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If you’re getting started playing the guitar, finding the best beginner guitar amp may be a bit overwhelming. After all, it’s an essential piece of equipment that virtually puts your sound out into the world.
We put together this review to help you find the right amp for you. When researching these products, we kept a few key features in mind. Volume and output are important to consider so that you can be sure your audience hears you, whether your audience is a coffee shop full of people or just you in the living room. Sound quality is important, too, and the number of sound controls the amp has heavily influences the music you’re able to create. We opted for combo amps for this review because we loved their portability and felt it was an important feature for beginners to have. We also considered the weight and dimensions of each amp, too.
Top 7 Beginner Guitar Amps Review 2020
We spent hours researching these products by looking at manufacturers’ websites, reading what the experts had to say about choosing an amp, and pouring through product reviews from people just like you who use these amps every day. The first thing you’ll see is a convenient chart where you can compare all of our picks, side-by-side. After that, there are detailed reviews of each product, followed by an in-depth Buying Guide, to help you find the best beginner guitar amp for you.
Our Editor’s Choice for best beginner electric guitar amp is the Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier. This compact amp weighs only 8.5 pounds so it’s easy to transport and the durable build protects it from any damage along the way.
One of the best things about this amp is the intuitive design. The controls are pretty straightforward. Easy-to-read knobs let you adjust volume, treble, bass, and gain when using the amp in overdrive mode. It’s a great choice for any genre, particularly metal or blues.
There are inputs for auxiliary equipment as well as a headphone jack for silent practicing. It’s an excellent option for beginners because it’s stripped down to basic functions that are easy to adjust. Plus, you’re getting the Fender name and quality at a reasonable price.
Most users felt this was a great beginner amp but that it’s better suited for low volumes. Because there’s no adjustment for mids, some users felt this amp was best for practice sessions and for newbies picking up a guitar for the first time.
The Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier weighs only 10.9 pounds, so it’s easy to transport. The speaker works in perfect harmony with selectable gain control to ensure clarity and quality with every note.
There are two different channels, clean and boost. Clean works like a regular amp while boost helps you out when you want to get loud. This amp really helps you tune your sound: the three-way equalizer enables you to adjust treble, middle, and bass tones.
This amp features an auxiliary input so you can plug in an MP3 player and play along with your favorite tunes. There’s also a headphone jack for quiet practice any time of day or night.
This is one of the best beginner mini electric guitar amps that we found in our research. It’s great for practicing, doing simple recording, or playing in small venues like coffee shops or bookstores. The edges are durable, and a rubber pad protects it from damage. People who use this amp report that there is some buzzing at high volumes but, overall, there were few complaints.
The Orange Amps Electric Guitar Power Amplifier comes from one of the best-known brands in the business. Orange amps are respected for their fantastic sound, which is definitely something you want in a beginner guitar amp. It’s not overloaded with features and covers the basics very well.
While this amp is a little pricier than some of the others we chose, it’s the best-rated beginner electric guitar amp we found in our research. It features two footswitchable channels, built-in reverb, and a high-gain preamp. There are four stages of gain so you can create clean or dirty sounds, just the way you want them.
This Orange amp has more controls than most comparable options in this price range. Each channel has its own volume control, and there are dials to adjust bass, middle, and treble. It’s great for any genre but particularly suited for blues, rock, and metal.
This amp has an auxiliary port as well as a headphone jack so you can practice silently, a great feature for those just getting started. It’s extremely portable and tough.
Users had very few complaints about this amp. Some felt it was a little too quiet to be used on stage, but for home or practice use, it’s a great choice.
2 channels to switch with foot
4 stages of gain channel
Some users felt the volume wasn’t quite loud enough for on-stage performances
If you’re concerned about portability, another great choice is the JOYO Electric Guitar Amplifier. Although it’s battery-powered, the 10-watt output is significantly higher than that of the other battery-powered option we included on our list.
This speaker is powered by six AA batteries but includes a 9V power adapter for better performance if you have easy access to an outlet. It can easily be carried with straps and is great for indoor or outdoor use in the right conditions.
As for sound, this speaker produces clear, true tones. It features two channels and adjustable effects and simple knob controls to change the gain, volume, treble, and bass. In addition to being used as a guitar amp, it can also act as a speaker for a smartphone, MP3 player, or just plug in a simple USB flash drive.
Users didn’t have a lot of complaints about this amp, though some felt it performed best in smaller rooms rather than large stage performances. It performs well for the price and is a good choice for beginners.
AC adaptor included
Simple knob controls
Can be used as a speaker for smartphone, MP3 player, and USB drive
We’re calling the Vault Fury Digital Guitar Combo Amplifier our best beginner acoustic guitar amp for the money. Why? Because there’s so much you can do with this amp; it’s just a perfect complement to an acoustic guitar. Don’t worry, it’s great for electric guitars, too.
This amp features eight pre-set simulations, including basic settings like Clean, Lead, and Metal and more specialized options like Jazz Chorus and Screamer. You can also choose from four different modulation effects, too, and add delay or reverb.
That’s not all. What really sets this amp apart is that it also functions as a drum machine. It has 36 patterns to choose from and allows you to adjust the tempo and volume as needed. As you can see, this amp gives you a lot of options for turning up the excitement when using any kind of guitar.
A headphone jack means you practice can silently, and the aux input lets you connect your devices so you can play along with your favorite songs. Users didn’t have a lot of complaints about this one, though a few people indicated they wished it had a little more power.
The Fender Mini-Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp is our budget pick, and it’s a great option for anyone who is looking for something small and simple to mess around with at home. It weighs just over a pound, which makes it perfect for travel. Just pop it in your suitcase and be on your way.
