Best electric guitar amp under 500: Top 5 Reviews and Guide

Looking for the best guitar amp under 500?

Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got a list of five amps that will give you all the tone and power you need to rock out with your electric guitar. And they won’t break the bank either!

You can get started playing right away without having to spend hours researching which amp is going to be perfect for your needs.

The good thing is that there are a few things you can do to make sure that you get an affordable model which will give you close to the pro-level sound.

When considering an electric guitar amp under 500, first off you need to think about the watts: how much power does it put out? You don’t go around buying speakers without considering their watt rating so this shouldn’t be any different for your amplifier. It’s important but as long as it’s not going to shake the house down, you should be fine.

The next thing you need to consider is what effects it offers. If it just has a few different distortion pedals but no other effects, then this will greatly limit your tonal variety. You’ll eventually grow tired of one sound and want to play something else – where’s that pedal? So make sure there’s at least a decent array of models available to you with the amplifier.

Lastly, think about how loud you want things to get during playing time. Playing at home is going to mean that volume isn’t going to be very high – even if neighbors can hear through your doors, they probably won’t complain or come over and ask for a quick jam session!

So a 10-watt amp will give you the kind of sound you need for bedroom practicing and such. If you’re playing in a band, then it’s going to be more important that everyone can hear you – but not necessarily at ear-splitting levels – and this is where something like a 50-watt amp comes into play.

A tip: if your amplifier came with a power cord then it probably puts out around 10 watts. If the store only sold it without one (or there was none left) and you want to make sure it works; go to an electronics shop and ask them to charge the battery (if there is one), this way you’ll get an idea as to how much power it has before buying!

This article will provide 5 models under 500 which will be suitable for your needs.

Let’s get started!

  1. Blackstar FLY 3 Battery Powered Guitar Amp

This is one of the most innovative designs in terms of amps that you’ll see at this price point. It features an advanced speaker which has been designed to give out a broad frequency range – it can handle lows, mids, and highs with equal ease!

The EQ feature allows you to tweak the sound so that you have complete control over what tone you want to play or practice with. Another great advantage is that this model comes with a built-in tuner. This makes tuning much easier when playing particularly if your guitar doesn’t have a built-in tuner, which is usually more expensive anyway.

The battery-powered aspect means that you can take it anywhere with you and play for up to 6 hours. And when the battery dies, just connect it to an AC adapter for continuous playtime.

You can adjust the volume from 10 watts down to 1 watt so that you have complete control over what sort of sound you playing with.

Most amps with a built-in tuner cost two or three times as much as this model but they don’t have the additional features which make this one a great choice for most beginner electric guitar players.

PROS: 

  • Solid design for portability.
  • Built-in tuner included.
  • Access to a large number of effects including chorus, reverb, phaser, etc.

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a power cord so battery life can’t be properly tested.
  1. Behringer Ultrabass BX1200H 1200W 4-Piece Bass Combo Amp Head+B212A Speaker Cabinet

If you like bass and need that low end, then this is a great model for you.

This unit has an amazing 1200 watt power rating which means that it can handle most things you throw at it.

You get 4 10 inch speakers in the combo unit which gives out some serious sound: ground-shaking lows and clear highs when cranked up to 11!

The easy-to-use interface has controls for volume, drive, and EQ so getting the tone just right is very simple. This makes it perfect for beginners who want control over their sound without having to worry about what all those knobs do.

Most amps in this price range don’t have such a comprehensive interface but this one does which also comes with its built-in tuner.

This unique combo unit is one that you should consider if you’re looking for something that can give out a serious low end.

PROS: 

  • All tube design for great tone.
  • Great sound at all volume levels.
  • Built-in tuner included Mean machine interface to control everything from drive to bass boost EQ etc.

CONS: 

  • Only available as a combo unit – might be harder to carry around than the other models on this list because of its weight and size.
  1. Blackstar ID Core 10 V2 Mini Guitar Amplifier with USB, MP3 Player & Rhythm Trainer

Now here’s something truly unique – it’s a practice amp that also has a built-in USB port!

This means that you can plug in your guitar and computer or mp3 player and start recording. The possibilities are endless when you consider the ability to edit the tracks on your computer for maximum effect.

The 10-watt output might not be enough if you want to use this in a band but it’s perfect for practicing at home or with friends. You can even take it with you on a camping trip or even just keep it as an extra practice amp.

All the essentials are there including gain, EQ, and an effects loop so making changes to tone is very easy indeed which makes this ideal for beginners who don’t quite know where to begin when tweaking sound settings, etc.

