The Top 5 Guitar Amps to Enhance Your Music & Amplify Your Skills

Buying a guitar amp is no easy feat. It can literally enhance your music or destroy it! So if you’re ready to plug in and see what jams you can manipulate into something cool, you might just be ready for amplification!

We’ve reviewed the top 5 guitar amps that are hot right now! The masses have spoken when it comes to volume, presets, and clean channels! Check them out and see what you have to say!

But, if amps are sort of an anomaly to you, then you need to be sure to pick our Buying Guide apart. It’ll help you get up with the lingo, figure out what size you need, and even help you determine what type of amp you want to shop for!

Our Top 5 Guitar Amps of 2017

Fishman Loudbox Mini – Best Small Guitar Amp

Fishman Loudbox MiniJust because an amp is small, it doesn’t mean it should be without power or volume! Sometimes that even means making an investment in the best mini guitar amp! One that takes the top spot in this category is the Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Amplifier!

While its price is pretty hefty for a beginner guitarist, it has all the features a beginner would want to get familiar with from the get-go.

It has 60 watts with a Master Volume control, 6.5 inch woofer, 1 inch tweeter, and better yet, it’s light-weight and portable!

It even offers Reverb settings for the guitar channel and the microphone channel, so echo it up or don’t!

The small amp also has a 3 band EQ for low, medium, and high tone controls, a dual function chorus, and XLR input for dynamic microphones.

While it’s going to put you out of some hard-earned cash, what else would you expect when you can have the best clean guitar amp in the market?

Thanks to the Loudbox Mini, a small amp built with high power, you don’t have to spend twice this price to get Fishman’s legendary reputation for clean acoustic sound!

Main Benefits:

  • For small venues
  • Electric instrument compatible
  • Lightweight
  • XLR output
  • On-board effects

Main Drawbacks:

  • Price

Customer Reviews

For a price that rivals even some of the best full-size amplifiers, the Fishman Loudbox Mini will blow you away – in awe and volume! It’s the best solid state guitar amp with extra features that you won’t typically see on a mini.

Since it has everything you need to hook up to a mixer without compromising on clean sound, the price is an amplified deal!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

What does Electrical Instrument Compatible Mean?

Is there a Cheaper Fishman Mini Amp?

Can Headphones be used on the Fishman Loudbox Mini Amp?

Where is the Fishman Loudbox Mini Acoustic Instrument Amplifier Made?

How Much does the Loudbox Mini Amp Weigh?

Fishman Loudbox Mini Features:

  • Type: Solid-state
  • Wattage: 60
  • Channels: 2
  • Reverb: Yes
  • Dimensions: 12″ (h) x 13.7″ (w) x 9.7″ (d)

Behringer Ultracoustic – Best Acoustic Guitar Amp

Behringer UltracousticThe cost-conscious will love the Behringer Ultracoustic AT108 Acoustic Instrument Amplifier! While it may not be your performance amp, it’s going to be an affordable practice amp for both beginners and experienced players!

This isn’t just your ordinary amp either. It’s been outfitted with VTC (Virtual Tube Circuitry) Technology to give you the best tube-like tone sounds of loudness, warmness, and fullness!

The 3 band EQ allows you to take control of tone-shaping while the 8 inch dual-cone Bugera speaker handles the wide frequency responses! What you’re left with is harmonic goodness, rich tones, and projected sound!

The Behringer amp also features a headphone jack for when you want to keep your tunes private.

The 1/4 inch CD jack allows for all players to play along to your favorite tunes if you’re a one-man band.

Finally, it has two channels, one for your acoustic guitar and the other for a microphone. There’s nothing stopping you from being a two-man band now or singer and guitarist star!

As a singer/songwriter 15 watt amplifier, this is the best guitar practice amp for your acoustic guitar!

Main Benefits:

  • Price
  • VTC Technology
  • 2 channels
  • Compact
  • Headphone jack

Main Drawbacks:

  • Beginner amp

Customer Reviews

The Behringer Ultracoustic AT108 Acoustic Instrument Amplifier is one of the most highly rated amps in the market! It’s cheap, easy to use, and allows you to get all the practice you need before you hit the big-time stage!

