Choosing the best beginner guitar amps can be a total nightmare for newbies. There is a long list of aspects and specs to consider when buying a new amplifier for your electric or acoustic-electric guitar. But it’s not impossible to find a great one. Based on your budget and your personal preferences, you should be able to find the one that suits you most.The market is so diverse with a wide range of guitar amps, ranging from beginner and home practice amps to high end and professional amps. As a beginner, it might be confusing to look at all the specs and features, and select the best beginner guitar amp for yourself. That’s why in this post from Breathe Carolina, we make it easier for you to start your music journey, by writing a full review of 19 best beginner guitar amps and a complete guide on how to choose one.
Best Beginner Guitar Amps Comparison 2020
Best Budget Guitar Amp
Best Mini Guitar Amp
Best Combo Guitar Amp
** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the best beginner guitar amps, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
Detailed Reviews Of Top best beginner guitar amps
This is a scaled down version of the iconic amp from Fender. It has an open back cabinet in which you can store cables or small stuff. It features 17 amp models, so you can easily create different sounds, which is great if you want a versatile amp. As a beginner, this can be a nice feature because you can experiment with many types of music.
The 3-band EQ helps you customize the sound further. It has an aux input, so you can easily plug in your phone or MP3 player and play along with your favorite tracks. You can also plug in your headphones and play silently at night without bothering your family or neighbors. There are multiple effects such as digital reverbs, chorus, vibratone and delay if you want to play around with different sounds. The sound is decent at this price. This one has a 5 year transferable warranty from Fender.
This Fender amp has only 1 channel and you can’t switch from clean to tweed quickly. An annoying feature for those who live with family or housemates would be the loud “pop” sound when you turn this amp off. This is a small problem, but can be annoying if you want to practice in silence.
- Fender’s 5 Year Transferable Warranty
- Open back cabinet for storing small stuff
- Versatile, can play many styles
- Many effects
- Jacks for headphones to practice in silence
- 1 channel, can’t switch quickly
- Loud “pop” sound when turning off
This is an affordable tube amp from Bugera. Tube amp creates a warmer and unique sound, so it’s quite expensive. It has great clean tone. It’s also great for dark blues-y sound that overdrives nicely.
This one has 4 control knobs, including independent gain, master volume, tone and digital reverb. There’s no onboard effect, so if you want some versatility, you need to buy an additional pedal board. It also has a jack for speakers.
This amp has the INFINIUM Tube Life Multiplier technology, which will keep your tubes last longer and alert you when they're starting to die. An awesome feature at this price.
An old-school tube amp for guitar players who want to play the old-school way. With 5W power output, you can only use this for home practice, but not for gigs or gatherings. If you’re looking for a retro, vintage looking amp with decent sound and no special effects, this might be a great choice.
- Cool vintage look and feel
- Warm, unique sound of tube amps
- INFINUM technology: tubes last longer, alert
- when about to die
- No effects
- Only for home or small room practice
This amp is a bit more expensive than the Fender Champion. It has 17 amp models 24 onboard presets, which is great for playing in many styles and experimenting with different sounds. It has everything from the Fender Champion, and of course, has additional features.
There’s a built-in tuner, which is extremely convenient for newbies. The Fender Fuse software goes with this amp is what makes it shine. You can create your own presets with effects, knobs, amp models and you can customize sound all the way you want. You can also record clips and build songs.
The downside is that the Fuse software can take some time to get used to. You can’t edit the presets name, either.
- Great for different styles of music
- Fender Fuse software: your own presets, highly customizable
- Can record clips and build songs
- Fuse software needs time to get used to
This amp from Marshall can really be one of the best beginner guitar amps on the market. It’s a tiny, lightweight, cool looking desktop amp that you can bring anywhere, from your basement to summer camp. It’s battery-operated. It has 3 knobs for tone, volume and overdrive. It’s loud enough for home practice, and for silent practice when you don’t want to disturb other people. There’s no effect for you to experiment.
At this size, you can’t expect to have the greatest sound quality compared to a full size amp. But the sound is clean and overdriven enough for you to enjoy. If you're just playing for yourself or a few friends and family members in a small place where there’s no power outlet, this is a great choice.
