In recent years there has been a surge in the popularity of “unplugged” performances. Such performances, as the name implies, feature artists in smaller venues that were performed acoustically for a small audience. So while unplugged performances may have artistic merit, can not use one of the guitar ‘electric assets s most powerful and important: the amplifier.
A guitar amplifier is simply an electronic amplifier designed for use with an electric guitar. An electronic amplifier, in turn, is a piece of gear designed to increase energy and amplitude of a signal. In this case, that signal that is received from the guitar. Guitar amps have been around since the early 1930’s. In the 1940’s, Hawaiian music was all the rage and amplifiers were used primarily with the guitar Hawaiian lap steel guitar. Then in the mid 1950’s, thanks to the revolution of rock -n-roll, electric guitars were manufactured as well as amplifiers. The old black and white episodes of American Bandstand show artists who performed on stages with amplifiers tied to electric guitars. But they didn ‘t stop there. Over the next decade, artists began to experiment with the distortion that could be caused deliberately overloading their amp. This eventually led to the introduction of controls on the distortion of the preamp, which almost qualifies guitar amplifiers and musical instruments in their own right. Certainly it has become impossible to imagine modern music without the use of guitar amplifiers.
Today, most guitar amps come in two general types. The first is the combination or “combo” amplifier, which contains the speakers and electronics in one unit. The other type of amplifier is comprised of two separate speakers connected by wires. In this way, the “head” or electronics of the amplifier is contained in one unit while the guitar speakers are on the other. The head unit is commonly placed atop the speaker cabinet. Between the two general types of amps, there are a number of different subcategories favored by the various genres and instruments. The traditional amps, known for its clean sound are often used by rock bands, blues, country, indie and alternative. The hard rock-style ampsare used by artists of heavy rock, metal and punk and often includes a number of distortion effects and preamp controls. Finally the acoustic amp, an apparent oxymoron, is designed for use with acoustic instruments with built-in microphones or pickups.