All guitar amplifier reviews are taken from a lot of research and from my own personal experience, so hopefully they'll give you some insight and clarity into guitar amplifiers in general and help you decide as to what amp is the best one for you and your guitar. There are also going to be some additional videos included along with the slightly higher priced models of say around the $/£300 price range and above, providing I can of course find relative videos on YouTube or additional websites.
There's literally hundreds of guitar amplifiers available on the market today consisting of various types, makes, models and prices so it isn't easy to provide the most accurate and personal guitar amplifier reviews for everybody. However, I've done some serious research and grouped them into price ranges starting at around £/$100 and moving up the price ladder towards the better, higher priced guitar amp models available at the time of writing (October 2016).
Getting the exact sound that you're after isn't always easy, especially as there are so many different types of amplifiers available today. This can often cause uncertainty and confusion when trying to decide what amp to buy. I will attempt to explain the differences between the various types of guitar amplifiers available to help you make the right choice.
There are generally four main types of guitar amplifiers in existence for a regular electric guitar. They are; valve/tube, solid state (analogue), modelling (digital), and hybrids (a combination of two types). Acoustic guitar amplifiers also exist and are made for the sole purpose for use with an electric acoustic (electro-acoustic) guitar.
In addition to the four main types there also exists 'head' and 'combo' amplifiers which incorporate one or more of the four main types.
Note; I am resident in the UK and will therefore use the term "valve" which is the equivalent to the US term "tube". Therefore "valve" amps and "tube" amps are exactly the same thing, it just depends on whether you're a British or US resident or what term you prefer to use. To be fair the valves do consist of glass vacuum tubes.
Until the 1970's valves/tubes were the most common electronic components in instrument amplifiers. It was only in the 70's, when transistors started to take over, that the classic distorted sound of the valve amplifier started to diminish. Transistor (solid-state) amplifiers offered a far cheaper, lighter and reliable alternative to the more expensive, heavier and higher maintenance valve amplifier used by so many influential players of previous years.
If you're a purist and you're after that classic, warm naturel tone, then the valve amp is what you'll be after. Guitarists who play the old classics will almost definitely be using a valve amp, although there are some great alternatives that will be discussed further in the guitar amplifier reviews further down.
Valve guitar amplifiers use vacuum tubes to create volume. These glass tubes glow orange and get very warm when the amplifier is used. The more the amp is played, the more they glow and the hotter they get.
Although the tubes are known to deteriorate over time they're loved by many old-school guitarists for producing loud, warm, thick tones with great sustain. There are some really good solid state and modelling guitar amplifiers on the market today that attempt to mimic the warm, thick, lively tone of the valve amplifier, but valve/tube fanatics say even the best solid state and modelling amps can't really produce that soft, warm compression and overdrive in quite the same way that valve amplifiers are known and loved for.
The down side of the valve amp is it can often be a bit heavy compared to its solid-state cousin which can make it a bit awkward for a busy gig schedule. In addition to this is the fact that you can't throw a valve amp around as much as a solid-state amp as the tubes are fragile like a light bulb and easily damaged. Again, just like a light bulb, the valves also have a limited lifespan and therefore will need to be replaced every so often.
Valve/tube amps are often a bit pricey too so you'll only see them in the guitar amplifier reviews on this website over and above $/£200.
The tubes should last around 5,000 to 10,000 hours but it all depends on how often you turn the amp on and off. Generally speaking, the valves/tubes will need to be replaced every 2-3 years. It's a good idea to have a spare set for when they go unexpectedly which they will do at some point or another. That's providing you can actually get your required tubes for your amplifier? This could be another potential problem surrounding guitar amplifiers.
Although the market for vacuum tubes is pretty small and consists mainly of musicians, audio enthusiasts and amateur radio enthusiasts, it seems that the supply is pretty steady and sufficient to meet the demand. Countries like Russia and China are still manufacturing popular audio valves/tubes and although they aren't quite as good as the tubes that were made during the 1950s and 1960s they're good enough.
So at least it doesn't look like they'll run out, providing of course your guitar amplifier or other amp doesn't use some strange and rare tube which isn't made any longer. Just check the availability of the valve for your chosen amplifier before you spend your money. And, if you can get the valves for your new amp then buy some spares so you have them ready and waiting for when you need them.
In time, I'll be adding a guitar amplifier reviews page dedicated entirely to valve amps.
Solid state guitar amplifiers use analogue technology to increase the volume level. Solid-state guitar amps are known to be very reliable as they contain no digital technology.
The general opinion is, that the transistors and printed circuit boards of a solid-state guitar amplifier will produce superior, clean, powerful tones. Many guitarists prefer the tone of a solid-state amp over a valve amplifier including the distorted sound.
There are however some great alternatives on the market in the form of hybrids where the basic tone is created by a valve-driven preamp with the actual power being produced by a solid-state amp.
Many purists will still claim they can here the difference between a full valve amplifier and a hybrid amplifier though and the majority of these will almost certainly prefer a full valve amp.
Things are slowly changing nowadays though and with today's modern technology some great guitar amplifiers are being produced, some of which I personally think sound just like full valve amps.
Solid state amplifiers can often be found for very little expense which is great for the beginner guitarist. They're often far lighter than valve amplifiers too making them ideal practice amps at home and also for small gigs in pubs and small halls etc. They're durable and solid and far more reliable needing far less maintenance than a valve/tube guitar amplifier.
At the end of the day it's what sounds best to your ears that really matters though as it's your money that you going to be spending.
Many solid-state amps will be among the guitar amplifier reviews that cover the lower end of the market, but also higher end models will also be included.
Modelling guitar amplifiers are the latest type of amp. They utilise microprocessor technology to allow the use of digital on-board effects for creating a multitude of different sounds all from the same amp.
They're generally pre-programmed with simulated specific tones of well-known amplifiers and speaker cabinets. Modelling amplifiers are also programmable through USB connection to a computer for editing and creating personal sounds within the amp. This allows you to re-create any sound of say a valve/tube amplifier for instance and even add in special effects.
