Tame Lows to Cut through the Mix

We briefly touched on this topic a while back in this post, but I thought we'd go a bit deeper into the topic of taming the low end of your guitar tone.

Here are the 4 techniques that I've found useful in ridding my tone of low end flubbiness. You know, the nasty bottom end that prevents your sound from cutting through the mix.

1. Dial back the lows on amp EQ - If you play electric guitar, you have an amp. Or at least an amp sim of some sort. Start here. Dial back the Low knob on the amp's EQ section. This easy method is often all you need to reduce flubbiness in the low end of your tone.

2. Tame the lows with an EQ pedal - Since the vast majority of amp EQs affect a fixed frequency range and only offer 3 bands (low, mid, high), you may want to get more control over your tweaking via an EQ pedal. There are tons of inexpensive EQ pedals on the market that allow you to target specific frequencies in your EQing. If you've never tried it, you may be blown away by the results you can achieve!

3. Float your amp with an amp stand - A lot of boominess can come from your amp's contact with the floor. Ever heard of "floating floors" in studios? There's a reason for that. Grab a cheap amp stand and isolate your cab from the floor. The difference may seem subtle or may seem dramatic based on your particular environment.

4. Shape your EQ with an Overdrive pedal - Another simple solution to low end flubbiness is to tame it with an overdrive pedal. The tubescreamer (and it's many clones) are famous for this type of thing. The technique simply involves dialing the Drive back to 0 and cranking the Level all the way up. This turns the drive pedal into an EQ shaping tool. These days, there are tons of drive pedals that have their own 2 or 3 band EQs to work with. The sky is the limit with your experimentation there.

Any of these options will do the trick, each in their own way. Spend some time experimenting with amp EQ and overdrive pedal EQ first since pretty much every guitarist has those 2 tools to work with already.

The most important thing to remember is to let you ears be your guide. You may not initially like the change in your tone, but don't make any judgments until you've heard your tone in the context of a mix (unless all your playing is done solo).

Let me know what you think. Do you already use any of these techniques for taming the low end of your sound? Or do you have other methods you use to get the same result? Leave a comment and join the conversation.


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