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When guitarists describe the sound of their guitars, a lot of terms are used.

What does a guitarist mean when they talk about top and bottom end?

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  • 2
    Probably a great example of bottom-end is Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom", which has dual lead bass lines. :-)
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 22:51
  • There are several versions on the YouTube. It's a tongue-in-cheek song, in the typical crude Spinal Tap style. Oh, it's three basses, one of which is a double-neck. They were having some fun when they filmed that song.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jan 17, 2011 at 0:13
  • I'll also recommend "Boris the Spider", by John Entwhistle, and almost any song Chris Squire is on with Yes. Both are well recognized for super-clean, high-fidelity, solid bass sound.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 0:44

3 Answers 3

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Top end refers to the treble tones on your guitar and bottom end refers to the bass tones; these are also referred to as 'highs' and 'lows'; and can be adjusted using the EQ on your amp.

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  • Not just the EQ on your amp is used to adjust this. Pedals, rack mount equalizers, and even different guitars will affect these parameters.
    – Jduv
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 21:14
  • Of course; EQ can be applied anywhere in the signal path, or at any time during production. The EQ on the amp however is your first stop for your playing tone.
    – Bella
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 21:20
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    The tone control on your guitar is the first stop, for those guitars with them.
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 21:26
  • @the Tin Man: good point
    – Bella
    Commented Jan 16, 2011 at 21:33
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DRL's right but, just for completeness, some occassionally use it to describe the overall quality of the sound. "It's a low-end guitar but it sounds top-end," etc.

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  • I'm pretty sure this usage is usually "low-end" vs. "high-end," as opposed to top and bottom being asked about here.
    – NReilingh
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 21:58
  • I've heard both, but low- and high-end are definitely more common.
    – user28
    Commented May 27, 2011 at 21:59
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Low End = bass

Top End = treble (high end, etc.)

The terms describe the frequency domain of a tone.

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