p_s. I also have a Yamaha Pacifica 112 and Boss Katana 50 MkII. Take a look here https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/boss-katana. Justin has a whole module dedicated to this amplifier. This is all aimed at beginners like you and me. I am not sure if you have to sign up for Justin's site in order to access this, but if you do it is free and will not spam you or sell your information.

Now, hopefully I won't ruffle any feathers by linking to a "competitor" here. Honestly I think "JG" and "GT" can coexist without really being a threat to each other. I use both and find them both invaluable.

Although I have the same electric guitar and amp as you, I have been learning and playing on an acoustic almost exclusively so far. It does require more finger strength than the electric, but when I plug in the electric I actually have a much harder time playing clean chords and notes. The strings are a little bit closer together so it feels crowded to my fingers. If you are starting out with the electric then you probably will not have that problem though.

Good luck, and enjoy the journey,

Dave...

#3

Hi p_p_s. I also have a Yamaha Pacifica 112 and Boss Katana 50 MkII. Take a look here https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/boss-katana. Justin has a whole module dedicated to this amplifier. This is all aimed at beginners like you and me. I am not sure if you have to sign up for Justin's site in order to access this, but if you do it is free and will not spam you or sell your information.

Now, hopefully I won't ruffle any feathers by linking to a "competitor" here. Honestly I think "JG" and "GT" can coexist without really being a threat to each other. I use both and find them both invaluable.

Although I have the same electric guitar and amp as you, I have been learning and playing on an acoustic almost exclusively so far. It does require more finger strength than the electric, but when I plug in the electric I actually have a much harder time playing clean chords and notes. The strings are a little bit closer together so it feels crowded to my fingers. If you are starting out with the electric then you probably will not have that problem though.

Good luck, and enjoy the journey,

Dave...

p_p_s

Full Access

Joined: 05/09/20

Posts: 4

Originally Posted by: Captain_Crunch

Besides that on each song lesson here you will be told about the gear and settings needed to get close to the record sound... you can google a bit around. I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGVQ84h1JfI

Thank you, I'm pretty sure I did watch that video, but it still didn't answer the most basic questions - like, why do I have 3 volume knobs? ;)

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Hi p_p_s. I also have a Yamaha Pacifica 112 and Boss Katana 50 MkII. Take a look here https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/boss-katana. Justin has a whole module dedicated to this amplifier. This is all aimed at beginners like you and me. I am not sure if you have to sign up for Justin's site in order to access this, but if you do it is free and will not spam you or sell your information.

Thanks! Good to know someone else chose the same combination of guitar and combo! I am actually subscribed to JG already (free account), but didn't know about that particular module. I'll watch all those videos, thank you!

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Now, hopefully I won't ruffle any feathers by linking to a "competitor" here. Honestly I think "JG" and "GT" can coexist without really being a threat to each other. I use both and find them both invaluable.

I've started with JG, reached the D and A chords practice, and struggling with those I thought I wanted to see how others are approaching the topic... so, here I am. I do appreciate both sides and approaches, but am worried that trying to follow both courses will only make it harder and more confusing... so, for the moment, I've switched to GT.

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Although I have the same electric guitar and amp as you, I have been learning and playing on an acoustic almost exclusively so far. It does require more finger strength than the electric, but when I plug in the electric I actually have a much harder time playing clean chords and notes. The strings are a little bit closer together so it feels crowded to my fingers. If you are starting out with the electric then you probably will not have that problem though.

Thanks a ton for commenting on this, as I thought I'm the only one! Before buying any gear I watched some videos, and JG was one of those - suggesting that begginers should start with an electric guitar, as it should be easier for various reasons. Now, it's incredibly hard for me to sound a clean A chord - how do I fit all 3 fingers so close to eachother and still not touch any other strings! Still having in mind it's supposed to be easier on electric... After a few seconds (more like 10-15) I am able to play a clean chord, but I have to test each and every string, and have to adjust the fingers almost every time... a bit discouraging, but I"m not giving up ;)

Thanks!

#4

Originally Posted by: Captain_Crunch

Besides that on each song lesson here you will be told about the gear and settings needed to get close to the record sound... you can google a bit around. I found this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGVQ84h1JfI

Thank you, I'm pretty sure I did watch that video, but it still didn't answer the most basic questions - like, why do I have 3 volume knobs? ;)

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Hi p_p_s. I also have a Yamaha Pacifica 112 and Boss Katana 50 MkII. Take a look here https://www.justinguitar.com/modules/boss-katana. Justin has a whole module dedicated to this amplifier. This is all aimed at beginners like you and me. I am not sure if you have to sign up for Justin's site in order to access this, but if you do it is free and will not spam you or sell your information.

Thanks! Good to know someone else chose the same combination of guitar and combo! I am actually subscribed to JG already (free account), but didn't know about that particular module. I'll watch all those videos, thank you!

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Now, hopefully I won't ruffle any feathers by linking to a "competitor" here. Honestly I think "JG" and "GT" can coexist without really being a threat to each other. I use both and find them both invaluable.

