The tone is critical to a jazz guitar performance – be it when you’re on a gig or just jamming out. Whether you are blowing or comping, the amplifier you use ascertains the ideal tone. Finding the best jazz guitar amp for that coveted clean, signature tone isn’t that simple. You should know what to look for in the right amp. If you’re new to jazz guitar amps, this could seem extremely daunting – which it is.
- Our Recommendations & Full Review:
- Best Jazz Guitar Amps Of All Time – Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus
- Best Small Practice Jazz Guitar Amp – Roland CUBE Street
- Best Amp For Archtop Jazz Guitar – Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb
- Best Guitar Amp for Blues And Jazz – Marshall Studio Vintage SV20C
- Best Jazz Guitar Amps Under 300 – Fender Champion 40
- Best Jazz Guitar Amps Under 500 – Roland JC-22 Jazz Chorus
- Best Tube Amp for Jazz Guitar – Fender GB George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe
- Best Affordable Jazz Guitar Amp – Roland Micro Cube GX
- Jazz Guitar Amp Conclusion
Therefore, we’ve done all the hard work and compiled the top jazz guitar amps list so that you could skip the heavy research part and go straight to the buying stage.
Our Recommendations & Full Review:
Best Jazz Guitar Amps Of All Time – Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus
Roland is a brand known for its solid-state amps. For those not in the know, solid-state amps employ transistor circuitry to convert electric signals into audio waves. Compared to a tube amp, solid-state amps cost less to purchase and operate since you don’t have to replace tubes every now and again. Solid-state jazz amplifiers are typically more reliable or less delicate.
For less than $1,000, the JC-120 is quite capable. The amplifier design would remind you of the late ’80s and early ’90s. The controls are also reminiscent of classic amplifiers. There are a couple of input channels, each coming with a separate three-band EQ setup. The second channel comes with a reverb and distortion knob. You also get knobs to control various effects such as speed, mode, and depth.
There are two power amps, dedicated to a speaker each. This results in a very authentic stereo image, particularly when you start to rock that chorus tone. The amps pack in 60W of power each for 120W of combined output. The speakers look like a couple of vintage silver-cone units that are quite characteristic of Roland designs.
As far as jazz performance goes, the clean channel works reliably, despite the solid-state build. The built-in effects may not be exceptional, the fact that the amp has two amplifiers and can genuinely produce stereo sound is quite a statement. Volume is in abundant supply too. You can easily stage the amp without worrying about it not being up to the task.
- Clean sound, no coloration
- Solid-state build
- Classic vibrato effects
- Proper power delivery
- Effects could be better
Best Small Practice Jazz Guitar Amp – Roland CUBE Street
The CUBE Street by Roland is a fairly versatile and capable amplifier, particularly for the price. It combines great sound quality with portability and an array of features. The sound coming out from the two angle-mounted, six-inch neodymium speakers is quite impressive, providing solid clarity and producing more than decent volume for the size.
The Street has eight vintage amp presets, which include British Combo, Jazz Chorus, Acoustic Sim, and Classic Stack. The British Combo, for instance, provides you a pleasing bluesy tone with very little distortion. The onboard effects capably add to the package, with one knob managing flange, chorus, tremolo, and phase and another taking care of reverb and delay. Though extensive, the controls are well-segregated and simple, sitting atop the amplifier for quick and easy access.
There is also an integrated chromatic tuner, a three-band EQ, separate effects and EQ, discrete mic/line channel, a 15-hour battery life, etc. These amps are for jazz guitarists on the move. If you need amps that can be plugged in and is versatile and portable enough for a rehearsal, street gig, or lesson, the Street ticks all the right boxes. And since it can be powered by battery, you need not worry much about not being able to locate electrical power. Not to mention, it needs only six AA batteries.
- Quite versatile
- Compact, solid build
- Bang for the buck
- Effects go muddy when cranked up
Best Amp For Archtop Jazz Guitar – Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb
The Fender ’65 Princeton is a solid retro amp combo, dating back to 1946. It’s a rare breed that is still in production in some capacity. Originally intended to be a more portable, smaller combo for beginners, the Princeton Reverb soon fell in favor with studio players. Like the tweed Deluxe, the Reverb has seen an infinite number of recording hours over the years.