Good modelling amplifiers can often be quite expensive but can also be purchased for not a lot of cash as can be seen with the Line 6 Spider IV modelling amplifier that I discuss in the guitar amplifier reviews for amps around $/£100. As far as I am aware, Line 6 were the first to create the modelling amplifier and bring it to the market.
Modelling amplifiers offer a lot of scope for different sounds if you're the type to play around with digital equipment and software etc. Having said that, they come with a multitude of sounds and effects already programmed in, so you can just leave things as they are if you prefer. There are modelling guitar amplifier reviews in all price ranges.
Simply put, hybrid amplifiers consist of a combination of tube and solid-state amplification technology. They involve one of two different possibilities.
Individual hybrid amplifiers will be discussed further in relative guitar amplifier reviews at the links further down.
Specifically designed for electro-acoustic guitars, these amps are made in such a way that produces a very clean, clear and subtle sound even at higher volumes. This is achieved in two ways. Firstly, by the acoustic amplifier not only featuring a regular speaker that is often voiced more cleanly compared to a regular electric guitar amplifier, but also by featuring a tweeter to add some detail and higher definition to the tone and overall sound.
In addition to this is the fact that most electro-acoustic guitars have battery powered circuits that amplify the output signal a fair bit more than an electric guitar. This means that when you plug your electro-acoustic guitar into a standard electric guitar amplifier, or the other way around, you get either unwanted distortion or low volume.
In some ways, an acoustic guitar amplifier is similar to a keyboard amplifier as they have a relatively flat frequency response so that neither the power amplifier or the speakers add any unwanted distortion or colour.
Bottom line, you do need an acoustic amplifier for an electro-acoustic guitar and an electric guitar amplifier for an electric guitar, there's no way around it other than an amplifier that offers both options in one. Even then I still think you're better off with individual amplifiers that are specifically designed for their specific guitar type.
Acoustic guitar amplifier reviews will be added in due course.
Head amplifiers use a separate speaker as opposed to a combo amplifier which is described further down. Whether to buy a head amplifier or a combo is all a matter of how big the venue is that you're going to play at and therefore how loud you want to be. If you watch any big gig, you'll see massive speakers with the amplifier sitting on top (head). This combination is known as a head and cabinet. The 'head' being the amplifier and the 'cabinet' being the speaker unit which is usually underneath the amplifier. Combining separate pieces allows more power to be produced.
So, if you want to fill a massive auditorium or a large outdoor arena, you’ll need this set-up with at least a 100-watt head amplifier and a 4 x 12″ speaker cabinet. Although many musicians mic the amplifier to the PA system which allows a specific amp that they like the sound of to be used.
As an on-stage guitarist, you'll need to be able to hear your amplifier above the noise, so a loud enough amp which gives you that is absolutely necessary. The bigger the venue, the bigger amp you'll need and head amplifiers with separate speaker units offer that. A head and cabinet set up will tend to be heavier than a combination amplifier.
Head amplifiers will tend to dominate the guitar amplifier reviews for the higher priced amps.
A combo amp is a combined unit that consists of an amplifier and a speaker together in one box, case or unit so to speak. These are ideal for small gigs and venues such as halls and pubs/clubs etc. Today’s combo amps are more than enough to fill these smaller venues although some musicians will still use a PA system and just turn the amp down a bit, possibly?
Combo amplifiers are usually lighter and therefore easier to manage than the separate combination of a head amplifier with an additional speaker unit. Guitarists who practice at home will almost always use a combo amplifier. These amps will be covered right through the various guitar amplifier reviews for many price ranges.Back To Top
If you're just starting to play the guitar or you're on a tight budget then take a look at these very well-priced amplifiers. I'm almost certain you'll find something to suit your needs as manufacturers today are well aware of the need for lower priced equipment.
Some of the best guitar amplifiers for around $/£100 or less are listed on these guitar amplifier reviews. This is subject to personal opinion of course but I've been pretty thorough in my research and this list tends to be the general consensus.
Fortunately, there's quite a lot of decent guitar amplifiers available today for not a lot of cash. So, if you're just starting out, or have very little money, you should still be able to get yourself a decent enough practice amp as you'll see from the following guitar amplifier reviews.
These cheaper amplifiers make ideal first-time practice amps for beginners and/or those of you who are on a tight budget. In fact, some of these amps are actually very good for the money indeed and not far behind the next level up even with many of them boasting a few built-in features and solid build quality for the price tag.
There are cheaper models available of most of the names discussed below if you want to pay even less, but I want to keep the cheapest of these guitar amplifier reviews at around £/$100 so we can at least get something pretty decent. Many of the following makes such as Marshall for example do manufacture some of the best guitar amplifiers available and you will see these in later reviews in their specific price range.
All the amplifiers that you'll see here, unless otherwise stated, are solid state combo amps, meaning they use solid state (analogue) circuitry - meaning not valve/tube or digital - and consist of an amplifier and a speaker both together in the same unit.
Some of these amplifiers have one channel and others have two channels. Two channels are better really if you want to fine tune say a clean sound and also a distorted sound. Then you just flick a switch from clean to distorted without having to change settings each time.
Sawtooth aren't known for making the best guitar amplifiers I know and you're probably thinking it shouldn't be on the guitar amplifier reviews short list, but to be honest if you're on a tight budget and just want to hear some sound, then you really couldn't do much better than this very cheap little practice amp that's only around $40?!
Unfortunately, this great little amp isn't available on the UK Amazon site but I've seen it on eBay and other places so just search for it and you'll see it at various online outlets.
The price suggests that this is a very basic amplifier but this amp boasts a lot of features for the price tag and for this money you can't go wrong. It only gives you 10 watts of power with one 6.5” speaker so you won't be able to have it very loud before you experience a loss of quality especially with this type of low budget amp. However, it amazingly has two channels, a 3-band equaliser with treble, middle and bass as well as gain and drive too. On top of all that it has a headphone and a stereo input too?! Wow! Are you serious?
This guitar amplifier is one of the cheapest around and my advice is to definitely consider buying it if you're a complete beginner or you're on a shoe string budget. It would also make a great little amp for a child to practice with as it's very small and light.
