Buying A Guitar Amp

Buying a guitar amp can be a very difficult task for a beginning guitarist.  There’s a few questions we need to answer before we can solve the main question of , “Which amp should I buy?”.  First of all, you want to buy an amp that fits the type of music you want to play. Because some amps can achieve higher rates of distortion,  they may work better for heavier types of music, like hard rock or metal.  Others may have a better clean channel but you won’t be able to get that distorted tone with out a distortion pedal.

Another consideration is, how big an amp do you need.  It really depends on where you are going to play it.  If the only playing space is a small room, a bedroom for example, you don‘t want something too loud or that takes up too much space.  Even though it is tempting to buy something big, you  probably don’t need a 100 watt half stack.  A 30 watt practice combo amp should be plenty powerful enough.   If you buy a tube amp, they sound best when the tubes are driven hard, so if you have a small space and a big amp, it will probably be way too loud.

Another consideration, is the price.  Most of us don’t have a ton of cash to burn, so it is best to start out small, and make sure playing guitar is something you are going to stick with, other wise you end up with an expensive door stop.  You should be able to find something to do the job in the $100 to $200 range.

Once you have some idea about what kind of amp you want to buy, looking online a reviews and prices can help you get an idea of some models that you would like to try.  When you are ready to go shopping, try out a few different amps before you decide on one, and compare the different features.  Some come with on board effects,  some amps are solid state others are tube driven, and still others have a high and a low input for guitars with passive or active pickups.  Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.  Most of the time the sales people are pretty knowledgeable about what they sell and have played around with the gear a lot, so they can guide you to the best choices.

As a beginner it can make you feel a little self-conscious, playing in the guitar store , especially when there is probably some kid next you playing a couple hundred notes a minute.  Don’t worry about how you sound, just about all of us have been there.  Try to get an idea of how each amp sounds and what kind of sounds you can get out of each amp.

It is a good idea when buying a guitar amp to do some research before you even go to the store, to narrow your search a bit, or maybe check some out and then do some research on each amp.  Online music site reviews, forums, and sites like Harmony Central are a good place to read reviews.

The best deals on guitar amps are probably going to be found online, most of the big sites occasionally have 10, 15, or even 20% off sales, if you can take advantage of their sales you can save a lot of money.  Buying used gear can also save you a lot of money.  If properly taken care of,  a guitar amp can last a long time.  You can often get good deals on Craigslist or  Ebay, just make sure you know what your buying, there are a lot of people out there who will try to scam you.

Take your time and do your research, make sure you get the right amp for you and don’t regret your purchase, if your ever going to become a great guitar player your going to be playing that amp a lot.