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It gets to me when I hear novice and intermediate guitarists complain about their amps and ask questions about how to set them up, such as when to use highs, mids, or lows, or whether a greater Hertz ensures better sound quality, among other things. Hey! It’s not too difficult!

Highs refer to high-frequency sounds or high pitch when considering the low, middle, and high-frequency sounds in musical notes. For instance, soprano, violin, flute, etc.

While mids are middle frequencies, such as those played on the viola, cello, alto, tenor, oboe, etc. Low or bass frequencies are referred to as the lows. Bass, bassoon, bass drum, baritone, etc. are some examples.

Yeah, I know it’s not that easy, so I’ll take my time and explain to you in this article what each of them represents and how you may utilize them to get different playing effects depending on what you want. Hang tight as I will also address some frequently asked questions from new guitarists.

Also Read: High E Vs Low E Guitar Strings: Why Are There 2 Of Them?

Lows Vs Mids Vs Highs In Music

Lows Mids Highs
Definition Low Frequency

(Low Pitch)

Middle Frequency  High Frequency

(High pitch)

Amp Settings Bass on your amp’s EQ. Gives between the bass tones, and the treble tones. Treble on your amp’s EQ.
Impact To Tone Results in more amplification with little to no distortion.    _____________ The Signal gained will likely result in distortion.
Frequency Ranges 200 Hz or less 200-2,000 Hz 2,000 Hz and above

Definition: Lows Vs Mids Vs Highs


The lows, low-end, or bass frequencies are common names for low frequencies. The lowest notes in a song typically fall into this section of the spectrum and are referred to as “lows” in music. They span the 20 to 200 Hz range.

This is the foundation upon which other sounds are built in terms of the effect of this spectrum. Many people are passionate about the bass range, which has also experienced the greatest advancement in recording and reproduction technologies.

You need all the components for music to sound whole, and the bass is essential since it may alter the balance of the tracks and make them sound fat or thin.

Examples of instruments in this range of ‘lows’ are:

  1. Bass guitar
  2. Double bass
  3. Tuba
  4. Trombone
  5. Drums


Mids, treble, or middle are terms frequently used to describe middle frequencies. This section of the frequency spectrum has the loudest sounds.

They fall between 1000 and 5000 Hz. This song includes vocals, guitar, and a variety of other noises. This range gives the music more clarity and detail, which enriches our listening experience. 

The range where your ears are most sensitive is the higher midrange. This range of sounds frequently has a tinny or horn-like feel. Examples of instruments in the range of ‘mids’ are:

  1. Electric guitar
  2. Cello
  3. Violin
  4. Flute


Highs or high-end are common terms used to describe high frequencies. They fall between 5000 and 15000 hertz and higher. The musical spectrum’s sharp and shrill end, which cuts across the others, is represented by this.

This range gives the music high-end clarity and brilliance, as the name would imply. Examples of instruments in the range of ‘highs’ are: 

  1. Flutes
  2. Bells
  3. Chimes
  4. Trumpet
  5. Piccolo

Also Read: High Vs Low Action String: Which Is Easier To Play & Strum

Amp Settings: Lows Vs Mids Vs Highs

High-gain amplifiers are devices that produce high-frequency sound. They are built with preamplifiers that quickly surpass the clean headroom limit.

This implies that at lower volumes, they produce sounds that are severely distorted. The higher the treble is, the crisper and brighter the sound will be. However, if it’s too high, it could sound a little bit harsh.

These amplifiers frequently have two clean channels and several filthy channels. They are therefore a fantastic choice for heavy metal guitarists seeking adaptability.

The Master volume control is usually always present in high-gain amplifiers so you can change the volume without affecting the gain structure.

The term “mids” describes the mid-range frequency that your amp produces. When performing in a band, a low mid setting can provide a “scooped” sound that often gets lost.

Contrarily, low-gain amplifiers operate oppositely. The clean headroom limit of these amps’ preamps is always higher (or at least at the highest Gain settings). starting occasionally at 60 Hz or less.

