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26

As ZombieSheep explained, there are real technological reasons for it. The common terms for the phenomena he describes are: A tube (valve for you Brits) approaching or exceeding its maximum signal level creates distortion, a highly sought after effect in some circles. A solid state or digital circuit approaching or exceeding its maximum signal level ...


21

A talkbox is a small, self-contained amplifier and speaker assembly. There's a tiny little speaker in it and the speaker, instead of moving air in a room, moves the air in a plastic tube that it's sealed against. You run your guitar in to the talkbox and the plastic tube you insert in your mouth. So your mouth becomes a resonant cavity for the guitar sounds ...


21

In order to properly answer this question we need to identify that in the world of guitar effects there are three distinct ways to produce distortion (or clipping): overdrive, boost, and fuzz. Each has it's own unique characteristics. In addition, let's consider the three different ways to run a pedal + amplifier overdrive configuration: clean amp + pedal ...


17

I'd further qualify what ledfloyd has said: headroom defines the level you can obtain before the signal starts "clipping", that is: before the peaks begin to flatten out and resemble a square wave (the sound of which we call OD/distortion). Once your signal's clipping, not only does it distort, it compresses somewhat as well (due to the fact that you get ...


16

On older, two prong power cord Fenders, there's a 0.047 uF cap that you can switch in across the two power leads. It filters out some high frequency noise on the line. If the cap fails it can result in your amp's chasis, and your guitar, being connected directly to the mains. Possibly resulting in death. Here's a diagram for converting a 2-prong Fender to a ...


15

An important thing to note is the different types of valves can be changed independently of each other; eg: if you change the preamp valves you need not change the power amp valves etc. With power amp valves you will notice very quickly when one or more have gone. The amp will give out noticeable and unpleasant tones/white noises and will be reduced in ...


15

"Clean" tone is a relative term, especially when talking about tubes. Nearly all amplification circuits introduce artifacts into the waveform; what you put in is not 100% exactly the same as what you get out. Most solid-state circuitry can achieve a waveform that is 99.5% "similar" or better; that is, they achieve less than .5% total harmonic distortion or ...


14

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a PA speaker cabinet, especially if you plan to play amplified acoustic instruments through the rig. It might even produce a better overall sound with these. Guitar cabinets are designed for a very specific purpose - electric guitar amplification and thus have their construction optimised for this purpose. They ...


12

The others have already said yes and then listed time and money, I'll say yes but also tell you that it's actually not that hard if you take a different approach. First, I'll say that nothing comes close to a true rotating speaker in the room. Chorus is nice. Emulators are nice, especially if you can run them in stereo, but the Doppler effect can't be had ...


12

It is useful because it allows you to add effects to your sound after it has been through the amps EQ and pre-amp; What this means; the pre-amp can do its magic on a clean signal from your guitar; before effects are added. Adding effects which boost(overdrive/distortion) the signal into the effects loop can be dangerous for the amp, as the signal has ...


12

Ahhh, I got it now. Guitar Amp Basics has a little note at the bottom of the "Tone Controls" section explaining that the presence knob actually reduces negative feedback on the tubes for the frequencies above the treble-knob's range. Then I found The 'Presence' control? on "The Gear Page" in which John Phillips says: The negative feedback loop in an ...


12

No, it will not damage the speaker. The high tones of a guitar are simply not capable of damaging your bass amp. Even if the amp isn't really suitable for these high tones (and in many cases, they can actually play them just fine), the amp will perfectly survive them. No harm there. The other way around is a much worse idea, because deep bass tones tend to ...


11

If you're just starting out, I suggest you buy an "amp modeller" such as the Line 6 Pocket POD, which is very small and is sure to fit in. You can use this with headphones or plug it into your stereo and it will sound fine. It's not a guitar amplifier exactly - it's a device which simulates a guitar amplifier and produces an output suitable for home stereos ...


