When buying your first guitar or bass guitar amplifier, budget, size and sound are probably the biggest determining factors in your purchase.
Most manufacturers have a complete line of amplifiers, starting from entry level unit combinations (combo) to full size double stacks (2 separate speaker enclosures with the amp on top). Solid state (transistors vs. tubes) are most common choices and affordable at all levels. The sound a person desires is the determining factor between these two choices.
Guitar amp size usually starts with an 8" speaker and a 15 watt power amp, "all in one" unit (combo). The amplifier control section should have channel switching (clean to distortion by pressing a switch or a gain & master volume control that can be overdriven for distortion). The amp should have at least 3 tone controls (Bass-Mid-Treble) to obtain a variety of sounds. A headphone input is also a useful feature, especially if you live in an apartment or like to practice late at night.
Bass amps are more simple in design. Usually they have a volume control and 3 tone controls. Entry level models are usually 20 watts with an 8" speaker. I recommend going with a larger model, as bass needs more wattage and a bigger speaker to "kick out" a good sound.
If you are jamming or going into a band you should be shopping in the 50 watt & up with a 12" speaker range. Bass players should be looking at 50 watts & up with a 12" - 15" speaker (and a graphic EQ if available).
Price-wise, guitar amps at the entry level will start at about $130.00 & up. Bass Amps slightly higher at $180.00 & up.
To sum up, determine your budget & size requirements. Visit Axe Music to plug in and try them out. Choose the one that sounds and feels right for you.
By: Kevin McDade
Guitar Amplifier Sales - Axe Edmonton
©1998 Axe Music Inc.