As it turns out playing the electric guitar is not the cheapest of the hobbies. You may have got a pretty cheap guitar, but you are still halfway from being able to play the instrument. You still need an amp just to get started, and checking how much they cost can be a little annoying. These devices cost a lot, to be honest, and for those in a budget, this becomes a hassle. For that reason a lot of new guitarists are discouraged entirely and quit playing, But what if I said that there are some excellent options out there for the budget buyers.
I can comfortably say that just because you buy a cheap amp it doesn’t mean you have to settle for a bad one. There are a lot of amps out there that deliver some excellent performance for the entry-level. Besides if you are just getting started you won’t need a super-powerful amplification with a lot of features, as you won’t utilize all those high-end features.
There are a lot of budget amplifiers that genuinely can do a perfect job for every guitarist. Like I said you shouldn’t expect anything that will be enough for large venues. However, for practice and small venue performances, the amps in this price range are pretty much perfect. For that reason today we are going to check out the guide to getting the best budget guitar amps in the market. We are going to check the top picks, things that you need to be careful before buying a budget amplifier and so much more. Now without further ado, let’s get on with it.
Which Are The Best Budget Guitar Amps?
5. Vox Pathfinder Combo
We are going to kick off this list with a brand that delivers royalty, Vox, and its Pathfinder 10 Combo amplifier. This is a compact practice amp that is one of the most affordable and most popular solid-state amplifiers in the market that has become the starting point of many guitarists.
In terms of controls, the Vox Pathfinder Combo delivers some pretty simple controls including the gain knob, a button for switching between cleans and overdrive, two-band EQ, and a volume knob. The biggest selling point of the Vox Pathfinder Combo is that it looks like a miniature version of the legendary AC30.
This amp has 10 watts of power that pump out sound through the 6.5-inch speaker that delivers great volume for practice purposes. While the brand delivers mostly high-end tube amps, this solid-state model delivers a beautiful tone that will make everyone happy.
4. Blackstar FLY 3
Coming up next we have the Blackstar FLY 3, which is one of the most interesting amplifiers in the budget range. Blackstar has delivered some of the most solid amplifiers from practice packages to full-blown stacks for heavy-duty performance, they sound great and for the price, the FLY 3 is perfect.
One thing that I can say about this compact and small amp, is that it offers more than you could imagine. It has some excellent controls including a gain knob, a volume knob, a channel select switch, a delay level knob, and a delay time knob that make it an excellent choice for everyone looking a bit more in deep to effects.
The Blackstar FLY 3 like its name implies ahs 3watts of solid-state power. The looks of this amplifier are priceless rocking a vintage creamy white cabinet with a speaker grille that has the Union Jack flag which is pretty much perfect. On top of all this, the Blackstar FLY 3 can run on batteries which is a great feature for many musicians on the road.
3. Roland Micro Cube GX
As far as practice amps go, the Roland Micro Cube GX is one of the most impressive amplifiers ous there. It is pretty small shaped like a cube and it is very easy to use, but it has some excellent features that make it a powerful model.
The biggest con of most practice amps is that they are a bit limited in nature, and don’t offer a lot of versatility. But then something like Roland Micro Cube GX comes around and makes things right with its amazing 8 different amp emulation modes, deliver a full modeling experience.on top of that, it has four modulation effects, reverb and delays sections, standard controls and a built-in tuner to make everything pretty much perfect.
The Roland Micro Cube GX has a power out[put of 3 Watts and has a 5-inch speaker to pump out sound. With the combination of its amazing performance and millions of features for its budget price, the Roland Micro Cube GX is one of my favorite amps out there.
2. VOX Valvetronix VT20X
The runner up on this list is one of the best amplifiers you can progress on, coming in again from VOX, the Valvetronix VT20X. This amplifier is great for both beginners and intermediate guitarists with a super long list of features that will leave any guitarist satisfied.
The VOX Valvetronix VT20X is a bit taller and larger than other amplifiers that we talked about before. It has a classic 1960s styling with a black diamond grille on the front and a super sturdy cabinet. This is essentially a hybrid modeling amplifier, with tube and solid-state technology in one body.
The VOX Valvetronix VT20X has a multi-stage tube preamp and a single classic tube for distortion. Combined with the VOx Virtual Element Technology for modeling and Boogie/Mesa Dual Rectifier it does wonder for all its 33 presets. On top of that, you can set 8 of your own presets. 13 Effects and 20 watts of power with the 8-inch speaker you can have plenty of fun with this amazing amp.
1. Fender Champion 40
On top of the list, we have a combo amp coming in from Fender, the Champion 40. This one delivers the classic features that we come to know and love with new features that make every guitarist happy. On top of that, it has plenty of power even for larger gigs.
