Best Guitar Amps for Playing Blues

Are you searching for the quintessential blues guitar tone? Other than guitars and pedals, the choice of guitar amplifier can significantly ease your quest. It is easy to get confused while selecting the best blues amps from hundreds of choices. Filter out the choices on the basis of your requirements, and you are all set. The deciding factors vary from one player to another, including a budget, tonal preferences, reason for purchase, and more. For self-practice, a low-watt amp will be the right choice – pocket-friendly and ideal for beginners. Seasoned pros are likely to check out the tonal characters of an amp before buying. We understand that an expensive all-tube amp will produce better output than some of the cheaper counterparts. However, not everyone can afford to purchase them.

 

The Fender Frontman 10G is an affordable amp with versatile features that work well over a variety of musical genres.
Seeking more power? Head over to the Marshall line of amplifiers and try out the Code 50W. The expensive Fender Blues Junior IV is the ideal choice among several professional blues players.

 


Fender Frontman 10GClassic Fender Reliability at the Lowest Price

The Fender Frontman 10G is the smallest available Fender amp in the market. It is also the cheapest, making it popular among beginners and guitar enthusiasts looking for a handy fuss-free practice amp. With auxiliary input, you can plug in your favorite track and jam along. Are you looking for a bit of crunch? The Frontman has it covered as well – with a dedicated overdrive switch and gain control.

Sound Performance

The mini-Fender Frontman was designed as an ideal self-practice amp. The 6” Fender Special Design speaker can deliver the basic requirements well – from cleans, bluesy crunch to a slightly overdriven sound in the vein of classic/hard rock. However, you might be surprised by the amount of sound it can generate at full volume. The tone is what you would expect from a Fender – reliable and versatile.

Design Specifications

Wattage and Type: 10 Watts, Solid State

Input channels: 1.

Line Out: ⅛” Aux-in, Headphones out for silent practice.

Weight: 8.5 lbs.

Pros

  1. Original Fender reliability at a price that everyone can afford.
  2. Extremely compact design, super light, and easily portable.
  3. Headphone output and auxiliary input for silent practice.
  4. Easy to use, 2-band EQ with Gain control, and an Overdrive switch.
  5. Versatile and can be used for several genres- from blues, rock to metal.

Cons

  1. Small amp – not suitable for rehearsals, or gigs.
  2. No programmable presets or effects modulations.
  3. No Bluetooth, USB or mobile connectivity.
  4. While ideal for practice – output sound not at all comparable to bigger amps.
  5. No effects loop – does not handle pedals well.

Recommended: Yes, if you are a beginner, or are looking for a reliable amp for self-practice.

To check the current price of Fender Frontman 10G, click here


Fender Blues Junior IVFender Tube Classic in a Portable Gig-Friendly Combo

The Fender Blues Junior IV is a favorite among both musicians and the guys at the sound console. It is easy to set-up and mic-in. Easy portability, along with great cleans and gritty overdrives, make it the go-to amp among bluesmen. Fender also retained the vintage design – black vinyl and yellow silver sparkle grille clothing. There have been a few changes in the control knob appearances.

Sound Performance

The latest Junior IV packs most of the features that made it a mainstay, including the iconic Fender spring reverb, a preamp gain boosting “Fat” switch. The output sound can vary from luscious angelic cleans to excellent crunchy mid-range overdrive tones. The amp complements both single-coil and humbucker pickups while working equally well with pedals. The modified reverb circuitry is a major improvement.

Design Specifications

Wattage & Type: 15W. Tube combo.

Input Channels: 1

Line Out: No headphone out/aux-in.

Weight: 31.5lbs.

Pros

  1. 15 Watts all-tube power consisting of three 12Ax7 preamp tubes and two EL84 power amp tubes.
  2. 1X12” Celestion type A speaker.
  3. Footswitch included.
  4. Easy to use, portable- perfect for the gigging musician.
  5. Classic design with ivory chicken-head knobs, a red-jewel pilot light.

Cons

  1. Tube amp – no option for programmable presets.
  2. Only a single reverb effect.
  3. Tubes require replacement from time to time.
  4. It is expensive.
  5. No dual channel input, aux-in, or headphone out.

Recommended: Yes, if you can afford the price.

