Guitar Amps 101 - The Crash Course Intro to Amplification

Hi there. I am Josh Levine...and this is my Beginners CRASH COURSE on Electric Guitar Amps.
So today, I just want to give you a brief crash course on guitars amps. I want you to know what to
look for, for yourself and your needs, explain power, discuss size and capabilities, tube vs solid
state and more...

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Let me start off by saying you have several amazing options today and your money goes
a lot further today than it did even 10-15 years ago. There's a ton of versatility out there. I know
it can be tough to know exactly what is right for you, especially if you are just starting out. Heck,
even if you are seasoned and looking for another amp, it can be very challenging. When I played professionally, I used to swap out amps, like underwear as I was always searching for the perfect tone. Believe me, I get it, but today, you can almost dial up just about anything with what's out there. I hope this video acts as a "crash course" checklist of things to keep in mind when you are amp shopping. Most of this applies to those amps $500 and below but also the pricier models in your future as well.

How much power are you going to need? 88 million jigawatts? No, I mean in your everyday practice. If it is going to be a practice amp, there are still a lot of options, even at this price point. Do you know what type of music you'll be playing? The setting? Indoors, outdoors, in the garage? When you answer all of these, you'll be much closer to a decision.

Are you planning to play mostly at home? Will there be another jamming along? (Is that dated to say?) Are you in a band and will you be gigging with this new amp? The rule of thumb has always been...if you are an at-home player, 10-50 watts will be more than adequate. If you're playing out or practicing with a full band, you should have 50-100 watts. Gotta keep up with the Jones. And by Jones, I mean that bass player with a giant rig or the drummer that plays full throttle or has not the concept of the word dynamics.

How portable is really the question to be answered? When I had roadies, I did not care, but when I was back in the original band, bar scene, huffing my own gear again, I sure did. Your home amps are generally smaller and don't move around too much unless the family is chasing you from room to room. The more portable the amp is, the less power typically, but not always so. There are smaller amps these days that will give you plenty of power to keep up with the band. You don't need a 1/2 stack, but keep the output in mind as well as what you can comfortably move around on a regular basis.

Do you mostly play acoustic or clean with no effects? Are you a bluesman or woman? Do you plan to be ripping heads off and need serious shred power? Crazy effects can be fun & when you get the hang of them you truly can create some really unique sounds. However, they are not always necessary and for some, just become a gadget you don't use. If you want a great clean channel with no effects, a simple, single-channel model will be fine. Might even give you a little more "power budget." And remember, you can always add effects later. But if you are experimental, make sure to test out one of the new modeling amps. The effect capabilities are insane.

You may or may not know, tube amps generally cost more as their manufacturing costs are greater, but it may be a must-have. Purists and Audiophiles love all things tube. The sound is unmistakably different. Tube amps typically have a warmer sound. I find they perform best "opened up" or Turned up and this makes for angry neighbors. I just don't think of them as practice amps. Solid-state amps can produce a wider range of effects and capabilities at lower "practice" volumes. Also, the newer modeling solid-state amps emulate the sound at lower and recording
levels if that's what you are doing. If you want the BIG and RAW sound of a classic tube amp, then, by all means, step up, it's all that you are doing with it.

With great power, comes responsibility....oh wait, I mean more expense. More power is typically more money & we all know, music can become an expensive habit/hobby. Like being a local race car driver. Will you need effects pedals in the future to get the sound you are really looking for? Be sure to figure out exactly what you want before making the "amp" decision. You may save a lot in the long run by going with a modeling amp or one with all the bells and whistles built-in. But maybe you want to slowly build your arsenal. Pedals are awesome too.

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