The Best Gifts for Guitar Players

Every year near Christmas, Father’s day and my Birthday I rack my brain trying to come up with a list of gift ideas to give to my family. Most of the time this gift list includes a few guitar based items because playing guitar is a very big hobby of mine. I’ve put this list together for myself and anyone else who may be looking for gift ideas for the guitar player in their lives. This list isn’t for guitar lovers. You won’t find dorm room refrigerators shaped like a Marshall stack, or guitar shaped bottle openers. This list is the best gifts for guitarists – as in people who play guitar and love doing it!

I’ve broken down the list into different price points.guitar-gifts

If you’ve got any that I missed, feel free to share them in the comments section below.

All prices at the time of this writing and may be subject to change.

GIFTS UNDER $20

CAPOS

I had a friend in high school who thought that using a capo meant you couldn’t play very well. His view was that using a capo made it easier to play certain chords, and he naturally looked down on capo using guitar players as some form of inferior species. At the time, I didn’t really know enough to argue with him but I’ve since learned enough to abandon that line of thinking. Capos are really there to make transposing a song’s key easier. As such, they are nearly essential to anyone who wants to play with another musician – especially if they just want to jam informally and don’t have time to arrange a song in a different key.

What makes a good capo?

One essential attribute of a good capo is that it doesn’t screw up the tuning of the guitar when you put it on. Another nice thing is if the capo is quick and easy to put on and take off. Two of the best capos I’ve found are:

Kyser KG6B 6 String Capo

kyser-kg6b-6-string-capoThe KG6B might sound like a Soviet era spy agency, but it’s really a strong and lightweight aluminum capo. It’s spring-tension design make it a quick release, easy deploy kind of capo that won’t mess up your tuning.

It sells for $13 and has 9 different styles to choose from.

And if you’re a total nut on the six string, you can use this capo like Tommy Emmanuel does in his famous Beatles medley:

Here’s a video of Tommy Emmanuel explaining how he uses a quick release capo:

 

Shubb Deluxe Series GC-30 (S1) capo

shubb-s1-stainless-steel-guitar-capoIf your not into the quick release, mid medley key change like Tommy you can give the Shubb GC-30 a try. It’s a beautifully designed capo that’s accurate and strong, yet gentle as a finger on the fretboard. It does exactly what a capo is supposed to do without sending the guitar out of tune. It’s stainless steel design makes it more resistant to wear and tear, meaning it should last a good many years.

The GC-30 currently sells for $15.92.

CLIP-ON TUNERS

Tuners have come a long way since the guitar first became popular. No more tuning forks or pitch pipes. In fact, you don’t even need a cumbersome device to balance on your knee. I know, you can get plenty of free tuning apps on your smartphone these days, but they really aren’t the same.

Here are two of the most accurate clip-on tuners on the market today.

Snark SN5X Clip-On Tuner for Guitar, Bass & Violin

snark-clip-on-tunerFirst up is the ever popular, and whimsical looking Snark. It features a full color display that rotates a full 360 degrees for easy viewing. It simply clips to the headstock of the guitar and shows the note currently being plucked by vibration – perfect for tuning in noisy environments (kids, bars, etc…). Also works in bass and violins!

This Snark sells for $9.96

Meisel COM-80 Clip-On Tuner

meisel-com-80-clip-on-tunerThe runner up for clip-on tuner is the Meisel COM-80. This tuner also features an easy to read back-lit LCD display, but it’s not as adjustable as the Snark. It also scores very high for accuracy, and is adjustable from 27.5Hz to 1760Hz. It’s a chromatic tuner calibrated for Guitar, Bass, Violin and Ukelele

The Meisel COM-80 currently sells for $10.99

NOVELTY GUITAR STRAPS

fashionable-sublimation-guitar-strapGuitar straps make great gifts. They can be functional and they can be conversation starters. They are often as unique as the player who uses them and give guitar players another way to express their individuality. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on them either. Here are a few favorites that sell from $5-20, great for the player who has everything.

HUMIDIFIERS

Acoustic guitars (and even hollow body electrics) like to be humid, but not too humid. It’s a balance. If a guitars isn’t maintained in within the proper humidity for long, it will start with losing intonation and will eventually get a cracked body, warped neck or more.

Luckily, guitar humidifiers are cheap. Here are two of the best guitar humidifiers for under $20.

GUITAR STRINGS

STINGS FOR ELECTRIC GUITARS

ERNIE BALL REGULAR SLINKY NICKEL WOUND SETS

ernie-ball-regular-slinky-nickel-wound-setsErnie Ball Slinky electric guitar strings are used by artists from Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Page, AC/DC, John Petrucci, Slash, Green Day and more. They are made in California, U.S.A. and consist of specific gauges and core-to-wrap ratios which create balanced rich harmonics and that signature Slinky feel.

Nickel Wound Slinky strings take a high carbon steel core and tin plate it and wrap it in nickel plated steel. This makes for a balanced tone that compliments all guitar types and playing styles.

The gauges run: .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046.

These Ernie Ball regular Slinky strings are sold in packs of 3 or individual sets ($14.11 for 3 pack, or $4.62 for one)

D’ADDARIO EXL110-3D

d-addario-exl110-3dThe D’Addario EXL110-3D electric guitar strings are corrosion resistant Round wound with nickel-plated steel for distinctive bright tone. The string gauges are .010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046.

These are made in the U.S.A. and sell for $9.95 for 3 sets

ELIXIR STRINGS W POLYWEB COATING

elixir-strings-electric-guitar-strings-polywebElixir is the pioneer in coated strings. The original POLYWEB coating creates a soft and slick feel while providing resistance to grime and rust. This means the strings last longer – both looking new longer and sounding great longer.

A pack of Elixir POLYWEB light gauge (.010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046) strings sells for $10.43. They’re more expensive than other strings, but they also last up to 3 times as long.

STRINGS FOR ACOUSTIC GUITARS

ELIXIR STRINGS 80/20 BRONZE ACOUSTIC STRINGS

elixir-strings-80-20-polywebThese are the acoustic version of the Elixir POLYWEB strings. They are an 80/20 blend (80% copper, 20% zinc) and feature Elixir’s special POLYWEB coating for smoother feel and longer life. The 80/20 mix provides a warm tone and the POLYWEB coating keeps the strings looking and sounding new for months.

The single pack of Elixir 80/20 bronze POLYWEB strings sells for $13.99.

D’ADDARIO EJ16 PHOSPHOR BRONZE

d-addario-ej16The D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze acoustic guitar strings offer a balanced tone and also provide D’Addario’s EXP coating for longer life. Similar to Elixir’s POLYWEB, but not as expensive. I’ve had good results with both kinds, but haven’t ever done a serious, scientific comparison of the two.. maybe someday I will.

In the meantime, you can get these excellent strings in a 3-pack for $12.99, or in a single pack for only $4.95.

 

MARTIN M140 BRONZE

martin-m140Lastly, I offer the Martin M140 Bronze acoustic guitar strings. These are also an 80/20 Bronze blend and offer brilliant sound and clarity with rich bass and bright treble. They are not coated for long life, but they also sell for only $3.32 so there’s your trade off. Great stocking stuffers though.

NOVELTY GUITAR PICKS

pick-geekWhether you’re looking for something different to pluck the old six string with or something for more of an arts and crafts project, the guitar picks on this list will fit the bill.

Guitar picks are always in demand for guitar players, because they’re always getting lost! At least that’s how it seems. Besides, they make for great stocking stuffers, birthday, father’s day or even mother’s day gifts for the guitarist in your life. They’re small, unique and not too pricey.

Here are some of the best novelty guitar picks around today.

GIFTS UNDER $50

VOX AMPLUG AMPS

The VOX amPlug headphone amps are not really amplifiers. They are pocket sized amp simulators that plug into you guitar input jack in place of the instrument cable. Then you plug in your headphones and jam out without disturbing the peace.

The amPlug headphone amp comes in a number of versions but the three best are on this list. Each one has 9 effects (3 chorus, 3 delay and 3 reverb), a fold-able plug to make it stow more easily in the pocket and runs off two AAA size batteries.

Each also has an AUX In jack so you can jam along with your favorite music.

VOX AMPLUG AC30

vox_amplug_ac30The VOX AC30 amPlug models the vintage AC30 top boost sound used by so many British bands in the 70’s.

The VOX AC30 amPlug Headphone amp sells for $32.

VOX AMPLUG METAL

vox_amplug_metalLastly, the VOX Metal amPlug models the high gain US amp sound. (Think Fender Supersonic, Mesa Boogie and Peavey).