However, some buyers expect more from a practice amp than they should. While this does an excellent job for most people jamming in their garage, it’s not intended for stage use.

Popular Questions (and Answers)

Can a Guitar and Microphone be Used at the Same Time?

Is the Behringer Ultracoustic Amp Open Backed or Closed?

Does this Behringer Amplifier have Tube Amps?

Can the Amp Run on Batteries for Street Performances?

Behringer Ultracoustic Features:

  • Type: Solid-state
  • Wattage: 15
  • Channels: 2
  • Reverb: No
  • Dimensions: 15.4 x 7.6 x 14 inches

Fender Mustang II V2- Best Guitar Amp Under $200

Fender Mustang II V2The Fender Mustang II V2 40 watt amp won this spot by a hair-splitting length! It was rivaled hard by the very worthy Marshall MG30CFX MG Series amplifier!

They’re in the same price range, but when it came down to it, the Fender won out with its ability to channel your singer/songwriter creativity! But, it’s also worth checking out if you want access to all the options!

Just like Fender guitars, their incredible tone carries over to the Fender Mustang amps! It has 24 on-board digital effects presets and an on-board chromatic tuner!

The 24 presets allow you to customize your sound, and when you register and plug-in your amp with the USB connectivity port, you can further download thousands of available presets or overwrite them with your own favorites!

This is all thanks to the the Fender FUSE software that enables you to re-voice your jams to the sounds you like! Don’t forget you have the options of using reverb, delay/echo, tremolo, phaser, and many more digital amp models!

Fender also includes the Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition studio quality recording software and AmpliTube Fender LE edition software for PC and MAC computers!

Compose, practice, perform, and record it all!

Main Benefits:

  • 12″ speaker
  • 24 presets
  • USB port
  • FUSE software
  • Additional software

Main Drawbacks:

  • Clean sound issues

Customer Reviews

The Fender Mustang II V2 amp is the best amp under $200 bucks that you’ll find with as many presets and software equipment in this price range! Users love that they can record their music and change the voice of their acoustic guitar to practically any sound they desire!

However, it seems that some users find it difficult to attain a clean sound with no manual option to override presets. But, using the FUSE will allow you to find clean presets to suit your genre and style.

Popular Questions (and Answers)

Is the Fender Mustang II V2 Loud for Small to Medium Venues?

How Long is the Cable from the Amp to the Wall Plug?

Can More than One Guitar be Plugged into the Amp?

Does Fender Charge for the Downloadable FUSE Presets?

Does this Amp have a Microphone Output Jack?

Fender Mustang II V2 Features:

  • Type: Modeling
  • Wattage: 40
  • Channels: 1
  • Reverb: Yes
  • Dimensions: 18.25 x 8.7 x 17.25 inches

Fender Mustang III – Best Guitar Amp Under $300

Fender Mustang IIIThe Fender Mustang III takes the Mustang Series to a whole new level of amplified sound! While it features the great aspects that makes the Mustang one of the best amps in the market, there’s a few upgrades that makes this Fender III the best amp under 300 bucks!

Technically, it’s a little bit above a hundred dollars, but not by much. You can find it online on discount or with sale prices to push those extra bucks down a few extra bucks under 300!

Price aside, it’s a 100 watt amp with a tone knob that’ll take you through 17 different models of amps to suit any genre of music you’re into or feel like playing for the day!

While the Mustang II only had 24 presets, the Mustang III allows for 100 on-board presets! With the Fender FUSE software, you can switch these up with thousands of available sounds from classical, blues, jazz, and rock to several dirty distortion presets as you please!

With a USB port, headphone output jack, and an AUX jack, you can play for yourself, connect online, record your tunes, and even play your favorite beats while you jam it!

Like the Mustang II amp, the Mustang III purchase also includes the Ableton and the AmpliTube software to make sure you get proof of your country-star strumming!

