You have your favorite guitar in your hands, the pick is anxiously hovering right above the strings, and you’re already tapping your foot. You’re ready to rock. But the moment you start playing, you realize that you need to replace that crappy old guitar amp you got from the thrift store. The sound is muffled, everything north of the G-string is barely audible, and everyone makes weird faces when you “shred.”
While hard work, practicing smart, and guitar lessons are probably the most important things when it comes to your guitar playing, it doesn’t hurt if your gear is up to par, too, right?
And, fortunately, in this day and age, you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to produce decent sound. With a few hundred bucks (less than $500) you can have a quality guitar amp to help you with your solo session, your band practice, perhaps even a live gig!
Here are seven solid guitar amps under $500 that you should check out and add to your arsenal:
1. Fender Pro Junior IV Limited Guitar Amp
An iconic brand, the Fender Pro Junior IV Limited amp is an inexpensive, powerful amplifier with a tight bass response and clarity of sound. Quite minimalistic, in line with the original Fenders (that haven’t really changed all that much, to be honest).
If you want a reliable, heavy-duty amp for some classic rock or soft blues, you’re looking at the right one. The price is $1 less than $500 and we believe that it’s not a coincidence!
2. Peavey Bandit 112 TransTube Guitar Amp
Fender’s rival in terms of power and sound quality. This guitar amp has a true tube amplifier tone and dynamic response while retaining the convenience of a solid state amp. The impressive low damping factor will produce the tube amp “sag” sound.
It’s an all-around, versatile amp you can always count on. With $449 written on the price tag, you really can’t go wrong!
3. Fender Mustang V2 Guitar Amp
Another Fender on the list.
While the “big brother” is more classic and minimalistic, this bad-boy is a sound alchemist.
It’s able to produce whatever sound you’re looking for, for every genre you can imagine (17 amp models with the turn of a knob)!
Honestly, the price doesn’t reflect the quality of this amp, so we predict it won’t stay that way for long. Yes, it’s only $119. You better grab it fast!
4. Marshall CODE50 Guitar Amp
Wow! This has got to be the best practice amp I’ve ever had, and I’m not a young dude or a new player. It has far too many great options in terms of sounds, and each is very well done. I previously had a spider amp that was also very good but this one definitely tops it. Marshall is known for making some of the best amps and this one is no exception. You get all of the Marshall quality and a lot of cutting edge technology too. I know it’s only a 50 watt amp but I swear it seems as loud as a 75 watt amp. After a few days of burn, I’m sure it will only start to sound better too. I could go on and on about how great this amp is but all I can say is if you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on it, just do it!
5. Orange Micro Dark Terror Guitar Amp
Lightweight. 100% portable. Powerful gains.
This guitar amp is your best buddy when it comes to practicing. You can carry it wherever you want. Just plug your guitar in and you’re ready to go.
With an impressive sound for such a small amp and a looping option, you should definitely consider this one. Especially if you’re looking for a more “metal” sound.
The price starts from $189 and you can make sure it’ll worth every penny!
6. Behringer Ultracoustic ACX450 Guitar Amp
Right off the bat, the Behringer’s revolutionary FBQ feedback detection system is enough for this amp to worth the $228.
But it doesn’t stop there. It utilizes two channels so you can plug your guitar alongside a bass or a microphone (keep in mind that this primarily for acoustic guitars).
Of course, the best thing about this guitar amp is the sweat and warm sound it can produce. Without the buzzing from feedback, you can really achieve a smooth – almost nostalgic – blues sound.
7. Fender Champion 100 Guitar Amp
Last but not least, the Fender Champion 100 Watt.
Yes, that’s the third Fender on this list. What can we say, Fender knows its stuff. And it shows in this guitar amp as well.
A bigger, better, more versatile amplifier, able to produce a wide range of sound and different tones. It’s one of the few solid-state stage-worthy amplifiers for well under $500.
You can keep things simple and have that traditional, classic rock sound. Or you can play around and find your own voice, trying the different dials and whatnot.
A great purchase if you’re looking for an all-around guitar amp.
8. Boss Katana 50 Guitar Amp
A dream come true for my particular usage.
When I first opened the box I was shocked at how small and lightweight
it appeared to be. Then I plugged it in and connected to bluetooth.
I then connected the Katana to my recording mixer then USB to my home recorder.
1st of all, I was free from the instrument cords which had me dancin’ on the rug.
Then I ran it through the guitar sounds on board onto my previously recorded tracks
and Zoom, I laid down fresh new tracks on the spot! This is definitely a next level Amplifier.!
Buying an amplifier isn’t as simple as it sounds (get it?). It can be as personal as buying a guitar. After all, what kind of music you want to play, where you want to play it, what kind of equipment do you have, etc can influence your decision.
While nothing beats dedication to your craft and learning how to create tone in your hands, a crisp sound with ringing cleans and heavy basses can inspire you and help you become a better guitarist.
That’s why it’s important to experiment and try different options. Our list offers enough information to know what you should expect from each amplifier. The choice is up to you. We’ve made sure to include a variety of different amps in order to make it easier for you. The price is quite reasonable for the quality you’re getting.
Now, if you want to know which amp is our favorite, it shouldn’t come as a surprise but it’s a Fender — but we won’t tell you which one!