How to Choose the Right Amplifier for Your Music Style: A Comprehensive Guide

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How to Choose the Right Amplifier for Your Music Style: A Comprehensive Guide

So, you’ve got your electric guitar and now all you need to complete your setup is a beginner guitar amplifier.

Simple enough, right?

Well, if you’ve started looking for one, you know that choosing the right one can actually be a bit of a struggle. There are so many different factors to consider – from wattage to music style, amp type, effects, and beyond. So, how do you make sure you’re choosing the right one?

We’ve got you covered.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll go through some of the most important factors to consider to make sure you get the best guitar amplifier for your unique musical needs.

Let’s get started!

1. Amp Type

First things first, establish what amp type you’re looking for.

Guitar amplifiers generally fall into three categories: tube amps, solid-state amps, hybrid amps, and modeling amps.

Tube Amps

The oldest amp style, tube amps are great for producing a warmer, more vintage tone with natural distortion. These amps use filaments which make them heavier and a bit more temperamental. Over time, the filaments can burn out, negatively impacting the sound. While this does mean they’ll require more maintenance, fixing or replacing the filaments is relatively easy.

Solid-State Amps

Next, we have solid-state amps. These low-maintenance amps deliver a cleaner, firmer sound perfect for jazz, bass, and other pristine tones. The portable guitar amplifiers are a great choice for guitarists whose musical tastes run the gamut since they make switching up sound a breeze.

Hybrid Amps

Hybrid guitar amps deliver the best of both worlds, with the perfect combination of digital technology and the vintage sound of solid-state amps. These amps incorporate a tube alongside digital transistors, making them lighter weight than tube amps, while still producing a relatively comparable sound.

Modeling Amps

Finally, modeling amps feature an array of on-board digital effects that can “model” the sound of different types of amps. These are great guitar amplifiers for beginners who haven’t quite figured out their sound yet, since they allow you to configure many different sounds without having to purchase different pedals.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend matching your amp style to your guitar style. So, for example, a vintage electric guitar may sound better on a tube amp than a solid state.

2. Head vs. Combo

Amps are further divided into amplifier heads and amplifier combos.

Put simply, a combo is an amplifier with integrated speakers. These portable guitar amplifiers combine the amp, preamp, and speakers in one unit – no cables or cabs necessary. They tend to be smaller in size and packed with added features, such as headphone and input jacks.

In contrast, head amps have different amp and speaker circuits, allowing guitarists to play through a variety of different cabinets and speakers without committing to a single configuration. Because the units are separate, these amps tend to be heavier and harder to move around, making them a less popular choice for musicians on the go.

3. Music Style

Next, consider what kind of music you’ll be playing and look for amps that have features of your preferred genre.

For pop, country, or jazz, you’ll want an amp that can produce crisp, clear sounds. If you’re looking for a crunch or fuzz to your sound, an amp with preloaded effects should be your go-to.

For bass guitars, you’ll need an entirely different amp altogether – an amplifier for bass guitar has a low-end rumble that lets you adjust tone via presets and built-in effects. These bass amps generally have a bigger speaker and higher wattage for producing sound without getting muddy.

Acoustic-electric guitars also need specific amps – something that will enhance their natural tones and resonance. Some have built-in reverb or a looper and can double as PA systems.

To make sure you make the perfect choice, we recommend researching what kinds of amps your favorite musicians use and working from there.

4. Amp Tone and Effects

Now that you’ve established your amp type and music style, it’s time to talk amp tone and effects.

Most amps have some standard knobs and basic tones you can adjust, while others have substantially more effects built in, allowing for greater experimentation.

Some basic tones and effects to keep in mind are:

Equalization Control (EQ)

The EQ controls on your amp allow you to control treble, midrange, and bass (low-end) frequencies. How you configure these controls will help you adjust the tone so you can get the right sound for your environment.


The gain knobs on your amp let you control the distortion level. The higher you crank the gain knob, the greater the distortion will be. For example, metal and punk usually have a thicker, distorted tone, so to achieve this sound, you’d need to turn the knob up.


Reverb refers to the reverberation of your sound – the acoustic echo your amp gives off. This allows you to get a big sound that fills up a space, even from a smaller amp.

Digital Effects

Many modern electric guitar amplifiers have digital effects that allow you to produce your desired tone without needing to buy and plug in different pedals. While you may not need all these digital effects, it can help motivate you to experiment with different tones and find your own unique sound.

Multiple Channels

Some guitar amplifiers are single channel while others have anywhere from 2-4 channels, ideal for players who want to switch between different tones. This is usually achieved through a footswitch.

5. Wattage

Let’s talk power.

How much power you need will largely depend on where you intend to play.

Generally, a 10-40-watt amplifier is considered good for practicing in a small space. For home use, you don’t need to go above a 20-watt amplifier.

For practicing with friends or at small venues, opt for 50-100 watts, and for bigger venues, shoot for 100-200 watts and above.

Remember, loudness doesn’t necessarily double when you double the number of watts – a 30-watt amplifier is only 5 decibels quieter than a 100-watt amp.

6. Size and Material

It’s time to get into the finer details.

First, let’s talk size. Standard guitar amplifiers for beginners tend to be about 12”. As a general rule, larger amps are better for producing low-end frequencies, while smaller, more portable guitar amplifiers are better for high-end frequencies. When it comes to choosing the right size, just make sure it fits the space you’ll be working with.

Next, determine what material, or “cabinet”, is right for you. Wooden cabinets will offer less distortion and clearer sound, while plastic cabinets are lighter weight and make for easier travel.

Another important factor of cabinet makeup is whether the back is open or closed.

Open-back amps are great for natural sound, allowing the sound to spill out instead of tightly compressing it. These amps are a great choice for higher frequencies and guitar solos played further down the fretboard.

Closed-back amps concentrate your sound and push it forward, creating a more compressed sound ideal for midrange or low-end sounds like bass, or if you’re craving a thicker, heavier tone.

Final Thoughts

And just like that, you have all the information you need to make sure you buy the best beginner guitar amp for your unique music style.

Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and there’s no better place to start than LyxPro’s durable, versatile, and affordable guitar amplifiers available in a wide range of colors and wattage options.

We hope the tips here help find your perfect guitar amplifier and get ready to rock!

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