Differences between guitar tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers

Differences between guitar tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers

To be able to learn how to play a musical instrument one has to know all the intricate details of the device. For example, if you are playing the guitar, you need to have thorough knowledge of the different strings on the guitar, their positions, and the sounds they produce. You then have to know the different sounds that they produce when the holding frets in different positions. You also need to know how to handle the guitar itself. You need to know how to tune the instrument and how to store and carry the instrument.

Different categories of similar musical instruments are played in different ways and produce different sounds. Going back to the example of the guitar, there are many types of guitars and each of them has a unique quality that makes it stand out. The obvious differences between guitar categories are the differences between acoustic and electric guitars.

Acoustic guitars produce sound by amplifying sound through air while electric guitars depend on electrical technology to amplify the vibrational sounds of the guitar strings. Acoustic guitars have distinct differences in their designs and the materials that are used to make each guitar. These differences usually lead to major differences in the quality of sound produced by the guitar.

Amongst electric guitars, amplification is very important since it would be impossible to produce proper sound without electronic amplification. As such, to play the electric guitar, you need to have an amplifier. During the early days, guitarists used tube amplifiers to boost their sound. Later solid state amplifiers were introduced.

Solid state amplifiers amplify the sound through the use of electoral technology that depends on gadgets such as diodes and transistors. Solid state amplifiers are usually much cheaper to buy and maintain. They are also smaller and easy to carry around. They are more reliable than tube amplifiers.

Tube amplifiers however have the distinct advantage of being able to produce much better quality and more range. They are able to output louder sounds and they are able to manage clipping better. Experienced guitar maestros prefer the tube or valve amplifiers because of the smooth warmer sounds that they produce as compared to the mechanical sound produced by solid state amplifiers.

Many of the small time musicians or budding musicians who travel a lot for example rock bands on a road tour will normally prefer the solid state guitar amps because they are more affordable and they are more resilient. During musical tours the musical equipment is likely to be exposed rough treatment and a tube amplifier will get damaged easily. However, if the tour has personnel that is responsible for proper care of the appliances, a tube amplifier can be carried along.

One has to also remember that the upkeep of a tube amplifier is expensive. The tubes or amplifiers will occasionally need to be replaced due to wear and tear.

There are some guitar amplifiers that are hybrid builds since they employ some tube or valve technology and some solid state amplifier transistor technologies.

Differences between guitar tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers Credit Picture License: Kelly Tele Corner, July 13, 2012 via photopin cc