Choosing The Right Amp For Your Style Of Music

Jazz players tend to go with a smaller combo (one piece) amp. They do not need a lot of power because they aren’t competing with a loud group. A very popular configuration is a 12” speaker, 50 watts and a preamp with no distortion or overdrive. They want the amp to make the guitar sing, but not color its sound

Blues players are looking for a little bit of the same thing but with more power and the ability to “overdrive” the sound. That makes it crunchy and gets a better sustain. For the most part they stay away from on board effects, modeling, and other features that color the sound. To a blues player the quality of the sound has to match the quality of the guitar. Tubes and a little overdrive warms up the sound, adds a lot of sustain and body to the sound. They do not want too much power because it is hard to get that bluesy tone with a powerful amp set at a low volume level. Many will “mic” the amp through the PA system so they can keep their tone but compete with the band. Fender has made many amps directed to the blues player: The Fender Reissue Blues Deluxe, Fender Hot Rod Series and the Fender Princeton, Fender Deluxe, and Fender Vibro King are among our favorites. Not to be outdone, Marshall developed a 45 watt 2-12 Combo Amp, the Marshall JCM1962 Bluesbreaker made famous by Eric Clapton when he was with the Blues Breakers. We also like the ZT Amplifiers CLG1 Club Guitar Combo Amp for blues. Today dozens of companies consider themselves Blues Amp makers – that is why we carry more combo amps that any other dealer.

Rock, metal and shredding are all really looking for the same thing only with a little different twist, they all want a lot of raw power and they want all tubes! Some in the form of combo’s, some like heads and cabinets, and some like separate preamps and power amps. There are guitar players that will use all three on stage and a foot switch so they can switch from amp to amp. The most popular by far is the head and 4-12 cabinet (half stack) and a head and two 4-12 cabinets (full stack) and the upper cabinet is usually angled in the middle so the sound aims at the players head. One of the earliest and consistent users of the full stack was Jimi Hendrix. It was one of the keys to his sound on stage and in the studio. Of course feedback is often associated with a lot of amp turned way up but Jimi used it to his advantage and made it part of his sound and stage schtick. Take a half or full stack to a gig and with the effects or multi-effects pedals you can sound like anyone, can you play like them only you have that answer.

When you are choosing an amp for a dorm room size and price may outweigh all other considerations. We have a large selection of smaller, great sounding amps for you from under $50. Sometimes called practice amps, these amplifiers are available with modeling and synthesized accompaniments such as the Fender GDEC 15, vintage style like the Fender Champion 600, and even tubes and modeling technology combined like the Vox Valvetronix V-15. Metallica Fans will appreciate the Randall KH15 Kirk Hammett Signature Combo Amp. All of these amps ship free and without any oversized charges.

If playing outdoors is a consideration, consider our large selection of battery powered amplifiers, including the Pignose Hog 20, Crate TX15, the Line 6 Micro Spider, the Roland Micro Cube, the Roland Mobile Cube Stereo Amp, or even indulge battery powered rock fantasy with a Marshall MG2FX. Need higher power for an outdoor band, but nowhere to find an A/C outlet? Consider the Roland Cube Street, the Vox DA20, or the Roland Micro Cube RX.