#1
How can you tell whether an amp is a solid state amp or a tube amp by looking at it? Is it a matter of brand recognition - knowing which brands/models use tubes and which are SS? I haven't seen any amps that explicitly distinguish themselves as either SS or tube, but maybe I'm not looking at them right.

I know this is a basic question, I'm a beginner. I wasn't sure if I should post this here or at the beginners' forum, but I chose to put it here.
#2
Most amps will either state that what tubes they have - for example, EL34, 12AX7, EL84 - or if they don't state it at all then they don't have tubes. Most ampmakers today don't make exclusively tube or SS amps (aside from boutique brands) but you should be able to tell tube from SS through the amp's description on a website.

It's usually kinda difficult to see an amp's tubes either through the grillcloth or sheet where the logo is (unless the amp has glass in which case it should be obvious...) the tubes are what glow in the amp.
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#3
You can see the tubes if you look at the back of the amp.
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#4
Alright, this is actually a good question that a surprising amount of people do not know the answer to. You can tell by looking at the back of the amp, where, if it is a tube amp, there will be glass vacuum tubes, usually behind some sort of protective covering. A solid state amp will have nothing of the sort. Also, tube amps usually have both a standby and a power switch, where most solid state amps only have a single power switch.
#5
Quote by Hinro
Alright, this is actually a good question that a surprising amount of people do not know the answer to. You can tell by looking at the back of the amp, where, if it is a tube amp, there will be glass vacuum tubes, usually behind some sort of protective covering. A solid state amp will have nothing of the sort. Also, tube amps usually have both a standby and a power switch, where most solid state amps only have a single power switch.


I didn't know that 2nd part :O
#6
The standby is a good point. If an amp has a standby it's almost certainly a tube amp. If it doesn't have a standby it isn't necessarily an SS amp though since lots of tube amps don't have a standby.
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#7
good points^ i almost think this thread should be stickied since so many people ask this question lol.

i concur with these guys
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#8
I'm pretty sure most of it is in one of the general info stickies.
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#9
Quote by Hinro
Alright, this is actually a good question that a surprising amount of people do not know the answer to. You can tell by looking at the back of the amp, where, if it is a tube amp, there will be glass vacuum tubes, usually behind some sort of protective covering. A solid state amp will have nothing of the sort. Also, tube amps usually have both a standby and a power switch, where most solid state amps only have a single power switch.


Good point, although some hybrids like the Spider Valve have standby. Really the standby is an indicator that the amp has a tube-driven power amp, but not necessarily that it's all-tube.
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#10
Tube amps usually have two switches, standby, and on.

there are also tubes in the back, glowing when the amp is on.
#11
Quote by Sonicxlover
Good point, although some hybrids like the Spider Valve have standby.


It has powertubes and preamp tubes so it's closer to an all tube amp that most. Standby switches are mainly for the powertubes anywho.
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#12
on this topic what about bass amps
how do you tell the difference from a guitar and bass amp without prior knowledge of sayed amp or amp maker
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#13
Quote by stratsrule1990
on this topic what about bass amps
how do you tell the difference from a guitar and bass amp without prior knowledge of sayed amp or amp maker


Well in the world of bass amps, solid states are MUCH more common. So I guess you just assume it's SS.
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#14
Quote by Kevin Saale
I'm pretty sure most of it is in one of the general info stickies.

+1

everything a beginner needs to know is here:
https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=278232

Quote by stratsrule1990
on this topic what about bass amps
how do you tell the difference from a guitar and bass amp without prior knowledge of sayed amp or amp maker

bass amps usually have larger speakers, tweeters, and/or higher wattages than guitar amps.
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#15
Quote by Sonicxlover
Good point, although some hybrids like the Spider Valve have standby. Really the standby is an indicator that the amp has a tube-driven power amp, but not necessarily that it's all-tube.


The Spider Valve has tubes in BOTH the preamp stage and power stage.

The best bet is to look behind to see if there are tubes. Some low wattage tube amps like the Krank Rev Jr and Jr Pro are all tube, but lack a standby switch.

Otherwise read the specs, if they have tubes, manufacturers will list the tubes in the specs sheets.
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Last edited by ragingkitty at Nov 10, 2008,