Buying a Guitar Amplifier or Pedal – Remember to Check…

I can not count the times that I have bought a guitar amplifier only to find that the footswitch was sold separately. To add insult to injury, the local guitar stores do not carry the footswitch and needs to order it. What about the electric guitar effects pedals that are designed to run on batteries or a power cord, but the power supply is not included. Often times the power supply will cost up to a quarter of the price of the pedal, and once again, it will need to be ordered.

While I do understand the position of the guitar gear manufacturers who offer these parts as additional equipment so they can make more money, I also wonder if they realize how often such a minor detail can cost them the sale of the main guitar pedal. For instance, if I am going to pay $100 or more on a high-end and best tremolo pedal, I want to be able to use it with my guitar to its fullest potential when I get it home or recording at the studio. I don’t want to wait for a footswitch to be shipped. Sure, I can change channels via the front control panel on the amplifier, but who really does that? You have to quit playing to reach down and make the change. It’s just not efficient.

In the last few years, I have found a few guitar companies who have gone against the grain and included additional equipment in the package. A few examples would be “Crate” which includes footswitches with amplifiers that are designed to use them. “BBE Sound” includes not only the power supply for their effects pedals but also a new battery waiting to be hooked up in the battery compartment. I recently received an effects pedal from “T-Rex Engineering” that even came with a power supply that had interchangeable blades to fit almost all power outlet styles from the US to European styles. All of these mentioned companies offer their main products at around the same price point of their comparable competitors. In reality, there just does not seem to be a price increase for the extra options.

Here is my call out to musical instrument manufacturers around the world. If you build an amplifier that is designed to switch channels with a footswitch, then give me the footswitch. If your effects pedal is made to run on batteries or a power supply, then give me the power supply. It is my choice if I want to use it or not, but at least I have the option. I won’t go so far as to ask you to throw in the first battery too, but I really appreciate that BBE Sound does that for me. You might want to think about that if you are trying to get my business.

There is a lot of good guitar equipment on the market today that I find myself passing up because they are not fully functional out of the box. There are too many other companies that seem to understand this frustration of consumers like myself. These are the products that I find myself leaning toward these days. When possible, I will usually support the manufacturer that gives me what I need to use their product offerings to their fullest potential right out of the box.

How shall I add a headphone jack?

Now you have your new amp, now what do you do? Bug amplifiers won’t take much of your time to learn how to use them, these can be plugged in directly to your guitar and have a 3.5mm port so you can plug your guitar headphones and that’s it!

Mini amps are not as easy to use, still it’s fairly easy, all you have to do is plug your guitar cable to the 6.3mm port and then plug your headphones. You may find that the other port is a 6.3mm port as well, in that case you will need a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter and you’re good to go.

While many of these options are within a reasonable price, there is no doubt that many times, higher price means higher quality, however, that does not mean there aren’t great headphones out there that will leave you more than satisfied when you check your quality/price.

You should remember what kind of use will you be giving your new headphones, Because if you are planning to record in a home studio, a more expensive pair of headphones would be a better investment or if you need it for professional producing and mastering, you may want to be extremely careful and get yourself some refined headphones to get the best audio quality; if you are just planning on practicing or jamming, then there is no need to spend more than $100, but of course, in the end, it’s your choice that matters.

Once you’ve chosen a good pair of headphones to do the “quiet” job for you, it is as easy as plugging your headphones from an eighth to quarter-inch adapter so you can plug it into your guitar and you are good to go. Just remember that you make your own sound, and a pair of headphones is just the beginning, so get comfortable, allow some silence in the room, and get lost in the sound of your guitar in your ears.