Picking an electric guitar is only half of a big decision then you must also decide on a Guitar Amplifier (if it wasn’t a package deal). It helps to understand the different types of guitar amplifiers available.

Vacuum Tube Guitar Amplifiers

Vacuum tubes (valves) were by far the dominant active electronic components in most guitar amplifiers until the 1970s, when semiconductors (transistors) started taking over . These amplifiers are still used because of sound quality and you can read more here Vacuum Tube Guitar Amplifiers

Solid State Guitar Amplifiers

Most inexpensive guitar amplifiers currently produced are based on semiconductor (solid state) circuits, and some designs incorporate tubes in the preamp stage for their subjectively warmer overdrive sound. Tubes create warm overdrive sounds because instead of cutting the peaked signal off, they more or less pull the peaked audio information back (like natural compression) which creates a fuzzy overdrive sound. While this is a desirable attribute in many cases, the tube’s characteristic will “color” all the sounds at any volume, unlike solid state.

Solid-state amplifiers vary in output power, functionality, size, price, and sound quality in a wide range, from practice amplifiers to professional models. Some inexpensive amplifiers have only a single volume control and a one or two tone controls.

Hybrid Guitar Amplifiers

A tube power amp may be fed by a solid-state pre-amp circuit, as in the Fender Super Champ XD and the Roland Bolt amplifier, which is thereby classed as a ‘hybrid’ amp. Randall Amplifier’s current flagship models, the V2 and T2, use hybrid amp technology. Alternatively, a tube pre-amp can feed a solid state output stage, as in models from Kustom and Vox.

This approach dispenses with the need for an output transformer and allow modern power levels to be easily achieved.

Modeling Guitar Amplifiers

Modeling amplifiers use amplifier modeling to simulate the sound of well-known guitar amps, cabinets, and effects, as well as simulating the way traditional speaker cabinets sound when mixed with different types of microphones. They may also be an original creation not meant to simulate any particular real world guitar amp at all, instead allowing the user to create their own unique sound.

Such as the original creations of companies like AcmeBarGig or Peavey. This is usually achieved through digital processing, although there are analog modeling amps as well, such as the Tech 21 Trademark. Modeling technology offers several advantages over traditional amplification.

A modeling amp typically is capable of a wide range of tones and effects, and offers cabinet simulation, so it can be recorded without a microphone. Most modeling amps digitize the input signal and use a DSP, a dedicated microprocessor, to process the signal with digital computation. Some modeling amps incorporate vacuum tubes, digital processing, and some form of power attenuation.

Guitar Amps For Bass or Specific Music Genres

Hard rock-style guitar amplifiers, which often include pre amplification controls, tone filters, and distortion effects that provide the amplifier’s characteristic tone. Users of these amplifiers use the amplifier’s tone to add “drive”, intensity, and “edge” to their guitar sound. Amplifiers of this type, such as Marshall amplifiers, are used in a range of genres, including hard rock, metal, and punk.

Bass amplifiers, with extended bass response and tone controls optimized for bass guitars (or more rarely, for upright bass). Higher-end bass amplifiers sometimes include compressor or limiter features, which help to keep the amplifier from distorting at high volume levels, and an XLR DI output for patching the bass signal directly into a mixing board. Bass amplifiers are often provided with external metal heat sinks or fans to help keep the amplifier cool.

“Traditional” guitar amplifiers, with a clean, warm sound, a sharp treble roll-off at 5 kHz or less and bass roll-off at 60–100 Hz, and often built-in reverb and tremolo (“vibrato”) units. These amplifiers, such as the Fender “Tweed”-style amps, are often used by traditional rock, blues, and country musicians. Traditional amps have more recently become popular with musicians in indie and alternative bands

Acoustic amplifiers, similar in many ways to keyboard amplifiers but designed specifically to produce a “clean,” transparent, “acoustic” sound when used with acoustic instruments with built-in transducer pickups and/or microphones.

Acoustic Guitar Amplifiers

These amplifiers are designed to be used with acoustic guitars, especially for the way these instruments are used in relatively quiet genres such as folk and bluegrass. They are similar in many ways to keyboard amplifiers, in that they have a relatively flat frequency response, and they are usually designed so that neither the power amplifier nor the speakers will introduce additional coloration.

To produce this relatively “clean” sound, these amplifiers often have very powerful amplifiers (providing up to 800 watts RMS), to provide additional “headroom” and prevent unwanted distortion. Since an 800 watt amplifier built with standard Class AB technology would be very heavy, some acoustic amplifier manufacturers use lightweight Class D amplifiers, which are also called “switching amplifiers.”

Acoustic amplifiers are designed to produce a “clean”, transparent, “acoustic” sound when used with acoustic instruments with built-in transducer pickups and/or microphones. The amplifiers often come with a simple mixer, so that the signals from a pickup and microphone can be blended.

Since the early 2000s, it has become increasingly common for acoustic amplifiers to be provided with a range of digital effects, such as reverb and compression. As well, these amplifiers often contain feedback-suppressing devices, such as notch filters or parametric equalizers.