Without some form of amplification, getting the desired sound out of an electric guitar is close to impossible. Sure, modern day pedals are providing ways for guitarists to not have to use an amp. But, I’m sure we can all agree as guitar players that there is nothing quite like the sound of an actual guitar amp.
When it comes to the guitar amp, it is not quite as straightforward as one would think. There are a ton of amplifiers out there for guitar that have been designed with special functions/purposes in mind.
With that said, we are lucky enough to live in a time where a good guitar amp can be accessible to guitar players of all levels and to fulfill all guitar need.
Let us look at some factors below that could influence your choice when buying a guitar amplifier:
Solid State vs. Tube vs. Hybrid: The debate between solid state and tube amps among guitarists is one that is still very much around today. With that being said, one is not better than the other. It simply comes down to personal preference. Solid state amps tend to be more reliable and require next to no maintenance. Whilst tube amps produce what many to be the most desirable tone but require careful handling and maintenance. Nowadays, amp manufacturers combine the best of both worlds to bring us hybrid guitar amps that make use of tube and solid state technology.
Combo vs Amp & Cab: Choosing a combo amp means that everything is built into one unit making it a better option for transportation. However, opting for a head and cab means that the head can be plugged into different cabinets resulting in more tonal possibilities.
Modelling Amps: Some amplifiers, especially tube amps were designed to have one voicing and do one thing. However amp manufacturers are making modelling amps which can get the sound of many different amps in one unit.
Built In- Effects & effects Loop: A good deal of amplifiers come with built in effects. The most common effects are reverb and tremolo. However, a lot of modeling amps come with a full spectrum of effects to add to your sound. Another thing to consider is does the amp you’re looking for have an effects loop and do you need one. The effects loop allows one to add modulation and “wet” effects to one’s amp without muddling up the sound.
Acoustic Vs Electric Amps: An important factor to consider is that acoustic amps are designed and voiced differently to an electric amp. Think about which instrument you’ll be playing more before making a choice between an acoustic or electric amplifier.