Talk:Instrument amplifier

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Marshall Stack[edit]

What!?! No Marshall Stack?

Denied! -- (PowerGamer6)

Granted. Part of my de-Poindexterization Refactoring project. Guitar amplifier MichaelSHoffman 09:01, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Solid-state vs. Tube[edit]

"Most amplifiers that are used with electric guitars use vacuum tubes, mainly because solid state amplifiers haven't been able to achieve the type of sound that most guitar players prefer."

AFAIK this is simply not true -- my understanding is that the vast majority of electric guitar amplifiers are transistor amplifiers and do not use tubes.

Please sign your posts on talk pages. Agree that the vast majority are now solid-state, but valves (tubes) seem to be a status symbol and many guitarists prefer them, and they're more expensive both to buy and to maintain so they tend to be more common on the top-of-the-line amps. I don't see the point myself, the so called "valve sound" was lacking from the earliest transistor amplifiers, certainly, but as soon as the FET came along the clean sounds available on top line valve and solid state gear became identical to my ears. As for distortion, it's a bit ironical that people who rave about the all-germanium Big Muff (and I own one) also rave about the distortion available on a 12AX7 tube (and I've owned many). Horses for courses, but IMO there are good distortions available suitable for any situation without needing tubes. Just my POV. Andrewa 03:08, 5 October 2005 (UTC)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:15, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Radio reception[edit]

Weird thing happened today. On my guitar, there's a switch on the top of the body, in the same place that is would be on a Les Paul, that gives it different types of distortion. It also has three knobs which control some other shit, like humbucker volumes and amp volumes and such. So I set my switch to the up position, and I wanted to play clean, so I start screwin around with the knobs, when I started to hear a voice. At first I thought it was the movie my parents were watching, but then I realized that the movie was much louder than this, so I thought it might have been my alarm clock, cause it has a radio on it, too. But my alarm clock was not on the radio. So I lean towards my amplifier, and the voice gets louder. So I crank my volume up, and I realized I was receiving radio signals. At first it kind of freaked me out, cause he was talkin this shit about like the Bush administration and doomsday and world war 3... but then he said "Newswatch Magazine", so I Googled it, and it looks like it's some sort of preaching radio station in the States. But I live in Canada, so WTF? Does anybody know why the hell I was receiving American radio signals through my amplifier? If I tilted the guitar, I also heard this song, which seemed to be looping, as this went on for like 20 minutes, and every time I tilted it, I would hear this song, about like a door to the heart or something... Anyway, I wanted to know if it can be put in the article that it's possible to receive radio signals on a guitar amplifier... (PowerGamer6 04:51, 14 April 2006 (UTC))


Most manufacturs of guitaramps uses different definitions of distortions für their amps. Can someone tell exactly what the names are for and what are the exactly diferences: GAIN, DIST, DRIVE, BOOST? --Freundlich 08:27, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Excellent question! Just as we have descriptions of what the various controls do on a vibrato unit or a Fender Jaguar, we should have a section here on typical amp controls.
Those you mention are all most often gain controls! There's no standard convention. VOLUME, LEVEL, PAD and MASTER are also used as labels on gain controls, and there are probably others. The effect of a gain control depends on its position in the signal path.
Gain could mean anything. Dist will be early in the signal path, and will be followed by a stage designed to go into overdrive (distortion) as the gain is increased, so the main effect of the dist control is on the sort of sound rather than its loudness. Drive and boost could mean anything. Volume is likely to be late in the circuit, and effect the loudness rather then the sort of sound.
I've used loudness to mean output level here, but hifi amps often have a LOUDNESS control, which combines a level control with an EQ to compensate for the change in level, in an attempt to give the same apparent tone at different listening levels.
Hmmm. Perhaps we should start by describing some actual examples of notable amps... the four amps already pictured might be a good start, as I can provide close-up pictures of the control layouts and verify first-hand what each control does, both electronically and creatively. And they provide examples of four very different amplifiers, of four notable brands. We should add a Marshall as the fifth!
It will be a while before I can get to this, anyone else want to have a go? Andrewa 07:26, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Done; that is, started, and ready for expansion. -- MichaelSHoffman 21:32, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Proposal: Break out Guitar-dedicated articles[edit] MichaelSHoffman 20:48, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

The refactoring is in-progress. MichaelSHoffman 03:32, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

The refactoring is done. MichaelSHoffman 08:49, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Tube Drawbacks?[edit]

I think the overall "tone" of the article concerning tube amps could be a little misleading with regards to how much trouble they are.

1. There is little in the section on solid-state amps about their possible drawbacks and desirability. Overall, I think the concensus is that they are very desirable for some applications and undesirable for others.

2. The drawbacks list in the tube section makes it seem as though tube amps are troublesome monstrosities. The fact is that well-made tube amps of past and present can be extremely reliable and rugged if set up properly and can literally last forever if they are of point-to-point or eyelet or turret board (rather than PC board) construction. I would say that more than "many" but "most" old Fender amps even back to the early 50s are still in service because of this. (Note that this is not true of many modern consumer tube amps which are much harder to rebuild after years of wear).

3. Thanks to online parts and amp kits, more and more handy musicians are building and maintaining their own high-quality tube amps. With care and feeding of both guitar and amp becoming part of some musicians' regimen, the "problems" associated with tube amplification seem now to be more under the heading of "maintaining your gear". Of course, these musicians avoid the high cost of hand-wiring the amp by doing it themselves, which is why well-built (boutique?) tube amps are generally prohibitive in cost today. WeberVST, an online vendor, has a wide selection of amp kits for prices that would equal or better the high-end solid-state amps and even the consumer tube amps currently for sale. Sound quality is, of course, subjective, but I suspect many of their kits sound magnificent as compared with consumer offerings.

Finally, to comment upon a point above, to me nothing sounds like a good tube...when it is turned up to the point at which compression and later distortion occur. I include modeling amps in this. At lower volumes (clean amplification) I agree that all good amps have similar sound quality. 20:47, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

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