Resonance and Presence Controls.. What Do They Do?

Resonance and Presence Controls.. What Do They Do?

Many people are often unsure about the exact function of the Resonance and Presence controls on their amplifiers.

Many amplifiers come with these features built in, and in this lesson we’re going to learn how you can use them to really fine tune your tone.

A great way to think about these controls is that they are an extension of the amps EQ section. EQ typically lives in the preamp stage. This is where we find our bass, middle and treble controls.

The resonance and presence controls sit in the power amp section of the amplifier. They allow you to fine tune the bass and treble response of the power section. This is important when dialing in your tone because it has an effect on how specific frequency bands feel.

If you’re using something like a Silverline, with the TVP Response, you can combine the resonance and presence with your selected power amp tube type to really nail that tone your chasing.


The resonance control allows you to control the overall bass response of the amp. This is how the low end reacts and feels after the preamp EQ has been applied.

Lower settings on a clean tone will give you a tighter, snappier low end. Perfect for playing funk. As you increase the resonance, the overall tone warms up and a slightly spongier feeling happens to the notes. This is great for picking chords, single note leads and that just breaking up clean tone.

On an overdriven tone a low resonance will give a tight bass response with a fast attack. Perfect for playing metal or any other genre where precision in the notes is everything. It adds a lot of focus to the low end. If you turn the resonance up, the overdriven tone becomes warmer and spongier. This is great for playing classic rock and blues because it has a big bottom end that will fill a lot of gaps in your tone.


The presence control takes care of the overall treble response of the amp from the power section. This means once you’ve dialed in your tone, you can increase the overall brightness of the entire tone with the presence control.

If you turn the presence down, you get a sound with a noticeable cut in top end. This is ideal if you are using a particularly bright set of pickups or finding your tone too harsh overall.

Higher presence settings will add attack and aggression to the top end. On a clean tone, a high presence will accentuate the percussive sound of the high end. If you boost the presence on an overdriven sound you will get a more aggressing, biting overdrive tone.

Combining these controls with all the other features on your Blackstar amps, you can really dial in the sound in your head.

About The Author

Leigh Fuge is a professional guitar player from Swansea in South Wales that has written and created content for many high-profile guitar brands and publications such as PMT, RSL Rockschool, Trinity College London, and more.

He works with to provide high quality guitar content for guitar players of all abilities from around the country. To date, has successfully generated over 32,000 student enquiries for their network of music teachers around the country. Find a local teacher in your area today.