Written by Keenan.

Since I'm writing this for Asian guitarists, and most Asian guitarists prefer preamp distortion to power amp distortion, I'm going to focus on how preamp circuits affect tone. I'm going to ignore most of the tonal contri- bution of power amps. (All combo and head amps have both a preamp and a power amp.)

There are many factors which influence how an amp sounds. But one major contributor to tone of an amp is its preamp. The main part of a preamp that does the "work" of a preamp is called a "gain stage". A gain stage is like a pump, or miniature amplifier. The more pumps, the greater the potential amount of distortion.

  • Clean preamps have very few gain stages.
  • High gain preamps [screaming rock distortion] have many gain stages.

  • 2 stages: CLEAN
  • 5 stages: HEAVY DISTORTION

More of all this here: http://www.harmony-central.com/Guita...evolution.html