- Super small, lightweight and portable
- Cool looking design
- Loud enough for home practice
- Decent, clean sound
- No effects
This is one of the best beginner guitar amps for those who love metal. It’s been used by metal bands such as Machine Head or Trivium. So if you’re into metal right from the beginning, it’s worth investing in this amp. It creates a heavy, brutal, strong, crunchy tone, which is great for distortion. You can get some great tones at low volumes.
It has 2 channels, 3-band EQ for each, resonance and presence controls for each, so you can easily customize and find the tone that you want. It’s quite complicated for a beginner, but as you practice, you can definitely grow with this amp. It’s also not expensive at all because it’s a combo amp. But combo amps are heavy, and so does this amp.
- Great for metal
- Heavy, brutal, strong, crunchy tone, great for distortion
- Great tones at low volumes
- Highly customizable
- Easy to switch between channels
- Can grow with
- Not expensive because it’s a combo
The sound quality of this amp is amazing. It’s a tube amp, which means it will give you that unique, warm and vintage sound that everyone who loves tube amps are crazy about. It only has reverb and tremolo, but no other effects. You may need a pedal board to get the effects that you want.
This amp has the look of a vintage briefcase, making you want to display it instead of tossing it to a corner. If you want an amp for rock, alternative or something that sounds like Radiohead or The Beatles, this may be a great choice for you.
- Warm and vintage sound
- Retro, sophisticated design
- Not many effects
Blackstar has also made some best beginner guitar amps out there. This amp is modern and programmable. It has 12 effects and 6 voices for you to play around with the sounds. The aux input and headphone input is great for practicing along with some backing tracks. It has gain, volume and EQ knobs.
It comes with the Blackstar Edition DAW Software. You can control the amp's effects or record your own tracks. There’s also a community of users so that you can discuss and ask questions. It also has a nice look. Every tone is great. Definitely one of the best table top modeling amps out there. The only downside is that it may create hiss noise when plugged in at first.
- Modern, programmable
- Can experiment different syles
- Aux input for headphones and practice in silence
- DAW software is great
- Users’ community
- Hiss noise when plugged in
This Line 6 Spider V60 is one of the most popular modeling amps on the market. It has a modern design. The amp is lightweight, the tuner is built-in, a metronome and drum loops, all of which makes this amp perfect for beginners. It has 128 custom presets, so you can choose specific amps in the past or the tones of your favorite bands. The lower volume levels are perfect for practicing at home without making loud noise.
Having a built-in wireless G10 receiver is extremely cool. You can practice with only one cable to your phone or tablet and start to jam along easily. However, the built-in drum loops are pre-recorded and you can’t adjust the tempo. There’s no way you can customize and modify the drum loops.
- Modern design
- Great for practice
- Built-in drum loops can’t be modified
Orange is also a brand well-known for producing some of the best beginner guitar amps out there. This amp has a different design than previous amps that we mentioned above. The amp is separate from the speakers, which makes it easier for you to move them around. The speakers are in a separate cabinet, so you can easily upgrade them if you want. The orange color is amazing and adds brightness to your day.
There are no onboard effects, so you need a pedal board to play with the effects. The AC adapter and the cable for connecting your speakers are included. There’s an aux input for MP3 players or CD, which is great for practice. This amp is very loud, too loud to be a bedroom amp. It's just not quiet enough for quiet practice. By turning up the gain, you can get some good crunch.
- Cool design
- The amp is separate from speakers, easy to move and upgrade
- No effects
- Too loud for quiet practice
This Fender Frontman has similar look and features to the Fender Champion, but it’s only 10 watts and it has no built-in effects. That’s what makes it cheaper. It has 2-band EQ and responsive controls for you to customize and find the tone that you want. It produces great sound, decent overdrive, loads of volume. It suits lighter music such as country, jazz, blues, or classic rock, but not really for hard metal.
It has aux input so you can plug your MP3 or CD in and jam along with the backing tracks. It also has headphone output so you can plug your headphones in and practice without annoying your housemates. The closed-back design also helps create heavier bass response. This is a small amp that you can put on your table top.
- Has similar look and features to the Fender Champion, but cheaper
- Responsive controls
- Great sound, decent overdrive, loads of volume
- Suits lighter music
- Not suit hard metal
- No effects
This is a simple amp for those who love vintage design. It’s kind of a plug and play amp, which is easy for beginners. The power selector switch allows you to toggle between 1W, 4W and a quarter W, so you can get some great overdrive and crunch. The controls are simple and there’s no effect.