I've started with JG, reached the D and A chords practice, and struggling with those I thought I wanted to see how others are approaching the topic... so, here I am. I do appreciate both sides and approaches, but am worried that trying to follow both courses will only make it harder and more confusing... so, for the moment, I've switched to GT.

Originally Posted by: DavesGuitarJourney

Although I have the same electric guitar and amp as you, I have been learning and playing on an acoustic almost exclusively so far. It does require more finger strength than the electric, but when I plug in the electric I actually have a much harder time playing clean chords and notes. The strings are a little bit closer together so it feels crowded to my fingers. If you are starting out with the electric then you probably will not have that problem though.

Thanks a ton for commenting on this, as I thought I'm the only one! Before buying any gear I watched some videos, and JG was one of those - suggesting that begginers should start with an electric guitar, as it should be easier for various reasons. Now, it's incredibly hard for me to sound a clean A chord - how do I fit all 3 fingers so close to eachother and still not touch any other strings! Still having in mind it's supposed to be easier on electric... After a few seconds (more like 10-15) I am able to play a clean chord, but I have to test each and every string, and have to adjust the fingers almost every time... a bit discouraging, but I"m not giving up ;)

Thanks!

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 227

Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Thank you, I'm pretty sure I did watch that video, but it still didn't answer the most basic questions - like, why do I have 3 volume knobs? ;)


Yeah, that's a bit confusing, to be sure. You've got the volume knob on the guitar itself, then the volume and master volume on the amplifier, and you've even got "Gain" on the amplifier, which is related to volume (but different!). I kinda sort of understand the differences between all of those controls, but I don't understand it well enough to try to give any advice here.


Originally Posted by: p_p_s


I've started with JG, reached the D and A chords practice, and struggling with those I thought I wanted to see how others are approaching the topic... so, here I am. I do appreciate both sides and approaches, but am worried that trying to follow both courses will only make it harder and more confusing... so, for the moment, I've switched to GT.

I did the same thing, started with JG and then added GT. I'd say I spend 75% of my time on GT now. I think if I had started both at the same time it might have been a little confusing, but for me I really like to see the same material presented differently. It helps me integrate and understand it more completely.



Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Now, it's incredibly hard for me to sound a clean A chord - how do I fit all 3 fingers so close to eachother and still not touch any other strings! Still having in mind it's supposed to be easier on electric...

It's definitely easier to press the strings on the electric, so there is less finger pain. The A chord is tricky on both acoustic and electric. I know JG teaches a different fingering for A than the "traditional" method. His method does make it a little easier for me to fit my fingers without muting the 1st or 5th string, but for me it pushes my first finger even further towards the nut end of the fret and I have to press harder to get that note to ring clearly. The other "gotcha" that I have with that fingering is sometimes my ring finger actually ends up interfering and muting that third string because it is in front of the first finger. So, it's a little tricky whether you use "traditional" or the alternate fingering. I am glad that I've learned both because I use them both depending on the situation. The anchor finger really makes switching from A-D-E smoother for me. Other times I use the traditional form and overall I think I get cleaner sound more often with the traditional.


Originally Posted by: p_p_s

After a few seconds (more like 10-15) I am able to play a clean chord, but I have to test each and every string, and have to adjust the fingers almost every time... a bit discouraging, but I"m not giving up ;)


It really will get easier with repetitions. You have to just accept and trust that it will get better even though right now your fretting fingers are protesting and your strumming hand just wants to strum through all of the strings every time except sometimes it will just randomly only play two or three strings -- and not always the ones you expect!



Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Thanks!


Very welcome, that's what the community is here for.


Dave...

#5

Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Thank you, I'm pretty sure I did watch that video, but it still didn't answer the most basic questions - like, why do I have 3 volume knobs? ;)


Yeah, that's a bit confusing, to be sure. You've got the volume knob on the guitar itself, then the volume and master volume on the amplifier, and you've even got "Gain" on the amplifier, which is related to volume (but different!). I kinda sort of understand the differences between all of those controls, but I don't understand it well enough to try to give any advice here.


Originally Posted by: p_p_s


I've started with JG, reached the D and A chords practice, and struggling with those I thought I wanted to see how others are approaching the topic... so, here I am. I do appreciate both sides and approaches, but am worried that trying to follow both courses will only make it harder and more confusing... so, for the moment, I've switched to GT.

I did the same thing, started with JG and then added GT. I'd say I spend 75% of my time on GT now. I think if I had started both at the same time it might have been a little confusing, but for me I really like to see the same material presented differently. It helps me integrate and understand it more completely.



Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Now, it's incredibly hard for me to sound a clean A chord - how do I fit all 3 fingers so close to eachother and still not touch any other strings! Still having in mind it's supposed to be easier on electric...

