The Best Beginner Guitar Amps

If you’re looking to buy your first guitar amp, there are several important factors you need to consider before making your purchase. Ideally, you’ll want an amp that sounds great, rugged, is small and compact yet loud enough to be used in a full-band situation, easy to operate, easy to combine with your pedal board and of course, cheap.

Although it may be tempting to get a high-wattage amp, remember that anything over 15w is almost certainly overkill for home practice or a band jam session. Taking all that into account, here are some amps you can consider (if you’re purchasing an amp online we strongly recommend for their low prices and reliable customer service):

1. Roland Micro Cube

Roland Micro Cube Guitar Amp

No other beginner amp goes as far as the Roland Micro Cube when it comes bang for your buck. Even though the amp itself measures a compact 16 x 16 inches, the amp projects the volume and presence of a much larger amp. The tone of the Micro Cube is also excellent: warm and mellow at the bass range, but crisp on the highs - perfect for virtually any genre of music. It also comes with 6 built-in DSP effects, and 7 COSM guitar amp models that would normally cost hundreds in pedals by themselves. But best of all, the Micro Cube has the near-unique ability to be powered by batteries, which means whether you’re busking on the streets, partying on the beach or camping you’ll be able to bring your micro cube along to jam and impress!

2. Line 6 Spider 3

Line 6 Spider Guitar Amp

TLine 6 Spider 3 amps are the second generation of amps with the same name. These amps have good volume, stay sharp and are priced extremely competitively. Line 6 amplifiers are designed mostly for rock or metal players, and the Spider 3 is no exception, with modeling options for "Crunch", "Metal" and "Insane" modes while focusing in on the venerable "mid-gain" range of tone to deliver a complex, layered and dynamic amp tone. If you want to play hard rock or metal, the Line 6 Spider 3 is a great option.

3. Vox Pathfinder

Vox Pathfinder Guitar Amp

Nothing beats the Vox Pathfinder when it comes to creating clean, half grain and crunch sounds - making it the perfect amp for classic rock. In addition, it also houses a wonderful sounding, vintage Tremolo effect that makes it extremely versatile when it comes to tone. The drawback of the pathfinder, however, is that it lacks the variety of effects and amp modeling functions found in many of the other amps such as the Roland Microcube and Spider 3. That said, the Vox Pathfinder is a still a fantastic beginners amp suitable for guitar players of the classic rock genre.

4. Peavey Rage 258

Peavey Rage 258 Guitar Amp

Peavey Rage 258 is a fantastic sounding combo amp with a lot of flexibility. It is very durable, and works well with effects. The main selling point of this amp is the unique design of the preamp and power amp, termed "TransTube" which gives it the sound of a true tube amp. It also has 3 settings: "Vintage", "Modern", and "Stack" really do great jobs of reshaping the tone in accordance to their respective tones. This feature really sets the amp apart from its peers. All in all, the Peavy Rage 258 is a great amp for fans of Classic Brit Rock, which the amp does a great job of emulating.

5. Fender Frontman 212R

Fender Frontman Guitar Amp

At a price of $330, the Fender Frontman 212R isn’t technically a beginner’s amp. But keep in mind that you get what you pay for, this is a high-quality working musician’s amp that will last you for many years to come. 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 channel allows options for rock, punk, blues, or metal tones, although this amp stands out the most for its clean channel sound, which is a signature of Fender tradition. If you have a slightly larger budget for your first guitar amp but don’t want to jump into the high-end models immediately, the Fender Frontman 212R is a fantastic gigging amp at a reasonable price.

 Beginner Guitar Amp Video Guide