"Solid State Amp!
are they any good?"

Most guitar players love tube amps, but nowadays a solid state amp is a very high selling alternative.

After the introduction of transistors this new kind of guitar amp was manufactured.

bad reputation

The first solid state amps didn't have such a good reputation. They were less dynamic than a tube amp and they missed the harmonics when they break up.

They clip in a different way than tubes. If you look at the curve of a clipping transistor, you will see that the top is al flattened out. That results in a harder kind of compression.

getting better

In time the transistor amps were getting better and more guitarists started to use them. They are good amps to start with, because they are cheaper and they are far less heavy than a tube amp..

The Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus is a famous solid state amplifier. They have a big headroom that many Jazz players like.

Roland Jazz Chorus -120Roland Jazz Chorus JC-120

benefits of a solid state amplifier

Some benefits of solid state :

  • they weigh less
  • they are cheaper than tube amps
  • they have a longer life span

modeling amp

To day you find great solid state modeling amps.  The analog sound of an amp is converted into computer data.  Digitized so to speak. Manufactures succeeded  in modeling famous amps and effects. This modeling is done by manipulating this computer data by using mathematic algorithm. 

 That is far beyond my knowledge, but some results are pretty good!

benefits of a modeling amp

Fender Mustang II (V2)Fender Mustang II (V2)

Benefits of a modeling amp are:

  • Lots of different tones and effects in one amp with preset storage
  • light weight
  • good tone at lower volume
  • not very expensive

The Mustang series of Fender are populair by guitarists. They are very cheap guitar amps with a decent sound. Watch my review here.

hybrid amp

In 1974 Music Man came with a hybrid amp designed by Leo Fender and Tom Walker. It is the Music Man Sixty-five .

They combined solid state technology with tube technology . The amp came with a solid-state preamp and a tube power amp. Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton and many others used Music Man amps.

Music Man Sixty-fiveMusic Man Sixty-five 210

More about the Music Man Sixty-five you can you read here

modeling hybrid

Vox Valvetronix

Basically there are 2 kind of hybrids:

  1. Hybrid with tube preamp and solid-state power amp
  2. Hybrid with solid state preamp and tube power amp

But after the invention of modeling amps, manufactures started to combine modeling amps with tubes.

Vox Valvetronix for example. They use a dual triode 12ax7 tube in the power section of the amp.

As a result you have all the benefits of modeling combined with the characteristics of a tube!

Best solid state today (imho)

Roland Blues Cube stage

In the 90's Roland invented the Blues Cube with tube logic technology. Currently Roland reinvented the Blues Cube. 

Roland reproduced the inner workings of the tube tweed amps from speaker input to speaker output. The result is an amp with a very tube like feel, harmonics and tone. 

For me it is the best sounding solid state that I know. I love the old tweet amps and this solid state is really getting close. In a live situation I could not hear the difference...!

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