To get the most out of your tube amp, which can be a hefty investment, here are some easy to follow handling and maintenance tips. There’s no arguing that tube amps still set the standard for tone – modern solid state and digital amps merely emulate the tube amps of the past. The unfortunate drawback however, is that tube amps are more expensive and fragile compared to solid state alternatives. Repairs and maintenance add to the already high costs of tube amps. Thankfully, some of these extra expenses can be avoided with proper care and maintenance. Read more
The introduction of Fender amplifiers almost coincided with the company’s electric guitars in the mid 1940s. The earliest venture into the amp market by Fender was marked by the production of what they named the “Tweed Amps” which had an output ranging from three to seventy five watts. However, these amplifiers had an inbuilt Read more
Since 1965, Peavey has built a reputation for making awesome guitar amplifiers, and they continue to evolve under the guidance of the company’s founder, Hartley Peavey. Their reputation has been solidified with a series of amazing amps, such as the 6505, JSX Joe Satriani signature amp, the Valve Kings, XXX, the Classic series, the Windsor, and others. In the non-tube amp category, their patented TransTube technology is almost indistinguishable from real tube-driven amps, setting the standard for performance, tone, and affordability. And now, with their VYPYR series of amps, Peavey finds themselves at the forefront of the modeling amp race as well. Read more
The almighty Mesa Boogie Roadster is a great sounding and versatile amp that is designed with the plug-in-and-play guitarist in mind. It is a brother to the Road King amp and is basically the same as the RK minus Mesa’s Progressive Linkage technology and some other back-panel features that some feel a player needs an advanced engineering degree to operate.
The Roadster gives less tech-friendly players a number of foot-switchable options to craft their tones with, without the anxiety of tons of power amp features they don’t understand. The Roadster’s channels one and two give up classic clean tones that can be duplicated across both channels for rhythm and lead applications. They also have TWEED and BRIT modes that work with the mid frequencies to get classic American blues and British rock sounds from clean to clipped. These two channels would make a great sounding and versatile amp all by themselves. Channels three and four offer players all the legendary tones found in Mesa’s Dual Rectifier Solo heads and contain all flavors of gain from mild to wild. Again, the sounds can be cloned across the channels for ultimate tonal control. Read more
What is a vacuum tube? — If the link between a light bulb and a raging Marshall stack doesn’t seem obvious, take a glance at those vacuum tubes glowing inside your amp. And then pay your respects to Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park, New Jersey.
Edison produced an incandescent light bulb in the late 1870s by feeding an electric current to a filament until it burned bright red. He then sheathed the filament in a glass bulb and extracted the oxygen, thus creating a vacuum to prevent the filament from burning up.
During further experiments in 1883, Edison detected electrons flowing from the filament, through the vacuum and over to a metal plate he had placed inside the bulb. This discovery, named the Edison Effect, remained a minor phenomenon until another scientist, John Fleming, found that these electrons could be used to detect radio waves and convert them into electricity. Fleming added a second metal element to the bulb, thereby creating the first diode, or—to use a name more familiar to guitarists—rectifier. In 1906, inventor Lee de Forest added a third element to the bulb and found that the resulting triode could be used as both a switch and an amplifier. Today, the vacuum tube has evolved to include a complex assembly of plates, grids and heating elements that produce a more efficient part. Read more
There seems to be an awful lot of interest these days in tube amps that put out lower amounts of power, especially in more boutique, cork-sniffing circles. Just about every amp company has some kind of lunchbox-sized head or ankle-biter combo that puts out five to fifteen watts of power, it appears, and many players are taking the bait and paying top bucks for these little guys. Devotees of these things claim that “five watts is plenty to gig with” and they are more than able to hang with a drummer. Personally, I have a hard time with that statement. Read more
There are a few central debates that continually rage in this thing of ours, topics that never seem to get exhausted during online forum or real time arguing: Gibson vs. Fender, Fender vs. Marshall, Ginger vs. Mary Ann, Bud vs. Miller, and, most importantly, tube amps vs. solid state amps. These are the things guitarists think about. Now, I can’t help you decide to play a Les Paul over a Strat or who to spend Read more
I have a Pignose Hog 20, and every time I jam with other players, the drummers drown me out. I’m 15 years old and don’t have a lot of money. I’m wondering what size amp I should by so that I can be heard above the drums without the amp distorting. Also, how are amplifier wattage ratings determined?
