Your bass guitar amp can make unwanted distorted and fuzzy sounds. A variety of factors may be to blame, including the settings on your amp, the cables you have connected to your amp and the quality and/or components of your amplifier. If you are lucky, you may not have to spend money to repair or modify anything on your bass amp.
Issues with EQ Controls
Even though you may be going for a particular sound or tone, having the EQ (equalizer controls) turned too low can produce muddy and sometimes distorted sounds. Try playing with the bass, middle and treble knobs set to around the halfway point.
Issues with Cables
Using an inappropriate cable to connect your bass to your amplifier can cause unwanted noise and a reduced sound quality. Most music stores carry 1/4-inch cables that are marked for what they are supposed to do. It is not recommended to play your bass through an amplifier with a speaker cable, when you should be using an instrument cable.
Issues with Musical Instruments
Your bass guitar's intonation, as well as its tone/volume controls and toggle switches, may have deteriorated over time and may be contributing to a buzz or fuzzy sound coming from your amp.
Issues with Your Amplifier's Power Supply
The power supply in your amplifier might be to blame for your distorted sound. This may especially be true if your tone is clean and normal when you first start playing, but then becomes distorted or watery after extended use.
Quality, Longevity Issues with Amplifier
If you play through a cheap amp and continue to have issues with unwanted distortion, you may have to replace your amp. This should be done as a last resort, however and it's always worth it to track down any friends or music techs who may be able to fix or adjust your amp for free, or use any existing warranty to get your amp fixed or replaced.
Michael Francisco is a former high school and college newspaper writer, a diehard Atlanta Braves fan, and an avid music and film buff. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and television from the Savannah College of Art & Design, where he wrote for the student newspaper and was assistant program director of SCAD Radio.