The invention of the electric guitar changed music forever. It gave a beloved instrument even more power and flexibility. But this power doesn’t just come from the guitar itself; it also comes from the guitar amp. Amplifiers convert electric signals produced by the vibration of metal guitar strings into all sorts of music. If you have an electric guitar or if you’re looking to buy one you need to find an amp that matches your instrument.
It’s easy to think of an amp as just another accessory. When people start playing the guitar, they often spend most of their budget on their guitar while looking for the cheapest amp possible. This can be a big mistake because without a quality guitar you are going to be held back as a musician. There are plenty of affordable amps on the market, but if you’re serious about playing the guitar, you need quality on top of affordability. Music from a top-of-the-line guitar playing over a cheap amp is like watching Blu-Ray on an old CRT television; it’s not a good idea.
Understanding the importance of guitar amplifiers is one thing but finding the correct one for your needs is different. There are more amps on the market today than ever before, and the features built into them are more diverse than in the past. It’s easy to pick the cheapest option you find or spend as much money as possible in hopes of getting a quality product, but if you want to get the best amp for your money you need to do your homework. Fortunately, you don’t have to search for your next amp on your own. The Surf’n’Buy is here to help. We have gone through all of the top information available and examined the best products on the market. We hope that this article leads you to the perfect amplifier for your musical dreams.
Now, here are the top 5 guitar amplifiers that you could find in 2019.
Top 5 Guitar Amplifiers
1. Fender Champion 20: Best 20-Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
- Shape your sound with the EQ section (Bass + Treble) as well as dial in lush effects such as digital reverbs, chorus, vibratone and delay.
- Jam along with your favorite tracks by simply plugging your MP3 player into the Auxiliary input and you instantly become part of the band and /or practice privately with the 1/8th headphone output jack that also mutes the speaker output.
- With a turn of a knob, choose from clean to mean tones from the 17 various amp models that will to accommodate almost any genre of music.
- Store extra cables or other small accessories with the open back cabinet. Voltage: 230 Volts EUR
- Enjoy the peace of mind that this amp is backed by Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty.
- Black and silver colored.
- 8-inch speaker.
- 20-watt output.
- 1/8 auxiliary input.
- Headphone output jack.
- Includes 5-foot power cable.
- 12-pound amp weight.
- 15-pound shipping weight.
- 12.75 inches high, 13.75 inches wide, and 7.5 inches long.
- Covered by 5-year limited warranty.
- Accident protection available.
- Ready for performances – 20 watts of power is enough for most beginners. This is enough to play all sorts of music. From practicing in your garage to playing intimate rock venues, this amp will help you put on a good show.
- Lightweight – At just 12 pounds this amp is very light for a performance amp. Most people will be able to carry this amp around with them with little trouble.
- Great for beginners – The Champion 20 is packed with plenty of power, but it’s also easy to use. This makes it a great starting-amp.
- Flexible sound – This digital amp is able to emulate a wide range of sounds. It can replicate 17 different amp models.
- Comes with built-in storage compartment – Travel with your cables safely and conveniently packed away in the amp itself.
- Flexible power cable included – It’s removable so it can be stored during transit and replaced if something goes wrong.
- Looks nice – The Fender Champion 20 is a well-designed that looks attractive and feels solid.
- Covered by a fantastic warranty – Fender covers their product with a five year limited warranty. To get this warranty you have to purchase it new from an authorized dealer,
- Accident protection is available – Two and three-year accident protection plans can be purchased by anyone who wants to make sure they have the best purchase protection available. These plans cost extra but they are very affordable.
- Sounds a little digital – While the amp has modes that try and recreate an analog sound they don’t quite hit the mark.
- Could be clearer – While this amp packs plenty of punch its sound just isn’t as clean as it could be.
- Tends to make a low-level noise when turned on – You can hear a quiet hiss when this amp is turned on, even when you aren’t playing. This can be ignored when playing loud songs but it can be annoying when practicing or trying to do something a little softer.
- Problematic power cord – The cord slides out of the amp a little too easily, which is extremely frustrating when you’re performing an energetic live show. Also, if the cord is bent the wrong way it can negatively impact the sound coming from the amp.
- Turning it off creates an unfortunate noise – You can’t turn the power off quietly, you’re going to hear a pretty big pop.
- Can’t add a footswitch with the 20 – If you get a Champion 40 or higher you can play with a footswitch, but the 20 isn’t equipped. This makes switching sounds more trouble than it should be.