To check the current price of Fender Blues Junior IV, click here


Marshall CODE 50WLegendary British distortion packed with modern features in a digital combo amp shape

Many guitar players are afraid of amp modeling, but it has come a long way in recent years. Marshall amp has introduced its CODE line of amplifiers in recent years, and these amp take amp modeling to the next level. Here is what the Marshall CODE 50 can do for you as a blues player.

You get plenty of tones and sounds out of the Marshall Code 50. This is a solid-state digital modeling amp. It comes with over 100 pre-sets that you can play around with. You can control the map via an app on your smartphone or via the amp itself. It comes with a 12-inch speaker. It has enough power for practice or the stage as there are 50 watts of power.

The amp produces a wide range of tones from rock to blues and everything in between. You can recreate the sound of various effects, amp cabinets, and amp heads with Code 50, so it’s very versatile. There are four power amps, 14 preamps, and 8 speaker cabinet emulations. Everything can be controlled via the LED window. Effects include chorus, overdrive, reverb, and more. Many of the customized tones sound great right out of the box, and you can also make your own pre-sets with the amplifier. Making changes is easy via the app or the LED window. This amp has everything you need to make great guitar tones.

Design Specifications

  • 50 watts
  • 12-inch speaker
  • Digital effects
  • 14 x Preamps, 4 x Power Amps, 8 x Speaker Cabs
  • One channel
  • Reverb included
  • 3 band EQ system

Pros

  1. Plenty of tones
  2. Can control via a smartphone app
  3. 50 watts of power
  4. Reverb

Cons

  1. Lacks authentic tube sounds
  2. Setting tones can be a hassle for beginners

Whom is it Suited For?

Marshall Code 50 is perfect for beginners to advanced players. It has a wide range of sounds so it can cover many different styles of music including blues. You can control it with your smartphone, so it’s ideal for today’s tech-savvy players that want more integration with their electronic devices.

Conclusion

The Marshall Code 50 is a great amp modeler. You can produce amazing tones with it right away and have the ability to create your own tons and pre-sets. You get a lot of effects, cabinets, and more so you have a wide range of possibilities with the amp. This is a recommended amp for any blues guitar player or anyone that wants to recreate great tones without the need for a lot of expensive equipment.

To check the current price of Marshall Code 50, click here


Vox AC 30a  versatile option adept over a lot of genres, including rock, blues, and jazz

The VOX AC 30 is the perfect amp for playing blues. It’s an all-tube amp that has plenty of solid features for today’s blues player that wants both authentic and modern tones.

The VOX AC 30 is the ideal amp for playing blues. It’s powered by 4 EL84 tubes and 3 12AX7s for authentic tones. It features Celestion Greenback speakers, which further enhance the tones of this model. You can power an external speaker if you wish as there is an output jack for a speaker cabinet. You get 30 watts of power, so the amp is suitable for small gigs.

The amp has both a top boost and a normal channel. Each of the channels has its own volume control. The top boost has both bass and treble controls. You have plenty of tones at your disposal with these two channels. To further enhance your tone, there is a tone cutting control to help you enhance the sounds you get out of the amp. You will get both excellent clean tones out of it as well as an overdrive for all types of blues playing. You can also crank it up for heavy blues-rock styles if you prefer. The amp comes with VOX tremolo, which is adjustable and a spring reverb setting for even more tonal possibilities. For those that like foot pedals, use the included effects loop to hook up your gear.

Design Specifications

  • 30 watts
  • Two channels
  • Reverb control
  • Top boost
  • Tremolo
  • Celestion speakers

Pros

  1. Two channels
  2. Spring reverb and tremolo built-in
  3. Good power for small gigs
  4. Effects loop for your pedals

Cons

  1. Not suitable for larger gigs
  2. A bit expensive

Who Is It Suited For?

The VOX AC 30 is suited for anyone that wants to play blues guitar or even rock guitar. It has plenty of power for practicing a well as for smaller gigs. This amp provides many different sounds, so it has something to suit any blues player, whether you want to play clean or use a bit of distortion.

Conclusion

The VOX AC30 is an excellent blues guitar amplifier. It’s powered by tubes, so you get the authentic tones you need. You get powerful Celestion speakers to enhance further the tones and a full host of controls, which make it easy to dial in almost any sound you need. For practicing blues players, the Vox AC30 is a recommended product.

To check the current price of VOX AC30, click here


Peavey Classic 30a classic design in a modern presentation – ideal for blues or classic rock.

