Results in Guitar Amplifiers

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Guitar Amplifiers

A guitar amplifier works by boosting the signal from a guitar so it can be sent to a loudspeaker and heard. Guitarists typically care little about how amplifiers work and are interested only in how they sound.

There are many different types of guitar amplifier available and they all create a different sound and have different qualities:

Practice amplifier

  • Small, low power amplifiers
  • Sometimes powered by batteries 
  • Ideal for travelling
  • Often very portable
  • Ideal for quiet practice late at night
  • Amps designed for beginners from around £20 to more advanced models for professionals costing £200+

Combo amplifier

  • Both an amplifier and built in speaker(s)
  • No need for an external cabinet
  • Span over a very wide price range from affordable amps to top of the range models depending on make and model
  • More portable than a head and cabinet
  • Usually more affordable than buying a head and cabinet  

Amp heads

  • Only an amplifier – requires an external guitar cabinet
  • Less portable than combo amplifiers as you need the cabinet
  • Some more tone options available as you can choose which cabinet to pair a head with
  • Usually more expensive to buy a head and cabinet than a combo

Modelling amplifier

  • Uses modern technology to digitally emulate the sound of other amplifiers
  • Multiple amp models in one amplifier
  • Many tone options
  • Often have built in effects and/or stompboxes
  • Offer a lot of versatility and tonal options
  • Can be combo or head designs

Solid-state vs Valve/tube amps

Solid-state

  • Uses solid-state electronics such as transistors to amplify a signal
  • Generally more reliable
  • Require less maintenance
  • Less responsive
  • No true valve saturation

Valve/tube

  • Uses vacuum valves/tubes to amplify the signal
  • More responsive to your playing
  • Often sound warmer
  • Preferred by many players for their tone and responsiveness
  • Valves need replacing after so much use
  • More fragile than solid state
  • Often more expensive than solid state
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