Fight Club: Big Amps vs. Little Amps 1

Fight Club: Big Amps vs. Little Amps

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. READ THE STORY AT GEAR-VAULT […]

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Tube vs Solid State Amplifiers – Which is Better?

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. […]

Humbucker Pickups
Tech Ed

Electric Guitar Pickups 101

An electric guitar’s sound is deeply influenced by its pickups. For a musician who has little or no knowledge of electronics the matter can often seem to be incredibly complicated. When it comes to electronics […]

how to take care of your guitar amplifier

How to Listen to and Care for Your Amp When It’s Sick

One of the most crucial parts of fixing guitar amps or anything electronic is testing electronic components correctly.

I have checked out this guide and have found it extremely good for the beginner, and as a refresher for the professional engineer.

I’ve not found such a practical guide on the internet anywhere before. There’s plenty of theory around but it’s not always easy to understand, so what Jestine Yong has done is to put together really useful, practical books with much needed techniques that will help you understand how to test suspect electronic components and fix your gear quickly and easily. […]

how electric guitar electronics work
Tech Ed

Basic Electric Guitar Circuits: Potentiometers and Tone Capacitors

What is a Potentiometer?
Potentiometers, or “pots” for short, consist of used for volume and sound control in electric guitars. They allow american to change the electrical resistance in a circuit at the turn of a knob.

It’s helpful to recognize the fundamental relationship between voltage, present and resistance known as Ohm’s Regulation when understanding how electric guitar circuits work. The electric guitar pickups present the voltage and current supply, whereas the potentiometers provide the resistance. From Ohm’s Legislation we are able to see how growing resistance decreases the circulate of present thru a circuit, whereas decreasing the resistance increases the present flow. If two circuit paths are provided from my frequent voltage supply, more present will flow thru the path of least resistance. […]


Cheap Guitar Rig Vs Expensive Guitar Rig

People often ask, ‘How come this Stratocaster sells for $169 and this one sells for $1200?’

The short answers are quality control and quality of materials. The quality of the wood used for the body and the neck can affect the price. Cheaper guitars use plywood bodies. More expensive guitars are made of more expensive, solid wood pieces. Cheaper guitars also have cheaper paints, lacquers, and finishes.

The amount of quality control that goes into an instrument can have a big impact on the final price. Quality control is very time consuming and expensive for manufacturers. But the added attention to detail can have a marked effect on the instrument’s overall playability.

Cheaper guitars are produced with advanced automated manufactuing techniques, which allow manufacturers to produce a very uniform product with a minimum of oversight. The reduced time spent on quality control allows the manufacturer to sell the product for less.

Hardware and electronics can also vary greatly from guitar to guitar. There are different quality grades for tuners, bridges, pickups, pick guards, tremelo mechanisms, etc.

Cheap guitars are getting better and better each year, and the prices have dropped to below $200 new (125 to 150 used). Automated cutting and manufacturing techniques have allowed manufacturers to make guitars, especially electrics, for less money. Competition between manufacturers and between retailers keeps prices on these guitars at just above cost.

Evaluating the quality of an electric guitar means looking at individual components that make up the guitar. The body and neck, tuners, frets, pickups, electronics and hardware.

Many guitars, even expensive guitars, come from the factory with high frets. This creates scalloping and complicates tuning. If your guitar wont tune properly, this may be part of the problem.

Many players choose to start with an relatively inexpensive guitar, but one with a good neck and body. Later, they upgrade the pickups and hardware to create a custom guitar. This can be a good approach since it lets you choose what you want on your guitar, and it lets you space your investment out over time. You can play the guitar as is for a while before investing more money into it.

By the time you have made these upgrades, you have probably spent about as much as if you had bought the better guitar to begin with. If your customizations involve a lot of labor, you may have spent more. However, if you do your own labor, then upgrades can be a cost-effective way to get the guitar you want. […]

Tube or Solid State Amps

Retubing a Peavey 5150 Amplifier

If you’ve got lots of cash, I highly recommend buying new old stock (NOS) tubes. These are tubes that were manufactured years ago and never sold or used. A set of four NOS RCA 6L6 “backplates” will run you over $300, while the GE 6L6s go for about $150 a quartet. These tubes deliver superior quality and construction, if you can affor them. If you can’t, don’t worry. You can still get killer tone out of tubes from China or Russia. […]