Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Amplifiers That Inspire You to Play in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update August 15, 2019
To reach high levels of playing the guitar, it's not enough to have a good musical instrument — the right guitar amplifier is also crucial to keep yourself motivated to practice. In this review, we've chosen five exciting guitar amps for you to help make the right choice. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Power Output
Speakers
Number of channels
Inputs and Outputs
Controls
Size / Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

A mini USB port allows connecting the amp directly to your PC or laptop. What is more, the cable comes together with an amp so you can start recording your high-quality demos right away.

CONS

It takes some time to get used to the Fender software (the interface isn't that user-friendly).

OUR VERDICT

With a Fender Mustang I at your disposal, you will never feel a lack of sound power. This combo model allows connecting both a microphone and a guitar in order to make improvised gigs wherever you want. The powerful speaker will make the guitar sound crisp and loud at the same time.

detailed parameters
Type

Integrated, State solid

Power Output

20 W

Speakers

1 x 8" Fender® Special Design speaker

Number of channels

2 channels

Inputs and Outputs

1 x Guitar input, 1 x 1/4" AUX input, 1 x 1/8" headphones out, 1 x mini-USB port for audio recording output

Controls

Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, Modulation select, Delay/Reverb select, Save button, Exit button, Tap Tempo button

Size / Weight

40 x 19.3 x 36.8 cm

7.7 kg

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The 6.5" Vox Bulldog speaker will bring rich lower tones to the proverbial table. Plus, the dome tweeter made of special fabric will deliver them without any significant distortion.

CONS

The distortion tones are not quite rich.

OUR VERDICT

A powerful speaker coupled with a large array of tuning options makes this model great for both acoustic and electric guitars. What is more, the light weight of the amp allows for easy transportation - a crucial factor for a practice model.

detailed parameters
Type

Integrated, State solid

Power Output

10 W

Speakers

1 x 6.5" speaker

Number of channels

1 channel

Inputs and Outputs

1 x 1/4" input, 1 x 1/4" headphones output

Controls

Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Clean / Overdrive switch

Size / Weight

38 x 17 x 26 cm

4.8 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS

A belt clip allows attaching the amplifier to your belt, while the small size and weight make it a perfect travel amplifier. On top of that, the device is powered by a single 1.9 V AA battery.

CONS

No equalizer settings are available.

OUR VERDICT

Despite its relatively low volume, this micro amplifier is great for any guitar enthusiast that enjoys playing their instrument outdoors. Additionally, the rich tone of the 1 W speaker, coupled with a built-in tone tuner, delivers the trademark Marshall sound.

detailed parameters
Type

Integrated, State solid

Power Output

1 W

Speakers

1 x 2" speaker

Number of channels

1 channel

Inputs and Outputs

1 x 1/4" input, 1 x 1/4" headphones output

Controls

Volume, Tone, Voice/Overdrive modes

Size / Weight

11 x 6 x 14 cm

0.34 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The combo boasts an extremely compact design, it can be operated from 3 AA batteries, and, therefore, used anywhere. The lightweight and compact size also contribute to the portability of the amplifier.

CONS

Relatively low power output.

OUR VERDICT

It'll be a great option if you're selecting an additional portable amplifier. This space saver will definitely make a difference in terms of practice quality. To add more, this model features an AUX input that allows connecting your mobile gadgets and using the amplifier as a portable speaker.

detailed parameters
Type

Integrated, State solid

Power Output

3 W

Speakers

1x 3" speaker

Number of channels

2 channels

Inputs and Outputs

Guitar input, MP3/Line input, Speaker emulated output

Controls

Gain, Volume, Overdrive Switch, EQ (ISF), Delay Level, Delay Time

Size / Weight

17 x 10.2 x 12.6 cm

0.9 kg

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The housing of the amp is made of high-quality MDF with additional protection covers on the sides. This design not only makes the amplifier look neat but also protects the hardware from drop damage during transportation. 

CONS

The knob sensitivity is a bit too high.

OUR VERDICT

The RockJam delivers a solid guitar amplifier suitable not only for acoustic or electric guitars but also for other musical instruments. The 20 W speaker of the amplifier will surely make a huge difference in terms of sound volume, while the various tuning knobs will help in creating a unique sound without using the effect pedals.

detailed parameters
Type

Integrated, State solid

Power Output

20 W

Speakers

1 x 6" speaker

Number of channels

1 channel

Inputs and Outputs

1 x 1/4" input, 1 x 1/4" headphones output

Controls

Gain, Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass, Boost switch

Size / Weight

27 x 12 x 28 cm

4.2 kg

Warranty

1 year

Fender Mustang I (V.2)

Versatile and Durable

This amplifier model weighs around 7.5 kg without any other hardware attached. Great as a home practice amplifier, thanks to the well-balanced components, it can be lifted almost without effort, which is a big plus if you plan to use it as a portable model.

Despite its relatively modest size, the Mustang I is surprisingly loud and feature-rich. Unlike other similar products, the Fender Mustang features a USB port that can be used for recording purposes. Although the quality of the recording is not studio-like, it is still quite good for recording demo takes.

Additionally, the port can be used for connecting headphones if you don’t want to bother your neighbours with loud guitar sounds. And by saying loud, we mean it. The 20 W amp can easily deliver a stunning wall of sound without breaking much of a sweat.

The only real issue with the amp is its desktop application that lets you use the special effects. Although the number of options is quite vast, the user interface can’t be called user-friendly. On the bright side, however, Fender provides tutorial videos on their website so you could learn the functionality of the software step by step.

To wrap things up, the Fender Mustang I is definitely one of the best guitar amplifier models out there, thanks to great tone tuning capabilities and overall versatility.

Review of Fender Mustang I (V.2) Modelling Guitar Amp Combo

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Vox Pathfinder 10

More Than Just a Practice Amp

Advertised as a practice model, the VOX Pathfinder 10 is so much more than that. To start off, the unit features a lavish fabric cover that gives the amplifier a premium product look. The plastic housing that resembles leather completed with a shiny metal VOX logo also contributes to the already attractive exterior.

With a size no larger than a standard shoebox, the amplifier delivers a stunning sound volume. The tone, on the other hand, can be controlled with gain, treble, and bass knob on top of the housing. The heavy-duty 10 W VOX Bulldog speaker that produces this great tone ensures a long service life of the speaker without the need for tinkering with the hardware.

The only thing that a bit of an eyesore with the tuning knobs is the lack of the mid controls. However, even without the ability to tune this setting, the overall tone of the amplifier is good enough for practice, warm-ups, and even recording, given good conditions and gear, of course.

The device weighs a little less than 6.5 kg, which in combination with a sturdy carry handle makes it a nice portable amplifier option. Considering the modest size of the amplifier, its great volume, and tone, you simply won’t be able to find a better deal for the same price.

Review of Vox Pathfinder 10 Guitar Practice Amp Combo

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Marshall MS-2

Play as You Go

You can certainly tell by looking at the size of this amplifier that it will be a real game changer in terms of portability. Being great for practice and playing on the go as you travel makes this model a go-to pick for those who need an amplifier that can fit a backpack or even a little bag. The weight of only 0.34 kg makes it ideal for both train and air travel.

As for the specifications of the amp itself, it has a tiny 1 W 1 x 2” speaker that might just be able to surprise you. The amp is good enough for both professional players and for kids that have only begun learning the instrument. The sound is quite nice and the addition of a tone knob is definitely a welcome one since the vast majority of similar amplifiers are made with a single volume knob.

Additionally, you can switch between clean and overdrive channels with a single turn of the switch, which makes this model a great option for both electric and acoustic guitars with a built-in tuner.

The only noticeable drawback of this model is a slight hum that can be heard when the amplifier is connected to your guitar with poor-quality cables. Other than this minor issue that can be fixed with a decent guitar cable, there is nothing else that will negatively affect the sound output fidelity.

Being one of the smallest amplifier models available on the market, the Marshall MS-2 will become your best practice buddy for years to come.

Review of Marshall MS-2 Micro Amp

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Blackstar Fly 3

The Most Compact

The strength of the Blackstar FLY3 is not in the extra frills but in its compactness. At 5" x 6.7" x 4" of overall dimensions and 2.2 lb of weight it's one of the smallest amplifiers on the market. With that, its smaller size doesn't affect its performance. This amp is capable of producing 3 watts of power which results in an impressive tone.

Another remarkable advantage of the Blackstar FLY3 is the ability to power it in several ways. You can either power it with 6 AA batteries or plug it into any standard AC outlet. To get the most out of the amplifier, the manufacturer recommends sticking with rechargeable (NiMH) or Alkaline batteries. These serve longer and allow the guitar to sound its best, which makes it an attractive option for those who play in different locations sometimes.

Turning to the specs, this amplifier has everything you need to master your guitar playing skills. With two channels (Clean and Overdrive) and many digital tape delay effects you can make your music sound really fantastic. The gain control allows you to select the amount of overdrive or distortion, whilst the Blackstar patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) allows for enhanced tone control enabling you to reproduce either "American" or "British" tone. In case you do not know what's the difference between the two, American tone brings more aggressive middles and tighter bottom end, while a British one sounds softer and more "woody". Also featured on the Blackstar FLY is a headphone output for playing silently and an AUX input for jamming with other musicians or your friends. Just connect a player or any other gadget to the amp and go ahead.

Summing up all we've said above, the Blackstar FLY3 has a lot going for it. It's a well-sounding, low-wattage gear that stands out for its compactness, great usability, and low price. For anyone who plays in different locations sometimes, this amp is the best choice.

Review of Blackstar Fly 3 Guitar Amplifier

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

RockJam GA20W

A Middle-Ground Solution

The RockJam GA20W has quite a few features that make it a great option for both beginners and professionals. The housing of the unit is made of durable MDF with additional covers on the angles to prevent any serious damage to the hardware in case of any accidental drop scenarios.

As for the nitty-gritty parts of this model, unlike many other guitar amps out there, the RockJam added a special booster button to increase the capabilities of a 20 W speaker. That being said, if you need something more than regular bass, treble, and tone knobs, you will have it with this model. On top of that, the amplifier features a knob that allows tuning the middle section of the guitar tone - an option that is more common in premium amp models.

Moving on, the guitar amplifier can be transported without any issues or real effort, thanks to a reliable carry handle on top of the housing and an overall weight of only 4.2 kg.

Despite its budget-friendly price, you will have a hard time trying to find a better 20 W amplifier. The combination of small size, light weight, and a powerful speaker make this model a great solution for children learning to play musical instruments and experienced musicians looking for a compact practice amplifier.

Review of RockJam GA20W Guitar Amplifier

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Infographics

Comparison of Acoustic Electric Guitar Amplifiers That Inspire You to Play

What Is a Guitar Amplifier?

A guitar amp is an electronic device that strengthens the electrical signal from a guitar pickup and produces sound through one or more loudspeakers. A guitar pickup captures mechanical vibrations produced by a musical instrument, converts them into an electrical signal, and sends the signal to an amp through a cable. The amp boosts the signal to drive the speakers typically housed in a wooden cabinet. As a result, you can hear the music you're playing much more loudly.

Although they come in different shapes and forms, we recommend opting for smaller amplifiers if you need one for your Tune-o-Matic acoustic guitar or for practice. But, if you want to experience a more complete electric guitar sound, you should look for an amplifier with speakers that are at least 1.5 W or bigger.

Many musicians also use different guitar pedals and effects between an amplifier and the guitar. It allows them to create a special kind of sound that is suitable for specific music genres.

By the way, if you're hunting the best electric guitars to pair with an amp or thinking about mastering a ukulele, make sure to take advantage of our reviews!

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar Amplifiers

What Features to Compare

Amplifier Type

First of all, you need to decide in advance what configuration of a guitar amp you actually require: a head/cabinet stack or combo version. The head and cab option implies that an amp and speakers come in separate chassis. The guitar amplifier stack offers greater flexibility as, depending on your needs, you can use different combinations of amps and speakers connected together. A combo amplifier combines an amp and speaker in the same cabinet and, therefore, provides maximum comfort and ease of use without the need of setting up the additional sound effects.

Besides, it's important to choose between a solid state amplifier and a tube one. Solid state (or transistor) gears are considered to be more reliable and affordable than their competitors, however, tube amps produce a smoother and warmer sound.

Power

The place where you are going to play the guitar also matters. For example, if you're planning to practice the guitar at home only, an amp with a power output of 5–10 watts will be more than enough for you. It's important to note that tube watts are generally louder than solid-state watts, so, keep this in mind before selecting. Additionally, you want to pay attention to a number of speakers and channels that determine the quality of sound and offer the flexibility of use.

Additionally, if you are searching for a portable model, we recommend taking a closer look at smaller amplifiers that are powered by batteries or have a built-in, rechargeable capacitor.

Speaker Size

The size of the amplifier speaker usually determines how powerful the amplifier model actually is. Just like the power of the speakers, the bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. Some bigger models can sound a bit off since their tone is not that perfect. On the contrary, the smaller speakers sometimes provide a better tone quality while sacrificing the maximum volume of the sound.

Additional Features

Most amplifier models come without any special effects on board such as distortion, delay, reverb or even without the ability to tune the guitar middle tone. However, there are some special products designed specifically to meet the needs of sophisticated musicians. Although they are not crucial for a beginner player if you are looking for an amp that is meant for a bigger number of musical instruments or genres you should opt for more expensive professional units.

Connections and Controls

A guitar amp always comes with a standard output jack to connect your guitar. Some models are also equipped with various outputs to hook up headphones, microphones, players, and even PCs. Amps usually feature volume, tone, and sometimes gain controls to provide you with a maximum number of configuration capabilities. Besides, some gears can boast the additional effects and tuner simplifying their ease of use. What is more, some combo models can be used as recorders. Given the right gear, PC or a laptop you can use them to record demo versions of your songs.

FAQ:

Q: What is the difference between solid state and tube guitar amplifiers?
A: The major difference between solid state/transistor and tube/valve amps lies in the technology of signal amplification. To produce sound, solid state amps use a combination of transistors. The input signal from a guitar pickup goes through conductors on a printed circuit board. Having passed the semiconductor circuits, the amplified signal is sent through the speakers. Solid state amps are reliable and more affordable than tube gears.

Tube or valve amplifiers use vacuum tube technology to amplify the weak signal received from a guitar before passing it on to an output. Passing the circuitry, the signal is slightly distorted and becomes richer and warmer. Typically, the amps of this type are very fragile and more expensive than their alternatives.

Q: What is hybrid amplifier?
A: Hybrid amplifier involves both vacuum tube technology and solid state (analog) technology. The signal from a guitar pickup passes through vacuum tubes in the preamp stage and goes further to power section consisting of solid state circuitry. 

Q: Do I need a head/cabinet stack or combo amp?
A: Basically, it depends on your needs, level of comfort you would like to get, and budget. Combos are usually cheaper, more portable and easier to use, while a head/cabinet stack always offers a versatility of speaker configurations — you will be able to use different cabs and heads in various combinations. For practicing at home and playing guitar on small stage, a combo is likely to be a better option for you. However, for medium and large gigs, you will need to take advantage of a head and cabinet version.

Q: Do amps come with guitar built-in effects?
A: Now, most amps for a guitar are equipped with predefined settings and effects you can use for getting different sounds. More expensive gears typically contain a higher number of effects you can select from.

Q: Does a size of a guitar combo speaker really matter?
A: Yes, it does. A size of a speaker is very important for obtaining the right sound. Basically, smaller speakers produce higher frequencies than larger speakers. 10", 12", and 15" speakers offer good warmth and the necessary volume to sound well even in mixed with other instruments. 

Q: Which guitar combo speaker will be right for practicing at home?
A:  If you’re searching a good quality amp producing power enough for playing guitar at home, an amplifier with a 10" speaker will be an excellent option for you.

Sources:

1. Guitar Amp Buying Guide, Sweetwater.

2. Bass amplifier, Wikipedia.

3. Stick Don A Guide to Basic Tube Amp Maintenance, Guitar World, June 07, 2018

4. Chappell Jon How to Tune up a New Electric Guitar Amplifier, Dummies.

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Publish Date: 2019-02-15 11:22:21