‌Guitarists around the world are always looking for the best equipment to make their sound output the best possible, and equalizers are one of the best ways to make that happen.

In this post, we will explain the distinction between the two most popular types of equalizers in professional audio: graphic EQ and parametric EQ.

If you are new to equalizers, let us simply tell you that an EQ pedal can boost the overall tone of your guitar.

If you are a skilled guitarist, who knows all about equalizers then let us reassure you of the effectiveness of equalizers.

With the increased flexibility, you can pick an already fantastic sound arrangement and polish it to perfection; remove that muddy low mid, add a few bites, or even use it as a boost for your guitar solo.

But now that there are two options available, which one should you go for?

Keep on reading below to find out whether a graphic EQ or a parametric EQ is the right one for your guitar, based on their characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks.

The Value Of An Audio Equalizer

A great audio equalizer gives you more control over tone and frequency, going much further than simply bass and treble. It has the ability to increase or decrease the sound level output of particular frequencies.

Built-in audio equalizer controls with various levels of control such as individual sliders or dials are available on certain home stereo receivers as well as amps.

They may also include digital screens that are operated remotely.

Built-in audio equalizer controls with various levels of control such as individual sliders or dials are available on certain home stereo receivers as well as amps.

They may also include digital screens that are operated remotely.

If your receivers or amps do not enable you to customize the audio output of your system, you should opt for a separate audio equalizer.

There are many kinds of audio equalizers, but the most popular ones are graphic and parametric.

Graphic Equalizer

Graphic equalizers provide a sequence of sliders for boosting or cutting different frequencies. Such frequencies are pre-determined, as the manufacturing company chooses them for you.

You will have approximately 10 frequency bands that span the majority of the frequency range.

These bandwidths are selected to represent key aspects of a guitar’s sound.

For instance, for guitarists, there are not a lot of valuable details in the 10kHz+ frequency band, and that information is often filtered out during a mix, so they enable you to use sliders that work on more valuable areas for your guitar.

The sliders simply increase or decrease the volume at such frequencies. You can augment areas you want and trim muddy or tough areas.

What Makes Graphic Equalizers Special

There’s still one thing you must acknowledge about graphic equalizers. When you move a slider, it appears to affect the frequencies around it.

Look at what happens when you stick your thumb into a piece of plastic wrap that is used to cover a pot. The slope effect occurs when the thumb presses down on the wrap.

The sloping has a greater impact on the places in proximity to the thumb than on those further away. When compared to a gentle squish, pressing stronger magnifies the slope effect.

This is also how a graphic equalizer handles bandwidth modifications when pumping up or cutting a frequency band. So, a graphic equalizer provides:

  • Easy operation
  • Modification of fixed frequencies
  • A wide frequency monitoring range
  • A less pricey alternative to parametric equalizers

Parametric Equalizer

In contrast, a parametric equalizer provides you with complete control over your modifications. Your frequencies are not fixed but can be swept.

Not only can you choose which frequency to adjust, but you can also change how broad your modification is or tweak the number of frequencies that will be affected across your selection.

This makes it possible for you to be much more precise and accurate with your changes, which can be incredibly helpful for simple tasks like swapping guitars.

One guitar could be muddy at 200Hz, while the other might benefit from a cut at 250Hz.

The disadvantage of using a parametric EQ is that you will most likely have fewer bands to perform with.

On a pedal equalizer, it’s a matter of enclosure real estate as well as component expense.

A graphic equalizer has only one slider control per band, whereas a parametric equalizer would require controls for frequency selection, boosting, and cutting, as well as bandwidth.

On the other hand, a parametric equalizer enables users to adjust the bandwidth or Q of every filter as well as the gain over any frequency within the same range.

What Makes Parametric Equalizers Special

A parametric eq can also adjust the frequency band of every independent frequency (the slope effect that impacts adjoining frequency bands).

A wide bandwidth, for instance, will indeed influence frequency bands from 15 Hz to even 45 Hz if the center frequency range is 30 Hz. A limited frequency band may influence only frequency bands from 25 Hz to 35 Hz.

Even though a slope effect still exists, parametric EQs are better equipped to minimize and fix the configuration of specific wavelengths without affecting others.

This fine-grained monitoring over tone and sound allows for smoother modifications to match specific interests or targets (like when someone mixes or records audio).

  • In a brief, parametric equalizers are special because:
  • The operation is sophisticated and purposeful
  • You can choose your bandwidth modification
  • The range of effect is accurate
  • You can record in the studio, mix, and produce audio
  • It is more expensive than a graphic equalizer

Which One Should I Choose?

If you aren’t the type that enjoys endless finetuning alternatives to achieve the flawless divine guitar tone, a graphic equalizer is a fantastic choice.

You have enough frequency control that when you just want to remove a little mud from a guitar occasionally, you can do so.

What's The Difference Between Parametric And Graphic Eq (1)

If you desire to truly polish up your guitar sound and modify your amplifier, even more, a parametric equalizer will provide you with all the adaptability you require from an equalizer, albeit with fewer bands available.

Most guitarists will only require a graphic equalizer, so in that case, the MXR 6-band or 10-band EQ is an excellent choice. They offer amazingly tuned bandwidths at a low cost.

So, if you’re having difficulty tracking down a particular problem frequency, parametric EQs enable you to move through bandwidths.

In certain live sound scenarios, like in the case of mixing stage monitors, many folks prefer using graphic equalizers.

It’s convenient to have quick access to a wide range of bandwidths for quickly eliminating mic input during live shows.

The Bottom Line

So, as you can tell, there are no hard and fast rules regarding when to utilize a graphic equalizer and when to use a parametric one, but in most cases, people refer to using a parametric equalizer since it allows for more high precision.