- Vintage, retro design
- Plug and play amp, easy for beginners
- Great crunch and overdrive
- Simple controls
- No effects
This guitar amp has a simple and vintage design. It’s nice for home practice and studio recording. It produces full, nice sound which is great for rock and blues. There’s an external for you to connect to another cabinet. It produces great overdrive, and cleans up nicely as well. It's also quite loud for a 4 watt amp. If you turn down the gain, it can create a nice clean tone and if you crank the gain, it really crunches in a nice way. The controls are very responsive. The only downside is that it lacks bass.
- Simple, vintage design
- Great for rock and blues
- Great overdrive
- Nice clean tone and crunch
- Responsive controls
- Lack bass
This is a killer amp from Orange. The orange color is bright and vivid as we can often see Orange amps design. The build quality is sturdy and we’re sure you can “abuse” it for years. The panel features input and output sockets, control knobs for volume, gain, overdrive, and a 3-band EQ. The 3-band EQ allows you to customize and perfect the sound. The headphone/line out features CabSIM cabinet emulation, which emulates all the nuance, power, and tone of a mic’d Orange 4×12 cabinet loaded with their signature Voice of the World speakers. So you can have the big sound Orange is famous for right in your room.
There’s 1 channel. The circuitry has a high gain. The overdrive and gain controls allow you to get the perfect amount of grit. The clean tones are amazing. The overdrive is great. The controls are responsive. The only thing we complain about is that there is no auxiliary input, which is a pain if you want to practice in your bedroom.
- Bright, iconic Orange design
- Sturdy build quality
- Big Orange sound
- High gain
- Amazing clean tones, great overdrive
- Responsive controls
- No aux input
This Vox Pathfinder has the classic vibe of Vox amps. It’s a small and lightweight solid state amp, so it’s sturdy and reliable enough to use for a long time. It’s simple and budget friendly, so it’s one of the best beginner guitar amps. You can flip the switch and you can get different sounds, from clean to creamy, from warm to crunch. It’s great for classic rock, but not for hard metal. The sound is rich and full.
- Classic, small look
- Solid state, sturdy, lightweight
- Budget friendly, easy to use
- Great for different styles of music
- Rich, full sound
- No effects
This Fender amp is specifically made for acoustic performances. It’s small and lightweight, so it’s a portable amp that can stay with you everywhere you go. This Acoustasonic 15 is great for acoustic melodies, jazz, blues, pop, but it’s not meant for metal or rock.
It’s loud enough for home practice and small gigs. This Acoustasonic 15 also has a microphone input, so you can plug in the mic and sing along while you play. But with 15 watts, it’s not made for large venues and stages. It has a headphone output, so you can practice in silence and with headphones on. There’s a chorus effect knob, which is great for performing music.
Fender has a 5 Year Transferable Warranty for its amps, which is a huge advantage. It’s definitely one of the best beginner guitar amps for acoustic nights.
- Great for acoustic music, pop, jazz
- Chorus effect knob
- Portable and light
- Headphone output for silent practice
- 5 Year Transferable Warranty
- Not made for hard metal or rock
- Simple controls
- Sounds decent and easy to use
- Great price and great value
- Clean and distortion both sound nice
- Stereo chorus widens clean channel
- Delay can substitute reverb
- No reverb
The only controls on the Killer Ant are a power switch and volume control. It doesn’t even have the standard features we often see in a beginner amp. But it’s a tube amp, so it's more expensive than other choices. If you’re looking for an overdriven tone and don’t really have the budget for more costly alternatives, this might be for you.
Although the sound is not loud enough for gigs, it’s great and loud enough for home practice. If you’re willing to pay extra money for good tones produced from tube amps, go for this one. If you prefer something with lots of features, you might have to look elsewhere.
- Tube amp
- Overdriven, great sound
- Loud enough for practice
- Lack features
Boss is one of the most well-known brands in the music instrument industry. This Boss Katana 50 MKII doesn’t disappoint and deserves to be one of the best beginner guitar amps on the market.
It has 5 different amp voicings (acoustic, clean, crunch, lead and brown), along with 60 different effects, so you can experiment and play around to create the perfect sound that you’re looking for. The clean sounds are sharp and clear. The reverb is great: spring and plate. 50 watts would be loud for home practice and small venues.
It has output for recording, so you can record onto your computer. You can connect with the software from Boss and start to tweak things. However, you need to update your firmware to connect to the PC. The information about this is unclear, so we just want to point out.
