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Guitars & Accessories

Best Guitar Amp

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 b elow.

VOX AC15VR Guitar Combo Amplifier

When it came time for Vox to build its affordable AC30VR Valve Reactor combo amp, it didn’t need to look too far outside of the Vox family to find a suitable role model for the newer amp. The company designed the AC30VR after the iconic AC30, an amplifier that has provided the sound of impressive musical acts throughout the course of rock and roll history, ranging from the days of the Beatles all the way up to some of today’s current stadium-fillers such as Foo Fighters. The AC30VR does a great job at emulating the ins and outs of its esteemed predecessor, from the inner workings to the outward appearance of the amp.

Players have a few channels at their disposal with the AC30VR, giving them a solid range of sounds that are easy to dial up. The clean channel keeps things pristine, but you can add a slight dirt that cuts through and has a definitive grit, particularly when played at high volumes. The dirty channel has two modes; the first mode is a standard crunch, while the second is a thicker and more distorted tone. The dirty channel also comes equipped with a three-band EQ that can help you further craft your tone. The AC30VR also comes with a Master Reverb control, which can further expand the character of your tone. Players also have the option to plug in a dual footswitch (not included) so that they can change channels and activate the aforementioned reverb while playing.

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

The Line 6 Spider IV 150 is a guitar combo amp made for the player who likes to be a tonal chameleon. This amplifier can’t be tied down to a single tone or sound, as its digital modeling easily takes on the traits of vintage amps, modern marvels, and the preset settings handpicked by some of today’s biggest guitarists. That’s no exaggeration as the 16 amp tones can be easily recalled using the amp model knob on the front panel of the Spider IV 150, including a ’63 Fender Vibroverb, Vox AC30, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, Orange AD-30, and more.

But why stop at just amplifiers? The Spider IV 150 also features 20 models of popular pedal effects, including a pitch-shifter, auto-wah, digital delay, reverb, and more. You can use up to four effects at once, and they can all be arranged to fit the signal flow chain order that fits your liking, both pre-amp or post-amp. If you’d rather not tweak the settings and just go with a proven and pre-determined sound, this digital wonder also features more than 300 signature preset tones selected by some of the most popular bands and artists, including Slipknot, 311, Johnny Marr, Minus the Bear, and more. If you’re looking to emulate the sounds of particular songs, this amp also has you covered, with close to 200 pre-set tones based around classic cuts like “Master of Puppets,” “Crazy Train,” “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and more.

Rocktron Velocity 50 Watt Stereo Guitar Amplifier

Don’t let its unassuming size fool you; Rocktron’s V50D combo amplifier can get loud and offers the same range of tonal possibilities and power of some of the amp’s larger contemporaries. The V50D offers two channels that can be selected either by using the front Channel selection switch or with a footswitch. The clean channel is crisp and warm, while the distortion channel is definitely suitable for rock, metal, and other genres of music that require that dirty, heavy crunch. Both channels have separate gain and volume controls, providing players with the ability to fine-tune their sound to their liking.

This amplifier also comes equipped with some built-in effects. The chorus can be controlled with on-board depth and rate controls, giving you the ability to adjust the shimmering modulation of the effect. Meanwhile, a digital delay allows you to get spacy as you enhance your sound, with parameters to control the length and number of repetitions of the effect. Both of these effects can be controlled using a footswitch while a separate delay mix allows you to balance the wet delayed effect with your original dry signal. The V50D’s 2x8 Velocity VSG8 custom voiced speakers allow this amp to get loud enough to shake the walls, but that’s not your only option. Players can also plug in a headphone jack for private practice sessions, or run the signal to an even greater sound system using the two speaker outs.

Peavey ValveKing II 50 Guitar Amplifier Combo - 03608760

The impeccable tone of the Peavey ValveKing II Combo may start with its tubes (two 6L6s and three 12AX7s, for those keeping score), but it’s certainly not where the possibilities end. A 3-band EQ allows you to further shape that tone, and a Vari-Class knob lets you tweak the power amp class characteristics between Class A and Class AB; this offers you the ability to shift between a variety of tones that will make you feel right at home no matter what style of music you are playing, from country to metal and beyond. That’s not the only kind of switching you’re able to do, either; you can opt to change your wattage output from a full 50 watts all the way down to 2 watts, which gives this combo amp the ability to find its place in a variety of environments, including live gigs in smaller venues to more intimate rehearsal settings.

The ValveKing II also offers some modern flourishes to bridge its great sound into the 21st century. A built-in USB 2.0 output allows you to seamlessly send your amp’s output directly into your computer which allows you to record your guitar playing without losing any signal fidelity. Because guitarists should always be aware of the condition of their tubes (a crucial element in the tone and overall performance of any amplifier), Peavey has also incorporated a TSI tube-monitoring indicator, allowing you to observe the health of your power tubes in real time.

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

Marshall tone is a well respected and instantly recognizable sound for any guitarist who knows a thing or two about amplifiers, but the size and price tag of said amp can often be a deterrent to those operating under the strict confines of a budget. Luckily, the Marshall MG102CFX combo amp provides those sounds in a much smaller, affordable option. Four channels are at your disposal which include clean, crunch, OD1, and OD2. You can program each of these channels to fit your tonal liking, and mix them with a speaker-dampening function and digital effects such as chorus, phaser, flanger, octave, reverb, and delay. The delay section of this amp is a world unto itself, featuring off-shoots including Hi-Fi, tape, multi, and reverse delays.

The MG102CFX’s larger cabinet produces a thicker-sounding bottom end and its two custom 50 watt speakers make this thing get a lot louder than you would expect from an amp of this size. But if you need to experience all this amp has to offer in quieter settings, you can always plug headphones into the headphone jack. A line input also allows you to play along with external sound sources, and a line-out gives you the perfect route to record the amplifier’s sounds directly into your computer’s recording interface.

Orange Crush Pro CR120H

Orange didn’t need to look any further than their own well-respected Rockerverb amplifier series when it came time to design their Orange Crush Pro CR120H amp head. While many guitarists consider solid-state gear to be absolute anathema, the folks at Orange have taken the time and effort into crafting a high-quality sound and performance out of their tube-less equipment. The CR120H offers two channels; the clean channel is sparklingly pristine, but can start to acquire some grit as the volume gets turned up. Meanwhile the dirty channel really growls, and can be further sculpted using four stages of gain.

Players can also add three different types of digital reverb (hall, spring, and plate) to their signal using a footswitch. This amp head also features a 3-band EQ to give players the ability to further define their sound. The CR120H is also extremely durable, thanks to its 18mm plywood build. And while the tones produced by this amp head are loud enough to amply fill clubs and smaller rooms, the iconic orange appearance screams for attention, too.

