Choosing the best beginner guitar amp is almost as important as choosing a guitar. More and more musicians rely on amps to generate about 50% of the sounds they produce—including the all-important nuances that contribute to developing a signature musical style. Unfortunately, the task can often be overwhelming for new musicians because of the many things that must be considered.
These amp-buying criteria include size, control options, special built-in sounds effects, power sources and models that are transistor, valve or modeling amps. You might prefer a mini amp for intimate sessions, and acoustic amps are also an option for those who prefer more natural sounds. These details will be covered in the following 10 recommendations of the best beginner guitar amps.
Our Beginner Guitar Amp Recommendations
Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20
The Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20 beginner guitar amp is a best choice for beginners because it delivers the basics at an affordable price. There are plenty of special effects and a great EQ feature, which Blackstar calls the ISF, that switches between American and British tones. Other special effects include distortion, overdrive, delay, reverb and modulation. Control features include the EQ, gain, volume, effect level, tuner and tap tempo.
Blackstar is a well established manufacturer of valve and modeling guitar amps, and this modeling amp is affordable and portable with “Super Wide Stereo” effects and a built-in Looper function. The guitar amp has 20 watts of power, and one of the best features is the starter amp’s headphone-out port that can be used to record from the amp with the speaker tone intact.
Superior High-gain Tone
These guitar amps, which are suitable for beginners, compares favorably with more expensive brands that feature high-gain tones, which are used by many artists that include Richie Sambora, Frederick Akesson, Gus G and many other respected musicians. You get the same tones that other guitar amps deliver in a compact unit without the high cost.
The amp generates great sound for practicing at home, and it’s easy to create a unique sound right out of the box. Primarily used for modeling, you can also use the guitar amp for performances at small clubs and informal venues.
The pros of the guitar amplifier include the following:
- Ability to control the width of the stereo field
- USB connectivity
- Ability to stream music via Bluetooth
- Six electric guitar “voices”
- 12 built-in sound effects
- Great “dirty” sounds and a clean tone that has exceptional clarity
The cons of the Blackstar guitar amp include:
- Difficult to use software
- Effects that are hard to master
Fender Champion 20
The Fender Champion 20 best beginner guitar amplifier is perfect for practice sessions because it’s highly portable, so you can take it almost anywhere. Although it has 20 watts of power, which is sufficient for small gigs, it doesn’t have enough power for a large bar band, big stage performance or outdoor venue. It’s ideal for practicing, however, because you can shape your sound with special effects and the equalizer that has bass and treble functions.
The amps sound effects include chorus, vibratome, delay and reverb, and the voicing options include British, Tweed, Blackface and Metal. You can actually fine-tune each voice, and Fender states that the features can generate up to 12 individual “voices.”
Dynamic Voicing Control
Practice sessions are where serious musicians can craft a signature sound, and the Fender Champion 20 provides voicing control that allows you to dial through clean and distorted sounds to mimic the sounds of most musical genres and amps or create your own individual sound. The sounds that you can generate include:
- British: You can generate broth American and British tones that sound like the classic rock sounds of the 1960s and 1970s.
- Tweed: The Tweed sounds call to mind early Fender tones produced by Fender amps, such as the Twin Deluxe and Princeton.
- Blackface: The Blackface amp featured small controls that resembled hats, and the look continues in today’s guitar amp designs. Blackface was introduced after Tweed.
• Metal: This voice increases the gain to reproduce the classic rock sounds of the 1980s and 1990s.
The pros of the Fender 20 amp include:
- Incredible range of guitar amp modeling settings
- Affordable, practical and portable
- Classic Fender styling
- Range of built-in effects
The cons of this amp for beginners include:
- Insufficient power for larger venues
- Inefficient design for the power switch, which is located on the back of the amp
Boss Katana 50
The Boss Katana 50 is a modeling amps that’s best for beginners, and even experienced musicians often choose the guitar amp for practice and home use. The favorable balance of amp quality and low price make it perfect for a range of musical styles. You can choose your power range—from ½ watt up to 50 watts. The amp offers five different modes: acoustic, clean, lead, crunch and brown, which is the manufacturer’s proprietary take on the sound of 1980s rock.
