There is a lot of sentiment expressed about guitar amps, especially the tube variety, which have been knocking around (and knocked around) since the 1950s. Ever since Leo Fender designed the very first commercially available Yaqin tube amp, guitarists have designed a love affair with tube /valve guitar amps, which on the face of it appears to defy logic or reason, why should logic or reason affect artistic expression. The basic design of tube amps has changed very little since those early designs within the fifties and sixties, enhancements yes however the basic principles are similar.
As one article put it:…”Just how is it which a 1950’s design got it so right that it is still relevant today? Was it luck? Or were they developed by geniuses during the day? I love to think it’s a bit of both…nearly all players prefer valve designs for his or her guitar amplifiers, and there are some good reasons for this particular”
Could it be really so monochrome, did they get it right very first time and haven’t had the opportunity to improve into it since or are there other aspects worth looking at. Whatever they did was build amps utilizing the only technology available during the time. The guitarists of times pushed the technology for the limits and beyond, developing their SOUND. If the guitar amp didn’t satisfy the guitarists expectations they modified or added enhancements to attain their sound (such enhancements including making holes inside the amp speakers) So when the electronic revolution that was the solid state amp arrived inside the late sixties, there was clearly no competition, the warmer richer sound of the valves was preferred by the serious guitarists to the “harsher” or even more “brittle” sound in the China speaker.
It’s well known there was still a definite audible distinction between tube amps and solid state amps, especially 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 using a blues guitar players’ particular style of playing. Although it may be difficult to differentiate the clean setting of a tube guitar amp (with no overdrive) more than a solid state amp, or even the high gain setting of any tube guitar amp with this of the solid state amp.
Audible differences apart could it be also incorrect that many serious players developed “their sound” on the tube guitar amp and unless something came along which sounded a lot better than a tube guitar amp their preference would always be for your tube amp. They could afford any additional expense and for that reason the sentimental attachments. Considering the rate of continuing development of the microelectronic industry (they could put 2 billion transistors into an area small compared to a guitar pick) provides the time not arrived if the tube amp might might finally be superseded.
Speaking to younger emerging players of today there appears to be a preference for your latest modeling guitar amps. Obviously expense is always a factor and emerging artists are always strapped for money, but just like their guitar heroes from the sixties and seventies, they’ll improvise, develop their sound, but unlike their heroes they’ll have the capacity to vtoyrs that sound and possibly several others at the press of the mouse. The modeling guitar amp enables the guitarist to generate multiple sounds replicating the noise of a number of Cayin amplifier. One guitar amp can now be designed to sound like any vintage tube guitar amp and the setting save and implemented in the press of a button. The article quoted earlier also stated:
“Each time a new design becomes available that sounds better than a good guitar plugged direct in to a good valve amplifier, guitarists will purchase it and move ahead”