How to Connect Speakers in a Guitar Amp

Written by matthew anderson
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How to Connect Speakers in a Guitar Amp
Guitar amp heads need to be connected to a speaker cabinet to produce sound. (live music image by maxthewildcat from

Most guitar amps can be divided into three major components. The preamp section of a guitar amp controls the tone of the guitar signal. The power amp is primarily designed to increase the volume of the guitar signal. The speaker cabinet projects the output of the amp into an audible sound for an audience to hear. Combo amps have all three into one package. Other styles of amp require that the speakers be connected to a guitar amp.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Guitar amp head
  • Speaker cabinet
  • Instrument cable

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  1. 1

    Turn off the guitar amp. Plugging and unplugging cables into a speaker cabinet while the amp is still on can create unpleasant noises. These noises can potentially damage the speaker in the amp and should be avoided.

  2. 2

    Check the power rating on the speaker cabinet to find the ohm rating. You only need to do this step if your guitar amp has multiple speaker outputs with different ohm ratings.

  3. 3

    Plug one end of the instrument cable into the speaker output of the guitar amp head. Plug into the speaker output with the same ohm rating as the speaker cabinet if there are multiple outputs. Some amp heads have multiple outputs for effects loops or tuners. Make sure you are connecting to the speaker output.

  4. 4

    Plug the other end of the instrument cable into the speaker cabinet.

  5. 5

    Turn on the guitar amp. The speaker cabinet is now connected and ready to use.

Tips and warnings

  • Guitar speakers are specifically designed for the signal output from a guitar. Use a speaker cabinet designed specifically for a guitar to get the best possible tone.
  • The volume of a guitar amp is determined by the power amp section not the speakers. Hooking up larger speaker cabinets will not increase the volume. Larger speaker cabinets can project sound more effectively than smaller cabinets, which can sometimes create the illusion of more volume.
  • Do not connect a speaker cabinet to a guitar amp unless you are sure it is designed to support that size amp. More powerful amps can ruin speakers if the cabinet is not designed to handle the output from the power amp. Larger speaker cabinets with more speakers are used with more powerful amps because it can spread the output evenly among multiple speakers.

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