Welcome to Sam Ash
Buying an Electric Guitar Amplifier
Whether youre buying your first practice amplifier or a boutique "hand wired,
point to point amp" you can always use a little more knowledge about the available Guitar
Amplifiers. Since the choices are so vast, we at Sam Ash Music try to offer you the widest
selection and latest models of guitar and bass amps available. Weve been selling guitar amplifiers
since before the bass amp existed.
Over the years, we have seen changing trends in electric guitar amps. It all started with
vacuum tube amps, then transistor amps, hybrid amps, modeling amps and then it seems to be that
everything old is new again, tubes amps are back and stronger than ever. There are a lot of amps
that were designed to be specific to different styles of music. Originally amps were designed with
low wattage and voiced for Jazz with a warm smooth sound. When Rock and Roll became dominant the
Jazz amps were supplanted by Rock Amps, with heavy power and distortion. All the original
amplifiers were designed with tube technology because that is all there was 60 years ago. One amp
that was very popular was designed for bass players, the Fender Bassman but in all my years I never
saw a bass player use one.
Most guitar amplifiers are self contained "combo amps" where the speaker and amplifier are
in a single unit. Guitar Combo Amp cabinets come in a variety of styles, designated by the number
and size of the speakers. Common arrangements are 1-10 (a single 10 inch speaker), 1-12, 2-12, and
there are even a few that use 15" speakers which are primarily used by blues players and pedal
steel players [links are to combo amps only with the named speaker arrangements]. They come open
backed and closed back depending on what sound you are looking for. Today, most guitar combo amps
are closed backed to focus more of the sound forward and give the sound a little more bottom end.
You can get vintage style or very powerful modern style, high power handling and very heavy weight
speakers. Sam Ash carries a full range of replacement speakers for your amps including Celestion
Vintage and Modern models. Many customers ask, "can I play my bass guitar or keyboard through my
guitar amplifier?" We dont recommend that; guitar speakers are designed for the specific sound and
output of guitars and will not sound right with (and may even be damaged by) the extreme low
frequencies produced by bass guitars and keyboards.
We now have many different guitar amplifier technologies, each one with its own
characteristics and we have provided a buyers guide for each. For those of you looking for a quick
explanation, here we go:
Amps: Have a characteristic warm tube sound and can provide the kind of overdrive
distortion that many players want. They can be very powerful -- 100, 150, 200, and even 300 watt
guitar amplifiers are common and tend to be very heavy.
State and Hybrid Amps: Transistors permitted the amplifier to shrink in size, weight,
and cost and to run a lot cooler, but it is harder to get the classic guitar amplifier sound out of
a Solid State Amplifier. A great compromise is the Hybrid Amplifier that combines the best of both
Amps: Todays digital technology can mimic the sound characteristics of many different
amplifiers, speakers, cabinets and effects in a single, cost effective package.
Guitar Amp Stacks: While many players today are choosing smaller, lighter guitar
combo amplifiers, for certain players (you know who you are), only a stack with a powerful amp head
and one or two big speaker cabinets will do. If you are a shredder, if you absolutely must have a
volume control that goes up to 11, or you are trying to satisfy your inner Jimi, a stack is the way
Acoustic Guitar Amplifiers: The focus of this guide is on the electric guitar
amplifier. At Sam Ash we also carry a great selection of amplifiers for acoustic guitars. Acoustic
Guitar Amplifiers are designed for clean, high fidelity reproduction of the sound of your steel
string or classical acoustic or acoustic/electric guitar, whether played through a microphone or
connected directly to a guitar pick up. Most acoustic guitar amplifiers also allow you to plug in a
vocal mic, making them the perfect system for a solo or small group in clubs and other venues.
for our helpful guide to matching your guitar amplifier to your style of music.
Guitar Amp Buyers Guide
State/Hybrid Guitar Amp Buyers Guide
Amp Buyers Guide
Guitar Amp Stack Buyers Guide
The Right Amp For Your Style Of Music