• New Sponsor: ShipNerd, Ship Your Gear with Us... for less! Click Here.

Are tone controls cut?


In the JD Simo rig rundown, he states that tone knobs are really cut controls, and dimes them all on his 100w Plexi. I understand this is a common way to run Plexis and may be true for that particular amp, but is this generally true for modern amplifiers? I am clueless about circuits and how the tone controls really operate in an amp.

Out of curiosity I dimed the tone controls on my Rockerverb and it does seem to open up. I can't really tell if it sounds any different or if it only increased the overall volume a bit.

So are tone knobs operating as cut controls? If not, how do they really work?

Sorry if it's sort of a dummy question.

Heady Jam Fan

Unless its an amp with active tone controls, where their is a boost to compensate for the attenuation, or cut, from the tone controls, they are passive and do 'cut' volume rather than add to it.

This doesn't mean they have to be dimed - if I were building an amp, I would build it with the expectation of some resistance from each tone pot. But if your Rockerverb sounds good this way, rock out! But Plexi's are kind of a particular beast IMO - they kinda have one volume setting, then they just get dirtier (I'm not a Marshall guy, but just cranked a Plexi this weekend and that was my experience).

I've tried cranking all the controls on a Fender amp an did not like it (I think BB King used to do this on his Twin). On Fender SF Deluxe Reverb, I unplug my guitar, turn the amp on, turn the volume all the way up, turn up the bass knob until I hear the noise-floor jump, and then set up the rest of the controls from there. The Bass is just below 3 on the dial when the amp (preamp) 'comes to life' - less bass and the preamp doesn't sound happy, more bass just seems unnecessary and potentially muddy in a band (I don't like a lot of bass though).

Trending Topics

Top Bottom