So you've just finished watching School of Rock with Jack Black and you're ready to become a rockstar? Well, first of all, good choice. Playing guitar can change your life in ways that you can only dream of. Whether you're a professional or a "starting gate" beginner, your sound is going to depend largely on the gear that you play through. Since you've landed on this article, you're in the market for a guitar amp for less than $500. You're in luck because there are plenty of options for you to choose from.
Table of Contents
- View The Best Guitar Amp Under $500 Below
- Guitar Amp Under $500 Buyers Guide
In order to help out our musician friends as much as possible, we realized that picking out a new amp, or a replacement can be a bit of a shoot. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide what is the best way to go for you. We have decided to put together a short buyers guide and a list of the 10 best guitar amps under $500 in 2020. Hopefully, with this guide, you will be able to make a more confident decision.
Alternative Review; Guitar Amps Under $200.
View The Best Guitar Amp Under $500 Below
1. Fender Champion 100
You can pick up this classically designed guitar amp today and start blasting your favorite classic tunes. Fender has a reputation for manufacturing some of the most consistent guitars ever. They don't lose that expertise in the amp world either. 2 12" speakers will pump the crystal clear tones into the cosmos with power and precision. When you purchase the footswitch, you are able to switch between the clean and overdrive channel with total ease. Without the footswitch, this can be done by hand.
There is an auxiliary input so you can play your favorite MP3s and jam along at your convenience. This amp will be great for any beginner who is looking to have a powerful practice amp around the house. If you're jamming with friends in a louder space, the Fender Champion 100 will keep up with ease.
+ Excellent sound quality
+ Durably built
+ Aux input
+ 2 12" speakers
+ Fender backed reputation
Why We Liked It - This amp is perfect for acoustic and electric guitars. The sound is really clear on the clean tone and nicely gritty on the overdrive channel. It's very versatile and doesn't come with too many unnecessary surprises.
2. Fender Mustang GT 100
The Fender Mustang GT 100 is another 100-watt amp that will give you more than just a little bit of power. For a guitar amp under $500, you get a ton of features that may come in handy later on. It is classified as a modeling amp, which means it is packed with loads of built-in effects that are uploaded via wifi.
Once connected to the Fender Tone app, you can instantly download all the necessary effects that will have you sounding like your favorite guitarists. Presets are created by Fender artists and uploaded directly to your amps database. Everything is controllable via Bluetooth and a colorful LED screen. The speakers exude the sound with clarity and perfection every time you turn this amp on. This amp will be loud enough to keep up with any jam session.
+ Modeling technology
+ Wifi and Bluetooth
+ Fender Tone app
+ 100-watt power
+ LED Monitor
Why We Liked It - The simplicity and ease of having all of your favorite sounds available at the touch of a button are too much to resist. Sometimes you can spend too much time searching for that perfect sound to play along with. This amp gives it to you with absolutely no headache. If you want quality, but have a smaller budget, this review on the best guitar amps under 300 dollars may be better suited.
3. Marshall Acoustic Soloist
Marshall typically has a reputation for being seen on the stages of heavy metal bands and hard rock acts. They are able to come up with a good product for a different demographic as well. The Acoustic Soloist is designed with a softer style of music in mind that will deliver a really warm and inviting sound. Beautifully designed in a retro fashion, this amp looks like it would fit into any That 70's Show episode.
It comes equipped with two channels for either clean or overdrive settings. the 50-watts of power comes through 2 8" speakers and you have the option to add chorus and reverb effects to your tone. If you're looking for a really reliable amp for around the house with a little extra juice, the Acoustic Soloist will do just fine. It also has a combination input for both XLR and 1/4 inch jacks.
+ Retro design
+ Marshall quality
+ XLR input
Why We Liked It - Marshall always comes out with great products, and they have done it again with the Soloist. For under $500, it would be hard to find a powerful practice amp that can match this one in style and performance.
4. Fender Acoustasonic 90
If you've got an amp that is designed to bolster acoustic tones at a 90-watt power range, then you've got some serious noise to make. The sound on the Acoustasonic 90 is tremendously clear and crisp. It will take the authentic tones of your acoustic guitar and crank them up to 10 with pleasure. Two separate channels will allow you to plug a guitar as well as a microphone into the amp.
You can practice your vocals and chords at an ear breaking volume. An auxiliary input allows you to listen and play along to your favorite tracks, and a feedback elimination circuit keeps the shrills out of the equation. At only 19 pounds, it is fairly lightweight and portable for such a powerful amp. This acoustic amp would be great for the home or for any stage performance.