The special features allow beginners to develop their own musical style. The single-input amp has controls that include gain, volume, 3-band equalizer, delay/FX selector, delay/FX level control, boost/mod selector and level control, reverb selector and control, power control, channel selector and tap tempo.
This 50-watt guitar amplifier gives you so many options that it’s perfectly suitable for live performances in smaller venues, but it’s primarily used for practice and creative sessions. The Boss 50 can capture most of the common musical sounds and flourishes that musicians use, and one of the prized benefits of the amp is that it can make your electric guitar sound like an acoustic instrument.
The optional Tone Editor software opens up even more sound options and gives you the ability to record presets so that you can use multiple effects simultaneously, such as modulation and distortion
The pros of the Boss 50 guitar amp include the following features:
- Wide range of sounds and features for beginners
- Works well as a clean platform with pedals
- Killer sound quality
- Power attenuation
The cons of the guitar amps include;
- Lack of a line-out connection
- No built-in chromatic tuner or Looper
Line 6 Spider V 30 MkII
The Line 6 Spider V 30 Mklll is a beginner modeling amp that’s best for beginners who have a distinct sense of personal style The Spider amps have a distinctive design that features black vinyl and a black and silver grille. Color-coded lettering delivers a futuristic look, but demanding beginners and amateurs appreciate the range of effects and high quality functionality of the amp even more. There are more than 200 effects and 100 presets that allow complete customization.
You get a built-in tuner, metronome and custom Android or iOS apps to craft your signature sound. The built-in receiver on this guitar amp accepts connections on Line 6 for wireless transmissions, and the receiver also features an aux-in and USB-out port, which allow you to record sessions on a PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Enjoy Intuitive Controls
Unlike some amps—even those recommended for beginners—the Line 6 Spider has controls that are amazingly intuitive. Coupled with the amp’s ability to deliver excellent sound quality, even at low volume, the guitar amplifier can be used for both electric and acoustic guitars.
The mobile app connects easily without any trouble spots or glitches, and the ability to save and edit your own sounds makes it easier to advance your guitar skills. The built-in Looper, drum loops and metronome make modeling sessions simpler, more fun and more productive.
The pros of the Line 6 Spider V 30 MkII guitar amp include:
- Stunning sound quality
- Ability to double as a performance amp in smaller venues
- Speaker Mode that delivers organic sound
- Ability to draft unique sounds, unlike cookie-cutter special effects
- Compatible with the Line 6 FBV 3 Foot Controller
- 30 watts of power, which makes it suitable for small- and medium-sized venues
- Free remote app
The cons of the guitar amps include:
Spider V Cons
- Not compatible with older iOS devices and many Android devices
- No Bluetooth means iOS or Android devices are tethered to the amp
- Getting the most out of the amp isn’t possible without an FBV3 foot controller
- The amp’s speaker doesn’t sound quite as good as the direct signal
VOX AC2 RhythmVox Mini Guitar Amplifier
The VOX AC2 RhythmVox Mini Guitar Amplifier is a best choice for home use, beginner practice sessions and easy portability. The amp offers 2 watts of power and three types of sound: crunch, clean and lead. The mini amp also delivers five types of special effects that include delay, chorus and reverb. You can use the headphone jack to practice quietly until you master the piece you’re creating or learning to play.
The wattage of this mini guitar amp was recently doubled from 1 watt to 2 watts, and the result is better sound quality.The amp features a range of high-quality effects and rhythm patterns that help you learn to generate professional sound in record time. The amp runs on batteries or power outlets, so you can take and use the amp anywhere—up to 20 hours when using the six AA batteries.
You Might Forget It’s a Mini
The guitar amp delivers such great sound and so many musical options that you can easily forget that it’s a mini amp. The amp looks like a full-sized VOX amplifier, and the amp gives you additional equalizer variations of the crunch, clean and lead sounds: normal, flat and scoop.
