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Old 11-13-2015, 06:57 AM   #1
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PedalFreak94's Avatar
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Guitar EQ - Live and rehearsal.

Hi there.

I've started looking more into using an EQ on my guitar sounds and patches, to help me stand more out when I play live and with my band.
Often I feel like my sound and tone get washed away. Guess some of you know that too..
Therefore I've been researching on what to do, to make my sound stand more out in the mix. I've found that the electric guitar is a mid-range instrument. Therefore the guitar has to be EQ'ed with a lot of mid.
But, in my process of doing this I've encountered a problem.
I'm not that good a understanding EQ and the Hz and KHz.
Can the Hz and KHz be converted into db or? Because on my effects unit I have the possibility to set the overall (global) EQ on my patches. And these parametres are in db.

For example: I read on a forum something like this:
"Guitar EQ guidelines:
Warmth - Between 250Hz and 300Hz;
Clarity - Found at 3kHz;
Distortion/Fuzz - Between 5kHz and 8kHz;
Air - Found at 12kHz."

But how do I 'read' this and use it on my own EQ?
How do I understand which frequencies to adjust and what frequency that match the low, mid and high frequencies?
Often, on my EQ it says 125Hz, 250Hz, 500Hz, 1KHz, 2KHz and so on - but how to know what frequency that corresponds to low, mid and high frequencies?
Also, sometimes I can choose between db instead of Hz and KHz, but is that the same or?

I hope this makes sense.
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Old 11-13-2015, 07:18 AM   #2
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I'm not that good a understanding EQ and the Hz and KHz.
Can the Hz and KHz be converted into db or?

Hz and kHz = frequency, dB = volume. So no, they measure completely different things. You can boost certain frequencies (measured in Hz, or kHz that simply means Hz x 1000 - for example 2kHz = 2000Hz). How much you boost/cut those frequencies is measured in dB.

What frequencies the knobs on your amp control depends on the amp.

But if your EQ has five sliders, the lowest of them is "bass" and the highest of them is "treble". You could call the middle ones lo-mid, mid and high-mid. But those names don't really matter. Your EQ already tells exactly what frequencies it controls - it is more accurate. "Bass", "mid" and "treble" are a lot more ambiguous terms.
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Old 11-13-2015, 08:08 AM   #3
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One idea is to find a tone generator online. Try making sounds of different frequencies so you'll learn what they sound like. Then they won't just be abstract numbers to you.
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Old 11-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jehannum
One idea is to find a tone generator online. Try making sounds of different frequencies so you'll learn what they sound like. Then they won't just be abstract numbers to you.

There's an iPhone app called Tone Generator (free). Haven't tried it yet.

This chart will tell you what the fundamental frequencies are for guitar and other instruments:


Note that a six-string with 24 frets will run from about 82Hz to 1319Hz (which, by the way, is the same as 1.319Khz). Most guitar speakers will reproduce about 100Hz to 4000Hz well. Above and below that, they fall off quickly. Most EQ boxes pick frequencies that are about an octave apart which, honestly, gives you only gross control over tone shaping. And it's worth noting that the various boosts and cuts lap over into each other, so if you're bumping up one slider, you're also taking the ones on either side of it up a bit as well.

If you're using something like the MXR M108 10-band EQ, and setting up for lead tones, it's probably worth cutting the 31 and 62Hz settings altogether. Your guitar speakers can't really reproduce them, so there's no point in wasting amplifier power trying to make that happen. You'll want to investigate the 250/500/1000Hz bands most closely. Above that, you'll be shaping the tone a bit. There's no harm in playing with those higher frequencies, since your amp doesn't need much power to push them (if your speakers are capable). Some of those frequencies may just be amplifying hiss that's crept into your sound, so be aware of that. The MXR will actively boost or cut frequencies, so you'll find extra volume there, and the MXR also has a volume slider that will boost the overall once you've picked out a sound you like.

Last edited by dspellman : 11-13-2015 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 11-13-2015, 02:09 PM   #5
Leather Sleeves
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I think a lot of guitarists get too caught up on frequencies. If you have a decent amp/speaker combination you shouldn't need an EQ pedal. Tone stacks are all different, (the frequencies corresponding to each tone dial). So no one setting's going to work for all amps. But the three tone dials should be enough to let you cut through, if it's not, you might need a new amp/pedal/whatever.

Just be aware of some of the common mistakes guitarists make that get them buried in the mix: too much gain, too much bass, mids too scooped.
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