12 Best Guitar Amps in 2017
If you are a red-blooded American, there is a good chance you have owned or wanted to own an electric guitar in your lifetime. You may even have an acoustic sitting in your closet collecting dust – do not be ashamed. That is because electric guitars are considered more exotic and something you will want if you’ve ever dreamed of being a Rock God.
Guitar amps just like the instruments they power, meaning they are made for men and women of all ages. Picking out the proper one to suit your needs is not easy; in fact, it can be downright draining.
We’re here to simply the process for you and will present all of the pre-purchase information you need to choose the best guitar amps.
Whether it is your first time plugging in or you are an old pro, our guide will help direct you towards the top choices in the wild world of guitar amps.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 Guitar Amps Comparison Chart
- Initial Amp Buying Tips
- Types of Amplifiers
- Speakers & Construction
- Top 5 Best Guitar Amps Reviews
Top 12 Guitar Amps Comparison Chart
|1. Fender Champion 20 – 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier||Varies||2||4.7|
|2. Roland Micro Cube Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier||3 watts||1||4.7|
|3. Blackstar FLY3 Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier||3 watts||2||4.6|
|4. Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt 1×8-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier||Varies||1||4.6|
|5. Vox Pathfinder 10 Denim – Limited Edition 10W 1×6.5″ Guitar Combo Amp||10 watts||2||4.6|
|6. Yamaha THR10 Mini Guitar Amplifier with Cubase AI Production Software||Varies||Varies||4.5|
|7. Marshall MG30CFX MG Series 30-Watt Guitar Combo Amp||Varies||4||4.5|
|8. Behringer Ultracoustic At108 Ultra-Compact 15-Watt Instrument Amplifier||20 watts||2||4.5|
|9. Line 6 Spider Jam Guitar Amplifier||75 watts||1||4.5|
|10. Sawtooth ST-AMP-10ST-AMP-10 10-Watt Electric Guitar Amp||10 watts||2||4.4|
|11. Blackstar IDCORE40 Guitar Combo Amplifier||Varies||6||4.4|
|12. Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 – 20 Watt Modeling Instrument Amplifier||Varies||4||4.2|
Initial Amp Buying Tips
Before we delve into our key areas of interest, you will first want to consider where and how much you actually intend to play.
Are you a weekend warrior with dreams of having your own garage band once you actually get your own garage? We have all been there, and if that is the case you want something small and inexpensive. Want to drag out that dusty acoustic? That won’t be an issue although some amp are made especially for those and will not sound nearly as good on the good old axe.
Needless to say, you don’t have to spend a fortune to find the best guitar amp, you just need to have a little knowledge and some common sense. As you won’t be able to try before you buy, simply consider your needs, your budget and how many tones you want in your arsenal.
Our list of the best guitar amps is going to focus on a few different varieties and are geared more towards regular electrics than bass. That said, some will work just as well either way while others allow you use various instruments or implements like the iPod.
Types of Amplifiers
When it comes time to finding the best guitar amps available, you are going to need to become familiar with three terms; tube, modeling and solid-state.
- Solid-State Amp – If you are just starting out in the guitar game, a solid-state amp is probably your best option. They can withstand the rigors of being toted around on the road better than others and use transistors.
- Tube Amps – Tube amps are a bit different. As the name implies, these use the old tubes similar to what you will find in those big beautiful RCA cabinet radios. The tubes can give your guitar a different kind of tone and can really crank out the sound.
- Modeling Amps – Modeling amps, on the other hand, are digital in nature. Tech drives your music which means it can actually sound like a tube amp with the flip of a switch and comes with more perks than the other models.
Are you going to play in your room or for a packed house? If it is the latter, you will need an amp that allows you to kick things up a notch which can mean more wattage. If you are just tuning up before your big gig, a smaller amp and a good set of headphones can take care of your needs. Alternatively, there are dozens of amps that are portable and run off batteries if you need something you can play anywhere at any time.
Speakers & Construction
While guitar amps are full of transistors, tubes and other types of tech, there is a speaker at the heart of each amp. It is one of the more overlooked components, but just as important as wattage or how many channels you have. Most amps from quality brands will use quality speakers so keep that in mind if you’re looking at an amp from an unknown brand.
