An electric guitar is only half of the equation–you also need an amplifier. No matter if you’re playing for practice at home or performing live, having the right amp can make all the difference. Let’s explore seven of the best guitar amps for practice or small gigs. They will give your music power and tone to make your music come alive in a way nothing else can!
What is a Guitar Amplifier?
An amplifier, quite simply, is an electronic device that increases the amplitude of a signal. In the context of music, amplifiers are used to increase the amplitude of audio signals from musical instruments or other audio sources.
Guitar amps come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. The most common type is the combo amp, which combines the amplifier and speaker into one unit. There are also head and cabinet amps, which are two separate units that must be used together.
Head and cabinet amps are usually more expensive than combo amps, but they offer a few advantages. First, they tend to have more power, which is important if you’re playing larger venues. Second, they offer more flexibility in terms of sound, as you can mix and match different heads and cabinets to create your perfect tone.
If you’re just starting out, a combo amp is probably the best option. They’re less expensive and easier to transport than head and cabinet amps. Plus, they have everything you need in one unit, so you won’t have to worry about buying separate components.
Types of Electric Guitar Amplifiers
There are four main types of electric guitar amplifiers: tube amps, solid state amps, modeling amps and hybrid amps.
Tube amps (also called as valve or vacuum amps) are the original type of amplifier. They use vacuum tubes to amplify the signal, which gives the sound a warm, rich quality. Tube amps are generally more expensive than solid state amps, but many guitarists prefer their sound.
Solid state amps are more modern, and they use transistors to amplify the signal. Solid state amps are typically more affordable than tube amps, and they are also easier to maintain. They’re often lighter and more portable. These amps usually have a clear sound, but some versions come with added distortion.
Modeling amps are the newest type of amplifier on the market. They use digital technology to replicate the sounds of a tube amp. Many modeling amps also come with a wide range of built-in effects, which can be great for performing musicians.
Hybrid amps are a combination of tube and solid state amps. They use both vacuum tubes and transistors to amplify the signal. Hybrid amps offer the best of both worlds: the rich, warm sound of a tube amp with the reliability of a solid state amp.
Best Guitar Amps for Practice or Small Gigs
If you’re in search of an amp that would be ideal for practicing at home or with a band in smaller venues, or without a loud drummer, these are some great options.
Note: A 5-watt Valve amp has a comparable output (power) to that of a 30/40 watt solid state modeling amp.
The Orange Crush 35 RT is a twin channel and a great combo amp for practice and small gigs. It has 35 watts of power, which is plenty for most situations. The Crush 35RT is the most feature-rich and largest model in the Crush range. It is also known for its lively feel and responsiveness.
This amp also comes with a built-in reverb effect, which can add depth and richness to your sound. The Orange Crush 35 RT is affordable and easy to transport, making it a great option for musicians on the go.
With its 10” Voice of the World speaker, this amplifier provides increased punch, presence, and volume. Besides an onboard reverb and chromatic tuner to keep you sounding great no matter where your performance takes place, this amp also has an Aux In for backing tracks plus it includes our CabSim-loaded headphones output for practicing without distractions or interruptions.
- Power Output: 35 Watt
- Amp Type & Channel : Solid State, Twin Channel
- Speaker: 1 x Custom 10″ Voice of the world
- Controls: Clean volume, dirty gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, dirty volume, channel volume, channel selector switch, (below) integrated chromatic tuner, reverb
- Built in digital reverb
- Fx: Reverb
- Fx loop: Fully buffered, ultra transparent effects loop to truly get the most from your pedal setup.
- Auxiliary Input: 1/8” Stereo Input Jack for iPod or mp3 player
- Output: Cabsim-loaded Phones output
- Weight: 11KG (25LB)
The little amp with the big sound! Blackstar’s HT-5R has always been a popular choice among customers. The HT-5R is the perfect bedroom/practice amp. It gives you everything you need to get great tube sound, in a small package. With its unique design and 5 watts of power, HT-5R has the ability to create a full sound, even at low volumes. This allows you to get that sound in your head no matter the environment.
The HT-5R’s unique design and 5 watts of power give it the ability to create a full sound, even at low volumes. This allows you to get that sound in your head no matter the environment.
- Power & Amp Type: 5 Watts, all-tube combo amp with reverb
- Channels: Two footswitchable channels for clean tone and overdrive
- Valves: 1 x ECC83 preamp valve, and 1 x 12BH7 power amp valve
- Speaker: 1 x 12″ Blackbird 50 custom designed
- Controls: Enhanced tone controls and Exclusive Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)
- Fx: Digital Stereo Reverb
- Extra: Effects loop with effects level switch, unique push pull power amp design, footswitch included
3 – MARSHALL MG30GFX
The MG30GFX delivers a huge Marshall tone. MG30GFX has a cutting-edge solid-state design that emulates the tone and response of a tube amp. The MG30GFX has 30 watts of power, making it perfect for small gigs and rehearsals.