The pros of the VOX AC2 RhythmVox Mini Guitar Amplifier include:
- Useful for practice and backstage use
- 81 rhythm pattern options: 9 genres and 9 variations
- Bass-in and aux-in jacks
- Mini phone jack
- 3″ speakers
- AA battery operation with optional AC adapter
The cons of the mini guitar amps include:
- Only 2 W @ 4 ohms of power
- Not suitable for performances, except as a rhythm box
Orange Crush 12
The Orange Crush 12 amp is the smallest model of the classic Orange Crush Amps that rank among the most distinctive models on the market and great for a beginner. Orange is a brand chosen by thousands of accomplished professional musicians, and the distinctive basket-weave styling and orange color make the brand the most recognizable in the industry. Amazingly, the 12 watts of power deliver an incredible level of sound using the best solid-state guitar amplifier technology.
Multiple gain controls more than make up for having only a single channel. Those who prefer the “no frills” approach to musical tone appreciate the brand’s unique look and comfortable feel. There are no onboard special effects, except for the multilevel gain controls. Serious musicians appreciate the purity of using overdrive to mix things up with crunch tones, and cranking up the gain is perfect for performances in the rock and metal genres.
Unexpected Versatility by Maximizing the Basics
You can use the equalizer to create the tone you need in almost every case, and it’s actually fun to create your own clean tones by experimenting with the tone controls on your instrument. Most musicians and fans swear they the 12 watt amp delivers unexpectedly loud sound because of the superior engineering.
The pros of the Orange Crush 12 amps include:
- Great choice for practicing with a guitar amp used by world-famous musicians
- Distinctive Orange Crush design that has featured basket-weave vinyl, picture-frame edging, woven grille cloth over the speaker and iconic hieroglyphs since 1968
- Sturdy construction and high-quality sound
- Surprisingly good tone for he price
- Analogue amplifier circuitry, which is preferred by most music experts
- 3-band equalizer
The cons of the Orange guitar amps include:
- No reverb effect
- No auxiliary input
The Marshall guitar amplifier name is one of the most recognizable, and the brand is the best choice of many legendary musicians including Slash, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhodes, Eric Johnson and many other guitarists. Even the entry-level model, the Marshall MG30CFX, features top functions, such as digital sound processing, Marshall’s classic crunch effects and analog tonality. Marshall voicing adds special appeal with its iconic distortion effect.
This solid-state amp is ideal for beginner practice sessions, songwriting efforts and performances at smaller gigs where you can deliver the “wow” factor of rock crunch and guitar distortion. The amp features a front panel with an input jack and controls for gain, bass, middle, treble, master, FX, reverb, volume, headphone and foot controller socket.
Special Effects Wizardry
This is the perfect guitar amplifier for beginners who want to master hard rock and heavy metal. The clean/crunch channel delivers more gain than normal to the clean side, so musicians get the warm Marshall tone with an edge. Two overdrive channels allow you to adjust the gain progressively.
The pros of the Marshall MG30CFX amps include”
- Built-in FX
- Four channels
- Programmable functions
- Signature Marshall tone that’s prized by many professional musicians
- Solid-state operation with 30 watts of power
- Incredibly effective distortion effect
- Loud enough for medium-sized gigs
The cons of the guitar amp include:
- Small controls that are difficult to use
- No foot pedal included
- Limited number of special effects
Roland Cube Street EX
The Roland Cube Street Ex guitar amp is a best choice for beginners because you can use it right out of the box. You just need to plug it in, and you can generate professional sounds right away, such as clean and crunch tones. The amp comes with an Acoustic Simulator, and the AC preamp is optimized for both electric and acoustic guitars.
The Roland Cube Street Ex is a modeling amp that’s battery powered, but it delivers big sound and 50 watts of power. The optimized speakers also crank up the volume far beyond what most battery-powered amps can deliver. The amp also uses battery power sparingly, and it has three settings: 50 watts, 25 watts and 10 watts. At the lowest setting, you can run the amp up to 20 hours on the 8 AA battery array. You also have the option of connecting to the power grid.
Unparalleled Efficiency and Thoughtful Design
The Roland Cube guitar amp is great for composing, rehearsing, practicing and performing at small venues or in short sessions. The two 25-watt speakers deliver 50 watts of sound, so the amp can be used even in larger venues. The amp can also double as an exterior speaker or PA system when attached to the stand mount.