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

When Bugera designed their 6260 Infinium 120 guitar amp head, their aim was to create something that offered the rich and pristine sound of a tube-driven amplifier but in a more compact and affordable package. They definitely succeeded, as this unit is driven by four 6L6 tubes that make the tone on this thing absolutely impressive. This is an ideal purchase for players looking to capture the sounds of classic rock. The amp head’s Clean channel is smooth and pristine, but turning the gain up produces a very natural-sounding overdrive that is more responsive to various forms of attack and volume sent from the guitar. An optional crunch setting kicks things up another notch, pulling gain from another 12AX7 tube for a more growling sound.

When it’s time to really sing, you need to look no further than the lead channel which oozes sustain and attitude. The 6260 also offers separate master volumes for the clean and lead channels, giving players the ability to create a balanced performance regardless of what tone they are triggering with the amp head. The 6260’s Tube Life Multiplier technology may sound, and actually perform, like some fictional relic from a sci-fi film, but it actually works, and that’s what’s important; this component balances all of the tubes’ performances, causing them to last up to 20 times longer than on other amplifiers. This technology also compensates for the effects of aging by automatically adjusting their current levels to maintain the original sound. And the system even will notify you not only when a tube dies, but it will also tell you which one needs to be replaced.

Randall RG1003H 100-Watt Guitar Amplifier Head

The look and design of the Randall RG1003H guitar amp head should give you a clue as to what type of sound it is capable of creating; this thing looks like it was sent here from an alternate future where the only way to survive is to rock peoples’ faces off. True to form, that’s exactly what this unit is built for, with three channels in place to drive a signal up to 100W. The solid-state technology in this unit can be further tempered by the on-board EQ, while the channels can be easily accessed during a performance using the included footswitch. Looking to make the RG1003H’s sound even more grand and room-filling? Try the onboard Spring Reverb to spread your sound even wider.

Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

Fender’s Super Champ X2 HD guitar amp head bridges the past and the present in one seamless, compact package. The core of the classic Fender sound is of course in its tubes – here you have one 12AX7 preamp tube and two 6V6 power tubes. The tone that this amp head generates can be further shaped via some of the more modern touches that this unit has to offer. An amp modeling function emulates a variety of amp types, including classic Fender amp sounds to more current designs that are better suited for modern styles such as metal. The Super Champ also comes equipped with 15 onboard effects, giving players the opportunity to spice up their sounds with additions such as reverb, delay, tremolo, chorus, and more. Another modern flourish of the Super Champ is its USB connectivity, which allows players to create a simple and high-quality connection with their computer using the free Fender FUSE application. Now recording, editing, and sharing guitar ideas is easier than ever.

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

The Blackstar HT-5RH may look like just a little 5 watt amp, but it certainly has more going on underneath the hood than its appearance may let on. Driven by ECC83 and 12BH7 tubes, this amp head offers some truly impressive tones that make it an ideal standalone unit for use in the recording studio. Blackstar’s patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature) gives you the ability to truly get your hands dirty while tweaking your tone. Choose between 2 channels, with both a smooth clean and gritty crunch on deck and at your disposal. The HT-5RH also features an onboard speaker-emulated output that allows you to record your signal directly from the amp head, making it an ideal songwriting tool in controlled environments. This amp head also comes quipped with a stereo digital reverb to give your guitar more presence, and an included footswitch that makes hopping between channels easy and fun to do.

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five Guitar Amplifier

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five Guitar Amplifier

Mesa/Boogie based their Mark Five: 25 guitar amp head on the same model that drove their original Mark 5 three-channel amplifier, a collection of the company’s most-beloved amps in one single package. Now you can get all of that in a much smaller and easy-to-transport package, along with a variety of tone-controlling features that really allow players to cherry pick their sound. Two channels offer a wide range of tonal options. Channel 1 is able to switch between clean, fat, and crunch modes, while channel 2 offers specific Mesa/Boogie amp settings in the Mark II C+, Mark IV, and Xtreme modes.

An on-board 5-Band Graphic EQ wrangles it all together, implemented at the end of the signal chain so that you can carefully apply it as the last tone-shaping factor after you’ve made your channel decisions. The Mark Five also comes equipped with an all-tube spring reverb that can individually sent out to each channel, giving you the option to provide subtle sounds or a full-on wet effect. And the CABCLONE is a D.I. and Cabinet Simulator that gives you the ability to capture the sound directly from the Mark Five’s speaker output and route it out for a clear and accurate signal that’s great for recording or sending the signal to a console/converter. Switches for the speaker status, cabinet style, ground, and XLR balanced output give you the full range of options to get the tone you desire.

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

If Orange’s Dual Dark 100 guitar amp head’s title isn’t enough to convince you that this piece of gear produces some truly ear-splitting, high-gain sounds, one listen will confirm that fact for you. This dark and aggressive-sounding amplifier stands as one of Orange’s highest gain products yet. Four stages of gain can be applied to two channels. Channel A provides a fat sound that can be further tempered using its EQ, offering a tight response and boost in the mid-range frequencies. Channel B is where this amp head truly lives up to its name, offering a driven, dark sound that is ideal for heavy riffing and down-tuned guitars. While this little guy is definitely designed to summon demons with its all-out assault-like tone, the beast can also be tamed. The output on the Dual Dark 100 can be dropped to 70, 50, or 30 watts to reduce both volume levels and saturation/clipping.

Marshall JVM-410H Joe Satriani Signature Guitar Amplifier Head

Marshall teamed with virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani in building his signature JVM410HJS amp head, implementing custom-voiced channels, noise gates to replace reverb, and controllable feedback, all requested by the man himself. Fans of Satriani’s style will obviously flock to this piece of gear, but there are enough noteworthy features in this unit to attract guitarists of all kinds. Guitarists can work with four channels that have been selected to Joe’s standards. A clean channel mirrors that found in Marshall’s classic LM6100; the orange crunch channel injects some grit in the same manner as the JCM800 (2203) that is modeled after. Two overdrive channels have been tweaked to improve the dynamic range and deliver a less-compressed sound.

Each channel also features a noise gate (replacing the standard reverb that is normally found in a stock JVM410), so you can fine-tune the response of each sound. The added noise gate circuitry also enabled Marshall to provide faster switching, which means that you’ll experience no lag or awkward transition time when you change channels, even if you’re as fast a player as Satriani himself.