Fender is one of the top names in the music industry, and with the Fender Champion 20 it shows that they can balance both quality and affordability. This is one of the most well-rounded amps available, and as of writing it’s still one of the most affordable amps on the market. The output of this amp is nicely balanced at 20 watts. It isn’t the most powerful amp but it will do for performing most music besides hard rock, in your garage, in a studio, or on stage. You could get a more powerful amp, but for most beginners it would be overkill and cost more money than it would be worth. All of these features are available in a package that is very well priced. Cheaper amps might be available but they don’t pack the same stage-ready power.
2. Blackstar FLY3 Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier, 3W
- Refer the user manual below for troubleshooting
- Digital 'tape' delay effect; Patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature)
- MP3/Line In for jamming along or listening to music
- Black colored.
- 3-inch speaker.
- Two channels.
- 3-watt output.
- Guitar and MP3 input.
- Emulated output jack for use with headphones.
- Volume, tone, and ISF control built-in.
- Powered by six AA batterie.
- Includes amp, six AA batteries, sticker, and manual.
- 2-pound amp weight.
- 2.2-pound shipping weight.
- 5 inches high, 6.7 inches wide, and 4 inches long.
- Covered by a one to three-year limited warranty.
- Accident protection available.
- Compact – The Blackstar FLY3 is small and lightweight, which makes it very easy to store and carry around. You can fit it in just about any room or bag.
- Loud for its size – When you hear music coming out of this amp it’s hard to believe your eyes and your ears are working together. It won’t get as loud as a 10 or 20-watt amp, but it’s louder than you’d expect. Perfect for practicing or small, intimate performances.
- Expandable – If you want to play in stereo you can add on an extension cabinet at a low price.
- Covered by one to three-year warranties – It’s covered for three years from dealers that are authorized by KORG USA in the United States. In the UK the warranty is one-year, when purchased from a dealer authorized by Blackstar.
- Accident protection is available – The limited warranties cover parts and labor for issues that are the manufacturer’s responsibility, but if you want total coverage there are plans available. These cost extra but they are very affordable.
- Very low price.
- Requires a power supply from Blackstar to run indefinitely – Without a Blackstar PSU1FLY Power Supply you have to use the battery power. Please note, you can’t use any other power supply, even if looks the same as Blackstar’s model. This is a clear cash grab that really undercuts the appeal of this amp.
- You must buy the supply from Blackstar if you want to be sure it will work – There are reports of people buying power supplies that are supposed to work with this amp, only to be disappointed. To avoid this issue you must buy directly.
- Build quality isn’t the best – You get what you pay for here. The plastic material and overall construction isn’t as solid as it could be. Needs to be handled with care.
- Not as powerful as the competition – If you want to play in a rock band you should get an amp that has 20 watts of power, and this amp only has 3. As previously stated, it’s loud for its size but it just isn’t as powerful as its larger competitors.
- Warranty length varies – In America the limited warranty lasts for three years but in the UK it only lasts for one. A three-year extended warranty is available but you have to pay extra to get it.
- Warranty coverage isn’t automatic – To get the full coverage for your Blackstar FLY3 you need to purchase this amp from an authorized dealer. Make sure you contact any retailer you might buy from to see if they are authorized or not.
If you’ve ever been to a rock performance or any sort of concert at a large venue it’s easy to think of amps as large devices that are capable of blasting people back when the volume is cranked up. But not all amps are large and ready to shatter eardrums, there are also more compact and portable options like the Blackstar FLY 3 Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier. This amp has 3 inch speaks, draws 3 watts of power, and weighs just two pounds. Cool, huh? It’s perfect for anyone who wants to save energy, space and money. This amp is also covered by a good warranty as long as you buy it from the appropriate type of authorized retailer. If you’re in the US you should buy from a KORG USA authorized dealer while UK shoppers should look for Blackstar authorized dealers. For someone without much available space or money this is a great little amp, but it is worth remembering that it is fairly limited. It’s three watts of power don’t allow it to get very loud. Still, the worst thing is the fact that it requires a power source that is sold separately. And you need to purchase it directly from Blackstar, you can’t find the power source in your local store.
3. Marshall Amps M-MG30GFX-U Guitar Combo Amplifier
- Custom 10 inch speaker
- Modern digital effects
- Emulated headphone output
- Manual & preset channel modes
- Line in for jamming along with tracks. Clean, crunch, OD1, OD2 channels.30 Watt (RMS) Output @ 4 Ohms
- Black and gold colored.
- Custom 10-inch speaker.
- Four programmable channels.
- 30-watt output.
- Guitar input.
- 3.5mm MP3 input.
- Headphone line-out.
- Includes preset and manual modes.
- Modern digital effects, reverb and one of five FX.
