The 12 O’Clock Rule.


Solid advice.  Dave is my personal guitar Guru, most likely to his chagrin.  Read & learn, fellow axe-slingers:


From now on, let’s call this “The 12 O’Clock Rule” so you can remember  it easily.  Next time you’re at a show, running sound, or setting up with your band… a friendly “Dude, ’12 O’Clock Rule'” should suffice to any knob tweaker getting out of hand.

Orange Knobs

I think the bass & treble cranked with the mids to zero was a Metallica thing, wasn’t it?  I seem to remember that being in a Guitar World or Guitar for the Practicing Musician article in the mid 90’s.  Everyone must have read that one.

On turning the gain back and still rocking hard, I give you Warp Riders by the Sword.  Case closed.  You just found the droids you didn’t know you were looking for.  Move along.

8 thoughts on “The 12 O’Clock Rule.

  1. Just be aware that I have no issue with people seeking out unique tones. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, AS LONG AS IT WORKS. Your live sound can make or break you as a band. The sound is almost as important as your drummer.


    • I get that. I interpret this as a more “zen” approach. Let your ears tell you what sounds right, not the position on the knobs. I’ve seen it many times… the same amp in different rooms and especially with different cabinets… you can get completely different sounds! Some rooms just eat highs or lows, and you need to be able to roll with it.

      Also, like you mentioned, throw in the other instruments, or the PA if you’re going through it… all kinds of variables can come at you from all kinds of directions.

      Just… listen.


  2. This also applies to recording, as an engineer i have literally infinite bands of eq, you have 3, 5 at the most with a mesa mark IV, but if the frequency doesn’t make it to my mic there’s nothing i can do to make it come back. Well there is, but it’s a big pain in the ass!!


    • Ha ha, good to have a perspective at that end too, Don!

      In general… it pays to heed the advice of those around you. This isn’t a full “do whatever the sound guy/engineer says” blank slate, but just take a moment to think about things. Volume is awesome for some dynamics… but do you need it all the time, or even if it sacrifices overall clarity?


    • For recording, it’s almost better to have more frequencies present than taken out. The engineer can always take some frequencies out. Putting them back in often sounds terrible.


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