How guitar amp speakers work

Guitar amp speakers
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to electric guitar tone, there’s the big stuff and the small stuff. The former may include our choices of guitar and amplifier, while the latter includes valves, cables, pickups, plectrums and so forth. While every factor in the tone equation is undeniably important, guitarists often sweat the small stuff while failing to consider the big picture. 

Given the enormous impact that guitar amp speakers have on guitar tone, it’s surprising how little consideration they’re given. Studio and hi-fi amps and speakers are designed to be sonically neutral, but if you’ve ever tried playing guitar through a hi-fi, you’ll know how dreadful it sounds.

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Huw Price

Huw started out in recording studios, working as a sound engineer and producer for David Bowie, Primal Scream, Ian Dury, Fad Gadget, My Bloody Valentine, Cardinal Black and many others. His book, Recording Guitar & Bass, was published in 2002 and a freelance career in journalism soon followed. He has written reviews, interviews, workshop and technical articles for Guitarist, Guitar Magazine, Guitar Player, Acoustic Magazine, Guitar Buyer and Music Tech. He has also contributed to several books, including The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pittman. Huw builds and maintains guitars and amplifiers for clients, and specializes in vintage restoration. He provides consultancy services for equipment manufacturers and can, occasionally, be lured back into the studio.