Top 3 Best Bluetooth Speaker Guitar Amplifier Combos

Bluetooth speakers are not that new, and battery operated portable versions are everywhere. What is new is the blending of the bluetooth speaker and guitar amplifier. Most major amplifier brands have come to market with their own offerings. Here’s a list of our top 3 picks in the categories of best overall premium package, best portable package and best for the budget conscious consumer.

BEST PICK – Premium Bluetooth Speaker Guitar Amp Combo

Line 6 AMPLIFi

Up first on this list is the Line 6 AMPLIFi series. I think this is the clear leader in the new bluetooth speaker/guitar amplifier hybrid frontier. Here’s why…

It’s not often easy to be excel in different fields, but the AMPLIFi does and makes it look easy. It delivers great amp tone and features for the guitarist, and serious bluetooth speaker sound for the audiophile. It also looks unique and stylish as a home speaker – so much so that even my wife (who typically hates guitar gear and claims “it all looks like same”) is happy to have it in the family room entertainment center. That’s an award winning feat by itself, if you ask me!

Some amps being promoted as bluetooth speakers sound like, well your smartphone played through a guitar amp. Not so with AMPLIFi. Line 6 delivers a premium quality audio experience, and superior tone control.

In fact, it’s in the control that the AMPLIFi magic really shines.

The Line 6 mobile app, called AMPLIFi Remote, makes it a breeze to record and share your creations or tweak your tone. You can call up a multitude of professionally recorded jam tracks, or any song from your personal library to jam with or listen to whenever the mood strikes you.

But it gets better!

AMPLIFi Remote gives you the ability to automatically match your amp tone settings to the music you’re playing along with. Simply pull up your song of choice, and select the tone matching feature and AMPLIFi Remote will pull the preferred preset from thousands in the cloud. You can also dial up any legendary guitarist’s tone and automatically have their tone for a jam track, or solo work or just whatever you want.

And all of this is free!

Beyond the artist tone matching, AMPLIFi Remote allows you to tweak all the usual settings on a amp as well. AMPLIFi offers a choice of over 200 virtual models of guitar amp and speaker cabinet configurations.

Here’s a snapshot of what’s available:

  •  70+ amps
  •  100+ effects
  •  20+ speaker cabinets
  •  Remotely control all amp and effects parameters
  •  Automatic tone matching
  •  Access thousands of tones online

You can also share your own tones via Twitter and Facebook or rate existing ones on the cloud.

The Line 6 AMPLIFi comes in 30w ($266), 75w ($250) and 150w ($388) variations and looks modern and stylish in your living room, or just about any room.

DEMO:

BEST PICK – Portable Bluetooth Speaker Guitar Amp Combo

Vox Adio Air GT

Up next is the Vox Adio Air GT. The Adio is a 50W 2×3 bluetooth modeling guitar combo amplifier that is not nearly as fully featured as the AMPLIFi, but it has strengths that the Line 6 doesn’t have.

As an amplifier, the Adio Air GT provides everything you’d expect from Vox – classic cleans to AC30 and high-gain overdrive.

The Adio Air GT also delivers when it comes to performance as a bluetooth speaker. Adio provides the cabinet resonance of a guitar amp, with the high fidelity and spatiality and depth you expect from stereo speakers.

The uniquely designed cabinet provides an immersive listening experience when paired with your smartphone or tablet. The Adio features a bass reflex construction that uses a flair design to provide excellent low-frequency response, with minimal unwanted noise.

Like the Line 6 AMPLIFi, the Vox Adio Air GT models a wide range of amps (though not quite as many as the AMPLIFi). The Adio uses its VET (Virtual Elements Technology) to model the amp and effects components circuit design:

  •  11 built-in amp models (including the AC30 and a variety of high-gain and clean amps).
  •  The variety expands to 23 when using the Tone Room software.
  •  8 different built-in effects:
    •  4 modulation effects, such as chorus and tremolo
    •  4 ambience-type effects, like delay and reverb
  • 19 total effects available with Tone Room

Where the Vox Adio Air GT comes out ahead of the Line 6 AMPLIFi is in its portability. The Adio is a much smaller package, weighing only 6.39 lbs, and even runs up to 8 hours on 8 AA batteries.

Recording with the Adio is also fairly robust with the inclusion of a USB port and JamVOX III software.

The Vox Adio Air GT is the best pick for portable bluetooth speaker guitar amp combo and sells for $299.

