Best Guitar Amps for Beginners – Under $600

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 $600 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 $600

Amp Type – Solid-State / Digital Modeling

Boss Katana Artist Digital Modeling Guitar AmplifierRoland Blues Cube Solid State Guitar AmplifierBlackstar ID260 Digital Modeling Guitar Amplifier
ModelKatana ArtistBlues CubeID260
TechnologyDigital ModelingSolid-StateDigital Modeling
Power100W30W2 x 60W
Speakers1 x 12"1 x 12"2 x 12"
Gain / Master Volume ControlsYesYesYes
Headphone OutputYesYesYes
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Boss Katana Artist

  • This amazing amp will satisfy any beginner or pro guitarist who is looking for great tone and tons and tons of features to play any kind of music, from rock, blues, country and jazz to the heaviest metal sounds.
  • The foundation of this amp are the five distinct channels offered that include brown, lead, crunch, clean and even acoustic. Separate gain, volume, equalizer and presence controls along with built in effects of boost, delay and reverb gives the guitarist endless tonal options to suite your tastes.
  • The built-in USB provides access to the Boss Tone Studio and its 58 fully customizable effects, so you can load your favorites right into the amp and easily call them up whenever the inspiration strikes.
  • The power can be attenuated to drop from 100W down to 50W and even all the way down to 0.5W for bedroom playing and practicing without losing the tone of a cranked up amp.

Roland Blues Cube

  • Roland’s goal is designing this amp was to perfectly simulate a pair of 6L6 power amp tubes, and in my opinion, they’ve done a great job.  The well-built cabinet adds acoustic overtones to contribute to the overall great sounds of this amp.
  • Don’t let the name fool you, this high-value and budget-friendly amp can deliver a lot more than just those for blues music.  The flexible controls allow you to produce a broad range of clean, overdriven and crunchy distortion sounds.
  • While this amp is plenty loud for any garage band or small gig, the power attenuation control allows you drop the wattage from 30W down to 15W, 5W or 0.5Wto create any level of gain you desire while keeping the volume down at practice levels.

Blackstar ID260

  • This monster amp offers six distinctly different power tube/valve emulators which are designed to simulate the analog tones of the most classic tubes in music history. It also includes six amazing different voicings: clean warm, clean bright, crunch, super crunch, OD1 and OD2.  Combine these with the gain, equalizer and delay/reverb effects, and there is no guitar tone this amp cannot create!
  • The 2 60W speakers produce a total of 120W of stereo power so you will never run out of volume even on medium sized stages. And the built-in tuner will keep you sounding great no matter how hard you’re rocking.
  • Blackstar offer their own Graphical User Interface (GUI) software to allow deep editing and storing of patches/presets which can be uploaded, downloaded and shared with an entire online community of users.
  • The onboard USB connector allows you to plug right into your computer for easy recording without the need for separate microphones and interfaces.

Best Guitar Amps for Beginners – Under $600

Amp Type – Tube/Valve

Fender Blues Junior Tube Amp Guitar AmplifierMarshall DSL20CR Tube Amp Guitar AmplifierVox AC10C1 Tube Amp Guitar Amplifier
ModelBlues JuniorDSL20CRAC10C1
TechnologyAnalog TubeAnalog TubeAnalog Tube
Speakers1 x 12"1 x 12"1 x 10"
Gain / Master Volume ControlsYesYesYes
Headphone OutputNoYesNo
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Fender Blues Junior

  • This is simply one of the most beloved small combo tube amps ever produced.
  • Great for home use, recording and small gigs, the premium tubes, Celestion speaker and built-in spring reverb produce incredibly warm tones that can go way beyond just playing the blues.  Rock and country players will also love this versatile and portable amp.
  • The simple no-fuss controls are easy to use and the included footswitch kicks on the Fat mid boost for great soloing when a little extra punch is needed.

Marshall DSL20CR

  • This is the real deal…..classic Marshall tube-driven tone for anyone looking to play hard rock or heavy metal. Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, Slash, Kerry King, Jeff Beck, Kurt Cobain were all Marshall tube amp devotees and the list could go on forever.
  • Both the Classic Gain and Ultra Gain channels have independent gain and volume controls for easy adjustments between classic rock and melt-your-face metal. Plus, the adjustable power settings allow players to push the tubes into overdrive heaven without rattling the windows and doors.
  • It’s rare for a tube amp to offer a headphone jack just because the amps are way too powerful, but for this amp Marshall has developed something it calls Softube which emulates the real Marshall tone but in a controlled manner for headphone users.

Vox AC10C1

  • The AC10 was first introduced in the early 1960’s but was discontinued just a handful of years later. Vox decided to bring it back in 2015 and this beautiful sounding all-tube amp sits in the quality and affordability sweet spot between the smaller AC4, which is really limited to home practicing, and the powerful AC15 which almost made the list but is a little beyond the $600 range.
  • Vox amps, especially the very powerful AC30, have been played by legendary artists over the years including The Beatles, Brian May, The Edge, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend and many more.