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Best mini guitar amps 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]

Last Updated October 1, 2020

Norman RyanHi! My name is Norman Ryan. After spending over 42 hours comparing at least 24 mini guitar amps, I am recommending the best mini guitar amps of 2018

The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing. I hope that my Top 3 list will provide you great options in buying the right fit for you.

Let’s get to it!

Best mini guitar amps of 2018

Not all mini guitar amps are created equal though. After carefully examining the reviews and ratings of the people who have used them earlier this listicle has been made.

The above tidbits will bring you closer to selecting mini guitar amps that best serves your needs and as per your budget. Here are the customer reviews of some of the best mini guitar amps of 2018.

Test Results and Ratings

Rank №1 №2 №3
Total 4.8 4.5 4.3
5 points
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5 points
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Awards 1
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№1 – RIG NINJA GUITAR CABLE for Serious Musicians

RIG NINJA GUITAR CABLE for Serious Musicians

🎸 WHILE OTHER GUITAR CABLES hum and crackle when moved, produce poor tone or simply stop working, the Rig Ninja Guitar Cable is carefully constructed from quality components and individually hand-tested. The pF rating of about 27pF/ft allows a clearly transmitted signal and an uncolored tone. This means you can have CONFIDENCE IN YOUR EQUIPMENT while performing and a CLEAN, NOISE-FREE SIGNAL to your amp.
For such a price and the level of quality it can’t even have any cons, only pick holes.

Why did this mini guitar amps win the first place?

I also liked the delivery service that was fast and quick to react. It was delivered on the third day. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! I really enjoy the design. It is compact, comfortable and reliable. And it looks amazing!
















№2 – Guitar Amp Mini Portable Clip Amplifier Speaker Recorder 2 in 1 Chargeable

Guitar Amp Mini Portable Clip Amplifier Speaker Recorder 2 in 1 Chargeable

✔ 5W OUTPUT MINI GUITAR AMP: 5W output guitar amp, with built-in distortion effect device. No need to lug heavy amps around when you are rehearsing, practicing; Amplify your sound with this portable, solidly built mini headphone amp with an incredible amount of features. It has a standard guitar input jack that accepts a standard 1/4″ guitar cable (Cable not included)
Can be tedious to clean up.
Expensive more then others and featured a bit less then other in our high-end picks.

Why did this mini guitar amps come in second place?

This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery.
















№3 – Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp

Danelectro Honeytone N-10 Guitar Mini Amp

Great clean and overdrive tones
Leather handle
Belt clip
Extremely expensive.
The manual is inaccurate and confusing..

Why did this mini guitar amps take third place?

It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials.
















mini guitar amps Buyer’s Guide

If you keep the before points in mind, you can easily go out to the market and buy mini guitar amps, right? No!

Serious project studio amps

When it comes to recording, guitarists are – rightly – extremely picky about the amps their choose to use. Deciding on the amplifier you’re going to commit to for your precious project studio – you know, the one you’ve been planning, saving for and building for years – is therefore no small decision.

That’s where we come in. We’ve considered the options and filtered them through our patented Amp-o-meter (patent pending) in order to give you a selection of what we think are the best small recording amps out there. They won’t break the bank (or your back for that matter), but they will give you the tones you’re looking for.

What to Look for in an Acoustic Guitar Amp

The main thing you should look for when narrowing down your research is to figure out how much power/volume you need out of your acoustic amp. In other words, ask yourself what are your ideal uses? If you currently gig or plan to in the future, it’s a good idea to get an amp that can handle those types of volume levels. When amp shopping, this will translate into the number of watts and also the physical size of the speaker inside the amplifier.

The acoustic guitar amps we recommend in this guide are ordered from loudest (most watts), to quietest (least watts). Don’t worry, even the “quietest” ones are not exactly quiet; After all we’re talking about amplifiers here. Our wattage recommendations go from 120 down to 10, which should cover a wide range of uses.

If all you’re going to use this amp for is home practice or very intimate gigs in small venues such as a coffee house or an open mic night stage, something between and 30 watts of power should suffice. As you play in larger and louder places like a loud pub or bar or a small-to-medium sized live music venue, you might opt for something in the 50 watt range, up to about 100 watts. The loudest requirement would be if you intend on jamming with a band, and/or playing live in rather large venues. In that case, a minimum of 100 watts is what’s recommended to keep up with drums/bass/electric guitar, and possibly even as high as 200 or 300 watts. There will come a venue size that’s too large for any amp to handle, and in that case what will probably happen is that you will take the D.I. output of your acoustic guitar amp and feed it to the venue’s sound engineer so that he or she can plug you into the house PA system. Your acoustic amp will then be pointed towards you rather than the audience, and serve as your own personal monitor so you can hear yourself play. You’ve probably seen this type of setup when watching your favorite popular bands perform live.

Number of channels – Acoustic guitar amps can have multiple channels. It’s not like electric guitar amps that have a clean and an overdrive channel. Acoustic amp channels are almost always identical, and basically let you plug in multiple instruments at the same time. A very common use of this is an acoustic guitar in channel 1, and a microphone for either vocals or more guitar amplification in channel If you sing and play at the same time, or your partner sings and you play, definitely look for a multi-channel amp.

