Time to crank up the noise! In Part 6 of our Newbie Guide I’ll recommend the best beginner guitar amplifier choices for new players that’ll sound great without breaking the bank.
As a new player, or as a parent buying for a child, finding the best beginner guitar amp can be a daunting task. What are the best brands? What wattage do I need? What is the best for heavier music? Do I need built-in effects?
Take a read through this article, and I promise you, all of these questions will fade away. From years of working in guitar retail, I’ve been able to whittle the choices down to just one range of amps which are head and shoulders above the rest.
What is the Best Guitar Amplifier for Beginners?
Best Electric Guitar Amplifier For Beginners
- Fender Frontman 10G – Best on a Budget
- Fender Champion 20 – Best All-Rounder
- Fender Mustang LT-25 – Best for Features
|Fender Frontman 10G||Fender Champion 20||Fender Mustang LT-25|
|10 Watts||20 Watts||25 Watts|
|6″ Speaker||8″ Speaker||8″ Speaker|
|11″ (H) x 10.25″ (W) X 5.75″ (D)||12.75″ (H) x 13.75″ (W) X 7.5″ (D)||12.75″ (H) x 14.5″ (W) X 8.25″ (D)|
|12 Amp Models||20 Amp Models|
|6 Effects||25 Effects|
|50 Tone Presets|
Read on to find out more about these 3 amps and find out which one is best for you!
First Off! Do You Actually NEED an Amp?
Before we look at the amps, here’s something you might not have considered – do you actually need one? The answer for most is that you probably do, but there’s also a second option for those of you who might need to keep the volume down. For example, if you live in a small apartment with neighbors to consider, or can only practice late at night.
A perfectly viable alternative to an amp is a multi-effects pedal and a set of headphones. If you feel that silent practice is the better route for you, head straight to our beginner guide to guitar effects where I’ll recommend some good pedal choices.
Keep in mind that you can also use headphones with an amp though! The advantages to going the pedal route is that it will be a little cheaper and you’ll have a much larger range of effects to play with.
On the other hand, if you’d like to make some noise and eventually jam with friends, keep reading!
How Many Watts For a Beginner Amp?
Guitar – For bedroom practice, guitarists should be looking for something around the 10-30 watt range. Calm down Slash, you don’t need a 7-foot tall full stack quite yet!! One of my first amps was a 60 watt Marshall which I bought because it looked cool. I never turned that beast past 10% volume – what a waste!
Bass – Because of the lower frequencies of a bass guitar, you bassists will require a little added oomph to push more sound from the speaker. Anything from 10 up to around 50 watts should be good for home practice. But make sure you get a bona fide bass amp, as a regular guitar amp speaker isn’t designed to handle the lower frequencies of a bass guitar.
The Best Beginner Guitar Amplifier
Fender Frontman 10G – Best on a Budget
A real Fender amplifier for under 60 bucks?! Who woulda thought it!?
- 10 Watts
- 6″ Speaker
- Gain, Volume, Treble and Bass Controls
- Overdrive Switch
- Headphone Jack
- 11″ (H) x 10.25″ (W) X 5.75″ (D)
- 8.5lbs (3.8kg)
The compact Frontman 10G is the perfect choice for those on a tight budget who want a simple, no-frills amp without any over-complicated bells and whistles. At 10 watts it has plenty of power for bedroom practice, but might struggle to cut through the mix if you decide to jam with friends.
The design stays true to that classic Fender look with its sparkling silver grille cloth, textured black vinyl covering, and of course that legendary logo on front.
The controls are very simple with just a volume, treble, bass, and gain knobs. It also offers thick distortion at the flick of a switch. Other features include a headphone jack for silent practice and an Aux -In for connecting to an audio source so that you can jam along to your favourite tracks.
A lot of smaller amps like this end up sounding fairly tinny, but Fender has overcome this issue by utilising a closed-back design which helps to boost the bass response.
Consider all of these features and I think you’ll agree that at under $60 this amp is absolutely insane value for money. If you’re still not convinced, check out the overview video below to hear just how versatile this little beauty is.
The Frontman 10G will be great for any style of music apart from extremely heavy music which it might struggle a little with. If you are primarily a rock or metal player then you might like to check out one of the other two amp choices below!
Watched the video? Why are you still reading? Click here to get yours!
Fender Champion 20 – Best All Rounder
If you’re willing to drop a little extra money then the slightly bigger 20 watt Fender Champion should definitely be on your radar!
- 20 Watts
- 8″ Speaker
- Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Voice, and FX Controls
- Onboard Effects & Amp Modeling
- Headphone Jack
- 12.75″ (H) x 13.75″ (W) X 7.5″ (D)
- 12lbs (5.4kg)
Amp modeling! The Champion 20 features 12 different amp models which you can access with the ‘voice’ knob. 12 different amps in one tidy package sounds great, right? This little tardis of an amp can emulate anything from a classic Fender clean amp, to an overdriven British ‘Marshall’ amp, all the way up to a modern high-gain metal amp. It really can do it all!
Onboard effects! Another big difference between this and the Frontman is the inclusion of 6 in-built effects. This includes reverb, chorus, flange, delay, wah, vibratone, and tremolo. So pretty much every effect you would ever need! The ‘TAP’ button allows you to set the delay time and tremolo speed with precision. You can also blend the level of the effects you are using by utilising the ‘FX Level’ knob.
Check out the fabulous overview video below to hear exactly what this amp is capable of!
Like the Frontman 10G above, the Champion 20 also features that classic Fender aesthetic that has truly stood the test of time. There is also a headphone jack for quiet practice and an aux-in to connect an audio source to.
