Amp or guitar issue? or just me?

Hello all, hope all is well. I have been messing around with my first amp. I followed a youtube video on the settings that some guy uses on his katana for practicing and it sounds great in his video. I tried those same settings (image provided) and it sounds like a mess - unfortunately i cannot post the video here but i am practising a song by nirvana but yet you can barely hear the 4 chords among all the mess.

i uploaded it to youtube so i could link the video

are you sure theres no other ‘patch’ etc in effect? Sorry I dont Katana

Hi @aaronmason883

When the gain is turned to maximum, you will hear every slight vibration of every string. If you are a new player then you probably haven’t developed muting skills yet so you’re probably hearing strings that you don’t want to hear. Also, a lot of Nirvana is played with power chords that only have two or three notes. If you are playing them with open chords and a lot of distortion, the sound will be really messy.

Try turning down the gain on the amp to see if you can clean up the noise. Try turning down the volume setting on the amp and see if that helps.

What are the settings on your guitar? What happens when you turn down the volume on your guitar?


Thats also true, sounds like you are playing all the strings with no muting.

Well worth just playing the 3 thicker strings with some palm muting in effect (rest your palm on the bridge just touching the strings a little).

1 Like

Hi Aaron. I have this amp as well. I would recommend turning the gain down a bit. You have it maxed right now, which can definitely add extra noise as @Rider2040 pointed out. Especially if you have not spent a lot of time working on your muting technique. When I’m playing Nirvana or other power chord heavy stuff, I usually only have the gain at about 70%. It should still give you a nice crunchy sound without as much extra noise.

It may also be worth messing a bit with both your volume and master volume settings. I always find that I need to play around with those a bit to get the sound I want. You could also adjust the volume on the guitar itself.

It’s always hard to try and use the exact same settings as someone else. You have different guitars and different places you are playing in. With any new gear it is a good idea to spend a little time playing around with the settings so you can get used to it and have better control over time.

1 Like

the first video is with gain turned down to about 20%, the 2nd video is with the guitar volume turned down and the last video is the guitar volume turned down again

this is me playing with no gain or overdrive knob on but with the amp volume knob on max

this is me playing with no gain or overdrive knob on but with the amp volume knob maxed

Which do you think sounds best?

For me, I found that Overdrive and High Gain sounds were really hard to make sound good until I became proficient at power chords. But I’ve also found that turning down the volume knob and tone knob on my guitar can help a lot.

well in my blunt honesty, they all sound bad lol

Carry on playing clean. Check each chord and notes on each chord. go slow.

Once you can play it like that then worry about the overdrive. Full chords with lots of drive often sound messy which is why people shift to power chords or limit the strings they play and use muting some.

1 Like

Ha!! Don’t be so hard on yourself! In the last recording it sounded like you were hitting clean chords and staying in rhythm. If you’re coming from an acoustic, you are probably hitting the strings a lot harder than you need to. The amplifier is doing a lot of work, so you don’t have to work so hard. I once read about some famous guitarist (can’t remember who) that said that he tried to turn his amp as loud as possible, but to touch the strings as lightly as possible. As you adapt to your electric, experiment with your settings, but also experiment with playing as lightly as possible.

I think there has been a lot of good advice given here. I too believe that you probably don’t need to have the gain maxed out.
Less is more.

Volume, you can have it as loud as you want I guess. It’s a solid state amp so it doesn’t distort I guess, it just drives the speaker harder (and better).

Keep in mind that guitars and amps work together. The amplifier amplifies the signal produced by the guitar’s pickups.
If the person on youtube had very low output pickups and your pickups are higher output, then they would need more gain from the amp than you for the same amount of overdrive.

Respectfully, I disagree. When a song has overdriven/distorted guitar, I found it better to play with distortion exactly because it’s messy. For me, it was better in terms of improving my muting because I was much more aware of all the noise so cleaning up the mess becomes one of the objectives and the intented learning outcomes.

Fair enough but IMO if you cant play it clean you wont be able to add on the other stuff to play it dirty and playing it dirty will mask a lot of problems.

Thank you for sharing the additional videos. I agree with not being so hard on yourself! You are learning and everyone makes sounds that they don’t necessarily like sometimes. Especially early on.

I think that working on your muting will help you a lot. Keep the gain lower (but not off completely) so you can hear what you are playing, but also hear the noise you don’t want. This will help you control the sound better when you do turn the gain up but won’t frustrate you as much. Keep going! You’ve got this :+1:

1 Like

I see what you mean and I think that this too is true to an extent.
I’ve encountered both so I know what you mean.
I mostly practise clean or even unplugged only to find that when plugged in the dirty channel there’s lots of stuff ringing when they shouldn’t, hence my comment :wink:

Playing dirty is also a skill to practice but imo not before you can play it clean…

1 Like

The katana (and probably all other modeling amps) has a Master volume which doesn’t impact the tone, other than driving the speaker harder. It also has a Volume knob that simulates the volume knob on the simulated amp. This knob definitely can impact the tone.

In this instance, the guitar volume knob, over drive, gain, and volume are all pushing the sound towards (and past) breakup. Turning down any or all of them can reduce distortion in different ways.

1 Like

Aha, I didn’t know that about the Katana. I assumed it was channel volume stored at different levels for each channel perhaps, without affecting the tone.