Boutique Amps Versus Big Brand Amps

The Rambler Carr is just one of the many high quality Boutique amps on the market.

Boutique Amps Versus Big Brand Amp

If you are a bit of a tone freak, you may have had the same inner self issue as other guitarists – should you buy that shiny new big brand amp, like the new Fender Hot Rod III series amp or perhaps you decide to pull the string on a Carr Rambler boutique guitar amplifier.

Decisions, decisions. What doesn’t help the matter is the fact that there are so many different brands and types of amps out there. You may want to think about the following three aspects when you find yourself pondering a new amp purchase and it just might help to sway your decision in the right direction.

Price

The first thing that you are probably going to look at is price. What does your budget look like? Boutique amps are generally going to be more expensive. The main reason for higher prices is that boutique amps are usually made by one electronics wizard in their shop and they only churn out a small number of amps per year. The amount of time and effort usually put into these amps and the attention to detail is greatly superior to the big manufactured brands.

Amp Specs

Most boutique amps are built around the same specs as a regular amp. Many times, a boutique amp builder will begin with a schematic for a well known and loved amp and tweak it into his own version. All of this is usually done by hand, with all of the amps innards meticulously placed as if almost to imitate art. Seriously, looking at the interior of some of these hand built amps is just incredible.

The Fender Hot Rod Series of amps offer quality tone at an affordable price.

Big brand guitar amps are often mass produced, with not too many built by hand. Often times, there are computers involved in the creation of circuit boards and integrated circuits in some of these amps. This can mean that there is less human error involved in the amp building process.

Handling Repairs

If something happens to go wrong with your amp, it may be easier to have it repaired if your amp is not from a boutique shop. A lot of times, the larger manufacturers will have authorized service centers in your area so that you can get any repair work done locally.

Boutique amp problems may not happen too often, but should you have an issue, you might have to send it back to the maker to get the repair done. This could mean that if you are fairly far away from the amp maker, you could end up not having your amp for awhile and you may end up having to pay a hefty shipping fee to get it there. Luckily, due to the attention to detail on these types of amps, this doesn’t happen very often.

There are definitely other things to think about when choosing your next amp, but these three topics will get you on your way to finding that right amp. I hope this helps during your next G.A.S. attack!

Corey Palmer is a guitarist from Woodstock, NB Canada who has been playing for the past 20 years.  During this time, he has been a member of many different bands ranging from rock, metal and even a little country.  He currently jams with a band called gNosh.

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