Guitar Amplifier Buying Guide

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How to Buy Guitar Amplifiers

There are many things to keep in mind when shopping for a guitar amplifier. With a wide array of amps on the market, looking for the right amp could be daunting for a beginner. From power, construction, configuration, to types, there are lots of factors to consider before singling out a specific guitar amp that meets the buyer’s needs.
No one amplifier is the perfect fit for all types of musical genres. Thus, shoppers should have a clear idea of what type of music they want to play. For people who have a broad range of musical interests, there are amps that work well with diverse sounds, but most professional guitar players have different specialised amps for different types of music.

 

Types of Guitar Amps

Guitar amps are generally categorised according to the technology it uses to produce sound. Here are the pros and cons of the varying types of amps.

 

Types of Guitar Amps

Pros

Cons

Tube

This type of amp produces louder, richer sounds and more “organic” distortions compared to other types.

Tube amps are more expensive, heavier to carry around, and the tubes have to be maintained as their performance may deteriorate after a few years.

Solid-State

Using transistors to amplify sounds, this type of amp seldom needs repairs and is more affordable than tube amps. It produces clean tones. Some professional guitarists use this as practice amps. This is a good option for beginners.

The sound produced doesn’t quite match those of tube amps.

Hybrid

This type of amp uses solid state power amp and single tube preamp so it offers a smooth and warm “tube-like” sound. This is also more affordable than a real tube amp.

The tube preamp has to be maintained regularly and while its sound is close enough to a tube amp, diehard audiophiles still find the sound not quite matching that of a tube amp.

Modeling / Digital

Using digital processors, this amp simulate tube technology sound and offers digital effects. It also allows for fast switching of tones.

Does not work well in outdoor or loud environment situations, so it’s seldom used for live performances.

 

Guitar Amplifier Power

Guitar amps come in varying strengths to suit different needs. Choosing an amp based on its power depends on where the player is going to use it. Here are some ranges that will guide shoppers:

 

Guitar Amps

Power Ranges

Description

Low-level

3 to 30 watts

Low-level amps are very portable and good for beginners. Professional guitarists also use this for practice sessions.

Mid-level

Average of 50 watts

Mid-level amps have better sound quality than low-level amps. This is mostly used during rehearsals or when guitarists play in small venues.

High-level

100 watts and above

High-level amps have the highest sound quality even at high volume. This is commonly used in live performances at large venues.

 

Other Factors to Consider

Aside from the type of technology and power inherent in a guitar amp, shoppers should also consider other factors, such as the construction and configuration of their amps.

Construction

How the amp is constructed also affects the quality of sound produced. For example, an amp enclosed using a wood with a thickness of at least half an inch would produce a strong sound. A sheath any thinner than that will produce looser vibrations. In addition, amps with closed back construction generate improved bass sound.

Configuration

Shoppers may also choose from these two configurations:

 

Configuration

Pros

Cons

Head and cabinet

This configuration has an amp head that works well with any speaker cabinet. This is mostly used for live performances in large venues.

Head amps and speaker cabinets have to be purchased separately.

Combination

An all-in-one unit that consists of the amplifier and speaker. Good for small venues.

Heavy to carry and may not work well in open arenas and large auditoriums.

 

Shopping for Guitar Amplifier on eBay

eBay provides a safe platform where shoppers can compare and review different types of amps. To do this, potential buyers can head over to Electronics category on eBay’s homepage, click on Audio, and then go to Amplifiers. Then, they can type “guitar amplifier” on eBay’s search bar. Shoppers use filters to narrow results down to the brand, condition and price of the amplifiers. Alternatively, shoppers can browse through the Electronics category of eBay Deals to check out if there are bargain deals on guitar amps as of the moment.

 

Conclusion

There are many reasons to chose one type of guitar amp over the other. Ideally, beginners should start with an amp that’s well within their budget and with technology, power, and configuration that meets most of their needs as a versatile guitar player.

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