One way to step up your guitar-playing game is by exploring the use of amplifiers. Basically, amplifiers are electronic devices that increases the power and amplitude of a signal. Amplifiers are used for many electronics such as musical instruments, home theater sound systems, smartphones, etc.; some amplifiers are external and some are already internally installed.
Amplifiers are extremely popular in the music industry as these devices help instruments produce better quality sounds. In the world of guitars, amplifiers play an important role especially for rock music. Interestingly, top musician Jimi Hendrix even claims that there was a time when he did not get what he wanted out of the amplifier, so he kicked and kicked it on stage. This is why choosing the best amplifier is crucial for an amazing performance so that the musician won’t throw a fit.
That being said, this article will guide you in getting to know the basics when choosing for the best amplifier that is right for your taste.
Tubes vs. Solid State
There has been a long debate on which is better between tubes and solid state amps. In the end, however, they both have pros and cons.
When it comes to tube amps, they have thick and creamy sounds with soft distortion that is pleasant to the ears. Tube amps can also be much more powerful than solid states; however, tube amps have higher initial and maintenance costs.
As for solid state amps, they offer clean and accurate sounds. Some solid state amps are loaded with modeled amp sounds which makes them versatile as well. Most solid state amps, however, sound the same unlike tube amps. This could be a pro if you want a repeated tone or a con, if you want uniqueness.
Combination vs. Head/Cabinet
From the word itself, combination amps are those whose amplifier electronics are combined into one body. Usually they are small but heavy. On the other hand, head/cabinet amplifiers are separated into two: head and the cabinet.
Low Wattage vs. High Wattage
If you prefer lower volume distortion with great harmonics, a low wattage, 10 or 15 watts, amplifier might just do you well. This is perfect for studios, practice or stage performances. However, when it comes to a really large venue with more audiences, such as concerts, a high wattage, 30 watts and above, amplifier will do well. High wattage amps also distort at higher volume.
Remember, whatever is louder is not always better. Sometimes, going beyond 30 watts is just annoyingly loud even when it sounds great.
Marshall vs. Fender
In the world of guitars, there has always been a competition between two famous brands: Marshall and Fender. However, they capitalize on different styles. For instance, a Marshall amplifier is perfect if you’re into AC/DC or Van Halen style. And Fenders, on the contrary, are great for Dick Dale or Ray Vaughan sound.
If you’re not quite familiar with the musicians mentioned above then the best way to determine which is best for you between the two brands is by actually testing out your guitar with the two. You may also ask help from the music shop staff if you’re still a beginner.