You have your favorite guitar in your hands, the pick is anxiously hovering right above the strings, and you’re already tapping your foot. You’re ready to rock. But the moment you start playing, you realize that you need to replace that crappy old guitar amp you got from the thrift store. The sound is muffled, everything north of the G-string is barely audible, and everyone makes weird faces when you “shred.”
While hard work, practicing smart, and guitar lessons are probably the most important things when it comes to your guitar playing, it doesn’t hurt if your gear is up to par, too, right?
And, fortunately, in this day and age, you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to produce decent sound. With a few hundred bucks (less than $500) you can have a quality guitar amp to help you with your solo session, your band practice, perhaps even a live gig!
Here are seven solid guitar amps under $500 that you should check out and add to your arsenal:
1. Fender Pro Junior IV Limited Guitar Amp
An iconic brand, the Fender Pro Junior IV Limited amp is an inexpensive, powerful amplifier with a tight bass response and clarity of sound. Quite minimalistic, in line with the original Fenders (that haven’t really changed all that much, to be honest).
If you want a reliable, heavy-duty amp for some classic rock or soft blues, you’re looking at the right one.
2. Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube Guitar Amp
Fender’s rival in terms of power and sound quality. This guitar amp has a true tube amplifier tone and dynamic response while retaining the convenience of a solid state amp. The impressive low damping factor will produce the tube amp “sag” sound.
It’s an all-around, versatile amp you can always count on. With $449 written on the price tag, you really can’t go wrong!
3. Fender Mustang V2 Guitar Amp
Another Fender on the list.
While the “big brother” is more classic and minimalistic, this bad-boy is a sound alchemist.
It’s able to produce whatever sound you’re looking for, for every genre you can imagine (17 amp models with the turn of a knob)!
Honestly, the price doesn’t reflect the quality of this amp, so we predict it won’t stay that way for long. Yes, it’s only $119. You better grab it fast!
4. Marshall CODE50 Guitar Amp
While it’s the first attempt of the company to produce a digital combo amp, we weren’t surprised by the quality and liveliness of sound. Marshall is like that you know…
What we usually see with these kinds of guitar amps is brands trying to do everything for everyone. But what Marshall does differently is simply highlight their strengths and their distinct sound.
4. Orange Micro Dark Terror Guitar Amp
Lightweight. 100% portable. Powerful gains.
This guitar amp is your best buddy when it comes to practicing. You can carry it wherever you want. Just plug your guitar in and you’re ready to go.
With an impressive sound for such a small amp and a looping option, you should definitely consider this one. Especially if you’re looking for a more “metal” sound.
The price starts from $189 and you can make sure it’ll worth every penny!
5. Behringer Ultracoustic ACX450 Guitar Amp
Right off the bat, the Behringer’s revolutionary FBQ feedback detection system is enough for this amp to worth the $228.
But it doesn’t stop there. It utilizes two channels so you can plug your guitar alongside a bass or a microphone (keep in mind that this primarily for acoustic guitars).
Of course, the best thing about this guitar amp is the sweat and warm sound it can produce. Without the buzzing from feedback, you can really achieve a smooth – almost nostalgic – blues sound.
6. Blackstar Fly 3 Guitar Amp
Less than 1 kg. Less than $100.
This 3-watt guitar amp can kick the ass of many “bigger” competitors out there.
It produces crisp sound, with thick basses, and quality cleans. The 2 channels available allow you to jam with a friend. Or you can have a solo session using the mp3 line and have at it while listening to your own music.
Blackstar’s tiny box has a lot to offer.
7. Fender Champion 100 Guitar Amp
Last but not least, the Fender Champion 100 Watt.
Yes, that’s the third Fender on this list. What can we say, Fender knows it’s stuff. And it shows in this guitar amp as well.
A bigger, better, more versatile amplifier, able to produce a wide range of sound and different tones. It’s one of the few solid-state stage-worthy amplifiers for well under $500.
You can keep things simple and have that traditional, classic rock sound. Or you can play around and find your own voice, trying the different dials and whatnot.
A great purchase if you’re looking for an all-around guitar amp.
Buying an amplifier isn’t as simple as it sounds (get it?). It can be as personal as buying a guitar. After all, what kind of music you want to play, where you want to play it, what kind of equipment do you have, etc can influence your decision.
While nothing beats dedication to your craft and learning how to create tone in your hands, a crisp sound with ringing cleans and heavy basses can inspire you and help you become a better guitarist.
That’s why it’s important to experiment and try different options. Our list offers enough information to know what you should expect from each amplifier. The choice is up to you. We’ve made sure to include a variety of different amps in order to make it easier for you. The price is quite reasonable for the quality you’re getting.
Now, if you want to know which amp is our favorite, it shouldn’t come as a surprise but it’s a Fender — but we won’t tell you which one!