The Champion 20 has twice the wattage as it’s younger sibling above, so shouldn’t have too much trouble helping you transition into playing in a band scenario. It is also better suited to cope with a wider variety of genres including modern hi-gain metal. It packs in a lot of extra features for not a lot of extra money and without over-complicating things.
Fender Mustang LT-25 – Best Features
- 25 Watts
- 8″ Speaker
- Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, and Editing Controls
- 25 Onboard Effects, 20 Amp Models, 50 Tone Presets
- Headphone Jack, Onboard Tuner, USB Connectivity
- 12.75″ (H) x 14.5″ (W) X 8.25″ (D)
- 12.75lbs (5.7kg)
The Fender Mustang LT-25 is part of Fender’s new ‘GT’ range. A big difference between this and the two solid-state amps above is that the LT-25 is a digital amp. Find out the difference between digital and solid state at the bottom of this article.
Unlike the other two amps in this article, this new amp features a more modern aesthetic. As it is a digital amp it also features a digital user interface with a 1.8″ color display.
If you prefer traditional amp designs and would rather keep things simple then this might not be the amp for you! But if you like the look of it and really want the most features out of your first amp, let’s take a look at some of the features!
Amp modelling! The LT-25 features 20 different amps models, versus the 12 on the Champion 20, offering nearly twice the variety of different amp sounds.
Onboard effects! The Mustang really trumps that Champion again here with 25 different effects available – that’s over 4 times the fun! I’m not going to list all 25 here, but suffice to say – you will not run out!
Tone presets! Another big advantage of digital amps over solid state is that once you’ve dialled in your tone you can save it to memory and instantly recall it whenever you like. The LT-25 features 50 different tone presets which lets you instantly get up and running with tones defined by the experts at Fender. No more painstakingly dialling in sounds every time you need a new tone – just turn the knob until you find the sound you want. It’s worth noting that all of these presets can be overwritten with your own sounds if you’d prefer!
The LT-25 also features USB connectivity which will allow you to update the amp’s firmware, as well as connect to your computer for easy recording.
Other features include a headphone jack for quiet practice and aux-in to allow you to connect your favorite music player. There is also a footswitch connection to allow you to use a footswitch with the amp.
The Mustang LT-25 is not a lot more money than the Champion 20 above, so it should definitely be on your radar if budget allows! It will easily handle any genre and will be the perfect beginner guitar amplifier for the player looking for a really feature packed modern option.
Check out the fabulous overview video below to find out why you need one of these in your life!
If you want even more power and features, Fender also offer 40, 100 and even 200 watt variations of this amp!
So hopefully by now you’ve settled on the amp best suited to you. Now you can head to Part8: Accessories, because at the very least you’ll also need a cable and some plectrums!
Best Beginner Bass Guitar Amp
Next up, let’s get you bassists sorted. Since I made it so easy for the guitarists to pick their first amp, it just wouldn’t be fair if I were to bombard you with loads of choices. So to keep things easy I’ve whittled down the contenders to just one range of bass amps.
Fender Rumble v3 Series
The Fender Rumble series has been a top choice for beginner bassists for many years, and the new Version3 range is the latest incarnation released by Fender. The amps are fairly simple, affordable, and sound great, making them absolutely perfect for new players.
They are available in various shapes and sizes from 15-watt bedroom amps, all the way up to a 500-watt monster (which you don’t need right now!). As a beginner, I would suggest that the 15 or 25-watt models are going to be perfect for bedroom practice. The price difference between the two is fairly negligible, so if possible I’d opt for the 25-watt model just to have that little bit of extra headroom for when you’re ready to jam with friends.
Here’s a list of some of the main features on the 25 watt model:
- 8″ Fender Speaker
- Bass, Mid, Treble Controls with Mid-Scoop Contour Switch
- Overdrive Switch for More Aggressive Tones
- Headphone Jack for Silent Practice
- Lightweight (Approx 21 Pounds)
- Compact (15.25″ x 15.25″ x 11″)
Check out Fender’s own video below which showcases the versatility of these amps.
Hit the link above to get your own!
What is the Difference Between Solid State, Tube, Hybrid and Modeling Amps?
There are four different types of amplifiers which you can consider. Note that the best beginner guitar amps recommended on this page are all solid state.
Solid State – These amps utilise solid-state electronics such as diodes and transistors to amplify your signal. As a beginner player this is most likely what you will be looking to get as these amps are generally the most affordable. Due to the electronics being solid-state, they are much more reliable than tube amps and very seldom need repaired.
Tube – Also known as Valve Amps, these models utilise one or more vacuum tubes to amplify your signal. Most experienced guitarists (aka tone snobs) will argue that tubes amps produce a superior sound when compared to solid state models. However, to your untrained beginner ears it’s unlikely that you’re going to notice much of a difference. As tubes can blow-out and also deteriorate over time, they will occasionally need replacing.
Hybrid – Combines the best of Solid-State and Tube amps into one tidy little package. So hopefully you’ll get the extra warmth of tube tone, coupled with the affordability and reliability of solid-state.
Modeling – Also known as Digital Amps, these models use digital processors to mimic the sound of a tube amplifier. Modeling amps are programmable and more often than not will come with effects built in. Because they are based around electronics and computer chips they are generally very light weight and reliable. Another great choice for new players.
Still have questions about choosing the best beginner guitar amp? Feel free to send me an email and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Part One : Tips Before You Buy
Part Two : Beginner Electric Guitars
Part Three : Beginner Acoustic Guitars
Part Four : Beginner Bass Guitars
Part Five : Beginner Classical Guitars
Part Six : Amps
Part Seven : Effects
Part Eight : Accessories
Part Nine : Lessons