There is lots of sentiment expressed about guitar amps, especially the tube variety, which have been knocking around (and knocked around) since the 1950s. Since Leo Fender designed the first commercially available Yaqin, guitarists have created 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 form of tube amps has changed very little since those early designs within the fifties and sixties, enhancements yes but the fundamental principles are the same.
As one article put it:…”Just how will it be which a 1950’s design got it so right that it is still relevant today? Was it luck? Or were they created by geniuses throughout the day? I really like to think it’s some both…the vast majority of players prefer valve designs for his or her guitar amplifiers, and there are some good reasons with this”
Is it really so white and black, did they obtain it right very first time and haven’t managed to improve on it since or are there other aspects worth looking at. What 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. When the guitar amp didn’t meet the guitarists expectations they modified or added enhancements to attain their sound (such enhancements including making holes in the amp speakers) When the electronic revolution which was the solid state amp arrived in the late sixties, there was no competition, the warmer richer sound in the valves was desirable to the serious guitarists for the “harsher” or maybe more “brittle” sound of the China speaker.
It’s well recognized there was still a definite audible difference between tube amps and solid state amps, specially when a tube amp was pushed hard and being played with a blues guitarist. The soft clipping overdrive “tone” of any tube amp was most noticeable using a blues guitar players’ particular type of playing. Although it can be difficult to differentiate the clean setting of any tube guitar amp (without overdrive) over a solid state amp, or perhaps the high gain setting of the tube guitar amp using that of the solid state amp.
Audible differences apart could it be also not the case that most serious players developed “their sound” over a tube guitar amp and unless something emerged which sounded a lot better than a tube guitar amp their preference would often be for the tube amp. They can afford the additional expense and for that reason the sentimental attachments. Thinking about the rate of growth of the microelectronic industry (they can put 2 billion transistors into a location small compared to a guitar pick) has the time not arrived once the tube amp might might finally be superseded.
Talking to younger emerging players of today there seems to be a preference for your latest modeling guitar amps. Needless to say expense is always a factor and emerging artists will always be strapped for money, but simply like their guitar heroes of 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 in the press of a button. The modeling guitar amp enables the guitarist to create multiple sounds replicating the noise of a variety of Cayin tube amp. One guitar amp is now able to created to seem like any vintage tube guitar amp as well as the setting save and implemented at the press of the mouse. The content quoted earlier also stated:
“Each time a new design becomes available that sounds a lot better than a good guitar plugged direct into a good valve amplifier, guitarists will purchase it and move on”