What's the difference between a solid-state amp and a tube amp? I'm looking at some Peavey Vypyrs on GC and I see both kinds. Judging from the fact that the tube amps are more expensive, they might have some advantages. Can anyone shed some light on this for me?
As a quick answer for you, the very first guitar amps were all tube driven, and they provide what most musicians identify as a better, or "purer" tone for electric guitar. The solid state ones, though decent, are miles behind tube amps in terms of overall tone...but of course cost 1/4 the price in comparison, so for budget guitarists/those just starting out, the solid state are excellent to get your feet wet.

The vyper tube ones have the same digital solid state preamp with all those effects and sounds, but instead of just a straight solid state, it's driven by the power tubes, and thus your overall tone will be sweeter and noticeably different from a solid state Vyper.

Hope that helps
- Schecter C-1 Hellraiser
- B.C. Rich Platinum Beast
- Godin LG EMG
- Peavey 6505+ Combo
- "Mastortion" Pedal 1/6
- Hagstrom HC-15 (1967)

2011 gear:
- Schecter 35th anniversary C-1
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Well like the guy above me said, at first all amps were tube driven (as in they use vacuum tubes, like in old TVs and radios), then solid-state amps came out, and while they're cheaper and less maintenance is required, tube amps are pretty much the industry standard, since the sounds created by tubes are what everyone is going for anyway, and solidstate amps are usually designed to emulate the sound of overdriven tubes, so the real thing is better, or at least it's generally agreed to be better.

So basically, the crunchy sound you hear on AC/DC albums comes completely from overdriven tube amps (Marshalls in that case), not a distortion pedal, like I thought when I first started playing.

Personally, I don't think that there would be much difference between the solidstate Vypyrs and the tube Vypyr, since it still has all the digital modeling and a solidstate preamp. Go big or go home, that's my motto. lol
Basically, the main differences between tubes and solid state technology are overdrive (tubes clip more softly, which causes a quite beautiful distortion) and the fact that tubes usually sound a little "warmer" (I think it's got to do with odd/even harmonics or something like that).

Don't be mistaken tho, there are lots of good solid state amps! People tend to generalise that solid state amps suck because most of them suck - however, that's usually not so much because they're solid state, but more because they're cheap (or just plain bad) amps aimed at beginners. It's just a matter of knowing which SS amps are good and which are not.
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