Best Guitar Amp

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When it’s time to crank up the volume, guitarists need to look no further than guitar amps. Since the invention of rock and roll, the amplifier has played a major role in not just projecting the sound of the electric guitar, but also in shaping the tone, style, and attitude that has allowed players to carve out their own voice in the world of guitar playing. Although the amplifier may be most commonly associated with the Spinal Tap-esque imagery of loud, deafening metal bands, nearly every style of music that utilizes electric guitar (or any electric instruments, for that matter) counts the amplifier as an important part of the sound chain. And as technology continues to advance, there are more options than ever for guitarists looking to buy their own amp. It’s a lot of to consider, but luckily we’ve compiled some important things to keep in mind in our guitar amp buyer’s guide below.

Best Medium Range Guitar Combo Amp:

There’s a guitar amplifier out there for every type of player and environment. Perhaps the most popular would fall into the classification of medium range, occupying the space between a budget-friendly option for beginners/casual players and the high-end gear used by the most accomplished of professionals (as well as those who have a soft spot for top-notch toys). These amplifiers up the ante on sound and features that help to really enhance your guitar’s tone. Here are the best medium range guitar combo amps, with each one we've chosen including a built-in reverb effect to color your tone and make your signal soar, power and pre-amp tubes that drive the tone and versatility of these units, and EQ control parameters to help you dial in the exact sound that you’re seeking as a guitarist.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III Guitar Combo Amplifier

There’s a reason that Fender is one of the world’s most popular lines of guitar amplifiers. If you are not sure why that is the case, you’d do well to check out the Hot Rod Deluxe III, and see for yourself what the tubes and classic spring reverb bring to the mix. Read Full Review

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    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III Guitar Combo Amplifier

    Line 6 DT25 112 Combo Guitar Tube Amplifier

    Powered by amazing sounding tubes and offering a wide range of tonal modeling options that have become synonymous with the Line 6 brand, the DT25 112 combo amp offers guitarists with nearly every type of sound they could ever need. This is a versatile piece of gear with a range of EQ and volume controls for each of the amp’s two channels. Read Full Review

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      Line 6 DT25 112 Combo Guitar Tube Amplifier

      Blackstar Venue Series HT Stage HT-60 60W Tube Guitar Combo Amp

      If you’re looking for impeccably pure and dynamic tone, the Blackstar Venue Series HT Stage HT-60 guitar combo amp is right up your alley. Intuitive tone control and great-sounding tubes make this amplifier a great option for players of all styles and genres. Read Full Review

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        Blackstar Venue Series HT Stage HT-60 60W Tube Guitar Combo Amp

        Marshall MA50C Guitar Combo Amp

        Marshall’s MA50C is built like a tank and provides a range of tones and wall-splitting crush to actually take down a tank itself. This all-valve combo amp is easy to use and provides a tone that will instantly inspire guitarists to sit down and start rocking. Read Full Review

        Marshall MA50C Guitar Combo Amp

        Fender Blues Junior III Tube Guitar Amplifier

        The word junior and its relatively smaller size may make this thing seem like it’s for the kiddies, but make no mistake; the Fender Blues Junior III more than has what it takes to hang with the big boys and provide excellent Fender tone for guitarists who want the real deal. This is a guitar combo amp that keeps things simple and gets the job done with a no-frills approach to sound. Read Full Review

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          Fender Blues Junior III Tube Guitar Amplifier

          Best High-End Guitar Combo Amp:

          Can you really put a price on tone? When you get to a certain level with your playing, there really is no ceiling as far as where you can go in shaping the sound that you can coax out of your electric guitar. High-end guitar amplifiers offer sounds that are simply inimitable by anything less than the real deal, and for that reason, they are the go-to tools for both seasoned professionals and enthused hobbyists alike. Here are the best high-end guitar combo amps, with each model we've chosen powered by impeccable-sounding tubes, they all include at least one built-in effect to further enhance your tone, and each offers tone-controlling EQ settings that can help you reach attain whatever sound you’re reaching for in your playing.

          Mesa/Boogie Express 5:50 Plus 50-Watt 1x12" Combo Amp

          If you’re one of those guitarists who wants to take an everything but the kitchen sink approach to controlling the tone of your amplifier, we’re sorry, but the Mesa/Boogie Express 5:50 Plus includes all that AND the kitchen sink, too. This high-end guitar combo amp offers an impressive range of versatility through its dual channels and four style modes. Read Full Review

          Mesa/Boogie Express 5:50 Plus 50-Watt 1x12" Combo Amp

          Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp

          Modeled after the classic JTM45, Marshall’s 1962 Bluesbreaker is a high-end tube combo amplifier that can give your guitar the power to truly scream and sing, making it ideal for players who want to capture the sounds of vintage blues and rock. With 30 watts of power, the Bluesbreaker is a trusted accessory to both the recording studio and stage. Read Full Review

          Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp

          Lazy J Model 80 Guitar Combo Amp

          The Lazy J Model 80 captures the classic sound of vintage Fender Tweed Twin amps for a sound that’s clear and loud which is ideal for live gigs. The tone that this high-end combo amp produces is warm and sweet, and can be used for a variety of playing styles. Read Full Review