Let’s tackle your last question first Johnny, since this will help us answer your question about what size amp you should buy. Amplifier watt ratings are determined by a calculation called “root mean square,” or RMS. It simple terms, RMS is a measurement of the average, or “effective,” voltage your amp can produce continuously under normal playing conditions without clipping (what happens when you crank up your amp and it starts to distort). Some manufactures give their amps a power rating that’s closer to the peak output—that is, the highest wattage that the amp is capable of producing. This isn’t a very accurate way to measure wattage, because amps don’t operate (or shouldn’t be operated) at peak levels for an extended period of time. If you were to operate an amp at its peak output, I assure you, not only would your tone suffer but the amp itself, including its speaker, would burn out very quickly.
Let’s look at an example. If you have a 50-watt amp and it starts to distort, or “clip” as the output approaches 35-watts, is it a 50-watt amp or a 35-watt amp? To put it another way, if you want an amp that can produce 50-watts of continuous power, don’t buy an amp that has a peak power of 50-watts, because the amp will start to distort well before it reaches the 50-watt mark. Read more
Rivera’s Sedona is essentially two amps in a single package, but before you hit the next button on this page thinking that it’s just another two-channel combo, you should be aware that it is the only amp we know of that combines and electric guitar amp and an acoustic guitar amp in one. This is welcomed if you frequently double on electric and acoustic instruments, or if you have a hybrid electric/acoustic axe like a Parker Fly or Hamer Duotone and you’re sick of hauling several amps to a gig just to sound convincing.
The Sedona was designed for Nashville fingerpicker Doyle Dykes, who wanted an amp that he could plug both his Tele and his Taylor into and have each sound equally outstanding. Featuring two fully independent channels that are respectively voiced to deliver optimal electric (channel 1) and acoustic tones (channel 2), the Sedona also features an ingenious speaker system consisting of a 12-inch JBL full-range speaker and a 5-inch high-frequency Electro-Voiced driver that can be set to switch on only when you select channel 2. The EV tweeter provides an enhanced treble response that perfectly complements the extended frequency range of an acoustic guitar, providing rich, natural-sounding tone.
Covered in brown Tolex and featuring a matching brown grille and classy leather handle, the Sedona looks right at home in places where the clientele is more likely to sip cappuccinos than Coors. But don’t be fooled by its gentrified appearance as the Sedona can pump out enough volume and distortion to shatter earthenware mug.
Rivera didn’t skimp when tic amt to supplying features for this amp. Each channel comes with a full complement of tone and gain controls (bass, middle, treble, volume and master). Both channels share a single set of presence and reverb controls. Several of the controls are also pull switches that provide additional functions: channel 1’s pull functions include channel select (volume) and boost (master), channel 2’s pull functions are bright (treble) notch (middle), and Ninja boost (master), which lets you overdrive the amp’s output section. The front panel also boasts a pair of level and frequency controls for the amp’s anti-feedback equalizer, which is active only when channel 2 is selected. These controls not only help you eliminate feedback, they also help enhance the sound of acoustic instruments plugged into the amp by giving you even greater control of the instrument’s frequency response. Read more
Not only is the Kendrick 2210 the best-sounding, best-looking and best-built Fender-style amp I’ve run across it also encapsulates two prevailing trends in musical equipment: a craving for the lost quality attributed to anything “vintage”, and an appreciation for small production-run, handmade gear. Read more