Kindly note this Fender Princeton Reverb is essentially a revamp of the classic legend. These jazz amps not just pay homage to its ancestors with its design language, but Fender has rightfully opted to keep pretty much all attributes of the original intact. The control setup, as a result, is fairly simple. There are a couple of guitar inputs, reverb controls, a basic two-band EQ, and a volume knob. The reverb controls comprise a speed knob, reverb knob, and an intensity knob.
At the Fender Princeton Reverb’s core are its complementing vacuum tubes. There is a single 12AT7, three 12AX7s, a 5AR4 rectifier tube, and a couple of 6V6 tubes. This setup is quite identical to amps that it took inspiration from. The power output rating is at 15W, 8 Ohms. All the power is pushed via a C-10R 10-inch speaker that justifies the entire package.
This single-channel amp Fender produces the cleanest sounding tones you would possibly hear in this price range. The phrase “vintage guitar sound” perfectly encapsulates the Princeton Reverb’s sound signature which is great for jazz. The best part is you could push the amp into an all-natural, warm overdrive with zero consequences.
- Great tone and design
- High-quality reverb
- Ideal for blues or country type tones
- A bit on the pricey side
Best Guitar Amp for Blues And Jazz – Marshall Studio Vintage SV20C
Marshall is known for its loud rock amps. The Studio Vintage SV20C is yet another attempt by the company to recreate its yesteryear legendary tones, albeit in a lower-wattage, more compact head and combo forms. With 20W of EL-34 power that could be switched to five watts, this combo is capable of delivering JCM800 tones.
The Studio Vintage SV20C combo has a couple of EL34s for power. The electronics reside within a solid steel bodywork. The neat PCB layout, which is typical Marshall, features a mainboard that holds all valve bases. There are smaller ones for the rear and front-panel components that are connected with ribbon cables. The transformers used are smaller than average, which helps keep the weight and size in check.
The styling is quite classic, with a Plexi-style panel at the top, gold piping, vintage-style knobs, and yesteryear metal switches. The two channels have been designated ‘normal’ and ‘high treble’, and each comes with a low and high jazz guitar input. The S20C features a 10-inch V-Type Celestion speaker and it’s based on JCM800 2203, a circuit that heavy rockers hold very close to their hearts.
Sonically, the SV20C sounds like the era it took heavy design inspiration from. The regular channel is warm and fat. The high treble does what it says, providing an aggressive, sharp high-frequency response. On their own, neither channels shine, which is expected. However, when you connect both the channel inputs using a patch cable, the channel volumes turn into primary tone controls. Thereafter, it becomes quite straightforward to dial in the right balance, which could be fine-tuned using the standard tone knobs.
- Offers plenty of clean headroom
- Handy effects loop and line out
- Plenty loud
- Great rock tones
- A footswitch jack missing for the effects loop
Best Jazz Guitar Amps Under 300 – Fender Champion 40
The Fender Champion 40 is a pretty versatile amp that could be used for rock music, and also jazz, metal, blues, and even country music. Since there are multiple controls on offer, you can easily adjust the amp to get it to sound and tone the way you want.
Weighing approximately 23 pounds, the Champion 40 is fairly portable and ideal for use in your rehearsal space or your home. The 40W power on offer should be plenty sufficient for group jamming sessions. Not to mention, you can also use the amp for some intimate gigs. Like its sound, the amp looks pretty solid as well.
From the outside, the Champion 40 may look pretty regular, but it’s quite a capable machine and packs in several special features that can be quite fun to experiment with. They are equally excited to listen to. The amps offer a variety of effects, which include delay, tremolo, chorus, and reverb. You can easily distort these sounds for effective rock and jazz guitar sounds.
The built-in digital amp modeling is akin to having multiple amplifiers within one amp. They help recreate a variety of sounds, right from heavy metal tones to classic sounds. If you prefer private listening while practicing, the headphone output would help you. There are a couple of channels that let you seamlessly switch between clean and distorted sounds.
- Complements classic Fender sounds
- A huge array of integrated effects
- Sound range and versatility
- Portable weight and size
- No footswitch
- Reverb needs some minor cleaning
Best Jazz Guitar Amps Under 500 – Roland JC-22 Jazz Chorus
The JC-22 Jazz Chorus by Roland offers the classic clean tones the JC line is known for. The JC-22 has a compact form-factor that helps with playing it in homes. The stereo amp is great for intimate recording and performances. A high-quality reverb adds to the onboard chorus. The front panel also houses the stereo input so that you could plug in modelers, stereo stomps, and multi-effects. The amp has been built well too.