It’s a great practice amp and you can even record your tracks onto your PC to create the perfect sound.

PROS:

  • Built-in USB port to connect with any computer or mp3 player.
  • All tube design for great tone.
  • Great sound at all volume levels.

CONS: 

  • Only 10 watts of power – might not be enough for some people especially if you want to use it as part of a band’s PA system, etc.
  1. Marshal DSL 40C 40W 1×12 Guitar Combo Amp Black & Gold

Marshal has been known for making some excellent amps over the years including the legendary JCM800 series which are widely used by rock stars around the world! This is the latest model which comes packed with loads of great features.

This model is a 40-watt amp but still manages to give out some really powerful sound even at a lower volume which makes it perfect for practicing anywhere without the need to be extremely loud.

The preamp tube includes overdrive so a good range of sounds can be achieved with a little bit of tweaking. This means that this will suit beginners right up to professional musicians who want a simple yet very effective practice amp that’s easy on the eyes too!

If you’re looking for something that has an all-in-one interface then this combo unit might suit your needs better than some other models on this list. Everything from power, EQ, and gain settings are available on this interface which also comes with its built-in tuner.

All in all, the Marshal DSL 40C is an excellent-looking practice amp that also delivers some serious sound. 

PROS:

  • A cool mid-range price point for a great value.
  • Fantastic sounding speakers which give out loads of volume even at low levels because it’s a 40-watt amp!
  • The interface has tons of power options to choose from.
  • Very versatile practice amp – can suit beginners and professionals alike.

CONS: 

  • Built-in tuner might not be accurate enough if you’re planning on using this as part of your live PA system etc.
  1. Fender Mustang I V2 Guitar Combo Amplifier (10 Watts)

This cute little thing looks like something straight out of the 60s and if that’s the kind of style you’re going for then this might be just what you need.

Weighing in at only 7 pounds it’s perfect if you want to take your practice amp anywhere – even on holiday or camping trips where access to electricity might not be possible.

It’s a very simple unit but is equipped with effects including reverb so you can play around with different tones as much as you like until you find something that suits your needs perfectly.

The price point makes this an ideal choice for beginners who don’t want to spend too much but still want a quality sounding amp that they can carry around easily and plug into their computer or mp3 player to start recording and getting creative!

PROS:

A simple design but a great range of sounds when combined with effects.

Perfect for recording music on your computer.

Only weighs around 7 lbs so it’s very portable and easy to carry around!

CONS:

Only 10 watts of power – might not be enough for some people especially if you want to use it as part of a band’s PA system, etc. (unless you have access to a PA system)

Final Verdict

Well, there you have it – 5 of the best practice amplifiers out there.

Of course, these are only my personal opinions on what units I think are worth buying but hopefully, they will prove useful to you in making your decision!

The most important thing is that regardless of which amp you decide to buy it will help take your musical abilities to new heights. After all, no matter how good a guitar player you are without an amp it won’t sound much fun now, will it?

Once you get hooked up with your favorite amp why not consider taking some private lessons? It’s always good to be able to bounce ideas and riffs off other people and getting any improvements and areas that might need work. Guitar tutors are also great people to learn from and you’d be surprised at how much they might know about the instrument!

So why wait any longer? Get out there and get an amp, crank it up loud and rock on with your bad self!

Things to Consider When Buying a Guitar Amp

If you’ve ever been in the market for a new guitar, then you already know how overwhelming and confusing it can be to choose just one. Guitar amps are no different.

It’s entirely possible that your search could be over within 10 minutes or it could take several hours of frustrating research before you land on just the right amp to suit your needs.

However long it takes, this guide will help make sure you end up with an amp that is perfect for whatever type of music you play and whatever style of music you prefer.

Guitar Amplifier Classes – There are two main classes of amplifiers: tube/valve amps and solid-state amps (also referred to as digital modeling amps). Each class has its pros and cons which are briefly explained below:

Tube and Valve Amps – As the name implies, these amplifiers use vacuum tubes to amplify sound. Most guitarists believe that tube amps provide the best quality of sound. Tube amps tend to be more expensive than solid-state amps and need to be “warmed up” before they reach full power, which is why some people refer to such amps as “warm” amps.

Solid State Amps – These are generally cheaper than tube/valve amps and do not require warm-up time, but most musicians agree that they don’t produce nearly as good a tone as tube or valve models.

Digital Amplification – Some amps combine elements of both tube and digital modeling technology (hence the term digital modeling). Usually, these amps will offer a choice of tube and solid-state pre-amps, which can be used to modify the tone somewhat.