Great for lead tone, not so great for clean.

The VOX Metal amPlug Headphone amp sells for $32.

VOX AMPLUG CLASSIC ROCK

vox_amplug_classicrockThe VOX Classic Rock amPlug models the classic UK 100 w amp sound. (think Marshall stack)

The VOX Classic Rock amPlug Headphone amp sells for $35.

BATTERY POWERED AMPLIFIERS

Here are a few battery powered amplifiers that a 9 volt battery and will fit comfortably on a desk (and maybe even a large Christmas stocking).

They’re not great for practicing with other people, but fit the bill for quick solo practice, and they’re fun and funky.

FENDER MINI TONE-MASTER

Fender-Mini-Tone-MasterThis is a miniaturized version of the classic Tone-Master and Fender does a great job of keeping true to the authentic Fender details here – cab corners, retro grille cloth, and vintage white control knobs.
At a glance:
• 1w battery powered amplifier that features two 2? speakers.
• Gain, Volume, Tone and Power controls.
• Powered by single 9V battery (included), or AC adapter

The Fender Mini Tone-Master sells for $35.28

FENDER-MINI-57-TWIN

Fender-Mini-57-TwinThis is quite simply a battery powered, highly portable version of the original Fender ’57 Twin Amp

At a glance:
• Completely captures the vintage 50’s look with its miniature chicken head knobs, down to its tweed covering and brown grille.
• Made of real wood and not plastic.
• 1w battery powered guitar amplifier with twin 2? speakers.
• Built-in distortion, Power, volume, and tone controls.
• Runs on a single 9V battery or power adapter.

The Fender-Mini-57-Twin sells for $36.95

MARSHALL MS-2

Marshall-MS-2-Mini-AmpModern technology has now made it possible to grab the Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp and take that Marshall tone with you – anywhere.

The Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp has that classic Marshall look and crunch, with surprisingly loud volume for such a little thing. it’s just 5-3/4″ high and even includes a belt clip!

It features controls for overdrive, tone, and volume and is powered by one 9V battery.

The Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp is a 1w battery powered amp that makes a great and fun gift or a truly portable practice amp, and sells for around $45

GUITAR AMPLIFIERS UNDER $100

Playing with different gear is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and break out of any rut you may find yourself in. There is perhaps no piece of gear that influences your tone and style more than the amplifier. Here are a few low cost amplifiers that should add a little spice to your practice.

BATTERY POWERED AMPLIFIERS

Battery powered amps are not quite as portable as the VOX amPlug, but they are audible to those around you. They’re the perfect fit right between the 10-20w practice amp and the headphone amp. And they’re conversation starters.

THE LEGENDARY PIGNOSE 7-100

pignose-7-100The Pignose 7-100 is a unique looking and playing amplifier. It’s genius is its simplicity. It has a single knob that looks like a pig’s nose and is located on the front. That one knob controls the power, volume and distortion. It works with your guitar’s volume knob too, so the tonal possibilities are surprisingly diverse.

At a glance:
• 5w amp with 5″ speaker.
• Runs on 6 AA batteries or an optional AC adapter.
• About the size of a shoe box and weighs around 5lbs.
• Hinged design and can be played either fully closed, wide open or at any point in between.
• It also has an open space inside that can be used to store the AC adapter or guitar cable when not in use.
• A preamp out jack which makes it possible to play the Pignose through a larger and more powerful amplifier (or PA) or straight into a mixing board.
The Pignose 7-100 has a distinctive look and sound that is like no other. It’s stylish and funky, and is definitely a conversation starter

The Legendary Pignose 7-100 sells for about $75

ORANGE MICRO CRUSH

Orange-Micro-Crush-CR3The Orange Micro Crush CR3 is all Orange, from the woven grill to rubber footstools and trademark Orange finish. It’s also wood, and not plastic.

At a glance:
• 3w battery powered amp.
• Single 4″ speaker.
• Clean and Overdrive channels.
• Tone control.
• Chromatic tuner.
• Headphone jack
• Runs on a single 9v battery or AC adapter.

This is a great way to get the British Orange crunch.

The Orange Micro Crush CR3 sells for $68

BLACKSTAR FLY3

blackstar-fly3The Blackstar FLY 3 is a 3 watt mini amp that runs off battery or DC power. It’s compact and portable and features Blackstar’s patented “Infinite Shape Feature (ISF)”, which lets you vary the tonal character of the amp.

When turned towards zero, it gives a tight, focused, percussive response, characteristic of American amplifiers. When turned towards 10, the response becomes woody, crunchy and warm, like traditional British amps.

The FLY 3 also has standard MP3 / LINE IN jack and a headphone output jack.

It’s 3 watts and features clean and overdrive channels and digital ‘tape’ delay effect.

The Blackstar FLY3 sells for $59.99

SMALLER, LOW WATT AMPS

The VOX V9160 Pathfinder 10 Combo Amplifier

vox-v9106-10w-pathfinderThe Pathfinder 10 is like the classic VOX AC15’s little brother. You get classic VOX look and VOX tone at a great price. The Pathfinder 10 has a clean/overdrive switch which lets you choose tones ranging from VOX chime to creamy, warm overdrive.

With its 10 watts of power and custom 6.5 inch speaker the VOX Pathfinder 10 is a great amp for everything from clean leads to crunchy rock and blues. Also included are Bass and Treble EQ, and a lineout/headphone jack.

The Pathfinder 10 sells for $79.99

MARSHALL MG15CF

marshall-mg15cfThe MG15CF is pure Marshall tone in a compact 15 watt combo. It features clean and overdrive channels, 3 band EQ, and MP3/line in jack and a headphone jack. The MG15CF sports the modern Marshall look and is decked out in a bold carbon-fibre exterior.

The Marshall MG15CF sells for only $99

ORANGE CRUSH 12

orange-crush-12The Orange Crush 12 is a 12w solid state amplifier with a 6 inch speaker. It also features 3 band EQ, volume and gain controls. The headphone out jack with the Orange CabSim circuit. This lets you emulate the sound of a 4×12″ cabinet through the headphone jack.. Sweet!

The Orange Crush 12 gives you great British crunch tone in a portable practice amp at an affordable price of only $99

Related Posts:

Cheap Electric Guitars That Should Cost More, but Don’t.

There are many lists of cheap guitars on the web. Heck, I’ve even written a few myself. This is not one of those lists. This is a list of excellent guitars that should sell for more, but don’t. They are truly great guitars at affordable prices.

Many of these are the more affordable version of major guitar makers. For example, Epiphone is the affordable version of the Gibson guitar. Sometimes, the price difference is due to different components that are used, sometimes it’s a difference of where the guitar is assembled. Epiphone Les Paul guitars have different components than Gibson Les Pauls, but the difference is usually not noticeable to the novice or hobbyist.

Ibanez Artcore AF75

It’s hard to find a hollowbody electric guitar at this price, and harder still to find such a good quality one. The Ibanez AF75 is part of their Artcore series of hollowbody guitars, with a maple body and mahogany neck and ultra-smooth rosewood fretboard it has the look and feel of an old-fashioned jazz box. The AF75 comes with a pair of Classic Elite ACH humbucker pickups for everything from a warm jazz tone to classic rock growl.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
Jazz Tones Demo:

 

Classic Rock Demo:

 

Epiphone Limited Edition Wildkat

If you’re looking for an ax with a sense of style – whether you play blues, jazz, rockabilly or just plain rock – look no further than the Epiphone Limited Edition Wildkat Electric Guitar in Pearl White.

Epiphone has been a leader in archtop guitar design since the 1930’s, but they’re not afraid of a little innovation. The Wildkat Royale is just such a design. Epiphone’s WildKat is a beautiful blend of pearl white finish accented by gold sparkle binding, gold Hardware and a gold Bigsby tailpiece. Vintage style dogear P-90 pickups round out the Royale vibe and give the WildKat classic tone and bite.

The Epiphone Wildkat is a smaller body, semi-hollow guitar that provides great vintage sound and vibe at a surprisingly affordable price. The WildKat features a solid mahogany body that is routed to create an acoustic guitar-like body. It’s got plenty of tonal versatility too, with bridge volume, neck volume, master tone and master volume controls. The WildKat also has premium 16:1 Grover machine heads, likely to help offset the Bigsby’s tendency to mess with the tuning. But the Bigsby was never really meant for dive bombing solo’s anyway.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review

Or watch this demo for more rock tones:

 

Epiphone LP Special II Les Paul

The Epiphone LP Special II is on this list because it is the Les Paul Electric Guitar that you can afford!

