I'm not very knowledgeable about amps. I have a Fender Mustang III. I keep reading about how people like tube amps so much more. What is it about a tube amp that sounds so great? What are the differences except for being a lot more money.
Well, Tube amps are guitar amplifiers that use vacuum tube based circuits instead of transistor based circuits.

What makes them more expensive is that they are harder to produce, tubes needing a lot more physical material and parts to be in the amp.

What makes them more desirable to a rock guitar player is mostly based in tradition. The traditional rock guitar sound was achieved by overdriving the tubes in an amplifier. Originally this was done through the volume control on one's amp and guitar. This overdriving caused a distortion of the sound coming through the amplifier. This is quite literally a "clipping" off of the apogee of the sound wave, however because a vacuum tube can run more current/power through it than it's intended rating it causes a distortion that is aurally pleasing. This distortion, first used deliberately on "Rumble" by Link Wray, became associated with rock as rock musicians were constantly trying to be as loud as possible, and thereby overdriving their amplifiers. Solid State Amplifiers, on the other hand, don't overdrive. They simply do not play outputs higher than their maximum rating, clipping off the sound wave at the point were the volume has exceeded the maximum output the SS amp could but out. The Human Ear perceives this "hard clipping" as unpleasant and guitarist try to avoid that.
Actually, I go by Dave, but there are already too many Daves on this forum.

Fender MIM Stratocaster
Fender Jaguar Bass
Epiphone EJ200 Super Jumbo
Fender Excelsior 13w
Acoustic B300HD (with matching 1x12 cab)
NYC Big Muff Pi
Last edited by kangaxxter at Aug 3, 2011,
First of all, there are solid states that sound as good as a tube amp. That being said, i do prefer tube amps. Its hard to describe other than they feel and sound more alive and organic, and are generally more responsive to your playing.