So I have a few amps, both of em are modeling ones, bedroom, garage type stuff.

Im planning on getting a 'tube' amp.
The problem is i really dont know how they work. Usually i see an amp ( the box that makes the sound) and a smaller,slimmer box on top the one with all the knobs and stuff.

Could anyone guide me on this, as I understood they come in seperate? Or not? Is there something that makes 2 boxes a 'combo' ?

I mostly play metal,rock.

As far as Iv looked up until now( some surfing )
Id either get a marshal Marshall Vintage Modern ( thats the small box right? ) and ....a 'big' marshall amp ( Guns sound )


A mesa dual something...erm... ( 'tallica stype stuff)

Well im noob so i dont know anything about this and cant get more detail on what iv looked up.

Id say the price... for both big & small... i could prolly spend up to 900$

Id rather hear an explanation on how these things work than rather suggestions on what should i get( unless you get where im trying to go with those two setups i tryed mentioning )

EDIT: got an Epi LP standard - love it, dont know if it will play a factor, but ill still post it
Last edited by DocArunas at Jun 11, 2011,
the box on top is the actual amp, it is called a "head", the part with the speakers is called the cabinet - people call it a "cab". When a head and cab are in one enclosure it is called a "combo amp". You can find tube amps as heads and cabs, but some are also "combo amps". Can't speak on your choices as I don't know much about them. Good luck, though!
an amp has 3 parts:
Power amp

The pre-amp is normally where the overdrive/distortion happens and creates the "sound" of the amp
The power amp is the bit where everything is made louder from headphone like volume to amp type volume
The speakers take the power of the amp signal and make it into sound

In 99.99% of cases the pre-amp and power amp are both together and make up all the electronics which i'll refer to as the "amp". The speakers and the amp can either both be built into the same box and this is called a "combo". If the speakers and electrics are in different boxes then you have a "stack" where the electronics are called the "head" and the speakers are the "cab".

Sound wise you will notice more difference between 2 types of amp than the combo/stack version of each. e.g. combo and stack (the differences here are more due to the eq on the amp than anything else). Stacks are not always better than combos Vox AC30's are almost always combos, marshall go for stack type configurations more often. Neither is "better" just different

For $900 you're probably better off getting a combo, they are cheaper and give you more bang for your buck. they also "tend" to be quieter which is a major advantage for home play and even small gigs. You really won't be pushing above the volume limit of a good combo amp until you're playing fairly major shows of several hundred people

EDIT: bigger boxes are not necessarily bigger in sound the "size" of a sound comes largely from EQ, subtle effect usage and good recording/mic'ing. The Edge has a massive sound playing through a 30w combo, easily bigger than many bands playing through unecessary walls of speakers.

EDIT2: have a look at some marshall JCM combos, in your price range used and will give you sound from classic rock to metal (not insane metal though)
The only 6 words that can make you a better guitarist:

Learn theory
Practice better
Practice more
Last edited by doive at Jun 11, 2011,
Any particular JMC xxx you would recomend? There are tons of numbers out there and i know squat about them. All i know is anything from 30-50watt would be Ok.
Quote by fattychronic
jcm900 duel reverb
its metal as

Are you on drugs?
The JCM900 SL/X is a good metal amp but the Dual Reverb has decent cleans and a good punk sound but metal? Surely you jest?
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band
i had a jcm 900, 4501, it wasn't very versatile, it was useable yeah, but there was better, i traded in for a blackstar ht stage 60 combo. it sounds , awesome.!
you would be able to dial in plenty of tones with a blackstar combo, from Metallica + more, to classic rock. i got a AWESOME peter green sound out of it also. think black magic woman.

for your budget you wont be able to get much from mesa.

Simple descriptions

Combo- Amp with speakers and controls in one package.
Head- Amp, no speakers
Cabinet-Speakers, for a HEAD or, you can sometimes add them to a combo.

Sound wise, Generally el34's will give you a middy British ( Marshall ) style tone

6l6's ? will give you more of a California tone, think mesa, or similar.

correct me if I'm wrong?!