Do Electric Guitars Need Amps? Find Out!

Do electric guitars need amps? Electric guitars can be played without amplifiers. The music, however, would be quiet, even quieter than an acoustic guitar. Plugging your electric guitar into an amplifier is necessary if you want to maximize its potential and bring out its oomph factor. 

The electric guitar is one of the best instruments to learn if you want to broaden your musical horizons. To play and appreciate it, though, you’ll need a few more pieces of equipment and accessories. 

Electric guitars do not require an amplifier, which is a question that many beginners ask. We’re here to help you with that and some other concerns you may have. Is it necessary to purchase amplification equipment? Is it possible for you to play your instrument without using a microphone? What impact does an amp have on your electric guitar experience? In this post, we’ll cover the essentials of electric guitar amps.

How Does an Electric Guitar Work?

The hollow body of an acoustic guitar reverberates the string vibrations, resulting in sound. Electric guitars, on the other hand, have a substantial body. So, how are you going to use it to make noise? 

There would still be a sound because the strings vibrate when plucking them. The issue is that the sound is just too faint for other people to hear. One or more pickups on the electric guitar’s body will be exposed to remedy this. 

The pickups capture the vibrations when you pluck or strum the strings, hence the name. The electric guitar gets its name by translating vibrations into an electric signal. 

The electric signal would then be transferred from the pickups to the guitar’s output jack and into a shielded cable. Signals are transmitted to the amplifier through this isolated link.

What is the Role of Amplifiers?

So, what happens to the electric signal from the pickups when it passes through the amplifier? When discussing the role of an amplifier in all of this, several factors to consider. However, all of these internal workings can be broken down into three parts: preamp, power amplifier, and speaker.

The Preamp

The first “gate” through which the signals pass is the preamp. Four knobs are common in preamps. The volume knob is one, while the treble, mid, and bass equalizer knobs are the other three. The preamp’s primary job is to shape and modify the guitar signal. 

Increase the bass in the equalization to boost the lower frequencies, for example. The preamp screens the signals and sends them to the power amp in the best possible condition.

The Power Amp

At this point, the signals coming from the instrument and via the preamp aren’t powerful enough. Here’s where the power amplifier comes in handy. Before transferring the signal to the speaker, the power amp uses electricity from an electrical outlet to magnify the charge or voltage of the signal.

The Speaker

The speaker begins to work after the signal has reached a sufficient voltage level. An amplifier’s speaker is a complete system that converts electrical energy into sound. To accomplish this, the electrical energy must be powerful enough to drive the speaker, so the power amp is required. 

The voice coil inside the speaker pulsates or moves back and forth when the electrical energy is transferred to mechanical energy. Pressure waves, which are what sound is, are created by this movement.

Is using an electric guitar without an amplifier possible?

The most frequent and efficient way to utilize an electric guitar is with an amplifier. You could use an acoustic guitar if you don’t want to utilize an amplifier or other equipment. 

Thankfully, you can use an electric guitar without an amplifier in various ways. Here are a few examples.

Headphones and Effects Pedal

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to hear the electric guitar play by simply plugging your headphones into the output jack. A regular headphone’s input jack and an electric guitar’s output jack are different sizes, for starters. Furthermore, even if you use adapters or converters to make the pickups compatible, there is no power supply to amplify the signals. 

You’ll need an effects pedal. It is a piece of gear that connects to your guitar and allows you to change the contour of the sounds. It’s similar to a preamp but with additional effects customization options. Most effects pedals feature a headphone output, so all you have to do is plug it into an outlet, connect it to your instrument, then plug the headphones into the appropriate socket. It is also one of the most effective ways to play your electric guitar discreetly.

Computer and Audio Interface

Playing your electric guitar on a PC or laptop is a terrific alternative if you travel frequently. Amplifiers are, after all, sometimes too big to travel with. Furthermore, because many of us already own computers, this method is quite common and convenient. 

Your electric guitar, like headphones, cannot be directly plugged into your computer. The problem is that the guitar’s signal isn’t immediately readable by a computer. An audio interface could be used instead.

An audio interface translates electric signals from the guitar to digital signals that your computer can understand. The best aspect of this method is that you can use a digital audio workstation (DAW) to tweak further and improve the sounds from your electric guitar. 

Digital audio workstations, or DAWs, are software tools you can install on your computer. They can receive digital signals from an audio interface and enter them into the software. You can record, edit, and produce music using DAWs.

Best Electric Guitar Amps

  1. Positive Grid Spark

The Positive Grid Spark, which debuted in late 2019, forever transformed the face of home practice amps. This modest 40W amp may appear identical to all the other practice amps on the market, but don’t be fooled: it hides some cutting-edge technology. 

This amp, powered by the BIAS tone engine, is capable of duplicating some of the most popular tube amps and effects of all time, and when combined with the Spark app, it transforms into the perfect practice tool. 

One of the most impressive features of this amp is the unique Auto Chord tool, which allows you to figure out the chords in any song from Spotify, Apple Music, or Youtube. While the Smart Jam feature analyzes the notes you’re playing and creates a backing track in the manner of your choice – yes, your amp will jam with you! As if that weren’t enough, the app also provides access to over 10,000 tones of presets.

Pros:

  • Everything you could ever want in terms of sound 
  • Features of Auto Chord/Smart Jam 
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Not for those who dislike apps 

 

  1. Friedman BE Mini Head

Friedman amps have become something of a modern classic, with players like Jerry Cantrel, Bill Kelliher, and Billy Duffy using them to devastating effect on stages worldwide. While most of us would love nothing more than to play our Les Paul through a full-fat BE 100 Deluxe or even a Runt, there is one issue: cost. 

Friedman, fortunately, has a very reasonable choice for people looking for the BE bark without breaking the bank. The Friedman BE Small is a solid-state version of the famed preamp circuit housed in a compact 30W mini head. 

The BE Mini is a stripped-down amp with only the minimum elements for great tone and a single channel setup that provides world-class high gain tones. It may be used in many settings, including live performance, studio recording, and home practice, thanks to its tiny footprint, lightweight nature, and 30W of power.

Pros:

  • There’s a lot of profit available.
  • Lightweight 
  • A low-cost approach to get a feel for Friedman’s voice

Cons:

  • High gain sounds 

 

  1. Blackstar HT-1R MKII

Let’s face it: as much as we all adore the sound of a nice set of humbuckers plugged into a cranked valve amp, it’s not always practical – especially at home. For the most part, we use a computer modeling amp to mimic the tone we want virtually – but what if you truly need a valve? 

In that situation, it’s important to maintain the wattage as low as possible to get as much natural break up as possible, something the Blackstar HT-1R excels at. This little combination amp packs a punch with lots of gains, natural compression, and the Blackstar tone you’ve come to expect. 

Two unique channels, each with two voices, are housed inside this pint-sized combo, providing a remarkably varied spectrum of tones, while the built-in digital reverb offers the much-needed atmosphere we’ve all grown to rely on. The MKII has the added benefit of recording via the USB port on the back of the machine, making it a vital addition to any home studio.

Pros:

  • Ideal for at-home practicing 
  • Small and lightweight 
  • Reverb built-in
  • Built-in reverb

Cons:

  • For some gamers, an 8″ speaker is insufficient.

Conclusion on Do Electric Guitars Need Amps?

If you ask any musician if you can play an electric guitar without an amplifier, the answer is almost always no. It’s just the most conventional and widely used method of playing the instrument. 

However, if you delve a little further, you may have fun with your electric guitar by using additional instruments. Headphones, effects pedals, audio interfaces, and digital audio workstations are just a few examples.