Peavey 6534 Plus 120W Tube Guitar Amp Head Black

A glance at some of Peavey’s 6534 Plus guitar amp head’s endorsed artists should give players a clue of what kind of sound experience they’re in for when bands like Soulfly, Apocalyptica, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Black Dahlia Murder are amongst your believers, it’s evident that this is a piece of gear made with the metal heads in mind. This 6534 Plus offers the extreme high gain and noteworthy tone of Peavey’s 6505 series (thanks in no small part to the high-gain 12AX7 preamp tubes and EL34 power amp tubes), but also throws a muzzle on any excess noise new designs to the model. You’ve got two channels to work with here, a lead and rhythm, with both featuring their own 3-band EQs and pre and post-gain controls.

Peavey has also included their signature resonance and presence controls to enhance the low-end of your signal and also boost the high-end, giving you the option to really make your tone stand out to your liking. The Rhythm channel also boasts a Crunch boost option that can be activated via footswitch. That same footswitch also allows you to seamlessly jump between channels in the midst of performance or rehearsal.

Egnater Renegade 65W Tube Guitar Amp Head

Many guitar amp heads offer more channels than the Egnater Renegade, but this unit has found that all it really needs is two to offer a wide range of options for players who want to be able to do it all. Channel 1 offers encompassing, lush clean tones that can get a little bit of kick when provoked, while Channel 2 encapsulates everything from slightly dirty overdrive to thick, wall-shaking distortion. Regardless of what channel you choose, they both can be easily shaped and tweaked using their own 3-band EQs. The company’s signatures bright and tight switches give you the ability to find further options within the dual confines. You can also implement some reverb on each channel, as well as adjust the presence and density of your tone via the master controls.

An included four-button footswitch allows you to hop between the two channels, but that’s not all. This feature also allows you to select the reverb hands free, as well as activate the included effects loops and control the secondary master volume which can be assigned to both channels or just one. To keep this hard-working piece of gear safe, Egnater also includes a heavy duty cover to protect your tonal investment.

VOX NT15H Night Train Guitar Amplifier Head

Vox enthusiasts can be rather particular about their tone, and the Night Train NT15H low wattage guitar amplifier totally nails it when it comes to capturing that beloved sound. A pair of EL84 power tubes work in conjunction with a pair of 12AX7 preamp tubes, similar to the setup in Vox’s classic AC15 amplifier. This setup gives you the ability to choose your own tonal adventure. You can opt for a clean and smooth sound that rings out beautifully, or crank it up to get a rich, overdriven sound. The amplifier also comes equipped with Vox’s standard EQ controls, allowing you to fine-tune the treble, bass, mid-range, volume, and gain of either of the two channels within this unit. Beyond sounding incredible, the Night Train also has a cool and sleek look to match its ultra-hip name. A black metallic mirror finish will leave just as great of an impression on audiences as the awesome sounds this thing can create.

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

Line 6 has always taken the extra step to provide more than what you might expect from a single piece of gear, and their Spider IV 15 doesn’t do anything to break that pattern. Though this 15 watt amp is smaller than most units that don’t even possess a fraction of the tonal ability, this low wattage amp offers four channels that will have you playing like the pros in no time. And a huge part of that pro sound is because the settings and emulators contained within are based around their sounds and specifications. Users can even join the Line 6 online community to download settings based around specific songs, bands, and more.

The four dialed-in amp models include clean, crunch, metal, and insane, with each one upping the ante a little bit more to brings rich, head splitting sounds that still come off great when played at low volumes. The Spider IV also offers six Smart FX that have been modeled after esteemed pedals and studio effects. You can color your sound with chorus/flange, phaser, tremolo, tape and sweep echoes, and reverb. All of these sounds can be further shaped using the EQ controls, which also include drive settings and volume controls for both the channel and the master. The Spider IV even includes a built-in tuner, which only reinforces the degree of ease and usefulness that this single unit is able to offer.

Marshall Haze MHZ15

Marshall Haze MHZ15

The Marshall name doesn’t necessarily invoke the concept of low wattage. After all, the company has built its brand on the enormous stacks that have become synonymous with arena-shaking rock gods. But the company has managed to transfer its industry-approved tone and control into a smaller package with the Haze MHZ15 amp head. This compact mini-tube unit offers razor-sharp control and killer tone without running the risk of notifying everyone on your block when you plug your axe in.

A normal channel offers clean and crunch-like tones, while the overdrive channel can run the gamut between classic rock drive to thick and mighty distortion. Each channel is also able to be boosted via a four button footswitch option. The Haze MHZ15 also includes an array of digital effects that bring this piece of gear squarely into modern times. Choose between vibrato, delay, and chorus, along with a spring reverb that is perfect for conjuring that vintage vibe. If you find a favored setting, you can save the previously used FX parameters and recall them when you return to that channel.

Orange Tiny Terror Combo Guitar Amplifier, 15 watt

Like the setup to a classic horror movie, Orange’s Tiny Terror is at first unassuming, with its innocuous 15 pound frame and almost “cute” lunchbox-like appearance. But it’s moniker isn’t just a clever name as this little amp can pull some amazing tones. Whether you’re seeking immaculately clean sounds or want to crank up the gain and go full-on punk rock, this 15 watt amp head packs the power of two 12AX7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power tubes.

Though its small size might be deceiving, the overdrive channel on the Tiny Terror can summon nearly as much gain as your average big amplifier’s four stage lead channels. This low wattage amp can switch between 15 and 7 watts of power, making it a great asset to take into rehearsal/recording spaces as well as smaller club gigs. An included padded gig bag makes taking this secret weapon around even easier, and protects it from any incidental traveling damages, not that it's so defenseless on its own. Its vented steel top case also ensures that the Tiny Terror is actually as tough as it sounds.

Fender Vintage Reissue Black Reverb Guitar Combo Amplifier

Fender certainly got it right when they created their Princeton Reverb amp back in the 1960s, and since then that tube-powered tone has become a standard for guitarists across the board. With their ’65 Princeton Reverb 15 watt amplifier, guitarists can capture that legendary sound in an easily transportable, low wattage unit. When played at lower volumes, this amp produces the trademark clean, fat sound that guitarists associate with Fender. When turned up more, you can introduce a degree of grit that really dirties things up to generate more snarl and attitude.

The ’65 Princeton Reverb amp also comes with built-in reverb and vibrato effects that can be used to further color your sound, all inside one piece of gear. Those effects can easily be triggered on and off using the included 2-button footswitch. Control your tone using the treble, bass, volume, reverb, speed, and intensity controls. And because you may find yourself taking this amplifier with you wherever you go, it’s great that this model also comes with a black textured vinyl covering, great not just for travel, but also to keep your amp clean and dust-free should it sit in a contained space for an extended period.

Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

While some amplifiers are best suited for particular playing styles or musical genres, the Line 6 Spider IV 150 cannot be tied to one single idea or approach. The digital modeling built into this affordable combo amp makes it ideal for players who want access to the sounds of vintage amplifiers and more modern effects and tones alike. Players have the ability to pull up 16 amp tones, including such name brand amp staples like the Orange AD-30, ’63 Fender Vibroverb, Vox AC30, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, and more.

This thing is also filled to the brim with effects modeling, too. 20 models of popular effects pedals are accessible in this unit, including a digital delay, auto-way, pitch-shifter, reverb, and more. While players can mix and match to create their own sounds using up to four effects slots at once, they also have the ability to instantly pull up presets that have been modeled after or selected by some of the biggest modern guitarists and bands on the scene. The Line 6 Spider IV 150 features more than 300 signature presets, with tones pre-selected by artists such as 311, Minus the Bear, Slipknot, Johnny Marr, and more. There are also tones modeled after particular songs, meaning you can instantly recall the sounds used on classic tunes such as Smells Like Teen Spirit, Crazy Train, and more!

VOX VT20+ Valvetronix Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Vox VT20+ is aptly titled, because you’re getting more than just one sound with this digital modeling guitar combo app; in fact, you’re getting way more than 20. 33 different amp models are contained within this unit; of course, a majority of the Vox line is available, but there are also a variety of other classic British and American amps, as well as more modern pieces of gear, too. Driven by the Vox Valve Reactor circuit and its 12AX7 tubes, this amp is able to produce a warmth that defies the sterile digital modeling stereotype some people may unfairly throw at this type of gear.

The VT20+ also features 25 pedal effects that can further help to color and transform your tone. 99 preset programs allow you to just jump right in and start playing with preselected sounds sure to inspire and get your creative juices flowing. If you’d like to create and save your own, the amp comes with eight user programs. A built-in automatic guitar tuner also ensures you’ll have no problem staying in tune while you play. This amplifier also features a power level control which can keep a hold on the power amp output wattage, allowing you to play at loud or quiet volumes without ever sacrificing tone and warm distortion.

Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 - 20 Watt Modeling Instrument Amplifier

Peavey’s Vypyr VIP 1 is certainly adept at providing guitarists with a wide palette of amp and effects sounds in one contained unit. But where this digital modeling guitar combo amp really stands out if with its ability to provide simulated sounds for both acoustic and bass guitar. The VIP 1 offers a Variable Instrument input that allows players to alter the gain structure and input sensitivity based on what instrument they are emulating with the preset models. Players can also use the bass and acoustic models on their electric signal, further transforming their tone and giving them more options to play with as they experiment with sounds.

The Vypyr VIP 1 also holds 20 effects that can be easily controlled and manipulated via easily displayed parameter knobs. Pull up effects such as compression, chorus, flanger, octaver, reverb, tap tempo delay, and more as players can dial in up to four effects at once. This modeling amp also features a built-in USB interface that makes recording the sounds that it processes simple and easy; just connect it to your computer, load up your recording software, and you’re off!

Roland Cube Lite Guitar Amplifier

At first glance, the Roland Cube Lite doesn’t even truly look like your standard guitar combo amp, and truthfully, it isn’t. In terms of look and design, this unit much more closely resembles something along the lines of a Bose radio speaker; however, looks can be deceiving. The Cube Lite offers three different tone settings (JC CLEAN, CRUNCH, and EXTREME COSM), stereo chorus, and reverb effects. An I-CUBE LINK allows players to connect the amp to their iPhone, iPad, and iPhone touch, making for a quick and easy way to jam along to your favorite tunes and even to record your signal into said devices. While many amplifiers look like, well, amplifiers, the Cube Lite is designed to stylishly fit into your living room setting, with its sleek look and unobtrusive size and shape. It can also be used to simply play back music from your digital library, which certainly carves this amp out as being distinctive from the rest of its digital modeling brethren.

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

The Fender Mustang I amplifier is something of a musical assassin’s accessory. Its compact design already makes it an easy amp to take around to recording sessions or for gigs; the fact that it holds so much more than what its smaller appearance might convey is just icing on the cake. 17 amp models are included in this unit, ranging from older models to more modern sounding sources. The Mustang I also comes with a series of onboard effects, including reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, and more which gives players the ability to really color their tone and experiment in looking for particular sounds.

This amp works in conjunction with the included Fender FUSE computer software; simply install the application, connect the amp to your computer via its USB connection, and record into the DAW of your choice. You can later edit, store, and even share your Mustang sounds inside the FUSE software. The Mustang also comes equipped with a chromatic tuner, making it easy to ensure that your instrument is at its top-performance level before and during gigs and recording sessions.

Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

As its name promises, the Fishman Loudbox Mini is capable of bumping up your acoustic guitar signal to really fill a room while still maintaining the integrity of the timbre and character of the instrument. Two channels give you plenty of options to shape and craft the amplified tone; an instrument channel features a phase switch alongside gain, low, mid, high, reverb, and chorus knobs. There’s also a mic channel which is more stripped down, with just gain, low, high, and reverb knobs. The Loudbox Mini also sports a D.I. out in its back panel, allowing you to send signal either to the house PA or to a receiving amplifier. One of the biggest appeals of this amplifier is its compact size. Clocking in at just over a foot tall and weighing less than 25 pounds, this is an ideal asset for guitarists who need to quickly and easily transport gear and find themselves playing in smaller venues like coffeehouses or tight rehearsal spaces.

Roland AC-60 Stereo 30 Watt Acoustic Amp

The Roland AC-60 acoustic guitar combo amplifier gives you plenty of options to tweak and shape the tone of your instrument, but never at the sacrifice of the integrity of the instrument’s character. Onboard digital signal processing gives players the ability to enhance their signal with a stereo/multiband chorus, as well as a delay/reverb which can be controlled via footswitch. Players have two options for using the AC-60: a guitar input, as well as a mic/line input that features phantom power. This amplifier also features a built-in anti-feedback control that will keep any renegade frequencies in check as you increase the volume of the amplifier.

The AC-60 also features a convenient mute switch that gives you (and the audience) the silence necessary to tune onstage in a discreet manner. And because acoustic amplifiers often work better when projecting out into the room at an angle, guitarists will love the built-in stand that makes titling this amplifier easy and safe. This same accessory also allows the AC-60 to mount on speaker stands for further projection.

Fender Acoustasonic 150 Combo

The Fender Acoustasonic 150 guitar combo amplifier doesn’t look as though it could possibly hold all of the tonal possibilities that the unit offers in its small size. This 150 watt amp is only 22.5 pounds and measures in at 16 inches high and 22 inches wide, after all. Those dimensions may make this ideal for players who need to fit into tight spaces and travel with gear easily, but those advantages are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to this amp. Both the mic and instrument channels on the Acoustasonic feature their own EQ controls, as well as reverb, delay, chorus, and Vibratone effects, to name a few. A Strings Dynamic control is also useful for taming treble notes which can sometimes cut through in an unpleasant/unwanted way.