- Great for different styles
- Sharp, clear clean sounds
- Reverb is spring and plate.
- Can connect to software
- The firmware information is unclear
This Blackstar Fly 3 Bluetooth is the perfect amp for those who don’t have much space. It’s a tiny and compact amp, which is great for home practice, rehearsal and small gathering between friends. It delivers a surprising amount of volume. It has 2 channels - clean and overdrive - which allow you to alternate between a rich clean sound and something hairier. It’s battery powered, so you can bring it to places where there’s no power outlet.
There’s also a delay effect and Bluetooth. You can adjust the level and the time of the delay. There’s no reverb effect. Clean tones are very nice. You can add a little bit of delay effect and roll back your tone knobs a bit to create a nice jazzy tone.
Of course, as this is a compact size guitar amp, it can’t be compared to full size choices. You can’t use it for large stages. But it’s decent for its size and price. We have no complaints about this option, to be honest.
- Tiny and compact
- Great for home practice, rehearsal, small gatherings
- Battery powered, great for places with no power outlet
- Nice clean tones
- Can’t use for larger stages
The Ultimate Guide: How To Choose The Best Beginner Guitar Amps
Guitar amps have many specs and aspects that you need to consider before purchasing one. That’s why we’ve compiled a complete step by step guide for you. You can follow the steps below to figure out the best beginner guitar that you need.
Identify Music Types
Before choosing the best beginner guitar amps for yourself, you should find out what type of music you want to play with your new amp. As beginners, you should pick options that are versatile enough for you to experiment a wide range of music types. Whether you like light country music or hard rock, you should think about what types of music you’re going to play with your new amp. As you practice, you’ll improve and then you can upgrade to specific amps for specific music types.
After identifying your favorite music types, you need to do a bit of research on amp types, manufacturers, or features of amps. Don’t panic, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide below.
Choose Amp Type
How amps work
When you hook your guitar up to an amplifier, you’re plugging it into its preamp. The preamp processes the signal from your guitar. The power amp boosts the signal and sends it to the speakers, converting the signal into sound.
Choose the type of amp that you need for the styles of music that you’ve chosen. There are 4 main amp types: solid-state amps, tube amps, modeling amps and hybrid amps.
Solid-state amps use transistors to amplify signals. Many guitar players believe that solid-state amps produce a thinner, or harsher, distortion because they don’t have the responsiveness of tubes. Many like the tight bass of these amps. But as beginners who have untrained ears, you might not be able to notice all that.
Most solid-state amps are more lightweight and more budget-friendly than tube amps. They don’t need much maintenance and are more reliable. They are more like plug-and-play amps, which is the reason why many new guitar players start with these amps.
Tube amps have tubes in preamp and power amp stages to amplify signals. Tube amps are more responsive and they deliver different unique tones. Many professionals love tube amps because of their natural, harmonic distortion. These amps create thick, rich sound and warmer, more vintage tone.
Tube amps are much more expensive than solid state amps, and they also require regular maintenance. The cost of tube replacement is also very high. Many beginners wonder if solid state or tube amps create better tones. The truth is if you’re a beginner, you may not be able to differentiate the sounds created between the two.
Modeling amps (digital amps)
Modeling amps use digital technology to stimulate sounds. They can replicate tones of other amps, which makes them like an all-in-one amp. You can fiddle around with different tones and effects with no boundaries.
Hybrid amps can be a combination of solid state and tube amps, or of tube and modeling amps. They are like Jack of all trades.
Identify amp power and size
Watts, configurations and speaker sizes—those are the critical factors you should consider.
Watt is the measurement of an amp’s power output. Many assume that the bigger the wattage number, the better. But it’s just a misconception and it doesn’t necessarily work like that. You don’t need a higher wattage number to sound good.
Based on your purpose and application, you can figure out the number of power output that suits your need. For home use and practice, you don’t need amps more than 20 watts. If you want to purchase an amp for small gigs and small venues, you need amps that are more than 20. Save 100 watt amps for very big venues.
Smaller amps are often better used for recording. The guitar sounds in Led Zeplin records used to be created by a 15 watt combo amp in the studio. Many professionals use many amps to blend their sounds.
Huge amps are no longer a must, as nowadays, many stages use microphones on the amps or onstage monitors to control the sound. For most situations, you often need 30-50 watt amps. If you don’t have a big place, there are desktop or mini amps available on the market. They’re about the size of your small Bluetooth speaker, and many can even run on batteries. To get the portability and small size you want, you have to sacrifice a bit of the tone quality.
When you are just starting out on electric guitar, a small amp for home practice or a small studio will be all that you need to get started. Smaller amps are also convenient for guitarists who travel a lot.
There are 2 common kinds of configurations: combos and separates.
Combo amps pack the preamp, the power amp and the speakers into one cabinet. They often have input and output jacks for headphones or MP3 players, so you can play along with your favorite tracks. Because of their smaller size and portability, combo apps are often used by travel guitarists.
This configuration often includes a separate head cabinet and speaker cabinet. They have more flexibility compared to combo amps.
These are measured in inches. The rule of thumb here is that larger speakers issue out stronger bass notes, and smaller ones are better at handling the higher frequencies. Smaller speakers handle higher frequencies better, while larger ones produce stronger bass. If you’re buying an amp for home practice, there’s no need to choose speakers with very large size.
Identify your budget
Identify how much you can pay for an amp. Tube amps cost much more than solid state ones. Most of the time, premium price often equals premium sound quality. It all depends on what you’re using the amp for. As beginners, you don’t have to get a very expensive amp unless you know how to make the best use of it.
Many amps these days are equipped with many cool features, switches, buttons, etc. The more stuff integrated on your amp, the more complicated it is. If you’re a beginner, you don’t want extra stuff that confuses you. However, there are some common features you need to know in order to decide which one is for you.
EQ controls and settings
EQ equals Equalization. It’s important for any amp because it helps shape the amps’ frequencies for different environments that you play in. Some amps have 3-band EQ, including treble, mid, and bass. Some amps have 4. These controls help you customize the amp to achieve the tone you want.
You often see gain knobs on guitar amps. They are used to control the amount of distortion. The higher you turn this knob, the more distorted the amp will sound.
Channels let you choose the specified kind of sound you want to create. Some amps have 2 channels such as clean or overdriven. Some have 3 such as classic, modern and overdriven. Some amps allow you to customize the sound of each channel.
Some amps allow you to switch between channels that have different types of sound. You can toggle between channels through a foot switch.
Some common built-in effects are reverb, chorus, delay, etc. Modeling amps and hybrid amps can create tons of effects. These are fun to play around, but beginners shouldn’t get too carried away with these. If you’re interested in effects, a pedal board or a boutique stompbox will give better results.
Reverb effects sound like echo in a big, empty room. This is one of the most common effects on amps. If you’ve chosen the styles of music that you want to play at the beginning, find out what effects are often used in those styles. Many opt for modeling amps to save money on pedal boards because modeling amps have the sounds of different amps.
Many amps available on the market offer a wide variety of digital on-board effects. You can experiment and customize the effects to play around with the sound. Many professional guitarists use pedal boards to create effects instead of using on-board effects. If you’re planning to become a pro, you can always purchase an additional pedal board to get all the effects that you want.
Inputs and outputs
The input and output jacks are often put at the back of the amp. You can plug in devices such as headphones for silent practice, footswitch to control effects, etc.
Listen to the sound of each amp on YouTube or at a store to see which one has the sound you love most. Talk to a friend who knows lots about guitar and amps, and get his opinion and advice before you make the decision. If you don’t have that friend, we’ve got your back.
If you’re a beginner and have untrained ears, everything about sound is intuitive. So pick the one that you love listening to. Don’t just based on the specs.
We’ve found a video which can be useful if this is your first time buying a guitar amp:
Don’t get too caught up in finding the best guitar amps with the best-looking specs and the most expensive price. What works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you. Find what suits your needs, your budget and what makes you love right at the first time you hear it.
Final Thoughts of Best Beginner Guitar Amps
Choosing the best beginner guitar amps can be confusing because there are too many options, specs and aspects to consider. We hope our reviews of 19 amps and our guide to choosing one has helped you select the best beginner guitar amp for yourself.
Based on all of the criteria, pros and cons, we’ve come up with our top 3 picks of the best beginner guitar amps.
Best Budget Guitar Amp
Best Mini Guitar Amp
Best Combo Guitar Amp
Have you found the best beginner guitar amp for your music journey? Do you have any questions and suggestions for us? Don’t hesitate to tell us in the comment section below.
See more best seller of beginner guitar amps on Amazon and find the best option for you here!