Created by the rock god forefathers of yore, guitar amp stacks are nearly synonymous with rock 'n' roll. One can argue that there really is only one reason for owning a stack: power. You can get incredible tone out of a combo amp, no question, but there really is something special about standing in front of an amp rig that can in some cases be taller than you are.
Perfected in the 1960s by some of the greatest amp manufacturers in existence, amp stacks were made with the sole purpose of deafening even the back row of fans. By this time in popular music history, rock 'n' roll was starting to take off at an exponential pace, and along with the record sales came the influx of crowds at the shows. Smaller combo amps were the status quo at the time, and they were becoming overpowered by the sound of the crowds. Imagine how incredibly frustrating it must have been to be one of the top-selling acts of your day, and unable to hear your own guitar at some of the biggest shows you've ever played. PA systems were woefully underpowered at this time, and were really only at venues for vocals to be pumped through. These sound systems would today be considered quite primitive and underpowered, so the idea of miking a guitar amp to make its volume even louder was a solution that wouldn't become the norm for some time.
Pluggin into an amp-and-cab stack on stage not only made you look cooler -- let's face it, a wall of Marshall stacks on stage can be awe-inspiring -- it also meant that your entire audience could now hear what you were playing. Along with at least one or two separate speaker cabinets, the amplifiers themselves also grew in wattage, and therefore volume. By the end of the 1950s, you'd be hard pressed to find a guitar amp more powerful than 50 watts anywhere, yet by the end of the following decade, you weren't a "real" rockstar without at least a gaggle of 100-watt stacks behind you in your backline.
Bigger isn't necessarily better for every player, so guitar amp stacks are found in a few different sizes: full stacks, half stacks, and micro stacks. Full stacks are the archetypical amp stack, created by stacking up 2 separate 4x12" speaker cabinets topped off with the amplifier head. Half stacks sound just like what they are: only one speaker cab with an amp head on top. Half stacks can also use a 4x12" cab, but 2x12" cabs work great as well. For modern guitars, micro stacks have also proven to be quite popular. These would include some sort of lower wattage head on top of a 1x12" cabinet or two.
Ready to get loud? Check out our incredible selection of guitar amp stacks from manufacturers like Marshall, Orange, Peavey, and more!