Practice Guitar Amps Top 10

Questions and Answers

What kind of guitar amp should i get?

I want to upgrade from my starter amp, which is a stagg 15 watt. I need an amp that is good for metal/rock. Im either debating on a marshall or line 6, i dont want to spend more than 200 on an amp. Any suggestions?

Posted by this guy
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Hello there,

Most beginners underestimate the importance of the amp and speakers in the sound. I am not a fan of the small practice amps (10 to 20 watts) the speakers in those make you sound thin and tinny. I suppose you have already discovered that, or at least will when you get a better amp.

If your budget is $200, that will be a tight budget if you buy a new amp. If you buy a used amp, you can get a good amp for $200. I always suggest a used 1×12 combo amp from Fender, Vox, Crate, Marshall, Peavey or Line 6. The 1x12s from those brands are all decent amps. Check your local want ads, craigslist and eBay for the best deal you can find. In case you do not know, a combo amp is where the amplifier and speakers are in the same cabinet. 1×12 means it as one 12 inch speaker.

I have a Line 6 Spider III 2×12. I like it. I have concerns about whether the computer part is durable enough to hold up to the rigors and abuse of heavy gigging; For playing around the house, it is nice. One thing about Line 6 that annoys me is the footswitch. They advertise all the built in amp models. However without the proper footswitch, you cannot access them. You can only access 4 basic channels.. The FBV-2, FBV-4 and the FBV Express pedals only allow you to move between the 4 basic channels. You have to buy the Shortboard to access the other models. The Shortboard sells used for around $150; With your budget, all you will get is the amp with the 4 channels. The amp does sound decent and has some classic amps models for the 4 channels. If you have never played on any of the amps upon which those are based, you will think they sound just like them. If you have actually played on those amps. You will realized the sound is not all that close.

I see used 1×12 and 2×12 combos selling on eBay frequently at very attractive prices.

Marshall. I am biased. I have a vintage Marshall Lead combo. So I don't think the new stuff sounds as good.. Of course, I don't think the new Fender stuff sounds as good as my old black face amp either. That said, there is a Marshall 50 watt 1×12 that is decent. Fender has a couple in that range. The Stage 1×12 and the Frontman 1×12 (FM 100 I think it is) are both decent.

I think the best idea for you is to search for the best deals on a used combo. If you find one that is interesting and affordable, go to Harmony Central and read the user reviews about that model. Then you wiill have a better idea if that particular amp is what you want. I suppose those brands have put out a bad 1s12, but I cannot think of one off the top of my head.

Later,

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Questions and Answers

What type of electric guitar should i get?

I really would like to get an electric guitar this summer so that instead of being bored I can play. I haven't played before but I am really interested. Is there specific types of guitars, and whats the difference between bass, treble, and all of that stuff. (Is it the way it sounds??) btw its for a 13 year old.

Posted by Heidi
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Most beginners are going to start out with a squier strat pack. It's not necessarily a terrible instrument but I personally don't care much for them. They are maligned by all the problems associated with a beginner guitar. Bad fret work, bad hardware, substitution of lower grade wood, cheap pickups. The list can go on, if you are really picky about this stuff. I make them sound like the plague, but a beginner probably couldn't tell the difference right away. Anyways the nicer models that squier offers are much nicer, than their basic affinity line. Also, its a fact that many beginning guitarist quit because they had a terribly set up instrument.

Http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/produ…

the above link is an example of one of their nicer guitars. The finish is actually quite good.

Acoustics are great simply because you concentrate on playing and not fiddling with amps, and pedals. Another benefit is increased finger strength because the strings are thicker. Although on my guitar I just put on .10 gauge electric strings. Makes for the same playability as an electric guitar if set up well.

While i own and play an acoustic they have a whole different set of variables. So this is something you have to consider early on. Acoustic electric or straight acoustic. Yamaha makes some really nice affordable guitars. Remember that the sonic goals are very different from an electric guitar. Usually you want that nice sparkling top end.

Also, I like to advocate smaller brands that don't get any attention from beginners. Most people looking to purchase a new guitar mainly look at Ibanez, squier, epiphone. All decent guitars but their beginner guitars offer low cost at the expense of quality control and grade of components.

