The History of the Amplifier

The invention and the history of the amplifier changed music. Muddy Waters’ and other pioneer Blues musicians’ music played out of an amp helped change the face of Blues and Rock and Roll music forever.

The history of the amp goes back to 1906 when Lee De Forest, inventor of the amp made the first model, which came in the form of a triode vacuum tube. The Williamson amplifier, invented during World War II and introduced in 1946, used valve technology to amplify sound. Valve amps were largely used in amplification, as well as tubes, until the 1970s.

Transistor amps gained popularity over valve and tube amps since they were smaller, cheaper to make, could reduce noise levels and were more energy-efficient. Created from semiconductor materials, solid state transistors form the most common form of modern amplifier. Finally, the modern MOSFET amplifier, originally conceived by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1872, features both digital and analog properties to accommodate both circuit applications.

Visit the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival website to find out more about the modern Blues, Rock and Roll and Cajun artists you will see performing with their guitars plugged into their amplifiers.