          Lazy J Model 80 Guitar Combo Amp

          Matchless Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp

          Matchless truly seems to be operating without any peers in their Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 combo amp. With a six-position rotary tone selector and a preamp powered by a high-gain EF86 valve, this amplifier brings the rock in the most high-end way possible. Read Full Review

          Matchless Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp

          Tone King Imperial MkII Guitar Combo Amp

          It’s good to be the king baby, just ask anyone who has had the pleasure of playing through a Tone King Imperial MkII combo amplifier. This high-end combo amp provides fantastic sounding tones whether you’ve got it cranked up or are playing at the lowest of volumes, and offers guitarists plenty of tone-controlling options to dial in their most ideal sound. Read Full Review

          Tone King Imperial MkII Guitar Combo Amp

          Best Budget Guitar Combo Amp:

          For a guitarist, the quest to find the perfect tone can seem like a never-ending journey. Attaining the right sound can take players down an often-costly path as they collect gear to help their cause, and one of the most crucial elements of the setup is usually the amplifier. That said, there are some great guitar combo amps on the market that aren't completely out of the price range for your average musician and they’re still able to deliver the goods. Here are the best budget guitar combo amps, with each amplifier we've chosen equipped with switchable channel settings to craft your sound, built-in effects to enhance your tone, and an adjustable EQ to truly fine-tune the sounds coming out of your amplifier.

          VOX AC15VR Guitar Combo Amplifier

          The sound of the classic Vox AC30 guitar amplifier is undeniable in its tone, but also undeniable is the daunting price tag attached to that legendary piece of gear. With their AC30VR Valve Reactor combo amp, Vox gives guitarists something close to the real deal at a fraction of the cost. Read Full Review

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            VOX AC15VR Guitar Combo Amplifier

            Line 6 Spider IV 120 120-watt 2x10 Modeling Guitar Amplifier

            Anyone remotely familiar with the products associated with the Line 6 brand knows that when you’re picking up an amplifier from this company, you’re getting way more sounds than one might expect in a single unit. The Spider IV 150 contains an impressive range of amp tones, effects settings, and controllable parameters at a price that really makes this combo amp a steal. Read Full Review

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              Line 6 Spider IV 120 120-watt 2x10 Modeling Guitar Amplifier

              Rocktron Velocity 50 Watt Stereo Guitar Amplifier

              Rocktron’s V50D guitar combo amp offers a solid design and no-frills approach to its layout and tonal offerings. Best of all, it comes equipped with chorus and delay effects, as well as the distortion that has made Rocktron a household name. Read Full Review

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                Rocktron Velocity 50 Watt Stereo Guitar Amplifier

                Peavey ValveKing II 50 Guitar Amplifier Combo - 03608760

                When it’s all-tube, it’s all-good, that’s the first thing that you should be aware of when considering the Peavey ValveKing II Combo 50. This amp is built like a boutique item but it's rugged enough to take outside of the house without fear and is surprisingly affordable for an amplifier loaded with so many top-notch features. Read Full Review

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                  Peavey ValveKing II 50 Guitar Amplifier Combo - 03608760

                  Marshall MG102CFX MG Series 100-Watt 2x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp

                  Yes, a Marshall stack not only looks cool but has an iconic sound quality, but that configuration is not always appropriate to every environment in which you’d need a guitar amplifier, to say nothing about the daunting price tag on that product. But fear not, for Marshall also offers a more condensed version of their trademark sound in the MG102CFX combo amp. Read Full Review

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                    Marshall MG102CFX MG Series 100-Watt 2x12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp

                    Best Digital Modeling Guitar Amp Overall:

                    Technology has certainly impacted the world in which we live, and that statement can be further focused in on the realm of music. But while many would say that technology has moved things towards a more electronic sound that might seem out of step with the electric guitar, the truth is that it has also expanded the breadth of sounds that the instrument is capable of producing. Look no further than the digital modeling guitar amp, a tool that contains the sounds, amp settings, effects, and other tonal-shaping capabilities of hundreds of pieces of gear all into one single package. Guitarists can easily draw up their favorite sounds as well as customize their own templates that can be saved for later.

                    We've chosen the best digital modeling guitar amps overall, with each one here including both amp models as well as editable effects to give you a wide range of tonal shaping possibilities, tone controls that give you the ability to tweak your guitar’s sound in a clear and simple manner, and a single speaker design that keeps each unit relatively compact yet still powerful enough to be heard in a variety of performance environments.

