Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites

7th Feb 2012 | 14:59

Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Marshall MA50C

Most guitarists will eventually feel the call of the stage and while your practice amp will see you through your early living-room gigs, it might not cut it in larger venues. With that in mind, we've put together our pick of 15 of the best guitar amps for small gigs that won't make your wallet weep.

Marshall MA50C

MSRP: £548

BUY Marshall MA50C currently available from:
USA: Full Compass| American Musical

Built with the pub-gigger in mind, the MA50C offers two channels and 50 watts of British tone at an attainable price point. An all-valve Marshall is a schoolboy fantasy, and the MA50C makes it flesh.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Fender Deluxe VM

Fender Deluxe VM

MSRP: £659

BUY Fender Deluxe VM currently available from:
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

If you've ever questioned the fuss that surrounds valves, five minutes immersed in this rich, shimmering, responsive tone will make you a card-carrying convert. In addition, the Deluxe VM’s 40 watts should be more than capable of handling most small to medium-sized gigs.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Randall KH75

Randall KH75

MSRP: £373

BUY Randall KH75 currently available from:
UK/Europe:Thomann

The KH75 might not be your dream choice for the studio but it’s perfect for the road, pumping out enough power to hit the back wall, delivering two watertight metal tones and soaking up more abuse than its pampered valve-powered rivals into the bargain.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Blackstar HT Venue Stage 60

Blackstar HT Venue Stage 60

MSRP: £699

BUY Blackstar HT Venue Stage 60 currently available from:
UK/Europe: Andertons Music Co. | Thomann| Sounds Great Music
USA: Full Compass | American Musical

The 60 watts of valve power combined with the speaker configuration is perfect for a mixture of medium to large venues and with this many tonal adjustments at your disposal, it’s difficult to think of a musical situation where the Stage 60 wouldn’t cut it.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Jet City JCA2112RC

Jet City JCA2112RC

MSRP: £399

BUY Jet City JCA2112RC currently available from:
UK/Europe: Thomann
USA: Full Compass | American Musical

Designed by amp guru Mike Soldano, Jet City is all about solid, no-nonsense valve amplification. This one-channel, 20-watt combo offers straight-forward British-sounding tone at a truly affordable price point.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Randall RT50C112

Randall RT50C112

MSRP: £670

This is a combo built to be rumbled to its core by chunky metal riffs and squealing pinch harmonics and should therefore definitely be sampled by heavier players looking for their own sound.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Egnater Rebel 30 112

Egnater Rebel 30 112

MSRP: £749

BUY Egnater Rebel 30 112 currently available from:
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass

The Rebel 30 is one of the more expensive combos in this roundup, but this Chinese-made 30 watt valve unit sounds like an amp worth twice the price. It’s not one for fans of extreme gain, but those at the rock and blues end of the spectrum should find plenty to enjoy.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Fender Mustang III

Fender Mustang III

BUY Fender Mustang III currently available from:
UK/Europe: Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Sounds Great Music | Gear4Music
USA:Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

The wealth of high quality presets, effects and tones available on the Mustang III mean that Fender’s 100 watt solid-state combo is a serious bargain and perfect for the versatile player on a budget.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Ampeg GVT52-112

Ampeg GVT52-112

MSRP: £677

BUY Ampeg GVT52-112 currently available from:
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

It may be best known for its bass rigs, but Ampeg is a dab hand with six-string amplification too. This Korean made 50-watt valve combo offers a tonally flexible alternative to the big guitar amp brands and will find favour with players looking for something a bit different.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Vox AC30 VR

Vox AC30 VR

MSRP: £469

BUY Vox AC30 VR currently available from:
UK/Europe: Andertons Music Co. | Thomann | Gear4Music
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

Valve Reactor technology hasn't slain the all-valve amp, but we are impressed. If only a 2x12 Vox will do and you can't swing an AC30 Custom, you could own one of these without feeling second best.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Marshall Class 5 Combo

Marshall Class 5 Combo

MSRP: £330

BUY Marshall Class 5 Combo currently available from:
UK/Europe:Sounds Great Music
USA: Full Compass | American Musical

A five-watt combo may not be your immediate starting point when looking for a gigging amp, but this little Marshall has got a big mouth. Steer clear if you’ve got a loud drummer, or need clean tones at high volumes, but for any fans of crunch playing smaller gigs, the Class 5 could prove a worthy companion.

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Orange Thunder 30 Combo

Orange Thunder 30 Combo

MSRP: £749

BUY Orange Thunder 30 Combo currently available from:
UK/Europe: Thomann | Gear4Music

There's some blinding competition, granted, but the TH30, in its portable format, fills a different space. It would be a disservice to view it purely as a hard rock orientated amp; those EL84s provide sweet clean, crunch and distorted sounds. Some may be put off by the seemingly basic controls at first, but just wait 'til you plug in…

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Line 6 Spider Valve MkII

Line 6 Spider Valve MkII

MSRP: £549

BUY Line 6 Spider Valve MkII currently available from:
UK/Europe:Thomann | Gear4Music
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

We love just how many extra goodies Line6 has squeezed into its latest hybrid monster, and it's managed to do it without compromising that refined Bogner valve tone. The sounds on offer here are everything you'd expect from a pro-quality amp and you'll appreciated just how easy it is to dial in the tones you want on the go.

Line6 Spider Valve MkII audio demo

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo

Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo

MSRP: £499

BUY Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo currently available from:
UK/Europe:Thomann| Gear4Music
USA: Sweetwater | Full Compass | American Musical

At this price, there is competition that’s better suited to a wider range of tones, but few others offer anything directed so squarely at high-gain punk, metal or hardcore sounds.

Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo audio

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Best Guitar Amps For Gigging: 15 of our favourites
Peavey Vypyr Tube 120

Peavey Vypyr Tube 120

MSRP: £650

BUY Peavey Vypyr Tube 120 currently available from:
USA:Sweetwater

First impression of the Vypyr: it's a riot. The presets make it easy to get rocking, but there's also scope to tweak parameters. A 120-watt solid-state combo should be more than capable of handling small gigs, but the Vypyr Tube 120 is a good option for new players that want an amp that can do it all.

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