11

The "Hi" input attenuates the input signal, usually by between 10-15dB (about half to a third the original volume). The "Low" input will not do this. Different guitars and basses produce widely varying signal levels. This isn't just a passive vs active thing; plug a vintage-voiced Strat into the amp, then a PAF-voiced Les Paul; you'll have to turn the gain ...


11

Technically, any head or combo has both a preamp and a poweramp. They're just words to describe particular types of electronic circuits. The preamp's job is to amplify your guitar's signal to a level strong enough to drive an output circuit. Generally this means amplifying the signal's voltage. They typically also have tone stacks to control ...


10

It is so the speaker is pointed more towards your head than your feet and so you can hear yourself better. If a small combo-amp is on the ground, the sound has to bounce quite a bit to actually get to your ears and if you are at a band practice or a gig it may mean bandmates can hear you better than you can hear yourself. If your speaker is pointed at your ...


9

In addition to @DRL's good answer, another use for the effect loop on an amp is to provide access to the power-amp in, avoiding the tone-messing-up circuitry, when you're using some modeling effects. For instance: I have a Pod X3, which was Line6's bad-boy floor unit until recently. A modeler simulates the chain of effects, preamp, amp, cabinet, speakers, ...


9

It is good to note that the difference between an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. The acoustic guitar is the full instrument. The electric guitar is only one half of an instrument, the electric guitar and the electric guitar amplifier is the full instrument. The electric guitar signals are raw and needs to be processed by the electric guitar ...


9

Here are some generalizations about the basic factors influencing speaker cabinets: open-back vs closed-back: An open-back cabinet will sound louder, bigger, and looser, while a closed-back cabinet won't have as much volume, but will sound tighter and more focused. speaker size: The bigger the cone, the better it will reproduce bass frequencies, but the ...


9

It is actually nowhere near as dangerous as you might think, as long as you keep the volume relatively low. You won't get an ideal frequency response, as a guitar amp is designed for the frequencies a guitar produces, but it will do as a stop-gap until you get a suitable amp. The reason for keeping the volume lower than you might want to is that the large ...


9

Although watts actually are a pretty decent way to predict the loudness of an amp, it's worth understanding what the listed wattage of an amp means. Remember that an amp is designed first and foremost to amplify the input signal, and that for many applications, it's desirable that the amp do so while keeping the signal as clean as possible. So an amp's ...


8

The pre-amp valves do exactly that; they pre-amplify the signal from you guitar to a level high enough to be consumed by the power valves; tone adjustable's such as EQ, pre-amp gain and presence are all part of the pre-amp section, this is all done with analogue circuitry and the pre-amp valves amplify and apply gain to the result of you dialling your tone ...


8

It's much too long to quote, so I'll link to Myles Rose's paper about the Phase Inverter and quote this: Before you go to a pricy output set of tubes and a possible need to rebias the amp think about a simple phase inverter change. There are no amp adjustments necessary when you change the phase inverter. It makes sense that the phase inverter is very ...


8

You have two options. You can try to simply push the preamp harder, or you can try to put a separate distortion unit in front. The first option involves using a booster pedal. It does not have to be a dedicated one - I know folks who simply use an OD pedal, such as the Boss SD-1 or OD-3, roll down the drive and turn up the level. The idea is that the ...


8

Have a look at this question - I think that although full solid state amps are slowly getting better at emulating Valve aps, there is a definite something about a Valve amp that works well with guitar, whereas a solid state amp is generally more clinical. More obviously, when cranking up the drive/input gain, a Valve amp tends to produce a warmer ...


8

They assume different signal levels so have different levels of gain in the pre-amp. In fact on some amps the low input has a pre-amp but the high just goes directly into the main amp. This is to cope with the fact that instruments can have very different output signal levels, but it can also be used to change the tone of the sound produced.


8

Most guitar amps have two amplification stages: The pre-amp which takes the very low signal levels output by the guitar and amplifies them to a higher level, approximately like line-level. The power-amp which takes the line-level signal and further amplifies it to drive the speaker. These are separate since different design considerations are important ...



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