This combo amp gives you all the features you need to rock out, you can choose from Clean, Crunch, OD1, and OD2 channels which come equipped with a 3-band EQ. Furthermore, you get integrated reverb, delay, and other digital effects. And the best part is that you can store and recall each channel’s settings!
- Power Output & Amp Type: 30W, Solid State Combo Amp
- Controls: Gain, Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble, Reverb, FX Select, Master, Channel Select x 2, Tap, Store
- Speaker Size: Custom 10″ speaker provides classic British tone
- Footswitch; Optional PEDL-90008
- Speaker-emulated Line/Headphone Outs for practicing and recording
The Mustang LT50 is a 50-watt modeling amp which contains lots of features that makes it easy and fun to use for any guitarist. With a free Fender TONE 3.0 download, you can use your desktop computer to edit, store and manage all your presets with ease.
The controls are super-simple and easy to use, so you can get the perfect sound every time. With 20 different amps available- including vintage classics and more modern, high-gain options – the Fender Mustang LT50 Combo Amp lets you create the perfect sound for any style.
- Power Output: 50 Watts
- Amp Type: Modeling / Digital amplifier
- Speaker: Single 12” Fender Special Design
- Interface: Simple user interface with 1.8″ color display
- Effects: 20 Amp Models, Multiple Effects, 60 Presets (30 pre-loaded, 30 easily accessible)
5 – VOX AC15
The Vox AC15C1 combo amp is a 15-watt, all-tube amplifier with reverb and tremolo. It’s a perfect blend of vintage and rare. It’s simple, elegant design makes it perfect for small gigs and rehearsal.
The AC15C1 has two channels – Normal and Top Boost. The Normal channel gives you that classic Vox clean tone, while the Top Boost channel adds more grit and gain. The 15-watt power section gives a full sound that can cut through any onstage or studio mix, without being too overbearing in comparison to the other instruments. Additionally, Vox’s AC circuit is particularly great for taking your favorite effects pedals and getting creative with them.
Vox AC15 is an amplifier that reliably works hard. It’s durable, reliable, and sounds great. You’ll be able to use it for years to come, and it will never let you down. It’s built to last.
- Power Output: 15 Watts
- Amp Type: Combo All-tube combo amplifier
- Channel: 2 (Normal, Top Boost)
- Effects: Built-in Reverb and Tremolo
- Speaker: Single 12” Celestion
- Valve: EL84
- EQ: 2-band
The BOSS Katana MkII series of amplifiers offers a variety of sounds and features, making it versatile for both practice and performance. If you’re already a fan of the original Katana amps, you’ll be thrilled with MkII even more. And if you’re new to Katana, get ready for sound, feel, and versatility that soars far beyond its price range.
The Katana 50 MkII combo amp gives you 50 watts of power, which is a lot of power for any guitar player. With new amp variations and access to 60 BOSS effects within the BOSS Tone Studio editor, the 50 MkII offers an array of tone-tweaking options. No matter what genre of music you play, your Katana 50 MkII is up for the task.
- Power Output: 50 Watts
- Amp Type: Combo Amplifier, Solid State
- Channels: 5 x Amp Types
- Speaker Size: 1 x 12″
- Effects: 60 BOSS Effects (Tone Studio software), Modulation, Delay
- EQ: 3-band
- Connectivity: USB
The Laney CUB Series SUPER12 is a 15 watt valve combo amp that beautifully amplifies powerful, crunchy, and warm tones. Its single channel design with three band EQ and footswitchable BOOST function makes it easy to use, while the on-board reverb powered by the Black Country Custom SECRETPATH pedal adds depth and textures to your playing.
The SUPER12 is a versatile amp that produces great vintage tones. It’s a great choice for any guitar player who wants an amp that can do it all.
- Power Output: 15 Watts, Boutique Style
- Amp Type: Valve Combo Amplifier
- Channels: 1 x Clean/Boost
- Speaker Size: 1 x 12″ Custom Laney Speaker
- EQ: 3-band EQ
- Effects: BOOST function, Reverb (Onboard)
- Valves: 3 x 12AX7 preamp valves and 2 x EL84 output valves
Amplifiers do so much more than make your music louder; they also have a set of built-in effects that can improve the sound quality of your guitar. They can shape the sound of your instrument, help you create new tones, and allow you to experiment with different effects.
So, whether you’re just starting out and need an amp for practice at home or you’re ready to hit the small gig circuit, one of these amps will fit the bill. With great sound and a variety of features, any one of these would be a great choice for your next amplifier.
So plug in, turn up the volume, and enjoy!