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Small Block Amps...Preamp Required?


Thank You Great Spirit!
Gold Supporting Member
I've been thinking about trying one of these so called "small block" amps, a pedal sized power amp like a 44 Magnum, Crate Powerblock, or something.

One thing I'm not clear about. Do I have to use an actual preamp in order to run my guitar thru one of these things? Or can I just plug my pedal board into the little amp and crank it up for a gig? The video clips I watch don't seem to make it completely clear what all they are plugging into, they just demo the power amp and call it good.

Then Traynor comes along with the Quarterhorse which appears to already have a preamp built in to it, just to confuse the game for me.

If I don't need a preamp, then which pedal would be best to have at the end of the chain going into the amp? A clean boost? a modeler? It would be awesome to show up at a gig with just a speaker and a couple of pedals and blast the place clean.
They demo that, because that's all there is to it. Plug in the guitar, plug in the speaker cabinet, jam away. For the 44 Magnum, if you want some tonal control, you need some kind of preamp pedal. AMT Electronics makes a good variety of "personality" pedals, but I suppose any boost or drive pedal with tone control(s) will suffice. The Crate Power Block is the whole thing (preamp/power amp). I've not seen/heard of the Traynor one... HEX had another "pedal" amp called 22 Caliber which had 22 watts.


Silver Supporting Member
It doesn't have to be a preamp. You can plug up any overdrive or distortion and get playable tones from most of those things, including the 44 Magnum.

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