If you want to play music, in public, you need to purchase an amplification system. Your amplifier allows your audience to hear your guitar, clearly. When shopping for amplifiers, don't be intimidated by their technical specifications. Choosing the right amplifier for your guitar is a matter of knowing your instrument as well as figuring out the type of venues you want to play in.
Before you go shopping for an amp, consider the type of music you play.
If you play mostly soft, acoustic pieces, you don't need the same type of amplification that you'll need to play hard rock or heavy metal. You also won't need the same type of amplification if you want to play in smaller venues. If you are playing in small venues or don't need a lot of sound, you might not need a large amp. A small combo amplifier can give you enough power to reach the back of a small club or bar.
If you want to play very loud music or at large venues such as stadiums, you need to get a larger amp, with a cabinet.
There are four main types of amplifiers: tube, solid state, modeling and hybrid. The type of amplifier you need depends on how much volume you need and if you need special effects.
Solid-state amps don't offer much distortion. These amps are for amplifying sound as is and producing clean guitar tones. Some solid-state amps do offer distortion channels. If you're playing mostly acoustic pieces, you may want to get this kind of amp.
If you are playing hard rock and want to distort your guitar sounds, you need to get a tube amp. Tube amplifiers contain tubes that contribute to the sound. These amplifiers usually offer louder sound and deeper tones. Tube amps also offer distortion channels and the ability to switch from clean tones to distorted tones mid-song.
Modeling amps are digitized amplifiers that simulate tube amplifiers. These amps use digital technology to raise volume or lower tones. You can distort sound with the push of a button, and most modeling amps offer other special effects in addition to distortion, such as delays or choruses. These amps you programme to give certain effects at certain times.
Finally, hybrid amplifiers combine solid state and tubes; these amps often use tubes in the pre-amp and solid-state technology in the electrical wiring. This allows your guitar to take advantage of the deeper, richer tones associated with tube amps without needing as much power.
The variety of amps, the often-minute technical differences among amps, can overwhelm. If you know what your amplification needs are, you might not feel as confused. Just figure out what you want your guitar to do before you start shopping for amps and you should easily be able to find an amp that suits your needs rather than spending extra money on features you don't need.
Jane Doe writes from the American South East.
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