Practice amps are an essential tool for any guitarist. There’s a negative connotation attached to the word “practice” that makes some people believe they’re inferior amps. Perhaps they’re poor quality or are for beginners only.
Nothing could be further from the truth! Practice amps are used by guitarists of all levels, up to and including just about every rock star.
Practice amps are great for practicing at home, obviously, but are perfectly capable of gigs at small venues. They’re also superior to bigger amps for recording in some cases – proper mic’ing makes the volume irrelevant.
Not to mention they’re cheap and portable! While a beginner should absolutely start with a practice amp, there’s no reason to avoid one if you’re further along in your journey.
With that in mind, we picked out some of the absolute best guitar practice amps so you can jam out in your bedroom, garage, or local bar.
Table of Contents
Orange Crush 35 RT
The Orange Crush is a great amp for more than just its name and color. It packs a lot of punch in a relatively small frame and has enough customization to satisfy anyone.
Orange as a brand has a corner on the brassy, bluesy sound. The Crush follows the trend with a precise gain distortion that is a joy to hear. It’s a twin channel amp, and each channel has its own volume knob. You can switch between the clean and dirty channels via a switch on the box, or an optional foot pedal.
With a built-in tuner and an effects loop to get your pedals onboard, this amp is perfect for rehearsals as well as solo-jamming. 35 watts should be able to be heard over your drummer, no matter how obnoxious they are.
- All analogue signal path
- Twin channel, high gain preamp design
- Buffered effects loop
Vox VX II Modelling Guitar Amp
Yeah, this is a practice amp – but it’s also one of the most faithful recreations of classic Vox sound.
Famous for their amps that rocked the world in the hands of legendary musicians like Paul McCartney, Vox perfected the tube amp. These days, the technology has advanced, and most manufacturers favor solid state amps.
However, there is a tonal difference between tube and solid state. An intangible quality that’s reminiscent of the glory days of rock and roll.
The Vox VX II Modelling amp is as close as you can get to the original without being a tube amp. It can emulate the mythical Vox AC130, as well as a host of other classic sounds, through an easy-to-use interface. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and veterans alike.
- 15-watt 1x6.5" Digital Modeling Guitar Combo Amp with 11 Amp Models
- 8 Effect Types
Blackstar FLY 3 Mini Guitar Amplifier
Bringing an acoustic to a bonfire or camping trip is a classic experience. If you’re the kind of metalhead who doesn’t own a single acoustic instrument but still want to bring you guitar, well, this one is for you.
The Blackstar Fly 3 Mini is an incredible amp, frankly. It’s so tiny that it easily fits in any bag. It’s also pretty cheap for a Blackstar product. It can use batteries on a DC adapter to plug in.
The thing that makes it extraordinary, however, is that it doesn’t sacrifice any sound quality to fit in that tiny box. It sounds comparable to other, normally-sized 25-watt practice amps despite only having 3 watts to its name.
And finally, when you realize that no one wants to listen to another Metallica song at this picnic, it doubles as an MP3 player with a line in jack.
- Refer the user manual below for troubleshooting
- Digital 'tape' delay effect; Patented ISF (Infinite Shape Feature)
- MP3/Line In for jamming along or listening to music
Marshall MS-2C Micro Amp
This is a micro amp, so-named for obvious reasons. That stock image is practically life sized!
What’s the deal with micro amps? The main draw is the portability. Electric guitars are usually tethered and generally immobile. Micro Amps like this one run on battery, so you can take your electric anywhere.
It’s quiet, too; make no mistake. It’ll be unusable around other musicians, so jam sessions are out of the question. Honestly, a determined acoustic guitar could drown you out.
It is cheap, though. It’s also Marshall, so you know it’s a good piece of equipment.
- 1 Watt
- Volume & tone control
- Headphone jack
Yamaha THR10 Valve Modelling Guitar Amplifier Combo
Yeah, it looks like it came from a military surplus store. To be fair, it does share some characteristics of such items. The Yamaha THR10 is sturdy, loud, old-fashioned, and green.
From the image alone, you can tell that it has many, many tone configuration options. That number of dials is intimidating, frankly. Especially when you discover how hard it is to hear tonal differences over the intense, gritty distortion.