Inputs and Outputs – The more sophisticated the amp, the more I/O options it has. This can be anything from accommodating both a ¼” and balanced XLR into the main input(s), to an auxiliary input where you can plug in a portable music player or laptop to jam along. In terms of outputs, look for a headphones output for silent practicing or monitoring, and direct outputs so you can feed you amp’s signal to a recording device, mixer, etc. An effects loop can be a handy inclusion as well.

Weight/size/portability – Unless you have a huge tour bus and roadies that do all the heavy lifting for you, the size and weight of your acoustic amp matters. The rule of thumb is the greater the watts and speaker size, the larger and heavier the amp. Make sure to look at the dimensions and weight of the amps you’re interested in to make sure you’ll be comfortable lugging them around the house and to and from gigs.

How We Made This List

If you want to take your enjoyment of guitar playing to the next level, very few travel amps can compete with ‘Fender Frontman 10G Electric Guitar Amplifier’. With a Fender Special Design inches Speaker, this thing can amplify the guitar sounds effortlessly in accordance with your constraints on the go. Let us look into the features and functionalities this amp can offer.

At the out set, the aesthetic value of this amp is pretty high. It looks professional with black and silver shades with the conventional ‘Fender’ logo. When it comes to the controls, you have direct access to Gain, Over-Drive Select Switch, Volume, Treble, and Bass. You would also find the 1/4″ Instrument Input Socket and the Power Switch on the same panel. This is a single channel amp and watts is the ceiling of sound output. Other features include a 2-band EQ, 1/8″ auxiliary input jack for jam-along with media player or CD, 1/8″ headphone output jack for silent practice and last but not the least, a closed-back design for heavier bass response.

The controls are pretty intuitive and you can find all the functionalities on the same deck. As a result, the beginners would find this amp pretty user-friendly. The sound amplification is quite clean you surely can enjoy a quality tone with this great piece of amp.

Blackstar FLYBattery Powered Guitar Amplifier

If you are into travel guitar amps and want to try a travel amp with delay effect in addition to basic and clean functionalities, you definitely have to check out this hhigh-quality offering at an affordable price point from Blackstar. We were talking about the FLYBattery Powered Guitar Amplifier. Blackstar has some affluent history in making musical accessories and instruments. They always try to offer quality products at a reasonable price. This particular amp also lived up to the expectation as it can deliver a class output with an evenhanded price point.

Fly is a 3-watt amplification solution from Blackstar. This compact guitar amp includes a 3-inch speaker in its structure that can produce some true Blackstar tones. It’s a little bigger in the dimension with 7.x 5.x 4.inches and it weighs around 2.lbs. The controls are pretty basic and clean. Two channels are available in its housing. One is clean and another one is OverDrive. It also includes Infinite Shape Feature (ISF), Digital ‘tape’ delay effect, MP/ Line In for jamming along or listening to music, and Emulated Line Out for ‘silent’ practice or recording.

Even though it is equipped with the basic control systems, it surprisingly produces some of the great sound quality when it comes to travel amps. The clean channel can take you in a ride for clean to a crispy sound output. Conversely, with the OD channel, you will get more of a deep and thicker tone. The tap delay can be adjusted for delay level and repeat time.

With a 3-watt amplification, 3-inch speaker, Digital ‘tape’ delay effect, it can be considered as one of the best travel amps out there.

What Guitar Amp to Choose

The amplifier is the backbone of your guitar rig, and you have lots of options available to choose the right amplifier for your rig. A massive Marshall stack (or stacks) at your back serve is meant to blow the faces of your audience. A smaller, hand-wired tube amp (from Vox or Fender) is perfect for the guitarist who values craftsmanship more. For those who wish to stay at top of the game (in terms of technology), a feature-loaded Line or Peavey modeling amp is the one for your rig.

Wattage plays an important factor, if you want to be heard over the other instrumentalists in the band (especially the drummer). Here, you will find amps of various wattage levels, plus replacement speakers and other useful amp accessories, available to make the life of the working musician easier.

Guitar Combo Amps: These are perfect for musicians, looking for a compact solution. Various Guitar combo amp models are available, including tube classics to modern modeling amps.

Guitar Amplifier Basics For Dummies

At the most basic level, you need to know that the various guitar amplifiers are either solid-state or tube based, and then there are other variations which use technology that is based on these two types (hybrid amps).

The output/volume is decided by the wattage of the amp. The more the wattage, the more its suitable for bigger venues. Most practice amps are around 30 watts, for performing in smaller venues you need around 50-80, and you need at least 100 watts for a large live gig setup.

Finding the Perfect Guitar Amplifier

All guitar amps are not created equal, and what works for one player may be useless to another. With so many options, configurations and features available it can get pretty confusing when you’re trying to decide which amp is worth your hard-earned money.