- Volume, tone, and master control built-in.
- Jack socket for the connection of the
- optional footcontroller.
- Includes amp, power cable, and manual.
- 23.8-pound amp weight.
- 31-pound shipping weight.
- 16.5 inches high, 18.8 inches wide, and 8.8 inches long.
- Covered for 3-5 years by limited warranty.
- Accident protection available.
- Powerful – Its 30-watt output means that this amp can really blare out music.
- Choose between five digital effects with one control – These are chorus, phaser, flanger, delay and octave.
- Very clear – The Marshall Amps M-MG30GFX-U can produces music that is just about as clean as it gets.
- Reverb and digital effects work together -Combine to create a wide variety of unique sounds.
- Well-constructed – The materials used to make this amp are clearly high-quality, and they’ve been assembled well. This amp feels solid in your hands, even if it isn’t the easiest to hold up.
- Great documentation – If you want to understand how this amp works the manual is very helpful. It can be a little tricky when you first start but it becomes much easier to understand if you read the manual.
- Warranty is decent if you qualify for it – When this amp is purchased in the US by an authorized Marshall USA dealer you get five years of parts coverage and three years of labor coverage.
- Accident protection is available – If you need extra protection for your Marshall Amps M-MG30GFX-U you can choose between two and three-year plans. Both cost extra, but they’re also worth the price if you want to fully protect your new amp.
- Expandable – This amp is footswitch compatible. This allows you to get greater control over your sound while performing if you decide to upgrade. You might not need this feature at first, but as you become more experienced you’ll find it’s practically a necessity.
- Large and heavy – This is not a small amp, the power of this amp comes at a cost in terms of portability. It weighs in at almost 24 pounds and is quite large. In fact, it’s the largest amp on our list
- Sounds better distorted than clean – When it’s played clean it doesn’t have much quality, it only really comes alive when the sound gets distorted.
- Difficult to set up – The basics can be changed easily enough, but if you really want to control this amp’s sound you have to navigate through some complex steps. It’s possible to do if you follow along with the documentation carefully, but it does create a bit of a learning curve.
- Lacks tone control – This amp may have plenty of features but the lack of tone control really leaves something to be desired. It really holds this amp back from its full potential.
- Warranty coverage isn’t automatic – You need to not only make sure you’re purchasing from an authorized retailer, you also have to make sure that you register your product with Marshall USA online. This is a bit of a hassle to say the least.
If you have dreams of being a rockstar Marshall Amps M-MG30GFX-U is for you. It’s the most powerful amp on Surf’n’Buy’s list, at 30 watts you can hook this amp up at most local concert venues and prepare to rock. But this amp isn’t just loud, it also has plenty of finesse. When played clean it’s very clear, some would say almost too clear. It really flexes its muscles when it comes to distortion, and with plenty of controls you can achieve some really unique sounds with this amp. Of course, while 30 amps is necessary for keeping up with the rock scene it might be overkill for many other guitarists. To achieve this level of power this amp had to be made larger and heavier than its competitors. This amp isn’t for everyone, but if you want to really rock out as part of a band then an amp like this might be essential. Only you can decide if the extra weight is worth the extra power.
4. VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier
- 20 Watts; 1 x 8" Speaker
- Valvetronix preamp uses a vacuum tube multi-stage amplification circuit
- 11 realistic amp models; 13 high quality on-board effects; 33 preset programs
- Built-in tuner, AUX in jack, Headphones out, and USB connectivity; Optional VFS2 & VFS5 footswitches
- VET (Virtual Elements Technology) delivers stunning sound quality
- Black and gold colored.
- 8-inch speaker.
- Four channels.
- 20-watt output.
- Guitar input.
- USB input.
- Aux input.
- 3.5mm MP3 input.
- Headphone line-out.
- 33 presets.
- 13 amp effects.
- 11 on board amp models.
- Includes amp and AC converter.
- 16.1-pound amp weight.
- 18.8-pound shipping weight.
- 13.7 inches high, 16.1 inches wide, and 8.9 inches long.
- Covered by a one-year limited warranty.
- Accident protection available.
- Produces a very clean sound – If you want to make crisp and clean music then this amp is a great choice.
- Capable of modeling a wide range of amps – This amp can turn you into a musical chameleon. Use the presets to make one amp sound like more than ten different models.
- Capable of reproducing the analog sound clearly – You don’t have to worry about a thin and digital sound with this amp. If you use the settings properly you can recreate the sound of an analog, tube-based amp effectively. This makes it a good amp for anyone who wants a more classic sound.
