Guitar amplifiers take the weak electrical signal from a guitar pickup and boosts the signal to drive one or more speakers. There are two configurations of guitar amplifiers. “Combo” amplifiers include an amplifier and house one or more loudspeakers in a wooden cabinet. Standalone amplifiers (known as the “head”) don’t include a loudspeaker(s) but instead pass the amplified signal to one or more external speaker cabinets via a speaker cable.
There are several types of guitar amplifier: Tube amps (also known as valve amps) use vacuum tubes to increase the amplitude of a signal. Solid-state amps use transistors and diodes to amplify the signal. There are then hybrids which utilize a combination of the two.
Guitar amps are specifically voiced to make a guitar sound good, and Amp heads come in different power ranges and sizes. Some are very plain, some have bells and whistles, but they all must be paired with the correct 'Ohm-age' of cabinet.
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A combo amplifier contains both the amplifier head and speaker cabinet in one intergrated unit.
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