Why use an amplifier? A very common question you may also be asking.
There are many reasons why a beginner, intermediate, or even a pro guitarist might choose to use a guitar amplifier. There are also times an amp may not be necessary. In this article, I’ll explain in detail whether you really need an amp and how you can decide that.
Before explaining the reasons to get an amp, let’s define it first.
What is a guitar amplifier?
A guitar amplifier is an electronic device that takes the signal from your guitar and makes it louder, usually through a loudspeaker.
Guitar amps come in all shapes and sizes, from large “stacks” to small combo amps, and even portable battery-powered versions. They can be very simple with just a volume knob, or they can have dozens of controls for different sounds.
There are two key types of amps, solid-state and tube.
Solid-state amps use transistors to amplify the signal, while tube amps use vacuum tubes.
Read the full difference between solid-state and tube amps here.
Should I just get a speaker, Speaker vs Guitar amplifier:
The main difference between a speaker and an amplifier is that a speaker only plays the sound that is given to it, while an amplifier also changes the sound.
A speaker just makes the sound louder, while an amplifier can make the sound cleaner or distorted.
Speakers are what actually create the sound, while amplifiers increase the signal strength so that the speakers can create a louder sound. In other words, an amplifier makes the speaker louder without affecting the quality of the sound.
In summary, a speaker cannot replace an amp because a speaker cannot change the sound, while an amp can make the sound louder and also change the sound.
8 Reasons why you should get a guitar amplifier:
So why would you need an amp? Let’s look at 8 key reasons:
1. You want people to hear you
If you’re playing with other musicians or in a band, chances are you’re going to need an amp to be heard. Even if you’re playing unplugged, an amp can help you project your sound and fill up a room.
To give you an idea of how much volume an amp can provide, a typical electric guitar can be heard from about 150 feet away when unplugged. When plugged into a clean tube amp set to moderate volumes, it can be heard from 1500 feet away or more.
2. You want to practice without disturbing others
Even if you’re just playing by yourself, an amp can be useful if you don’t want to disturb others. With a good set of headphones, you can plug into your amp and practice without anyone else hearing a thing.
When picking a practice amp, consider those with a headphone jack and low wattage so you don’t blow out your eardrums. You can also get small amps with wattage as low as 10 amps that are designed for practice and quiet playing.
3. You want to get different sounds
Amps can also be used to change the sound of your guitar. This is done by changing the settings on the amp, or by using pedals in front of the amp (more on that later).
For example, you can get a “clean” sound by keeping the volume low and using the EQ to shape your tone. Or, you can crank up the gain for a distorted sound.
Some amps even have special effects built in, like reverb or delay. This can be useful for adding texture to your sound without having to use pedals.
4. You want to play with a band
If you’re in a band, you’re going to need an amp. Unless you’re playing acoustically, the sound of your unamplified guitar is going to get lost in the mix. Even if you’re playing through a PA system, an amp can help you hear yourself on stage and make it easier to make adjustments to your sound.
When choosing an amp for playing with a band, consider how loud the other instruments are and how much volume you’ll need to be heard. You might also want to consider getting an amp with built-in effects so you can ditch some of your pedals.
5. You’re recording:
If you’re recording in the studio, you’ll need an amp to get the sound of your guitar onto the track. This is usually done by mic’ing up a speaker, but you can also record directly into the interface with certain amps.
When recording, you’ll want to consider how you want your guitar to sound on the track. For example, if you’re going for a “live” sound, you might want to mic up a combo amp and play in the room. Or, if you’re going for a more polished sound, you might want to record direct into the interface using an amp simulator pedal.
6.To enhance the sounds with effects:
An amplifier not only makes the sound louder, but it also can be used to enhance the tone of the guitar with different effects.
For example, a chorus pedal can make the guitar sound like it’s being played by multiple guitars, or a wah pedal can make the guitar sound like it’s talking. There are many other types of effects pedals, each with its own unique sound.
Effects pedals are usually placed in front of the amp, but some amps have built-in effects that can be used as well.
7.You need to control the sound:
Amp settings can be used to control the sound of the guitar in a number of ways. For example, the volume can be turned up or down, the tone can be adjusted, and different effects can be used.
Some amps also have a built-in EQ that can be used to shape the sound of the guitar. This is especially useful if you’re playing with a band and you need to cut through the mix.
8.You want to play with other instruments as well:
An amplifier can be used to play with other instruments as well. For example, you can plug a keyboard or bass into your amp and play along with them.
This is especially useful if you’re practicing at home and you don’t have a band to play with. It’s also a great way to jam with other musicians.
Is the amp or guitar more important?