Epiphone was one of Gibson’s main competitors until Gibson bought the company. Being that Epiphone is now owned by Gibson, and they both make Les Paul style guitars, you can imagine that the differences other than price are such that the weekend warrior or hobbyist isn’t going to notice. (see the link at the top of this post for more on that)

So while the Epiphone LP Special II isn’t top of the line like the Gibson Les Paul, it is a very good guitar and it isn’t going to set you back $3,000 or more either.

The body and neck are mahogany, while the fingerboard is a smooth rosewood. It’s got 700T and 650R open coil humbucker pickups for long sustain and searing Les Paul tones. Also included are the LockTone Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review:

 

Fender Telecaster

The Fender Telecaster solid body electric guitar has been around since the birth of Rock and Roll, and with good reason – it’s a work horse! Its simplicity of design and versatility make it an easy guitar to play, and an old stand by for seasoned players when that flashy new ax runs afoul of the tech gods and starts to glitch.

All the Fender guitars on this list are made in Mexico, which is why they don’t cost twice as much. Unless you’re a pro, you won’t notice the difference otherwise.

Fender Standard Telecaster

First up in the Tele line is the Fender Standard Telecaster, with Maple Fretboard. This is the classic, no frills Tele. Complete with 2 single-coil pickups (neck and bridge), C-shaped neck, 9.5″ fretboard radius and medium jumbo frets, master tone and master volume knob, and pickup selector. That’s it. Not a lot can go wrong here, but once you master the finesse of the tone knob and the appropriate playing style, you’ll be amazed at what you can play with such a simple rig.

The 6-Saddle string-through bridge provides superior intonation, sustain, and ease of adjustment. Because of this and its simple design, the Fender Telecaster has a reputation for keeping great intonation and staying in tune, even after the most abusive play.

Fender’s use of alder wood for the body provides a bright, balanced and resonant tone with pronounced upper midrange, excellent sustain, and sharp attack. It’s a great guitar for Blues, Rock and Jazz.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review:

 

Fender Modern Player Tele Plus

For those who like the standard Telecaster, but feel that something is missing – check out the Fender Modern Player Tele Plus.

The Modern Player Tele Plus features the same body, neck and fretboard as the standard Telecaster, but the pickups are different. The Player Tele Plus replaces the single-coil bridge pickup with a humbucker, and adds a single coil strat pickup in the middle. It also has a 5-way switch for selecting a much greater range of tones.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review:

 

Schecter Omen-6

Schecter-OMEN-6The Schecter OMEN-6 is a great hard-rock and metal guitar for anyone on a budget less than 4 figures. This guitar features a Maple neck and basswood body, Rosewood fretboard and Schecter Diamond Plus pickups in the bridge and neck position. The naturally bright tone of the maple balances the warmer tones of the basswood body, and the Schecter Diamond Plus pickups are over wound for aggressive high output pickup, to help give your  amp a friendly shove over the edge. The OMEN-6 also has high quality Schecter tuners for precise tuning and a tune-o-matic bridge with string-thru body tail for better sustain and clarity.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe

The 431 C-6 is Schechter’s first “entry level” guitar to earn the “Diamond Series” name. That’s because it is built with more care and quality than many entry level guitars, but it still retains the entry level price. The Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe looks cool, and plays great and all with an affordable price.

The Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe comes in a very slick looking satin metallic light blue, black or white and features solid basswood body with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard. The 431 also has Schecter Diamond Plus humbucker pickups (which I think are actually produced by Duncan); volume, tone and 3-way pickup selector switch (neck, bridge, both).

Schecter 431 C-6 Deluxe
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Club

It’s not often you see a Gretsch in new condition for a price like this. To be fair, it is an entry level guitar – but it’s still a Gretsch for under $300!

The G5425 Electromatic Jet Club features a chambered basswood body and arched laminated maple top with slick gloss finish. The neck is maple with rosewood fingerboard and “Neo-Classic Thumbnail” inlays. The chambered body gives it more sustain when plugged in, and a more acoustic sound when strummed without an amp. This makes it a pretty decent practice guitar if you want to get some licks under your fingers late at night without disturbing the peace.

Speaking of plugging in, the G5425 has two humbucker pickups – both Gretsch dual-coil humbuckers, and 3 positions: Bridge, Neck and both Bridge and Neck.

The Gretsch look is complete with pearloid pickguard and “G-Arrow” control knobs.

The Gretsch G5425 Electromatic Jet Club has a great mellow tone but is also capable of darker metal or hard rock tone as well at an incredible price.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review:

Danelectro ’67 Heaven

The Danelectro ’67 Heaven is one of the most unique looking guitars out there. With its single coil lipstick pickups and offset body style it looks vaguely like a distant relative to a Fender Mustang or Jaguar. Rest assured, it is as unique as it’s gator skin finish.

This is a modern day reissue of the ’67 Hawk that first appeared back in 1967. The body is solid poplar, the neck is maple and the fingerboard is rosewood. The controls are about as simple as can be: volume knob, tone knob and pickup selector switch. The switch toggles between neck, bridge and a blend of both.

It’s unique, cool and surprisingly cheap. What’s not to love?

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS

Watch the Review:

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Top Electric Guitars for Beginners Under $500

These guitars are suitable for beginners and more advanced players alike. They are middle of the road in terms of price, but the quality is top notch. They’re great for the hobbyist or even the weekend musician, or someone staring out in a more professional musical career. They touch on a number of styles and tones, and they’re attractive and fun to play.

Without further ado, here is my list of Some of the top electric guitars for beginners under $500.

Danelectro

The Danelectro company was founded in 1947 and still have a retro-futuristic vibe to their guitars. The look of these guitars conjures up science fiction visions of the atomic age, and they’ve got a distinctive sound too. If you’re the type of player who wants to get noticed for your guitar, a Danelectro is a great choice.

Danelectro D59MOD

Danelectro-D59MODThe Danelectro D59MOD is a double cutaway which features two single coil “Lipstick” pickups and vintage tuners. The Mod ’59 has basswood body and neck and a rosewood fretboard. The tone and volume knobs are dual, concentric knobs (one for each pickup).

At 6.4 pounds, it’s fairly lightweight too, which is good for the beginner or anyone who plays for an extended period of time.

The light weight and single coil pickups mean it doesn’t have the darker tonal qualities of a Les Paul, so it’s not well suited to the player looking for a more aggressive, metal tone.

Danelectro ’67 HeavenDanelectro-67-Heaven

The Danelectro ’67 Heaven is one of the coolest things out there. It’s got a classic, offset body style (similar to a Fender Jaguar) with an alligator finish, and “Souped up” single coil “Lipstick” pickups and an adjustable bridge. This is a 2013 re-issue of the 1967 classic.

Demo video:

Epiphone

Epiphone has been making musical instruments since 1873, and has made instruments for just every style of popular music. They’re mostly known these days for making more affordable Gibson clones. Gibson guitars have name recognition, but they also have a premium price tag to go with it. The truth is that it doesn’t make sense for the hobbyist (much less a beginner) to fork over a couple thousand dollars for a Gibson when they can get a better quality for the price with an Epiphone.

Epiphone Es-333 Tom Delonge Archtop

Epiphone-es-333-tom-delongeThe Epiphone ES-333 Tom Delonge Signature archtop electric guitar is built to the specifications of the Blink 182 guitarist – and it’s less than $500!

The ES-333 features the best of archtop and semi-hollowbody designs, along with Gibson USA Dirty Fingers humbucker pickups. It has a laminate maple body and mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard.

One problem with hollowbody guitars is feedback caused by too much uncontrolled resonance. The ES-333 solves that problem with a mahogany center block. This also makes for amazing sustain. An instantly recognizable Tom Delonge “paint job” of Cream racing stripes on a Brown finish round out the signature look.

Weighing a solid 12 pounds and stocked with Dirty Fingers humbuckers, the ES-333 has a nice beefy tone that lends itself well to hard rock and rock-blues styles.

Epiphone Es-339 Semi Hollow Body Electric GuitarEpiphone-ES-339-Semi-Hollow-body

If you’re looking for versatility and sustain, then look no further than the Epiphone ES-339 Semi Hollow body electric guitar! The ES-339 is one of the smaller ES series from Epiphone. It features ProBucker humbucker pickups, push-pull coil tapping knobs, which lets you switch between humbucker and single coil tones for each pickup. The body is a laminate maple and the “D” profile neck is mahogany. The tune-o-matic bridge makes it easy to keep in tune

It weighs 8.5 pounds, which makes it middle of the road in terms of weight. Also available in Natural finish.

