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Absolute Basic: A Beginners Guitar to Amplifiers


To hear the sound of the electric guitar in all of its rocking glory, you'll need to plug into and amplifier. We call them "amps" for short.

Amps basically boost and shape the signal that is fed to it through the guitar's pickups. That boosted signal then needs to be run through a speaker for it to become audible. Guitars connect to amplifiers through cables with 1/4" jacks on either end. 

1/4" Cable

The Combo

There are many different types of popular amplifiers and speaker combinations, but the combo is the most common for beginners.

Fender Mustang Amp Front

A combo amp contains both an amplifier and a speaker in the same unit.

All amps have an input to plug your cable into and some variety of knobs. The knobs can range from volume and tone to more complex effects. These inputs and knobs are found on the control panel.

Mustang Control Panel

The possibilities of tones with a control panel like this are seemingly endless and you wouldn't want to get overwhelmed on day one, so lets walk through some basic controls.

Volume is commonly referred to as the master on guitar amps. To get started, turn the Master knob to about 9 o'clock (about 1/4 of the way up on the left, where the 9 would be on a clock face). You should be able to hear the guitar at this volume without blowing the roof off your practice space. Keep everything else at noon (halfway around, as shown in the picture). You can experiment with these to taste a little later.

To get started, plug one end of the 1/4" cable into you guitar's output, plug the other end into your amplifier's input, and turn that amp on.j

Now you're really ready to make some noise. Tune into some of our other lessons for more riffs, licks, and tips!


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