+ Acoustic Tones
+ Aux input
+ XLR input
Why We Liked It - Having a powerful acoustic amp for under $500 is a real plus. Acoustic guitars usually have it good without needing an amp at all. This will provide the level of volume lift that you need when you're called to action on the main stage and in the jam room.
Slice your budget in half with one of these amazing guitar amps under $250.
5. Fender Mustang GT 40
The little brother to the Mustang GT 100, this amp will bring you all the lovely tones you want in a smaller, more compact case. The Bluetooth enabled solid state amp is better suited for around the house as a practice amp. 40-watts is still a good amount of power, so you don't need to worry about getting any extra wattage packed into the amp.
If you're looking to use this amp in a jam setting, it will keep up as long as the volume isn't pushing the limits. With all the presets available through the Fender Tone app, you get the same level of versatility as you will with the 100-watt version, except you don't have to lug around the extra weight.
+ Modeling presets
+ Great tone
+ Fender Tone app
Why We Liked It - A compact version of the Mustang GT 100 is sometimes exactly what you want. 100-watt amps generally are quite a bit heavier and bulkier than necessary. The 40-watt amp allows you to be a little more portable and take up less space around the house. The presets are the same on the 40-watt amp and will give any guitar player a wide range of tones to pick from and play along with.
6. Monoprice 611815 15-Watt
Sometimes you want an amp that is really easy to move around and takes up virtually no space. The Monoprice 611815 15-watt amp will give you that, plus the warm, deep sound of a tube amplifier. Tube amps are usually found in much bigger packages on the stages of professional musicians (although, there are small tube amps available). It's nice to have that capability in such a small package. This amp is very simply designed with straight forward EQ features.
The sound comes through a 12" celestial speaker and spring reverb acts as the lone effect available. There is an FX loop located between the pre and power amp to give you more versatility in terms of the sound you can produce. This is a good amp for people to practice with at home. There is no-nonsense involved and you simply get that tube tone you want in a compact vessel.
+ Durable and light
+ Tube power amp
+ Spring reverb
+ Celestial speaker
Why We Liked It - As far as a simple, in-home practice speaker goes, this amp does the trick. Its got good tone and all the necessary features in order to play clean guitar tones, The fx loop is what you need in order to bring in the extra tonality of your playing. A great practice or beginner amp.
7. Peavey Vypyr VIP 2
Peavey is known for creating every type of speaker imaginable. From guitar amps to bass amps, and stage speakers, you find the Peavey name everywhere. They have a reputation for providing some of the best bang for your buck when it comes to speakers. In the Vypyr VIP 2, they have decided that having an amp that can handle bass frequencies in a guitar amp is a good way to go.
As a guitar player, this is very interesting as guitar amps are usually overblown by bass frequencies. You can play your acoustic guitar, electric guitar or bass guitar through this amp and it will handle the pressure. This 40-watt combo amp is great for recording, practice or smaller live gigs. It doesn't quite have the power to make it to the back of the room, but when mic'd up, the tones will be smooth and pleasurable. Along with the extra frequency capabilities, you have modeling technology and access to tons of different presets to tune your guitar to.
+ Modeling technology
+ Bass capabilities
+ Versatile effects
Why We Liked It - This is one of the most capable amps that you'll ever find for under $500. You can access so many different tonal presets to play along with anything. The fact that you can play a bass through the amp is a bit of a mind blower. This is new technology in that realm and is really exciting for players who like to pick up different types of guitars from time to time.
8. Yamaha THR10 Desktop
For the times when you just want to have an amp right in front of your face while practicing, that is the Yamaha THR10 Desktop amp. It is extremely light and small which is great for home practice. Yamaha has always brought us some of the most reliable guitar products on the market. They have used their expertise to deliver a really compact and steady practice amp.
5 classic amp models are included to give you a variety of tone choices. This amp can run using the power cable or by using batteries. It is widely capable when it comes to effects processing with Yamaha's VCM technology. It delivers true Hifi quality sound through a compact speaker casing. Guitar modes include electric, acoustic and bass capabilities.
+ Extremely lightweight
+ Desktop engineered
+ Multiple effect capabilities
+ Hifi Sound quality
+ Versatile design
Why We Liked It - For a practice amp, it doesn't sound or look much better than this. The desktop amp has a design that resembles larger producing amp heads, except the sound comes right out of it. The look is really cool and you can get so many different tones out of it that any guitar player would love to have this amp around.
9. Fender Frontman 10G
The guitar amp with the most standard look for a practice amp comes at you with the Frontman 10G. This amp is extremely basic and easy to use. If you are a beginner, then Fender has created the amp for you, and this is it. The sound will come through very clearly without any fuzz at a reasonable volume.