If you’re a seasoned veteran you’ve been around the block a time or two, and you know what you want and need in an amp. But many intermediate players may need a little direction when it comes to sorting it all out, and this article can help.

We’ve all been down the same road. Back when you first started out you were content plugging your guitar into anything that made noise. You probably remember the little amp you got with your first guitar, that tiny box featuring distortion that sounded like a nest of hornets and one knob that somehow controlled all tonal frequencies.

Things have changed since then. Your ear now knows the difference between good tone and everything else, and you’ve become a bit of a snob compared to your former self.

There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a rite of passage for every guitarist, the quest for perfect tone. Some find it early and cling to it for their whole career. Some spend their lives searching, and never quite get there. Whether you succeed or fail depends largely on your amplifier, so choose your weapon wisely.

Let’s get started. What follows is a series of questions for you to consider. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and jot down your answers. By the time you get through this section you should have a clear idea of what type of guitar amp is best for your needs.

Amp Features

What extra features do you require? The standard features for most guitar amps are two channels (one clean and one overdrive) and possibly a built-in reverb effect. However, many models incorporate elaborate onboard digital effects, and some even emulate different kinds of amps altogether.

Amp modeling is useful for guitarists who play in cover bands, or just like to be able to emulate the sounds of their favorite players. It’s a really cool idea, and many players love it, but it is up to you to decide if you need all those bells and whistles. I might be old-school, but I have always thought a guitar amp should be good at one great tone, and that’s it. If I need any effects on top of that I’ll add them in the form of pedals or an outboard effects processor.

Guitar amp features don’t end with what you see on the front of the amplifier. Most amps have all kinds of gadgets on their back panels, from a place to plug in a footswitch, to effects loops, to line out jacks, to external speaker jacks, to power cut switches, ground switches and more. Pay attention to what’s going on back there when you research your options.

Note that many combo amps have the option to plug in an external cabinet. Usually the power output of the amp will increase with the extra speaker load. This is a great feature for extending the capabilities of your home combo amp.

You should now have an idea of which kinds of extra features you need your amp to have.

Guitar Amp Brands

This is a very loud tube 2x1combo. No high-gain here, but instead you get that smooth Fender overdrive. At 60 watts is has more than enough power for any live, rehearsal or gigging situation. Aside from spring reverb there aren’t many bells and whistles here, but what you get is pure Fender tone through and through.

This is an excellent option for blues, country and classic rock players who play in a band and don’t feel like lugging a half-stack around.

Bugera 6260

If you love the idea of a tube amp half-stack but your wallet can’t justify the cost, take a look at Bugera. These amps are built to harness some classic tones, and despite their low price they’ve converted some veteran players. There are a lot of different models aimed at different styles and levels.

The Bugera 6260 Infinium is billed as the Ultimate Rock Tone. Maybe, but at the very least it’s a solid amp for players who can’t afford to drop big money on their rig. It’s easy to see which well-known amp this thing is modeled after, and the tone sounds fairly close.

Line Spider V 240

Line is a pioneer in amp modeling and digital effects, and their Spider lineup consists of classic amps from little 20-watt models up to full stacks. This 2x1combo has all the flexibility and features a guitarist could ever need, all wrapped up in one portable package.

With a huge palette of amp models and a ton of effects, whether you play rock, metal, country, jazz or blues you’ll get the sounds you need out of this amp. It’s loud enough for any situation, and can be paired with an optional foot controller for total control onstage.

If you are a gigging musician who needs to nail many different tones during your set, and you want a compact, reliable rig that’s easy to set up and tote around, this might be the amp for you.

Go Get Your New Guitar Amp!

Your head is no doubt spinning with information and ideas about your new amplifier, and of course the above are just suggestions. A good guitar amp should last for decades, so putting the work into making a good decision is well worth it.

When it comes to buying guitars people often recommend purchasing the exact one you try in the shop, but for amps you needed be so worried. You can safely purchase online from a reputable company with a good return policy. You may find a guitar shop giving you a new amp in the box instead of a floor model anyway, so there is little difference between what you will purchase in a shop and what you can get online. It is your decision.

Fender Rumble vSeries

The Fender Rumble series has been a top choice for beginner bassists for many years, and the new Versionrange is the latest incarnation released by Fender. The amps are fairly simple, affordable, and sound great, making them absolutely perfect for new players.

Peavey 650Piranha Micro Head

You want portable? You got portable! When we first got our hands on the Piranha, we were amazed at how much beef was packed into such a small burger. In other words, this tiny amp head, which is about the size of an external hard drive and weighs about two pounds, is powerful enough to run full cabs with ease. Now, what you give up is some tone-shaping capabilities, things that you might find on the Yamaha THR10, for example. But the Piranha is priced accordingly, and if you want a ludicrously mobile amp rig for stage and studio use, you owe it to yourself to crank up the Peavey Piranha and hear what this beast can do in action.

Dan Orkin

All these questions and more are probably spinning at the center of the burgeoning guitarist’s mind when starting out. But fear not – we’re here to help you make the best decision so you can start playing and, more importantly, keep playing until we can count you as one of our own.