What also makes this amplifier notable is its built-in voicing control. By simply twisting a knob, players can change the sound of the amp to take on the characteristics of commonly used acoustic guitar types, including parlor, dreadnought, and jumbo acoustic guitars. This amp also comes with an optional two-button effects control footswitch which makes it easy for you to change sounds in the middle of a performance.

Behringer Ultracoustic ACX900

At first glance, Behringer’s Ultracoustic ACX900 already looks the part. Sporting a brown vinyl vintage appearance, this combo amplifier has an instant amount of visual character that, while not necessarily important to the tone of the unit, definitely adds an aesthetic that's useful to performers. Performers are sure to flock to this amplifier as it offers an easy-to-use interface which is ideal for pulling up tones and sounds on the spot. Two input channels make this a great tool for the singer/songwriter type, allowing you to run vocals and guitar through the same unit, applying separate 7-band EQ controls to each signal. The ACX900 also features a 24-bit FX processor for each channel that allows players to access 16 presets, including delay, reverb, modulation, and more. An included footswitch makes it easy to turn effects on and off each channel in the midst of a performance.

Marshall AS50D Acoustic Guitar Amplifier

The Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS50D combo amplifier is an ideal rig for acoustic guitarists looking to crank up their signal for gigs and rehearsals. The line out and XLR DI included in this unit also enable you to bring the AS50D into larger venues as well, giving this amp a versatility that is useful for guitarists of all types. Two channels are available in this unit, and the sounds from both can be further tweaked via onboard effects. Add reverb or chorus to widen your sound and expand your sonic palette. You can also add external pedals and effects processors via the amplifier’s effects loop. The AS50D also comes with an anti-feedback control to nip any unwanted sounds in the bud and ensure your signal is clear and tamed, even when things might go a bit awry.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Fender sound has long reverberated into the foundations of classic styles of music, including rock, soul, blues, country, and more. That tradition is continued with their Hot Rod Deluxe III guitar combo amp. Powered by two 6L6 power tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes, this amplifier sings through its Celestion G12P-80 speaker, providing 40 watts of pure tube tone. Choose between three selectable channels; normal, drive, and more drive, giving you plenty of options to determine your preferred voice. A spring reverb effect can be applied to all three chennels, giving you the classic tone that has made Fender a go-to option for guitarists around the world. You can easily switch between channels using the included 2-button, 3-function footswitch. And to keep your amp safe during travel or when it’s not being used, you can use the included amplifier cover to protect what is sure to be your new favorite amp.

Line 6 DT25 112 Combo Guitar Tube Amplifier

Line 6 has always been about providing users with a range of sounds and products within a single unit, so it should come as no surprise that their DT25 112 combo amp does just that. Touting the sound of four boutique tube amps in one, this amplifier is bolstered by a partnership with tube designer Reinhold Bogner; the end result is access to awesomely dynamic analog circuitry mixed with Line 6’s trademark digital modeling system. The four standard voicings in this amp include American clean, British crunch, class A chime, and modern high-gain. A low volume mode is another feature that makes this amplifier notable; even when being played at whisper-level volumes, the DT25 112 is still able to produce tube-cranking tone. The back-lit front panel makes this amp easy to use no matter where it’s being utilized, and the included firmware gives players the ability to create 26 additional customized voicings that can be stored and saved for easy access.

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

Blackstar definitely seemed to be focused on teamwork when they made their Venue Series Stage HT-60 guitar combo amp. That philosophy starts with the tubes, which are in this case represented by a pair of EL34s, which in turn send their fantastic sound to a pair of Celestion speakers. The clean channel on the HT-60 features a pair of modes, “British Class-A” and “dynamic U.S.”. The overdrive channel also features two voice switches, providing further versatility in just how you want your guitar signal to sound. Sensing a trend here? Beyond the dual-theme that this amp has going for it, the HT-60 also includes a digital reverb with a bright/dark switch, that allows you to expand your sound and control the timbre and tone of said effect. An effects loop enables you to easily bring external pedals and processors into the mix.

Marshall MA50C Guitar Combo Amp

Marshall MA50C Guitar Combo Amp

The Marshall tone lives on in the MA50C guitar combo amp. The tubes are in full effect in this piece of gear, in this case utilizing a pair of ECC83 double triodes in the preamp, and EL34 pentodes in the power amp. Choose between Clean and Overdrive channels, but know that in either case you’ll be able to further shape your tone using separate EQ stages. The latter channel also features a boost feature, which is perfect for when you want your guitar signal to cut through for solos or particularly prominent parts. There's also a spring reverb available for use on both channels. You can switch between clean, overdrive, and the boosted overdrive using the included footswitch. A serial effects loop also enables you to bring your stompboxes and other pedals into the mix seamlessly and with instant results.

Fender Blues Junior IV Tube Guitar Amplifier

The blues are a pure and raw art form, and the Fender Blues Junior III guitar combo amp takes that philosophy to heart in its design and features. There aren’t a a wide range of channels and tonal options available in this unit, but when a single channel sounds as powerfully versatile as this one does, you can’t really blame the designers for not wanting to clutter things up. A 3-band EQ does give you some wiggle room to alter your tone, and a built-in spring reverb offers that classic Fender vibe that has made the company a titan of its industry. A “FAT” switch provides a midrange boost that can give you the thick tone necessary to really rip through your favorite lead licks. The controls on this amplifier are made intentionally simple, but there are some cool new additions that make this amp stand out from its predecessors. Shock absorbers reduce the rattle of the EL84 tubes and keep them in a safer state, while the front reading text makes it easy for guitarists to make changes via the volume knobs and be able to see what they’re actually doing.

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

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

With their Express 5:50 Plus guitar combo amplifier, Mesa/Boogie clearly is offering a product to guitarists who want to be able to do it all with a single amplifier. Driven by its all-tube setup, this amplifier can be used in small and intimate clubs or stadium-sized venues. Two channels offer a total of four tone modes. Channel 1 is the home of the pristine-sounding CLEAN and the mid-gain snarl of CRUNCH, which makes it perfect for playing more percussive rhythmic parts. Channel 2 cranks it up a bit, with the singing howl of BLUES and the the overdriven growl of BURN. These tones can be further sculpted using the 5-band graphic EQ; not only can you get very specific in how you make these settings sound, but they can also be programmed via footswitch, and the sliders can be auto-assigned to each preset control. This is an incredibly dynamic piece of gear, but that’s not where the impressive nature of this amp stops as it’s also covered by Mesa/Boogie’s transferrable warranty. It covers five years on the electronics, three for the speakers, and six months for the tubes, so rest assured your investment is protected should any unexpected issues crop up.

Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker Combo Amp

Marshall’s 1962 earned its Bluesbreaker title thanks to the amplifier’s use by guitar god Eric Clapton in the pivotal British blues group John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the 1960s. If the Clapton endorsement isn’t enough to give you an idea about what this amplifier is capable of producing, let’s just say if you’ve never heard this in action before, you’ve never heard the full potential of just how much your guitar can truly sing. That ability to wail stems directly from the amp’s GZ34 tube rectifier, providing incredible sustain and compression. The sound is then routed out through Celestion Greenback speakers providing a thick, midrange and high-frequency roll-off that makes it ideal for playing blues and rock. It’s a vintage sound that's so on-point, it’s essentially timeless. There’s a foot switchable tremolo setting that can further color your sound, but for the most part there aren’t a lot of tweakable tone parameters in this amp; honestly, when something naturally sounds so great, don't to fix something that isn’t broken to begin with.

Lazy J Model 80 Guitar Combo Amp

Lazy J Model 80 Guitar Combo Amp

The Lazy J Model 80’s name is something of a misnomer, as this high-end guitar combo amp is far from shiftless. Modeled after the impeccable sounds that came from Fender Tweed-era Twin amplifiers, this unit produces a pristine sound which can get exceptionally loud, offering up to 80 watts through its 2x12 cabinet. Powered by 3 12AX7s tubes along with 4 6L6s and a GZ34 rectifier, this amplifier has earned some notably high-profile fans, including Noel Gallagher, Pete Townshend, Joe Walsh, and Jeff Beck.

Part of what makes this amp so exceptional is the fine-tuned craft that has been put into its design by Lazy J owner Jesse Hoff. The Model 80 is wired “point to point,” which means every internal component and wire has been soldered. This is a manufacturing process which was implemented in the 60’s for the rigs of some of the greatest guitarists of all time, and has since been abandoned in favor of cheaper labor and less-intensive manufacturing procedures. This amp also has an optional modules for tremolo and reverb, and a push/pull switch that can be used to dial in additional gain. To top it all off, the cabinet itself is built from finger-joined pine and covered with a lacquered, hand-aged tweed to provide a vintage-looking experience that perfectly complements the classic sound the amp produces.

Matchless Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp

Matchless Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp

The Matchless Nighthawk Reverb 1x12 is a high-end guitar combo amp that seamlessly blends British and American overdriven sounds to create a stunning tone which can make nearly any guitar sound like a winner. The tube setup for the Nighthawk at first appears standard as you’ve got a 12AX7 that drives a pair of EL84s, working alongside a 5AR4 rectifier and two additional 12AX7s to power the optional all-valve reverb circuit.

What gives this amp its unique character is its EF86 valve, a small high-gain component prominently used in the normal channel of vintage Vox AC15 and AC30 amplifiers. This produces an exceptional amount of gain. Depending on the pickups in your guitar, this feature can really make this an ideal tool for those who seek a heavier rock sound.

Cleaner sounds may lose some headroom with this model, so if possible, it’s best to explore the sound with your exact guitar before purchasing this item. The Nighthawk’s six position rotary switch will allow players to incrementally decrease the bass and mid frequencies of their tone. However, operating in this capacity allows an easy and precise way to find the sounds that you want rather than loosely twisting knobs.

Tone King Imperial MkII Guitar Combo Amp

If you’re looking to treat your tone like royalty, then you need look no further than the Tone King Imperial MkII high-end guitar combo amplifier. At first glance, this unit already has a pristine appearance thanks to its brown and cream vinyl that instantly harkens back to the era of 1950’s American guitar amplifiers. Fortunately, looks are definitely NOT deceiving in this case.

One of the more notable components to the sound of the Imperial is its built-in Ironman II attenuator, which can be used to switch down the amp’s output in five different steps. Using this unique function, guitarists can attain their ideal alchemy of volume and distortion on the lead channel, and then switch to a completely different setting on the clean channel. This amp can provide sparkling clean sounds or the ideal amount of crunch and bite when put into overdrive. It also comes equipped with tremolo and vintage-inspired reverb.

Jet City Amplification JCA12S 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

Jet City’s 12S+ guitar amp cabinet gives players a variety of sound options to play with once they’ve connected it with a compatible guitar amp head. Its convertible back baffle offers a flexibility to switch between open, closed, or partially open-back operation, which can greatly affect the bass response of the cab. A single 12 inch Eminence custom speaker produces the sound in the 12S+, while an integrated MicSim speaker-emulated output gives you more options in shaping your sound when sounding out to the board via XLR. This gives you some additional sound directions when recording or playing live; you’re definitely not limited to just putting a mic in front of the cab in order to send out the sound. Offering 100 watts of power and weighing just 27 pounds, this cabinet is a top secret weapon that’s easy to transport and can really make your sound extend far beyond what meets the ear.

Ibanez TSA112C Tube Screamer 80W 1x12 Guitar Cabinet

Ibanez’s TSA112C Tube Screamer guitar amp cabinet delivers a seriously massive wall of sound. Designed to work in tandem with the company’s TSA15H Tube Screamer head, this 1 x 12 inch enclosure houses a Celestion Seventy 80 speaker that produces a powerful and punchy output. The full and meaty tone produced by this cabinet has a tight low-end, plenty of midrange, and a high-end that can pleasingly cut through the mix. Though it’s priced at quite an affordable rate, Ibanez has also instilled a rugged build to this unit, ensuring that you can take it on the road and not have to worry about any sort of fragile tendencies from the TSA112C. For a cabinet, it’s relatively light weight, clocking in at just under 29 pounds.

Fender Super-Champ 112 1x12 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

Designed to pair with their Super Champ X2 HD head, Fender’s Super Champ SC112 cabinet enclosure is compact, rugged, and equipped with some modern features that bridge this unit into the 21st century while still maintaining that classic Fender sound. A single 12 inch Celestion speaker provides a tight and focused sound. Bass response is enhanced by the Super Champ’s closed-back design. Amp cabinets can often be cumbersome to move around, but the tight design of this unit makes it way more manageable than other options that are out there. And of course, it still sports all the attributes of the classic Fender brand, from the vintage-looking black tolex to the silver grille cloth; yes folks, it looks as cool as it sounds.

