David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: amplifiers, opinion, @musings info

On "real" guitar amplifiers

Real guitar amps don't have MIDI connectors, knobs that turn by themselves, or display screens. And they certainly don't talk to computers or the internet. The only patches you'll find on a real guitar amp are the ones covering rips or burn marks in the Tolex.

Real guitar amps don't have programs, and they don't get software upgrades. Real guitar amps do keep playing right on through power glitches. Hell, real guitar amps would keep playing right through a nuclear air blast if the power grid and the guitarist were both still alive.

Real guitar amps sound at least as good cranked up all the way as they do at settings that won't cause permanent hearing damage. And they also sound good at levels that are comfortable for the band and the audience.

The only effects built in to real guitar amps are spring reverb and tremolo, both of which are optional. With a good guitar in the hands of a capable player, a real guitar amp will sound great without any pedals.

Real guitar amps do let the sound of the guitar come through. A real guitar amp doesn't turn your guitar into a thudding percussion instrument. If that's the kind of sound you're after, get a 55 gallon drum and beat it with your guitar.

Real guitar amps don't rival the guitarist in size and weight, except perhaps when being used for visual interest in a stadium-sized venue. Can you say "compensation issues"?

Real guitar amps do need to warm up, just like guitar players do.

Real guitar amps don't need to be serviced by someone with a college degree. Most of what goes wrong with a real guitar amp can be fixed by a guitarist, on stage if necessary.

Real guitar amps don't blow up, burn up, shut down, rattle, buzz, fizzle, choke or otherwise fail when you play them as loud as you can stand. There's no such thing as "too loud".

Real guitar amps are not built entirely from esoteric audiophile-grade components. Nor are they built from components specially selected for the virtue of having collected dust in some warehouse for the past thirty years. Real guitar amps are made from components that are matched to the function of the circuit.

Real guitar amps are made in sufficient quantities to be appreciated by lots of players and be heard by many listeners. Real guitar amps will survive through the years to be appreciated by new generations of players.

August 12 2003 17:37:59 GMT