Follow this guide for our tips and recommendations on what to keep in mind when buying a first guitar for yourself or someone else.

Starting With An Acoustic

Many teaching purists will passionately recommend new players start with an acoustic. And with good reason. There’s an immediacy that comes with picking up an acoustic guitar and strumming away that doesn’t exist with an electric. You learn the connection between attack and tone much more quickly with an acoustic. For players who strive to jump into the world singer-songwriter stylings or cozy up next to a campfire, starting with an acoustic is the natural choice.

Starting With A Nylon String Guitar

Found in middle school music room closets the world over, beginner nylon-string or classical acoustics are an extremely popular route for first-time players. There are several reasons for this. For one, the smaller bodies of these guitars can be especially inviting for younger players. Nylon string guitars have wider necks with more spacing between each string which can make landing your finger in the right place much easier. Most of all though, the nylon strings themselves are softer and easier to press down, which is one area new guitarists frequently have trouble with.

For these reasons and more, classical or nylon string guitars are a fantastic choice for a first time player. Check out the section and links below for some of our picks for first-time nylon string guitars to consider.

Starting With A Steel String Acoustic

While nylon string guitars are a great choice for beginners, their tone can be a bit limiting when taking the next steps in your progression as a player. For something that covers the sounds of contemporary popular music, a steel string acoustic is far more practical. There may be a slightly longer learning curve to getting your fingering just right, but once mastered, a steel string acoustic can carry you through a wide range of diverse playing styles and musical genres.

Starting With An Electric

As with acoustic guitars, there are a wide range of electrics to consider when shopping for a first-timer. Unlike acoustics, electric guitars require a few things beyond the instrument itself to get going. In this section, we’ll go through some great options for a beginning electric guitar, amp and other equipment.

Of course, the most important consideration when buying an electric guitar is to find one that will make you look as cool as possible when taking rockstar selfies in the mirror. Joking aside, getting a guitar that excites you will keep you inspired to play, which is the most important thing for new players.

You should also consider what type of music you hope to master and what player epitomizes that style. Fan of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan? You should probably get a Stratocaster. Dream of playing some Wes Montgomery licks in a jazz combo? Maybe a hollowbody is right for you. Considering what guitars their heroes play when prepping for a purchase is something that allguitarists do, even if they deny it.

Fender Mustang I

There’s been something of a trend over the past few years of small amps with onboard modeling and effects. The Mustang I (now in its second version) is Fender’s take on the format.

In addition to the amp, note that you will need a 1/4-inch guitar cable to connect the guitar to the amp.

A Note On Strat Packs

In today’s market, a popular first choice for players (and a perennial Christmas gift) is what’s commonly called a “Strat Pack.” This entails a pre-made package usually including an electric guitar, an amp, and an array of accessories like a strap and some picks. Packs of this nature are produced by a number of different companies including Squier, Ibanez, and Epiphone. While they offer a great all-in-one solution, often times you can get a better guitar just by piecing your own starter rig part by part.

Accessories You’ll Need

At some point or another, you will break a string. Even if you don’t, guitars need a new set of strings every several months depending on how often you play. Strings are designed specifically for the above categories of guitar (nylon, steel string, electric) in varying gauges. Most new players use lighter gauged strings such as.or.10s.

Tuning a guitar by ear is a difficult thing to master, but nothing’s going to discourage a new player more than having to contend with a horribly out-of-tune instrument. For this reason, we consider a tuner essential (we actually sell a great, cheap one you can get to by clicking on this link).

Accessories You Don’t Need but Should Get Anyway

This one’s pretty straightforward. If you want to stand while you play, you’ll need a strap. There are a lot of basic options out there, but every guitar looks good with something like a Souldier strap on it.

A guitar stand is a device that holds and props up your guitar for easy access. It’s not an essential accessory, but lots of players find having their guitar out in the house inspires them to grab it an practice more than they might otherwise. It also prevents a lot of accidental knockovers from the dog, brother, sister, child or wind. Don’t just lean it and leave it. Get a stand.

New guitarists love singing along to the songs they’re learning. A capo can easily change the key of open position playing making it that much easier to play any song you want.

Looking at the chart, it seems like the electric guitar mandates the most extra stuff. And that’s without even getting into the world of effects. Just wait, you’ll get there.

So there you have it…

Hopefully the above will help you first timers out there. One thing to note is that once you have your guitar, you will want to get what’s known as a setup performed by a tech at least a couple times a year if you’re playing regularly. Think of this as like getting the oil changed on your car. Even experienced players don’t often recognize the importance of getting their guitars setup regularly, but it’s an essential part of keeping your instrument in tip-top form for years to come.

Orange Crush PiX Series CR12L

The Orange Crush PiX CR12L is another fairly standard style beginner amp. It has the same standard features as most beginner amps. The Crush PiX CR12L is a little more expensive than some similar featured amps, like the Velocity V10, but it makes up for the extra cost with a better build quality, better tone, and a well designed control layout. The Crush PiX CR12L gives a lot of control over the tone, but manages to do so in a clear, easily understood control panel.