- USB input allows for compatibility with PC, Mac, and mobile platforms – After the amp has been connected to a computer using a separately purchased USB cable it can be controlled using the VOX Tone Room software. This allows a previously unimaginable level of control.
- Well constructed – This is a sturdy and attractive accessory. It will stand up during travel and look cool on stage or in the studio.
- Works with a foot switch – If you want to be able to control the amp hands-free you can with a foot switch, which is also available from VOX. It costs extra but it’s well worth the price if you want to get the most out of this amp’s features.
- Covered by a standard warranty – When purchasing this product from an authorized dealer you get one year of parts and labor coverage.
- Optional accident protection plans are available for purchase – If you want to go beyond the limited warranty that’s included you can choose between two or three-year plans that protect your investment against accidents.
- Customization is limited without the Tone Room program – If you don’t have a computer or other compatible device you won’t be able to access all of the features available.
- Controls can be confusing – You could say there are too many features packed into a handful of knobs. The same knob is used to control both depth and rate, which can be confusing to get used to.
- The warranty could last longer – It’s nice that this amp comes with a standard warranty but it only lasts for one year. If you have issues after that then you’d better hope you paid extra for one of the accident protection plans.
The switch to digital amps over from traditional tube-based amps might frustrate many purists, but amps like VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier even traditionalists can find a sound that they’re happy with. This amp is designed to digitally mimic a wide range of amps, both new and old. This means that if you want to capture the sound of an analog amplifier without having to deal with the issues related to buying and maintaining one the VT20X is here to help.
The amp’s presets are impressive enough, but if you have a thing for control you’ll appreciate the options for customization. You can use the built-in USB port to connect this amp to your computer or smart device to further adjust your settings. This allows you to have almost total control over how your amp makes music. At 20 watts this amp offers a nice balance of size and portability. It’s not small, but it also isn’t so large that it’s difficult to take with you as you travel to practices or performances.
Simply put, this is a powerful and well-balanced amp that will give you the control you need to achieve the sound of your dreams. This amp is definitely worthy of careful consideration.
5. Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 – 20 Watt Modeling Instrument Amplifier
- Peavey VYPYR VIP1 20W GUITAR, BASS, or ACOUSTIC AMP with USB
- Great amp for recording, practice, or live use
- Most versatile modeling amp available
- Almost any amplifier, instrument, sound or effect,Built-in Looper (w/ purchase of Sanpera controller)
- 2-Year Warranty, Refer user manual below
- Black and silver colored.
- 8-inch speaker.
- 20-watt output.
- Guitar input.
- USB input.
- Aux input.
- 3.5mm MP3 input.
- Headphone line out.
- 3-band EQ.
- 16 presets.
- 25 amp effects.
- 36 on board amp models.
- Includes amp, power cable, and manual.
- 17.5-pound amp weight.
- 20-pound shipping weight.
- 17 inches high, 15 inches wide, and 9 inches long.
- Covered by a two-five year limited warranty.
- Accident protection available.
- Loud for its power level – This amp sounds louder than most 20-watt amps. Best of all, the loud volume isn’t achieved by sacrificing sound quality.
- Incredibly versatile – This amp can be used with electric, acoustic, and bass guitars. It is everything a guitarist could need in one package.
- Lots of effects are built-in – You can add delay, reverb, and more in the amp. The effects come already set up, you just need to learn the right buttons to press in order to unleash them.
- Able to achieve a very natural sound – This is a digital amplifier, but if you use the correct setting you can get a sound that sounds like a classical tube amp. It’s not a perfect recreation, but it’s very close for the price.
- Comes with USB port – This allows you to record directly into your computer, which is fantastic for recording in your apartment or on the go.
- Covered by a quality warranty – When purchased new this amp comes with two years of protection, but if you fill out and submit a warranty registration card online or through the mail you will receive three more years of protection.
- Additional accident protection is available – The two and three-year plans are perfect who wants an extra level of purchase protection.
- Not light – This amp is just short of 18 pounds, which means that it can take some effort to carry. It isn’t the heaviest amp but it’s far from the lightest.
- You can only use a limited number of effects at a time – You can’t keep adding on effects, eventually you need to decide which are most important.
- Falls short with active pickups – If you want the best possible sound you should use this amp with a guitar that has passive pickups. With active pickups you can experience minor sound issues when you try and play at louder volumes.
- Takes time to get used to – All of the effects and options built into this amp take some getting used to. Be sure to read the manual and follow along carefully.
- Some features aren’t available without a foot switch – If you want to do any looping you won’t be able to without a pedal.