It's definitely easier to press the strings on the electric, so there is less finger pain. The A chord is tricky on both acoustic and electric. I know JG teaches a different fingering for A than the "traditional" method. His method does make it a little easier for me to fit my fingers without muting the 1st or 5th string, but for me it pushes my first finger even further towards the nut end of the fret and I have to press harder to get that note to ring clearly. The other "gotcha" that I have with that fingering is sometimes my ring finger actually ends up interfering and muting that third string because it is in front of the first finger. So, it's a little tricky whether you use "traditional" or the alternate fingering. I am glad that I've learned both because I use them both depending on the situation. The anchor finger really makes switching from A-D-E smoother for me. Other times I use the traditional form and overall I think I get cleaner sound more often with the traditional.


Originally Posted by: p_p_s

After a few seconds (more like 10-15) I am able to play a clean chord, but I have to test each and every string, and have to adjust the fingers almost every time... a bit discouraging, but I"m not giving up ;)


It really will get easier with repetitions. You have to just accept and trust that it will get better even though right now your fretting fingers are protesting and your strumming hand just wants to strum through all of the strings every time except sometimes it will just randomly only play two or three strings -- and not always the ones you expect!



Originally Posted by: p_p_s

Thanks!


Very welcome, that's what the community is here for.


Dave...

kpc1163

Full Access

Joined: 12/22/18

Posts: 6

Hi p_p_s Welcome to guitar. I looked at the amp online and must say it looks very cool.

Controls:Power switch turns it on. (Silly to say).

Power control. how many watts it pushs.(more watts more power more volume more head room)

Amplifier Switch changes how the amps sounds. Clean is clean no dirt or grit. Acoustic, crunch, lead, brown? (not familiar with). but try playiing the same chords or riffs in different settings and have fun.

Eguilizer adjusts the amount of bass, mids and trebel you hear again play with different settings. Start with all at 5 and the change one at a time from 0 to 10 and see what you like.

Channels are usually one clean one dirty. (dirty is good)

Reverb is cool mine is turned on both of my amps for everything.

Gain makes it gritty. try the volume low and gain high and its like overdrive.

when you play trun the amp volume up and control the volume with your guitar volume. your two tone knobs control one for each pick up.

Cool looking amp Have fun let us know how it goes.

ChefKev

#6

Hi p_p_s Welcome to guitar. I looked at the amp online and must say it looks very cool.

Controls:Power switch turns it on. (Silly to say).

Power control. how many watts it pushs.(more watts more power more volume more head room)

Amplifier Switch changes how the amps sounds. Clean is clean no dirt or grit. Acoustic, crunch, lead, brown? (not familiar with). but try playiing the same chords or riffs in different settings and have fun.

Eguilizer adjusts the amount of bass, mids and trebel you hear again play with different settings. Start with all at 5 and the change one at a time from 0 to 10 and see what you like.

Channels are usually one clean one dirty. (dirty is good)

Reverb is cool mine is turned on both of my amps for everything.

Gain makes it gritty. try the volume low and gain high and its like overdrive.

when you play trun the amp volume up and control the volume with your guitar volume. your two tone knobs control one for each pick up.

Cool looking amp Have fun let us know how it goes.

ChefKev

alamogeorge

Registered User

Joined: 06/07/20

Posts: 9

I have the same amp and am also a beginner. For about the first hour I was convinced that I had been sent a dud and was going to send it back. I even knew about the multiple volumes but somehow managed to miss one of them. Though it's a beginner amp, I think there is lots of room to grow into it. Most of the stuff, I don't believe, we'll touch for a while. I just set everything at mid and select clean or crunch, depending on what sound I'm looking for. You can really dial it in, but for now I'm really only looking for a pure sound or a "Rock n Roll" sound. I honestly do most of my practice (3/4 into fundamentals 1) without an amp right now so that I can hear what I am producing at its purest.

#7

I have the same amp and am also a beginner. For about the first hour I was convinced that I had been sent a dud and was going to send it back. I even knew about the multiple volumes but somehow managed to miss one of them. Though it's a beginner amp, I think there is lots of room to grow into it. Most of the stuff, I don't believe, we'll touch for a while. I just set everything at mid and select clean or crunch, depending on what sound I'm looking for. You can really dial it in, but for now I'm really only looking for a pure sound or a "Rock n Roll" sound. I honestly do most of my practice (3/4 into fundamentals 1) without an amp right now so that I can hear what I am producing at its purest.

DavesGuitarJourney

Full Access

Joined: 02/22/20

Posts: 227

I've got the same amp. I also was a little disappointed initially because I was getting quite a bit of hum and buzz even on clean at very low volume. The solution is to use the noise suppression feature in the Boss Tone Studio. Take a look at this page if you're curious about it. This amp will do far more than what I'm capable of right now but it has enough room to grow that I won't feel constrained by it for a long time - possibly never!

Boss Tone Studio

#8

I've got the same amp. I also was a little disappointed initially because I was getting quite a bit of hum and buzz even on clean at very low volume. The solution is to use the noise suppression feature in the Boss Tone Studio. Take a look at this page if you're curious about it. This amp will do far more than what I'm capable of right now but it has enough room to grow that I won't feel constrained by it for a long time - possibly never!

Boss Tone Studio