7 Of The Best Blues Amps for Guitar (under $1000).

What makes for good blues amps? It’s a question with many answers, but  sustain, crunchy overdrive, good clean tone and a certain look are all part of the formula. It’s true that the blues can be played on just about any amp, but here are 7 amps that have what it takes to make for great blues amps – and each is under $1,000.

7 Great Guitar Amps for Blues.

Vox Amps

The most famous Vox amps, the AC15 and AC30, don’t look the part of classic blues amps, but they play the part just fine.

Sure, the Vox AC 30 is renowned for it’s jangly, Beatles vibe and searing treble tone of Brian May, but Brian Jones got plenty of dirty bluesy tone when he used his on Rolling Stones records. And Rory Gallagher paired his with a Dallas Rangemaster treble booster to craft his signature sound.

vox-valvetronix-20w

In short, the Vox AC30 delivers the blues goods, especially when you crank it. But that could be a problem at times because a cranked AC30 (or even AC15) can be LOUD.

Also, the AC30 is expensive, at around $1,200. The AC15 is more affordable, in the $600 range.

But if you’re on a budget or have to keep an eye on volume from time to time, then you should check out the Vox Valvetronix series.

I recommend either the Vox Valvetronix VT20 or Vox Valvetronix VT60. They are essentially the same amp, but the Vox Valvetronix VT20 is a 20w 1×8 combo amp and the Vox Valvetronix VT40 is the 60w, 1×10 version.

Both are solid state, modeling amps based on Vox Valve Reactor technology for true tube modeling realism.

Both come with 99 presets (33 song presets, 33 basic presets and 33 presets with effects.), and a ton of useful features like mp3/AUX in, headphone out, and each is foot-switchable and programmable.

Vox Valvetronix VT20 sells for about $179 and the Vox Valvetronix VT40 sells for $250 and have a timeless black motif to their appearance.

Demo

Fender Amps

Fender Excelsior

The Fender Excelsior is a 13w, 1×15 all-tube combo amp with a unique 1950’s vibe, sound and style all its own.

The Excelsior is powered by dual 12ZX7 tubes in the preamp and dual 6V6 tubes in the power output section and houses a 15″ Eminence Legend speaker.

The Excelsior also has onboard tremelo and a bright/dark tone switch for treble or bass emphasis. It’s one of the great and simple blues amps that takes pedals well and it’s also great for harmonica too.

The Excelsior can also drive an external speaker cabinet, if the 15″ Legend isn’t enough for you.

Oh, and they’re part of Fender’s Pawn Shop series, which means not were made, so they will be collectible.

Here’s the Excelsior amp in a blues style demo

And another:

Comes in four colors and sells for about $299-350 (depending on visual style/color)

fender-excelsior-antique-blush

fender-excelsior-brown

fender-excelsior-surf-green

fender-excelsior-sonic-blue-angled

Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue 40-Watt 1×12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp – Tweed

To many players, nothing says blues amp quite like a Fender Blues Deluxe, in Tweed.

Tweed is just a classic, vintage blues look – and tone.

Fender is renowned for their clean tones, and the Fender Blues Deluxe is no exception. It delivers 40 watts of tube driven tone with plenty of headroom for clean tone and great bluesy breakup when it’s driven. It also has on-board spring reverb, an essential blues effect.

The 12″ Eminence special-design speaker gives plenty of punch and offers enhanced midrange to help you break through any mix.

fender-blues-deluxe-40w

The Fender Blues Deluxe is powered by two 6L6 Groove Tubes output tubes and three 12AX7 preamp tubes. In addition to the spring reverb, the Fender Blues Deluxe also features an effects loop, two-button channel footswitch, classic tweed covering and chicken head knobs on a chrome control panel.

The Fender Blues Deluxe makes a great blues, rock and country amp.

Demo

Fender Hot Rod Series Blues Junior NOS 15W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp

The Fender Blues Junior NOS is a modern blues machine built to vintage specs and using new, old stock parts.

The Fender Hot Rod Series Blues Junior NOS 15W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp is an all tube (2 EL84 Groove Tube output tubes and 3 – 12AX7 preamp tubes), 15w combo featuring a single 12″ Jensen C12 speaker. It has a single channel with “Fat” Switch, reverb, and a footswitch jack so you can toggle the Fat switch on/off more easily. It’s got vintage knobs for reverb, master, middle, bass and treble control.

fender-hot-rod-blues-junior

Tweed finish with pinstripe grille cloth complete the vintage blues look.

The Fender Hot Rod Series Blues Junior NOS 15W 1×12 Tube Guitar Combo Amp is a great blues amp for the price, but it’s also good for jazz and classic rock.

Demo

Peavey Amps

Peavey has a reputation for metal amps, but they also make some of the best blues amps around. Just check these out..

Peavey Delta Blues 210 guitar Amplifier with Tremolo

The Peavey Delta Blues 210 is a guitar combo amp with tremolo and reverb.