Blackheart Killer Ant

The Blackheart Killer Ant is another slightly unconventional choice. Features wise, the Killer Ant does not have even the basics found on most beginner amps, yet it costs more money. The only controls on the Killer Ant are a power switch and a volume control. However, what sets the Blackheart Killer Ant apart is the fact it is a tube amp, rather than the cheaper solid state amps used for most beginner amps.

Line Spider IV

If you’re looking to improve your playing technique, then nifty extras that help you play better are welcome. Those that can play tracks can make practice more inspiring, and playing with a track also helps keep your timing sharp and locked in. Other features to look out for include built-in tuning, and the ability to record and play loops. So again, it boils down to what you really want, be it straightforward convenience or versatility.

Keyboard sound magnifier is slightly different than a guitar or a bass amp. They usually cover a wider frequency response and put you in charge of your equipment’s rig sound. They come in all shapes, sizes, and prizes. If you play keyboards, digital pianos or synths, and performing live is your forte then getting a nice keyboard amp is essential for you. Not only live, but the right keyboard amp can help you inside the studio in getting those crystal clear sounds.

Now that you know that getting a keyboard sound magnifier is a must for you, get ready to be confused as there are so many options to choose from. Different brands, various functionalities, design and all other similar factors make buying an amp extremely difficult. In this guide, we will be reviewing top amps from the best brands, so that choosing the right keyboard sound magnifier for yourself can become easy.

Acoustic Guitar Strings

If you have an acoustic-electric guitar, or if you are planning to install pickups to your acoustic instrument, you’ll need specialized acoustic amps to bring out the natural tone of your instrument.

Here we present you with an up to date look at the best acoustic guitar amps on the market. Because acoustic amps aim to be transparent (they try not to color the sound) they are also good at amplifying vocals – which means that many of these amps are also designed to work well as small PA systems for a one or two person act.

Acoustic guitar amps also work well for other acoustic instruments using close mics or pickups such as violin or ukulele. I’ve even seen examples of hand percussion being mic’d and amplified via an acoustic amp and some people simultaneously put keyboards and guitar through some of the amps that have multiple channels.

The ukulele, which has never lost its popularity since its introduction by Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii in the late 1800s, is a continual best seller in Canadian music stores. At Roland, we have several staff who play ukulele in many different styles and we realized that several of our new amplifiers are ideal for many ukulele applications.

When any acoustic instrument is used in a noisy performance venue, it benefits from quality amplification. The audience needs to hear you over the hiss of the espresso maker. No uke player wants to drag along a stack or high powered combo amp to amplify the delicate tones of the ukulele. We have chosen three of our new amplifiers that have unique features that ukulele players will appreciate and enjoy using for different music applications at home, outdoors or in concert.

Different amps for different needs

Musician’s Friend has a wide selection of acoustic guitar amps, but you might be wondering what distinguishes one from another. The best way to approach that question is to first think about which kind of situation you’ll be using your amplifier in.

Amps for practice and home use

You might want a small acoustic guitar amp around the house for your practice sessions, especially if you tend to play quietly with other acoustic instruments. Sure, in your own home you can hear your guitar without amplifying it, however projecting your performance through a speaker can help you listen more critically while you play. Some practice amps, like the Acoustic A20, have a stage monitor-style design that angles the speaker upward so you can direct it toward you while you play. Its modest 20W power rating may also be adequate for very small-venue gigs. With two combo jacks that accept both mics and instrument inputs plus digital chorus and reverb effects, it offers a lot of functionality for a small price.

The Acoustic A20 uses an angled design for better monitoring during your practice sessions.

Some amps offer built-in effects such as chorus and reverb, that can add some shimmer and drama to your sound. The 15-watt, ultra-portable Fender Acoustasonic 15, for example, features a quality on-board chorus effect that you can dial in to your specific preference. It also has 3-band EQ on both channels to help you fine-tune your sound.

The Fender Acoustasonic is an ultra-portable practice amplifier with two channels, a mic input and onboard chorus effect.

In the studio

You can record an acoustic guitar in a number of ways. You can use a microphone placed near the soundhole, or if you’re using an acoustic-electric guitar, you can plug directly into an audio interface that is equipped with an instrument input. You can even just put a mic in front of your amp’s speaker and capture your sound that way.

However, if you are thinking of buying an acoustic guitar amp specifically for your home studio, you might want to consider a model that comes with extra features that help add depth to your recordings and makes it easy to capture your guitar’s signal.

Some manufacturers have begun making low-wattage modeling amplifiers that simulate different kinds of miked and amplified guitars, which opens up lots of sonic possibilities. Yamaha’s THR5A is one such model, featuring USB connectivity and a number of onboard effects, like delay, chorus, phaser, and reverb. It’s a great choice for the home studio guitarist who plays both acoustic-electric and electric guitars, giving you a range of amplifier and microphone simulations to create lots of different sonic textures.

