Finding the perfect amplifier is a crucial part in creating that huge, full-bodied sound that we as musicians strive for. A good amp can bring a flat guitar to life, lending its sound exceptional clarity and depth, allowing you to see your sonic dreams fulfilled. A bad amp, however, can turn even the most beautiful sounding guitar in to a dull and lifeless piece of wood. As a guitarist, having the right know-how to choose the best acoustic guitar amp for your gigging needs is very important. Luckily, choosing a great amp is not very difficult.
A high price is not always synonymous with quality. When choosing an amplifier for your acoustic guitar, there are more than a few things that you should be looking for in order to assure that you make the best possible choice.
Built in effects are included in many acoustic guitar amplifiers, especially in higher end tube amps, and solid state amplifiers in general. If you are going to be using effects, it might be a financially sound decision to purchase an amp with build in effects such as reverb, echo and chorus.
A combo amp is a perfect choice for a travelling musician who doesn’t have enough space in their vehicle to transport bulky equipment, or even to store it. While a half stack might look more impressive to the audience, a combo amp is usually far more practical, especially for the average gigging musician. Combo amps tend to have more features built in, and due to their compact size, they are also much easier to store.
Half stack amps are the amps most commonly seen on stage at venues. These amps consist of a head and a cab. Half stacks may weigh more and they may be more bulky, but they have a certain charm and ability that combos do not. Whereas with a combo, what you have is what you will have until you buy something new from the ground up, with a half stack, you can buy a cab and a head, and replace either piece of equipment at will, making these amps more versatile and valuable for gear lovers.
Solid state amps are amplifiers that are built without tubes. These types of amps generally make use of a circuit board and are much lighter than their tubed counterparts. For purists and truists, solid state might not have been an option previously due to the somewhat sterile sound these amps tended to have in the early and even middle 2000s. Now, however, recent models such as those offered by Line 6 have a much purer sound and stay loyal to that classic tube amp tone without the added weight and cost of the average tube amplifier.
Tube amps have been considered the “true” musician’s choice up until recent years. Tube amps use a set of tubes to create their tone. The tubes can be changed out for other models in order to change the warmth and overall impression of the amp’s tone. Tube amps tend to be heavier and a bit more expensive, however they also tend to be of a higher quality and have much more longevity than solid state amps. If your amp is going to be an investment, tube amps might very well give you more mileage for your dollar.
Buying the right amp is a slow and lengthy process. With all the options available at guitar stores, the process of choosing the right amp for your needs can be very confusing. Any of the following amps is a good investment and will provide you with quality and, just as importantly, a long and beneficial relationship with your first piece of acoustic guitar equipment.