Many people ask when should I use highs, lows or even mids. Now, I will tell you what. Set your amplifier’s controls to 7-9 gain, 4-5 bass, 5-7 mids, and 5-7 treble for a distorted tone.

Consider lowering the mids and raising the treble and bass for metal. For heavy rock distortion, lower the gain a little bit and boost the mids.

Impact To Tone: Lows Vs Mids Vs Highs

No doubt. The tone of the guitar is directly influenced by the amp settings. For instance, when the mid is turned up too high at the input stage, your audio will reach the point of distortion or clipping.

The sound signal will quickly exceed the clean limit of your amplifier or pre-amp if you have a high gain. Most of the signal that is acquired will be distorted. Setting the gain too high may cause the signal to soon exceed the clean limit of your amplifier, which can cause distortion.

On the other side, lowering the gain will prevent the signal from exceeding its limits, increasing amplification while minimizing or eliminating distortion.

When guitarists experiment with distortion pedals, I’ve found that they frequently turn the gain up. They would turn up the gain to the point where the tone was entirely saturated.

While that sounds fantastic when you play large power chords at a loud level with a lot of gains, the moment you play anything else, a big chaos results. Even if you play in a style where high gain distortion is typical, generally speaking, rolling the gain back a little result in a nicer tone

The tone is so distorted when the gain is turned up high that it turns into a wash. Rolling the gain back, though, makes things clearer. The more clarity you hear as you dial the gain further back, the closer you go to a clean tone.

I would recommend using low gain whenever possible. Most amps perform worse when the gain is higher.

Having your gain set to low will ensure that the maximum possible gain does not go beyond the clean limit of the amplifier or pre-amp you are using, resulting in a lot of amplification with minimal distortion. It’s not a surprise that low is the default setting.

Frequency Ranges: Lows Vs Mids Vs Highs

Low-frequency noise on the Common Octave Bands is often referred to as 200 Hz or less. Whereas 200-2,000 Hz for mids and above 2,000Hz are highs.

Low frequency implies that rather than hearing a sound, people are more likely to feel its vibrations. Additionally, low-frequency noise has longer wavelengths, a large range, and high endurance.

The noises we hear most frequently daily fall within the 200–2,000 Hz mid-frequency category. 


Q: Are Vocals Mids?

Mids are used in vocals and voices. Mids, which approximately fall between 200Hz and 2000Hz, are crucial for a genuine sound presentation. Typically, this range will contain the majority of the sounds on a music track.

Q: Are Mids Good for Vocals? 

Mids are good for vocals. This is because it is crucial for the presentation of sound naturally. In reality, headphones with an unnatural midrange may sound “off” or vocals sound “distant”.

Q: Does Higher Hertz Always Mean Better Sound Quality?

Hertz or Hz has less to do with the wide frequency and more to do with the sound quality. Simply said, the higher the Hertz, the higher the quality of music you will receive.

However, your amp is considered to have a strong frequency response range if it can reproduce sound in the audible range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

You can get better waveform resolution at higher hertz. High sample rate audio is allegedly appealing because it can record more of the actual sound, presumably giving fans a more genuine listening experience.

Q: Does Higher Frequency Mean Higher Sound?

Frequency does not indicate the volume of a sound – so higher frequency doesn’t necessarily mean higher volume.

Although there is a very wide range of audible sounds in this range, high-frequency sounds can begin at frequencies higher than 2000 Hz. At 2000 Hz, we argue that the sound provides speech “presence,” making it sound more genuine.

By 10,000 Hz, you can hear noises like chirping birds and cymbal crashes. Ultrasound refers to frequencies greater than 20,000 Hz and at such rate, sounds are barely heard.

Ifandi S.

About Ifandi S.

Ifandi started Strumming Bars to answer all the questions of a guitarist. As a self-learned guitarist, he remembered how frustrating it was to not find answers to his many questions in the journey. With Strumming Bars, that's no longer the case!

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