                    Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 - 100 Watt Amplifier

                    With their Vypyr VIP line, Peavey has raised the bar in the world of digital modeling guitar amps. Not only can the VIP 3 emulate a variety of guitar amp sounds, but also takes on the characteristics of acoustic and bass amps, not to mention actual instrument emulation, all of which contributes to the absolute chameleon-like capabilities that this amp provides. Read Full Review

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                      Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 - 100 Watt Amplifier

                      Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

                      One would be remiss to discuss the best digital modeling guitar amps available on the market and not mention a Line 6 product. The company’s Spider IV 150 upholds the reputation that they’ve built for themselves as one of the front runners in digital modeling, offering a variety of tonal options and amp sounds that far exceed the affordable price tag. Read Full Review

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                        Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

                        Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

                        The Fender Super Champ X2 gives guitarists the perfect piece of gear for the stage and the studio, combining a variety of amp models and effects in a singular unit. Beyond its digital perks, this amp also offers a classic Fender sound, courtesy of its tube circuitry and 10 inch special design speaker. Read Full Review

                        Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

                        Marshall MG15CFX MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

                        If you’re going after that pure Marshall tone but also want in on some of the bells and whistles of the digital age, the Marshall MG15CFX is a digital modeling guitar amplifier worth exploring. With four programmable channels and a variety of built-in effects, this is an ideal amp for both practice and recording environments. Read Full Review

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                          Marshall MG15CFX MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

                          Fender Mustang I 20-Watt 1x8" Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

                          When you stop to consider that many digital modeling amplifiers seek to replicate the tone of a Fender amplifier, you begin to understand what an advantage Fender has when it decides to dip its toe into the world of sound emulation. The Mustang I not only has a handle on that classic aforementioned tone, but can also produce a variety of sounds that make this amp a real bargain. Read Full Review

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                            Fender Mustang I 20-Watt 1x8" Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

                            Best Budget Digital Modeling Guitar Combo Amp:

                            A relatively new and modern entry into the world of guitar amplifiers, the digital modeling combo amp gives players carte blanche access to numerous sounds and tones that have been carefully modeled after other classic amplifiers, all in one single unit. These amps also come equipped with FX that have been modeled after various stompboxes and effects processors. The digital modeling combo amp is ideal for someone who wants to be able to play with a wide range of sounds without having to carry numerous pieces of gear with them wherever they go. Although the technical specs on this type of amplifier can be expensive, there are many budget-friendly items available for guitarists seeking great quality sound at an affordable price. Here are the best budget digital modeling guitar combo amps, with each amplifier we've chosen featuring multiple tone/amp settings that allow you to instantly plug and play with a variety of sounds, come equipped with a headphone input so you can jam or practice anywhere without making noise to the outside world, and feature clear and easy to understand tone control knobs that give you a hands-on experience in shaping whatever sound you want to play with.

                            Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

                            Line 6 has built its brand on the company’s ability to model numerous amplifiers and guitar effects in their products, from amps to multi-effects pedals. With the Line 6 Spider IV 150, they've created an affordable combo amp that can give players the ability to play in almost any style and genre. Read Full Review

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                              Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

                              VOX VT20+ Valvetronix Guitar Combo Amplifier

                              Vox is already a guitar amplifier brand that guitarists across the globe trust and love for their impeccable sounds, but with the Valvetronix 20+ digital modeling combo amp, players have access to so many more tonal options the instant they plug their guitars in. The tube-based architecture and extended dynamic range of this unit makes it a must for players looking for an affordable yet incredible piece of gear. Read Full Review

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                                VOX VT20+ Valvetronix Guitar Combo Amplifier

                                Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 - 20 Watt Modeling Instrument Amplifier

                                Peavey is certainly providing guitarists with the VIP treatment when it comes to their Vypyr VIP 1 digital modeling amp. This combo amp offers models for electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar. Read Full Review

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                                  Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 - 20 Watt Modeling Instrument Amplifier

                                  Roland Cube Lite Guitar Amplifier

                                  Roland’s Cube Lite digital modeling guitar amp definitely seems to paint outside the predictable lines of what you would expect a combo amp to look and feel like but then again, the very notion of an amplifier that can emulate a variety of sounds speaks to the value of thinking outside of the box. Ideal for playing on the go, this unit is simply designed and easy to use. Read Full Review

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                                    Roland Cube Lite Guitar Amplifier

                                    Fender Mustang I 20-Watt 1x8" Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

                                    Fender unquestionably stands as a pillar in the world of guitar amplifiers. With their Mustang I, the company has provided a digital modeling combo amp that not only captures the classic Fender sound, but a variety of other tones, all at an extremely affordable price. Read Full Review

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                                      Fender Mustang I 20-Watt 1x8" Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier

                                      Best Medium Range Guitar Amp Head:

                                      Guitar amplifier heads give players the ability to truly fine-tune their tone and get hands-on with the way they want their instrument to sound. When used in conjunction with a cabinet, the end result is a fully-powered, great-sounding guitar rig. Many guitarists may begin their journey into this customized world of tone-building by starting with more budget-friendly items, but as the need for greater tonal possibilities increases, they need to move beyond entry-level items. We've chosen thew best medium range guitar amp heads, with each pick featuring EQ controls to help you dial in the perfect tone, is powered by tubes that help to create their distinctive sounds, and is built small enough to make travel and transportation a non-issue.