Limited Edition Les Paul Custom Pro Electric Guitar, TV Silver

Here we get to the Les Paul.

epiphone-Les-Paul-Custom-ProI’ve always found it somewhat ironic that the guitar that is loved the world over by hard rock and metal fans was invented by an iconic Jazz and country guitarist from the middle of the 20th century.

But be that as it may, Epiphone makes killer (and quite affordable, compared to Gibson) versions of Les Paul. Here is one such version.

The Limited Edition Les Paul Custom Pro electric guitar is slightly smaller – it weighs a paltry 8lbs – than a traditional Les Paul model, but the the fingerboard and body are exact recreations of the Les Paul Custom’s iconic look. It’s a solid wood body (no laminate) with rosewood fretboard, tune-o-matic bridge and mahogany neck. It’s decked out with a ProBucker-2 and ProBucker-3 humbucker pickups. The volume controls allow for coil-tapping, which means you can switch between full humbucker or split single coil mode for a total of 6 different tonal possibilities.

Les Paul Quilt Top Pro Electric Guitar Faded Cherry Sunburst

Here’s an affordable Les Paul for all you Slash fans out there!

epiphone-Les-Paul-Quilt-TopThe Epiphone Les Paul Quilt Top Pro electric guitar, in faded cherry sunburst.

This beauty features a solid Mahogany body and carved maple top with a quilt design to the finish. It also has a set-in mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard. Equipped with 2 Pro humbuckers, each with coil-splitting (humbucker/single coil) and weighing a hefty 14lbs, this puppy is ready to rock when you are. Like the Custom Pro above, the Les Paul Quilt Top also has a tune-o-matic bridge and Grover tuners, so it gets in tune and stays in tune easily.

Wildkat Royale

epiphone-wildkatFinally, we have Epiphone’s entry to the Jazz/Rockabilly segment of the market. (Yes, I know, you can rock out on the Wildkat too but it just oozes Jazz Box looks..)

The Epiphone WildKat Royale is beautiful in a pearl white finish, with gold sparkle binding. The gold hardware and Bigsby tailpiece make for stunning accents as well. The WildKat is equipped with 2 vintage style dogear P-90 pickups which give it a hefty, bite to its tone. The gold B70 licensed Bigsby vibrato and tailpiece complete the look.

The WildKat is a limited production release, so they have a good chance of becoming moderately collectible, and at least holding their value a bit better than other mass-market productions. It’s got a semi-hollow mahogany body (with center block to dampen unwanted feedback), maple neck and
rosewood fretboard and weighs about 11 lbs.

It also features bridge volume, neck volume, master tone and master volume controls, and premium 16:1 Grover machine heads for more accurate and long lasting tuning.

Fender

Fender is one of the big players in the electric guitar market and they are well known for fine craftsmanship and innovative products. This craftsmanship extends to their budget (Squire) and Mexican made brands as well. Often times, the models made in Mexico use the same parts as American made, but with cheaper labor. The result is virtually the same quality guitar at half price.

Here are two classic models that feature the Fender logo, but are made in Mexico.

Fender Standard Telecaster

Fender-Standard-TelecasterLeo Fender’s game changing solid body electric guitar that launched the sound of Rock and Roll is still available largely unchanged today. Sure, there are artist endorsed and modified version for thousands of dollars, but you can still get a standard Tele for less than $500.

The somewhat corny history of the Telecaster is that Leo Fender wanted a modern sounding name for his modern, solid body guitar. Being the 1950’s and the heyday of the television age, he settled on “Tele” from television and “caster” from Broadcaster.

The Telecaster is still a preferred guitar for many players today (myself included). It’s simple feature set allows for a multitude of tonal possibilities from classic Tele spank and twang to classic rock crunch without any bells and whistle to get in your way. It’s a workhorse that rarely goes out of tune or out of style.

The Fender Standard Telecaster features:

  • 2 Tele single-coil pickups, great for Country, Blues, Rock, Pop and even Jazz.
  • A modern C-shaped neck, 9.5″
  • 6-saddle strings-thru-body Tele bridge allows for improved intonation and individual string height adjustment.
  • Shielded body cavities to limit unwanted feedback.

The Standard Telecaster is a simple, solid electric guitar. It has a 3-way pickup selection switch, volume and tone knob so you get excellent control over the sound, without an overly complicated control panel getting in the way. The 6-saddle string-thru-body bridge helps to keep the guitar in tune. In short, it’s simple and dependable, which makes fro a great guitar for beginners and experienced players alike!

The Standard Telecaster comes in more color and finish variations than I can really display here, but Additional Fender Standard Telecaster Models!

Fender Standard Stratocaster

Fender-Standard-StratocasterMade famous by the likes of Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, Gilmour and Vaughan the Stratocaster was Leo Fender’s follow up to the wildly successful solid body Telecaster. Once again, as with the Telecaster, Leo wanted to capture the modern futuristic vibe that the 1960’s had to offer and hoped his use of “strato” would make people think stratosphere and evoke the excitement of the newly born space race.

Whether people got the connection he was shooting for is open to debate, but what is not debatable is that the Fender Stratocaster is still one the preeminent guitar models 60+ years later!

Strats come in a host of varieties and player endorsed versions, but you can still get a basic strat for under $500.

The Fender Standard Stratocaster electric guitar features:

  • 3 Standard Strat single-coil pickups. This is the heart of everything from the Stratocaster squawk to creamy blues goodness.
  • A modern C-shaped neck, 9.5″ freeboard radius and medium jumbo frets. Playing fast, and string-bending like your favorite bluesman is a breeze on this neck.
  • Synchronized tremolo bar for everything from dive bombs to subtle vibrato
  • Shielded body cavities to prevent unwanted feedback

The Standard Stratocaster gives you legendary Fender tone with classic styling and weighs about 10 lbs. Additional Fender Standard Stratocaster models.

Godin

Godin is a Canadian guitar company and while some of their most popular models aren’t even branded as Godin (They make acoustics under the Seagull, Simon & Patrick, Norman, LaPatrie and Art & Lutherie brands), they are better known in electric guitar circles. They are typically favored more by studio musicians and touring players than frontmen, but the construction quality and tone are just as good as the big names.

Godin Redline HB

Godin-Redline-HBNext up, the Godin Redline HB electric guitar. The Redline is Made in North American (instead of China or Mexico, as is common with this price range) and features a double-action truss rod to help ensure a straight neck and proper intonation. The neck is made from Canadian Hard Rock Maple and features Godin’s “ergo cut neck” style for ease of play.

The Godin HB Redline weighs about 13.5 lbs, and comes with 2 custom Godin humbucker pickups – a GHN1 in the neck position, and a GHB1 in the bridge position.

Here are the full specs:

  • Rock Maple neck
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • 24 frets
  • 16 ” fingerboard radius
  • 24 3/4″ Scale
  • 1 11/16″ nut width
  • Body has silver leaf maple centre with poplar wings
  • 2x Godin humbuckers (Neck: GHN1 / Bridge: GHB1)
  • 3-way switch, 1x volume & 1x tone
  • Fixed Bridge

With its double cut-away body and hot humbucker pickups, the Godin HB Redline makes a great hard rock or metal guitar and the price is just right for the beginner or hobbyist.

 Gretsch

Gretsch-G5425-ElectromaticThe Gretsch G5435T Electromatic Pro is a very affordable and very versatile entry in the under $500 range. It features an arched top, chambered mahogany body with set maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. An Adjusto-Matic bridge with Bigsby B50 tailpiece and “Blacktop” Filter’Tron pickups complete the sound, making the G5435T a great way to own a piece of that Gretsch vibe.

I like the G5435T Electromatic Pro so much, I wrote a full review for it when it came out. You can read the full review here.

 

Related Posts:

The 12 Best Low Watt Tube Amps For Under $500.

Low watt tube amps have become a popular niche for players and manufacturers alike. It used to be that tube amps were reserved for the 50 – 100w range, for venues much larger than a bedroom. These tube amps were way too much power for the hobbyist to practice with at home. They were typically too damn big too.

These days, there are a host of lower wattage tube amps on the market, and many for less than $500. Some are decidedly vintage style, while others are classic or modern style. Whatever your personal taste, you should be able to find a low watt tube amp to your liking on this list of the best small tube amps available today.

Low Watt Tube Amps For Under $500

Blackstar amps

Blackstar brings 3 amps to the low watt party: the HT5R, HT1R and the HT1MC.

