obviously genres that don't use a lot of gain you only need single channel such as jazz, surf rock, blues, rockabilly.

however, for most genres that feature distorted electric guitar, how important is a channel switching amp when playing covers and playing your own songs?
Last edited by musicandthewave at Sep 25, 2014,
If you need it, you need it.

If you don't, you don't.

Silly question...
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Depends entirely on what you need. I've gigged doing covers with 1 channel, 2 channel and 3 channel amps and got by just fine with all. If you know what you are doing, you can use damn near anything.
For the originals part of the question. Again it all depends. My originals band plays punk. I use a 3 channel MIDI compatible amp but I only use one channel and an overdrive pedal because that's my sound. For original music it depends on what you are trying to achieve even more than covers. Only you can possibly know the answer to that.
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My last three amps have been single channel, but I have five drives on my pedalboard. I get away with it fine, but I also don't play a ton of heavy music. If I did I'd want a true OD channel.
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Unless its electronic drums.

Pointlessly vague question. It depends on personal tastes and needs. You can't bundle "most genres" together and expect any useful answer, and how are we supposed to decide what people need for playing "your own songs" ? That doesn't make any sense.

You don't need a channel switcher for anything, especially given the quality and quantity of OD/distortion pedals out there.
Depends. I've had/have a lot of different amps. My current main rig uses a. Mesa Rectoverb combo. I like the change switching, and the different voices for each channel. It came with a great foot switch that not only switches channels, but also turns reverb on and off, and switches between normal and adjustable "Solo" volume.

In reality, I never switch anything. I leave it on the gain channel, Vintage voice (supposedly like a Mark series), and leave he reverb off. I'll play with my guitar volume knob around 7 or 8, and do my sound checks here. I'll bump it to 10 for solos or more gain, and knock it down to 3-ish for clean parts. No switching needed, sound amazing, super easy.

This covers my playing from Sinatra, Nora Jones, Led Zeppelin, STP, Tool, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and everything in between.
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Last edited by dgonz at Sep 25, 2014,
I use an Engl Screamer combo, and while it does have 2 channels with 2 modes each accessing those functions requires a ridiculously expensive footswitch so I ended up using a Boss Ds-1 over my clean channel all the time. And while I don't love the sound of that pedal on its own, it is awesome in the context of the band. That us what I use for a hard rock/metalband.

I prefer the simplest possible setup, but I've tried relying on only volume control and that didn't work that well since I tend to use far too much gain. So I need clean and full on distorted. The rest I can do with the volume.
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Channels or pedals. It doesn't matter that much. You can do essentially anything with pedals that you can do with channels on most amps. Choose your weapon and wail.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
this is a shitty question

you should know what you need.

is there an amp in question? that you are looking at or to buy or anything.

if you are seeking advise on how to find the right amp for you? ask us directly that is indeed if you are looking.
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youre just being a jerk man.

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First rule of music: "you shouldn't follow rules". The closest thing to rules we have is music theory and even that should be used more as a guidline than a rule. If does or doesn't sound right it's completely up to you.
For my metal band I use a 3 channel amp but only use the clean channel and 2nd dirt channel. But for the music I write on my own (metal, just of a different variety) I could easily get away with using a single dirt channel and my OD to tighten it up.
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I use a 2 channel amp, the clean channel for cleans and the od channel for rhythm, and i boost wits an overdrive for leads. I'd love a 3 channel amp where i can set both the rhythm and the lead channel independandtly, but they seem to cost a bunch, and i dont know if the crunch channels on most amps have enough gain for metal. But honetly, im pretty content with my setup now. I dont know how i would handle a 1 channel amp tho.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
Do you want your OD/Distortion sound to be legit amp distortion, rather than a stompbox, and also play clean sometimes? Then a multi-channel amp is pretty important.
3 channels or 2 channels with 2 volume controls via footswitch and fw controlled boost for me for metal, or I supplement the same setup with pedals on 1 channel amp. I need:

1) clean - about 10% pf the time, can in a bind eventually get by with crunch chan. rolled off
2) crunch - about 10% as well, could get by with dirty chan. rolled off
3) rhythm hi gain - this is about 70% so it is essential so it has to sound absolutely killer
4) Lead or lead boost - the other 10%, could eventually get by with OD in front or volume pedal

I used programmable preamp with midi footboard and fx pedals, or just Boss GT-10 with the programmable preamp adding some effects but it wasn't really that important to my sound, a touch of chorus, delay, maybe some wah and light phaser or flange.
That's why I play a Les Paul. .
I dial in a crunch and play my leads thru an OD pedal and I can roll my volume back on my 50s style wiring and clean up my tone. Les Paul thru a Marshall= WIN!
i bought a 3 channel amp to cover anything from jazzy to drop C riffage a la system of a down or something.

awesome flexibility. and it still has a boost and i have an OD on my board. awesome.

could i use a 1 or 2 channel? yes. but it would need to be a VERY high quality amp with uber touch sentivity and dynamics. almost like a clean to metal via volume knob. some amps can do that. most are well over 1000 bucks.
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My last three amps have been single channel, but I have five drives on my pedalboard. I get away with it fine, but I also don't play a ton of heavy music. If I did I'd want a true OD channel.
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Quote by Sixxstarr
First rule of music: "you shouldn't follow rules". The closest thing to rules we have is music theory and even that should be used more as a guidline than a rule. If does or doesn't sound right it's completely up to you.

This post is probably in the top ten of all posts I have read.