DEMO (Starts at 0:48)

BEST PICK – Budget Bluetooth Speaker Guitar Amp Combo

Blackstar FLY3BLUE

The FLY3BLUE is a 3w bluetooth version of the original, but the addition of bluetooth makes it the perfect take anywhere practice amp or MP3 speaker dock.

The FLY3BLUE features bluetooth connectivity as well as a line in jack, so it can be used with older MP3 players and smartphones and tablets.

Like the Vox Adio, the FLY3BLUE is a portable, battery powered amp (6 AA), but not as fully featured when it comes to modeling. They only effect available is Tape Delay.

You can also connect the FLY3BLUE to the FLY 103 official extension speaker for stereo setup, but again stereo sound is something available with both the AMPLIFi and Adio without the need for another speaker.

Where the FLY3BLUE comes out ahead though is in price. At $85 it’s a fraction of the price of either the Line 6 AMPLIFi or Vox Adio. It also makes the FLY3BLUE the best pick for budget bluetooth speaker guitar amp combo.

DEMO

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Best Amps for Fender American Tone

If you’re looking for an affordable amp with classic American tones, you’re probably considering a Fender. Fender is synonymous with American tone because of their heavy reliance on 6V6 and 6LV tubes since they came on the scene in the 1950’s, but they’re not the only option. Here are a few of the more affordable Fender amps available today along with a few other brands with their own unique “Fender sound.”

FENDER SUPER CHAMP X2 AMPLIFIER

The X2 is a 15w 1X10″ combo amp with two 6V6 output tubes and a single 12AX7 preamp tube. It’s equipped with a 10 inch Fender special design speaker, dual channel, USB out for speaker emulated recording.

What makes the Super Champ X2 different from other tube amps is that it is also a modeling amp. The X2 has a special “voicing” knob that lets you choose between 16 different amp types (Tweed, Blackface, British, Hot Rod, Metal and more). Also included are 15 effects with effects adjust control and a TAP tempo control for delay time/modulation rate adjustments.

For those who like even more control over their tonal possibilities, the X2 can be plugged into a compute via the USB port and you can then have full control over the amp voicing and effects defaults, effects parameters deep editing, with the Fender FUSE™ software.

The Fender Super Champ X2 currently sells for $379.99.

FENDER 68 CUSTOM DELUXE REVERB AMPLIFIER

This reissue of the classic ‘68 Silverface amp sports both reverb and tremelo on both channels, and a tone stack circuit based on the popular Fender Bassman model amplifier. The ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb reissue is an excellent amp for pedals and the new tone stack redesign reduces negative feedback that often plagued the original.

The ‘68 Custom Deluxe Reverb reissue has greater sensitivity and reaction to your playing, meaning you get a lot more out of the often neglected volume and tone knob on your guitar. Roll off the volume for a cleaner tone, crank it up for more breakup and crunching gain.

The ‘68 Custom Deluxe Reverb reissue features a 12″ Celestion G12V-70 speaker, comes with a fitted amplifier cover and 2-button footswitch and sells for $1049.99.

FENDER 68 CUSTOM PRINCETON REVERB AMPLIFIER

Much like the ‘68 Custom Deluxe, the Fender ’68 Princeton Reverb has gotten a custom overhaul. This reissue of the famous ’68 Princeton Reverb features a redesigned, modern tone circuit similar to the ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb reissue. It’s great with pedals and very responsive.

This Princeton reissue is a bit smaller than the ‘68 Custom Deluxe Reverb: the Princeton is 12w with a 10″ Celestion TEN 30 speaker. A fitted amplifier cover and 2-button footswitch are included

Both the ‘68 Custom Deluxe Reverb and the ’68 Princeton Reverb feature Fender’s new (in 1968) silver and turquoise front panel and classy aluminum “drip edge” grille cloth trim look, with classic Fender 6V6 all tube tone.

The ‘68 Princeton Reverb reissue sells for $890.

EPIPHONE “ELECTAR” CENTURY

Epiphone’s “Electar” is an 18w all tube combo amp with a cool vintage style all its own. It owes a lot of its unique style to the fact that this vintage look goes back to 1939 – far further than most “vintage” amps. But don’t let the look fool you, it’s all modern construction and guts inside.

The Electar is powered by two 6V6 output tubes and two 12AX7 preamp tubes, and has a 12″ speaker. Controls include a Master Volume with pull “boost” and a Master Tone. The boost is great for searing treble lead tones, and the Master volume lets you get better overdrive tones at lower volumes. It also has three inputs: Bright, Normal and Dark; which is unique. Also included is a output for a speaker extension to drive a larger configuration external cabinet.

The Epiphone Electar 1939 Century amplifier has the vibe of 1930’s Manhattan, with the modern Fender style tube tone all for only $372.

VHT AV-SP1-12/20RT SPECIAL

The VHT 12/20 Special is an all tube combo amp with great flexibility and features. For starters, it ships with a pair 6V6 output tubes but VHT Special 12/20 offers two output-power ranges:

safely located behind the rear panel, a special voltage range switch provides the proper voltages for 6V6 or EL84 output tubes (in 12-watt low-voltage/low-power mode). The high voltage 20-watt setting provides the ideal voltages for higher-power 6L6 or EL34 output tubes.

Beyond that, the Special 12/20 also has a variable Watt control that can reduce the maximum output power to less than one watt. This makes it very handy for home practice.

Lastly, the VHT 12/20 Special has 6V6 tube driven reverb (with variable control depth) and tremolo with slow/fast switch, all for only $750.

VHT AV-SP1-6U SPECIAL 6 ULTRA

The VHT Special 6 is a great deal for anyone looking for an affordable, all tube amp with versatility and gain. It’s got the standard Overdrive and Clean inputs, overdrive, tone and volume controls.

What makes the VHT Special 6 Ultra different is that the volume control has a pull boost which acts as a mid-range gain. The Depth control allows you to vary the output tubes low frequency toll off point, which helps you to sculpt your sound the way you want it for various pickup and cabinet pairings. Also unique to the Ultra is the “Ultra” control knob which controls the level added gain to the output for maximum overdrive.

The VHT Special 6 Ultra also has a power-attenuating watts control which lets you dial in the output wattage from 0.5w all the way to 6w. This is an excellent feature for those looking for an all-tube practice amp that won’t shatter the windows in the bedroom.

Lastly, the VHT Special 6 Ultra features two speaker out lines and variable impedance for 4, 8 an 16 ohm speaker cabinets and a tube-drive effects loop.

Like its big brother (the Special 12/20), the Special 6 Ultra ships with a 6V6 output tube for sweet Fender like clean and rich overdrive tones and 2 12AX7 tubes in the preamp but it can accept a wide range of alternate output tubes as well.

The VHT Special 6 Ultra is quite an attractive all-tube amp and sells for only $399.99.

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How to Sound Like Jimi Hendrix (on Budget Guitar Gear)

This article focuses on gear, not technique. You can devote many years to trying to learn Jimi’s style and play like him, but this is more about getting a guitar rig that will get you close to recreating the Jimi Hendrix tone at various times in his career.

In short, this is about capturing a tone similar to Jimi Hendrix. It’s not about playing like him.

Also, note that this is a basic list of gear that will get you close to 80% of Jimi’s tone. He was well known for trying many different techniques and gear throughout his brief career. This list covers the gear you will need to get something close to 80% of his tone. It covers the core of his sound but not every flourish, so to speak. Basically, this is not an exhaustive list for gear collectors and Hendrix aficionados. This is a list of inexpensive gear to use if you want to capture tones close to what Hendrix is most known for.

Now that the preliminary disclaimers have been dispatched, on with the list…

First up on the list is Jimi’s choice of guitar. While Hendrix is known to have played a Gibson Flying V on occasion, he is most known for playing a Fender Stratocaster.

“1969 Fender Stratocaster, original pick-ups, maple neck, strung upside down for a left-handed … genius, Jimi Hendrix.”

Ford Fairlane

If you want your tone to sound like Jimi, it’s essential to use a strat. As mentioned above, Jimi did play other guitars at times, but he’s so well known for playing a Stratocaster that it’s downright iconic. And the fact that Jimi played a right-handed strat that he strung upside down is so legendary it’s become a cliche (as evidenced by the quote above)

DENMARK - SEPTEMBER 03: Photo of Jimi Hendrix 10; Jimi Hendrix KB-Hallen Copenhagen September 3 1970 (Photo by Jan Persson/Redferns)

DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 03: Photo of Jimi Hendrix 10; Jimi Hendrix KB-Hallen Copenhagen September 3 1970 (Photo by Jan Persson/Redferns)

If you’ve got the money, then by all means go for an American made Fender Stratocaster, but the Mexican made is half the price and sounds just as sweet.

61awxcmla2l-_sl1500_Next up on the list is Jimi’s choice of amplifiers. He’s most known for two: The Marshall stack, and the Fender Bassman. Either one of these will set you back thousands of dollars if you go for the authentic. Lucky for you, modern technology makes it possible to achieve fairly accurate Hendrix like tone at a fraction of the price (and volume).

Marshall DSL15C

Marshall DSL15C

The best choice here is all tube, and for the budget conscious buyer that means the Marshall DSL15C DSL Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp. It’s 15 watts of Marshall crunch and searing lead tone at just under $600.

Fender Bassman

Fender Bassman

That covers Jimi’s high-decibel, hard rock sound from such classics as Purple Haze, Foxy Lady and most of his early and mid-sixty’s sound. For his softer, more blues based side (think Electric Ladyland, especially “Voodoo Chile”) you’ll want the Fender Bassman tone, but that’ll set you back a bit more.

The Fender Mustang II

The Fender Mustang II

So, if you’re like me you’ll want something not too expensive and versatile. One of the most inexpensive and versatile amps on the market today is the Fender Mustang series. I recommend the Fender Mustang II V2 40-Watt 1×12-Inch Combo Electric Guitar Amplifier as the budget friendly option with enough bang for playing solo or small gigs. The Fender Mustang amp is a modeling amp, so it uses onboard software to model various other amplifier models and cabinets and does so convincingly. Just dial up a Marshal Plexi or Fender Bassman and voila!

The next piece of the Hendrix tone puzzle is the effects chain.

Jimi’s favored effects pedal were Fuzz and Wah, and later some Chorus/Vibe.

Hendrix Fuzzface

Hendrix Fuzzface

If you’re shooting for the authentic Hendrix Fuzz tone, you’ll want to check out the Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face Distortion. If you want a good approximation for a few bucks less, check out the Dunlop FFM1 Silicon Fuzz Face Mini Distortion.

Dunlop Fuzzface Mini

Dunlop Fuzzface Mini

Jimi’s favored Wah pedal was the Vox Wah V847A, which is still available today.

VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah

VOX V845 Classic Wah Wah

Another favored sound of Hendrix in his later career was the Octave Fuzz (think “One Rainy Wish” from Axis: Bold as Love). A good choice today is the Electro-Harmonix Octavix Octave Fuzz Pedal.

Electro Harmonix Octavix Octave Fuzz

Electro Harmonix Octavix Octave Fuzz

Lastly, if you’re searching for the Hendrix “Star Spangled Banner” from Woodstock or “Machine Gun” from Band of Gypsys you’ll want to

Dunlop M68 Uni Vibe

Dunlop M68 Uni Vibe

use a Univibe pedal. The best bang for your buck here is the Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato.

 

 

 

Pro Tips.

Here are a few bonus pro tips for nailing the Hendrix tone.

Strings.

Jimi preferred light strings, and according to Eddie Kramer, sometimes even banjo strings. This will definitely help you with bending notes. The great thing about strings is that they are probably the cheapest change you can make. Two great choices are Electro-Harmonix NIC9 Nickel Wound Ultra Light Electric Guitar Strings and D’Addario EXL120 Nickel Wound Electric Guitar Strings, Super Light, 9-42.

Cables.

Jimi preferred coiled guitar cables. Why is this worth mentioning? Because coiled cables in Jimi’s day had a bigger effect on tone than cables today. Coiled cables in the 60’s remove a lot of the higher frequencies which reduces the brightness you hear. This is especially important with single coil pickups, as are found in Stratocasters – Jimi’s cable choice likely mellowed the tone of his strat in ways modern cables do not.

Playing tips.

I said this post wasn’t about how to play like Hendrix, but here are some super-simple tips that are easy to implement and best of all – free!

Tune half-step down.

Hendrix tuned his guitar a half a step down (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb). If you don’t follow suit, you won’t sound quite right for the Hendrix tone.

Pickups.

Use the middle or neck pickups as Jimi rarely used the bridge pick up.

Also, he favored rolling back the volume knob on the guitar for to get a “clean” tone, as opposed to a foot switch or channel swap…

This is all done with modern, inexpensive off the shelf gear so what you’ll get is a close approximation… not magic bullet solution…

e n j o y!

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