Blackstar HT5R 5-Watt 1×12 Combo Amp with Reverb

Blackstar-HT5R

The Blackstar HT5R is a 5 Watt, all-tube amp (1 ECC83 (12AX7), and 1 12BH7 tubes) with a single 12-Inch speaker. It’s got 2 channels (clean, and overdrive), 3-Band EQ and reverb. It also has a series effects loop, stereo MP3/Line input, headphone out and comes with a footswitch for switching channels.

Another really cool thing the Blackstar HT-5Rbrings to the party is the ability to model 1×12 or 4×12 in a line out, which is awesome for recording.

The Blackstar HT5R delivers crunch and tube breakup tones that you’d expect from a 100w amp through the use of a 12BH7 dual triode valve in push-pull configuration. The result is a big sound, from a modest, 5-watt amp.

Bottom line: the Blackstar HT5R is a great low watt practice and home studio amp, with killer tube powered metal tone, all for $499.99.

Here’s a great all-around demo

Blackstar HT1R 1×8 Series Combo Amp with Reverb

Blackstar-HT1R

The Blackstar HT1R is the “mini-me” to the Blackstar HT-5R. Instead of a 12″ speaker, the Blackstar HT1R has a single 8″ speaker, and instead of 5w, the Blackstar HT1R is 1w, powered by a single ECC83 (12AX7), and single ECC82 (12AU7) power tubes.

The Blackstar HT1R can also be plugged into an external speaker cab, and can easily drive a 4×12 cabinet. It currently sells for only $329.99.

Here’s a Demo

Blackstar HT Metal Series HT1MC 1W 1×8 Combo w/Reverb

Blackstar-HT-Metal-Series-HT1MC-1W

The Blackstar HT1MC is the low watt Metal brother to the HT1R. It’s also 1w, with a 1×8″ speaker configuration, features reverb, and speaker out emulation. It’s also a true tube amp powered by an ECC83 and ECC82 tube combo.

What sets the Blackstar HT1MC apart from other tube amps on this list however is it’s look. The Blackstar HT1MC is a “stripped-down, tube-driven metal monster” and it looks the part!

Powerful enough for great metal crunch tone, but won’t disturb the peace. The Blackstar HT1MC has excellent clarity even at high gain levels, but can also do rock and blues and sells for $379.77.

Check out the demo (More than just Metal!)

 

Low watt tube amps by VHT

VHT AV-SP1-6 Special 6 Combo Amplifier

vht_special_6The VHT Special 6 is a 6 watt, 10-inch all tube combo amp built with modders in mind, so if you’re handy with a soldering iron, the sky is the limit!

The out of the box configuration features One 12AX7 Preamp Tube, One 6V6 output tube and special high sensitivity 10″ VHT Special Design speaker. It also includes a footswitchable boost mode and 4, 8, and 16 Ohm speaker out jacks for driving larger cabs.

The VHT Special 6 also features a High/Low power switch that enhances low-volume tones with extra-smooth richness. In low power mode, you can get great distortion with a reasonable volume for home practice, and in high-power mode, it is loud enough to compete with a drummer for practice or small gigs.

The VHT Special 6 is a modders dream that excels at both clean and overdriven tones. The VHT Special 6 sells for just $249.99.

 

Low watt tube amps by Bugera

Bugera V5 Infinium

bugera_v5_infiniumThe Bugera V5 Infinium is a 5w all tube amp for less than $200.

Let that sink in for a moment.

For the price of a really good solid state amp, you can get an all tube amp. But that’s not all.

The Bugera V5 Infinium Class-A amp is driven by a single EL84 tube with a single 12AX7 tube in the preamp and a specially designed 8″ Turbosound speaker. This is a classic combination for the British crunch and buttery blues tone. Another great feature is the power attenuator, which effectively lets you decrease the headroom and get killer overdrive or distortion at a lower volume. Besides the basic Volume, Tone and Gain controls, the V5 also has a sensitive digital reverb capable of dialing in everything from subtle to downright cavernous.

Where the Bugera V5 Infinium really makes its mark is with it’s Tube Life Multiplier technology. According to Bugera, this tech ensures greater reliability and consistent tone over the lifespan of your tubes by monitoring the performance of each of the amplifier’s output tubes and maintaining them at their ideal operating point for an evenly distributed load. There’s also an LED next to each tube that lets you know when it’s about to die.

All for a startling $199.99!

 

Low watt tube amps by Vox

Vox AC4C1 1×10″ 4 Watt Tube Combo

The Vox AC4C1 is a 4w tube amp, powered by two 12AX7 tubes in the preamp, and a single EL84 in the power amp section. It sports a 10″ Celestion Speaker, and has Gain, Treble, Bass, and Volume controls.

VOX-AC4C1-BL

Like most other amps on this list, the Vox AC4C1 has external Speaker-Output terminals for driving an external speaker cab, though it lacks some of the more modern recording features of the Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5 Combo.

What the Vox AC4C1 does have plenty of is pure, tube driven Vox tone and style. The 10″ speaker gives the Vox AC4C1 a wide, dynamic range and the EL84 gives it classic British crunch. It also has the Top Boost tone, made popular in the VOX AC30.

vox-AC4C1-4W-creamThe Vox AC4C1 is available in 2 styles:

Check out this Demo here:

VOX AC10C1

vox_ac10c1Get cranked up tone without cranking up! The Vox AC10 is a 10 watt combo amp with Two 12AX7 tubes for the preamp and two EL84 tubes for the output. It’s got the classic Vox look and British crunch and chime. The controls include Volume, Grain, Bass, Treble and Reverb. It should be noted that the reverb is digital and very sensitive- great for classic rock to full out surf.

The Vox AC10 comes with a 10 inch Celestion speaker but also features a speaker out jack so you can run it to drive an external cab.

Think of the AC10 as the stripped down little brother to the AC15 – great for small gigs, studio and home playing and sells for $449.99.

 

VOX AC4TVmini 4W Tube Guitar Combo Amp

Vox-AC4TVAs the name suggests, the AC4TVmini is the smallest version of the AC4TV series. Like it’s larger brother, it ‘s powered by a single 12AX7 tube in the preamp section, and a single EL84 in the power section. But the 8″ speaker is swapped out for a smaller still 6.5″ custom Vox speaker.

You’re basically trading some volume and dynamic range for greater portability.

Demo

 

Low watt tube amps by Marshall

Marshall DSL5C 1×10 5w combo

A lot of people don’t get the Marshall DSL5C, especially Marshall fans. They just don’t see the point in low watt amps, and frankly look down on anyone who doesn’t play a 100w Marshall stack. Well, the Marshall DSL5C just isn’t for them. It’s perfect for fans of the Marshall tube tone who just want a rock solid tube amp for practicing or playing the occasional small gig.

The Marshall DSL5C is a versatile amp that truly delivers on Marshall tone – everything from Plexi-style cleans to JCM800 snarl to modern day high gain. It is powered by 3 ECC83 tubes in the pre amp, and a single 12BH7/ECC99 in the power amp section. It features 2 channels: Classic and “ultra gain”. 😀

Marshall-DSL5C

What makes the Marshall DSL5C even better is the power switch. Like the Vox AC4TV, the Marshall DSL5C can run at full wattage (5w) or lower wattage (1w), which means you get all that sweet crunch and tube saturated distortion at volumes low enough to not piss off the neighbors.

The Marshall DSL5C also features a series FX loop, and headphone out, audio in (for mp3 players) and an extension speaker for driving an external speaker cab.

The Marshall DSL5C comes with a footswitch and houses a Celestion Ten 30 10″ speaker. Controls include: volume, gain, presence, bass, middle, treble, deep switch (increases low end frequency), and toneshift (which acts like a mid scoop). $499.99

Demo

 

Low watt tube amps by Epiphone

The Epiphone “1939” Century Amplifier

The  “1939” Century amplifier takes you back to the days when amplifiers were new. Its art Deco inspired look would be at home in Epiphone’s early days in Manhattan, but totally unique nearly 80 years later. You can rest assured that while the sound and look are vintage, the electronics are modern.
epiphone_1939_century_amplifier
The Epiphone 1939 Century amplifier is an 18w, all tube Class A/B combo amp. It’s powered by two 12AX7 and two 6V6 tubes and features a 12″ Electar speaker. Controls are pretty basic with a master volume and master tone, but the master volume has a pull mode for a “boost” effect.

Where things get a bit more unique is with the inputs. There are three of them – bright, normal and dark. There is also an extension speaker out jack and internal bias adjustment for tweaking the response of the 6V6 power tubes. $373.14

 

Low watt tube amps by Fender

Fender Super Champ X2 15w 1×10

And finally, we come to the Fender Super Champ X2 15w 1×10″ combo. At first glance, the Fender Super Champ X2 appears to be a more traditional amp with its black vinyl covering and silver grille cloth front. Although it doesn’t look as boutique as the Ramparte and Excelsior or as spacy as the Vaporizer, it’s not as traditional as it looks either.

fender-super-champ-x2-angled

The Super Champ X2 is a 15w, low watt tube amp with a Fender Special 10 inch speaker, but it also blends the digital amp modeling (“voicings”) and effects found on Fender’s popular Mustang series of amplifiers.

The Super Champ X2 is a modern modeling amp in a traditional package that gives you the warmth of an all tube amp with the flexibility of more modern solid state amps.

The Super Champ X2 is powered by a single 12AX7 tube in the preamp and a pair of 6V6 tubes in the power section.

$379.99

Demo:

Low watt tube amps by Laney

Laney Cub 8 5w tube amp

laney_cub_8_5w
The first offering from Laney amps on this list is the Cub 8, a 5w class A combo amp with a focus on tone and simplicity in a small package.

The Cub 8 features an 8″ Celestion speaker, Hi & LO input (clean & overdrive) and a tone and volume knob. It’s powered by a single ECC83 pre amp tube and a single 6V6GT tube in the power section.

The Laney Cub 8 is a great low watt amp perfect for practice or home recording and really captures the classic fender tweed-like tone.

The Cub 8 is a great little tube amp for only $199.95

Laney Cub 10 10w tube amp

Next of from Laney Amplifiers is the middle child of the Cub series, the Laney Cub 10.
laney_cub_10
The cub 10 is a 10w, class A/B amp with a 10″ Celestion speaker, two E CC83 pre amp tubes and two 6V6GT output tubes. The controls and inputs are identical to the Cub 8.

Where the Cub 10 differs from its little brother is in the sound and power consumption. Being class A/B, it’s a bit more efficient than the Cub 8 and doesn’t run quite as hot. The larger speaker and double tube compliment give the Cub 10 a bigger mid-range sound. Since the natural range of the guitar is the mid-range, this is perfect for guitarists who want to cut through the mix in a band or recording setting.

The Laney Cub 10 is a nice, low watt package for expressive mid-range clean tone to Zeppelin like gain and vintage tone for only $249.95.

Laney Cub 12 15w tube amp

laney_cub_12Lastly, we have the big brother: the Laney Cub 12 – a 15w all tube class A/B amplifier, with three ECC83 tubes in the pre amp and two EL84s in the power amp stage. This gives the Cub 12 a much bigger voice than the Cub 8 and 10. And if 12″ of Celestion isn’t enough for you, there’s also an external speaker out jack.

In addition, the Cub 12 also features reverb (digital), tone and volume (as with the Cubs 8 and 10) and bass, middle treble EQ and gain control. The Cub 12 also has an FX loop.

Instead of a Hi/LO input, the Laney Cub 12 has a 15w and <1w input. Jack into the 15w input and you get the full throated roar, jack into the <1w and you get a more manageable volume for practice, with substantially less headroom. This means that you can get those dreamy, creamy British overdrive tones that EL84s are known for at a much lower volume. The Cub 12 sells for $399.00.

 

Related Posts:

The 8 Best Battery Powered Guitar Amps Today!

Battery powered guitar amplifiers have come a long way. Technology has advanced to the point where you can now get classic Fender or Marshall tones in an amp about the size of a lunch box.

Better still- you can get classic Vox tones with a built-in beatbox for honing your rhythm chops anywhere you go. Or get virtually 11 different amps all in one, small portable battery powered amplifier.

The times, they are a changing but I think these changes are a good thing.

Here are 8 of the best battery powered guitar amplifiers on the market today, from big-name makers.

Marshall MS-4 Micro Stack Amp Review

The Marshall MS-4 Micro stack is what it sounds like – a miniaturized Marshall Stack.

Marshall-MS-4-Micro-Stack-Amp

It’s a 1w battery powered guitar amplifier featuring 2 independent speaker cabs – each with a single 3″ speaker – and an amp head with Gain, Volume and Tone controls. The Marshall MS-4 Micro stack is small and stands only 9 3/4″ tall.

The amp is switchable between Clean and Overdrive modes, and the single Tone control lets you adjust the balance between bass and treble. The Marshall MS-4 Is a playable little amp that is well suited for classic rock and blues, but not jazz or metal.

The Marshall MS-4 Micro stack is powered by a single 9v battery or optional AC power adapter and sells for about $60.

read more for a full review and demo of the Marshall MS-4 Micro stack.

Marshall MS-2

What a great time we live in!

Marshall-MS-2-Mini-Amp

Modern technology has now made it possible to grab the Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp and take that Marshall tone with you – anywhere.

The Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp has that classic Marshall look and crunch, with surprisingly loud volume for such a little thing. it’s just 5-3/4″ high and even includes a belt clip!

It features controls for overdrive, tone, and volume and is powered by one 9V battery.

The Marshall MS-2 Mini Amp is a 1w battery powered amp that makes a great and fun gift or a truly portable practice amp, and sells for around $45

Demo

Fender Mini Tone-Master

Last up on the mini Fender hit parade is the Fender Mini Tone-Master Amp. This is a miniaturized version of the classic Tone-Master. As with all amps mini, the Mini Tone-Master provides pretty nice tone – considering its tiny size.

Fender-Mini-Tone-Master

Fender does another exceptional job of keeping true to the authentic Fender details here – cab corners, retro grille cloth, and vintage white control knobs.

The Fender Mini Tone-Master Amp is a small 1w battery powered amplifier that features two 2″ speakers, Gain, Volume, Tone and Power controls. It runs on a single 9V battery (included), or AC adapter and measures 6-1/2″ W x 6-1/8″ H x 2-1/4″ D

Unlike the Fender ’57 mini, the Fender Mini Tone-Master Amp is all plastic, but lightweight and small. It sells for $29.99.

Clean DEMO:

Distortion DEMO:

Fender ’57 Mini

Fender-Mini-57-Twin

The Fender Mini ’57 Twin Amp is for all the Fender Tweed fans out there. This is quite simply a battery powered, highly portable version of the original.

Measuring at just 2.8″ x 9″ x 8″ and weighing less than 2 lbs, this is a ’57 Twin for your desk or to just grab and go practice anytime!

The Fender Mini ’57 Twin Amp completely captures the vintage 50’s look from its miniature chicken head knobs, down to its tweed covering and brown grille.

It’s a bit more sturdy than many other battery powered guitar amplifiers out there, since the Fender Mini ’57 Twin is made of real wood and not plastic.

Beyond the vintage look, it’s a rocking little amp too. The Fender Mini ’57 Twin is a small 1w battery powered guitar amplifier with twin 2″ speakers, Built-in distortion, Power, volume, and tone controls. It runs on a single 9V battery or power adapter.

The Fender Mini ’57 Twin Amp sells for about $43, and would make a nice addition to a game room, or office or bedroom.

read more for a full review and demo of the Fender Mini ’57 Twin Amp.

Fender Mini Deluxe

fender-min-deluxe-amp

The Fender Mini Deluxe looks exactly like a shrunken Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It even includes identical “dogbone” handle, chrome control plate, mini chicken-head knobs. It’s a 1w, battery powered guitar amplifier with a single 2″ speaker. The Fender Mini Deluxe runs on one 9v battery, and includes headphone out, Volume, Tone and Drive controls.

The Fender Mini Deluxe measures at 5.8″ x 6.2″ x 2.8″ and weighs in at just over 1 lb. It’s highly portable, and great for practice anywhere.

The Fender Mini Deluxe sells for around $35.

read more for a full review and demo of the Fender Mini Deluxe.

VOX Mini3 G2 Modeling Guitar Amplifier Review

The VOX MINI3 G2 is quite possibly the ultimate portable modeling amp.

VOX_MINI3_G2_ivory

The VOX MINI3 G2, Ivory

It’s powerful and portable enough for street performances or picnics with the family or wherever.

Unlike some other battery powered amps, the VOX MINI3 G2 is not a toy. It’s a serious modeling amp based on the VOX Valvetronix family of amps and includes a new Bassilator circuit that provides richer low-end frequencies, which is great high-gain players looking for a deep metal tone.

The VOX MINI3 G2 features 8 editable effects, 11 amp models and a direct line connection for ultimate clean tone, or portable PA!

