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February 15, 2024
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Guitarists: When you need to construct a monolithic tower of tone, the only way to go is the amp stack. Gaining popularity in the 1960s, and ubiquitous on arena rock show stages by the '80s, a stack -- that is, an amp head atop one or two speaker cabinets -- is the best way to get the most power and volume possible out of your electric guitar setup, while simultaneously intimidating other musicians, etc.

That said, pairing an amp head with a speaker cab doesn't mean you need to go huge. Increasingly, modern guitarists are building separate-head-and-cabinet rigs to get more control over their tone. With a stack, you can swap out either your amplifier or speaker cabinet to take advantage of different tubes, speaker drivers, amp types, and different combinations of wattage and impedance. You can also add an extension cabinet to project your amp's sound farther, and get better dispersion on stage. This type of mixing and matching requires some technical knowledge, but can ultimately be your ticket to the Tone Zone -- and a way to build up your own customized collection of components for any situation.

From the instantly recognizable aesthetics and mid-range tonal bite of Orange and Marshall cabinets, to the classic vintage-vibe sounds of Fender and Vox, to higher-gain brands like Randall and EVH, the options out there for electric guitar cabinets can be a little overwhelming. You could go all-Orange for a fuzzy, British drive, or go all-Fender for bright, chiming clean sounds -- but you don't have to stick with all one brand. Try open-back cabinets for bright, up-front tone with a lot of presence, or plug into a closed-back cab for more low-mid bark and thicker bass.

As far as speaker firing angle, there are straight and angled cabinets -- pioneered by Marshall for The Who in the 1960s -- which aim the sound slightly upward toward the guitarist's ear for convenient stage monitoring. Speaker size (8" vs. 10" vs. 12"), impedance, cabinet construction material, and stereo/mono capability are just a few more of the specs you may want to consider when shopping for the perfect guitar cab. As always, feel free to call our Gear Experts at 800-460-8089 with any questions related to amp and speaker combinations.