This amplifier only weighs 6.1 Ibs and its dimensions are only 10.5 x 5 x 11 inches so it's very small and light and won't take up too much space.
Cheap 'n cheerful! Yes, I know, this isn't one of the best guitar amplifiers around on face value but there's a lot here for the money and there's a lot of happy customers who have bought this with some very positive reviews. If you're lacking funds you'll get a half decent sound from your guitar for not a lot of cash with this cheap little amp, so it can't be a bad choice in my opinion. I know when I first started I don't think I had much better. This really is a nice little amplifier that gets my vote and rightly claims its place on the guitar amplifier reviews short list for sheer value for money!
Well we all know Fender I'm sure. They've been going since 1946 and have played a part in some of the most famous and influential guitarists of all time. Muddy Waters played a Fender telecaster, Jimmy Hendrix played a Fender Stratocaster as did Eric Clapton and many more. This amp definitely deserves to be on the guitar amplifier reviews short list for sure.
While most of us know the famous Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars, not everyone is totally familiar with the various models available in Fender's amplifier range. Fender make great amps and this cheap little practice amp is one of the best guitar amplifiers you can buy for this amount of money.
Fender's Frontman series offer some of the best guitar amplifiers around for delivering great tone, versatile features and a quality traditional look at a very good price.
This amplifier is really a practice amp only which is pretty loud by all accounts for its size but only useful when practising alone or with friends and no drums etc. and at moderately volume levels. It's solidly built and has a very nice 'clean' sound which can be distorted and made a bit 'dirty' by the built-in overdrive via a button and a gain dial. I remember this little button and gain dial myself on a little Fender practice amp which I had for years and used constantly. Needless to say, that amp never went wrong.
Although the Fender Frontman 10G only has one channel and no built-in effects, in some ways this can be a positive. It's perfect if you just want a small and simple little amplifier to practice on that's still decent quality and doesn't cost too much either.
This great little amp also has 1/8" auxiliary input jack for a CD/media player and a 1/8" headphone output jack for practicing in silence. It also has a closed back to give a better bass response which can be an issue with smaller units and speakers such as this.
Weight = 8.5 Ibs
Dimensions = 5.8 x 10.2 x 11 inches
The Fender Frontman 10G is a perfect amplifier if you're just starting out on the guitar and don't want to spend too much cash but you still want something that is of good quality. It's an ideal little amplifier for kids too as it's small and light so it's easy to move around. And, as a parent you won't be risking too much money with this amp if your child suddenly decides they don't want to play anymore. You know what they're like!
All things considered, the Fender Frontman 10G is certainly one of the best guitar amplifiers around that you could wish for in this price range and a major contender for these guitar amplifier reviews for around $/£100!Back To Top
Orange manufacture some of the best guitar amplifiers available to provide guitarists with a responsive, quality tone. The Orange Crush 12 is a single channel solid state combo amp which features a 3-band equalizer and an overdrive control providing beautifully crisp, warm clean tones as well as crunchy vintage Orange grind said to be similar to the far more expensive valve amps by Orange.
Although this amp, like many in this price range, is small and has a small 6" speaker, it's capable of some loud quality sound as well as having the ability of producing some nice warm clean tones at lower volumes
The Orange 12 also has a new CabSim (cabinet simulator) loaded headphone output which gives great sounding quality tones when practicing silently alone.
The Orange Crush 12 is the smallest (not counting the micro crush 3-watt amp) of the Orange Crush models of which I believe there are around seven combos in all at the time of writing. The Orange Crush 12 is also available in black.
Weight = 11.5 Ibs
Dimensions = 7.1 x 11.8 x 10.6 inches
Orange certainly do make some of the best guitar amplifiers in the world today and can't be ignored for sound, quality and looks with their vibrant out-casing making them stand out from the crowd even from quite some distance away!
I would say that after my research there's a lot of very happy customers who bought this amp which tells me the Orange Crush 12 is definitely one of the best guitar amplifiers around in this price bracket and definitely worth buying.
All-in-all a solid built, good quality and simple but great little practice amp that's ideal for beginners, both adult and young alike. This amplifier gets a big thumb up from me.Back To Top
This great amplifier features 4 essential guitar amplifier models to give you guitar tones that are at the foundation of modern and classic rock. This amp allows you to build your own combinations and tweak the settings to create a signature sound. This amplifier is pretty much the same as the previous model (Line 6 Spider IV 15-Watt Modelling Guitar Amplifier) but its just a lot newer and nicer and definitely needs to be on this guitar amplifier reviews short list.
The Spider Classic 15 puts classic Line 6 effects at your fingertips with 6 quality guitar effects. Flavour your sound with effects like reverb, tape or sweep echo, and tremolo. Create your own unique combinations with up to two simultaneous effects. The knobs are right in front of you so you can easily make adjustments on the fly. Plus, you’ll spend less time tweaking and more time playing since Spider Classic 15 guitar effects are so easy to use.
With an applicable FBV foot controller attached, you’ll be able to edit pre-sets, create backups, and email guitar tones to your friends with Spider Edit software—a free download that functions as an editor/librarian for your Spider tones. Plus, you can access exclusive content with Spider Online. Take advantage of high-quality guitar tabs and lessons, and jam along to hundreds of inspiring grooves and drum loops.
This amp is great value for money when you consider all the potential different amplifiers you get with this unit due to the Amplifier modelling technology by Spider. A great value amplifier with lots of quality sounds from a unit that's neither too big or small but still has a decent size sound, and deserves its rightful place on the guitar amplifier reviews short list.Back To Top
Marshall really do make some of the best guitar amplifiers around. We've all seen them on stage with some really massive bands and big names which says it all really, I think. The MG15CF is another one of the best guitar amplifiers around in this lower price range. This compact 15-watt combo amp may be small but has a big sound for its size.
It's a two-channel amplifier, one for clean and one for distortion with a built in three-band equaliser for both channels offering great tonal control.
It also has an MP3 socket for jamming along to your favourite tracks while practising as well as an emulated headphone socket for great quality silent practice. Don't wake the neighbours!
