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View Full Version : What matters more, guitar or amp??



aristotle
11-30-2012, 04:09 PM
In the spirit of Hans' "one thought provoking thread per week" request, here's mine....

What matters more, guitar or amp?

My opinion is.....

Sure, everybody knows to say that it's neither because (fill in your favorite guitar god) would sound just as good even if he were playing an old Univox through a cheapy cube amp.

Yeah, true, but I'm no guitar god. And both have a real effect on how I sound (at least in the context of the cover band stuff that I do...)

For me, I'd choose the cheapest guitar in the PRS line and an HX/DA or an MDT with a 2x12 of V30s over the nicest private stock BRW neck uber guitar and a cheapy amp....or a Mexican Tele and a Twin Reverb over a custom shop Tele or Strat with a cheapy amp..... Or an Epiphone SG and Marshall Offset JTM45 over an R9 and a Marshal MG.

It's just a thought experiment though since we don't necessarily have to choose.... But if I had to, I'd go all out on the amp, and not so much on the guitar.

I have no experience at all with modelling software though, so maybe I'd change my tune if I did???

Anyway, how about you???

P.S., I'd ask for a card assignment, but I'm too much of a comittment-phobe for that. Maybe severel of the less reliable amongst us can gang together in the wild-card slot??

Danerada
11-30-2012, 04:19 PM
I agree. I would go all out on the amp. I have played a Squier 51 stock through a Silverface Deluxe Reverb and it sounded better than an Employee Santana through a low end Marshall tube combo....

I do think there are certain amp/guitar combos that were made for each other, and I think that the right pickup/amp combination is important...but forced to choose..all out on the amp and skimp on the guitar.

John Beef
11-30-2012, 04:23 PM
I think they're equally important because without a guitar, an amp would just hiss. Without an amp, electric guitars are very quiet.


......

http://ristorantemystica.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/ba_dum_tshh_1212631727838.jpg

rugerpc
11-30-2012, 04:31 PM
There used to be an adage in buying a stereo system way back when I was in college (we even had electricity then).

That is - add up everything you spent on components - turntable, preamp, amp and spend at least that much on the speakers.

I'm thinking that this formula, tweaked a bit, works for the question at hand. Add up everything you spend on getting the signal to the amp and then spend at least that much on the amp and cabinet.

Quality matters in the guitar, but it is absolutely critical in the amplification and rendering phase.

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
11-30-2012, 04:52 PM
In my experience, the thing that has the greatest impact on tone is the amp.

There's no doubt that everything in the signal path matters but for me, the amp comes first. Then pickups (assuming solid body guitar). Then strings.

Twinfan
11-30-2012, 04:58 PM
Amp matters more, but you need to match it to the right cab/speakers.

LSchefman
11-30-2012, 05:04 PM
As the years have gone on, I've conducted a number of guitar and amp "shootouts" in my studio. I'll share my observations:

I think there's something of a sliding scale. The cleaner you play, the more the guitar comes into prominence. The dirtier you play, the less the amp reveals about the guitar, and the more the amp tells you about itself. However, it's also been my experience that even at relatively high gain levels, one can hear substantial differences between guitars, especially in tonal emphasis.

Since I like to strike a balance between clean and dirty tones, I'd pick the guitar as the most important. But everyone's mileage varies with this stuff.

wilerty
11-30-2012, 05:23 PM
I'll go with Les. I'm more of a clean player and I think the guitar affects my sound more than the amp.

Mikegarveyblues
11-30-2012, 05:27 PM
A good amp will flatter a cheap guitar but a great sounding guitar will stink through a poor amp. But the truth is neither is as important as the player.

LSchefman is correct about the whole clean and dirty thing. Playing through a good valve amp on clean... You may as well be naked as it'll show up all the wrinkles in your playing. Overdrive / distortion hides some of these things. So clean you're really hearing the guitar, amp and... Playing.

Hopeful Sinner
11-30-2012, 05:30 PM
I would just paraphrase and echo some of what Hans and Schefman said, pickups are an important factor as well as playing style and the tone you're going for... For smooth, clean playing the guitars character will come through so much more.. For super high gain saturated distortion, the less the guitar will "really" matter IMHO... It's a toss up for me. I have a cheap "F" modeling amp that all my guitars sound great through but when I plug the McRosie with 53/10 pups into my Sweet 16 and/or 2 Channel H, it is tone recipe on a whole other scale...

Mikegarveyblues
11-30-2012, 05:35 PM
I would just paraphrase and echo some of what Hans and Schefman said, pickups are an important factor as well as playing style and the tone you're going for... For smooth, clean playing the guitars character will come through so much more.. For super high gain saturated distortion, the less the guitar will "really" matter IMHO... It's a toss up for me. I have a cheap "F" modeling amp that all my guitars sound great through but when I plug the McRosie with 53/10 pups into my Sweet 16 and/or 2 Channel H, it is tone recipe on a whole other scale...

I may have the same little 'F' amps... They're not bad.

We're pretty spoiled these days because you can buy cheap equipment that does sound pretty good. But there's pretty good and then there's plugging a good guitar into a good amp... You're suddenly hearing in 3 dimensions!

t.shamone
11-30-2012, 06:46 PM
50/50 both ways.

sergiodeblanc
11-30-2012, 06:53 PM
Guitar. I have yet to meet a groupie who has gone back to the hotel with an "amp" player.

