There is a lot of sentiment expressed about guitar amps, especially the tube variety, that have been knocking around (and knocked around) since the 1950s. Ever since Leo Fender designed the very first commercially available Yaqin, guitarists have created 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 affect artistic expression. The fundamental design of tube amps has changed very little since those early designs in the fifties and sixties, enhancements yes but the basic principles are the same.
As you article place it:…”Just how is it that the 1950’s design got it so right that it is still relevant today? Was it luck? Or were they designed by geniuses throughout the day? I really like to think it’s a little bit of both…the majority of players prefer valve designs for guitar amplifiers, and there are several reasons for this particular”
Could it be really so monochrome, did they obtain it right very first time and haven’t managed to enhance into it since or are available other aspects worth considering. What they did was build amps making use of the only technology available at that time. The guitarists of the time pushed the technology for 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 in the amp speakers) Then when the electronic revolution that was the solid state amp arrived within the late sixties, there was clearly no competition, the warmer richer sound from the valves was liked by the serious guitarists for the “harsher” or maybe more “brittle” sound of the Chinese speaker.
It’s well known that there was still a definite audible distinction between tube amps and solid state amps, specially when a tube amp was pushed hard and being played by a blues guitarist. The soft clipping overdrive “tone” of the tube amp was most noticeable having a blues guitar players’ particular style of playing. Although it can be next to impossible to differentiate the clean setting of any tube guitar amp (with no overdrive) spanning a solid state amp, or perhaps the high gain setting of a tube guitar amp with that of the solid state amp.
Audible differences apart will it be also incorrect that many serious players developed “their sound” on a tube guitar amp and unless something came along which sounded a lot better than a tube guitar amp their preference would continually be for your tube amp. These guys could afford the extra expense and therefore the sentimental attachments. Considering the rate of growth of the microelectronic industry (they could put 2 billion transistors into a place small compared to a guitar pick) has the time not arrived once the tube amp might might finally be superseded.
Speaking to younger emerging players nowadays there appears to be a preference for the latest modeling guitar amps. Of course expense is definitely a factor and emerging artists are always strapped for cash, but similar to their guitar heroes from the sixties and seventies, they’ll improvise, develop their sound, but unlike their heroes they’ll have the ability to vtoyrs that sound and maybe a couple of others in the press of a button. The modeling guitar amp enables the guitarist to create multiple sounds replicating the sound of a variety of Cayin audio. One guitar amp can now be created to sound like any vintage tube guitar amp as well as the setting save and implemented at the press of the mouse. This article quoted earlier also stated:
“Whenever a new design becomes available that sounds a lot better than a great guitar plugged direct right into a good valve amplifier, guitarists will purchase it and proceed”