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When buying a new amplifier, there are about ten gajillion things you need to keep in mind. Since I'm a space-conscious noder, I think I'll only list the first four or five gajillion here.

Firstly, do your research! Coming here was a great first step. A salesman can smell ignorance like a lion can smell a wounded gazelle...and they'll both pounce in a New York minute. Walking around my local Guitar Center, I've seen the uninitiated tiptoe around the place like they'd found Solomon's mine. With a little research and preparation beforehand, you'll be well on your way to getting exactly what you want without having to give up your firstborn as payment.

Solid-State vs. Tube Amps Ahh, the age-old question. Tube Amps get a warmer tone, overdrive easier, and make for a great conversation piece in a guitarists' pissing contest. Solid-State amps are cheaper, don't require regular maintanence, and are generally less moody than their valve-based counterparts. Y'see, a solid-state amp uses transistor circuitry to do its thang, which usually results in a sound musicians describe as 'cold' and 'unyielding'. A Tube Amp uses power tubes to process the signal coming through the input. Somehow tube gremlins are friendlier than transistor gremlins, resulting in a nice creamy tone with a much richer mid-range. However, the jazzies swear that solid-state's better, because they're harder to overdrive and they give off a more crisp high-range tone. It all depends on your personal preference.

Head n' Cab vs. Combo This one is mainly a factor of noise and money. If you're a professional performer playing to stadiums of 10,000+, get yourself a nice 100-watt head and a wall o' cabs and destroy the place. But if you're an amateur or a semi-pro weekend warlord, a nice 30-50 watt combo with a 1x12 or a 2x12 speaker unit should do you fine. Which brings us to my next point...

Wattage Don't let the numbers fool you; more wattage does not mean more noise. However, more wattage does mean that the amp will stay true to the tone at greater volumes, i.e. You have to crank it up to get good overdrive. Most high-end amplifiers will have a channel volume as well as a master volume, so you should be able to overdrive just about any of them without deafening your nearest neighboring country.

Effects On-amp effects are all the rage these days, and I've got to admit, they can be pretty useful when you've got something you really like and want to stick with through your entire set. I'm kinda partial to my amp's coil-driven reverb. It's an effect that's pretty much static in my repertoire, so I leave it on all the time. But then there are some onboard effects that just piss me off. Like flange. Some guys like a little flange in their music...I'm just not one of them. So I leave it turned off, and now I've paid for an effect I don't use. Another thing to look out for when you're buying an amp for the effects it to check whether the amp supports footswitching, and if so, find out whether the footswitch is included. This is one I learned from experience...

Well, that's all for now, kiddies...Good luck out there, and jam responsibly.