The VOX MINI3 G2 runs on 6-AA batteries or AC adapter, weighs 6.6 lbs (3 kg) and measures10.32″ (262mm) x 6.85″ (174 mm) x 8.78″ (223mm).

read more for a full review and demo of the VOX MINI3 G2 .

Vox AC1 RhythmVOX Portable Practice Amp Review

Vox-AC1-RhythmVOX

The AC1 RhythmVOX is not just a great portable practice amp, but it’s a rhythm box too. The RhythmVOX features 66 Rhythm/Song Patterns for rhythm practice and experimentation. From straight forward metronome to song accompaniment with a host of song style beats, the AC1 RhythmVOX is a box of fun.

The quality of the beat patterns is excellent and the tempo and volume of each can be controlled in an intuitive way, so you can quickly dial in the settings you want.

Features include gain, tone, and volume controls, headphone jack, Aux In jack – to jam along with your CD or MP3 player and a pair of 3″ speakers.

Coming in at about the size of a lunchbox (7″W x 2-1/2″D x 5″H) and weighing about 1 lb, the Vox AC1 RhythmVOX is a truly portable battery powered amp, but also runs on AC adapter.

read more for a full review and demo of the AC1 RhythmVOX.

Orange Micro Crush

orange-micro-crush-amp

The Orange Micro Crush CR3 a 3w battery powered amp from famed Orange Amplifiers. With a single 4″ speaker, overdrive channel, and tone control, this little guy can rock!

The Orange Micro Crush CR3 is all Orange, from the woven grill to rubber footstools and trademark Orange finish. it’s also wood, and not plastic.

The CR3 has a chromatic tuner, headphone jack and runs on a single 9v battery 9or AC adapter).

It may be small, but the Orange Micro Crush CR3 is all Orange and it’s a little beast.

read more for a full review and demo of the Orange Micro Crush amp.

Related Posts:

Electric and acoustic guitars, amps, effects, pedals reviews and more!

Welcome to Middle8Reviews.com!

Middle8reviews is home to impartial reviews for guitars and guitar gear. We focus on gear for the hobbyist or amateur guitar player. You won’t find many reviews of $3,000 guitars and amps here. That stuff is for the pros, who know what they want and where to get it.

What you will find are reviews for the rest of us.

Electric guitars for beginners, acoustic guitars for the non-professional and plenty of guitar gear reviews make up the bulk of reading material here at Middle8Reviews.com.

Here’s a sample of the reviews you’ll find here:

  • Looking for gift ideas for the guitarist in your life? Or maybe you’re looking for ideas to put on your gift list. Either way, here’s my list of the Best Gift Ideas for Guitar Players in the under $25, $50 and $100 price ranges.
  • 10 Great and Inexpensive Acoustic Guitars for Beginners. – This is an excellent resource for finding an acoustic guitar to start your journey, without breaking the bank. (Most models are less than $400, but play very well)
  • Top 12 Low Watt Tube Amps For Under $500.  Low watt tube amps are an awesome way to get pure tube tone in your bedroom, dorm room, or where ever you don’t want window shattering volume. This list is the 12 best low watt tube amps on the market today.
  • Cigar Box Amplifiers. This is one of those fun and funky reviews we do from time to time. Cigar box amplifiers are just a fun idea, and make for a unique – and functional- conversation piece or gift.

Related Posts:

VOX Mini3 G2 Modeling Guitar Amplifier Review.

The VOX MINI3 G2 is not only proof that great things can sometimes come in small packages, but is also possibly the ultimate portable modeling amp.

It’s powerful, portable and extremely versatile – what’s not to love?

VOX_MINI3_G2_classic

The VOX MINI3 G2, Classic

In fact, the VOX MINI3 G2 Modeling Guitar Amplifier is portable and powerful enough to take out for street performances or picnics with the family or wherever.

With professional looks and compact design on the outside, and advanced modeling technology based on the VOX Valvetronix family of amps, the VOX MINI3 G2 is no toy!

What’s different in the G2 from the MINI3?

As you may have noticed, this review is for the VOX MINI3 G2, so you may be wondering: just what’s different between the VOX MINI3 (first generation) and the G2 (second generation)?

The bulk of the differences boil down to two things:

  1. The Bassilator Circuit
  2. Improved sound effects

The Bassilator Circuit

The VOX Bassilator is a newly designed circuit that provides richer low-end frequencies, beyond what is available by EQ alone. This is a big plus for high-gain players looking for a deep metal tone.

The effect of the Bassilator circuit can be heard at low level volumes as well, and really rounds out the sound.

Improved sound effects

The VOX MINI3 G2 features revamped on-board effects that are less digital sounding and easier to use than the first generation MINI3.

VOX MINI3 G2 Features at a Glance

  • Direct line connection for a keyboard or other source that is
    clean and free of distortion.
  • New Bassilator circuit – delivers a rich low end, especially
    with high-gain models
  • Built-in tuner
  • AUX input (ideal for connecting an MP3 player)
  • AC or battery powered portability (6-AA batteries)
  • Dedicated mic input with separate volume and reverb/delay
    controls – ideal for vocals
  • 11 amp models
  • Detachable shoulder-type carry strap for transporting your
    MINI3 with ease.
  • Audio Inputs: INPUT , MIC IN , AUX IN
  • Audio Outputs: Headphones
  • Speaker: 1×5 inch; 4Ω
  • Signal processing: A/D conversion = 24-bit, D/A conversion =
    24-bit, sampling frequency =44.1 KHz

11 Amp models

VOX_MINI3_G2_ivory

The VOX MINI3 G2, Ivory

The VOX MINI3 G2 provides 11 different amp models, across a wide range of genres. This is the heart of its versatility. It nails the British VOX tone (as one would hope! 😉 ), but also classic vintage through modern high-gain – and even rare boutique amps!

The VOX MINI3 G2 uses the same Valvetronix software that has earned VOX much acclaim for its warm, natural tube modeled tones.

There is also a Clean model that can be used with virtually any instrument you’d care to plug into, making it usable with not just electric guitar, but acoustic-electric guitar and even keyboards.

Here’s a run down of the amp models available on the VOX MINI3 G2:

  • BTQ CLEAN
  • BLACK 2×12
  • TWEED 4×10
  • AC15
  • AC30TB
  • UK ’70S
  • UK ’80S
  • UK ’90S
  • CALI METAL
  • US HIGAIN
  • LINE

Effects

VOX_MINI3_G2_topAs mentioned above, the VOX MINI3 G2 features improved effects that are even easier to use than the first generation. And for reverb fans out there, the VOX MINI3 G2 features a dedicated reverb and delay effects section!

Extra care and attention have been given to the VOX MINI3 G2 effect interface to make it even easier for you to not only select, but also configure each effect. The tap tempo button, for instance, makes it simple to synchronize the delay time to the temp you wish to play.

Each effect is also editable, which means that once you have the effect set to where you like it, you can save it and go back to it with the twist of a knob anytime you like.

Here’s a list of the effects provided by the VOX MINI3 G2:

  • Compression
  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Tremolo
  • Delay/Reverb
    • Analog
    • Tape echo
    • Spring
    • Room

The VOX MINI3 G2 is a portable battery powered amplifier.

VOX_MINI3_G2_black

The VOX MINI3 G2 , Black

The VOX MINI3 G2 is ultra portable, weighing in at 6.6 lbs (3 kg) and measuring 10.32″ (262mm) x 6.85″ (174 mm) x 8.78″ (223mm). It runs run 6-AA batteries, or an optional AC power adapter. The battery run time varies with style of play, but VOX states you should get up to 10 hours of play on a single set of AA batteries.

There’s also a detachable strap, so you can carry your VOX MINI3 G2 by hand or over the shoulder.

The VOX MINI3 G2 is versatile!

With 11 amp models and 8 customizable on-board effects, the VOX MINI3 G2 is a highly versatile portable guitar amplifier – but it’s even more versatile than that!

You see, the VOX MINI3 G2 is not just a great little guitar amp. It’s “LINE” model of amp, is pure clean tone that makes it ideal for acoustic-electric guitar, keyboard or even mp3 which makes it an excellent, portable PA system!

The VOX MINI3 G2also has a separate mic input with its own dedicated volume and reverb/delay controls.

This make the VOX MINI3 G2 HUGE for busking or on-the-fly performances wherever you may be.

The VOX MINI3 G2 is pure VOX.

The VOX MINI3 G2 is a great portable, battery powered guitar amp that’s capable of so much more, but it also keeps to the VOX tradition. From the trademark diamond grill design to the “chimey VOX cleans” and British Crunch, the VOX MINI3 G2 is pure VOX quality and design.

