By: Michael Russell
Choosing an the perfect guitar amplifier to purchase is dependant on many different details. You cannot choose the right amplifier on somebody's word, or by how many watts the amp can push out. You must choose by factoring in the guitar or guitars you are playing off of, the style that you play and if there is any built-in effects that you desire. Buying an expensive amplifier just because of the name of the brand is probably a big mistake for most people.
There is no reason why anyone has to spend thousands of dollars in order to obtain the sound they want. If you happen to be looking for a loud amp and anything less than four speakers isn't an option, than it is assumed you are going to spend a large sum of money. Purchasing a solid-state amplifier would always be the cheapest route. A solid-state amp is fully electronic and usually doesn't have the tone that musicians require for playing live.
Some musicians actually prefer to use a solid-state type amp because it works for the style of music they play and the amps are usually more durable than an all-tube amplifier that costs much more money. When you are looking for a certain tone, you have to take into consideration that an all-tube amplifier will most likely produce a warmer tone with more sustain. This is why musicians dish out thousands of dollars for an amp when there are amps out that cost a couple hundred. Another option is to buy a hybrid amplifier, which is solid-state with a tube pre-amp. Using a hybrid is more costly than a standard solid-state but generally less costly than an all-tube amp.
Features on the amplifier are a major factor for the consumer of course. Deciding how many channels you need, the amount of control knobs, built-in effects and the wattage are all important when considering the right amp for you. Some amps have a headphone jack to play through headphones, but if you don't care about that feature than you have more of a variety to choose from. The amount of power an amp can dish out isn't as important as one might think. Using a 50-watt amplifier head is enough to push any standard 4-speaker cabinet at loud volumes. Some people are more concerned with the clean sound that an amp produces and do not care about the how the amp sounds when distortion is increased. Using only the channel on an amp will make it easier to decide which is the right amp for you. Effects may not be an issue with many people; they may just want to play straight out of the amp with its natural sound. But, many of those same people wouldn't mind having a reverb control. The reverb is the most commonly seen effect built into the amplifier, which controls the amount of echo in the sound.
Instead of spending all of your money on an amplifier because of the name, you should test out all of the available options out there today. Maybe the most expensive amp is for you after all, but at least you know for sure that you didn't make a mistake. New companies that manufacture amps would be an excellent choice to test out. New companies will most likely give you a better price for a quality product because they are trying to distinguish themselves. So before you go out and pay for a name, go out and test the "no-names".