Peavey 03611000 1 x 12 Extension Guitar Cabinet

Looking to make that amplifier roar? Look no further than Peavey’s 112 Extension Cab. Compact enough to make traveling less of a headache, this unit is equipped with a 12 inch Blue Marvel Speaker and is rated at 40 watts. With a simply elegant design and rugged build, this cabinet is an ideal match for Peavey’s 6505 Mini amp head. This cabinet can also be switched between closed and open-back, which can give you more tonal options than most players are accustomed to when it comes to cabs. Expand your sound with a cabinet that is easy to use and really pushes your tone to the next level.

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

They say size matters, but that’s not always the case when it comes to guitar amplifiers, especially when we’re talking about the gear produced by the good folks at Orange Amplifiers. Their PPC108 cabinet is unassuming in its size, but this thing is capable of producing a punchy tone that is ideal for pairing with their MicroTerror amp head. At just 8.93 pounds, this baby is a breeze to travel with. The special design 8 inch speaker captures the British tone that's earned Orange a name for itself and though it’s smaller than it’s big bros, it’s still built with the same rugged construction the rest of their product lines are revered for. Beyond sound and build, this thing has a classic Orange look with an orange Tolex, basket weave grille cloth, crest, and badge which scream Orange to the core, a visual trait making this company one of the more distinct brands to hit the scene.

Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 - 100 Watt Amplifier

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 3 is a digital modeling guitar amplifier that truly covers the full gamut of stringed instrument capabilities. 36 guitar amp models cover not just the standard electric guitar amp tonal possibilities offered in other amps of its kind, but also amps for bass and acoustic guitars. If that alone didn’t provide enough range of sounds, there are also instrument models in this amp, meaning you can transform your axe into an acoustic guitar, a violin, a baritone guitar, a bass, and more.

The Vypyr VIP 3 also comes stocked with 25 effects, including octaver, tap tempo delay, flanger, tremolo, rotary speaker, reverb, compression/chorus and more. Each effect is also able to be shaped via parameter controls. A built-in tuner allows guitarists to easily keep their instrument in check by simply glancing over at the amp. The VIP 3’s built-in USB interface makes recording a breeze as you simply connect to your computer and it will instantly be recognized as an audio device which can in turn be routed into your recording software.

Line 6 Spider IV 150 Modeling Combo Amplifier

While some amplifiers are best suited for particular playing styles or musical genres, the Line 6 Spider IV 150 cannot be tied to one single idea or approach. The digital modeling built into this affordable combo amp makes it ideal for players who want access to the sounds of vintage amplifiers and more modern effects and tones alike. Players have the ability to pull up 16 amp tones, including such name brand amp staples like the Orange AD-30, ’63 Fender Vibroverb, Vox AC30, Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier, and more.

This thing is also filled to the brim with effects modeling, too. 20 models of popular effects pedals are accessible in this unit, including a digital delay, auto-way, pitch-shifter, reverb, and more. While players can mix and match to create their own sounds using up to four effects slots at once, they also have the ability to instantly pull up presets that have been modeled after or selected by some of the biggest modern guitarists and bands on the scene. The Line 6 Spider IV 150 features more than 300 signature presets, with tones pre-selected by artists such as 311, Minus the Bear, Slipknot, Johnny Marr, and more. There are also tones modeled after particular songs, meaning you can instantly recall the sounds used on classic tunes such as Smells Like Teen Spirit, Crazy Train, and more!

Fender Super Champ X2 15-Watt Guitar Amp Head

Fender’s Super Champ X2 HD guitar amp head bridges the past and the present in one seamless, compact package. The core of the classic Fender sound is of course in its tubes – here you have one 12AX7 preamp tube and two 6V6 power tubes. The tone that this amp head generates can be further shaped via some of the more modern touches that this unit has to offer. An amp modeling function emulates a variety of amp types, including classic Fender amp sounds to more current designs that are better suited for modern styles such as metal. The Super Champ also comes equipped with 15 onboard effects, giving players the opportunity to spice up their sounds with additions such as reverb, delay, tremolo, chorus, and more. Another modern flourish of the Super Champ is its USB connectivity, which allows players to create a simple and high-quality connection with their computer using the free Fender FUSE application. Now recording, editing, and sharing guitar ideas is easier than ever.

Marshall MG15CFX MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

The Marshall MG15CFX offers four programmable channels that allow players to seamlessly switch b between sounds at will so you can choose between clean, crunch, OD1, and OD2. The amp features a Preset mode that allows you to save your tone settings for quick and easy recall at a later point. As part of Marshall’s carbon fibre series, this amplifier has a cool, sleek look that screams confidence and hints at the technological marvels the unit is capable of producing.

Speaking of which, the MG15CFX also comes equipped with built-in effects, including chorus, flange, phaser, reverb, and delay. These effects settings can also be stored and saved along with the aforementioned channel settings in the Preset mode. A speaker-emulating line output allows you to get a clear and direct recording signal straight from the amp into your recording device. A separate foot controller also opens up the doors to just how many parameters you can control on the amp, even while in the middle of a performance.

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

The Fender Mustang I amplifier is something of a musical assassin’s accessory. Its compact design already makes it an easy amp to take around to recording sessions or for gigs; the fact that it holds so much more than what its smaller appearance might convey is just icing on the cake. 17 amp models are included in this unit, ranging from older models to more modern sounding sources. The Mustang I also comes with a series of onboard effects, including reverb, delay, chorus, tremolo, and more which gives players the ability to really color their tone and experiment in looking for particular sounds.

This amp works in conjunction with the included Fender FUSE computer software; simply install the application, connect the amp to your computer via its USB connection, and record into the DAW of your choice. You can later edit, store, and even share your Mustang sounds inside the FUSE software. The Mustang also comes equipped with a chromatic tuner, making it easy to ensure that your instrument is at its top-performance level before and during gigs and recording sessions.

Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 36 Guitar Amp Head

Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 36 Guitar Amp Head

The fact that Hughes & Kettner’s TubeMeister 36 is classified as a guitar amp head is something of a technicality. Yes, it’s the size of a head but it offers versatility and performance options that truly make a strong argument it should be included amongst its bigger brothers for consideration. The head comes with three channels which can remarkably be accessed via a built-in MIDI system. That feature also grants players the ability to trigger the head’s switchable serial FX loop and onboard reverb effect. Additionally, the MIDI function can also switch through power output modes, allowing players to choose between 36 watts, 18 watts, 5 watts, 1 watt, and speaker off mode.

As if that weren’t enough, the TubeMeister also includes a  tube safety control, which monitors the head’s power tubes and adjusts the bias in an effort to provide the best possible sound from the unit. The other features in this amp head seem basic in comparison to the aforementioned capabilities, but they are still worth noting for their excellence including 3-band EQ, built-in Redbox DI to ensure your tone is great no matter where or what you’re working with, and an effects loop to bring in your pedalboard and processors.