Peavey-Delta-Blues-210-guitar-Amplifier-Tremolo

This is a great amp for those who dig the Fender sound, but want something a bit different in style or a bit less money. While the Peavey Delta Blues 210 is inspired by Fender, it is its own beast. It handles clean jazz and country tones all the way up to classic rock overdrive.

Packed with 2 10″ Blue Marvel speakers, three 12AX7 and four EL84 tubes and on board tremelo and reverb, the Peavey Delta Blues 210 definitely makes the killer blues amps list.

Demo

Peavey Delta Blue 115 (II) 1×15″ 30-Watt Tube Combo Amp

eavey-Delta-Blue-115-1x15-30-Watt-Tube-Combo-AmpNext in the Peavey blues amps lineup is the Delta Blue 115. It’s a 30w combo amp with a single 15″ speaker. With 3 12AX7 and 4 EL84 tubes, it’s powerful enough for gigging and built for blues with onboard spring reverb and tremolo.

The Peavey Delta Blue 115 also features an effects loop, optional footswitch, and an output for an extension cabinet.

Demo

Marshall Amps

Marshall Class5 – 1×10 Combo

One of my all time dream amps is the Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker. This kind of sucks though, because at $2,499 it is well outside my budget. (That’s why it’s a still a dream)

But luckily, Marshall has a similar blues amp that fits the budget player much better, coming in at around the $400 mark.

Marshall-Class5-1x10-Combo

The Marshall Class 5 – 1×10 Combo is, as the name suggests, a 5w, 1×10 all tube combo amp that’s perfect for home, studio and small gigs. It’s got a headphone output jack, and Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass controls.

What you get with the Marshall Class 5 is pure Marshall tone – from bluesy cleans to plexi style crunch, and everything in between. All of that without being a 200lb behemoth, stacked to blow the roof off.

With 2 ECC83 pre-amp tubes, and 1 EL84 power tube, it’s light but powerful enough to get you great tone where ever you are.

Demo

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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.

 

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Why Are Tube Amps Better Than Solid State Amps?

Why are tubes better than solid state when it comes to amps? It’s a question asked by every serious guitar player at some point in his journey. Most start with solid state amps simply because they are cheaper and more readily available to the beginner. They’re also easier to maintain and general require less maintenance than tube amps.

KT88 Tubes

But tube amp aficionados don’t claim tube amps are better for price or ease of maintenance. They’re concerned with sound. Some say tube amps are better because they give a fatter tone. Others say that tube amps are louder than solid state amps.

On the other hand, it may have to do with the fragility of the harmonics in a vacuum vs a crystal lattice where electrons are concerned.

Huh?

Wait, what did I just say?

I’m not going to pretend to understand that myself. It’s my attempt at paraphrasing Howard Alexander Dumble, living legend and bona fide amp wizard.

The world of guitar amplification is full of amp wizards who got there start with various big name bands or guitar legends, and go on to form their own companies and mass produce their goodies. Bogner, Rivera, and Soldano are a few names in this field. Jose Arrendondo is another. He gained notoriety in the 80’s for his work on Eddie Van Halen’s Marshalls.

That’s not Dumble.

Dumble is legendary like Bigfoot as much as he is like Arrendondo and company. Maybe mythical is a better word. He’s a recluse by nature, and fiercely protective of his magic, even going so far as to blanket the electronics of his amps with a black epoxy like substance to keep prying, eyes from reverse engineering his components. That’s hardcore.

He must be doing something right because the list of guitarists who prefer(red) Dumble amps is impressive. Stevie Ray Vaughn, Larry Carlton, David Lindley, Steve Lukather, Eric Johnson, Lowell George, John Mayer and Kirk Hammett are a few proud Dumble owners.

His amps can go for $10,000 – 20,000 and if you want him to make a custom amp just for you, it’ll cost you a 10k deposit for the chance to play for him, because only if he likes what he hears will he work for you. Even then, you’ll get it when it’s done. He works on his own schedule, not yours.

Dumble on Why Tube Amps are Better than Solid State Amps.

Here’s a video of H. Alexander Dumble describing as only he can why tube amps are better.

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Best electric guitar amp for beginners

Looking for the best electric guitar amp for beginners can be a daunting experience. With so many amps styles and features available it’s easy to get lost. Here’s a little advice I’ve compiled from personal experience and discussions with other guitarists about the best electric guitar amp for beginners.

Skip the modeling amps.

The first piece of advice about finding the best electric guitar amp for beginners is this:

If you’re just starting out and haven’t played a lick of guitar, then you should avoid modeling amps.

Modeling amps don’t make the best electric guitar amp for beginners, because it’s far too easy for an aspiring guitarist to get lost in the effects before learning proper technique. In fact, many of the standard effects on modeling amps today can make a person sound better than than actually are.

To some, this may seem like a great selling point, but ask any guitarist – hobbyist to pro- who’s played around and he’ll tell you that it’s much better to know how to play than to just sound like you know how to play.

Leaning on some effect like a crutch will only limit your playing and shorten you musical horizon.

