The Guitar Amp Attenuator

THD Hotplate

What is a Guitar amp attenuator? Well believe it or not I just recently found out myself. In fact I don't think I ever used the word "attenuator" before until now. So the gadget was fun to find, and my vocabulary has increased. What a deal Huh?

For those of you, and that includes me too, that use a tube amp we all know that the louder the tube amp is played the better it sounds. Tubes have the unique gift of providing more sustain, distortion, harmonics, you name it at higher volumes, or really just when driven harder, which usually means higher volumes.

Having a small background in electronics, I knew there must be a way to shave off some power coming out of the amp, so that not only could the amp be driven hard, but volume levels could be controlled as well.

Well low and behold I came across the THD Hotplate, which is a guitar amp attenuator. I purchased an identical copy of the one shown above on ebay for $170.00 plus shipping.

The THD Hotplate plugs in between the amp and the speaker. It allows the user to turn the volume up on the amp, while at the same time reducing the amount of power going to the speaker. This in turn gives the user the ability to get that sustain, and distortion, at volume levels that won't make your ears bleed.

I've been using this daily for the last few months and it's a great product. I did buy a homebuilt one on ebay with less knobs for considerably less money, and it works just as well. Just remember that you must match impedance, meaning if you have an 8 ohm amp you must have an 8 ohm attenuator. Also you must use speaker cable with 1/4" jacks, not signal cable.


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