Guitar pre-amps

Sick of lugging those 4×12’s around? Then take a look at the modern preamp that can plug into the PA. Since many of us are playing more quietly on stage due to much better venue PA’s and the noise police, we are not using loud amps that can be overdriven and tone-shaped.

As a consequence preamp-type floor pedals that feed into your amp – or even the PA – are becoming increasingly popular and more and more makers are adding them to their range.

What is a pre-amp?

A preamp sits between your guitar and your ‘power amp’; all guitar amps have a preamp and power amp built in, so the latest ‘guitar preamps’ are really tone-shaping your guitar signal so that is ready to go into a power-amp. Most effects pedals have built in ‘preamps’ such as a tone control, EQ or delay effect for example and some ‘preamp’ pedals are in fact powerful overdrive/boost pedals.


Acoustic preamps have been popular for a while enabling you to plug your acoustic straight into the PA with the tone you want, rather than the one that the house engineer decides is right. No more lugging an amp around or sounding crap out the front!


Now, the electric guitar is getting a look in. However, the new breed of preamps for electric guitars which change your tone are digitally recreating the preamp sections of popular amps, such as the Vox AC30.

Recently released, the MOOER micro preamps are “sonically accurate digital recreations of the preamp sections of popular tube amplifiers. We have developed these by directly analyzing real tube amplifiers using a brand new technology to capture their sound, dynamics and response. Each Micro Preamp comes complete with dual channels, integrated speaker cabinet simulation and dual operating modes to suit the needs of all users.”

This means that you can feed into your clean channel the great sound of a popular amp, through your pedal board. Okay, so a Kemper Profiler can do the same but that costs £1400 and doesn’t fit in your gigbag!

Other small, pedal sized preamps include the Palmer MI POCKET AMP MK 2, which costs £75.00 and “delivers a range of authentic tube amplifier tones”. And the Laney IRT Pulse, which is almost pedal sized, and features a full valve preamp, and all for £199.

We’ll have one of each please!

Links to other pages

Effects Manufacturers
Amp Manufacturers