                                      Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 36 Guitar Amp Head

                                      Although the Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 36 is a guitar amplifier head, it comes equipped with an array of features and tonal possibilities that many full-on combo amps don’t even offer. A variety of wattage options is just one of the many things that make this unit stand apart from its contemporaries. Read Full Review

                                      Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 36 Guitar Amp Head

                                      Marshall DSL Series DSL100H Guitar Amplifier Head

                                      Marshall tapped a nerve years ago with their Dual Super Lead (DSL) series, and nearly two decades later, they’ve returned to the well with the Marshall DSL 100H guitar amp head. This unit is ideal for the type of high-energy rock sounds that have made Marshall something of a staple in the world of heavy music. Read Full Review

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                                        Marshall DSL Series DSL100H Guitar Amplifier Head

                                        Orange OR15H - 15-Watt Guitar Amp head

                                        If you’re familiar with the Orange Amplifiers brand, you should know that they have a tight hold on a distinctly British, powerful sound that has earned them a spot amongst the all-time greats in the world of guitar amps. Their OR15H head provides delivers on the promise of its brand name, giving players a piece of gear capable of shaking down walls. Read Full Review

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                                          Orange OR15H - 15-Watt Guitar Amp head

                                          Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Head Guitar Amplifier Head

                                          The Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb has long been a classic staple of the company’s brand of amplifiers, but it only recently became available as just a head. A limited edition item, this piece of gear provides the all-tube tone that has made its moniker something of a legendary element in the world of guitar amps. Read Full Review

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                                            Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Head Guitar Amplifier Head

                                            Orange DA15H Dark Terror Head

                                            With the Dark Terror 15/7 Watt Hi-Gain Tube Head, Orange Amplifiers has crammed even more gain into a unit that is extremely portable. It almost doesn’t make sense that something so small could sound so big, but don’t question it; this is a monstrously-sounding head ideal for gigs as well as studio sessions. Read Full Review

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                                              Orange DA15H Dark Terror Head

                                              Best High-End Guitar Amp Head:

                                              Guitarists who opt for a head and cabinet amplifier configuration instead of a combo amp tend to have a particular direction that they’re trying to chase with their tone and overall sound. That’s because in the former scenario, selecting the individual components of your rig allows you to really create a guitar sound that is personal and leaves nothing to coincidence. While the cabinet definitely plays an important part in amplifying sound, the actual character comes from the head. These are the best high end guitar amp heads, with each unit we've chosen offering features that can be controlled via a footswitch for easy, hands-free tone control, they offer multiple channels to define your tone, and feature individual EQ parameters for each channel to provide you with a more nuanced control over your sound.

                                              Mesa/Boogie Mark Five Guitar Amplifier

                                              The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 may be a compact guitar amp head that only clocks in at 16.5 lbs, but there are so many features built into this unit that guitarists could find themselves preoccupied for days exploring the sounds it offers. It offers an incredible tonal range and a very cool CabClone simulator. Read Full Review

                                              Mesa/Boogie Mark Five Guitar Amplifier

                                              Orange Amplifiers Dual Dark 100W High-Gain Guitar Head Black

                                              Packing all-tube heat and a overdriven distortion that will leave you wondering how in the world such a tiny device could conjure such devious sounds, Orange’s Dual Dark 100 guitar amp head is a high-gain killing machine. Although these features make it an obvious choice for heavier styles like metal, there’s enough dynamic range and tone control to make this an adaptable option for musical genres across the board. Read Full Review

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                                                Orange Amplifiers Dual Dark 100W High-Gain Guitar Head Black

                                                Marshall JVM-410H Joe Satriani Signature Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                If it’s good enough for Joe Satriani, it’s probably going to be good enough for your average guitar player, right? Marshall’s customized JVM410HHS Joe Satriani Signature guitar amp head provides the very same tone that the legendary guitarist uses to surf with the alien". Read Full Review

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                                                  Marshall JVM-410H Joe Satriani Signature Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                  Peavey 6534 Plus 120W Tube Guitar Amp Head Black

                                                  Peavey’s 6534 Plus guitar amp head is one metal-centric piece of gear that offers the crunch needed to pull of heavier styles of music. Each of the two channels in this head offer a variety of tone controls and options that also give it a versatility that extends beyond just face-crushing strength though it’s pretty great at that too. Read Full Review

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                                                    Peavey 6534 Plus 120W Tube Guitar Amp Head Black

                                                    Egnater Renegade 65W Tube Guitar Amp Head

                                                    Egnater’s Renegade guitar amp head provides a wide range of tonal and dynamic possibilities into one compact, versatile unit. Shift between pristine clean tones and aggressive overdriven punch as you shift between the head’s two channels. Read Full Review

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                                                      Egnater Renegade 65W Tube Guitar Amp Head

                                                      Best Budget Guitar Amp Head:

                                                      Guitar amp heads are used to process and shape of the guitar signal that runs through it. This signal is then routed to a separate speaker cabinet to make that sound louder. Guitarists rely on amp heads to act as the brain behind their tone, allowing them the option to carefully and meticulously craft a the sound of their instrument. While opting for the amp and cabinet configuration can often get pricey, there are actually some great amp heads on the market that are affordable for guitarists who are shopping with a budget. Here are the best budget guitar amp heads, with each unit we've chosen equipped with a reverb effect to make your tone even bigger, at least two channels to give players the ability to pick and choose the character of their tone, and they can easily be connected with a larger cabinet to further amplify the sound that each pick makes.