You can't go wrong with a strat or a les paul. Traditionally a strat should be made of alder and can have either maple or rosewood fingerboards. Les pauls usually will have mahogany bodies with a rosewood fingerboard. Having said that, look at musiciansfriend.com and you will notice that guitars usually don't have this once you start looking at about the 300 for epiphone and 350 for squier. Tonewood is important because that is the one thing you cannot later upgrade or swap you are stuck with it forever. You might not even notice but, it is something to consider. It really changes the tonality and resonance of the instrument.

Rondomusic.com is a great reputable site that i haver personally used. They offer great guitars at an affordable price. Stick to the brand agile and you will surely get a great instrument.

Here is their variant on the les paul, not too many of that type around. Thick meaty sounds available. Good all around guitar, known for use in rock and roll.

Http://www.rondomusic.com/al2000csb.html

and here is a cool take on a strat. Almost every company has made some sort of strat is their history. I like rosewood fingerboards, but maple is fine too. Maple will be brighter. Strats have the added benefit of having a tremolo system. I block it with a piece of cork that i cut in two. This is something you can look into, changes sound slightly and disables trem. It makes for a more stable guitar, especially if your trem springs are not set up well.

Http://www.rondomusic.com/st802rn3ts.htm…

also i understand that you will have a limited budget. Spend as much as possible towards the guitar. If that means going without an amp that is fine. For practicing purposes you'll live. A good guitar is plenty resonant for practicing purposes. Cheap amps have little resale value, and you will outgrow them rapidly.

The things above are things that i personally look for when i want a guitar. Pickups matter, but that is something that you will learn to discern later on. That is a completely different can of worms altogether. As long as the craftsmanship is there, and the tone woods are good you will be fine. Amps and pickups, and guitar pedals are part of the fun but this is something that should be part of a long term investment. I spent 400 for a used Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp, and at least 350 for pedals some of them used. I got a great deal on a blemished raven West strat for about 210 on ebay. This is not counting the mistakes along the way on bad gear choices made as a beginner.

I know its a lot more info than you probably need, but i would hate to see you make the same mistakes i did. Guitar is a long term commitment. If you really want to learn the initial investment will pay off.

Questions and Answers

Help me decide which guitar to get?

I have never bought an electric guitar before, so I am trying to decide over a squier bullet strat (HSS), a squire classic vibe tele 50's, a squire classic vibe tele custom, or a standard tele. I like the tone of the humbuckers, but i also like the clean tone of the single coils. I like the tone that the Foo Fighters have and Dave Grohl has humbuckers on his guitars. But I also like the clean tone that Keith Urban has and he plays telecasters. I would probably play rock, blues, reggae, and country. Also, I have no idea what kind of amp to buy. Nothing too big or too expensive. Heres a link to all of the guitars: Http://www.squierguitars.com/products/se… Thanks!

Posted by Mack
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Hello there,

Strange mix of choices. You have a low end Squier Strat in the Bullet. You have a near top of the Squier line in the Classic Vibe and the Squier Standard is near top of the line. The Bullet will cost less than half the price of the others. The other two are far better guitars. The Bullet is the only one with a tremolo bridge. So if you want a whammy bar you need to go with a Strat.

Most beginners under estimate the importance of the amp and speakers in how they will sound. They worry about selecting the best guitar and figure any cheap amp will do. It does not work lke that. You only sound as good as your speakers, no matter what guitar you have. A great guitar played through a lousy amp or lousy speakers will sound lousy. The small practice amps that are 10 to 25 watts are simply lousy. They have either a 6 or 8 inch speaker that will make you sound thin and tinny. There is more to the power rating of an amp than how loud it will get. It takes more power to handle gain and distortion than most newer players realize. A low power amp will run out of head room if you try to use gain and distortion. That leads to a lousy sound. I believe the 1×12 combo amp is best for beginners. The 12 inch speaker will give you a richer fuller sound. With at least 30 watts of power, the amp will handle some gain and distortion. Also many small practice amps have no built in effects. When you play rock, you use effects. If the amp does not have them built in, you buy separate pedals to get those effects. It is easy to have a few hundred dollars tied up in pedals.

A good amp for a beginner is the Fender Mustang II. It is a 40 watt 1×12 modeling amp. That means it is very versatile in how it will sound. It has many built in effects saving the cost of buying pedals. The 12 inch speaker has a good rich tone. At 40 watts it is going to handle gain and distortion very well. New it costs $200.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOui83Gh9…

Buy yourself a decent amp. Then with what is left of your budget get the best quality guitar you can. Buying used guitars is a good way to stretch your money. Used sell for about half the cost of new.

Later,

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