The material that surrounds the speaker and tech is worth noting as well. You want a box that has solid construction, or you could end up a vibration in a panel. Closed or open-backed speakers cabinets are another thing to keep in mind although not a huge deciding factor unless you want an amp built for bass. If that’s the case, go for a closed-back guitar amplifier.
Top 5 Best Guitar Amps Reviews
Fender is a name everyone should recognize regardless of his or her guitar playing prowess. It should also come as no surprise that they find themselves at the top of our list with the Fender Champion Electric Guitar Amp. The amp sports a classic look and is a solid-state combo amp. It is an open-back model with a single-channel on the 20-watt amp, but two channels for the larger models.
Regardless of the size you go with, each model comes with an array of effects like Tremolo, Vibratone, Reverb, Chorus and more. The nickel plated caps on the bottom will save you from some wear and tear while the hard plastic straps make it easy to carry when you are on the go. The Fender Champion is only available in Black but come in 20-watts, 40-watts or 100-watts.
There was a time when battery powered amps were scoffed at or considering something straight out of a science fiction novel. Not any more thanks to companies like Roland and ultra-portable amps like the Micro Cube. This amp is a single-channel guitar amplifier but has a unique trick dubbed Total Recall; this essentially makes it a two-channel amp as you can save your preferred effects and tones with the press of a button. That means you can you can recall them on the fly effectively giving you a second channel in a sense.
Roland opted for a 3-watt amp, but you’ll get a 5” speaker with crisp highs and deep lows despite its diminutive nature. Want to hook up to your iPad or iPhone? Not a problem with the i-Cube link jack and you are getting a chromatic tuner to boot. If you like effects, you will be excited to know this one has eight different ones including flanger, chorus, and phaser.
The second amp from Fender to make our list of the best guitar amps is the Mustang I V2 Combo amp. Like the Champion, what you get beneath the housing depends on which model you choose. In this case, the Mustang I V2 is available in either 20 or 40-watts. Unlike the previous model, this one has a whole lot more to offer when it comes to amp models as there are a whopping 18 to go along with one-channel and 24 presets.
Intelligent pitch shifting, USB connectivity and a vast array of controls up top are all flagship features to consider as well. If you really want to dig deep into things, you can use the FUSE software to “re-voice” the sound. You will also get Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition and the AmpliTude Fender LE software to record tracks and fine-tune till your heart’s content. This closed-back amplifier is only available in Black and features the companies classic style.
If you have a big gig or plan on playing to a large crowd, the FLY3 from Blackstar may not be the thing for you. That is not because it doesn’t sound good however as you will be very impressed by what this one can do out of the box. It’s mainly due to its size as a 3-watt guitar amp can only produce so much sound.
While Blackstar’s little amp is a bit underwhelming in the wattage department, it is extremely portable and powerful despite its stature. It is a battery powered amp that takes six AA batteries although you can purchase a wall adapter for this particular mini. It is quite small, but still has plenty of features including Clean and Overdrive channels, a digital tape delay effect, and emulated line out if you just want to practice and hone your skills. It sports a 3-inch speaker, and you will get an MP3/Line jack in case you want to connect the amp to another device.
The Blackstar FLY 3 is available in Black and comes with several different options. You can purchase the amp by itself or pick up a combo that comes with an extension cabinet and power supply. If you want to go truly wireless, there is also a Bluetooth Model of the Fly 3 as well.
Last, but certainly not least on our list is the Vox Pathfinder Combo Amp. Retro is the first word to come to mind when looking at the pathfinder. It has a diamond textured front grille cloth and clean lines which give it plenty of class. At only 10-watts it isn’t quite as beefy as some of the guitar amps that made the grade although rest assured, it will sound just as good as it looks.
10-watts from Vox can sound like 20-watts from other ordinary amps, and it helps to have two channels to go along with a nifty switch for Clean or Overdrive. Gain, Volume, Treble and Bass controls are only a flick away as well. The Pathfinder model comes in a Classic style or a modern and limited edition Denim. The open-backed speaker will leave a small footprint and is light on the road at only 10lbs.