The Yamaha THR5A is an acoustic modeling amp with multiple built-in effects and USB connectivity.

Take a video tour of the Yamaha THR5A’s amazingly diverse palette of sound possibilities.

Playing in a coffeehouse or small club

For some of the smallest venues, your practice amp might be able to give you a good, clean tone with enough volume to be heard. But if you want to be ready for larger spaces, you should look for an amp with a little more juice.

Within the range of 40 to 100 total watts, you’ll find plenty models to choose from with features to enhance your performances. For instance, if you are planning to plug in a microphone to sing along with your guitar playing, amps within this range typically will have everything you need. You’ll find separate channels for guitar and vocals and an XLR input for your microphone. (Some inputs identified as “combo” will accept either an XLR or ¼” jack for maximum flexibility.) On many models, each channel will have its own separate tone controls and effects so you can dial in the right sounds for each.

Some acoustic guitar amps also offer a 3.mm or stereo input so you can plug in a portable audio device such as an iPod or smartphone and play along with recordings or backing tracks.

It is important to note that the speaker size or configuration does not necessarily affect an acoustic amp’s ability to deliver good sound with decent volume. The Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500, for instance, uses just one 6.5-inch speaker driven by 60W of power to produce a surprising amount of volume with good fidelity.

The Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500 comes in a small package but delivers a powerful 60 watts of accurate tone.

Check out the Fishman Loudbox Mini PRO-LBX-500 in performance.

Another important feature you will find in these higher-wattage amps is feedback control. This may include a single push-button anti-feedback control or, in higher-end models, more elaborate controls that isolate frequencies that cause feedback. Marshall’s AS100D, for example, is notable for its precise per-channel feedback control, consisting of multiple knobs. It also has dedicated inputs for guitars equipped with piezo or magnetic pickups helping to optimize their sound. If you are playing in a venue that requires you to crank the volume, feedback-eliminating controls can really save the day.

With 50 watts per channel, multiple XLR inputs, and high-quality built-in effects, the Marshall AS100D is a versatile choice for small- to medium-sized venues.

The elaborate control panel on the Marshall AS100D Acoustic Combo Amp offers an array of tone-shaping and feedback-fighting tools together with great-sounding chorus, delay and reverb effects.

Jamming with a band

The 180-watt Fishman Loudbox Performer is one of the top-selling acoustic amps for guitarists who perform in groups.

While wattage this high might seem unnecessary for the typical solo performer, acoustic guitarists who play with a full band, especially one with a drummer, need the extra output to project a clean, undistorted sound.

Sheer wattage doesn’t tell the whole story either. Factors such as a low signal-to-noise ratios and enough dynamic headroom to prevent clipping (distortion) during loud passages contribute to pleasing, noise-free sound. High-quality, efficient speakers also help by converting the amplifier’s output into more volume.

The two-channel Acoustic A100 Combo generates plenty of volume thanks to x 50W of clean digital power. But it’s this amp’s versatility and warm acoustic sound that really sells it. Twin effects processors coupled with two combo XLR/instrument inputs let you dial in voices and instrument sounds to perfection. Bluetooth connectivity makes for a simple playback setup.

Dual 8” neodymium speakers keep the weight of the Acoustic A1000 100W Acoustic Guitar Amp down while delivering sound that impresses.

Our customers give the Acoustic A100 top marks for both its sound and easy operation.

Playing large and outdoor venues

Most larger clubs and music venues have built-in PA systems that make projecting your sound to the audience a matter of simply plugging into the venue’s mixer. However, many singer-songwriters and acoustic groups find themselves performing in large spaces that aren’t set up for musical performances and simply don’t have this kind of sound reinforcement equipment on hand.

For some, the solution is to purchase a complete PA system.

PA systems, however, consist of sizeable speakers, mixers and other gear that can be challenging to transport, set up and manage, especially if you have to control your sound while performing. Fortunately, there are much more compact and efficient solutions for singer-songwriters and small ensembles.

One such solution is the Fishman Loudbox Mini Songwriter Pack, which is a great little setup for the singer-songwriter who performs in small spaces. Musician’s Friend bundles the 2-channel 60W Loudbox Mini Acoustic Guitar Amplifier with an Audio Technica M4000S dynamic mic, 20’ mic cable, and tripod mic stand for a complete rig right out of the box.

The Loudbox Mini Songwriter Pack is a budget-friendly way to amplify guitar and voice with Fishman quality sound.

Taking a somewhat different approach, Bose offers its LSystems that include a column that houses a line-array speaker system. Separate bass modules deliver additional oomph in the lower frequencies. These systems are modular and can be purchased in a variety of configurations to match your needs. The Bose TToneMatch Engine is a digital mixer that makes for simple optimization of each instrument and voice. The speaker array provides excellent monitoring for the performers too—both the audience and performers hear the same mix.

The Bose LSingle BBass with TAudio Engine configuration is a versatile rig that can handle small ensembles and guitarist/vocalists.

Watch the band Northstar take their Bose LPA system on the road.

You can check out all the Bose Lsystem configuration options here.