The MG15CF is one of the best guitar amplifiers for looks too. It has a quality dark grey/black carbon Kevlar outer casing that looks both tough and classy.
For me, the Marshall name speaks for itself and this amp deserves its rightful place on the guitar amplifier reviews short list. I don't think they would put anything out with their name attached to it that was not of a decent build quality and a great sound even at this price. Bottom line, the MG15CF is a simple but great little 15-Watt combo amplifier and gets a definite thumb up.
Weight = 16.3 Ibs
Dimensions = 15 x 8.1 x 14.9 inchesBack To Top
Fender are renowned for producing some of the best guitar amplifiers for that clean sound that many guitarists prefer. Fender amplifiers have always been known for not really producing a good distorted sound. I know this is true because I've always had fender amplifiers myself because I prefer a clean sound.
The thing is, nowadays you can easily buy an effects pedal for distortion to add on. Having said that, today's Fenders are different and at this level the distortion is OK. Although there are better amps around for distortion if that's specifically what you're after.
Fender do produce great sounding, well-made solid amplifiers and you really couldn't do much better than the Champion 20 in this price range. I've owned Fender guitar amps and they really are very well made and make for some of the best guitar amplifiers around. The Champion 20 has built in effects like digital reverb, chorus, vibratone and delay. In addition to that you can choose a variety of amp models with a turn of a knob. Choose from clean to distorted tones from the 17 various amp models that will allow you to play almost any genre of music.
It has an open back cabinet which I've always liked in my Fender amplifiers for storing stuff like cables or other small items like a tuner for example. And, like many of the other amps in this price range, you can plug your MP3 player in so you can play along to your favourite tracks as if you were part of the band.
As far as I am aware Fender also give you their 5 Year Transferable Warranty with this amp which is a nice little touch to say the least.
Like I say, my personal opinion is that Fender manufacture some of the best guitar amplifiers available and this little amp truly is great value for money. It's solid, well made, small, reliable, has a good selection of tones and effects and not too much money either. This really is a very good amplifier for this price range and deservedly on the guitar amplifier reviews short list.
Weight = 14.9 Ibs
Dimensions = 16 x 12 x 16 inchesBack To Top
Now I know we're just going over the $/£100 price range here but this fantastic little amp is definitely one of the best around for this money so it has to be on the guitar amplifier reviews short list. Fender's Mustang series of amplifiers are full of versatility and power with incredible tone.
The Mustang I V2 boasts a variety of 17 amplifier voices ranging from classic Fender valve/tube amps to more modern models to accommodate almost any style of music.
On top of that there's 24 pre-sets on board special effects such as; reverb, delay/echo, tremolo, phaser and many more all of which can actually be altered via USB connectivity to your computer and using the included Fender FUSE software. Alternatively, you can just leave them as they are and tweak them as you go just like you would normally do using the knobs or dials.
Also included is a studio quality recording software for Mac and PC. So, not only can this amp be tuned and adjusted for various sound ‘colours’ but it's also possible to use it with a computer to record tracks from a performance. And, in addition to this, if you want to start getting into digital recording yourself then the Fender Mustang will allow you to do exactly that and then send the file to a friend. This amp offers an interface for you to create, compose, record and connect if you feel you want to go down that route.
You can also play along to your favourite tracks by plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input so you're part of the band. You can also play quietly with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output. An on-board chromatic tuner is also integrated within this amplifier.
There's also an optional, additional Fender 1-Button Footswitch (not included with the amp) to unlock more possibilities.
And let's not forget, all Fender amps are backed by Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty! Wow what an amp!
The Mustang I V2 delivers an awful lot for such a compact and portable design. This amplifier is possibly for those of you with a bit of a tech mind who might want to play around with the pre-set effects and recording software etc. But you don't have to touch any of those aspects of this great little amplifier if you don't want to though. As a great sounding practice amp with lots of different sounds, the Mustang I V2 is definitely one of the best guitar amplifiers around for just over the $/£100 range. The reviews on the internet have been pretty outstanding so this amp definitely gets the nod from me and its rightful place on the guitar amplifier reviews short list!
Weight = 17 Ibs
Dimensions = 7.6 x 15.5 x 14.5 inchesBack To Top
The Peavey Rage 258 just has to be on the guitar amplifier reviews short list for this price range. It's a solid built amplifier for not a lot of money, although just over the £/$100 mark at the time of writing, this amplifier is well-worth the extra.
Peavey have been going since 1965 when it was a one-man shop founded by Hartley Peavey. Today, they're one of the largest makers and suppliers of musical equipment in the world and with very good reason. They do make exceptionally good, reliable guitar amps, among other musical equipment of course.
The Peavey Rage 258 has two switchable channels for clean and lead, a modern/vintage voicing switch and a 3-band Equalizer. It also has an input for a cd or tape player. Another great feature of the 258 is the preamp. The preamp alters gain to meet the need for any amount of drive from crystal clear to thick, smooth sustain. The power amp is said to react just like a tube output section on an all tube/valve amplifier by responding to the preamp with natural compression which increases as the amp is cranked up. The Peavey Corporation call this "TransTube".
So basically, the Peavey Rage 258 offers all the reliability and low maintenance of a solid-state combo with the wide-ranging dynamics, natural tones and grit of a valve/tube amp?! Wow!
This amp has great tone and plenty of power with 25-watts along with the well-known Peavey reliability.
The Peavey Rage 258 25-watt guitar amplifier is well-worth the little extra cash in my opinion and definitely deserves its place on the guitar amplifier reviews short list as one of the best guitar amps around in this price range.
Weight = 21 Ibs
Dimensions = 17.9 x 10 x 15.6 inchesBack To Top Back To Top
These Guitar amplifiers are a good improvement from the previous section as you'd expect as we are effectively doubling our money with a jump from £/$100 to £/$200. Having said that, it's well-worth the extra if you can afford it as you can get quite a lot more for the extra, and to be honest, it isn't a great deal of cash for a half decent amp.