One of the best things about this amp is it’s powered by a simple 9V battery so you can use it just about anywhere. It features a headphone jack so you can practice privately and has easy-to-use knob controls for adjusting the gain, tone, and volume.
Because this amp is so small, it only has the basics, which is why it’s such a good choice for beginners. It’s limited by design, but that’s part of what makes it such a great choice for musicians who want something simple. This amp doesn’t get particularly loud, but adjusting the tone knob is surprisingly effective.
The biggest complaint about this amp is its size. Namely, some people thought it was going to be bigger than it is. Considering its size, though, it performs quite well.
The best thing about the Monoprice 40-Watt 1×10 Guitar Combo Amplifier is that you can crank it all the way up to 11. Seriously, the volume dial actually goes to 11 for when you want to give the audience just a little bit more. The headphone jack lets you practice in peace, and an external speaker output provides more options when performing.
This amp has 40 watts of power, more than any of the other amps on our list. It features an adjustable spring reverb and gain level so you can play everything from lounge music to classic pop sounds like the Beach Boys.
There are two line-level inputs to connect the amp to a mixing board or recorder, and the return jacks can be used with external processors to create a range of effects.
Some people who bought this amp were a little disappointed by the construction, commenting that the cover wasn’t glued down correctly and that they expected metal corner covers instead of plastic. A few users also reported a slight buzz, but, overall, people were very happy with this amp.
Volume dial goes to 11
40 watts of power
Adjustable spring reverb
Adjustable gain level
External speaker inputs
Some users complained about poor construction
Some users reported a slight buzz
Choosing a guitar amp is no easy feat, especially if you’re just getting started and aren’t sure what to look for. We put together this buying guide to help you understand what features to look for and why.
Features to consider while choosing a beginner guitar amplifier
There are a few things you should consider when shopping for the right beginner guitar amp. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important features.
The sound volume itself is pretty self-explanatory. It’s how loud the amp is or how much output the amp has. A lot of people think that the number of watts determines volume, but it’s not quite as simple as that.
A good way to think about the output is the higher the number, the louder the volume can be and still maintain a good quality sound. A 10-watt amp may be just as loud as a 20-watt amp, but the 20-watt amp will sound much better at higher volumes.
This concept is important to understand if you’re trying to decide between two amps that have similar output but it is somewhat limited in scope. For example, a 40-watt amp is most definitely going to be louder than a 1-watt amp.
When deciding what amp is right for you, it’s important to consider where you’re going to be playing. If you want an amp that you can use for performances, go for something with more watts to make sure you audience hears you and that you’re creating the best sound possible. If you just want something to practice at home with, lower watts are fine.
As you might have guessed, sound quality also has a little bit to do with watts and output. The louder the volume on an amp with low watts, the more sound quality is lost. The 20-watt amp sounds better than the 10-watt amp when the volume is cranked up but, again, this is a somewhat limiting way to look at it. A simple watt amp, like the 1-watt Fender Mini-Deluxe Electric Guitar Amp, won’t have the same quality as a more powerful amp, like Monoprice 40-Watt 1×10 Guitar Combo Amplifier, no matter what the volume.
The relationship between watts and volume causes what a lot of people refer to as “buzzing”. If you’ve ever had an amp that performed just fine at low volumes but lost quality as you turned up the volume, it’s likely the amp didn’t have enough watts.
These amps all have basic controls since they’re aimed at beginners. There are the self-explanatory controls like power and volume, but you’ll see other things as well.
Gain control is related to volume, but it’s not the same thing. Guitar amps produce sound through two stages. The first stage, or preamp stage, is when the amp takes the sound you’re creating on your guitar and processes it for the second stage when the signal is sent through the speaker.
Gain is the amount of input from your guitar into the amp during the preamp stage. It’s not only about volume, though, it’s also about tonal control and the balance between being loud and sounding good. High gains produce dirty tones. Low gains produce clean.
An equalizer is another important control feature that lets you tune your sound. Ideally, you’ll be able to adjust lows, mids, and highs like with the Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier. Lows add a lot of warmth to your sound but are not very clear or defined. Mids clean up undefined lows by adding more clarity and a bit of punch. Highs are a little lighter and don’t sound as deep, but they’re clear and have the most definition. You can see how playing with these settings can really alter your sound.
Weight and dimensions
How much do weight and dimensions matter? Well, that depends on where you’re planning to use your amp. Smaller, lighter amps are easier to move around and some don’t lose much in the way of sound quality just because of their size.
These amps run anywhere from around $30 to just shy of $200 but they really do vary a lot in features. There’s something for every budget.
A combo amp is one that contains both the amplifier and the speaker in a single enclosure. The alternative is to use stacked equipment which would mean having both a cabinet for the amp and one for the speaker. Combo amps are portable and somewhat easier to use since you only have one control panel to worry about.
A head amplifier is an amp with no speakers attached, one that you would use in a stacked setup. It won’t produce any sound until it’s hooked up to a speaker. A cabinet is just the opposite, it only has speakers and is useless without an amplifier.
No. A preamp processes the signal from the guitar to the amp before the amp processes it to be sent through the speakers. They’re not the same.
The Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier is our top pick for best guitar amp for beginners. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Because it lets you adjust lows, mids, and highs, you can really finetune your sound. Plus, it’s durable and easy to transport.
Next, we recommend our Editor’s Choice, the Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier. This is just an all-around great amp. It’s lightweight, easy to transport, and the controls are easy to use. This is a great practice amp for anyone who’s just getting started.
Finally, we recommend the Orange Amps Electric Guitar Power Amplifier for anyone who has a little wiggle room in their budget. This is an awesome amp from a well-known brand that’s loaded with features to take your sound to the next level. The equalizer lets you adjust lows, mids, and highs and each channel has its own volume control.