Dirty Bob
11-30-2012, 08:52 PM
I think it depends...it's not really a straightforward answer. I always have been of the mindset that once you get to a certain quality level of guitar that the amp and speaker cabinet end up mattering more. However I have been bringing different guitars to practice over the course of the last few weeks with the same rig and one could easily say the opposite. One of my guitars was clearly head and shoulders sonically above the rest with the particular amp I was using (PRS recording amp). I played a fair amount of my PRS and a couple of my guitars by another high end builder. However change the amp to one of my Rivera's or my Supro for example and I got a very different result.

It has to be the correct mix of both amp and guitar for Me. The guitar has to be correct and feel right from a tactile standpoint and the sound and feel coming from the amp has to be just right or I end up fiddling and worrying instead of just letting go and playing.

Harker1440
11-30-2012, 09:02 PM
Guitar. I have yet to meet a groupie who has gone back to the hotel with an "amp" player.
^^^^^ THIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dirty Bob
11-30-2012, 09:08 PM
Guitar. I have yet to meet a groupie who has gone back to the hotel with an "amp" player.

come on you're just saying that because you prefer Bass players!!!:girl:

AP515
11-30-2012, 09:16 PM
A good guitar lets me play better, a good amp lets me sound better. Which of these is more important? I can't separate them.

sergiodeblanc
12-01-2012, 03:31 AM
come on you're just saying that because you prefer Bass players!!!:girl:

That's no lie, have you seen Verdine White in those leather fringe pants?

veinbuster
12-01-2012, 06:50 AM
A good guitar lets me play better, a good amp lets me sound better. Which of these is more important? I can't separate them.

I feel much the same way.
The guitar has too be good enough to not constrain me, which does take a lot: stays in tune, consistent action.
Then at amp has a huge impact on what ends up in the ears.

But if I'm playing an acoustic, the amp is optional.
But really, if I sound any different than any other guy in the room, it is my hands.

aristotle
12-01-2012, 07:01 AM
I guess it all depends on which guitar and which amp. I'll admit that my extremely inexpensive Superchamp XD sounds more than acceptable for a bunch of applications.

From a purely emotional point of view though, if I really had to pick, I'd hold on to one of my vintage guitars and play it through whatever.

Practically speaking though, I still go for te amp.

Boogeyman
12-01-2012, 07:18 AM
I'm going with Guitar. The amp I use is not the most versital, but i can definitly tell a difference when I've got a good guitar plugged into it. Tone comes from the guitar and the wood used to make the guitar, just ask Paul, he gets it :)

...that being said, I play a Marshall 2553 with 2-2x12 cabinets. I've recently been considering getting rid of it for something else, but not sure what i want and hate the thought of selling a limited edition amp.

LSchefman
12-01-2012, 08:00 AM
One of the difficulties of this kind of discussion is that even when played clean, some amps are simply more transparent than others. The results are necessarily going to be skewed all over the place.

But take, say, a PRS, a 335 and a Strat. Play them through a clean amp, and they're not going to sound the same. The personality of the guitar will of course come through even a relatively bad amp.

So to a greater or lesser degree, it's a two-way street, guitar and amp. You're hearing both. You're supposed to hear both. Otherwise, what's the point? ;)

aristotle
12-01-2012, 09:53 AM
One of the difficulties of this kind of discussion is that even when played clean, some amps are simply more transparent than others. The results are necessarily going to be skewed all over the place.

But take, say, a PRS, a 335 and a Strat. Play them through a clean amp, and they're not going to sound the same. The personality of the guitar will of course come through even a relatively bad amp.

So to a greater or lesser degree, it's a two-way street, guitar and amp. You're hearing both. You're supposed to hear both. Otherwise, what's the point? ;)

As I think about it, I really should have qualified this on the guitar side of the equation. Sure, a strat will sound different than a 335. Question is though, will the cheapest MIM strat sound all that much different than a $5K custom shop strat?

So, maybe the question should be re-phrased this way....

Pick your favorite PRS guitar in the $3.5K range and pick your favorite PRS Amp. In my case, let's say it's a nice decked out DC Ted and the HX/DA. Would I rather have the Ted and whatever amp PRS has in the several hundred dollar range, or the HX/DA and....say....an SE Santana? It's not a perfect comparison because I don't think that PRS has an amp in the $600 range, but I'd argue (just because it's fun to argue) that I'd be happier overall with the lower cost guitar and higher cost amp. Throw in the fact that I can experiment with pickups on the guitar, and I'm pretty sure that's the case for me.

BY the way, I don't actually behave this way, so it's more of a philosophical question I guess.

LSchefman
12-01-2012, 10:39 PM
Would I rather have the Ted and whatever amp PRS has in the several hundred dollar range, or the HX/DA and....say....an SE Santana? It's not a perfect comparison because I don't think that PRS has an amp in the $600 range, but I'd argue (just because it's fun to argue) that I'd be happier overall with the lower cost guitar and higher cost amp. Throw in the fact that I can experiment with pickups on the guitar, and I'm pretty sure that's the case for me.

BY the way, I don't actually behave this way, so it's more of a philosophical question I guess.

Actually, this is a really interesting point, and well worth discussing. I can't actually answer the question either, since I only have higher end guitars, too. It's very well worth considering, that's for sure.

jfb
12-01-2012, 10:43 PM
I play hard rock and beyond most of the time. I find I am more particular about my amp. This is due in part perhaps to the fact that I genuinely dislike the sound and feel of dirt / boost pedals. I simply prefer amp gain.

darktone
12-02-2012, 08:50 PM
Amp matters more, but you need to match it to the right cab/speakers.

guys like david lindley play cheapo guitars thru dumbles........& sound awesome. of course he & others like him have some good guitars too. as much as i like guitars........amps are the fascination. and yes......speakers make or break:wave: