Best Beginner Guitar Amp to Save You Money 2017

Our Top Pick
We’ve read hundreds of reviews, talked to loads of guitarists, and listened to hours of jamming. It was really good fun, of course, but was all in the name of science. If you are just beginning with guitar, and are looking for an amp that will guide you through your formative years, get the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20. It represents the best compromise possible between effects, price, tone, and power, making it the best value guitar amp for beginners around today. If you want enough flexibility to really experiment with playing styles, but in a package that is easy to use, this is the amp you are looking for.

Editor’s Pick – Top Pick

Product #Model
1Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20
2Marshall MG30CFX
3Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp
4Roland CUBE Street

Product DescriptionUsers Score
Editor choice
Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20

Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20

Wow, this is a great amp, perfectly suited for the beginner. If you are new to playing guitar, you might not have ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
2 Marshall MG30CFX

Marshall MG30CFX

Marshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
3 Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp

Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp

This amp represents amazing value. Modeling amps like this one are a bit different to your ordinary amp. They use ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)
4 Roland CUBE Street

Roland CUBE Street

A slightly unusual amp, but one you have probably seen used quite a lot – this is the go-to choice for buskers, or ...

User Rating: 4 (1 votes)

ModelSizeWeightPower
Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 2018.9 x 9.4 x 16.1 inches8.9 pounds20 W
Marshall MG30CFX8.85 x 18.89 x 16.54 in23.81 pounds30 W
Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp16 x 8.5 x 15 in16.97 pounds15 W
Roland CUBE Street20 x 20 x 20 in16 pounds5 W

Guitar Amps for Beginners

If you are just starting out with electric guitar, you are going to need an amp.

What beginners require in a guitar amplifier is quite different from what pros need. Often, if you are just starting to play, you will be unsure what style you will end up playing in, and therefore what sound you need. Having an amp with enough flexibility to deliver a wide range of different tones is therefore really handy.

On the other hand, as a beginner you don’t want to worry about adjusting hundreds of dials every time you want to practice. Accordingly, getting an amp with an easy to use interface can be really important.

Once you get good, you can worry about honing that perfect tone. What matters now is practicing, and having an amp that delivers gorgeous tones can really increase your motivation to do so.

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Reviews

What kind of amp you need, and the features you want it to have, depend on how you’re going to use it. An amp for beginners is quite a different beast to one you can tour huge venues with.

Some of the things to look for in amp stay the same, though:

  • Power. A lot of people talk a lot about power, as though it was a measure of how good an amp is. Certainly, if you are playing huge venues, or outside, you will need a powerful amp. However, for most beginners, a 10 W amplifier will easily deal with the task. It will still go incredibly loud, so don’t worry about not being heard in the practice room.
  • Speakers. A common set-up for guitar amps is a 12” woofer coupled with a smaller tweeter, typically 1”. Some amps come with an additional mid-range horn as well, which can potentially improve frequency response and definition.
  • Inputs and outputs. It might sound obvious, but make sure the amp you are looking at has the correct type of inputs, and enough of them, to accommodate all the pedals you want to plug in.

Ultimately, there is no substitute for hearing these amps yourself. Everybody has different preferences when it comes to how they want their amp to sound. But you could do worse than checking out these ones:


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Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20

Wow, this is a great amp, perfectly suited for the beginner.

If you are new to playing guitar, you might not have heard of Blackstar. Don’t let that put you off – the company produces a great line of amplifiers, which are sworn on by amateurs and pros alike, because of their excellent build quality and value. Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20

What sets this amp apart is the range of tones it offers. It has six distinct “voices”, from Clean to OD2, and on top of this has 12 stereo effects. No matter what genre of music you plan to play, this amp will deliver precisely the tone you need.

And, as it’s name suggests, this amp is fully stereo. This is an unusual feature for an amp of this size and in this price bracket, and makes the amp sound great. If you are already into recording and production, or plan to be, this is a really useful feature, as the output from your guitar amp will already be in stereo.

Combined with more than enough power for beginners, intuitive controls, and a really solid-feeling construction, these features make this amp stand out from the competition. If you are looking for an amp that will guide you through those first few years of playing, this is the one to get.

Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20

If you are new to playing guitar, you might not have heard of Blackstar. Don’t let that put you off – the company produces a great line of amplifiers, which are sworn on by amateurs and pros alike, because of their excellent build quality and value.

Of course, this amp also has several more advantages:

PROS:

  • The unlimited tones than can be achieved with this amp are a great advantage. The amp is perfect for beginners, in particular, because it allows them to play around with their guitar sound before graduating to larger amps. With the sheer variety of options available, it is easy to create your own signature sound.
  • The build quality of this amp is amazing. Blackstar have built an enviable reputation for this over the past few years, and this amp is a great example of their range. You can really throw this amp around, and it will keep on delivering quality tones for years to come.
  • This amp comes with a range of features that are especially useful for the beginner. It incorporates a tuner, which is handy for when you are just starting out, but also when you are on stage and rocking out. The headphone output also means that you can practice silently – put in the hours of practice like this, and you will soon be as good as the best.
  • The amp comes with the excellent Insider software. This package allows you to record directly from the amp, and features a range of loop and effect functions. Having this software can really improve your desire to practice, because before you know it you will be recording and sharing your own creations.

CONS:

  • Very few. If you are looking for an amp that is perfect for a beginner guitarist, this is the one to get.


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Marshall MG30CFX

Marshall MG30CFX

Marshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that proud line, and is an extremely solid device that will give years of reliable service.

The no-nonsense design of this amp suits beginners really well. Too often with amps, manufacturers feel obliged to pack the front panel with hundreds of dials and knobs, most of which have no relevance at all to the beginner. With this amp, you have access to just the options you need, meaning you can focus on the important thing – playing the guitar.

That said, the MP3 input is a great feature. You can plug in your computer, phone, or other device, and play music directly through the amp. This is a really handy feature, as playing along with your favorite track will quickly build confidence, and increase your motivation to practice.

Marshall MG30CFX

Marshall are a legend amongst musicians, having built an enviable reputation over the years. This amp continues in that proud line, and is an extremely solid device that will give years of reliable service.



In addition, this amp has several big advantages:

PROS:

  • It delivers more than enough power for most players. With 30 W of noise, it is even perfect for small gigs. If you are playing larger venues, it will easily connect to PA systems.
  • The build quality of this amp is something else. From the moment you receive this amp, you will be impressed with how solid it feels, and we are confident that it will put up with years of abuse without complaining.
  • This ruggedness extends to the circuitry inside. The amplification here is solid-state, and whilst some purists may complain that only tube amps give the warm, bright sound that everyone is after, nothing beats the hardiness of solid state amplifiers. You don’t have to worry about breaking, and then replacing, tubes, meaning you can chuck this amp in the back of your car and not worry that it is going to break.
  • Despite the fact that this is a solid state amplifier, Marshall have done a great job replicating their signature sound. Nothing sounds quite like a Marshall amp, and this practice amp is a really good example of that iconic sound.

CONS:

  • Very few. Some purists will never be happy with the sound of a solid-state amplifier, but we think that the differences they hear might just be in their own heads. If you are looking for an solid amp that will last for years, this is the one to go for.


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Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp

Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp Review

This amp represents amazing value.

Modeling amps like this one are a bit different to your ordinary amp. They use the latest technology to simulate the sounds of other amps. Whilst some purists claim that they can never reach the gloriously analog sounds of traditional amps, in recent years this is becoming less and less true.

And of course, the huge advantage of modeling amps is that there are so many tone options to choose from that you may never need another amp. This is especially important for beginners, because if you are not sure which musical direction you are going to take, and want to try out a few different styles, this amp will do anything you want it to.

Line 6 Spider Classic 15 Modeling Amp

Modeling amps like this one are a bit different to your ordinary amp. They use the latest technology to simulate the sounds of other amps. Whilst some purists claim that they can never reach the gloriously analog sounds of traditional amps, in recent years this is becoming less and less true.

In addition, this amp comes with some great features:

PROS:

  • Exploring all those different tones is really fun in itself, and can be a real joy if you are a beginner. Even if you are not yet very good, being able to play in blues, jazz, or rock tones can really increase your motivation.
  • At 15 watts, this is not the most powerful amp we are reviewing today, but it more than makes up for this in sound quality. In truth, most beginners will never reach the volume limit of an amp like this, and investing in a 300 W monster of an amp is pointless if you are just starting out.
  • The connections between this amp and your computer is intuitive, and really adds value to it. You can easily record directly from the amp, and add even more effects in production, meaning that you will be recording your own creations within weeks of starting out.
  • The amp, for all the multitude of options it offers, is actually really easy to use. If you just want to focus on playing for a bit, without messing around with amp models, reverb, and tremolo, you can.

CONS:

  • Very few. With an essentially unlimited range of effects, this amp offers the best value of the amps for beginners we are reviewing today.


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Roland CUBE Street (Top Battery Powered)

Roland CUBE Street Review

A slightly unusual amp, but one you have probably seen used quite a lot – this is the go-to choice for buskers, or those who just want to jam outside. Take it to a picnic with your friends, and it’ll be an instant hit.

This amp is powered by batteries, but still delivers huge volume. We don’t pretend to know how Roland have achieved this, all we know is that we like what we hear. The amp never sounds weedy, and produces more than enough volume for practice sessions or outdoor gigs.

The batteries last for up to 15 hours, also, so you can keep jamming long into the night. If you are looking for a highly portable amp for beginners, this is the one to get.

Roland CUBE Street

A slightly unusual amp, but one you have probably seen used quite a lot – this is the go-to choice for buskers, or those who just want to jam outside. Take it to a picnic with your friends, and it’ll be an instant hit.


In addition, this amp has these great features:

PROS:

  • It looks great. Whilst we know that the majority of guitarists claim to care only about sound quality, and not such unimportant things as the way an amp looks, in reality it is possible to have both a good-looking and high-quality amp – just look at this one.
  • The amp is small, and light. Roland designed this amp specifically to be portable, and this has been achieved. You can walk through the city for hours, carrying your amp, whilst you look for the perfect place to play – something which cannot be said of almost any other amp.
  • The rugged construction is also impressive. This is especially important if you are going to be playing outdoors, because in this situation your amp can take quite a lot of accidental damage.
  • Lastly, once you move up to playing venues, this amp can find use as a monitor. It is nice to know that even when you are a superstar, and playing stadiums, there will still be a place for your trusty Roland CUBE.

CONS:

  • None, for the price. If you are playing surf rock, in particular, this amp is an absolute must, although the sound is so great that it easily fits in with most genres.


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Our Final Thoughts

So which to choose?

Well, your choice of amp is yours alone, of course. Nothing can beat hearing these amps in the flesh, and finding one that perfectly matches the sound you want to achieve. All of the amps we reviewed today offer incredible sound that we are confident will please even the most discerning metal fan.

Our choice, though, is the Blackstar ID:Core Stereo 20. It represents the best compromise possible between effects, price, tone, and power, making it the best value guitar amp for beginners around today. If you want enough flexibility to really experiment with playing styles, but in a package that is easy to use, this is the amp you are looking for.

Summary
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Reviewed Item
Best Beginner Guitar Amp
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