Guitar amplifier has basically two types – The Amplifier (amp) + speaker cabinet built together i.e. a combo (as in image) or A separate amplifier head and stack. Everything has a utility based on the environment they have to be applied or one has to play in.
So if you are doing small home type gigs or say has to perform in a small space then Amplifier (amp) + speaker cabinet built together i.e. the combo model is enough. I personally do lots of small demonstrations (with even 200+ gatherings) with Amplispeaker. But if your performance venue is an auditorium/outdoor ambiance/large hall then you need to have more power and may be further scope for a many speaker’s arrangements at different locations. Thus optimum sound and impact will come via more power and capacity of amp to deliver your sound.
Various quality artists I’ve seen useseparate amplifier head and stack even in their small performances but with low volume.
I will advise you to keep following points in mind at first level if you are going to buy a Guitar Amplifier –
1) Objective – Is it practice or performance? If you just want to practice then you need a start up guitar amplifier with an acceptable sound quality.
2) Quality Standards – There are very cheap quality amplifier in market. Don’t buy them even if you have to use for practice because you will not love them in sound. So don’t compromise for a reasonable required sound and feel good factor (you need for your guitar). So listen the output before buying.
3) Brands – Various brands are popular for their generic preferences as Marshall, Fender etc. and there are a plethora of other established brands in market. One of the durable Indian brands is Stranger, which is very economical.
4) Features & Generic Preference – Indian brands are very economical and comes with an in-built reverb feature where as foreign brands comes with a gain/distortion etc features. Reverb is mostly used in neat solo playing and very popular in Indian melodies expression and only comes in Stranger. On the other hand international brands are more focussed on effects and clarity of tone for metals, hard rock, bass expression and handling features/effects as say sustain, overdrive, distortion, bass etc.
5) Price or Budget – Set your limit of affordability. With various commercial brands in market, the price would keep going up with features if you don’t set the limit.
The above 5 points will assist you in whatever context you want to buy your Guitar Amplifier. And rest your amplifier will speak on its own.
Personally speaking, as a hardcore soloist and considering my preference for musical styles as acoustic, I don’t use many effects but prefer neat, clean and warm guitar tone so to me quality of speakers, amps is much important. So if you are in same category, go to the dealer/distributor and you can say them that you need an acoustic amplifier for playing acoustic guitar.The seller and technician should guide you more apart from the points I have mentioned above.
Wish you all the best in your guitar journey.
– Kapil Srivastava