The JC series is known for its clean guitar amplification. The JC-22 packs that authentic tone within a compact, light package. The custom-designed speakers and two independent power amps deliver the clean sound that the bigger JC amps are renowned for. The Dimensional Space Chorus trademark effect fills the entire room with truly immersive 3D sound. Also, the amp comprises an excellent-sounding reverb that functions in true stereo, thereby offering a rich, expansive tone.
The rear panel has plenty of connectivity choices. There is the effects loop that helps with patching in stereo or mono effects. There is also the option of parallel or series operation. Line-out jacks provide you direct feed to the recorder or mixing console. Plugging into the audio jack will automatically mute the speakers for some silent practice sessions. The jazz guitar amp also supports optional footswitches that let you turn the amp’s reverb and chorus effects on/off during play.
- Classic clean tone
- Great headroom
- Ultra-compact combo
- High-quality reverb effect
- Solidly built
- Not the loudest
Best Tube Amp for Jazz Guitar – Fender GB George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe
Fender’s Hot Rod series is quite popular among blues, country, and rock guitarists. Jazz guitarists usually felt left out. With the Hot Rod Deluxe, Fender wants to change that. Fender’s association with George Benson, the jazz legend, has helped the Hot Rod series become more jazz guitarists friendly. This 40W amp combo has been fine-tuned pretty well to achieve its goal.
The controls setup is typical Hot Rod amps, with all the essentials atop the amp. You have a couple of inputs, along with rotary tone knobs for bass, volume, middle, treble, drive, and master. There are presence and reverb controls as well, along with a switch to select channels. The design is urbane – a grey and black flecked vinyl cover drape the amp. The distinctive GB logo and silver grille are tucked in the bottom corner.
The amp sounds excellent – the George Benson association is certainly not just marketing. As mentioned above, this amp is ideal for jazz since it provides the responsiveness and warmth usually identified with a tube amp. There is enough headroom, which lets you retain clarity even when you go up the levels.
- Warm jazz sound
- Versatile all-tube preamp
- Capable effects setup
- Well-designed exterior
- Slightly on the expensive side
Best Affordable Jazz Guitar Amp – Roland Micro Cube GX
The Micro Cube GX is Roland’s offering for people who are looking for a budget- and practice-friendly amp. The design is quite simple, and the operations are pretty straightforward too. The Micro Cube GX, as the name indicates, is quite compact. In fact, it’s among the smallest in Roland’s GX series.
It’s a portable amp, which means it’s quite normal to have a default set of controls. However, the Micro Cube GX goes against the norm and offers an entire suite of controls. There are four modulation effects, eight different amplifier emulations, and also a reverb/delay section. On the top, there is your standard gain, tone and volume knobs and also an integrated tuner.
The jazz amp may seem a bit pricey for its size, but all those reservations vanish when you hear the thing. It does not just offer an array of amp emulations, but the voice quality is rich and distinct too. The Micro Cube GX is definitely on par with most larger cubes. Though the volume levels will not blow your mind, the loudness is still plenty enough, particularly if you consider there’s only a 3W setup at play. In fact, if you crank up the volume very high, you could end up with too much volume.
- Great sound
- Accurate tuner
- Versatile and quite capable for its size
- Lightweight and portable
- Could be a bit noisy in certain FX settings
Jazz Guitar Amp Conclusion
There is no dearth of jazz guitar amps on the market. The variety also means there is no “perfect” jazz guitar amp. The one that serves your requirements the best is, in fact, good jazz guitar amp. When perusing options, consider your budget, preferences, and needs. If you have any design, size, or build considerations, account those aspects as well.
The Hot Rod Deluxe, for instance, is ideal for jazz guitarists who are looking for a flexible, compact, and well-built guitar amp. If you’re not seeking those attributes, the amp may not grab your fancy much. The point is buying the right guitar jazz amp or any guitar amp for the money is all about matching product features with your list of requisites.
Looking for something else? Take a look at these small low watt tube amp options.