Do the wattages on the amp and cab have to match (or come close)? What I really want to know -- my cab is 40watts. How many watts should the amp be? Does it matter? With the low wattage, should I go with a low-wattage tube amp?

Thanks so much
the wattage of your amp should be less than the wattage rating of your cab/speaker.

the rating on the speaker is the maximum power you can put into it, and the wattage on your amp is the maximum power it can put out. you dont want your amp putting out more power than the speaker can handle.
Thanks, that helps. Now, if I use a 5watt tube amp (this is pretty much for bedroom use), would i somehow hurt the amp, if and when I turned it up all the way? I read somewhere that if the amp wattage is too low compared to the cab, that would cause the amp to work too hard. Does this make any sense?
^oooooooooooooh, I know why you're thinking that.

a 5w tube amp'll be more than fine with a 40w cab.

it the impendances that you should be worried about. it's rated in ohms ( Ω ). most amps/cabs/speakers have ratings of 4, 8, and 16 ohms. you need the impendance of the amp to match the impendance of the cab. some amps have multiple outputs, which makes it easy, just use the output rated for the impendance of your cab.

the cab or speaker should say 4Ω, 8Ω, or 16Ω on the back of it. if not, get your hands on a multimeter/ohmmeter and its super simple
No idea. Possibly Blackheart, MAYBE Epi Valve Jr., even an old one I find on eBay to convert for guitar use... Guess I'll head to my local Guitar Center and start testing... Thanks for the interest, have any suggestions?
well, I've got a valve junior that I did some mods on thats pretty decent. my main amp is a traynor ycv50blue that I keep in my basement/band space, but if I bring my guitar up to my room the vjr's what I use, and its pretty decent.

I havent tried the blackheart, but I hear good things. apparantly it's similar to a modded vjr, but I dont have any personal experience with it

I'd definately recomend the vjr, though. for the price, even before mods, it's a pretty good amp. and if you're feeling adventurous, you could do some mods to it :D

edit: the only other low-wattage amps I can think of at the moment are the peavy royal 8, but it's a combo, or the orange tiny terror. the tiny terror's a lot more expensive, iirc, though
Last edited by james4 at Jan 19, 2009,
Thanks again. I'll probably go with the Valve Jr. My cab is white with an oxblood grillcloth, so it kind of matches (not that it matters).
Just in case, because you've had good advice so far; assuming all your ratings are RMS, your speaker needs to be 1.4 times higher rated than your amp. This is to cope with any distortion which effectively adds power to the amps rating which only goes up to the point where it distorts.