Solid State & Tube Amps

Choosing The Amp For You


Introduction

In this article we will dig through the components of a Solid State Amp as well as a Tube Amp, learn the characteristics associated with each, and compare the pro’s and con’s in relevance to your needs as a Guitarist.



 


Solid State Amp

These amps are most common for beginners, seeing their cost effectiveness and durability. Solid State Amps rely on transistors and provide a more steady tone. Relying more on technological advancements, the tone may even be manipulated to sound like a Tube Amp using an emulator.




Tube Amp

Tube Amps use tubes to boost the guitar signal both in the preamp and power sections of the guitar amp [preamp being the initial power of the guitar signal where your gain and EQ are found // then power section being the boost in making the signal move the amp].


Because of the unique characteristics of tubes, they provide a more organic tone that shifts as the Gain and Volume are adjusted. Common to have natural distortion, compression, and most notably, additional harmonic content. Most common in Rock, these amps are renowned for their Touch & Feel.




 

Comparisons



Solid State

  • Cost Efficient

  • Greater Durability

  • Lighter & Compact

  • Softer Sound

  • Consistent Tone regardless how high or soft the volume is

  • Modeling Software to Change Sound

  • Ever-Advancing Technology


Tube Amps


  • Natural Compression and Distortion

  • Additional Harmonic Content

  • Organic Sound

  • Emphasis on Touch & Feel

  • Tubes are more fragile and need to be replaced over time

  • Heavier Materials

  • Needs to be played louder to get full effect of tubes


 

Summary


The betterment of the amp is dependent upon your own needs as a guitarist. To help rank your priorities, here are some questions to help decide which amp is best for you:

  1. What Tone do you want?

  2. Do you want the tone to fluctuate with your touch?

  3. What volume will you be playing at?

  4. Are you willing to take the responsibility of transporting fragile tubes and replacing them over time?

  5. Is the weight of the amp a deterrent?

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