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Guitar Amplifier Heads

Buying Guide: Instrument Amplifiers
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Electric guitars are undeniably one of the most popular instruments in the entire world. They've found their way into nearly every culture and genre, which has the very welcome side-effect of guitars having the widest breadth of choices around when it comes to accessories. That naturally includes guitar amplifier heads, and there are tons of options here to suit any playing style, genre, instrument or preference. Every serious guitar player should definitely have at least one amp head in his or her collection.

When you're deciding on an amp, one of the most important things to figure out is whether you'll go for a solid-state or vacuum tube design. Each of these has pros and cons, so it's really a matter of matching it to your needs. For example, tubes are the undisputed kings of vintage tone, and tons of guitarists swear by them. On the other hand, solid-state circuitry is lower-maintenance and delivers a clearer, more technical sound, which is ideal for touring and precise play. There are also amplifier heads that sit on the fence, like hybrid designs, which usually combine a tube preamp with a solid-state power amp. Another interesting concept is the modeling amp: these are designed to accurately replicate the tone of classic amplifiers, so it's as if you have a whole collection of vintage amps compressed into one.

Apart from the electronics that they're based on, another defining feature of amplifier heads is the power level they put out. More often than not, this corresponds directly to the speaker cabinets you're going to plug in. The bigger the venue and the bigger the drivers, the larger and more powerful the amp head to power them. In light of that, it might be confusing as to why some models, like the 5W Randall RD5H Diavlo, are so small. The answer is actually quite simple: these low-powered amps are the perfect ones to use in the studio or at a jam session, plugged directly into a mixer or a compact speaker. This way you can still have the tone-shaping benefits of a dedicated amp head even in situations where high power just isn't necessary.

Considering how many different places and methods there are for playing guitar, there are lots of reasons to own not just one amplifier head, but several. Whether you decide to pick out the most versatile head possible for multi-purpose use or to equip yourself with a whole collection of purpose-built models for every situation is up to you. What really matters is that you've got the flexibility to make those choices thanks to the impressive selection of amp heads available here.

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