Marshall DSL Series DSL100H Guitar Amplifier Head

The Marshall DSL 100H guitar amp head is made for those who want to summon the almighty rocking sounds of some of the biggest rock stars in recent musical history. Featuring two channels (classic and ultra gain) this is an ideal tool for playing sparkling clean tones or over-driven riffs and leads that make it an obvious choice for metal and rock genres. An all-valve configuration inside this head promises reliably awesome-sounding tone. A five-way EQ allows you to alter the frequency ranges of your axe, while a tone shift button scoops out the mids and gives you the sound necessary to shred metal riffs to your heart’s desire. The DSL 100H also comes with a digital reverb to further make your tone sound big and sweeping, while a rear panel Pentode/Triode switch gives you the option to decrease the head’s output from 100 watts to 50 watts, which can significantly influence this piece of gears performance and feel.

Orange OR15H - 15-Watt Guitar Amp head

Orange Amplifiers’ OR15 delivers a dynamic, fat, rich sound that will instantly appeal to those who are already fans of the company’s tonal work. The single channel, all-valve setup is housed with a surprisingly compact and easily transportable unit. You’ll definitely want to travel with this amp head, as its great dynamic response makes it a no-brainer for guitarists looking to unleash the Orange sound in a live setting.

4-stage gain selection gives you the ability to really dial in just how overdriven you want your tone to be. The OR15 can also be dialed from 15 watts down to seven, giving players the ability to get quieter while maintaining a decidedly badass sound. The design of this unit definitely gives a respectful nod back to the bigger and older models that exist within the Orange family tree; it’s distinctive and elegant while still conveying an awesome sense of adventure and boutique-like care.

Fender 65 Deluxe Reverb Head Guitar Amplifier Head

Fender’s ’65 Deluxe Reverb amp head practically oozes the vintage-sounding, immaculate tone that can only be associated with tube-powered amplifiers, so it should come as no surprise that this unit is comprised of nine (!) different tubes. Offering 22 watts of power, this is an ideal tool for those playing rock, blues, country, or any other genre requiring an almost human-like scream and distinct dynamic range.

The head features a normal channel as well as a vibrato channel, giving you some sonic options in terms of what you want your guitar to sound like. A tube-driven spring reverb and tremolo effect further provide choices in how your tone can be colored. Use the 2-button footswitch to effortlessly switch said effects on and off. The black textured vinyl covering and silver grille cloth epitomizes the classic Fender brand, so you’ll be getting the sound and look of a classic in one compact unit.

Orange DA15H Dark Terror Head

Although the Orange Dark Terror 15/7 Watt Hi-Gain guitar amp head has a rather unassuming size, the sounds this piece of gear produces definitely seem as though they would belong to something more large and beastly. This is an all-tube affair, with three 12AX7s in the preamp, two EL84s in the output, and a 12AT7 acting as the effects loop tube, all of which contribute to the high-gain potential of this unit. Slide through four stages of gain, ranging from a slight crunch to a mind-warping, earth-shattering drive sound. Perfect for small gigs and rehearsals, the Dark Terror can churn out up to 15 watts of power, and can of course be dialed back down to seven. An included gig bag makes transporting this amp head easier as well.

Marshall 1960A Guitar Amplifier Cabinet

Marshall has become synonymous with the image of a big, blaring guitar amp cabinet, and so with their 1960A cab, they continue to uphold the legacy of their brand. This cab produces a loud, crisp sound that maintains a tight low-end without sacrificing anything on the highs. While many cabinets often unintentionally color the tone that’s being sent via the amp head, this is a piece of gear that remains true to the incoming signal and does nothing to alter it. The angled setup of the cabinets provide a bit of a brighter sound than what you would get with a regular straight model. Marshall’s 1960 cabinets are some of the best-selling amp cabs in the world, and it’s not hard to understand why as their rugged build makes them ideal road dogs, so you can take them with you on tour without any fear of easy damage.

Orange PPC112C 1x12 Speaker Cabinet

Orange Amplifiers is known for their tendency to produce tone-scorching gear, so any cabinet produced by the company would not to be properly equipped to handle that type of heat. The PPC112 guitar amp cabinet doesn’t disappoint in that department; a 60-watt Celestion Vintage 30 speaker helps drive out the hot tone that has become synonymous with Orange. Ideal for brasher, heavy styles like rock, punk, and metal, this cab can handle the type of massive overdriven levels that players are looking for when they gravitating to those orange pieces of gear. Beyond the iconic look, the PPC112 is also built to last. The skid feet design provide a tight bass response and more expansive definition of tone.

Hughes & Kettner TM112

Hughes & Kettner isn’t necessarily as well-recognized a brand as some other companies that have a grip on the guitar amplifier market, but their dedication to quality product and unique innovation has made them an absolute necessity for those in the know. Their TM112 guitar amp cabinet is driven by one 12 inch Celestion Vintage 30 speaker. This cab produces a full-range sound that places particular emphasis on the low-end, giving it some welcomed beefiness that has made it a favorite for rock guitarists. Although this thing can talk big, it’s size and build makes it quite convenient to travel with, as it weighs less than 30 pounds. Offering 16 watts of punchy power, the TM112 is often favored by players who prefer an aggressive and in-your-face tone.

Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112 Guitar Speaker Cabinet

Fender’s Hot Rod Deluxe 112 guitar amp cabinet offers that stable Fender sound for guitarists who want to turn up their tone. Although this cab works perfectly with other amp heads in the Fender Hot Rod line, it is compatible with most other amps. And while the sight of a big cabinet is typically associated with blazing, loud rock music, this piece of gear has found a special place in the hearts of players across the board, from jazz to country to pop, as well. Its closed-back construction provides a tighter sound that offers true punch and more low-end while a single Celestion speaker pumps out the signal with ease.

Orange Pro CRPRO412 Closed Back Speaker Cabinet

When Orange says they’re going to crush it, you’d best believe that they intend to crush it. Their Crush Pro 4x12” guitar amp cabinet offers excellent tone that is fundamentally based around its solid, 18mm birch plywood construction. Four 12 inch "Voice of the World" speakers contribute to the sonically pleasing, punchy tone produced by this cab. Able to be cranked up all the way to 240 watts, this is definitely not a cabinet meant for quiet bedroom performances as this unit excels at getting loud. Though the tone that the Orange Crush produces is well balanced, it features an notable edge on the low-end, making it an ideal part of the rig belonging to any guitarist who plays overdriven, aggressive material.

Buyer's Guide

 

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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