Guitar Practice Amps - The importance of having a guitar practice amp can not be overstated. It can be a very helpful tool in the studio and out of the studio. If you are just starting out with your skills as a guitarist and you don't have any guitar practice amps, then there is no better time than now to get one! This article will go over a few different things that you should know before you buy one.
Headphones Jack - There's nothing quite like a good pair of solid headphones to really let you know how you're doing. It sounds almost too simple and it really is. Many times I'll play something in the background while I'm practicing and simply press my right ear to listen. If the headphones give a good level of noise then the guitar is getting its sound from somewhere. A quality set of electronic drum headphones will eliminate this problem leaving you free to play what you want.
Tube amp + preamp + cabinet - Tube amps give you a ton of options in terms of toning but also in terms of what you can do with it. The standard guitar practice amp will give you clean tones but unfortunately not a lot of tone. You can go with a combo amp or a true tube amp. The tube amp will give you the tones but you have to turn up the volume because of all the tubes inside.
Preamp + cabinet - These are the most popular choices amongst guitarists. Basically the preamp has inputs for all of your cables. The cabinets on the other hand will give you a lot of versatility in terms of what you can do with your guitar. You can run all of your cables through these and not have to worry about messing with individual cables. What also happens with these is that you can run both input/output jacks from the cabinet which will give you more options than you could possibly have with just a single practice amp.
Headphones - If you have sensitive ears, then a good practice amp is going to get you very clean sounds. However, if you tend to fry your face when playing fast then it's not really worth it. The best practice amps out there have separate monitor speakers. The reason that this is the case is that you don't want to accidentally get the amp into your neighbor's amplifier. Most of the time, separate monitor speakers are only available through reputable manufacturers. You should always try to stick with reputable companies for your headphone models.
Presets - For some people, preset systems are simply not enough. If you think you will ever want to change your sounds then a good thing to do is go with a series of presets that come with the guitar. For example, the Spider V 30 MIDI iRig comes with eight different sounds, all of them optimized for different kinds of play. In addition to that, it has three different types of effects so that you can easily find the sound that works best for your style.
Amps - One of the best things about these guitar practice amps is that they actually measure the wattage of your guitar. If you choose an amp with no wattage measurement, then you'll end up with a bunch of watts that aren't even close to what your amplifier is rated for. You really need to be able to hear the difference between actual power and watts when listening to a demo of a product. The amount of power that your amplifier draws will directly affect the quality of sound that you get out of it. The most common wattages that you will find are six, eight, ten, and twelve watts.
Speakers - These days you can pick up guitar speakers that will allow you to blast out great low frequencies. While not crucial to getting the best sound, low frequencies are necessary for effective lead work. As a side note, I strongly suggest using a power source because unplugged speakers are almost guaranteed to overload your battery. It's a good idea to make sure your speakers can handle the power that you're going to be throwing at them. All guitarists should spend the time it takes to figure out the specifications of their instrument, but once you have a little nudge in the right direction, it won't be long before you're ready to pick out the best practice amps.