Keep the Amp on the Left-hand Side

Simple tip to keep you amp from feeding back as much: keep it on your left-hand side.

Okay, I’ll be a bit more specific. Keep the amp on the opposite side to where your guitar body is. If you play left-handed, then it will be your right-hand side.

Why does this work? Typically a guitar amp is positioned behind a guitarist, which means the sound coming out of the speaker will be projected towards your guitar. A guitar, by design, is a big resonating box. Unfortunately this creates a perfect scenario for feedback: the sound being projected from the speaker is played into the guitar, the guitar body resonates at those frequencies which get picked up by a microphone/pickup and is fed back into the amp. By placing the amplifier on the side opposite to the guitar body, the sound is projected away from the guitar body and breaks this cycle.

This isn’t going to be a cure-all for all feedback problems, but it’s one of many things you can do to prevent feedback from destroying your gig. Hope it’s useful to you!


How to Use EQ for Guitar

Equalizers are one of the most powerful yet misunderstood tools when it comes to building your guitar tone.  Often times, guitar players will twist and turn a knob without much understanding as to what it’s precisely doing to the signal. This can make for a tedious process of guessing and testing. Most of us just want to play with a satisfactory tone! Understanding the basics of equalization can go a long ways to minimize the time wasted.

The biggest misconception is using the equalizer as a creative tone shaping tool, as opposed to a corrective tool. Think about the word “equalizer” – the idea is to try and make the sound as equal to the original source as possible. In other words, it’s meant to correct the tendencies of the room, microphone, pickup, and amplifier that colour the guitar sound.

A concept that has helped me is the idea of subtractive equalization. The idea is to take away frequencies we don’t want to hear in our tone, as opposed to adding the ones we want to hear. Subtractive EQ is effective because we perceive it to be a less noticeable change than the opposite. Additive EQ has a tendency to add noise to a signal and can cause unwanted resonant frequencies in extreme cases. When shaping the guitar tone, think of what it could use less of, not more of.

Two common problem areas for guitarists are the low frequencies (<150hz) and the high frequencies (>4khz). Having too much low end will start to conflict with other bass instruments (bass guitar, kick drum) and too much highs will conflict with vocals and cymbals.  It’s important to understand that guitars are mainly a midrange (80hz-1.4khz) instrument and to be mindful of not occupying too much acoustic space beyond that range.

Start with the EQ dials set to a neutral 12 o’clock position. Make sure you’re playing at a moderate volume as this can affect how frequencies are heard (Fletcher-Munson curve). Then while playing a song with the rest of the band, adjust the bass and treble/presence knobs to a sweet spot where it doesn’t mask other instruments while providing a balanced tone. The mids dial can help to bring the guitar forward or back in the mix.

I’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to how powerful the equalizer tool can be. I hope I’ve inspired some of you to look deeper into this topic so that you can achieve a consistently musical tone in your performances. Good luck!