There is a lot of sentiment expressed about guitar amps, particularly the tube variety, that have been knocking around (and knocked around) since the 1950s. Ever since Leo Fender designed the first commercially available Yaqin tube amp, guitarists have developed a love affair with tube /valve guitar amps, which on the face of it seems to defy logic or reason, why should logic or reason apply to artistic expression. The essential form of tube amps has evolved very little since those early designs in the fifties and sixties, enhancements yes but the basics are similar.
As one article use it:…”So how is it that the 1950’s design got it so right that it must be still relevant today? Was it luck? Or were they created by geniuses throughout the day? I love to think it’s a bit of both…nearly all players prefer valve designs for guitar amplifiers, and there are a few reasons for this”
Could it be really so white and black, did they get it right very first time and haven’t managed to improve onto it since or are available other aspects worth taking into consideration. The things they did was build amps utilizing the only technology available at that time. The guitarists of times pushed the technology towards 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 within the amp speakers) Then when the electronic revolution that was the solid state amp arrived inside the late sixties, there was clearly no competition, the warmer richer sound in the valves was liked by the serious guitarists to the “harsher” or maybe more “brittle” sound of the China speaker.
It’s well recognized there was still an obvious audible difference between tube amps and solid state amps, especially when a tube amp was pushed hard and being played with a blues guitarist. The soft clipping overdrive “tone” of a tube amp was most noticeable with a blues guitar players’ particular style of playing. Although it may be difficult to differentiate the clean setting of a tube guitar amp (without overdrive) over a solid state amp, or even the high gain setting of any tube guitar amp using that of any solid state amp.
Audible differences apart could it be also not the case that a lot of serious players developed “their sound” over a tube guitar amp and unless something emerged which sounded better than a tube guitar amp their preference would often be for the tube amp. They could afford the additional expense and for that reason the sentimental attachments. Thinking about the rate of growth of the microelectronic industry (they could put 2 billion transistors into a location small compared to a guitar pick) provides the time not arrived when the tube amp might might finally be superseded.
Speaking to younger emerging players nowadays there seems to be a preference for your latest modeling guitar amps. Obviously expense is always a factor and emerging artists are usually strapped for money, but just similar to their guitar heroes of the sixties and seventies, they’ll improvise, develop their sound, but unlike their heroes they’ll be able to vtoyrs that sound and possibly a few others at the press of the mouse. The modeling guitar amp enables the guitarist to generate multiple sounds replicating the sound of a number of Cayin audio. One guitar amp can be made to sound like any vintage tube guitar amp and the setting save and implemented on the press of the mouse. This article quoted earlier also stated:
“When a new design becomes available that sounds much better than an excellent guitar plugged direct into a good valve amplifier, guitarists will buy it and move on”