                                                      Orange Crush Pro CR120H

                                                      Orange has already been crushing it with their line of solid-state Crush amps, and now they’ve expanded that killer tone with their CR120H 120-watt amp head. While many guitarists may flee for the hills at the mere mention of solid-state amplifiers, this product makes a strong (and loud) case for the argument that they can still bring the noise and hang with its tube-driven brethren. Read Full Review

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                                                        Orange Crush Pro CR120H

                                                        Bugera 6260-INFINIUM 120-Watt 2-Channel Valve Amplifier Head

                                                        If you’re looking for a truly dynamic, tube-driven guitar amp head, Bugera’s 6260 Infinium may be just what you’re looking for. With its on-board effects and intuitive design/workflow, this piece of gear offers a classic sound without breaking into any big bank numbers. Read Full Review

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                                                          Bugera 6260-INFINIUM 120-Watt 2-Channel Valve Amplifier Head

                                                          Randall RG1003H 100-Watt Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                          With three channels operating at 100W of power, the Randall RG1003H is here to get the job done. If you’re looking to conjure some devastatingly loud and hard-hitting sounds, this is the guitar amp head for you. Read Full Review

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                                                            Randall RG1003H 100-Watt Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                            Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

                                                            The sound of a Fender amplifier is a cherished and well-respected tone that has made its mark on popular music for over half a century. The company has succeeded in capturing that dynamic sound in its Super Champ X2 HD head, providing a great tube sound in a compact package. Read Full Review

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                                                              Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

                                                              Blackstar HT-5RH 5-Watt Guitar Amp Head with Reverb

                                                              They say that size isn’t everything, and Blackstar’s HT-5RH definitely supports that claim. This compact guitar amp head packs quite a punch, with enhanced tone controls and a range of sounds that can be coaxed out of this 5 watt amp. Read Full Review

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                                                                Blackstar HT-5RH 5-Watt Guitar Amp Head with Reverb

                                                                Best Guitar Amp Cabinet Overall:

                                                                If a guitarist wails away on an epic guitar solo in the woods, and there’s no cabinet to amplify the signal, does it make a sound? The philosophical version of this question may be open-ended, but in this scenario the answer is just a simple no. Guitar amp cabinets work in conjunction with amp heads to take the processed tone and pump it out so that the world can hear the signal. Many guitarists prefer the amp head and cabinet configuration over combo amps because it allows them to have a more hands-on approach to sculpting their tone. We've chosen the best guitar amp cabinets overall, with each cab here designed for ideal use with specific amp heads but remain compatible with most brands/products, feature at least one speaker dedicated to pumping out the signal in a tonally accurate manner, and each can crank up the volume to at least 30 watts of power.

                                                                Marshall 1960A Guitar Amplifier Cabinet

                                                                There are few things as iconic in the world of rock music as the wall of Marshall stacks. The 1960A is not only the original in their line of guitar amp cabinets, but still provides a superior sonic experience while remaining durable enough to take on the road without any worries. Read Full Review

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                                                                  Marshall 1960A Guitar Amplifier Cabinet

                                                                  Orange PPC112C 1x12 Speaker Cabinet

                                                                  Crank up the attitude with Orange Amplifier’s PPC112 guitar amp cabinet, a unit that is ideal for transmitting the type of sizzling tone that has become associated with the company’s brand. Loud in both sound and appearance, this is a cab that has also been designed with rugged construction built to last. Read Full Review

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                                                                    Orange PPC112C 1x12 Speaker Cabinet

                                                                    Hughes & Kettner TM112

                                                                    The Hughes & Kettner TM112 guitar amp cabinet offers a guitar tone that is all muscle, making it an ideal component for players seeking to beef their sound up and make some noise. Despite its grandiose sound, it is still a lightweight piece of gear that is easy to transport. Read Full Review

                                                                    Hughes & Kettner TM112

                                                                    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                    Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Enclosure amp cabinet. It handily translates the tone being sent in, but can also enhance it with more bottom-end and greater tonal definition. Read Full Review

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                                                                      Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                      Orange Pro CRPRO412 Closed Back Speaker Cabinet

                                                                      The Orange Crush Pro 4x12 guitar amp cabinet just does what its name promises and that's crush sound with sheer power and ear-splitting excellence. Built rugged enough for the road but with enough care and detail to truly make it an asset in helping guitarists translate their tone, this is a must-have for any player seeking to blast out their tone. Read Full Review

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                                                                        Orange Pro CRPRO412 Closed Back Speaker Cabinet

                                                                        Best Budget Guitar Amp Cabinet:

                                                                        Leave all that refined knob-twiddling to the guitar amp heads or combo units; when you just need something to take that tone and blast it out into the room, that’s when you bring in a guitar amp cabinet. Many players prefer going with the amp/cabinet configuration so that they can cherry pick the rig that best suits their needs, and though combo amps can sometimes be easier on the wallet, there are plenty of options available out there for players who are shopping on a budget. These are the best budget guitar amp cabinets, with each cabinet we've chosen weighing less than 40 pounds for easy transportation, at least 20 watts of power to drive your sound out in recording and performance environments, and are equipped built with wheels or a handle to make moving the cabinet around less of a hassle.

