In a perfect world, once you bought an amplifier, that would be it. The speakers and tubes would last forever, optional footswitches would be included with purchase, and amp stands would be available at every venue. Of course, our world is far from perfect, and sometimes we need to do a little maintenance on our little tone boxes in order for them to sound their best.
Out of all the replaceable parts on your amplifier, the speaker would have to be the ones that sees the most abuse, especially if you're one of those players who feels the need to crank your amp to 10 to get a first-class ticket to the tone zone. This may go without saying, but the speakers inside your amp cab rapidly vibrate back and forth with every note you play and sustain. Heck, even when muting your guitar, the subtle hum of the amp forces those speakers to vibrate. With all the pushing and pulling your amp's speakers are doing, it's all but inevitable that you'll need a replacement speaker at some point. Luckily, some of the finest manufacturers -- companies like Celestion, Eminence, Electro-Voice, and Jensen -- all make their speakers a la carte for your pleasure. Even if your speaker isn't blown, you can feel free to try out different kinds to see how your amp's tone changes. If you have a multiple-speaker setup, like in a 2x12" or 4x12" cabinet, we suggest experimenting with using different makes and/or models in the same cab to blend their own unique tones to taste.
Another component of your amp that will, sooner or later, require maintenance, vacuum tubes are the lifeblood to any valve amp worth its salt. While lacking moveable parts, tubes get worn out in any number of ways. The extreme heat tubes give off (similar to an incandescent light bulb), contrasted with cold periods between use, causes expansion and contracting, which isn't great for the durability of any product, let alone a sensitive vacuum tube. Vibrations, either during transport or due to the volume of the speaker shaking a combo amp's chassis, can cause the elements inside the tube to become loose, which will introduce microphonics into the amplified signal. Brands like Groove Tubes, Electro Harmonix, Mullard, Tung-Sol, and Svetlana offer replacement tubes to fit your style and sound. Just as you experiment with replacement speakers, try out different kinds and find the right tubes for you and your amp.
Get your amplifier to work at maximum capability with optional foot controllers. These footswitches are meant to work with amps in order to switch channels, turn reverb on or off, and tap into a host of other features your amp has to offer. Check if your amp requires a special footswitch, and make sure you're getting the most out of your amp.
The humble amplifier stand is the unsung hero of many a workhorse rig. It has often been said that guitar amps sound better when they're off the ground and de-coupled from the floor (which can add unflattering frequencies to your tone.) What's more, you might just want to hear your amp pointed directly toward your ears, so you can get the best possible picture of how your amp really sounds. No matter how you use one, pick up an amp stand today to hear a noticeable difference.