These amps are Ideal for;
This Orange amplifier is only 20-watts I know which might seem a bit low for the extra cash, but I really do like Orange amps. They offer a no frills, good quality, great sounding practice amp at a reasonable price which is why I've included it on my guitar amplifier reviews short list.
Orange amplifiers often possess a responsive lively feel due to their analogue circuitry. This makes them great amplifiers for purists who just want to play guitar through their amp and not be bothered with a multitude of different effects, modes and sounds.
That doesn't mean it doesn't have a variety of vintage and modern tones because it does. The two-channel, high gain pre-amps deliver lush tones expected in far more expensive and more powerful guitar amplifiers. The two channels, clean and dirty, can either be switched on the amplifiers panel or by an optional extra foot-switch.
The Orange crush 20RT also contains high low noise components that provide four stages of gain for exceptional richness and clarity. This delivers a wonderful variety of tones from blissful cleans, to classic bluesy orange crunch to high gain metal distortion.
The headphone/line out socket simulates the sound of Orange's 'voice of the world' 4x12 speaker cabinet as if it were mic'd. This gives you great Orange authentic sound while playing quietly to yourself or while recording.
The in-built reverb is an all-new digital module which adds a warm openness to the sound and delivers tones from subtle shimmers to lengthy ethereal trails. The circuit also features an analogue 'dry through', ensuring the tone maintains its integrity as the reverb blends in.
This great sounding Orange amplifier also has a built in chromatic tuner which is fast and accurate making easy tune-ups between sessions.
Weight = 17.9 pounds
Dimensions = 17 x 10 x 22 inches
I love the sound and simplicity of this great little amp. Take a listen for yourself. Just scroll down to the 'audio demos' section on the orange website.
In a nutshell, the RT20 is a simple, good quality, low maintenance great sounding little amplifier. It's been likened to a good sounding valve/tube amp and one of the best amps in my guitar amplifier reviews for this price range.Back To Top
A sharp looking addition to these guitar amplifier reviews for 200 bucks. And if your'e in the UK this 40-watt electric guitar amplifier is under £130 at the time of writing on the Amazon website?! I really love the solid, clean and sharp look of this one.
Blackstar have been going since 2007 after a group of four friends decided to get together in 2004 to design and create their own brand of guitar amps.
The Blackstar ID Core 40-watt amp is a two-channel amp of 20-watts each channel. Its control is set like a traditional amp and is said to deliver incredible tone in super wide stereo sound via two 6.5" speakers.
The additional feature on this amp is its unique ability to be able to be programmed to allow you to custom design your own sounds.
The Voice control has six different settings - clean bright, clean warm, crunch, super crunch, overdrive 1 and overdrive 2. These standard on-board effects can be manipulated further when used with Blackstar's patented ISF control to give you even more tonal control and further variations of the regular six sound settings. Apparently, the ISF changes the overall tonal character of the amplifier and by using the standard three band equalizer, namely the bass, mid-range and treble, you're able to fine tune the sound further still.
This innovative guitar amplifier also allows deep editing and storing of patches using the Blackstar INSIDER software. The patches can then be shared by uploading and downloading via the online community. This is not something that I would personally do myself but some folks like this type of thing.
This great little amp also features a USB connector to connect directly to your PC to record from the amplifier to your computer. An emulated line out for silent practice with your headphones is also featured, as well as an MP3 line-in for playing along to your favourite tunes or just for using the amp as an audio player. As far as I'm aware you can even speed up or slow down these tracks to practice by using the INSIDER software.
Weight = 10.6 pounds
Dimensions = 21.2 x 9.4 x 17.9 inches
The Blackstar ID 40 is a great little electric guitar amplifier that doesn't weigh that much for a 40-watt amp which makes it easy to lug around. It's an ideal amp if you enjoy playing around with software and editing/creating different sounds and stuff and also if you don't.
Some say it's not a super loud amp and it should only be used for beginners or as a practice amplifier. I think it's a bit more than that, after all it is 40-watt, and although it's not a valve amplifier, which would be louder than a 40-watt solid state or modelling amp, it still packs a punch from other reviews I've read.
Either way, this great little guitar amp is very low priced given its wattage, effects and other features and is said to have very good tone as well. Add to this the editing software for editing the effects, if you like that type of thing and you want to delve deeper, and I think you'll agree that this amp is a great buy and well-worth the relatively low price tag and thoroughly deserves to be on my guitar amplifier reviews short list in this price range.Back To Top
No guitar amplifier reviews would be complete without Marshall. As I've said before, we've all seen them on stage with some really massive bands and big names over the decades and that says it all really, I think. Marshall make some incredible guitar amplifiers and they are without doubt one of the most iconic names for on-stage amplification ever.
The bigger brother of the MG 15 CF 15-watt amplifier further up this page in the previous price range, the MG 30 CFX is a 30-watt amplifier with a powerful 10” custom speaker which delivers fantastic tone. It has four programmable channels and a variety of built in special effects; reverb, chorus, phaser, flanger, and delay. The MG 30 CFX allows two effects simultaneously i.e. reverb and one of the other four digital effects namely; chorus, phaser, flanger or delay.
The four programmable channels are; clean, crunch, overdrive 1 and overdrive 2. These four channels operate as most amps do when in 'manual' mode, but they can also be used in pre-set mode too if you decide to create your own settings. The pre-set mode memorises and stores your created settings so they can be recalled when you switch to that channel.
The line out recording socket also acts as the headphone socket. Both of which feature speaker cabinet emulation thus giving you the full Marshall sound when either recording or practicing through headphones for silent practice.
Another great little feature nowadays with many modern guitar amplifiers is the added option of connecting an external audio source such as an MP3 or CD player. Needless to say, the MG 30 CFX also has this feature via the 3.5mm MP3 / line in socket. This is great for practicing while playing along to your favourite tracks on a CD or MP3 player through the amplifier simultaneously. Of course, it can just be used for listening to your favourite music through the amp, but I'm not certain it will be playing in full stereo sound so I would say its real purpose is really for practicing at keeping in time etc. It's certainly a neat little feature that makes it sound like you're part of the music, as your guitar sound will be coming out of the same speaker.
