Are you an up-and-coming or budding musician who wants to increase your skill and use a guitar amplifier to create an even better sound? A guitar amp is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment that any guitar player could own. It allows you to enhance the quality of your sound and tone while amplifying the sound and pushing up the volume.
If you want to purchase an amp, it is essential to learn more about what an amp does, its parts, and how to choose an amp that will give you the best performance. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Guitar Amps: The Lowdown
Guitar amps are made up of various components and parts designed to increase the tone and sound of your guitar. Available in multiple types, quality, and budget-friendly prices, a basic amp is more than enough for a beginner to practice with.
Benefits of using an amp include:
- Guitar amps have a wide range of functions and uses. While their primary function is to provide volume and intensity to your playing, a few other benefits might pique your interest. They are:
- Versatility – Amps are used in the home, studio, or stage.
- Adjustable – Tune your amp to create a unique sound.
- Range – An amp will pump up your performance in any musical genre.
- An amp can be tuned to suit any music style, from country jams to the good old blues or heavy metal. It is up to you, the player, to tune the amp to create the sound you want to achieve.
The Main Parts of a Guitar Amp
An amplifier is made up of three main parts. They are the Preamp, The Power Amp, and the Speaker. Let’s break each part down and see what role it plays in enhancing the sound of your guitar.
This part of the amp is responsible for sound input and control. It houses the knobs used to adjust your amp’s output, creating a clear, quality sound. The knobs to tune your amp are:
- Master volume
By adjusting each of these individually, you can control the sound your guitar creates and the quality of that sound.
The Power Amp
The power amp takes the sound from the preamp, intensifies and magnifies it, and transfers the sound to the speaker. This part of an amp acts as a transducer and turns electrical energy into the sound we hear from the amp.
An amplifier speaker is responsible for sound output.
All three parts are housed in one wooden box and work together to improve your guitar’s sound and increase the volume at which you play.
Guitar Amp vs. Bass Amp: Similarities and Differences
There are separate amps for electric and bass guitars. While both functions are the same, some differences restrict their use for all guitars. For example, guitar and bass amps differ in sound, speaker size, and durability.
There is no denying the vast difference in sound and tone between an electric and bass guitar. While electric guitars are played at much higher frequencies, bass guitars are responsible for the mids and low sounds you would hear in a song.
Guitar amps respond better to higher frequencies, and bass amps are better for the low tones or mids that bass guitars emit.
Guitar amp speakers are smaller than those of a bass amp. This is because bass amps require more airflow to respond to the low frequencies of a bass guitar. This, too, increases the overall size of a bass amp.
Durability or Robustness
A guitar amp is smaller than a bass amp and could blow its speaker or get damaged if pushed too hard. In addition, the materials used to construct a guitar amp will not withhold the heavy low tones of a bass guitar and should not be used for bass if possible.
Bass amps have a closed-back system that helps create the deep tone one would expect from a bass guitar and magnifies this sound significantly.
The Inner Workings of an Amplifier
You might be wondering how the different parts of an amp come together to create the perfect sound that guitarists look for when practicing at home, recording in the studio, or playing to thousands of fans on a live stage.
Let’s break down how an amp picks up on the frequencies of a guitar and transforms it into sound. When you pick or strum a note on your electric guitar, the sound is transported to the amplifier via a pickup. This is the electrical component on your electric guitar responsible for creating sound. The sound or signal enters the amp at the preamp, which is where the player would tune and adjust the knobs to get the best quality of sound and tone. The preamp then intensifies this signal, shapes the tone and sound, and moves it to the power amp.
The power amp creates a high-powered, clear-cut replica of the signal or sound and sends it on to the speaker. The speaker is the output of an amplifier and will distribute that initial note you played in a magnified, clear sound.
If you are not happy with the sound, you can use the knobs in the preamp to make adjustments to the tone, bass, treble, or volume.
A guitar or bass amplifier can be used to intensify the sound created by your guitar significantly. While it will not “improve” your playing, it can substantially increase the volume and intensity of your guitar’s sound. There are different amps explicitly created for bass guitars and those for electric guitars. While it is possible to use a guitar amp with a bass guitar, there are some risks involved, and it should only be tried by someone who has adequate knowledge of guitars and amplifiers.