The Top 10 Guitar Amps
Although some might say that the best amp comes down to personal taste, and there is an undeniable element of that, there are some manufacturers who seem to continue building great amps year after year.
Our friends at American Musical Supply have put together their list ranking the top 10 amps currently available. We here at Guitar Site pretty much agree with their selection - you can see our old top 10 list of classic amps below. It's interesting to see that our old list, which we first published way back in 1999, contains many of the brands which are still in the top 10 today!
Older Top 10 Amplifiers Reviewed
#1 Marshall JCM-900 Series
Marshall are one of the best amp brands and this amp is both very versatile and powerful. Channel A can get super clean. It stays clean with the gain up to 4-5 (Gain goes to 10 on CH. A), as loud as you want. I know Marshall's claim to fame is their distortion, but the clean sound on this amp is very full, shimmering, and beautiful. As the gain increases, it gets into "classic" Marshall overdrive. This is a great amp for rock/hard rock. If you want to get a big distorted sound, though, you need to pair it with a closed-back Marshall speaker cab.
#2 Peavey 5150
This is an all tube 2x12 sealed back 60 watt 2 channel combo. Everything you need for playing metal to hard rock to funk to blues and jazz. This amp really wails at any volume for any rock guitarist. If you play hard rock and roll and it suits you perfect. On just about any setting the amp is very very noisy. An honorable mention also goes to the Peavey Classic 30/112
#3 Trace Elliot Super Tramp
This amp is amazing, People have told me that there is absolutely nothing they hate about them. I had one guy say "can't think of anything else in that I need in a combo amp, This thing pretty much does it all". If you're shopping for combo amps, don't discount this thing just because there are no tubes. You may be surprised.
#4 Fender Twin 100W Tube Combo
Fender are one of the top brands. Both channels feature low-mid-high controls with push-pull pots for boosting a particular range of frequencies. The overdriven channel also features a presence/notch control. The overdrive channel is nice and crunchy without any noticeable harshness.
#5 Peavey Classic 50
This amp has an impressive clean sound -round, warm, motherly, well-defined and very articulate. I play an EC strat which produces really glassy tones. As the volume winds up the sound remains clean, with crunch becoming apparent at the extremes. This is a loud amp by the way. The overdrive channel is not modern mega-high gain, but more your smooth driving sound.
#6 Mesa DC-5
Versatile but you must tweek. Dont fall into the stock amp mentality, use low bass settings and send it up with EQ. 2 channels one boost, Really, you can use the clean setting and pull boost for blues and rock. the overdriven channel is good for heavy modern rock (Bush,..etc)
#7 Fender Vibrolux Reverb 2x10 40w
Most people buy this amp because it is all valve, it's light weight, and has two independant channels. Alot of people think this amp just sings. It has plenty of clean headroom but will go into some smooth sounding overdrive if cranked. This thing is perfect for any musical style I can think of except hard rock/metal type stuff.
#8 Mesa Boogie Heartbreaker
Very expensive! Great amp, the cleans sounds are shiny, and the overdrives are great two. You can get a Marshall sound or a Fender sound with the flick of a switch. The 6l6's that come with it have a ton of bottom end and the crunch is very thick and smooth. It's not harsh or irratating like some Marshall's can be. No complaints other then the price!
#9 Fender Blues Deville
The Blues Deville is all tube & 60 watts. Very loud. It has 2 channels, clean & overdrive. They are both really nice but the overdrive has very little distortion. Both channels share controls for EQ. It's got pretty good reverb. (but gets a little strong) It has presence, and a bright switch. Its tweed w/ chicken head knobs that go up to 12. This is a very bluesy amp.
#10 Peavey Bandit 112
Seems to be the choice for entry-level players, almost everyone found this amp to be very noisy, both reverb and distortion. I had one last year, the reverb would always short out. The distortion is fine for that metal shred stuff, wouldn't want to do any recording with this amp. Since it's an affordable amp with a decent amount of power it made it into the Top 10. Don't expect ANY tube sounds from it.
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