• Richard The Guitar Teacher

New Guitar Or New Amp?

So you have been playing for a little while now, and you feel its time to upgrade your equipment.

One of the big questions you may ask yourself is, do you buy a new guitar, or do you buy a new amp.

Well, short answer is, get a new amp.

Here are my thoughts on the matter.

When I was about 14-15yrs old, I was in the same predicament. I had been playing for about a year or so, and was in pretty deep in the world of Jimi Hendrix. Being able to play the intro to Purple Haze and jam along was an extremely proud and fun time even if it didn't sound the best.

I had a little starter amp and an electric guitar that I don't think even had a name, it was a guitar that was handed down to me from my sister, it was red and I liked it, I still have the guitar somewhere in storage.

I was playing everyday and was starting to think about studying music a college. It was definitely time for an upgrade.

Like most people I thought the best thing to do was to upgrade the guitar. After some time my dad took me down to the local guitar shop to look at getting a new guitar. Now, I was still new to world of music shops, and going into one was pretty daunting to me, so my dad did most of the talking.

My dad spoke to the assistant for some time. The assistant was explaining that it would problem be a better option to invest in a bigger amp. Going with the more experience assistant, we went for a Marshall combo MG 100.

This was great. It had FX, like reverb and chorus, overdrive and full blown distortion. It also had a foot switch, so I could play with a clean sound then turn on overdrive for a full on rocking solo. Amazing!

This, I came to realise was the better option. I was able to start getting the sounds I was hearing on records. It was definitely louder than my smaller amp, which gave me such a thrill playing, not only being able to hear my guitar, I could start to feel the vibrations from the guitar, which made me want to play more.

The guitar I had was more than capable of doing what I wanted to do. It had been set up by a professional, and I always took good care of it.

Ok, so like most people when starting to learn the guitar you may have brought a cheaper guitar, maybe even a package one where there is a guitar and an amp. I have to say these are great for beginners, as they have everything you need to start learning.

You have started to develop new skills, and you may have started being able to play your favourite guitar riffs and solos, like I did when I was thinking of upgrading.

You will be surprise how far a budget guitar can take you. If you feel like the guitar is not playing right, make sure you take it to a professional who can set up your guitar to the correct specifications, and make sure everything is working they way it should be.

You might find upgrading you amp might just be what you are looking for. The one Big advantage I found with the Marshall MG-100 is that it was more than capable to start performing live. It was great that I was able to start thinking about joining a band and play with other people. I gigged that Combo amp so much, i really learnt how to perform using that Marshall amp.

Another great advantage was that it came with built in FX, which at the time i had no real experience with. Just being able to sit at home and hear what it sounds like to play with a chorus FX, was a great learning curve.

When the time comes to get a new guitar, you will be happy that your guitar amp will be able to perform along side your new guitar to a high level, and will be able to push you to achieve your musical goals.

Buying new equipment is a learning experience all on its own, and if you are ever unsure, check with your guitar teacher or your local music shop. Regarding equipment it self, it is a never ending journey, and is a lot of fun to explore. There are always new guitars, amps, pedals, even guitar picks that you can choose from and try. Always find what works for you, and is in your price range. Take your time and never rush into buying something you don't feel is right.

"Joe bonamassa" and his wall of gear

Enjoy the process and enjoy getting to know different modals of guitar and amps.

Till next time

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