                                                                        Jet City Amplification JCA12S 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                        If you’re looking to really push your guitar’s sound, is there any place that sounds more equipped to handle the task than Jet City? The company’s 12S+ guitar amp cabinet offers interesting features to give guitarists more options in crafting their sound, at a welcoming price that you won’t find anywhere else. Read Full Review

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                                                                          Jet City Amplification JCA12S 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                          Ibanez TSA112C Tube Screamer 80W 1x12 Guitar Cabinet

                                                                          If you don’t already recognize the powerful sound that is associated with Ibanez’s Tube Screamer brand, you’ll be convinced when you see what their TSA112C guitar amp cabinet. Loaded with a 12 inch Celestion Seventy 80 speaker, this cabinet provides the proper punch to complement the Ibanez TSA15H Tube Screamer head. Read Full Review

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                                                                            Ibanez TSA112C Tube Screamer 80W 1x12 Guitar Cabinet

                                                                            Fender Super-Champ 112 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                            The power and versatility of the Fender brand can’t be overstated, as the company has been a pinnacle of guitar amplifiers for decades upon decades. With their Super Champ SC112 cabinet enclosure, guitarists can harness 80 watts of that classic and powerful Fender tone. Read Full Review

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                                                                              Fender Super-Champ 112 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

                                                                              Peavey 03611000 1 x 12 Extension Guitar Cabinet

                                                                              The Peavey 112 Extension guitar amp cabinet offers a no-frills approach to bringing a pumped up guitar sound to the masses. The 112 can also be converted between closed and open-back design, providing a wider range of tonal possibilities to work in conjunction with your guitar amp head. Read Full Review

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                                                                                Peavey 03611000 1 x 12 Extension Guitar Cabinet

                                                                                Orange Amplifiers PPC Series Closed-Back Guitar Speaker Cabinet - PPC108

                                                                                Orange Amplifiers has recently made a solid argument for the idea that you don’t need huge gear to produce a huge sound, and their PPC108 guitar amp cabinet continues to prove that point. It’s a compact piece of gear designed to work in tandem with their MicroTerror amp head, and is perfect for producing that classic British tone that has made the company a go-to for guitarists everywhere. Read Full Review

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                                                                                  Orange Amplifiers PPC Series Closed-Back Guitar Speaker Cabinet - PPC108

                                                                                  Best Low Wattage Guitar Amplifier:

                                                                                  When guitarists first start out, they typically want to get the biggest and loudest amplifier possible (and it’s hard to blame them) as what could be more fun than rocking out at extremely loud, earth-shattering volumes? But with time and experience comes wisdom, part of which encompasses the realization that having a quieter amp can be put to better use in recording environments or more intimately quiet gigs. They also provide a purer tone that is easier to wrangle and manipulate to precision. These are the best low wattage guitar amplifiers, with each amp we've chosen equipped with a sturdy handle that makes transporting the compact unit even easier, multiple channel options to give players the choice as to how they want to shape their tone, and onboard EQ controls that allow users to tweak the parameters of their sound with precision and ease.

                                                                                  VOX NT15H Night Train Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                                                  Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to describing the Vox Night Train NT15H guitar amplifier. Powered by tubes and creating a classic Vox sound, this is a piece of gear that is just as welcome in the studio as it is in live performances, and it’s small enough to easily take with you in either scenario. Read Full Review

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                                                                                    VOX NT15H Night Train Guitar Amplifier Head

                                                                                    Line 6 Spider IV 15 15-watt 1x8 Modeling Guitar Amplifier

                                                                                    This isn’t the itsy bitsy spider that you read about when you were in elementary school. Line 6’s Spider IV 15 offers the slew of cool effects and tone-controlling parameters that you can expect from their brand in a compact, unassuming unit that can take your sounds to the next level. Read Full Review

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                                                                                      Line 6 Spider IV 15 15-watt 1x8 Modeling Guitar Amplifier

                                                                                      Marshall Haze MHZ15

                                                                                      Marshall’s Haze MHZ15 is a low wattage guitar amplifier head that offers a range of incredible tones in a compact and precise package. This unit also includes a variety of digital effects that can be programmed and saved for later use. Read Full Review

                                                                                      Marshall Haze MHZ15

                                                                                      Orange Tiny Terror Combo Guitar Amplifier, 15 watt

                                                                                      Holding the esteemed title of being the original lunchbox amplifier, Orange’s Tiny Terror merges easy portability with a diverse range of valve tones. Whether you’re looking to go clean or full-blown dirty punk rock, this little guy packs a punch that has made it a low wattage amp standard over the last 30+ years. Read Full Review

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                                                                                        Orange Tiny Terror Combo Guitar Amplifier, 15 watt

                                                                                        Fender Vintage Reissue Black Reverb Guitar Combo Amplifier

                                                                                        Fender is responsible for a classic tone that still stands as a benchmark for guitar amplifiers today. With their ’65 Princeton Reverb, the company has introduced a tube guitar amplifier that can shine in a variety of environments, from practice halls to studio recording sessions to smaller, intimate live venues. Read Full Review