Stompware Footswitch (Optional)
The option to upgrade your MG 30 CFX with additional Stompware footswitch is also another feature of this great little amplifier. This allows for seamless transition between the four channels as well as foot control of the tap tempo delay and also a built-in tuner with LCD display.
Weight = 23.8 pounds
Dimensions = 8.9 x 8.8 x 16.5 inches
This is not a light amplifier so it isn't that easy to lug around, but its wide variety of sounds, effects and foot switchable memory makes the MG30CFX an incredibly versatile and flexible amplifier for this price range.
This iconic guitar amplifier combines solid-state circuitry with digital and analogue FX (special effects) said to offer both the classic Marshall tone as well as a variety of quality modern FX tones. All this is neatly wrapped up in a carbon fibre (CF) outer casing for great looks and long-lasting durability.
This is a quality amplifier with lots of good quality sounds and plenty of power and well-worth the price in my opinion. But, if you want to save even more of your hard earned cash then why not take a look at the 15-watt version of this quality guitar amplifier either at the US Amazon site or the UK Amazon site.
Note: As far as I'm aware the 15-watt version has all the features of the 30-watt version but a bit less power. Please make sure you look at the specifications on both versions thoroughly to make a correct comparison before buying. Either of these definitely gets my vote and deserve their place on my guitar amplifier reviews short list.Back To Top
This Fender Mustang 40-watt amplifier is definitely one for the short list of my guitar amplifier reviews in this price range. I really love Fender amplifiers. I've have had a few over the years too, and with very with good reason.
This is the big brother of the Mustang I V2 20-watt amplifier which is #7 in the guitar amplifier reviews' previous price range further up this page.
There now seems a significant price difference between the US and the UK for what reason I don't know to be honest. Anyway, Fender have been manufacturing musical instruments since 1946. Since that time they've played a major role in musical history with some of the biggest and most influential guitarists of all time playing their guitars and using their amplifiers. Going by what people have been saying, the Mustang II V2 40-watt modelling amplifier seems a far superior model to its younger brother, the Mustang I V2 20-watt amp.
Fender Mustang amplifiers are full of versatility and power and are of a high standard as you'd expect from Fender. Even the cheaper models are well-made with decent materials and good working knobs etc. They sound great too. The thing is, when you start to get into the slightly higher priced models such as this one and others in a similar price range and above, things start to take on a new meaning. And, when you think about it, $199.99/£148.00 (at the time of writing this review) is not a great deal of money for a good quality, great sounding amp.
The Fender Mustang II has all of its younger brother's features but with a lot more power and tonal quality.
With simple selection by a turn of a knob you can choose from 17 modelled (simulated/copied) amplifier tones from clean to distorted to allow almost any musical style to be played.
Just like its younger brother the Mustang I, there's 24 pre-set special effects such as; reverb, delay/echo, tremolo, phaser and many more. These effects can all be altered too if you choose via USB connection to your PC using the included Fender FUSE software. Alternatively, you can just play around with them in the traditional way with the knobs like you'd normally do on traditional amplifiers.
This amp also has studio quality recording software for Mac and PC to record tracks from a performance to your computer and makes it possible for you to send the file to a friend or colleague.
You can even plug your MP3/CD player into the Mustang II so you can jam along to your favourite tracks and feel like part of the band. If you want to remain silent that's fine too. Just plug your headphones into the 1/8th headphone socket to allow you to practice quietly and help keep the parents or neighbours happy.
As far as I'm aware, all Fender guitar amplifiers are backed by Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty which in itself should put Fender amplifiers at the heart of any guitar amplifier reviews anywhere, fantastic!
Weight = 24 pounds
Dimensions = 8.7 x 18.2 x 17.2 inches
This amplifier has some excellent reviews on Amazon.com as well as on other guitar amplifier reviews articles elsewhere. It's said to have incredible tone quality that is both loud and clear and capable of small gigs. It's also said to be good at lower levels too and therefore ideal as a practice amp. Although Fender amps are well known for their excellent 'clean' tone, this amp is said to deliver excellent 'dirty' tones too which is great for all you rockers.
The Fender Mustang II V2 40-Watt Modelling Guitar Amplifier is another worthy entry for my guitar amplifier reviews' short list in this price range, and, if I were buying an amplifier at this level, it would definitely be a major contender along with the Marshall MG 30 CFX above and previous to this.Back To Top
This newer model is definitely a big improvement on the already popular Spider V 30-watt modelling amp and rightfully on my guitar amplifier reviews short list. This amplifier has a clean and fresh-looking design with a ton of upgraded effects and amplifier models making it a great sounding amplifier. It's also said to be one of the easiest Spider amps ever to use with no less than 78 amplifier models, 23 cabinet models and 101 effects! The possibilities are almost endless and just as easy to use with its simple colour-coded dial controls.
The full-range speaker system consists of a custom-designed guitar speaker and high-frequency tweeter allowing you to hear the modelled amps and effects tones in superb depth and clarity for both electric and acoustic guitars as well as music too. So, if you play acoustic guitar too, you'll save on the cost of a separate amplifier as you can play your acoustic guitar through the Spider V 30-watt amplifier and all the models above as well, great!
The Spider V 30-watt amp also features a built-in tuner, a metronome and real drummer loops that have been recorded by professional musicians. Having these additional features is a real bonus to help you to take your practice and playing to the next level.
One of the most difficult and important things to master as a beginner is being in tune and playing in time. The built-in tuner will keep your guitar in tune and the metronome will help you to play in time while practising. Playing along to the real drummer loops in particular though, will not only help you to play in time, but it'll also help to give you a real sense of playing in a band as far as atmosphere is concerned.
Weight = 16.2 pounds
Dimensions = 8.2 x 15.4 x 15 inches
The Line 6 Spider V 30 is one of the nicest, sharpest looking amps in my guitar amplifier reviews for this price range. And, not only does it look great, it sounds great too, with a multitude of upgraded effects and amplifier models that not only can be played through a regular electric guitar, but also an acoustic guitar too. In addition to that is the fact that it's quite light compared to others in this class which is another bonus.
