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How to Choose a

Guitar Amp

Amplifiers can make or break your sound. The difference between a good amp and a bad amp can be fairly noticable, so it's best we choose the right one!

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Tube vs Solid State Amps

You may or may not have heard of these two terms before, but there are two main types of amplifiers and they have some pretty major differences. 


For most guitar players (and especially new ones) I would not recommend a Tube Amp as the benefits do not out weight all of the negative aspects. A guitar enthusiast might want a Tube Amp for their collection but a beginner would be much better off with a normal Solid State Amp. 

Tube Amp

Solid State Amp

  • Fragile

  • Heavy

  • Expensive

  • Possibly Better Sound*

  • Durable

  • Lighter

  • Cheaper

  • More Sound/Effect Options

The Main Differences at a Glance

  • To keep things short and simple, Tube amps use vacuum tubes to amplify which are fragile and expensive along with being more inefficient.

  • Some people will only play on Tube amps because in their opinion it sounds better.

  • Solid State Amps just use electronics to amplify.

  • The vast majority of people will be perfectly happy with a Solid State Amp as they more often come equipped with effects built in as well to get more sounds out of your guitar.

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Amp Wattage

All amplifiers have a set number of Watts, the higher the number, the louder your amp can get. So how many should you have?

How Many Watts Should My

Amplifier Have

We can find the answer to this question by asking one:

  • Where will you be playing?

If you're only planning on practicing guitar in your bedroom, your best bet is on the low side, anything 30 or below.

The bigger the venue, the more wattage you'd want.


With that being said, at bigger venues, often times the sound crew will want to either mic your amp or plug it into the main sound system. So at the end of the day, you shouldn't expect to need much power. 

For most people, an amp with about 100 watts is all you'll ever need for playing live.



My Opinion

  • For someone looking to get a little more from their amp or possibly play some gigs I'd pick either the Boss Katana MKII 50w or 100w

  • Note: The "1x8" and "1x12" in the names of these amps refer to speaker number and size. So 1x8 means: One 8 inch speaker. This detail is not extremely important when choosing your first amp. 

Combo vs Separate

  • Guitar amplifiers are actually comprised of two separate components. The Head and the Cabinet. 

  • The Head is the actual "amplifying" component, while the Cabinet houses the large speakers that actually create sound. 

  • Combo amps take both components and stick them into one box. Through out this article, this is the type of amp I have been referencing. 

  • In the past, combo amps were sometimes considered to be of lesser quality, but as time went on combo amps are more of the normal. 

  • As a beginner or intermediate (or even a professional!) guitarist, I would recommend a Combo amp as they are simpler, lighter, and often times much cheaper in comparison. 

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