Guitar Amp Wattage – The wattage determines how loud your amp is. A 50-watt model is less than half as powerful as a 100-watt model and produces just a fraction of the sound.

However, if you play in small venues or don’t need your amp to produce enough volume for an entire band then a lower wattage might suffice. On the other hand, if you perform at large venues where even guitarists with electric guitars get drowned out by drums and basses, then having enough amp power will be essential.

Tone Controls – Every guitar amplifier comes with knobs that control various elements of your tone and thus help you create whatever sound you want.

Guitarists like to experiment until they find the perfect mix of treble, mid-range, and bass that suits their music style. It is important to note that some amps have more knobs than others or might even lack some entirely.

If your amp doesn’t come with a knob for mid-range then it’s probably not ideal for metal music styles that require lots of chunky riffs and powerful solos since such tones will be difficult to achieve without the proper knobs on your amp.

Inputs – You can plug in either a standard guitar cable (the most common) or use a USB cable if your amp has a USB connection. Some amps allow you to plug in your MP3 player or whatever other device you choose, which can be a great way to practice along with pre-recorded materials.

Effects – It’s also important to consider the range of effects that are available on an amp. This is especially true if you play music styles like blues or country since these usually require lots of overdrive, delay, and chorus/flanging/phaser effects which are built-in on many amps. On the other hand, if the metal is your thing then it’s unlikely that you’ll need much more than heavy distortion effects (if any at all). 

Size/Weight – The size and weight of an amplifier will determine how portable it is. If you need to carry your amp with you on public transport or up and down stairs then a heavy model will make this much harder.

In terms of size, most amps will be fine with storage or even transportation purposes but if you play in a band where everyone is constantly moving around the stage then a larger model might prove to be more suitable.

Price – The price can vary widely between models. Basic combo amps usually cost less than $100, while high-end 100-watt tube/valve combos can go for several thousand dollars or more. 

Your budget may determine which features you get so it’s important to realistically assess what kind of money is available before making a purchase decision. 

Different styles of music generally require different features, so a metal guitarist will want to look for an amp with a lot of distortion and power, while blues players will usually be more concerned with realistic overdrive effects.

How To Choose A Guitar Amplifier

What Type Of Amp Do do You Want?

First, you need to decide what type of amp works best for your style of music and how much money you can spend. Combination amps that combine digital modeling technology with tube pre-amps are usually ideal for metal since they enable guitarists to get both heavy distortion and deep power from a single unit purchase.

On the other hand, if you play styles like blues or country then you should probably look at an all-in-one combo model which offers lots of built-in effects since these tones will be integral to achieving the sound you want.  

Next, it’s important to consider whether portability is necessary. If you mainly practice in your bedroom and only need to transport your amp between home and the rehearsal studio then weight, size, and ease of carrying will all be important considerations.

If you constantly need to move your amplifier during live gigs then portability is likely to be the most important feature, followed by weight and number of channels (if you play with lots of different guitarists).

Finally, you must decide how many watts of power are required. Generally speaking, amps that produce more than 30 watts of power can easily be heard over drums and bass so if this is what you require then it’s wise to look at models with these specifications first.

FAQs Section

What is the best cheap amp for electric guitar?

If you’re looking for a cheap amp then the Blackstar ID Core 40 V2 is a great model to consider. It’s compact, lightweight, and produces 20 watts of power which is more than enough for bedroom playing.

Although it only has one channel, this can be altered using built-in modulation effects so it offers the best of both worlds in terms of high-quality sounds and great value for money.

How much is a good electric guitar amp?

Good amps for electric guitar tend to cost anywhere from $100-$1000. A lot will depend on how much you can afford and what features you require (for example, some models only have one channel while others offer several).

Generally speaking, the higher the wattage of an amplifier, the better it is suited to live playing since they produce a bigger, more powerful sound.

Are tube amps worth it in 2021?

While tube amps do tend to cost more than other models, they produce a warmer, richer sound which is especially desirable for genres like blues and jazz. They also offer better value for money in the long run as tubes can be replaced when necessary rather than having to replace the whole amplifier.

Finally, there’s no denying that owning an amp with valves also gives you bragging rights, especially if it’s a vintage amp or an expensive boutique model.

Is the amp or guitar more important?

While guitars are ultimately the instrument that will determine your sound, amps are still an integral part of the equation.

As well as producing different sounds, amps also affect the way you play by encouraging or discouraging certain techniques (for example, playing with the heavy distortion can be difficult depending on how much power you’re dealing with).

Therefore, both are important in their own right!

 

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