The Best Practice Amps for Today’s New Guitar Gods

When looking for an amplifier for practice, there are several considerations that you need to make. Here is what you need to know about practice amps before you buy.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks..

Amp Wattage

A practice amp is typically 5-20 watts. You don’t need more than this for practice purposes. A 20 watts amp is loud enough, and you can even use this for a small gig or coffee house style gig if you want. Amps over 20 watts will work for practice, but they tend to be too loud, and you will either have to use headphones or play them at a lower volume. Some larger amplifiers have settings where you can dial back the wattage and use those settings for practice.

What is the Best Amp for Practice?

The best practice amplifier will all depend upon your individual needs. You’re going to want to look for an amp that has between 10 and 20 watts. This is more than enough for practice sessions. If you buy something that has too much power you’re never going to use all of it. It’s not practical to set up a Marshall stack in your bedroom for practice purposes.

You’ll probably want an app that is portable so you can take it to guitar lessons or over to a friend’s house so you can jam with them. You also want an app that is lightweight as larger amplifiers are too heavy to be dragging around all the time. As you get better at playing guitar, you might want something that’s a little bit larger so you can play gigs if that is where you want to go with your playing. This guide will help you find the best amplifier to help you learn the guitar.

Types of Amps

There are several amp types that you need to be aware of before you buy one for practicing your guitar.

Tube Amp

The first type of amplifier is a tube amp. They use vacuum tubes, and they are the first type of amplifier that was on the market. These tube amps are still made today. They have a warm and rich tone to them. They are sought after by many guitar players since they sound so good. The downside to a tube amp is that they tend to cost more as the tubes can wear out. You end up having to replace them from time to time. There is a wide range of practice amplifiers that use tubes. You have to get used to the fact that you may have to spend extra money on tubes when they burn out.

Solid State Amp

Another type of amplifier is called a solid-state which uses regular transistor circuits. In addition to the circuits, there are one or more speakers. Most practice amplifiers only have one speaker, but a few of them have two. There are often things built into the amplifier, such as effects, headphone jack, and outputs for other electronics. Solid-state amps are quite common, and there’s a wide range of them on the market. They are usually the choice for a practice amplifier because they cost less than the ones that use tubes.

Amp Modeling

A new range of amplifiers uses what is called amp modeling. These amplifiers used digital circuitry. They can recreate the sounds of vintage amplifiers and effects. They are a great choice for beginners because they allow you to create a wide range of sounds without having to own a lot of expensive equipment. A vintage tube amplifier can cost you thousands of dollars.

You can buy an amp that has modeling in it and recreates that distinct sound without having to spend a lot of money. They are easy to plug into your computer, and you can use a lot of different software to do a recording. You can plug in the amp via a USB interface and start recording right away.

Combo Amp

The combo amp houses electronics along with one or more speakers. These tend to be a little bit too large for practice purposes although you can find smaller combo amps. If you plan to play live, you may want to get this type of amplifier along with a smaller practice amplifier. Combo amps are great investments because they don’t cost as much as a full stack of amplifiers do yet they can still put out significant wattage.

Guitar Amp Features to Look For

There are a few features that you were are going to want to when you purchase a practice amplifier. Here is a breakdown of what you should be looking for.

Channels

Amplifiers either come with one channel or two channels. In an ideal situation, you want an amplifier with two channels. This makes it easy to switch from a clean setting over to a distorted setting. A lot of practice amplifiers only have one channel, so you’ll be limited to how you can use the amplifier.

Gain

It’s a good idea to look for an amplifier that has built-in distortion. You won’t have to buy any pedals, and you’ll save yourself some money. Most practice amplifiers will have some sort of built-in distortion or gain knob so you can dial in the amount of distortion that you want.

Built-In Effects

A lot of amplifiers have built-in effects, especially ones that are designed for practice. This will include things such as reverb, delay, chorus, and other similar effects. These won’t be quite as good as regular effects pedals, but they get the job done for practice. A lot of solid-state amplifiers and ones that feature modeling have effects you can use without the need for pedals.

Headphone Jack

You will want your practice amplifier to have a headphone jack. This makes it easy to practice without disturbing anyone. Most amplifiers will have a headphone jack, but some don’t, so you want to make sure you have one.

 Other Outputs

You might want additional outputs so you can attach your amplifier to other electronics such as your phone so you can jam along. Many of the smaller practice amplifiers have outputs such as this. Some of them also have USB ports so you can attach your amplifier to your computer.

