One of the most important things to learn in the guitar is what to look for when buying an amplifier. The amplifier is the backdrop of your sound. You pluck the strings, they vibrate through the guitar it goes through the cord, through effects (if you use them) and into the amp. It goes through the amp and comes out the speaker. The sound you hear in the end result is you. You as a guitar player.
Depending on what kind of music you prefer, buying an amplifier and knowing what kind to get is crucial. If you like blues like Stevie Ray Vaughn I’d go with Fender. If you like the sound of Metallica go with Marshall. If you like amps with all kinds of knobs and effects built in, go with Vox, Peavey or Line6.
All the models mentioned above are great in their own way. It’s like a car versus a truck. Which one is better? Depends on what your use of the vehicle is. Same with amplifiers. Each one is different and just like guitars and effects, I’d try out different ones.
Now me, although I have different amps I play through, I prefer Marshall Amplification. Why? Well, I’ll tell you why. First of all, almost all the guitar players that have influenced me to play through Marshall or have at one time. Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Slash, Kiss, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Van Halen, AC/DC, Deep Purple, etc, etc, etc. Too many to list here but you get the point.
How can so many great guitar players be wrong?
You see, these guys can choose any amp they want and they choose Marshall. Why? Because Marshall has a nice bright tone that cuts through just like an amp should. Now if your looking for a darker tone then maybe one of the other amps out there will be best suited for you. Mesa Boogie. But I prefer the bright sound of Marshall.
Sounding like your favorite players
Plus when I play songs by bands mentioned above, I get their tone because that’s what they use. I also like Marshall because it’s simple. Although through changes in the times, they are getting more versatile with effects built in. I think they still sound great.
I personally don’t like too many knobs. Too much option. Much like the effects processors (see my post on effects) it takes too much time to dial in a nice tone. I like simplicity. Plug in, turn up to 10 and rock out! Effective and much more concentration on playing and not so much time spent on tone dialing. But that’s just me.
When buying an amplifier be sure to look at tone dialing and adding effects on amps. Much more will be posted later on getting a good tone out of your amp for whichever one you decide to use. I recommend trying a few out and seeing which one fits your personality and music preference.
Research what amps are used by your favorite players as I’ve done. When buying an amplifier, think to use what they do. If you are just starting out, get something small and portable that’s not too expensive. That way you can carry it if needed and if you decide to change later you don’t have too much invested.
And as always, practice and remember to have fun. Go shopping. Plug into an amp and check it out.. Dial in a tone & see how it sounds. You don’t have to play too loud unless you choose to. If so, rock out!
Or maybe, just be cool mellow and low key with not too much attention. Whichever fits your personality and style of playing is best. If you ask me, choose Marshall.
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Until our next lesson, take care. Dwayne Jenkins