I think this is one of the most versatile, best value guitar amplifiers around and it would definitely be on my shortlist if I were looking for a new amp in this price range. If you're looking for a bit more though and you've got more to spend, then take a look at the 60-watt model. It's wireless ready for the Line 6 G10T relay and will be on the guitar amplifiers reviews in that particular price range.Back To Top
Another worthy member of my guitar amplifier reviews hot list is the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2, the world's first guitar amplifier to contain models for electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass guitar. This is an extremely versatile amplifier that seems to act very much like a guitar synthesizer to me. It replicates the sounds of various stringed instruments such as; acoustic guitar, 12-string guitar, mandolin, 7-string guitar, baritone, resonator guitar, electric violin, sitar and bass guitar.
This amplifier also has the added feature of 'variable instrument input' which allows you to play different guitar types just by plugging the instrument in and selecting the appropriate mode by pressing a small button. Yes, this amplifier lets you plug in your electric guitar, acoustic guitar and even a bass guitar.
I have seen on some reviews however, that those who have used a bass guitar through this amplifier have indeed blown the speaker/amp? Now, whether that's because they haven't selected the right setting or not I really can't say. What I would say is, just be aware of that and do some more research yourself and/or ask relevant questions before you buy this amplifier.
The Vypyr VIP 2 40-watt amp delivers excellent tone via Peavey's patented technology they call 'TransTube'. The TransTube technology aims to emulate the sound of real valve/tube guitar amplifiers with the added benefit of low maintenance and reliability that you get from a solid-state amplifier, great!
The option to add the Sanpera I or Sanpera II foot switch controllers is also available at extra cost. These are a great addition to this amplifier and other amps also in the Peavey Vypyr VIP series range.
The Sanpera I features four foot selector buttons offering four bank selection functions, 12 Amp accessible stomp box models and looper access and control. This great little additional foot controller also adds real time whammy, volume, wah and pitch shifter expression control.
The Sanpera II is a little more both in terms of cost and also features. It boasts ten buttons for foot selecting tap tempo and looper control, as well as for accessing pre-sets, preamp stomp box effects, post-amp effects, delay and reverb. The Sanpera II also features two expression pedals for whammy, volume, wah and pitch shifter expression control.
The Sanpera II looks great to me. It allows access and remote control of virtually any feature of the Peavey VYPYR Series modelling amps and increases the pre-set storage from 12 in-amp pre-sets to an incredible 400 programmable pre-sets?!
The Sanpera I and II are both constructed of high quality, tough cast-metal, with the foot switches being made of high-quality metal also.
The Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 also features bi-directional USB for connecting to a PC for data, midi and audio record out. Studio quality headphone line out is also available for quality quiet practice, and you can also plug your MP3 and CD players into this amplifier for practicing along to your favourite tracks.
Take a look at the Peavey YouTube video demonstrating the Vypyr VIP 2 - 40-Watt Modelling Instrument/Guitar Amplifier.
This seems to be an excellent guitar amplifier with tons of features, sounds, amp models and quality tones. The option to add even more is available with the addition of the Sanpera foot switch controllers, albeit at extra cost. This amplifier appears to have plenty of power too and loud enough for small gigs going by what people have said.
The only down side is that it may lack some build quality compared with some of the stronger contenders is this class. Read as many reviews as you can before buying.
Bottom line, the Peavey Vypyr VIP 2 40-watt guitar amplifier allows you to perform, record or practice with a regular electric guitar, an electro-acoustic guitar and even an electric bass guitar. The option for a variety of many other sounds and instruments is there too if you want it with or without the optional Sanpera I/II foot controllers.
This is a major contender on my guitar amplifier reviews short list for sheer value for money and definitely worth strong consideration if you're looking for a bit more than just an amplifier.Back To Top
Generally speaking, when buying an amplifier to play your guitar through, it's all about how much money you've got to spend that determines how good an amplifier you can get. But as we've already seen from the previous guitar amplifier reviews for the cheaper amps, you can actually get quite a decent practice amp and even a small gig amplifier for not too much cash.
Now, I know there's a lot of uncertainty when parting with our hard earned cash, and we often worry about not always getting what we pay for, but I've tried to make it a little easier with all these guitar amplifier reviews to hopefully help you to make the right choice, so you will get exactly what you pay for and hopefully a little bit more on top.
The guitar amplifiers that will be discussed in this section are pretty good amps as you would expect, and, if you're a beginner and buying for the first time, it is worth purchasing at this level if you can afford to.
These amps are ideal for;
Now, the thing is, this category is offering even more for your money. $/£300 is a fair amount of money to many of us but it isn't really a tremendous amount for a good electric guitar amplifier and $/£300+ will certainly get you a good amp if the previous lower price ranges fail to meet your requirements.
In this category, I will also be adding amplifiers that are over the $/£300 and pushing towards 400+. The thing is, there's so many different price ranges around with so many different makes and models that there will always be some broad variation in prices between similar spec amps. This makes it difficult to keep similar spec models in one price range so to speak.
Also, just a quick reminder, as time goes by, many of these models will eventually become discontinued with a newer version available. This shouldn't pose any problem though as later models of any amplifiers would normally be made clear and viewable on the Amazon website, which is where all the amps listed on these guitar amplifier reviews link to.Back To Top
No guitar amplifier reviews would be complete without VOX. When we talk about famous electric guitar amplifiers it seems almost impossible to mention anything before VOX. If we had to say what group was probably THE most famous and successful of all time, who would you say? For me it would have to be the Beatles without any consideration. They used the VOX AC 30 in the early sixties and continued to use VOX throughout their career.
After The Beatles, Paul McCartney continued to use VOX amplifiers throughout his entire career with Wings and afterwards too, and still does to this day if he ever plays live.
Another musical legend and excellent guitarist, Brian May of the legendary rock band 'Queen', has been playing through VOX amps since the late 1960's. I think most of us know (or should do) Brian's excellent tone and phenomenal style of play that delivers a truly iconic sound.