Best Practice Amp Reviews

1. Yamaha THR10X Mini Guitar Amplifier – Best Amp Modeler

Yamaha THR10X Mini Guitar Amplifier with Cubase AI Production Software

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Yamaha makes a great series a practice amps call the THR Series. It recreates the sounds of famous amplifiers by using digital circuitry. This Yamaha also comes with a wide range of built-in effects and you can plug it into your computer to use recording software.

The THR10X Is an excellent sounding amplifier for those looking for some high gain sounds. It’s perfect for hard rock and heavy metal styles. You can get a wide range of tones out of the various amp models. It comes with effects such as reverb, chorus, delay, and other effects. There’s an import for your phone on this amplifier so you can play along with tracks. You can also plug the amp into your computer via the USB port and use the recording software that comes with it.

The tone you get out of this 10-watt amplifier is exceptional. It sounds like a regular tube amp. Recreate plenty of classic songs through the amplifier with ease. It’s portable so you can take it with you as it runs on batteries as well as AC power. if you’re looking for the ultimate practice amplifier, the THR10x by Yamaha is the ultimate amp.

Pros:

  • Sound amazing
  • Great amp models and effects

Cons:

  • Takes eight batteries and battery power doesn’t last that long
  • Lacks power

2. Peavey Solo – Best Cheap Combo

Peavey Solo Guitar Amp Guitar Combo Amp

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Peavey makes a wide range of amplifiers including ones that are suitable for practice. The Peavey Solo would make an excellent amplifier for those that are just learning how to play guitar.

This amp is a small 12-watt combo. It features an 8 inch Blue Marvel speaker. It has Transtube tube emulation secretary so it sounds like a regular tube amplifier although it’s solid-state. It has both a clean and gain channel so you can play clean rhythm guitar as well as get plenty of distortion out of the amp. It has a regular 3 band passive equalizer that includes low, mid, and high settings. It comes with a headphone jack for quiet practicing

Pros:

  • Good price
  • Sounds like a Tube amp

Cons:

  • Makes noise at higher volumes
  • No effects besides distortion

3. Boss Katana Compact 7-Watt – Best Compact Amp

BOSS Katana Compact 7-Watt Guitar Amplifier (KTN-Mini)

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If you live in a dormitory or have an apartment that doesn’t have a lot of room, a larger amplifier is not practical. In this case, you might want to go with the Boss Katana compact 7-watt amplifier. It has everything you need just start rocking out and practicing without taking up a lot of space.

And features the great tone of the larger Katana amps. It has a full and rich sound even though it only has 7 Watts. It has multi-stage analog gain circuitry and there is a 3-band tone stack. You have 3 amp types which include crunch, brown, and clean. You get a bass, treble, and middle control, and it has a delay effect built into the amplifier to improve your tone. It runs on regular AC power or you can use batteries. There is a headphone jack and aux jack to round out the amp. if you don’t have a lot of room, this amp is ideal.

Pros:

  • Simple operation
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Lacks wattage
  • Could use more effects

4. Fender Mustang GT 40 – Best High Watt Practice Amplifier

Fender Mustang GT 40 Bluetooth Enabled Solid State Modeling Guitar Amplifier

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Some of the time you need more wattage in your practice amplifier. You can get that through the Mustang GT Series from Fender. This is a high-quality amp with built-in modeling and effects.

N matter what your skill ever is you can get great tones out of the Mustang GT. You get 21 amp voices to recreate many authentic tones. There are 45 different effects so you can shape your tone the way you want. Sculpt your sound and use the amplifier in the bedroom or on stage. It’s easy to create tones via the full-color LCD display. You can also exchange tones with other people through the Fender website. You can download artist created presets as this amp is equipped with Wi-Fi. You can use the Bluetooth feature and stream audio from any mobile device to the amp. You can control the amplifier through the Fender Tone App. If you’re looking for a great amplifier that makes use of current technology, the Fender GT Mustang is a clear winner.

Pros:

  • Plenty of amp models and effects
  • Lots of power
  • Uses Wi-Fi

Cons:

  • Some of the presets are not very good
  • Have to fiddle to get decent tones

5. Laney Amps CUB All TUBE Series – Best Small Watt Tube Amp

Laney Electric Guitar Power Amplifier, Black/Brown (CUB-12R)

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A lot of players prefer the sound of tube amplifiers. It can be difficult to find a small tube amplifier for practice sessions. 1:00 amplifier you might want to consider is the Laney Amps CUB All TUBE Series which has a lot of value put today’s player.