The Yamaha THR series has several models actually. The THR10X is a 10-watt amp mainly used by metal and rock players. The THR10C, on the other hand, is perfect for jazz and blues. Check out the 5-watt versions if you don’t intend to bring it to rehearsals or gigs.
- Realistic tube-amp tones and feel plus essential effects
- 15 Guitar amps, 3 bass amps, 3 mic models for acoustic-electrics, and flat modes for everything else
- Bluetooth support for audio playback, editing via the remote, and more
Fender ’57 Custom Champ
Here’s a fun one – the Fender Champ. This tube amp is as almost an identical recreation of the Champ amp Fender produced in the 50s. It even uses original parts – old capacitors, the original 5F1 circuit – to perfectly replicate the original.
This was the amp that propelled the likes of Eric Clapton and Joe Walsh to fame. Yes, they used a 5-watt amp for studio recordings. And why shouldn’t they? Volume isn’t important when you can place microphones strategically.
This replica is so realistic it even uses Fender’s old logo font and real leather for the handle. It’s also so realistic that it has but a single knob – just one for volume. Hope you have a nice set of pedals. The only thing that’s not realistic? The price.
- A wide variety of playable tones inhabit this hand-wired performerfrom crisp, classic cleans to...
- Renown for its flexibility, ease-of-use and knockout tone this is the classic sound heard on...
- Renown for its flexibility, ease of use and knockout tone this is the classic sound heard on...
You really can’t go wrong with a Marshall. This one, the Marshall DSL5C, is a two-channel amp with a “Classic Gain” channel and an “Ultra Gain” channel. The former is a charged, driven sort of gain; the latter is more of a toned-down Marshall sound any veteran will recognize.
It has some fun features on top of those normal config options you’d expect. There’s a button that puts some extra “oomph” on your lower end – the Deep Button turns the bass up even more. If you need to dial down the music because the neighbors are complaining, you can drop from 5 watts to 1 watt via a switch on the back.
It features a whopping 10-inch speaker, MP3 player audio port, a headphone line out, and (uniquely) an FX loop. The Marshall DSL5C has some of the lowest tones of any practice amp, but a superb mid and upper range as well.
- Adjustable power output. Softube Emulated output
- Celestion then-30 speaker
Just as the name implies, this Blackstar is a 1-watt tube amp. Why 1 watt? Why tube? Well, you wouldn’t be asking those questions if this amp was for you. It’s purposefully designed to cater to the crowd who loathes the sound of modern solid-state amps and yearns for the tubes and valves of the old days.
It’s only 1 watt because that’s all you need for a decent home recording studio. It doesn’t have too much in the way of FX options, so you’ll need to be satisfied with the (admittedly excellent) gain or have an extensive pedal board.
Due to the low wattage, it won’t be the best amp for rehearsal (though 1-watt tube is louder than 1-watt solid state). It has a headphone jack for noodling on your guitar solo, just the way you like it.
- 2 Channels with reverb
- Preamps Tube: 1 x ECC83, 1 x ECC82
- Headphone and recording output with speaker simulation.
Boss Katana Mini Amplifier
While no one has ever questioned the quality and integrity of a Boss product, it’s understandable to be hesitant about a new product line. The Boss Katana put those fears to rest.
Boss Katana amps have rapidly built a stellar reputation since their launch in 2016. Every installment is rife with tone configuration options, crystal clear highs and dirty, gritty overdrives. This mini amp comes with three modes: Crunch, Clean, and Brown so you can experience the whole gamut of sound options.
With a 4-inch speaker this amp packs a lot of punch into its small frame.
- 1x4" Guitar Combo Amplifier with 3 Amp Voicings
- Line/Headphone Output
- Delay Effect
Practice amps are an incredibly useful tool. They can be used for more than simply practicing in your bedroom without bothering neighbors. Most can be used with a headphone for silent practice anywhere. Most have the volume for practicing with your garage band. Some are even feasible for small gigs like bars or coffeeshops.
Considering the low price tag on many practice amps, it’s a worthy investment without much risk.
Last update on 2024-03-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API