Do you know immediately if an amp is right for you?


I'm frosting a cake with a paper knife
Double Platinum Member
Or are you someone that likes to play with lots of different settings and controls before you decide if you're going to keep an amp or not?

I tend to be in the former camp, but would like to see what everyone else thinks.


Silver Supporting Member
As long as I understand how the EQ works. Folks used to TMB need some time with Vox tone stacks. Or those with blackface experience can feel befuddled with a tweed circuit that has the interactivity of two volumes and a tone. And so on... But I won't fool with Mesa/Boogie stuff. Too many knobs.


Silver Supporting Member
No. I have a purpose for an amp - cleans, edge of breakup, crunch. Something like that. Then I have to hear it in context with a number of mixes. That'll involve finding what cab mates with the amp to best realize the voice I'm trying to pull out. Mic. Etc. That takes time. Sitting in a room playing by myself is fun, but masturbatory. That's fun but not really music. Just wanking off. I don't get a lot out of it until I hear an amp in a mix. In fact, I generally try to make buy/sell decisions based on listening to what a mic hears, not what an amp sounds like in a room. I'm looking for amps to make music with, though. Not to sit in a room and play by myself with. I may have a very different assortment of amps if I do that. If that's what I wanted then I probably could make a quick decision. Although I'd probably pick amps that don't work in the context of anything other than solo guitar, which isn't too much of a genre with electric guitar.
If I hear some demos that really grab me and sound great, then I’ve heard it’s potential. If I buy it, it’s up to me to make it sound as good as the reason I bought it.

So yeah, I know if I’ll dig an amp right when I play it because I’ve researched it’s potential. It helps to listen to clips of it by itself and in a mix.


Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
For some amps, I really need to live with them a bit especially if it differs from what I have been playing. I need to give my ears a chance to adjust and try things with different guitars.

With that said, many of my favorites were love at first note.


For a brand new amp in the store, no. You gotta be able to "hear past" the stiff, unbroken in speaker. And in a store, I'm probably playing a blah tele off the rack with no pedals. It's wiser to give it a week of banging on it at home thru the rest of your gear before REALLY making a decision.

Of course by then you already shelled out money for it. This is where YouTube videos, internet research, etc really help today's buyers. The 1990s weren't like that. Everything, including trading/selling an amp you didn't like, was more work.


This Is Fine.
Gold Supporting Member
well at least i know immediately if its NOT for me....
typically amps stay with me quite a while if they make it past the first 2 days
I've only ever played 1 amp that was for me. Luckily, it was the one I bought used without playing it first. Otherwise, I've liked and gotten a good tone from other amps in stores, but only ever 1 good tone per amp. I get lots of good times from my amp.

That said, no guitar store I've walked into has had high gain amps available to test. The only boogie I've seen in a store was a California Tweed. And no, a Marshall origin doesn't count as a high gain amp.


Platinum Supporting Member
Pretty much know within a few minutes. But, I'll come back in a day and try again if I'm not bonding. Sometimes, an amp will not really work right away, but I'll find that my "core" tone changes with a great new amp that has it's own thing and I'll bond with it.


Yep....within minutes....but I am simple. And maybe I have bad taste.
Seriously though...I tend to know what I'm after, and I passed over amps in the past that I covet now...because of what I am hunting for at the time.

Wyatt Martin

It has to come fairly quick for me to drop the cash and carry it out of the store. If I can't find a sound I like "as is" my thoughts don't immediately go to "I can probably improve this with new speakers or tubes etc" anymore.

The 2 times I blindly ordered an amp without playing one first didn't work out very well for me.

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