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Guitar Amplifier Buyer’s Guide

Moore Guitars has a wide range of amplifiers, including basic combo amps and powerful stacks that will fulfill your musical needs. If you’re worried about making the right amp choice, take a look at our guitar amplifier buyer’s guide so that you can figure out which amplifier will work best for your specific requirements. 

What to Look for in an Amplifier

Here’s everything you should consider when buying an amplifier to go with your guitar:

1. Type

Amplifiers come in four different types – tube, modeling, solid-state, and hybrids. Let’s take a look at them in detail:

Tube Amplifiers

Tube amplifiers offer a warm, fat tone and “organic” distortion. Typically, they sound louder than same-wattage solid-state amplifiers and have a defined feel. They have separate channels that you can switch from distorted to clean tones instantaneously. If you buy a tube amplifier, you will have to change the tubes after some time as they will deteriorate.

Solid-State Amplifiers

Solid-State amps use transistors for their power sections and preamp. They are durable, reliable, and affordable and offer a clean tone. They are used popularly as touring amplifiers.

Modeling Amplifiers

These are amps with digital processors. They use software to simulate the sound of old-fashioned tube amps and cabinets. Modeling amps come with built-in digital effects, such as chorus, delay, etc. You can also program them.

Hybrid Amplifiers

Hybrid amps use a tube in the preamp section and a solid-state power section to create a tube amplifier-like, powerful tone.

2. Configurations

Amps also come in two different configurations – combos and stacks with separate head and speaker cabinets. Combos are self-contained units containing the speaker and amplifier in one compact cabinet. Meanwhile, stacks entail two speaker cabinets and an amp head. 

The configuration you choose should depend on your playing venue. For instance, if your venue is a club or a small hall, a combo will deliver sufficient power to fill the entire space with sound. But if you have a huge venue that requires sonic power, you will need to invest in a high-powered stack.

3. Construction

The quality of the amp is also determined by the thickness of wood used to construct it. If the wood used is too thin, the speaker will vibrate and loosen. A thickness of half ½ inch will result in a strong sound and keep the speaker in place. Also, the sound quality will also be affected by the back structure of the amp. If it has a closed-back, it will produce a better bass response. Additionally, an amp with corner protection will ensure that it doesn’t get damaged when you move it from gig to gig.

4. Power and Speaker Size

Practice modeling combo amps typically feature smaller 80 to 10 inches long speakers and lower power, which results in a higher frequency and a better top end.  For smaller venues, you can use modeling and tube combo amps with 12-inch speakers and 50-watt power ratings for fuller sound. For playing at larger venues, use twin combo amps with 12-inch speakers or a stack with a power range of 100 watts for louder sound.

5. Channel Switching

Some amps enable you to switch between different preamp channels, allowing you to go from a clean tone to a distorted one. Modeling amps require a supplementary multi-functional footswitch to alter tones remotely.

6. Effects Loops

If you want to get greater tonal clarity when using effects, such as delay, modulation, and reverb, the effects loop might help you greatly. It’s essentially an input/output that enables you to place effects between the preamp sections of the guitar.

Use the factors mentioned in this guitar amplifier buyer’s guide to find the amplifier best suited for your playing needs.