- Warranty isn’t automatic – To receive full protection you must buy a new amp from an authorized Peavey dealer and submit a warranty card within 90 days of purchase. If you don’t follow these steps in their entirety you will end up with inferior coverage, if you receive any at all.
The Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to perform live or record their own music. It’s capable of producing a nice, warm sound. But really, its main selling point is the fact that it can produce an impressive array of sounds. The controls are powerful, even if they’re a bit complex. This amp can help you achieve just about any sound you might want from your guitar, if you know the right buttons to press and knobs to turn. It takes some getting used to but once you do the world opens up.
There is a good warranty available for this amp but you have to understand that it isn’t automatic. You need to register your purchase with the manufacturer in 90 days or less. If you wait too long after the initial purchase you won’t get any protection unless you pay extra for it. Still, it isn’t much effort considering what you get. All in all, the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 is an amp that will serve any dedicated musician well. You need to put some effort in if you want to utilize all of its features, but even if you just use the presets you can make some fantastic music using this amp.
How to Distinguish a Quality Guitar Amplifier from a Cheap One
One of the first things you want to look at is an amp’s power output. The higher that is the more powerful it is, and the more it’s likely to cost. You don’t necessarily need the most powerful amp on the market, especially if you aren’t going to be performing a live rock concert any time soon. With that being said, a cheap and underpowered amp can hold you back from reaching a higher level of performance in the future.
Brand names don’t mean everything, but they can be very helpful as you try to sort through all the amps on the market. If you want to make sure you’re getting an amp you can trust you should purchase a model made by a trusted company. Generic amps made by companies with no history might be cheap but that’s usually for good reasons. If quality is your concern then you should look for a brand name amp.
New vs Used
Amps might look simple on the outside but on the inside they are incredibly intricate pieces of machinery. If even a few drops of water gets inside an amp it can be permanently damaged. The problem is that when shopping for amps you can’t easily open one up to make sure that the interior is pristine. This is why it’s worth paying for a new amp, that’s the only way to make sure that the interior is the best that it can be. Also, only new amps are eligible for coverage by manufacturer warranty.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Guitar Amplifier
One of the easiest ways to compare different amps is by looking at their wattage. This spec is even listed in the titles of most amps, just look for things like 10w, 20w, 40w, and so on. The more watts an amp can output the more powerful it is. If you want to record music 10 amps works fine. If you want to play a rock concert you’ll need 30 amps. In general, if you aspire to play live you should get an amp with at least 20 watts of output.
As you shop for amps online you need to keep in mind that pictures can be deceiving. That tiny picture on the screen might show a product that is really small or surprisingly small. You have to look at things like the product dimensions and the amp’s weight to try and get a sense of how large it will be when it arrives at your doorstep and you remove it from its box. You also need to think about how it will fit in your house, your vehicle, and any performance spaces you might want to play in.
When shopping for electronics compatibility is something you have to keep in mind. Something that seems as simple as a few millimeters of difference in an amps audio input can cause you a lot of trouble. When shopping for an amp you need to make sure it is compatible with the equipment you have now and the equipment you want in the future. For example, if you want to use your amp with your computer to produce music then you should look for an amp with a USB plug that will allow it to directly connect to your computer or smart device. It’s also worth looking at the accessories offered by the manufacturer of any amp you look at. The best way to ensure that your new purchases are compatible with your amp is by purchasing accessories made by the people who built your amp, so it’s worth buying from a company that offers a variety of useful accessories and add-ons.
Looking at the row of knobs on a high-end amp can be intimidating. The volume control is easy enough to understand but the other controls take some getting used to. But once you understand the impact that a few knob twists can have on the sound of your music you’ll understand why modern musicians are looking for more and more powerful controls. These knobs can add reverb, change tone, create delays, and much much more. Digital amps can be tweaked to sound like their analog predecessors. Or if you want to go the other way you can make your guitar sound futuristic. This is why it’s important to look into the level of control an amp allows you. You might only understand the volume control at first but if you want to create a unique and powerful sound it helps to have as many effects at your fingertips as possible.
When ordering musical instruments it’s worth looking at what accessories are packaged with the instrument, but when looking at amps you need to think about what accessories are available. It’s common for amps to work exclusively with accessories made by the amp’s manufacturer. That means that you shouldn’t just look at the amp itself, you should also look at the compatible accessories available from the manufacturer. Even if you just want a basic amp now it’s still worth thinking about your future. Late on in your guitar journey you might want to upgrade to a more powerful and flexible setup.