Feedback control

Most acoustic guitar amplifiers over 20 watts include some form of feedback control. If you are playing in a situation where you need to turn your amp up more than halfway, this feature could be very important. When looking at this feature, consider both ease of use and the impact on tone quality. Some amps offer a very simple push-button feedback control that can cause a slight loss of richness in tone. Other amps include more elaborate controls such as notch filters that allow you to isolate the problem frequencies. However, these controls can take some experimentation to dial in just right.

First things first, you probably want to decide on what amp wattage will best suit your needs. Tube amps sound best when pushed to a certain degree, so while a 100-watt behemoth might look insanely cool in your room, it’s not going to do you much good. If you’ll be using your new tube amp primarily for at home practice and DON’T want to anger the neighbors, a small 5-watt will fit your needs.

It’s worth noting here that a 100-watt tube amp is not twice as loud as a 50-watt tube amp—the difference between the two is only about dB. Twice the wattage really comes down to more headroom. And let’s not forget the aspect of portability, since a 100-watt head will have some weight to it. Unless you can afford roadies, you need to make sure you are up for carrying it from gig to gig with the cabinet.


Tube type is another important consideration. The different types of power tubes each have a particular sound based on their characteristics. Generally speaking, a 6Lpower tube offers nice roundness, clarity, and punch compared to an EL34, which commonly has tight lows, sparkling highs, and a nice mid-range. EL84s have much lower output, but offer a smoothness and harmonic distortion similar to a 6V6, which is bluesy with nice low frequency fullness. The big and powerful 6550s and KT88s are very clean sounding with a lot of low end.

Having covered the basics of the power amp, it is time to consider the preamp. The power amp considerations are important since the power tubes affect the overall output in terms of headroom and breakup, but it’s the preamp that really does most of the tonal shaping of the amp. What we are concerned with is the preamp circuit type and what features it possesses—such as reverb, effects loops, or multiple channels.

A player that needs to rely on one amp that is able to provide varying degrees of distortion may want to consider an amp with multiple channels. Typically, there may be anywhere from one to four channels on a guitar amp. Tube amps with multiple channels offer flexibility by allowing the player to rely less on pedals for overdrive, and more on utilizing the independent gain controls for each channel of the tube amp. Most high gain amps have at least two channels—clean and gain—where the player can turn up the preamp gain and leave the master volume set at a lower level. This will allow higher distortion at a much lower volume level. Keep in mind that preamp tube break up sounds different than power tube break up, and is less touch sensitive.

While multi-channel tube amps offer built-in flexibility, a player looking for purity of tone may be better off with a single channel amplifier. It is important to bear in mind that you will color your tone by running your guitar through springs in a reverb pan, multiple channels, or jacks and cables in and out of an effects loop. Simply put, the more components in the signal chain, the more the signal purity will be altered. And when a tube amp has three preamps, a reverb circuit, effects loop, buffers, and additional gain stages—but is the same price as a less complex model—costs were probably cut somewhere.

Important Travel Guitar Features to Consider

Portability: When looking for a travel guitar, the main thing you want to guarantee is that you will be able to take the guitar wherever you go. If you are traveling on a bus, train or airplane, make sure it is the correct size to fit into the overhead compartments and designated storage spaces. If you will be walking or biking during your travels, you need a lightweight option that is easy to carry. Driving will give you the most freedom in the travel guitar you select, but it may still need to be smaller than a full-sized model.

Playability: Some travel guitars have an unusual shape. This can make it difficult to hold and strum without a strap. Make sure you try playing the mini-guitar you want to purchase, so you can make sure you are comfortable using it.

Sound Quality: A travel guitar is never going to sound like a full-size guitar, but to practice your music, you need it to sound as good as possible. Again, the best way to test the sound quality is to play the instrument.

Durable Construction: Remember, you will be traveling with your guitar, so make sure the materials can withstand heat and humidity, as well as dry, frigid air. Your travel guitar may get bumped around a bit, too, so it must be durable, even if you put it in a case.

Other Key Considerations

Even the best travel and mini-guitars are not the same as a full-size guitar for projecting and resonating sound. If you are new to mini-guitars, you may not get the same sound quality you are used to hearing with a larger instrument. However, for many musicians, being able to play while you are away from home is enough to make up for the lower sound quality. But for the traveling musician who wants the perfect sound, you should know you can’t get the exact same quality as you would on a full-size guitar.

If you have enough space for a full-sized model, consider taking it instead of a travel version. If you like to record your music, remember, many travel guitars are not able to perform this function. The purpose of a mini-guitar is to save space while still being able to practice or perform your music anywhere you travel.

Traveler Guitar Ultra-Light Acoustic-Electric

It is only about 2inches long, so it will easily fit into a carry-on compartment on an airplane. There is a leg rest on the one side to make it easier to hold the instrument. The bottom of the base has a jack where you can plug an amp in and play. If you do not like the lap rest feature, you can easily detach it from the body of the guitar.

