Sep 3 2009

Amp Shopping and other fun…

by Josh

A bit ago I began shopping for a new guitar amplifier, shortly after my buddy Paul picked up a Fender Super Champ XD Guitar Combo Amp.  This amp has a lot of cool features… its all tube, meaning it uses vacuum tubes to produce certain desirable sound patterns.  HowStuffWorks has a nice primer on what the different types of tubes mean.  In addition, the Super Champ XD has some really great voicings on it, which replicate different pedal effects right on the amp.

Conflicting Advice

I’ve been polling my friends and family about what amps they like, and I found a very similar pattern to the advice I got when I was shopping for electric guitars: it seems to be a matter of personal preference.  My coworker, Greg, really likes 15-watt Class A tube amps.  He seems to think that most people don’t need over 30-watt, he seems to think one could play a pretty sizable bar and not have much of a problem with an amp that size.

One of my other coworkers, David, really likes Peavey amps.  This gels very closely with my cousin John’s recommendation, the 60-watt Peavey Vypyr. This amp is clearly more amp than I actually need right now, but the modest difference in price gets a bunch of additional features: a built-in chromatic tuner, simultaneous effects, a built-in looper, and output jacks that let me record if I wanted to.  On top of all that, its a tube amp which means its going to be loud, clear, and awesome.

Finally, there’s Vox.  The reason I appreciate Vox amps is for their connection to The Beatles, one of my favorite bands.  They’re expensive though… to get a decently sized amp its prohibitively expensive.  There is a practice sized amp that looks nice: 4-watt Vox AC4TV. It’s a little on the smallish side, but I might hold that one as a secondary amp that I can take around that has the extra tube power.

So I’m going to head around to the local guitar shops and try some out this weekend!  Fun stuff!