There is a lot of sentiment expressed about guitar amps, especially the tube variety, that have been knocking around (and knocked around) since the 1950s. Ever since Leo Fender designed the very first commercially available Yaqin amplifier, guitarists have developed a love affair with tube /valve guitar amps, which on the face of it appears to defy logic or reason, but why should logic or reason apply to artistic expression. The essential form of tube amps has changed very little since those early designs in the fifties and sixties, enhancements yes but the basics are the same.
As one article put it:…”Just how could it be that a 1950’s design got it so right that it must be still relevant today? Was it luck? Or were they created by geniuses throughout the day? I like to think it’s a bit of both…nearly all players prefer valve designs for their guitar amplifiers, and there are a few good reasons for this particular”
Is it really so black and white, did they have it right first-time and haven’t been able to enhance into it since or are there other aspects worth considering. Whatever they did was build amps using the only technology available during the time. The guitarists of times pushed the technology towards the limits and beyond, developing their SOUND. Once the guitar amp didn’t meet the guitarists expectations they modified or added enhancements to accomplish their sound (such enhancements including making holes within the amp speakers) When the electronic revolution which had been the solid state amp arrived inside the late sixties, there was clearly no competition, the warmer richer sound from the valves was desirable to the serious guitarists towards the “harsher” or maybe more “brittle” sound from the China speaker.
It’s well known that there was still an obvious audible distinction between tube amps and solid state amps, particularly when a tube amp was pushed hard and being played by way of a blues guitarist. The soft clipping overdrive “tone” of a tube amp was most noticeable with a blues guitar players’ particular kind of playing. Although it could be difficult to differentiate the clean setting of a tube guitar amp (without overdrive) more than a solid state amp, or even the high gain setting of the tube guitar amp with this of any solid state amp.
Audible differences apart will it be also incorrect that most serious players developed “their sound” on the tube guitar amp and unless something emerged which sounded better than a tube guitar amp their preference would always be for the tube amp. These people could afford any additional expense and therefore the sentimental attachments. Taking into consideration the rate of continuing development of the microelectronic industry (they are able to put 2 billion transistors into an area small compared to a guitar pick) has got the time not arrived when the tube amp might might finally be superseded.
Speaking to the younger emerging players of today there seems to be a preference for the latest modeling guitar amps. Obviously expense is definitely a factor and emerging artists are usually strapped for money, but simply like their guitar heroes in the sixties and seventies, they’ll improvise, develop their sound, but unlike their heroes they’ll have the ability to vtoyrs that sound and perhaps a few others on the press of the mouse. The modeling guitar amp enables the guitarist to produce multiple sounds replicating the noise of a variety of Cayin amplifier. One guitar amp can be created to seem like any vintage tube guitar amp and the setting save and implemented in the press of a button. The content quoted earlier also stated:
“Each time a new design becomes available that sounds a lot better than an excellent guitar plugged direct in to a good valve amplifier, guitarists will buy it and proceed”