DEMO:

Demo from VOX:

Amp model demo, from The ToneKing:

Effects Demo:

 

The VOX MINI3 G2 sells for about $120 and comes in 3 color variations:

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Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 – 20 Watt Amplifier, a New Kind of Modeling Amp

There are modeling amps, and then there is the Peavey Vypyr VIP. Where most modeling amps model, well, different amplifiers, the Peavey Vypyr VIP models different kinds of amplifiers.

Consider one of my favorite modeling amps on the market today: the Fender Mustang series. These amps are hands down the most versatile modeling amps I’ve seen – for guitar.

And here’s what sets the Peavey Vypyr VIP apart from other modeling amps.

The Mustang (and other modeling amps) let you switch from playing say, a Vox AC30 to a Vintage Marshall stack to a Fender Twin Reverb and many others, but the Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 20W Amplifier lets you switch from a guitar amp to a bass amp to an acoustic amp!

The Peavey Vypyr VIP models different amps as well (just like a traditional modeling amp) but works with bass, acoustic and electric guitar. What’s more – the Peavey Vypyr VIP lets you mimic a variety of different instruments with your guitar.

For example, you can plug in your trusty axe flip a few switches and viola, you’re playing an electric violin! How cool is that?

Peavey Vypyr VIP DetailsPeavey-Vypyr-VIP-1-20w

The Peavey Vypyr VIP has the following features:

  • 20 Watts
  • Acoustic guitar simulation
  • Bass guitar Simulation
  • Acoustically ported semi-closed back
  • Patented TransTube technology
  • Acoustic guitar simulation
  • Bass guitar Simulation
  • Acoustically ported semi-closed back
  • Patented TransTube® technology
  • 16 Presets
  • Specially voiced 8″ modeling speaker
  • 25 amp accessible effects
  • 36 on board amp models
  • 6 bass amp models
  • 6 acoustic amp models
  • On-board looper activated with optional Sanpera™ I or II
  • WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) controls
  • Amp accessible real time dual parameter controls
  • Amp accessible global reverb and delay
  • Tap Tempo
  • Bi-directional USB Data Midi Audio record out
  • Aux/MP3/CD input
  • Studio quality headphone out
  • Up to 4 effects simultaneously
  • Enhanced chromatic tuner

The “VIP” in Peavey Vypyr VIP stand for Variable Instrument Performance , and Peavey is touting it as:

The world’s first amp that contains Bass guitar, Acoustic guitar and Electric guitar amplifier models.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 20W Amplifier is powered by Peavey’s powerful 32-bit, floating point SHARC processors and utilizes their patented Transtube® analog circuitry to provide authentic sound for their vintage amp models.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP also provides a bi-directional USB data and audio port for an easy way to record, and or connect to our VYPYR software and store presets, get lessons, and practice to backing tracks while connected to your computer.

It’s all WYSIWYG, baby.

If all of the above seems like a lot of details and impossible to use without a computer science degree, it isn’t it.

The Peavey Vypyr VIP uses WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) controls, so all effects, amp models and parameter controls can be accessed via the amp itself. This lets you see and adjust the control position quickly with no guessing where the control is supposed to be, or having to manually move it to where it should be preset to preset.

Conclusion

The Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 20W Amplifier is not just an awesome practice amp, it’s well suited to recording as well. With the ability to handle – and model – a variety of instruments, it really opens up the creative possibilities for the amateur and hobbyist. It’s also a great amp for anyone who plays multiple instruments in a band. Say you play electric guitar and bass in your band, you’d have only one amp (HINT: the Peavey Vypyr VIP) to bring to practice for both instruments.

Here’s a demo (click this link if the video below doesn’t play):

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Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet Review.

Gretsch guitars have a long and storied history. They been in the hands of such diverse artists as George Harrison, Bo Diddley, Chet Atkins, Charlie Watts,Bono, Brian Setzer, Duane Eddy, Pete Townshend, Mike Nesmith and Billy Zoom (to name a few, in no particular order).

Gretsch has recently launched their new Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet guitar with all the style and distinction you expect from Gretsch at a very affordable price. ($499 at the time of this review).

The Electromatic G5435 is also very versatile and readers of this blog know I’m a huge fan of versatility (why limit yourself?). “Chime-like” is an adjective often used to describe the G5435, and it’s not far off. The bridge pickup can deliver a convincing twang or “spank” reminiscent of a Fender Telecaster. The neck pickup is warm, but still clear enough to avoid becoming “muddy.” Over all, it’s a well balanced guitar suitable for a multitude of styles.

The Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet

Gretsch-Electromatic-G5435-Pro-JetThe Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet is a chambered basswood bodied guitar with an arched maple top that resonates true to “That Great Gretsch Sound.”

The Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet is available is 3 styles:

Each features:

  • Rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and “hump block” inlays
  • Three-position pickup toggle switch
  • anchored Adjusto-Matic™ bridge and stop tailpiece
  • “G” arrow knobs
  • white pearloid Gretsch-logo pickguard
  • threaded/knurled strap buttons

Construction:

  • Body Back: Basswood-Chambered
  • Body Top: Arched Laminated Maple
  • Body Binding: Bound Top Neck

The Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet has a 12″ fingerboard radius, Maple neck and Rosewood fingerboard.

Electronics:

  • Bridge Pickup: Black Top Filter’Tron
  • Neck Pickup: Filter’Tron “Black Top”

The Gretsch Electromatic G5435 Pro Jet features a 3 position pickup toggle for selecting between: bridge pickup, bridge and neck pickups or neck pickup. In addition, there are the standard Volume (Neck/Bridge), master volume and master tone controls.

With an MSRP of $700.00, you should be able to pick one up new for less than $500. (Amazon is selling them for $490 at the time of this review)

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The Best Distortion Pedals for Under $50

These are my picks for best distortion pedals for under $50. Note that these are distortion pedals and not overdrive pedals. If you’re looking for killer metal distortion or grunge sound to add to your guitar tone and want to spend less than $50, you’re in the right place.

If you’re looking to add some classic rock snarl or blues overdrive, then check out The Best Overdrive Pedals for Under $50.

Also, as an added bonus, each of these distortion pedals sells for less than $50 and includes cables and picks!

DigiTech DDM Death Metal Distortion

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When it comes to distortion pedals, the DigiTech DDM Death Metal Distortion leads the pack. The DigiTech DDM pedal does one thing and one thing well – extreme distortion!

In a nutshell, the DigiTech DDM delivers killer metal tone with tons of distortion and a 3-band EQ.

DigiTech DDM Controls:

  • Level
  • Low
  • Mid
  • High

The level knob allows you to control the amount of Death Metal Distortion to add, while the 3-band EQ (high, mid and low) lets you dial in the right amount of tone shaping and ensure your guitar always cuts through the mix.

The DigiTech DDM Death Metal Distortion is some of the most extreme distortion on the market, especially it the under $50 price range. DigiTech says they’ve “turned the gain up to “eleven” and ripped the knob off,” and I believe them!

Here’s a demo of the Digitech DDM

DigiTech Grunge Distortion

digitech_grunge_001

Anyone looking for a more flexible distortion pedal should check out the DigiTech Grunge Distortion Pedal. This puppy is great for blues, rock and metal. It’s not nearly as heavy as the DDM, but the DigiTech DDM really only does Death Metal Distortion, If you play metal but also some less heavy stuff like blues or hard rock then the DigiTech Grunge Distortion is an excellent pedal to have.

The DigiTech Grunge Distortion has the following controls:

  • Loud
  • Low
  • High
  • Grunge

The DigiTech Grunge Distortion Pedal was designed for guitarists who want everything from chunky rhythm to heavy grind to amazing sustaining leads. The DigiTech Grunge Distortion gets you these and everything in between, and all for less than $50!

Here the DigiTech Grunge in action

DigiTech Hot Head Distortion

digitech_hothead_001

So what if you’re looking for a distortion pedal, but don’t play death metal and don’t even need that Grunge level of distortion?

This is where the DigiTech Hot Head Distortion Pedal comes in. The Hot Head Distortion is a multi-purpose pedal for any music style where light to moderate distortion is needed.

The controls are simple and straightforward, but allow for flexible tone shaping:

  • Level
  • Low
  • High
  • Gain

Whether you need just a little more dirt in your tone or you need your amp to sound like a full stack, the DigiTech Hot Head Distortion Pedal gets the job done, at a good price.

Here’s an excellent demo of the Hot Head from Robert at Dolphinstreet

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