The amp features 15 watts of power and it’s driven by all tubes. It has two EL84 tubes and three ECC83 preamp tubes. these tubes provide an excellent vintage tone. controls on the amplifier include volume, tone, middle, bass, gain, reverb, and treble. There is an input for a footswitch and there is also an FX loop so you can plug in your favorite effects with the amp. One nice feature is the ability to plug into either 15 watts or 1 watt. The 1-watt feature gives you the ability to crank the power amp section for more gain.

Pros:

  • All tube-driven
  • Vintage tones
  • 1-15 watt settings

Cons:

  • You need to replace tubes periodically
  • No headphone jack
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6. Marshall Amps Guitar Combo MG30GFX-U – Best Pro Combo Practice Amp

Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier (M-MG30GFX-U)

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For those looking for professional tones, you can’t go wrong with a Marshall amplifier. The MG30GFX-U is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an amplifier to help them with their guitar practice sessions.

The solid-state circuitry of this guitar amp recreates the sound of tubes so you get an amp that has a tube-like tone. You get a custom 10 each speaker which improves the tone of the amplifier. There are modern digital guitar pedal sounds built into the amp such as flanger, delay, reverb, and, phaser. There are four channel settings which are clean, crunch, overdrive one, and overdrive two which provide plenty of tone settings. There is a line out so you can connect other electronics to this amp For jamming purposes. You also get a headphone output so you can have quiet practice sessions. There is a footswitch output, but the switch isn’t included.

Pros:

  • Lots of power
  • Plenty of channels
  • Digital effects

Cons:

  • Some effects settings don’t sound that great
  • You need to buy the footswitch for it

7. IK Multimedia iRig Nano 3 Watts – Best Travel Amp

IK Multimedia iRig Nano 3 Watts Pocket Guitar Amplifier with Integrated iRig Circuit - Black

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If you do a lot of traveling and want to practice your guitar, it’s not practical to take a large amplifier with you. IK Multimedia iRig Nano is an excellent mini ap which makes it easy for you to practice your guitar wherever you are.

This amp features 3 watts of power. It’s easy to take with you and only requires three AA batteries for operation. There is a headphone out so you can practice along with headphones. You can tilt the amplifier up with the kickstand so you can put it on a small table for practicing. You can also hook the amplifier up to an external speaker cabinet if you prefer. Use the included iRig circuitry and plug this amp into your iPad or iPhone where you can explore even more tones through the AmpliTube program. This allows you to access a wide range of amp models and effects to use with your amp.

Pros:

  • Great travel size
  • Good tone

Cons:

  • Only works with Apple Phones
  • Requires batteries

8. Line 6 Micro Spider 6-Watt – Best Amp for Total Beginners

Line 6 Micro Spider 6-Watt Battery-Powered Guitar Amplifier

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For those just starting guitar, you want a quality amplifier that is not going to be a lot of trouble for you. The Line 6 Spider 6- watt amplifier is an excellent small watt amp for anyone that is starting to play guitar.

Spider provides everything for today’s beginner with the Micro Spider. To help you keep your instrument in tune, there is an integrated chromatic tuner. It’s powered with 6 C batteries or an AC adapter so you can take it with you to your practice sessions. There are four amp modeling Settings on the amp for a wide range of tones which include clean, crunch, metal, and insane settings. Use headphones with the amplifier if you prefer and you can plug into your CD player or phone to jam along to tracks. There are guitar pedal settings such as delay, reverb, tremolo, and chorus. It has everything a beginner needs.

Pros:

  • Lots of features
  • Several amp models

Cons:

  • May confuse some beginners due to all the switches
  • Requires expensive large C batteries

Conclusion

It can be difficult to find an amplifier for practicing. This list gives you a good starting point. I recommended that most beginners start with a modeling amplifier. This gives you a wide range of amp models, effects, and most of them can be plugged into your computer or phone so you can jam along with tracks.

My recommendation is the Yamaha THR10x. I use this amplifier at myself and find it to be quite good. I’ve used it to record the tracks and I’ve also taken it camping with me. The tone that you get out of this amplifier sounds just like a tube-style lamp. It also comes with plenty of effect settings so you can shape your tone with ease and there is a built-in tuner and it’s affordable.

Another great choice would be the Fender Mustang GT you can get this amp in several wattages up to including large one amplifiers. It has plenty of settings and sounds great. The IK Multimedia iRig Nano is the perfect amplifier if you don’t have a lot of space and you can also plug it into your Apple phone or tablet.

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