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                                                                                          Fender Vintage Reissue Black Reverb Guitar Combo Amplifier

                                                                                          Best Acoustic Guitar Combo Amplifier:

                                                                                          Although acoustic guitars are able to get the job done sans amplification by design, the need to turn up the sounds of the instrument is a real concern for gigging musicians playing in a range of venues, from small coffeehouses and restaurants to larger clubs and halls. Enter the acoustic guitar combo amplifier, a unit that preserves the acoustic tone and timbre of the instrument and translates that sound to a bigger audience. These units also often come equipped with several tone-enhancing features that can improve sound and give guitarists the tools they need to wrangle their signal and color it as they see fit. Here are the best acoustic guitar combo amplifiers, with each we've chosen equipped with two channels (instrument and microphone) to give you a range of performance options with a single unit, onboard effects that can help you reach new creative heights in your playing, and line out options to route your signal to larger speakers should you need to get louder than what the amplifier is capable of producing.

                                                                                          Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

                                                                                          If the unassuming size of the Fishman Loudbox Mini gives you any doubt about just how much volume this acoustic guitar combo amp can get, look no further than its spoiler-revealing name. Packing 60 watts of acoustic amplitude and digital effects for both of its channels, this amplifier is perfect for bringing your acoustic sounds up a notch. Read Full Review

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                                                                                            Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

                                                                                            Roland AC-60 Stereo 30 Watt Acoustic Amp

                                                                                            Roland’s AC-60 Acoustic Chorus amplifier offers a rich and nuanced tone that relies heavily on its digital signal processing to provide a warm and pleasing tone. This amp also features other cool assets such as a built-in tilt stand, mute switch, and more. Read Full Review

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                                                                                              Roland AC-60 Stereo 30 Watt Acoustic Amp

                                                                                              Fender Acoustasonic 150 Combo

                                                                                              There’s no question that Fender has been a major player in the world of electric guitars and their subsequent amplification, but many may find themselves surprised at how the company is able to continue to innovate and provide a quality product in the world of acoustic guitars. Case in point being their Acoustasonic 150 combo amplifier, which packs a variety of tonal controls and effects into a compact unit. Read Full Review

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                                                                                                Fender Acoustasonic 150 Combo

                                                                                                Behringer Ultracoustic ACX900

                                                                                                Acoustic guitarists seeking a budget-friendly, tone-enhancing tool to amplify their axe need look no further than the Behringer Ultracoustic ACX900. This acoustic guitar combo amp is a great option for musicians looking for a a trusted ally to take with them into small venues and performance environments. Read Full Review

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                                                                                                  Behringer Ultracoustic ACX900

                                                                                                  Marshall AS50D Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

                                                                                                  Marshall is synonymous with the sounds of big, stacked electric fury, but the company has also brought their level of craft and commitment to impeccable sound to the world of acoustic guitars with their Acoustic Soloist AS50D combo amplifier. 50 watts of amplification give you all that you’ll need to perform in small to mid-sized rooms. Read Full Review

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                                                                                                    Marshall AS50D Acoustic Guitar Amplifier
                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    Guitar Amp Buyers Guide

                                                                                                    Determining the desired sound and application of the music you’ll be playing can help narrow down your search for the perfect guitar amplifier. There are models that are ideal for quick and easy transportation and set-up, whereas others are a bit more intricate, employing several components to result in the final configuration. Some amplifiers are set up to excel in certain genres or playing styles, whereas others are ideal for general use across the board. Many amps come with built-in effects, while others can be customized based on the type of tubes or pre-amps are included in the chain. There are some key components you’ll want to be aware of before you make your purchase, but in most cases you will want to try out a guitar amp yourself before making your final decision.

                                                                                                    Combo vs. Head and Cabinet

                                                                                                    Guitar amps come in two main physical configurations: the combo amp and the head and cabinet.

                                                                                                    Combo Amp
                                                                                                    The combo amp is a single unit that contains both the speakers as well as the amplifier itself. It’s extremely easy to travel with and set up; in most cases, guitarists simply plug it into the wall, plug their guitar into the input jack, switch it on, and they’re ready to rock.

                                                                                                    Combo amps come in a variety of sizes that are designed for different types of use. If you’re going to be using the amplifier primarily at home or in smaller venues, a small combo with one 8-inch, 10-inch, or 12-inch speaker is a more than adequate option. For larger rooms and louder situations, 2X12 combo amps (which combine two 12-inch speakers, hence the name) kick things up a necessary notch.

                                                                                                    Head and Cabinet
                                                                                                    The head and cabinet setup takes the combo amplifier and breaks it into separate pieces. In this case, the amp head is used to process and shape the tone of the guitar that plugs into it, and then this signal is routed to the speaker cabinet to make the sound louder.

                                                                                                    This type of setup is primarily designed for guitarists who consistently play in large venues where they need to get extra loud; there’s also an aesthetic appeal, as this creates the iconic rock and roll “wall of sound” backdrop for when you’re blowing people’s faces off in Wembley Stadium.

