The audio gear we listen to music on has changed radically over the decades. The audio gear we perform music on, not as much. Only a few traditionalist audiophiles still want the kinds of stereo systems commonly in use when Getz/Gilberto debuted in 1964, but most guitar players would be thrilled to own a Fender or Marshall amp from that same era. Recently, though, guitar amps have started incorporating a modern feature that musicians of all types should welcome. It’s Bluetooth wireless—a smartphone-focused technology that may change the way we think about instrument amps.
Bluetooth allows transmission of audio signals over short distances, usually 15 to 30 feet max. It’s built into every smartphone and tablet as well as into many laptop computers. Bluetooth has already revolutionized car, home and portable audio systems, making it possible to stream music, podcasts, Internet radio, phone calls and audio from YouTube videos into speakers or headphones.