Main Benefits:

  • 100 watt
  • 100 on-board presets
  • 17 amp models
  • FUSE software
  • Additional software

Main Drawbacks:

  • Too many effects

Customer Reviews

The Fender Mustang III allows for guitarists to explore the wide world of varying tones, sounds, and music genres in one! The customization abilities of this modeling amp is by far peerless!

However, some buyers didn’t like all the effects it had and found it complicated to use or to find a preset that matched them.

But, complaints like these are invalid since it’s a modeling amp – it’s made for tons of effects to be achieved and there’s always a preset that will match your style!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

Does the Fender Mustang III Amp come with a Warranty?

Does the Amp have a Foot Switch?

Does the Mustang III Allow for more than one Guitar to be Amplified at a time?

Does it come with a USB cable?

Can other Electric Instruments be used on the Amp?

Fender Mustang III Features:

  • Type: Modeling
  • Wattage: 100
  • Channels: 1
  • Reverb: Yes
  • Dimensions: 20.5 x 10.75 x 17.75 inches

Line 6 Spider Jam – Best Guitar Amp Under $500

Line 6 Spider JamLine 6 is another notable company that’s ready to help you perfect your skills and take your potential to the max! They do with this the ever-popular Line 6 Spider Jam amp! It’s small, powerful, and smart!

By smart, we mean it has model smarts! It has 7 Smart Control FX models that includes Tape Echo, Multi-Tap, Sweep Echo, Flanger/Chorus, Phaser, Tremolo and Reverb!

With those in mind, it also features 12 amp models that includes both distinct amp and cabinet models to suit your preference.

It also includes 36 programmable presets, 250 artist-created tones, and 400 Spider Jam downloadable presets!

While the amp is small in weight and size, it packs a powerful punch with a 12 inch Custom Celestion speaker, on-board chromatic tuner, and a 2 inch tweeter.

If you’re an amateur guitarist, you won’t have to feel so green with this guitar amp – you’ll be able to hold your own by yourself or in a full-out garage band!

But, if you’re ready to brave deeper and costlier waters, the Line 6 Spider IV 150 watt guitar amp will take you to what the pros use!

Main Benefits:

  • 75 watts
  • Smart controls
  • 36 on-board presets
  • 250 tones
  • 12 amp models

Main Drawbacks:

  • Dislike for presets

Customer Reviews

If you’re a guitarist that’s curious about exploring the many features of what an amp can do for your music, then the best amp under 500 bucks is worth the buy! The features of the Line 6 Spider Jam are oustanding and worth every penny!

Buyers even say that the on-board tuner with its LCD screen is one of the best you can find on an amp!

However, some buyers weren’t too impressed with the presets. It’s all really just a matter of personal preference right? With various amp models, song, and player presets, there’s bound to be several that’ll fit you just right!

Popular Questions (and Answers)

Can Pedals be Used Instead of Using the Presets?

What is the Line 6-exclusive Endless Jam Engine?

Can you Play and Use a Microphone at the same time?

How are the Pre-Recorded Songs Categorized?

Line 6 Spider Jam Features:

  • Type: Modeling
  • Wattage: 75
  • Channels: 1
  • Reverb: Yes
  • Dimensions: 14.9 x 25.2 x 22 inches

Guitar Amp Buying Guide

Types of Amps

By now, you would’ve noticed the various features of amps and why some have recording abilities, presets, and amp models and others don’t. The availability of these features depend on the type of amp you have and its ability to control tones, sounds, and customization.

Solid-State Amps

These are by far the most common and most affordable types of amps on the market. They lack digital technology and use analog technology to control volume and tone. They’re reliable, durable, and they’re the most common type of amp bought for everyday use. However, they’re prone to distortion.

Tube Amps

Old school guitarists will opt for a tube amp that uses vacuum tube technology to control the decibel level. They provide loud, warm, and full sound that many clean and traditional guitarists prefer. However, they’re prone to having a short life and can’t stand much abuse.

