Is Guitar or Amp the most important part of your sound ?


For me, without contest, AMP!
Guitar : 30%
Amp : 70% (perhaps more)
Crappy guitar and good amp can sound ok, not the reverse
And you???
You're a guitar player, not an amp player lol.

Guitar - 50%
Amp - 20%
Speakers/Cab - 30%

(Knowing how to dial in your rig properly - 1,000,000% lol)

Speakers are the most underrated part of your tone. Crappy amp plus good speaker can still sound good.

Listen to how different just changing speaker is:

A bunch of good not great amps with a great guitar:

Cheap amp through great speakers with great guitar:


I work it backwards as far as importantance. Cab=>head=>guitar

get the best cab you can first IMHO. The biggest tonal change (for me anyway) is playing through different cabs. Heads give me a different flavor and feel, but the change of cabs is far more drastic of a difference.
Last edited:


Pretty even between amp and guitar. I have a feeling I’d sound like me no matter what you threw my direction.

having said that I have very little experience with a Les Paul style guitar or high gain amps so I’d probably geek out on that sound for a bit

Ron Kirn

No, it's number two.. , if you don't believe me ..... skip #1 and go to the amp and turn it off in the middle of a set.. How do ya sound now? :p

Number one is YOU.. Number 2 is the amp.. try this.. have your mates set up your amp and place your guitar on a stand at the next gig.. you stay home... how does your "stuff" sound now?

they can even leave the amp off.. how does that sound??

Point is, for your gear to sound at all you have to know what to do with it and, of course be there playing. Beyond that you have to have the amp and it turned on... after those two, everything else is just a matter of your personal choice... and if you bring the chops to fill the #1 position, no one gives a rat's azz about anything else.. as long as the amp's on.

Last edited:


Your total rig tone is based on guitar, pedals and amp/speaker.

Any weakness in one, will effect the others, negatively.

This is why, the triangle is a very strong form. Simplified explanation:

All elements of your rig can be broken down into triangles, guitar, individual and combined pedals, amps and speakers.

It can be as simple as, guitar, cable and amp. Each component will not work optimally, without, the right combination.

The amp is more important to your tone by far, but the guitar is more important to your performance. A bad guitar will sound great through a great amp, but obviously not vice versa. So the delicate balance is finding the guitar that lets you play up to your peak, without spending too much to limit your amp options. Good thing the high end Squier's are killer guitars


Lotsa interpretation here.

Your sound...tone...?

If the amp sounds like crap, you sound like crap, no matter what.
If the guitar sounds like crap. you sound like crap.
Decent guitar/amp? Probably good overall.
Better or more of both, same with the sound.

I'd say the bigger the mismatch, the bigger the disparity from "You".


Amp. No question.

In the past I have gone down this road to the point where I have underestimated the influence a good guitar can have. I value the guitar more these days.

But I’m still an amp guy.

Try this:

Book a gig at a festival in some small rural area.

Ask for a fender and Marshall amp in the back line.

Turn up and see a Marshall MG practice amp and something red knobbed and solid state from Fender.

Then tell me how much you enjoy the set.

...btw this is how I learned to ask for Mesa on the tech rider -there are no solid state Mesas and the cheapest ones are still well built amps with decent speakers.


BTW, Mike Landau was asked this question recently by a magazine.

He said amp.

And you just KNOW he could make a paper cup and string sound good.


Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
It really depends on what you're trying to do. If you plug an acoustic electric into any type of amp and expect to sound like Anthrax, you just aren't going to get there. On the other hand, a beefed up Explorer won't get you to Anthrax land with just an underpowered acoustic amp either.

But if you're trying to be a singer songwriter, the guitar and amp BOTH don't matter much. You can make a bad match work regardless if it's the guitar's fault or the amp's fault.


Gold Supporting Member
With regards to speakers and cabs, I put that all under the category of "Amp"...

Guitar is absolutely a feel thing, and to some extent that will affect how I play. But if we're talking about what has the biggest affect on my sound, it is the amp/speaker AFAIC.

As has already been said: A great amp can make a crappy guitar sound good, but not the other way around. When discussing electric guitars I think it's the pickups more than anything humbuckers vs. weak single coils will change everything, whether they are in a Strat, Tele, Ibanez etc...


They're both important, but as others have said I'd rather spend more on a great sounding amp and use a cheaper guitar than vice versa. My amp forms the base of my sound and different guitars (and pickups) give me different variations.
This. I'd add that a proper pairing of amp and pedals is part of the deal, but if you don't use pedals then the amp is all the more important.

As a guy who openly avoids playing humbuckers, I can't deny the importance of pickups. But any pickup can go in any guitar, so it all by default defers to the amp.
Amp for sure! I have 3 amps and the same guitar sounds drastically different through each of them. Of course, they all have different speakers as well (which I think really have the largest impact on tone)


Guitar. I’m a home player though, so, yeah. I don’t even need a traditional amp; a pedal or two, audio interface, and headphones is fine with me.


OK - apparently we're talking about the resulting tonality of the electronic rig. IME it is:

Guitar 30%
Amp 30%
Speakers/cab 40%

Case in point. Along with the Koll "Shrednado" in my avatar, I brought my Carol-Ann Tucana 3 head to my cousins house. I figured I'd just plug into one of his cabs, which was some sort of 60's Fender 2x10 cab with Jensons. It sounded TERRIBLE. Didn't sound like the same amp at all. FYI, its usually run through a Dr. Z open back with 2 Scumback J75HD's.

The speakers and cab make a humungous difference...

Trending Topics