Sometimes things break. Even products from the top craftsmen in the world can suffer from cruel tricks of fate. You might do all your research and still end up with an amp that arrives broken. That’s why it’s worth looking for an amp covered by a quality warranty. Keep in mind that every warranty has its limitations. In most cases warranties only cover new products and it’s also common for warranties to cover products purchased from dealers that are authorized retailers.
Looking at the company behind a product can be a good way to quickly get a sense of its quality. Sure, good companies can make bad products and bad companies can make good products, but these cases are usually outliers. You can’t judge an amp based entirely on the company that made it but looking at an amp’s maker will allow you to get a sense of what you can expect. The music instrument business is highly competitive and if a company is still making amps after decades in the business then chances are they are doing something right and deserve your attention. On the other hand, if you find an amp without any brand attached then purchasing it will be a bit of a gamble because you won’t have any way to look at the manufacturer’s track record.
The way your amp looks should be your last concern but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth thinking about. You deserve to have an amp that fits the look you are going for as a musician. Most amps we looked at have a very basic look, they tend to be black with a few metallic accents. You shouldn’t necessarily pick an amp because it looks cool, but if you can find an amp that matches your guitar and has all the features you need then you might as well choose it over similar models that don’t look as stylish.
Best Guitar Amplifier Brands
The current company known as Vox has its roots in a company with a very different name and focus, the Jennings Organ Company, which was founded in 1947. This business was named after its founder, Thomas Walter Jennings. An organ company may sound quaint today but The Jennings Organ Company would soon push the limits of instrument technology as it created the Univox, one of the first electronic keyboards. They would branch out in 1958 with the creation of an amplifier named the Vox AC15, which inspired a name change. As Jennings Musical Industries they would become the official amp company of the Beatles, who drove them to new heights of popularity and technical prowess. Eventually the company would be renamed after their flagship product. Today they are owned by KORG, but they continue to produce Vox amplifiers, guitars, and effects pedals to this day.
When it comes to guitar makers there is one name that stands above the rest, Fender. Since 1946 Fender has designed and produced some of the most iconic instruments in popular music. The company was founded in Fullerton, California by a man named Clarence Leonidas Fender. Since a young age Mr. Fender had an interest in electronics and got his start in business building and repairing radios. He witnessed the rise of electronic music first hand and decided to get in on the business by creating his own electric guitar. He didn’t invent the electric guitar but many say he helped to invent it. Eventually they spread out from simply building guitars and started making guitar accessories such as amps. This experience has lead to the creation of superior amps that play well with instruments. Fender has been making guitar Amplifiers longer than just about anyone else in the business and you can feel the expertise in every amp they make.
Founded in Northampton, England in 2007, Blackstar Amplification has quickly become a favorite around the world. They’re a newer company but they know what they’re doing because they were founded by experts who previously worked at Marshall Amps. The four core members were also bandmates and friends, which gave them a unique perspective on the industry. Instead of being artists who merely dream or designers who never make music Blackstar team had every angle covered. They wanted to use their hard-earned experience to create something new, and in the past 10 years they have taken the musical world by storm. They are entirely focused on amps and effects units, which gives them an ability to compete with larger companies that have to spread their attention across a wide range of instruments and accessories. It should be noted that while Blackstar is based in the UK their products are represented in America by KORG USA. This means that if you buy a Blackstar amp in the US you need to purchase it from a KORG approved retailer in order to get the full warranty.
Few names are as established in the music industry as Marshall Amps. They have over half a century of experience at this point. In 1962 a drum shop owner named Jim Marshall started the company in London England. Mr. Marshall originally wanted to be a drummer but ended up owning a drum store, which became a general music store as it started selling guitars. Guitarists would come in tell Mr. Marshall how they were unhappy with the amps on the market. One of these artists was Pete Townshend of The Who. Marshall never started out to make amps but when he heard these complaints he saw a need that needed to be addressed and he assembled a team to help create his first amp. Once Townshend tried the new amp and approved of it music history was changed and Marshall Amps began to take over the UK and then the world.
The name Peavy isn’t known as well as brands like Fender or Marshall but that doesn’t mean that their products are any less powerful. Founded in 1965 in Meridian, Mississippi Peavy started out making amplifiers. The company is named after its founder, Hartley Peavey. Growing up Peavey wanted to be a musician himself but discovered that he was better at building electronics than he was at creating music. The man started building amps in his parents home in 1956 and created them there for around nine years before he could afford to move into a real store. Success didn’t come overnight but little by little Peavey gained momentum until it became the far-reaching brand that it is today. Through the years they expanded across the world and branched out from amps and into manufacturing instruments. Their current product catalog consists of two thousand different electronic products and. Still, today their amplifiers benefit from the six decades of experience Peavey has had in manufacturing amps.
