The Best Gigging Guitar Amps

If you’re going to be gigging on a regular basis, the weight (or rather the lack thereof) of your amp should be a primary consideration unless you already have an small entourage of technicians helping you move equipment around. For medium-sized venues, a 30-watt amp should be more than sufficient as far as volume goes. The one thing to look out for is that most of the amps that you find will be open back combos. Tube amps don’t do too well in a closed cabinet due to heat issues but for metal you’re probably going to want a closed back cabinet.

This is a hard segment to buy an amp in because of the huge number of variations of amps. There are some however that stand out in terms of a unit that can do everything, so here are some great amps built for gigging in the $300 – 600 range category.

 

1. Fender Hotrod Deville


fender hotrod deville

The Fender Hotrod Deville and Deluxe amps are all variations on the same basic amp. The Deville has a two by twelve and a four by ten variation. It combines ample power for the average club gig with portability and the rich warmth of a genuine Fender tube amp.  In addition to being able to do vintage tones very well, the Hotrod also does blues and Punk very well. Fans of AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, and Nirvana will definitely appreciate the Hotrod’s classic rock tone.



2. Peavey Bandit 112


peavey bandit

The Peavey Bandit is not as well known as it should be. It is a solid-state amp featuring Peavy’s "TransTube" tube amp emulation technology that makes the Bandit sound like a true tube amp. Considered by many to be the hottest little amp in its price range, the Peavey Bandit 112 features a vintage/classic/warm switch on the clean channel and a classic/modern high gain switch on the lead channel that totally change its tonal character. Affordable and durable, the Bandit is also loud enough to fill an entire stadium - fantastic gigging amp if you’re on a tight budget.



3. Marshall MG100HDFX/MG412 Half Stack


Marshall amps are legends upon themselves in the rock guitar world. From Van Halen to Yngwie Malmsteen, virtually all rockers use, or have used Marshall amps at some point or another. The MG Half Stack combines 2 of Marshall’s most popular amps at an incredibly low price for the ultimate combo package. This 100-watt beast boasts 2 totally independent, footswitchable channels, footswitchable reverb, CD Input, a Parallel FX Loop, and 4 selectable modes, and new digital effects. The only downside of this amp is that its hard to transport. But if nothing else, you can’t go wrong with gigging with this Marshall amp.



4. Fender Frontman 212R


frontman212

At 100W, the Frontman 212R is loud enough for jamming with friends, and even more than sufficient for playing in small clubs. The versatile Drive/More Drive channel has a mid contour switch that lets you dial in the right distortion for rock, punk, blues, or metal, although this amp stands out the most for its clean channel sound, which is a signature of Fender tradition. The Fender Frontman 212R is a fantastic gigging amp at a reasonable price.



5. Roland Cube 60


roland cube60

The Roland Cube 60 is staple of the gigging scene that has been used by guitarists worldwide for years. The ultrareliable and supremely toneful Roland delivers amazingly loud output. You get miles of headroom, custom-developed 12" speaker, and an amplifier circuit that responds to picking dynamics beautifully. Just like its popular siblings, Cube-60 stretches the limits of where you can go with your music, both in terms of tone and venues.