The answer to this question is subjective and depends on what you’re looking for in your sound. Your amplifier is essential to your musical style and the volume you’ll be playing at, while your guitar has a direct influence on how enjoyable and professional your performance will be.
Now, do you want professional performance? If you don’t have the skill, an expensive guitar and amplifier aren’t going to make you sound better. A good guitar will help you enjoy practicing and performing more, but it won’t turn you into Eric Clapton.
On the other hand, a cheap guitar with a great amplifier can make you sound just as good as the best gear if you know how to use it. It’s all about how you play, not what you play through.
So, the question is really which is more important to you: the guitar or the amplifier? If you’re just starting out, we recommend getting a good (but not expensive) guitar and saving up for a great amplifier. But if you’re a more experienced player, it’s up to you to decide which is more important to your sound.
Other FAQs on the Importance of an AMP
Should you spend more on a guitar or an Amp?
Depending on your level of experience and what you’re looking to get out of your gear, you might want to spend more on a guitar or an amplifier (or both).
If you’re a beginner, we recommend getting a good (but not expensive) guitar and saving up for a great amplifier. But if you’re a more experienced player, it’s up to you to decide which is more important to your sound.
Some people will say that the guitar is more important because it’s the instrument that you play and it has a direct influence on how enjoyable and professional your performance will be.
Others will say that the amplifier is more important because it’s what shapes the sound of your guitar and it’s essential to your musical style.
Does it matter what amp I get for my guitar?
Amps comes with varying features and it does matter what amp you get. For example, some guitar amps may not give you the effects you want for particular kind of music such as metal, jazz or classicals.
Some amps are made specifically for certain types of guitars as well. For instance, there are amps meant for acoustic guitars and ones meant for electric guitars. If you have an acoustic guitar, you’ll want to get an amp that’s designed specifically for acoustic guitars.
While it’s possible to play any type of guitar through any type of amp, getting the right amp will help you get the sound you’re looking for and make playing more enjoyable.
Is bass more important than a guitar?
A bass is an important part of a band and has a direct influence on the sound of the music. While a guitar can be played without an amp, a bass cannot.
A bass amp is essential to getting the right sound out of your bass. It’s also important to remember that a bass is not just a low-pitched guitar. They are two different instruments with their own unique capabilities.
So, while a guitar is important to a band, a bass is just as important (if not more).
Do Guitar amps make a difference?
Yes, guitar amps make a difference. They shape the sound of your guitar and can be essential to your musical style. For example, if you’re playing metal, you’ll need a different amp than if you’re playing jazz.
Guitar amps also give you various effects that you can use to create different sounds. For example, you can use distortion to make your guitar sound heavier or reverb to make it sound like you’re playing in a large room.
They also allow you to control the volume of your guitar. This is important because you don’t want your guitar to be too loud or too soft.
Finally, guitar amps can help you practice and perform more effectively. For example, they can help you keep a consistent sound when you’re playing with other people.
Do I need an amp if I’m just starting out?
No, you don’t need an amp if you’re just starting out. A good (but not expensive) guitar is all you need. You can save up for a great amplifier later on.
How do I choose the right guitar amplifier?
There are a few things to consider when choosing a guitar amplifier, such as:
-The type of music you want to play
-The features you need
-Effects you need
-Settings of the amp
-How easy it is to use
-The size of the amp
Types and parts of Guitar amps:
- -Combo amps: A combo amp is an amplifier that combines the preamplifier and power amplifier in one unit. This is the most common type of amplifier.
- -Heads: A head is a standalone preamplifier/power amplifier. It needs to be connected to a speaker cabinet to work.
- -Racks: A rack is a preamplifier/power amplifier that comes in a 19-inch “rackmount” chassis. It’s meant to be installed in a professional setting, such as a recording studio.
- -Power amps: A power amp is a standalone amplifier that takes the signal from a preamplifier and amplifies it. It needs to be connected to a speaker cabinet to work.
- -Preamps: A preamp is a standalone amplifier that takes the signal from your guitar and amplifies it. It’s usually the first stage in your amplifier, before the power amp.
- -Effects units: An effects unit is a device that helps you create different sounds. They can be installed in your amplifier or used as standalone units.
- -Speaker cabinets: A speaker cabinet is a box that houses one or more speakers. It’s meant to be used with an amplifier head.
Hi there! I am Jack Musau, the founder of this Best Guitar Amp Review site. I am an avid musician with several years using both traditional and electric guitars and created this site to assist others looking to find the best guitar amplifiers in the market today. I also offer private coaching and training on how to use guitars and guitars amps of all kinds. You can reach out to me using my email, email@example.com.