If you’ve read my article on the different types of guitar amps and are getting ready to make a purchase, then this buying guide is for you. I’ve reflected on the hundreds of hours I’ve spent researching and playing different amps and have broken down my top favorites which all fall into the ‘combo’ category. I’m pretty confident that no one buying their first or even second amp needs a half or full stack amp set-up cranking out 200+ watts of power. This article focuses on my top recommended best guitar amps for beginners that can be purchased for $300 or less. In fact, I’ve provided you with two lists, one for solid-state and digital modeling amps and one for tube amps.
Let’s get started!
Best Guitar Amps for Beginners – Under $300
Amp Type – Solid-State / Digital Modeling
|Model||Mustang GT 40||Code 50||Envoy 110|
|Technology||Digital Modeling||Digital Modeling||Solid-State|
|Speakers||2 x 6.5"||1 x 12"||1 x 10"|
|Gain / Master Volume Controls||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Product Link||Product Link||Product Link||Product Link|
Fender Mustang GT 40
- This digital modeling amp comes packed with features. It models 21 different amp sounds, has 46 built-in effects and an onboard chromatic tuner. It includes an auxiliary input so you can plug in your phone or MP3 player directly to play along with your favorite tunes. The headphone jack is handy to play as loud as you want in your ears without disturbing your housemates or your neighbors.
- Fender has an easy-to-use Fender Tone app, which coupled with the amp’s built-in WiFi allows you to download the latest digital updates and genuine artist-created presets to provide you with endless sonic possibilities. If you’re a fan of integrated digital technology, then this is the amp for you.
- The optional footswitch enables hands-free switching between presets, effects and looper controls making you in full control of your sound without having to stop playing or put your guitar down to make adjustments.
Marshall Code 50
- Marshall is famous for its punchy overdriven sounds and this digital amp delivers. The large 12” speaker allows deep bass frequencies to be heard and felt when you really want to rock.
- It also includes a wide range of digital effects including an amazing 24 presets that provide you with sonic bliss ranging from glistening cleans, vintage crunches and modern high gain options. This is like having over $1,000 worth of stomp-boxes right at your fingertips. It also includes an MP3/Line-In jack and headphone output jack.
- The controls on the front face of this amp are super intuitive and easy to use, without being over-complicated or confusing. So if you want a tremendous range of tones made easily available to you, but you don’t want to hassle with more involved control panels and screens, then this is the amp to get you rocking right out of the box.
Peavey Envoy 110
- This amp features two separate channels and three tonal variations on each, so it’s like having six amps in one. The clean channel offers vintage, classic and warms settings, while the lead channel offers classic, modern and high gain settings.
- The back of this amp includes a headphone jack and a remote footswitch jack which allows you to switch between channels on the fly.
- The master reverb and boost controls give another layer of tonal depth for whichever channel you are playing.
Best Guitar Amps for Beginners – Under $300
Amp Type – Tube/Valve
|Model||CUB 10||Special 6|
|Technology||Analog Tube||Analog Tube|
|Speakers||1 x 10"||1 x 10"|
|Gain / Master Volume Controls||Yes||Yes|
|Product Link||Product Link||Product Link|
Laney CUB 10
- Laney Amplification has been making great guitar amps since the late 1960’s. Lyndon Laney was playing guitar in a band called ‘The Band of Joy’ with a couple of musicians you may have heard of….John Bonham on drums and Robert Plant on vocals, when he decided to dedicate himself to designing and building great guitar amplifiers forever in search of the perfect tone.
- This simple combo amp produces genuine and smooth analog tube tones, from bright and clean to gritty and dirty, at manageable volumes through the use of Hi and Lo input jacks.
VHT Special 6
- This hand-wired combo amp generates 6 watts of all-tube driven power.
- A useful footswitch is included in this amp which allows you to go back and forth between clean rhythm tones and overdriven lead tones.