Choosing the Best Guitar Amplifier for Your Needs
Think about where you’ll be using your amp. If you’re just going to be using your amp to play in your garage then you can buy any amp that will fit. However, guitarists have ambitions of performing. When performing you have to be able to carry your equipment to the venue, and with some amps this can be difficult. If you want to travel and perform you should consider how portable an amp is, looking at things like how heavy it is, how large it is, and whether or not it has handles you can use to carry it with less effort. Another thing to look for is battery power, which can allow you to play in locations that don’t even have power outlets.
Consider how powerful your amp really needs to be. When shopping for anything it’s easy to look at the specs and try and buy the product with the highest stats. With amps this means getting a product with more wattage, which means more volume. Getting the most powerful amp you can is a great idea if you’re playing hard rock for large crowds but most people don’t need that much power. If you want to busk on the street you might want an amp that you can run on battery power for a while without quickly draining the power, and that means going with a less powerful amp that can run a slow and steady race. You should also keep in mind that a higher output usually means a higher price, so if you want to keep things cheap when you’re starting out consider going with a low-watt amp.
No matter how powerful an amp is it is only one part of a music creation system. Your amp needs to connect to your guitar or it won’t do anything for you. It’s also worth looking for an amp that’s compatible with headphones, so you can hear what you’re playing clearly even when you’re part of a band where every member is playing their music at full blast. Modern amps also include things like USB connectors that allow you to send the signal from your amp directly into computer programs and mobile apps. This is very helpful for anyone who wants to produce music.
Modern amps capable of doing so many things beyond simply making your music loud. Amps today are able to apply all sorts of effects to the signal you are sending via your guitar. These effects can radically change the sound you’re playing. At a certain point effects can make your guitar sound like an entirely different instrument. Some of the most popular effects include echo, delay, and reverb. In part, these tools allow new digital amplifiers to recreate the sounds made by analog, tube amplifiers. They give sounds texture, depth, and a natural quality that can help you achieve the sound you’re looking for with just a few knob twists. Think about the sort of sound you are going for, if you want a more classic sound then it’s worth looking for an amp with effects that can help you create that sound.
Guitar Amplifier Accessories and Parts
Before we look at specific amp accessories it’s important to note that not every accessory will be compatible with every amp. In general it’s best to buy accessories made by the company that made your amp. For example, the Vox VFS5 VT Series 5 Button Footswitch is designed to work with the VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier, but it might not work with amps made by other manufacturers.
Rig Ninja Guitar Amp Cord, 10ft
You can’t play music over an amplifier unless you have a wire to connect your guitar to your amp. Make sure to think about how long you need. If you stay by your amp a shorter cord might be OK, but in general longer cords are better. You don’t want to walk across the stage and accidentally yank your amp and slam it to the ground. This 10-foot cable should give you a good amount of room to work with while performing.
Blackstar FLY103 Extension Cabinet
The Blackstar FLY103 might be the smallest amp on the list but it’s capable of doubling its power with the help of an extension cabinet. Think of it as a second amp that can be hooked up to the first so that they work in unison. This allows a true stereo experience that even larger and much more expensive amps can’t offer.
Power Supply for Blackstar Fly 3 guitar amplifier AC adapter
The Blackstar Fly 3 uses DC power so if you want to use it with most wall sockets you’ll need an adaptor. You can use other DC to AC adaptors but this is produced specifically for the Fly 3, so you know it will suit your needs if that’s the amp you choose.
Vox VFS5 VT Series 5 Button Footswitch
As you learn to use the settings on your new amp you’ll learn that different settings are suited for different songs. But if you’re performing live you won’t have the time to duck down and adjust all the knobs manually. By purchasing a footswitch you can change your amp’s settings without even having to let go of your guitar. If you have a Vox amp then this footswitch is a must-have accessory.
Musician’s Gear Deluxe Amp Stand Black
Sometimes you can simply set your amp on the stage and everything will be fine, but in other cases you will want some more control. An amp stand will allow you to elevate your amp and angle it to achieve the sort of sound projection you’re looking for. This stylish and sturdy stand will help you set up your amp the way you like it quickly and easily. It also limits the level of vibration that goes into the floor, making it a good choice for anyone who wants to minimize the trouble they cause their neighbors while performing.
Guitar Amplifier Tips and Tricks
Read the Manual
These instruction booklets aren’t just included as padding, they can help save you time and money if you read them and put the information they contain to use. We can give you advice on how to handle guitar Amplifiers in general but we can’t fully address the specific needs of your particular amp model. For this sort of information you should open up your manual or contact the manufacturer. Remember to keep your manual in a safe location that you could find easily later on, you never know when you might need it.
