Ah yes, the age old question of what guitar amplifier should you buy?there are many different reasons to choose say a Marshall 100 watt head and 4×12 cabinet or a 15 watt practice amplifier. The obvious reasons are what and where you are planning to perform, record or practice.For the touring professional player, using a small practice amplifier just is not going to be enough to be heard playing a small 250 seat nightclub.Conversely, there is not too much sense in having a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier, if you plan to only jam in your apartment. The choice of amps is very wide and diverse. It goes without saying that buying the right one for you will depend on what you want to do with it.
A client had asked me to locate a very specific sounding amplifier – A Fender Twin Reverb -and he wanted it to be from a specific year -1969 – his reasons were very simple, he loved the warm rich tones that the amplifier provided when he plugged in his Stratocaster guitar and when he played his blues rock with a brass guitar finger slide. He was also a weekend player, meaning that he and his band would usually perform their gigs from Thursday to Sunday and usually played smaller nightclubs, pubs and patios.
This particular amplifier – Fender Twin Reverb – is widely known for being very, very loud when turned down to low volume, say about 2-3 on the master dial. It’s also known for having certain characteristics wich many blues and rock players love. The clarity of it’s reverb and the quick response of tone output. The point is that this player knew what was right for him and his bands sound. That is why he was seeking this particular amplifier.
You may not be aware of what it is that you need for your particular guitar sound, maybe you are still trying to decide the direction that you want to go . That is the beauty of building your “OWN” guitar tone, just as no 2 players will ever play exactly the same, no 2 tones will ever sound exactly the same. Part of that is the way each player has different techniques and had a different feel but amplifiers also play a huge role in a guitars sound.
I’ll talk a little about how to choose an amp that will suit you and your situation. This isn’t by any means a bible of how to look for the amp for you but it will guide you toward some understanding of how to make sure you are to get the most for what your budget allows. That said, Let’s focus on the “Starter amplifier”Typically these range from $69.99 to $399.99. The difference is usually in the following areas of manufacturing: Solid State or Tube powered, Certain features such as, reverb, delay, chorus,and or e-q.
While speaker size and make are important most of the exspense for any entry level amplifier can be found in the type of power and effects features for that certain amp. Sure, you will maybe see a blend of both of these things and I certainly have, but for this post I have generalized so as to explain better for you.When asked about the brand names that have entry level amps of good quality I always refer the client to research the usual big names, Roland , Fender, Marshall, Crate, Ibanez, Behringer, Laney & Peavey. There are of course, several others but those mentioned here are as good a place to start as any. It should alsobe noted that each of these companies do make amplifiers for the working pro.Weather it be a 50 or 100 watt class, head and cabinet or combo style, you will be able to find many different ones to choose from.
Shop within your price range, now what type of power you “Really” need, know what features you want to be able to use, some amplifiers have a headphone input so as you can play your guitar without disturbing other people. Many companies offer a C.D. input wich allows you to play along with your fave C.D. Remember, you are not going to get all of these features if you are to spend $69.99 So don’t be thinking about the most for the least, like anything else, it doesn’t work that way.
So, when choosing an amplifier you now will be better informed and hopefully be able to buy the amplifier that is for you.