This amp is the epitome of portability. You're friends and family won't even notice it's there when you're not using it. You might have to tell them you're learning guitar in order for them to know. You get a clean and overdrive channel, aux input, and 10-watts of power in this small amp. Perfect for an in-home beginning guitar player.
+ Simple design
+ Easy to use
Why We Liked It - This is a great amp for a beginner. No bells and whistles, just straight forward fender quality.
10. Fender Champion 20
The final pick on our list is somewhere in between number 1 and number 9. It is twice as powerful as the Frontman 10G but is still fairly portable for easy moving around. It is equipped with 17 different amp models that will please almost any guitar freak. With aux and headphone inputs, you can listen to your favorite music or play along with headphones to preserve your families sanity.
It doesn't quite pack enough power to play live unless it's in a very intimate setting. A fully stocked EQ section allows you to juice up your tone to just the right spot. Great for practicing with a little extra power and not a ton of confusing features.
+ Small and lightweight
+ 17 Amp models
+ EQ section
+ Aux/Phone inputs.
Why We Liked It - This is an optional pick for anyone looking for a practice amp with a tiny bit more power and capability. Being able to turn up a bit more when nobody is home can be a little bit satisfying. With 17 different amp models, you can really pick and choose what kind of sound you want.
Guitar Amp Under $500 Buyers Guide
What to look for when buying a guitar amp under $500
We've outlined quite a few worthy prospects on our list. But with the versatility that is available out there, it can be tough to know exactly what the right pick is if you're a little less experienced. You'll have to have a certain number for things in mind when picking out your guitar amp
We have decided to put together a short guide filled with the things that are necessary to remember when buying an amp under $500. Read on to gain buyers confidence.
How much power are you going to need in your everyday practice? When you're looking for an amp under $500, there are still a lot of options when it comes to power. If you can figure out what type of music you'll be playing, and in which settings, you'll be much closer to figuring out what amp is right.
Are you planning to play mostly at home with no other instruments accompanying you? Or are you more likely to join a band really soon and start playing gigs? If you're a stay at home player, anywhere from 10-50 watts will be fine. If you're planning to play gigs and practice with a full band, you will need to go into the 50-100 watt range for that extra punch.
How portable do you need your amp to be? Home amps generally are smaller and don't need to be carried around too much, which is sort of ironic when you think about it. The more portable the amp is, the less power it usually has, with a few exceptions. There are amps available that will give you enough power while still being strong enough to keep up with the band. But you will need to have an idea of how much weight and size you will be able to comfortably move around on a regular basis.
Do you mostly play acoustic guitar with no effects, or are you planning to be playing along with Van Halen and U2 where you need to have serious power and capability? Extra effects can be a beautiful thing. They allow you to match the exact sounds that you are looking for and create really unique masterpieces. However, they are not always 100% necessary. For players who are always going to playing on the clean channel with no effects, a more simple amp model will be just fine. You can always add effects to your arsenal at a later date. But if you think your playing will need a touch of extra flair, test out one of the modeling amps or one with a little more effect capabilities.
Tube vs Solid State
We only have one tube amp on our list, and its a little guy. But the sound is a little bit different. Tube amps have a more raw and warm sound to them. Solid state amps can be a little less powerful but tend to foster a wider range of effects and capabilities to choose from. If you want the old-time and genuine sound of a tube amp, then, by all means, the tubes don't lie, but solid state amps are well within the realm of acceptability.
You can get a little bit more power for a little bit more money. But music can grow into an expensive hobby. Do you need to buy a footswitch or effects pedals to get the sound you are really craving? Be sure to calculate exactly what you are going to need before making a buying decision. You can save a lot of money by going with a modeling amp or one with effects and capabilities built in. If you do not have to go and purchase extra components, you may be better off.
Now you have all the information you need to go and get your new amp. As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to buying an amp under $500, but whatever amp you decide to go with, surely you will be satisfied and rocking along to your favorite tunes in no time.
All amps are not created equal. Certain companies design amps to sound better with different styles of music. Be sure to check the model of speakers that are coming along with the amp you are buying to ensure you're going to get the most sound clarity for the money. Fender has always been known for country and folk music, whereas, Marshall has a reputation for heavier music. They can be interchangeable but it is something to keep in mind.
Did you know?
We feature a lot of Fender amps on our list. But, Fender was the first company to produce an electric guitar in 1950. The Fender Broadcaster was a Spanish style guitar and is now better known as the Telecaster. After this guitars success, Fender followed up by producing the first electric bass guitar called the Precision P-Bass
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