Would you put the average guitar amplifier in your living room? Maybe more importantly, would your family let you put it there?
I recently got an electric guitar and spent some time looking around for an amp for playing at home. Most of the time I’ll be playing in my living room, so it would be kind of nice to have an amp that looks a little decent with the rest of the decoration.
Surprisingly, my living room is not painted black and doesn’t resemble a grimy stage. So why are all guitar amps designed to fit into that setting?
Guitar Amp Aesthetics
- It’s black.
- It’s a no-frills square or rectangular box.
- It has big chunky corners made of black plastic.
- It has an unstylish handle that sticks up out of the top and stops you putting things on it.
- It has a control panel full of industrial looking buttons that would be more at home in a power station than the average home.
- It has an ugly speaker cover ideal for gathering dust.
Apart from the odd model fitted with quaint brown vinyl or tweed (think Fender Blues Deluxe) and some variations in the colour of the speaker cover – not always very tasteful – the average amp has little to help it fit into your household decoration.
Most Amps Spend Their Time At Home
Now, this typical look might be fine for rock concerts on a dimly lit stage. But most guitar amps don’t live their lives on a dimly lit stage.
Most guitar amps spend 99% of their working lives in the homes of us guitar players. So, why are there no guitar amps designed to fit into such a setting? Why don’t they build amps that you might find in a Habitat or Ikea store, something that you’d like to invite into your home?
It might be fine to build a 100W tube stack with the rugged black looks suited to stage and touring use. But those little 15W practice amps, people they are just not going touring anywhere beyond the guitarists front porch. So why not spruce them up with a few decorative touches to make them more amenable to household life? How about some nice wooden finishes, soft painted colours, or pastel fabrics to go with the other items in your home?
A Better Looking Guitar Amp Helps You Play Guitar More
You might be wondering what all my ranting about guitar amp design has got to do with your guitar playing. Well, a better looking guitar amp is not just a decorative matter, it can actually help you practice and play guitar more.
Your current amp is probably hidden away in the cupboard at the back of your spare room because it’s too ugly to be left out in the lounge. So, every time you think about practicing guitar you have to go and search for the amp, install it and set it up before you can play.
That’s not only a little lost practice time, it’s also a barrier that makes it harder to start. From time to time I bet you’ll even give up the idea of guitar practice because setting up that amp just seems like too much effort. It’s so much easier to just switch on the TV…
But if you have a nice looking amp sitting ready to go beside your sofa you have one less obstacle to starting guitar practice. Ensuring it is easy to start practice is a good way to help you practice more.
A Call to Guitar Amp Manufacturers
So come on you guitar amp manufacturers, help us out. A lot of guitar amps spend more than 99% of their lives in the homes of guitar players, so why not make them look a little like something you’d like to invite into your home?
What do you think of guitar amp looks? Share your thoughts by clicking the comments link below…
Photo by Cody McComas.