Use a Dry Cloth When Cleaning
Guitar Amplifiers are delicate pieces of electrical engineering. Water and electricity don’t mix. This is why you should clean your amp regularly with a clean and dry cloth. Don’t allow things to build up to the point where you might feel the need to use water or any form of liquid cleaner.
Limit Your Time Playing Guitar at a Loud Volume
You may love listening to loud music but it can damage your body. The louder your amp is turned up the briefer your play sessions should be. For example, if your amp is playing at 90 dBA you can play for 8 hours a day. However, if you turn it all the way up to 110 dBA you can only safely play for 15 minutes a day. You should never go beyond 115 dBA for safety’s sake.
Handle with Care
Guitar Amplifiers might look sturdy but that doesn’t mean that you can simply toss them around. Dropping an amp from a height of just a few feet can lead to permanent damage. Don’t keep it anywhere that it might fall off of easily. You should also consider putting some padding between your amp and any other amps or heavy pieces of luggage when loading your amp into a truck or van for storage.
Make Sure Your Amp is Well Ventilated
Don’t box it in so that it isn’t allowed to vent the hot air inside of it. Check to see where the heat is escaping from as you play and make sure you keep that surface clear so that air can continue to flow. This will help you avoid overheating.
Be Careful What You Put on Your Amplifier
It’s an especially bad idea to sit on your amp. Sure, if your amp is large it can seem like the perfect place to take a load off, but the more pressure you put on your amp the more likely you are to damage something inside of it. You can rest light objects in tight of them, but the heavier something is the harder you should try and find an alternative storage location.
Keep Away from Heat Sources
Do not store in the direct heat. Don’t leave your amp in a vehicle that is left in the hot sun. Don’t plug your amp in near heaters, radiators, kitchen appliances, or anything else that artificially generates heat. High temperatures can damage the delicate parts inside your amp so try and store it in a place that is as cool as possible, though not cold.
Keep Away from Water
Before placing your amp anywhere you should check to see if there is any water nearby. You should also avoid storing it in rooms that are humid or filled with pipes that might leak. If water is allowed to get into your amp’s interior it can destroy it.
Set Controls to 0 Before Finishing
It’s easy to turn your volume all the way up during a gig only to forget to reset it when the show is over. This can lead to an unpleasant surprise when you try and do a soundcheck in your room the next day. This won’t just make your neighbors mad, it can also lead to a power surge that damages your amp. Amps are like vehicles, they’re not supposed to go from a complete stop to top speed in a split second. Plus, this habit will teach you how to adjust your controls to achieve the sound you want rather than simply leaving everything on the setting you want.
Play Around with the Different Controls
Many people are afraid of touching any knob on their amp besides the volume control. But if you want to make music like your idols and unlock your full potential you need to experiment with the different features that are built into your amp. Even basic models allow you to modify your tone. With the right control over something as simple as tone you can make one instrument sound like two, and with more features you can really create some unique and memorable sounds.
There you have it, the basic knowledge you need to make an informed amp purchase. Hopefully, by now you already know what you want, but don’t worry if you’re still having trouble. Whether you read the whole guide carefully or skipped to the end we have two particular amps that we are worth a look for every shopper. Our overall top choice was the Fender Champion 20. It is a well made and powerful amp that can help beginners and experienced musicians alike make beautiful music. If you’re focused on your budget, then we can recommend the Blackstar FLY3 Battery Powered Guitar Amplifier. This amp offers the quality you expect from it at a price you probably wouldn’t. These small amp isn’t perfect for anyone, but it is worth every invested dollar.
Even with all the best information it can still be hard to choose an amp, even with the options narrowed down to five. So if you’re still having trouble, you should decide what your top priority is and eliminate any amp that doesn’t have what you need. For example, if you need to play your music as loud as possible you could eliminate any amp that’s under 30 watts, which would lead you to the Marshall Amps M-MG30GFX-U Guitar Combo Amplifier. If you’re a techie who needs a USB port on your amp, then you could focus on choosing between the VOX Valvetronix VT20X Modeling Amplifier and Peavey Vypyr VIP 1. Remember, these are just suggestions. You’re the only person who knows what you need to make the music you’re dreaming of.
We hope you have found this guide to be helpful. We work hard to make sure the information in our guides is both accurate and useful. You work hard to earn your money; you shouldn’t have to work even more to spend it wisely. If you liked this guide, then you should consider checking out one of our many other guides. Even if you don’t find what you need now, you should check back with us later. We are adding new guides all of the time to better serve you.