The amplifier design includes a clean control,panel divided into four channels. Two can connect to microphones using XLR technology. These channels connect to jack/XLR sockets or guitars. The Roland company created a respected COSM app simulation that provides clean, crunch and lead effect options.
The pros of the Roland Cube Street EX amps include:
- Lots of sound volume, even when using the lowest power setting
- Highly portable
- Great choices of sound effects
- Lots of input connections for instruments, microphones and PCs
- No drive or delay controls
- Delay and feedback levels that are preset and not programmable
DV Mark Little Jazz
The DV Mark Little Jazz guitar amp is lightweight and portable. The Class D power amp makes it possible to get the best big sound out of a small amp. The manufacturer is a company from Finland that has been in business for more than 30 years. The DV Mark amp comes in a compact cube shape and weighs less than 7 kilos, so it’s easy to take anywhere, including public transportation.
The cube houses an 8″ speaker behind a sturdy metal grille, and the amp features a 3-band equalizer, built-in reverb function and auxiliary input to connect to your phone, tablet or M3 player. The back panel houses a speaker output, DI/XLR output, headphone output and a control switch for the speaker.
Effective Controls in a Small Package
The sound of the guitar amp is clean, warm and high-fidelity, so your music never sounds one-dimensional. The amp transmits the essential characteristics of your guitar and beginner playing skill. The digital reverb can be adjusted in pitch to generate a chorus-type quality to your music like Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
The amp’s 45 watts of power is suitable for practicing and performing, despite its small size. The amp is designed for use on stage, and if it can’t deliver enough power, you only need to place a microphone in front of it to increase the sound output. The amp is a great choice for jazz musicians and those who like to get sound from multi-effect boards or foot pedal attachments.
The pros of the DV Mark Little Jazz guitar amps include:
- Compact and lightweight
- Superior design and workmanship
- Plenty of power for most venues
- High-fidelity sound and tone
The cons of the DV Mark amp include:
- Higher cost for an active stage amp
- Continuous fan cooling that can be distracting
The Yamaha THR10 is an affordable modeling guitar app that’s a top choice for beginners. The amp comes with the amplifier, AC adapter, Cubase Al6 DVD, USB cable and stereo mini cable. This combo amp, which runs on AC or battery power, uses 20 watts of power and is suitable for a beginner, modeling and small performance venues. The emulation settings provide 15 excellent amp effects, and the sound from this small amp has excellent volume and tone.
Although the Yamaha THR10 is designed for home use, it has advanced features that make it a workable amp for live performances in smaller venues. These features include input and output jacks, modulation effects, outstanding Yamaha sound quality and Yamaha Editor Software. These advanced features include choruses, reverbs and controls for the various effects.
Crafting a Perfect Signature Sound
The Yamaha guitar amp is perfect for creating a signature sound using effects and controls like flanging, delays, reverbs and other intense effects that you can dial up with the tempo button. Yamaha uses its proprietary VCM technology to deliver advanced features and controls to create the best sound quality that rivals a Fender Twin professional amp. Regardless of your genre or musical style, you can produce a sound with great variations, overdrive tones, metal tones and other sound innovations.
The pros of the Yamaha THR10 guitar amps include:
- Helps each user develop a unique musical style
- Lightweight and portable
- Affordable choice for beginners
- Simple, user-friendly design
- Wide array of special effects choices
The cons of the Yamaha amp include:
- Relatively small speakers
- Some design shortcomings
Best Beginner Guitar Amps Conclusion
Ideally, you should try a guitar amp before you buy it, but that’s not always practical or even possible for some beginners. Playing a few minutes won’t give you the experience you need to make a wise choice, but careful comparisons of features and reviews can give you a more complete picture or the best beginner guitar amp for your needs.
However, if you know someone who has the best starter model you’re considering, you might be able to arrange for some extended playing time. Using your amp effectively takes time and commitment, and you’ll learn from the experience of choosing an entry-level amp as you build your musical resume and amp expertise.