When looking for the best electric guitar amp for beginners, look at straight, traditional amps and skip the modeling. Modeling amps a awesome though once you know the basics and have developed good technique.

How to Choose Your First Guitar Amp

The best place to start is with a small tube amp. This kind of amp is far less forgiving, leaving you nowhere to hide. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know. You’re looking for the best choice and here I am telling you one that will make things more difficult. But think of it as tough love – forcing you to confront your technique and learn the right way to play a chord or scale progression.

Once you get that down, the sky is the limit and your horizon will open up to a whole new world of effects and styles.

Beside learning the basics, avoiding modeling amps and multi-effect pedals in the beginning will allow you to focus on the few basic effects every guitarist needs along the way – Reverb, Chorus, Delay and Compressor. Reverb is a must, and most amps have onboard reverb effects. Once you begin to get the hang of playing guitar and wrap your head around those basic effects you can branch out to other effects and modeling amps.

I acknowledge the allure of modeling amps is great – they offer a plethora of effects and amp simulation at a great price (often cheaper than a basic tube amp), but that temptation can end up holding you back as you learn to play.

It’s best to stay on the path of developing your skill and technique, rather than getting lost in a wilderness of fancy effects.

Best Electric Guitar Amp for Beginners

Here are some recommended amps that fill the need, and provide a solid foundation for your learning.

Tube Amps.

Vox AC4TV.

The Vox AC4TV is a 4W tube amp available in 2 sizes: ‘Mini’ with a 6.5″ speaker and a 1×10″ speaker version. Each is simple to operate and has a control for tone and volume, as well as a power selector switch that toggles between ¼w, 1w, or 4w. It’s a competent amp that’s plenty loud but not so loud you’ll wake the neighbors.

Vox-AC4TV

Its simple set of controls leaves you to focus on playing, but it also leaves room to grow as you master the basics.

One of the great things about the AC4TV is that it has an external cab out connector so you can hook this little bad boy up to external cabinets. Trust me – 4 watts can sound pretty loud when it’s driving a 2×12 cab!

The 10″ currently retails for around $249 new, 6.5″ is $199.

What makes the AC4TV one of the best electric guitar amp for beginners is its versatility. Here are a few demo vids, to give you an idea of the different tones available and the different styles they fit…

 

Rock demo

 

Pop/Jazz demo:

 

Clean demo:

 

And one last all around demo:

 

Blackstar HT Series HT-1 1W 1×8.

Blackstar-HT-Series-HT-1

Another great practice amp in the running for best electric guitar amp for beginners is the Blackstar HT Series HT-1. It’s a 1W tube amp with a single 8″ speaker. It features 2 channels (clean and overdrive), stereo MP3 / line input and external speaker output. It’s use of dual-triode ECC82 tubes provides the crunch and break-up characteristics of a traditional 100w amp at a much lower volume. It also has EQ, Gain and Reverb settings.

It provides a bit more in the way of controls than the Vox AC4TV and retails for $269.

Here’s a demo of the Blackstar HT-1 in action:

Solid State Amps.

If the tubes are out of your price range, here are a couple of great solid state practice amps without the extra bells and whistles to distract you. 😉

Peavey Solo 12w 1×8 Practice Amp.

Peavey-Solo-12W

This member of the Solo series from Peavey is a 12w 1×8″ practice amp and it features TransTube tube emulation (for a “real tube” sound), Master volume control, Lead gain control, 2 channels – Clean and lead, 3-band EQ, ¼” stereo input jack and a Headphone jack.

What makes this one of the best electric guitar amp for beginners is Peavey’s TransTube preamp technology which provides a realistic tube amp tone and response, with the price and stability of a solid state amp – the best of both amp styles. Loud enough to rock, yet the headphone jack allows you to rock in isolation without disturbing others. The line in lets you plug in a CD player or mp3 player to jam with your favorite bands. It currently retails for $79.99.

Orange Amplifiers Crush PiX Series CR12L 12W 1×6.

Orange-Amplifiers-Crush-PiX-Series-CR12L

This little devil is a 12w amp with a 6″ speaker and is the smallest on this best electric guitar amp for beginners list. It features dual gain controls, 3-band EQ, Master volume and Headphone out jack.

The Orange Crush is all about style and portability. It’s distictive look is due to the Orange basket weave Tolex, woven speaker grille, beading and legendary hieroglyphs (PiX) and of course the Orange signature ‘picture frame’ edging. It’s not as feature rich as other models, but that’s the point. It’s simple, portable and just a good basic combo amp. It’s also available in black (why?) and retails for around $99.

Here’s the promotional video of the Orange PiX line of amps, including the stripped down and portable CR12L:

Conclusion.

I believe that the best electric guitar amp for beginners is a straightforward combo amp, represented by the amps on this list. Avoid the bells and whistles of the fancier, feature-rich combo amps until you’re confident you have a solid set of playing chops. Then you can either move up to a modeling amp, or start adding effects pedals to your rig. The great thing about all the amps profiled above is that they provide a solid base for what ever effects you want to add to the mix later on down the road.

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