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Basic Care for Musical Instruments: Amplifiers

by Emily Lloyd

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Electric guitar leaning against a black amplifer

When it comes to performing with musical instruments, amplifiers are the perfect way to boost your sound. Getting the best sound out of an amplifier is important to any artist. Taking care of your musical instruments, amplifiers included, should be your top priority. Whether you're planning on just practicing or preparing your guitars and amplifiers for a concert, you'll want to make sure you have clear sound. The quality of sound depends on your musical instrument's amplifier and its tubes. Caring for your amplifier is vital to your success as a musician since your amplifier, electric guitars and tubes will last for many performances if they're properly maintained. Below are some tips on the basic care for musical instrument amplifiers.

Basic Care for Amplifiers:

  1. Be careful. No matter how sturdy your amplifier looks, it can still be damaged through carelessness. Dropping your amplifier will jar the electronics inside it, not to mention possibly crack the outer case. Set your amplifier on a sturdy surface when in use. Placing your amplifier on a ledge or table increases its chances of falling and getting damaged. The floor is really the best place for your amplifier. It's also vital that you protect your amplifier from water damage. Never set a drink on top of your amplifier. Not only will liquid short-circuit the electronics, but if it soaks into the wood, it can actually change the tone of your amplifier.

  2. Plug your amplifier in. Plug your amplifier into speakers before you turn it on. The electricity you're sending into the amplifier needs somewhere to go. If the electricity doesn't have a place to go, it can cause some serious damage to your amplifier, such as starting your amplifier on fire.

  3. Warm up your amplifier. Use the standby mode when you're preparing to play. The standby mode lets your amplifier warm up and prepare for use. After the amplifier has sat for a few minutes, it's safe to turn your amplifier to the on mode. Turning it on without any sort of warm up will shock the tubes and dramatically shorten their lifespan. Turn the amplifier to standby and get your electric guitar and other instruments ready while your amplifier warms up.

  4. Regulate your amplifier's temperature. Your amplifier is susceptible to extreme temperatures. Keep your amplifier away from intense heat and cold. Never leave your amplifier outside in the cold. Even leaving your amplifier in a cold car for a couple of hours can cause damage. In addition, you'll want to make sure the heat vent on your amplifier is unobstructed so it can properly vent heat. If your amplifier overheats, it can emit a burning smell and possibly give you a strong shock.

Tip from Overstock.com:

  1. It's better to err on the side of caution. Keep an eye on your amplifier whether you're performing or practicing. Some people don't know how to take care of an amplifier, and while they may want to help, they could actually end up damaging your amplifier on accident and causing you a lot of money to repair the damage.

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