Buying An Amplifier? by April 11, 2016 0 comments

Buying An Amplifier?

So you have bought your guitar and are looking to enhance the whole experience by taking it a notch higher. Great, because that is what getting a good amplifier is all about. Contrary to belief, buying an amplifier is much more difficult than buying a guitar because it involves selection of not just the type of amplifier; you need to consider a lot of factors which go beyond the normal ones such as budget, size, weight, ease of operation, etc. In the following guide, I am going to summarize the best possible tips for selecting a good amplifier for you which might not be the best in market, but would certainly be the best suited for you.


Note- This guide is designed for first time buyers and can be used by intermediate guitar players and beginners alike.


Buy Online Or At Store?

When it comes to buying music instruments and accessories like amplifiers, the best option is to walk down the store and then buy the equipment which is always going to give you the satisfaction and quality. I am not discouraging online buying but walking down to the store allows you to try different models such as of amplifiers and you can thus choose the best for yourself.


How To Choose One

Guitar amps have different configurations, build and feature list depending on the type of guitar that they would be used with. That’s right; the amplifier you are going to use with the electric guitar might not be that useful and pleasant in sound with an acoustic and certainly would not be able to handle the bass sound.

Alright, so let us first come to the different types of amplifiers that are presently available in the market. There are four different types of amplifiers available in the market- the solid analog amplifier, tube amp, modelling or digital amplifier and the hybrids.


Amplifier Types

Solid state amplifiers use transistors for preamp and power. They are highly reliable and do not need much repair with time wearing. The solid amps have a very clear clean tone. They are cheap, durable and also come with distortion switch for that little grunge you need.
Tube Amps have been more preferred by professional guitarists in the past half a decade for its organic distortion and a remarkable warm tone. The amps have more power and sound louder as compared to the solid state amp which is why they are fit for performances. Their instant switch over facility from clean to distortion is what makes tube amps that popular. However, the tube amps are not durable and tubes require regular change.
Modelling amps or the digital amplifiers use digital processors which simulate the tube tech sound. These amps are very popular among the experiment loving guitarists as they are powered by a processor that has the ability to pack up different amp sounds into one. So with one such amplifier, you can have the sounds of several different amplifiers. These amplifiers are programmable and have several effects such as delay, chorus, flanger, etc.
Hybrid amps are the best amplifier packages that are available in the market because they are made of the best amps packed in one, Tube conjunction with solid power- that’s how the killer combination brings out the best in amplifier range. So these amplifiers can produce that tube tone you long for without actually requiring any tubes.


Amp Construction

It is all about the sound and if that isn’t good, what the hell good is your guitar or amp. Another point to check while buying the amplifier is the thickness of the wood that has been used to construct the cabinet of the amplifier. Thinner the wood, more likely is the chance of your amplifier vibrating and messing up the sounds while wearing out itself. The amplifier cabinet should have wood of at least half an inch thickness which would keep it strong and sturdy. Apart from that, you also need to make sure that the corners are well protected for easy and safe transportation. Try to get an amplifier with a closed back as it tends to give a better bass sound without much vibration interference.


Size Matters?

Of course it does, the bigger the amp, the more power it possesses and the better sound it can deliver in your performance. The power rating as well as the size of the speaker chosen by you will more or less depend on the price. For simple practice, a 10-30 watt power rating in solid state amps is more than sufficient. You can also get some small tube amps for the same. For small venue performances, consider going for a power rating of at least 50 watts in tube and modelling amplifiers combined with fuller speakers that deliver high end performance and top quality sounds. For loud performances and concerts, the best choice should be amplifiers of 100 watt power that can be used with combinational speakers for efficient and effective output.



Buying an amplifier with effects is an added advantage as you can skip the part where you would have to buy a processor as well which would cost you more than two amplifiers bought together. And with the tech revolutionising the music industry, you can get the best possible combination of popular guitar effects in your amplifier. Some of the most prominent ones that you should look out for in an amplifier are as follows-

Reverb, sound loops, flanger, channel switching, delay, chorus, tremolo, etc.

Modelling amplifiers have the maximum number of in built effects and thus if budget is not much of an issue with you, a modelling amplifier with average power should be your first choice.


Final Tips

Don’t try to cross your budget. A well built solid state amplifier is good in the beginning as you don’t need to get a tube modelling amp right away which however would be a good investment for the long time. Make sure you do your research and consult well with the dealer or store owner to get the best suited amp for you in your budget.

Don’t forget to test it out before taking it home!

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