Guitar amplifiers have been shaping the sound of popular music for decades and are an essential piece of equipment for any guitarist.
On its own, an electric guitar may look cool and feel great to play but it won’t make a racket. Paired with the right guitar amp, an electric guitar can shake stadiums, enthral audiences and annoy neighbours. The sonic character of a guitar amp plays a major role in shaping your guitar tone and there are many different models out there, each with its own sound. From enormous full stacks to valve combo amps to compact digital practice amps, there’s an electric guitar amp out there that’ll be the perfect partner for your guitar.
We proudly stock one of the best selections of guitar amps in the UK, with popular brands such as Marshall, Vox, Fender, Orange, BOSS, Roland, Hughes & Kettner, Kemper and Line 6 in stock and ready to ship with next-day delivery. Having trouble deciding on the right guitar amp for you? Feel free to head down to our iconic Brighton store where you can try out our range of guitars and amps for yourself. You can also contact us online, over the phone and via email for friendly, expert advice.
Looking to complete your guitar rig? We also stock strings, guitar stands, straps, gigbags, cases, effects pedals, pedalboards and power supplies.
If you play the bass guitar or the keyboard, we also offer bass amplifiers and keyboard amplifiers so you can be heard on stage.
What is a guitar amp?
A guitar amplifier is an electronic device that combines a variety of components, including a preamp, power amp, cabinet and speaker. They amplify the electrical signal that comes from an electric guitar, bass guitar or acoustic guitar’s pickup so it can produce sound through the loudspeaker.
What are the different types of guitar amps?
Valve Amps - Valve amps (known in the States as tube amps) are the earliest form of guitar amp and are the preferred amp type of many professional guitarists. They use valves in their preamps and power amps, which give them a desirable warmth and touch sensitivity. When turned up loud, a valve amp delivers a pure, overdriven sound that is synonymous with players like Angus Young of AC/DC. Whilst they’re considered the “best” sounding amp by many players, valve amps can be heavy and require more maintenance than a solid-state or digital amp.
Solid State Amps - Solid-state amplifiers use transistors instead of valves to help produce their tone. As a result, they tend to be more affordable, lighter and more reliable. However, many guitarists believe that the benefits of a solid-state amplifier are outweighed by the tone, which some consider to be “colder” than a valve amp. A lot of players prefer the tone of solid-state amps like the Roland Jazz Chorus, due to their clean and clear sound. Bass amplifiers and acoustic amplifiers often use a solid-state design.
Modelling Amps - A modelling amplifier uses a combination of solid-state and digital technology to produce an extraordinarily wide range of tones. Amp modellers give you access to multiple flavours of guitar amp in one, making them incredibly versatile. Many also feature digital effects such as modulation, delay and reverb onboard whilst some can function like an audio interface.
Hybrid Amps - A hybrid amplifier combines valve and solid-state technology, with many using a valve somewhere in the signal path to introduce more warmth into the sound.
Combo Amps - A combo amplifier is a convenient way to amplify your guitar or bass. Because a combo amp has speakers built-in, all you need to do is plug your instrument in and turn it on. Famous combo amps include the Fender Twin Reverb, the Vox AC30 and the Marshall Bluesbreaker.
Amp Head - An amp head is like a combo amp but without speakers. To use an amp head, you need to plug in a speaker cabinet first or you can risk damaging it. Some guitarists prefer an amp head because you can easily change what speakers you use with it for a different tone. There’s no doubt that an amp head plugged into a cab (also known as a stack) looks cool onstage.
Headphone Amp - A headphone amp is a highly portable and convenient tool for the guitarist on the go. They plug into your guitar’s jack socket and are usually battery-powered so you experience plugged-in tones wherever you are. You’ll need to plug in a pair of headphones if you want to hear what you’re playing. Modern headphone amps feature modelling technology, built-in effects and Bluetooth so you can wirelessly stream music to them.
What’s the difference between a “clean” tone and a “dirty” tone?
A clean tone isn’t coloured with overdrive or distortion. Genres such as Funk, Pop, Country and Jazz tend to favour clean tones. A dirty tone uses overdrive or distortion to create a thicker, more saturated tone that’s ideal for Blues, Rock and Metal styles. A lot of guitar amps feature two channels - one clean and one with overdrive - to give you the best of both worlds.
Why do I need a guitar amp?
An amp is an essential piece of equipment if you’re an electric guitarist or bassist, as it’ll allow you to hear your instrument and how it’s meant to be heard. For many guitar players, the sound of an unplugged electric guitar isn’t anywhere near as inspiring as one plugged into an amp. Without an amp, you won’t be able to appreciate the character of your guitar’s tone and pickups. If you’re planning on playing with other people or performing live, you’ll need an amp you your guitar can be heard in the band mix.
How do I use a guitar amp?
Using a guitar amp is pretty simple. First, plug your guitar amp into a power source. Next, take your guitar and connect an instrument cable from your guitar’s output jack to the input of the amp. We recommend turning the volume all the way down before turning the amp on to avoid noise and potentially damaging your hearing. Once your guitar is plugged in, you can set the volume and EQ settings to taste.
Many guitar amps come with an EQ circuit, usually, with Treble, Mid and Bass controls. Treble controls the high-frequencies, Mid controls the mid-range frequencies and Bass controls the low frequencies. It’s worth setting all the knobs to 12 o’clock, where they won’t add or take away any frequencies. Then, for example, if you want a brighter tone you can turn up the Treble knob.
Do all amps work will all guitars?
If it’s a guitar amp, it should work with any electric guitar you plug into if you use an instrument cable. Electric guitars can also be plugged into a bass amp, with some guitarists favouring the clean sound and high headroom (how loud the amp can be before distorting. On the other hand, you should avoid plugging a bass guitar into an amp made for guitars, as the low frequencies can damage the speaker.