The Fender Champion 40 has a pretty interesting and versatile controls section including a clean channel with volume and gain and volume and voice for the second channel. On top of that, it has two-band EQ FX level controls and FX select knobs. They are pretty simple and intuitive and do their job excellently.
The design is classic Fender, and this large amplifier brings out 40 watts of power and a 12-inch speaker that delivers plenty of performance and power for a lot of people.
Things You Should Know Before Buying a Budget Guitar Amp
There are several features and qualities that you need to check out before buying an amp. You should know that not each of them is created equally and different amps deliver different qualities. We will discuss these qualities and what you should consider before buying an amp in this price range. The better you are informed, the better your choice will be now and in the feature. So let’s see.
The power rating of the amp is one of the most important qualities of such a device, it will also give a good idea of how loud can the amp really gets. The more powerful the amp the more noise it can make, so for example, if you require an amp to practice in your bedroom than a 20Watt amp combo will be more than enough. These low powered amps also deliver some delicious tones at low volumes which is beneficial for beginners. Most beginner guitarists also practice with headphones these days so they won’t need much power. But then again if you need an amp you can perform within small to mid-sized venues you will need a more powerful amp. While those amps are much more expensive than lower-powered amps you can still find excellent models in the budget range as well.
You should pay a lot of attention to the speaker’s size when buying an amp. More often than not in this price range, you will mostly buy a combo amp and you should check its size to get a good idea about what it offers. You should know that most of the time the larger the speaker the more low-end or bass it can reproduce. You should know that the lows are used more often than not in modern music styles and are an essential part of contemporary genres. On the other hand, smaller speakers are better for more emphasis on the mids, which is more than beneficial for optimal practice conditions. Also if you prefer blues and classic rock they are better than anything else.
Modeling and Channels
In this price range, some excellent modeling amps are excellent, which are sometimes also called channels. These amplifiers let you switch up between different sounds, effectively allowing you to model your sound, just like their name implies. So if you want more variety you have to choose an amp with more models, so you can get more tone options and modify your sound in different ways. These are the perfect options for those that want to customize their tones extensively, which is more dedicated to advanced guitarists. For beginners and those that do not have extensive experience, I would not recommend these amplifiers since they will just make the whole ordeal more complicated, choose simple at first so you can learn the basics properly, then after you gain some skill and experience you can start experimenting and finding your sound.
Most of the amplifiers out there have some built-in effects in them, mostly in the form of reverb, however, you can also find amplifiers that offer interesting effects such as modulation delay, and even distortion which is extremely cool to have in hand. This will open up new tonal horizons you can explore and are one of the features that I highly recommend. Then again I recommend every beginner guitarist not to get too distracted with the effects and learn the basics. You should know that different amplifiers deliver different effects, some more than the other, and some most of the time you can’t use more than two or three at once, and only in certain combinations. So check that before you pull the trigger on an amp.
Solid State vs Tube Amps
For starters or novices, I always recommend solid-state amplifiers with digital amp modeling and built-in effects, over tube amps. The former delivers better versatility and delivers more value for the price. The more you have in your disposition the quicker you will find your sound and you can experiment more with different sounds., finding what works for you will not be a hassle.
For a long long time, tube amplifiers were considered the only true choice for a guitarist, and everything else was just not as good. While it is true that tube amplifiers are the perfect options for some genres and are perfect when it comes to producing an organic and super detailed sound, with the advancement in technology solid-state amps are pretty much excellent, some modeling amps recreating the sounds of some classic tube amps very close to the original. However, in the budget price range, things are pretty difficult as tube amps in this price range are a little limited.
Some hybrid amps put in a tube to the solid-state amplifier and digital modeling. This will not deliver the true tube amplifier sound and the purists despise these, but if you want a tube amp experience without paying a high-price these are pretty good. You should know that tube amps are also not as reliable as solid-state amps and require a lot of maintenance, sometimes in the form of replacing the tube.
There are different features you will find in different amplifiers such as direct recording, tuning, and much more. USB connectivity is becoming a standard in most modern amps, even the dirt cheap ones. These features let you connect the amp with your PC and act as an audio interface. So you can record your guitar playing, be it for practice or even producing your own songs. Other interesting features are looping, tuning, and some preset management features that allow you to get some personalization. However, if you can’t be bothered with those features, plug-and-play amps are excellent options.
There you have it your complete guide to getting the best budget guitar amps. If you stick within the criteria that I have talked above you will definitely find yourself the best amp in the budget range. It might not be the easiest of the tasks, but it is something a guitarist can manage. Don’t forget to check the top picks section, to take a look at the hand-selected options for the best budget amps that deliver you a perfect performance and value for the price. Have fun with your new amp, and rock on.