                                                                                                    Although the head and cabinet setup also gives players the ability to customize their sound by mix and matching different components to create their ideal sound, for most novices (and truthfully, even up to musicians who rely on guides like this one), a combo amp is probably the most convenient and appropriate bet.

                                                                                                    Amp Type

                                                                                                    Best described as the inner workings of the guitar amplifier, the decision to go with a solid state amplifier versus a tube amp or a digital modeler is one that must be decided early on, as they are rather broad sub-categories.

                                                                                                    Tube Amp
                                                                                                    In the beginning, there were tube amps. Using actual tubes inside the body of the amp, guitarists could overdrive their signal to create a slightly “hot” tone that continues to be favored by musicians today; while there have been many advances in some of the competitors to tube amps, there is still an overall “feel” that many believe has not yet been surpassed.

                                                                                                    Tube amps generally have separate channels that allow players to switch between clean and overdriven tones. The glass tubes that define this type of amp are fragile, and also need routine maintenance and replacing.

                                                                                                    Solid State
                                                                                                    Solid state came later. By replicating the sound of tube amps via the use of transistors, the solid state amp offers a cheaper alternative to tubes, and is also far less prone to any of the aforementioned maintenance issues. They too offer clean and distorted channels, and over time have become better and better at approximating the classic tube sound. Because they are so much more affordable, solid state amps tend to be the amplifier of choice for beginners starting out with limited budgets.

                                                                                                    Digital/Modeling Amps
                                                                                                    Digital amps (also known as modeling amps) approximate the tube tone using digital processors. As they essentially are using a computer program to replicate sounds, these amplifiers often offer several different “sounds” or “boxes” in one compact package. They also offer a slew of processed effects built into the package.

                                                                                                    Hybrid Amps
                                                                                                    Hybrid amplifiers combine the best elements of both tube and solid state amps into one contained unit. These setups typically utilize tubes in the pre-amp, while relying on the solid state digital processing to power the signal, effectively eliminating the need for power tubes. Many players prefer having a hybrid set-up, while some feel that the warmth and overall tube tone gets compromised in the process. 

                                                                                                    Effects

                                                                                                    Although there are a variety of guitar effects pedals that are available to help guitarists shape and transform their signal into many different types of sounds, many amplifiers also come equipped with their share of effects that can be just as useful.

                                                                                                    Built-In Reverb
                                                                                                    Most amplifiers commonly come with built-in reverb, which creates an echo-like reverberated sound around the guitar signal similar to what you might hear if you were in a large hall. Although the parameters to control the reverb are not quite as advanced as what you might find in a pedal or processor solely dedicated to reverb effects, it’s still a great option to give your guitar an airy, grand sound.

                                                                                                    Separate Channels
                                                                                                    Many amplifiers provide separate channels for clean and distorted sounds. This feature was originally introduced exclusively via tube amps, through which the tubes would overdrive the signal so far that it would come through as “hot” or overdriven – what we would call distorted. Today, this feature isn’t limited to tube amps; solid state amplifiers and digital modelers can also give guitarists the grit they are looking for through their amplifier alone.

                                                                                                    Tremolo
                                                                                                    Tremolo is another common built-in effect that one can find most often in vintage amplifiers. Often mislabeled as a vibrato effect, tremolo approximates what it would sound like if you were to hit a note on your guitar and then rapidly turn the volume knob up and down. Speed can be adjusted to create alternating volume fluctuation rates, while the depth controls affect the range at which that signal is altered. This effect is most popular in genres such as rockabilly and surf rock.

                                                                                                    Chorus
                                                                                                    Chorus is a built-in effect that is frequently seen in amplifiers. By duplicating the original guitar signal and altering that duplication slightly enough, the result sounds as though the tone is being voiced by multiple sources – a chorus, if you will. It’s a great way to thicken up the sound, and – when used with other effects like distortion – expand multiple layers of tones within a signal. 

                                                                                                    Amp Construction

                                                                                                    Although the actual construction of an amplifier may not be the first thing that players think of when considering purchasing a guitar amp, the physical attributes of a unit can make an impact on the resulting sound. Amplifiers that have closed backs typically do a better job at processing bass sound. Because of the vibrations that occur when sound is emitted from a speaker, amplifiers require wood that is at least ½-inch thick in order to prevent the interior from shaking loose. This configuration will also ensure a clearer and stronger signal.

                                                                                                    If you’re planning on moving your amplifier around a lot (whether you’re touring, playing the occasional gig, or just moving the amp to different parts of your home), there are additional features that can improve your experience. Corner protectors can help protect your amp from regular wear-and-tear, while rolling wheels can make the transportation process much easier. For smaller units, a handle is also a great accessory that will make a world of a difference when you’re trying to quickly reposition an amp on or off-stage.

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                                                                                                    1 comments
                                                                                                    • nedslaps nedslaps

                                                                                                    I am very surprised that the Genz Benz El Diablo is not #1 or #2. This is the best combo amp I have EVER used.

                                                                                                    Posted on 1/13/2011 12:13 pm | Reply