Hybrid Amps

These combine variations of solid-state and tube amps. The preamp uses tube technology but the loudness comes from the solid-state engineering. This is great for players who like and prefer the tube sounds but don’t want to have to deal with the high maintenance of a true tube amp.

Modeling Amps

The new and modern version of amps ditch the old, analog technology and come strutting in with the digital age. Because they use digital technology, they’re programmable and can mimic any sound and effect you could want! While they’re often more expensive than solid-state amps, they provide ultimate customization for the beginner or the pro.

Does Speaker Size Matter?

While it might seem like the only factors that matter is the power of the wattage and the volume, speaker size does matter! No matter how good or customizable an amp is, it’s only going to be as good as its speaker size allows it to be.

So here’s the low-down on amp power (wattage) and size.

A low watt amp is somewhere between the 20-40 watt range. These low power amps will usually have a speaker size of 8-10 inches. This is absolutely appropriate for bedroom, garage, and small venue playing. Trying to play one of these amps in a larger room filled with people will diminish sound projection and produce unwanted distortion.

However, higher power amps generally have 12 inch speakers. This is ideal for larger rooms. Now, you don’t have to have high power to maximize a 12 inch speaker. It could be great for small to medium venue playing in a larger room. But, if you’re looking for performance-ready amps, you’ll want to look for a 12 inch speaker with 100 watts or more.

Amp Terminology for Beginners

There’s so much lingo when it comes to cruising the amp world. For the sake of the beginners, we’ll cover the most common terms to help you get on board faster and up to date!

Channels

Channels are the various levels of distortion control. The more channels an amp has, the better your ability to achieve an undistorted, clean sound.

Combo

Combo amps include both the speaker unit and the amplifier in one box. Historically, they weren’t good enough for on-stage gigs and performance playing. But, they’re getting better and better in the modern age.

Effects

Most amps provide a range of effects you can use. Do you want a tremolo effect without actually having a tremolo on your guitar? Use your effects setting! Generally, the rule is, the more expensive the amp, the more range of preset effects you have at your disposal. Modeling amps are the reigning champions of providing the most effects you can have.

Foot Switch

These are an external component that allows you to switch between presets hands-free.

Head amps

Unlike combo amps, this is just the head amp and lacks the speaker unit. For powerful on-stage performances, it’s advised to invest in a head amp and then purchase the speaker unit separately. This provides more power and sonic projection especially in large, outdoor venues.

Reverb

This is a setting that can regulate the amount the echo your guitar makes. This is controlled digitally (modeling) or by spring (solid-state).

Stack

This is the number or combination of various head amps and speaker units that you can attach your amp to.

The Down-Low on Volume

Does a 60 watt amp sound louder than a 30 watt amp? You might be nobbish enough to nod your head fanatically right now. But, truthfully, it’s minimal – oh, that’s blasphemy you say!

While a 60 watt amp does have twice as much power as a 30 watt amp, volume is determined by decibel levels, not by watts! Without getting into the math, if you wanted a twice as loud amp of a 30 watt amp, then add a zero onto the end. To get twice as much volume with a speaker that can handle it, you’ll need a 300 watt amp!

So, how do you know if there’s really a sound difference? Test it out! Put a 30 watt and 60 watt amp side by side and set them on the same volume setting. First, you’ll notice that the 30 watt amp has a 8-10 inch speaker and the 60 watt amp has a 12 inch speaker.

To the common ear, the sound volume will be identical. To a more trained ear, the 60 watt amp will only be a tad louder and fuller because of the extra wattage and the extra 2 inches it has in speaker size.

So, if you’re trying to justify the extra 50 bucks on a 60 watt amp because of volume, it’s rubbish! If you want ear-bleeding volume, then you’re looking in the wrong market!

So put your teenage rock band foolishness away and don’t let anyone tell you that your amp isn’t loud enough to piss off your roommates!

Amplify Your Tunes!

So you wanna be a guitar pro? An amplifier can not only amplify your tunes, but it can also amplify your skills!

You can opt for a simple and trustworthy amp or you can brave the customization of what digital amps have to offer. But, what it really comes down to is if you have the skills worth amplifying?