In fact, there are countless famous artists past and present that have used, or still do use, VOX electric guitar amps - see the list further down. The most commonly used VOX amp by the big names is the VOX AC series as mentioned above and will be discussed in more detail on the relevant page for the higher end amp models.
Ok, so the VT 40 here is not quite as good as the AC 30 all valve amplifier as played by the greats, granted, but then it is roughly a quarter of the price at around $/£250+ compared to its famous Father being a hefty $/£1000+!
Ok, back down to Earth, the VT40X is a fantastic amplifier that offers a nice little slice of classic memorabilia with truly wonderful tones and absolutely should be heading the list of guitar amplifier reviews for this price range.
The idea behind the creation of Valvetronix electric guitar amplifiers was to create a digital modelling amp that would accurately mimic both the sound as well as the responsive characteristics of some of the world's most famous and celebrated electric guitar amps. Sounds such as the clean tones of a vintage Fender Reverb amp, or the punchy crunch of a Mesa Boogie, and even the classic tones of their own famous and legendary all valve amp, the VOX AC 30, as already mentioned.
With VET, the VT 40 has the ability to mimic those classic electric guitar amp models. As far as I can gather, Virtual Element Technology is the term given for the analysis of the components and circuits of specific amplifier models such as those previously mentioned (Fender Reverb, Mesa Boogie, VOX AC 30). As a result, VTX amplifiers, like the VOX VT40X, are said to produce the most accurate and realistic modelled amplifier sounds ever created until now.
As with many modelling amps, the VOX VTX series of amps combine the best of both worlds by featuring sophisticated modelling technology along with a multi-stage vacuum tube pre-amp circuit. This combination helps to reproduce the unique tones and response akin to the classic all tube amps of past times and present, with the VOX VT 40 X able to recreate the analogue circuits of the most renowned all tube amplifiers seen below.
The reviews for the VOX VT40X are outstanding it seems. Take a look for yourself here. This really does seem a pretty incredible sounding and versatile electric guitar amplifier for the money and a big contender in my guitar amplifier reviews' shortlist in this price range, and possibly even the next price range up?! We will see about that soon enough. This amp is also another addition to my personal shortlist if and when I buy a new amp for myself sometime in the future.
Bottom line, a great amplifier for practicing, recording and even small gigs!Back To Top
Line 6 has really spearheaded the market with their line of modelling guitar amps and this model rightfully deserves its place on my guitar amplifier reviews short list. The bigger brother of the popular Spider V 30-watt modelling amp, the Spider V 60 has a fair bit more oomph (60-watts) and all the looks and effects of its smaller sibling too. The Line 6 V series, from the 30-watt model and above, are said to be great sounding amplifiers with their specialized full-range speaker system. This amplifier and all the models above are also wireless ready, discussed further down.
With 78 amplifier models, 23 cabinet models and 101 effects the possibilities seem limitless. In addition to that, this great sounding amplifier is also said to be one of the easiest Spider amps to use with its simple colour-coded dial controls.
As with the smaller 30-watt model, this 60-watt version features a full-range speaker system with a custom-designed guitar speaker and high-frequency tweeter for depth and clarity for both electric and acoustic guitars as well as music too. Yes that's right, if you also play acoustic guitar, you have the added option to save on the cost of a separate acoustic guitar amplifier as you can also play your acoustic guitar through the Spider V 60 as well! And, like all the models above the Spider V 30, you can even play your favourite music for a greater experience while practicing.
Like the Spider V 30, the Spider V 60 electric guitar amp also features a built in tuner, metronome and drummer loops all recorded by professional artists. Having the drummer loops is a great feature. This'll give you the feel of playing with real musicians for timing practice which is essential for any budding musician whether you're playing rhythm or lead.
The built in metronome is also useful for timing practice, but the drummer loops offer a real sense of playing as part of a band which is a great starting point if you want to play live but have had no experience. In fact, it's a great feature even if you're experienced just to keep you in the groove and for the added fun factor.
The built in tuner is getting more common in amplifiers nowadays but still a great little feature that will be useful to keep your guitar in tune.
The Spider V 60 and above also features an internal wireless receiver for the added neat little option of going wireless. So, if you fancy going cordless on stage (at an extra cost) then this amp or any of the other models above this model such as the V 120 and V 240 are definitely for you.
All you have to do is plug the G10T transmitter into your guitar input socket where you would normally plug your lead in and that's it, just play away! The transmitter needs to be recharged which is done by plugging it into the input of the amplifier? Amazing!
You can also get an additional receiver/base unit that you can connect to the amplifier to receive the signal too. This base unit also acts as a second charger for the transmitter as back up in case you need to play using leads in the amp input jack.
It's a little pricey especially compared to a lead but it all depends upon how much you've got to spend and what you what. The reviews, albeit few, are very good. This bit of kit is apparently very high quality too.
Note: I've noticed that it says on the Amazon website that it "works with nearly all guitar types". Just make sure your guitar is compatible with it before you buy. As far as I'm aware this slight issue only relates to the access to certain guitar's input sockets. It is said to easily fit in all standard Les Paul, Stratocaster and Telecaster style guitars.
For more information see the Line 6 G10T Support Page.
Weight = 20.5 lbs
Dimensions = 9.1 x 17.4 x 16.9 inches
If you like the look of the Line 6 V 30 but want more power, then the V 60 electric guitar amp is a great choice. There are lots of good reviews about this amp. It has a lot of amp models and tones, effects and the great added option to go wireless if you want less cables while practicing with your band or while on stage, albeit at considerable extra cost.
It also allows you to play your acoustic through it too with its great sounding full ranged speaker system. And let's not forget the excellent drummer loops too.
Overall, the Line 6 Spider V 60 is a great sounding electric guitar amplifier with lots of great stuff in a quality build. And, although I've seen reviews saying the V series sounds too thin and digital compared to the previous versions (spider III and IV series), as far as I can see there are far more positive reviews than negative ones which is why I've included it in my guitar amplifier reviews short list.
There will be more guitar amplifier reviews coming soon...Back To Top