If you’ve just recently picked up a guitar and are looking to gear up, you’re probably still on a tight budget.
Luckily for you, we’ve scrounged the market for the best budget amps you could get for the money. Let’s get right into it.
Roland Cube-10GX 10w 1x8 Guitar combo amp
The Roland’s Cube amp (available on Amazon) has everything a beginner might need. It features three voice types, a remarkably easy-to-use 3-band EQ, and just a couple of effects to spice your tone up.
First of all, there are three levels of drive at your disposal (three channels), the ‘clean,’ ‘crunch,’ and ‘lead.’
The ‘clean’ channel doesn’t have any distortion to it, whereas crunch and lead are packed with buzz. On top of that, each of the channels can be further muddied up with the ‘gain’ knob and controlled via the ‘volume knob.’
You’ll be able to use chorus, delay, or reverb by twisting the right-most knob, although they can’t be used simultaneously. One of the best things about this amp is that the EQ is incredibly plain and straightforward. The knobs are very responsive, so you’ll hear the difference in tone as you twist them.
Additionally, the Cube 10GX is a highly compact guitar amp. You can bring it with you wherever you go as it’s incredibly light and takes up the least bit of space. One of its most significant flaws is the small wattage power, as it packs only 10 watts. However, that’s about decent if you intend to use it for home practice. Alternatively, it might be used for rehearsal if your drummer is not present.
Overall, for a budget amp, the Cube 10GX does the job reasonably well. It’s compact, pretty versatile, effortless to use, and it sounds just great.
Three COSM channel types
Plain 3-band EQ
Three effect types
Compact and rugged design
Small wattage power
You can only use one effect at a time
Peavey Vypyr VIP 20 watt modelling instrument amplifier
Peavey is a huge brand, and their Vypyr models are some of the best modelling amplifiers on the market. However, they do have a tendency of being a bit harder to use simply due to their huge versatility.
The Vypyr VIP 20 (available on Amazon) is a multi-instrument amp featuring four channels, two of which are dedicated for electric guitars, one for acoustic, and one for bass. There are 36 pre-built models for you to use, all of which you can remodel if you don’t like how they sound initially. There are also 20 integrated effects, all of which can be tweaked.
Additionally, the Vypyr VIP 20 has a very unique sound, as it’s powered by the SHARC processor. As far as sound customization goes, it packs a 3-band EQ, pre-gain, and post-gain, which means that you’ll be able to utilize its distortion for recording purposes as well as for plain playing.
It packs 20 watts of power, which means that it could be used for rehearsals and perhaps smaller venue performances.
What makes Vypyr VIP 20 so good for beginners is the fact that it packs so many effects and amp models onboard, which takes out the need to go looking for pedals (and different amp models). This makes the search for your authentic sound, as well as toying with the tones you’re given rather easy.
However, this is also a bit of a drawback. Namely, most similarly priced amps are substantially easier to use simply because such models come outfitted with dedicated channels, granting you a fully constructed tone with a push of a button. VIP 20 does the same thing in essence, but there are so many amp styles and presets that most beginners end up using the same model, and perhaps a couple of effects for months.
20 effect types
36 integrated amp models
Exceptional sound quality provided by SHARC tech
Ideal for practice and recording
Slightly more challenging to use
Fender Mustang I V2 20-watt 1x8-inch combo electric guitar amplifier
Fender is one of the biggest names in the guitar gear world, and a good portion of their reputation stems from the Mustang amp line.
The Mustang I V2 (available on Amazon) is a marvelous amp with an all-around performance, offering tones from 17 different amps, plenty of onboard effects, and a very plain EQ. It’s one of the easiest amps to play if you’re a beginner as all the features are straightforward and self-explanatory.
The Mustang I is excellent for live performers too because it packs numerous onboard effects, including reverbs, delays, phasers, echoes, and tremolos. Of course, these are all fully digital effects which can’t come close to analog types provided by dedicated pedals, but they still sound great.
This amp also packs the FUSE program which allows you to customize the effects and amp models, making it perfect for home recordings. With 20 watts of power, it’s a formidable amp, but it’s not as gig-ready as the larger variants. Playing smaller clubs or acoustic events might be viable, though.
Highly versatile amp
17 amp models
Numerous customizable effects
Robust, easy-to-control sound
Customizing the amp models and effects require a bit of know-how
Line 6 Guitar Combo Spider V 20
The Spider V 20 (available on Amazon) is basically a go-to amp for heavier music lovers, but it’s equally great for those who prefer tame genres such as blues or jazz for example. It’s a highly versatile amp which is still reasonably easy to use.
It packs 16 different presets, including crunch, chunk, insane, ambient, bass, acoustic, and more. It also allows you to use up to three effects simultaneously. One of the best things about it is that the reverb effect is entirely independent of the rest of the effects, modes, and functions.
The reason why this amp is so great for guitarists who play heavier music is that there are a few ‘distorted’ effects which can get even bigger with the ‘drive’ knob. Speaking of which, the EQ is pretty plain, and only includes drive, tone, volume, and reverb. Sadly, there are no lows, mids, and highs, meaning that finely tuning your tone might be a bit harder than you’d expect.
One of the things that people don’t like so much about the Line 6 Spider V 20 is the fact that it comes with a tiny (8-inch) speaker. It was custom made and designed to provide the best performance possible, but it doesn’t punch the tone through so well, which means that you’ll need to play on higher volume levels to actually allow its massive tone to come out.
Three effects which can be used simultaneously
Ideal for heavier music styles
Customizing the tone is a bit harder than usual
Monoprice 40-watt 1x10 guitar combo amplifier
If Peavey’s Vypyr is a cunning, subtle snake, Monoprice’s 40W amp (available on Amazon) is undoubtedly a raging bull. This amp isn’t overly versatile - it’s incredibly easy to use - but most importantly, it’s one of the strongest amps in the budget price point category.
Its drive is simply huge, having a separate overdrive gain and volume knobs, as well as the ‘over-overdrive’ knob for additional grit. There’s a simple 3-band EQ comprised of treble, middle, bass, and a little reverb knob, but that’s pretty much all there is to it.
It features a jack for external speakers, which means that Monoprice intended it for live performance. This amp sounds great, even though the bulk of its features is made to produce the loudest noise possible.
Ultra loud amp
Plain 3-band EQ
Perfect for live performance and rehearsals
Minimal harmonic distortion
Separate overdrive gain and volume controls
Not exactly versatile
Big and heavy
Finding a decent budget amp isn’t too hard, but knowing that there are so many brands and models out there, it’s not a piece of cake either. The five models we’ve covered in this review are very different from one another, so kick back and explore the possibilities they have to offer.