This travel guitar has a full 2frets and a piezo pickup to brighten the acoustic creations of the guitar. One thing to note is that changing the strings on this model is a bit difficult the first time you try it. Tuning is also odd because of the way they positioned the tuning knobs, but you will have no issues getting used to the style of the guitar. It also comes with a three-year warranty, so you can contact the company to address any issues with the model.

Head and Cabinet

The head and cabinet setup takes the combo amplifier and breaks it into separate pieces. In this case, the amp head is used to process and shape the tone of the guitar that plugs into it, and then this signal is routed to the speaker cabinet to make the sound louder.

This type of setup is primarily designed for guitarists who consistently play in large venues where they need to get extra loud; there’s also an aesthetic appeal, as this creates the iconic rock and roll “wall of sound” backdrop for when you’re blowing people’s faces off in Wembley Stadium.

Although the head and cabinet setup also gives players the ability to customize their sound by mix and matching different components to create their ideal sound, for most novices (and truthfully, even up to musicians who rely on guides like this one), a combo amp is probably the most convenient and appropriate bet.

Tube Amp

In the beginning, there were tube amps. Using actual tubes inside the body of the amp, guitarists could overdrive their signal to create a slightly “hot” tone that continues to be favored by musicians today; while there have been many advances in some of the competitors to tube amps, there is still an overall “feel” that many believe has not yet been surpassed.

Tube amps generally have separate channels that allow players to switch between clean and overdriven tones. The glass tubes that define this type of amp are fragile, and also need routine maintenance and replacing.

Hybrid Amps

Although there are a variety of guitar effects pedals that are available to help guitarists shape and transform their signal into many different types of sounds, many amplifiers also come equipped with their share of effects that can be just as useful.


Tremolo is another common built-in effect that one can find most often in vintage amplifiers. Often mislabeled as a vibrato effect, tremolo approximates what it would sound like if you were to hit a note on your guitar and then rapidly turn the volume knob up and down. Speed can be adjusted to create alternating volume fluctuation rates, while the depth controls affect the range at which that signal is altered. This effect is most popular in genres such as rockabilly and surf rock.

Amp Construction

Although the actual construction of an amplifier may not be the first thing that players think of when considering purchasing a guitar amp, the physical attributes of a unit can make an impact on the resulting sound. Amplifiers that have closed backs typically do a better job at processing bass sound. Because of the vibrations that occur when sound is emitted from a speaker, amplifiers require wood that is at least ½-inch thick in order to prevent the interior from shaking loose. This configuration will also ensure a clearer and stronger signal.

If you’re planning on moving your amplifier around a lot (whether you’re touring, playing the occasional gig, or just moving the amp to different parts of your home), there are additional features that can improve your experience. Corner protectors can help protect your amp from regular wear-and-tear, while rolling wheels can make the transportation process much easier. For smaller units, a handle is also a great accessory that will make a world of a difference when you’re trying to quickly reposition an amp on or off-stage.

Bass Amps for Gigs Need Power

When you’re playing a gig, you never want to worry that your amp isn’t cut out for the job. For your own peace of mind, it helps to have either a large amp or several small bass amps. While you may get by on the road with just a single 100-watt amp, you surely won’t regret having more to work with. It really comes down to the style of music you’re playing and what type of venues you’ll be performing in. If you’re playing in a hard rock or heavy metal band with wailing guitar solos and hard-hitting drums, you may need to upgrade to a bigger rig so that you can keep up with the rest of the band.

Selecting the Right Speaker Size

At one time, it was common for bass players to look for the biggest bass speaker they could find. Today, more sophisticated players understand that the biggest speaker does not always do the best job.

Big speakers often cover long distances well, but they do not always sound as good at close range. Selecting the best bass amp size mostly depends on the types of venues you normally play. Many bass cabinets and combo bass amps use one or two 15-inch speakers. Even at this smaller size, you could still end up overpowering the sound of your bandmates, and at the same time, you may struggle to hear yourself when you’re standing near the speakers on stage.

One solution is to use cabinets with several 10-inch speakers. This will drop your sound wave a little lower and diffuse the sound over a wider space, so the sound is thrown at the crowd’s ears and gives you that satisfying thump in your chest. Plus, 10-inch speakers tend to provide better stage volume so you can hear yourself while you play. They also have the tendency to tighten your sound so that the bass line is clear, strong and not too muddy.

Use of Multiple Bass Amps

You can get great volume at a distance and great sound up close by using multiple bass amps. Many players make the mistake of trading in an amp that sounds good just because they need more size and power. They think a bigger amp will give them more of what they want without realizing that it will also change their tone.

Instead, consider running more than one of your favorite amps at a time or supplementing your favorite amp with another that has different characteristics. If one amp has a 15-inch speaker and another has four 10-inch speakers, you can get the best of both worlds. You can also use two amps together with an amp-switching pedal. That way, you can activate only one amp for normal playing and then kick on the other amp when your guitar player boosts the volume for a solo.





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Final Word

First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.

Most important, have fun and choose your mini guitar amps wisely! Good luck!

So, TOP3 of mini guitar amps



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