by Jef | Approximate reading time: 1 Minute
Valve or Transistor?

Valve or Transistor?  ·  Source: YouTube


Ah yes, that age-old spat among guitarists: What’s better, a valve amp or a transistor amp? Although there are good reasons cited by advocates of both types, the main bone of contention between the two camps is, obviously, the sound. 


Can you guess which is which?

In the video below, Brian Wampler and Travis Feaster have a riot playing three amps, all through the same cabinet. Two are tube amps, one is a transistor amp. And they sound different, of course. But what is the archetypal “tube sound” – compared to the quintessential “valve sound”? And, more importantly, can you tell one from the other?

Test your ears

If you ask three people about their ideal guitar tone, you’ll probably get three different opinions. And everybody is right. The fact is we all like different things in guitar amps. But can you guess which amp is the solid state one in the video below?

It quickly becomes apparent that these three amps sound very different and cater to very different tastes. But you get a good approximation of both types of guitar amps. Although some commentators have said that there’s too much bass for the mic to handle.


Try it and see if you can guess which is which. Comment below with your results!


You are currently viewing a placeholder content from Youtube. To access the actual content, click the button below. Please note that doing so will share data with third-party providers.

More Information

Valve or Transistor?

How do you like this post?

Rating: Yours: | ø:

6 responses to “Valve vs. solid state guitar amps: Can you guess which is which?”

    Warren says:

    I ‘ve been playing since the 1960’s and have used both solid state and tube amps. It wasn’t till I bought a Yamaha G100 that I found to be a really good sounding solid state amp. I would set it next to my Fender Twin on stage and found the overdriven sound very nice and smooth compared to the Fender Twin. I still play that Yamaha amp today!

      Derek says:

      “they sound different, of course. But what is the archetypal “tube sound” – compared to the quintessential “valve sound”? And, more importantly, can you tell one from the other?”

      As I understand it, the only difference there is whether the guy talking is British or not. Don’t you mean “tube/valve sound” vs “solid state/transistor” sound?

    Randali says:

    Thanks, that was fun!
    (H stands for Head)

    Frank Deitsch says:

    Dude I play blues through the new DSL line and to say you can’t get the cleans etc maybe you might wanna rethink that before trashing it. Plus you might want to check in with all the DSL 40 Combo owners lol

    William Paxson says:

    Ah, the “tube versus solid state” thing (cue beating-dead-horse icon). Figured out almost 50 years ago that it mostly baloney (or bollocks for you Brits). Saw Led Zeppelin on their first US tour using Rickenbacker Transonic amps (SS) and guess what? They sounded just like Led Zeppelin (duh). I remember in the 70’s when the Mesa Boogie amps came out and Santana was shilling for them and I had guys come in the store wanting “those tube amps that gave Carlos that great sound at Woodstock” and I really ruined their day and burst their bubble when I told them that Carlos used a SS amp (a GMT 226 A-early Gallien Krueger) and a fuzz (early Big Muff as I remember) at Woodstock.

    Paul says:

    1st one is ss

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *