If you are in the market for a new tube amplifier, it is important that you educate yourself about the various types, brands, and models currently on the market. This is very important as there is no one type of amp that will fit everyone. So, here is a brief guide to help you out when it comes time to make that all important buying decision. Keep in mind that this is only a brief overview and there is really a lot to think about when it comes to buying amplifiers.
Myth: All solid-state amps are equal. This simply is not the case. In fact, there are two myths to bust when it comes to shopping around for cheap solid-state amps... Firstly, wattage by itself isn't an accurate indicator of sound quality. If you are used to basing your audio output level on absolute solid-state wattage (which usually is in the 150-watt range for most small-to-medium sized venues) you will be pleasantly surprised at the difference as far as sound quality is concerned.
Most solid-state amps have several different tube amps mixed into them to provide a variety of different tone combinations. However, not all tubes go into all of these amps. Some are better known for their tonal qualities, some for their pure power, and some for their smoothness and extended tone. The thing is that when people say "tube amps" they really mean "amplifiers with tubes".
The next myth to bust is that solid-state amps do not build up distortion. In actuality, all solid-state amps do build up distortion; the distortion is mostly caused by mismatched power supplies. Amps with mismatched power supplies can create uneven voltage across the triode. Mismatched power supplies can also cause high levels of distortion which can actually effect the tone of your guitar.
The final myth to bust is that solid-state amps are too expensive. This is a tough one! First off, you don't need an expensive solid-state amp if you have a cheap guitar or a trusty old amp that already sounds good. There is no reason to spend more than you have to on an amplifier that will just break and give you low quality sound. On the other hand, if you have an expensive guitar, an audiophile quality amp is definitely worth the extra cash.
The last myth to bust is that solid-state amps do not come in very many different sizes. They do not! In actuality, they come in all kinds of sizes, and are designed specifically for the style of sound you want from your guitar. You can use them in any style of guitar, and mix and match the amps to suit your playing style. As a result, you get a really versatile amp that will go great with any guitar.
So, there you have it. The top 3 cheap tube amplifier myths are wrong. You don't need a top of the line amp if you already have a reliable solid-state guitar. You can get a cheap tube amplifier if you choose the right one for your musical goals. You can get an audiophile quality sound for just a few bucks. That's quite the Bargain!
The bottom line? It doesn't matter where you get your guitar parts. If you are buying online, save the receipt and file it in the box. If you buy from a local shop, ask the owner for help so that you can be sure that you are getting the right components. And, above all else, have fun with your guitar playing. You'll soon realize that getting a cheap tube amplifier is just as rewarding as building one!