Peavey is known for making some excellent amplifiers, and the Peavey Classic 30 is no exception. This amp features 30 watts of power, so it’s suitable for smaller gigs, and the amplifier is all-tube powered. Here is what it can do for you.

The Peavey Classic 30 is all set to play some great blues guitar. It has both a clean and a distorted channel so it can cover various styles of blues without much trouble at all. The amp is driven by tubes, so you get authentic tones out of it. The distorted channel can be cranked up, so it’s also capable of playing aggressive blues-rock styles or just straight rock.

You get a footswitch with the amp, so it’s easy to change channels as you play. It has 30 watts of power, so it’s suitable for those first gigs where you need a powerful amplifier to cut through the other instruments. There is a speaker output so you can connect to external speakers at the gig. Use the spring reverb and EQ features to round out your tone. The amp has a Celestion Midnight 60 speaker for authentic tube-driven tones. Attach your effects pedals to the amplifier via the included effects loop

Design Specifications

  • 30 watts
  • 12AX7 and EL84 tubes
  • Spring reverb
  • 30 watts
  • Footswitch
  • Two channels
  • Effects loop

Pros

  1. Perfect for small gigs
  2. Footswitch included
  3. Spring reverb
  4. Two channels
  5. Powered by Tubes

Cons

  1. Could use a few more watts
  2. Need to replace tubes periodically

Who is It Suited For?

This amp is suited for anyone that wants to play small gigs and needs a solid blues style guitar amplifier. It has two channels, which both sound amazing, and you also get spring reverb to fatten up your tone. It’s also the perfect map for the beginner as it has everything that you need to begin to play blues guitar.

Conclusion

The Peavy Classic 30 is a solid amplifier for blues guitar players. It’s suitable for small gigs as you get 30 watts of power. The amp has two channels for both clean and distorted tones. You get reverb, and you can switch channels with the included footswitch. This is a solid amp for anyone that wants to play blues and a recommended product.

To check the current price of Peavey Classic 30, click here


Fender ’68 Custom Deluxe ReverbClassic Fender tube sound with world-class tremolo and reverb

Fender is known for both its acoustic and electric guitars, but they also make excellent amplifiers. These amps are suited for blues thanks to the famous reverb and clean channel that fender amps are known for. Here is what the Fender ‘68 Custom Deluxe reverb can do for you.

The ‘68 Deluxe Reverb is a tube combo amp with one 12 inch speaker. It comes with the famous fender spring reverb and a tremolo effect built-in. The amp is two channels, and it’s built to the specifications of the famous 1968 model. You get solid clean tones out of the amp and a natural overdrive, which is suitable for many styles of blues guitar playing. There is a 12 inch Celestion speaker for even better authentic tones. Sue, the spring reverb, to enhance the sound you get out of this excellent blues guitar amp.

The amp has an authentic look, and it’s a solid reproduction of the 68 models. If you want that 60s vintage style, this is the amp you want to buy. Extras include the silver grille cloth and the famous Fender faceplate design from the 1960s. The vintage channel gives you the authentic “Classic Reverb” sounds you crave, and the new channel is based on a modified Bassman sound. You get a fat tone out of the amp through this channel. Both channels have reverb and tremolo available for even more tone options. The map is powered by 6v6 power tubes, 12AX7s, and 12AT7s.

Design Specifications

  • 22 watts
  • Spring reverb
  • Tremolo
  • Two channels
  • Tube driven
  • Celestion speaker

Pros

  1. Authentic 68 look
  2. Two distinct channels
  3. Tremolo and reverb
  4. Bette overdrive than the older model
  5. Footswitch

Cons

  1. Quite expensive
  2. Could use more watts

Who is it Suited For?

This amp is perfect for anyone that wants to play blues guitar. You get the authentic Classic Reverb sound out of the map, and the new channel gives you some solid overdrive for rock and roll type of sounds. It’s suitable for both beginners as well as experienced blues guitar players.

Conclusion

The Fender ‘68 Deluxe Reverb is an authentic reproduction of the 68 models, and it sounds great. It’s got everything you need to play blues guitar, and it has been updated to gives you some modern tones as well. For anyone looking for vintage Fender tones, this is a recommended buy.

To check the current price of Fender ‘68 Deluxe Reverb, click here


Orange Crush Pro CR60C – Orange sound in an affordable juiced up solid-state combo with digital reverb

Orange makes excellent guitar amplifiers for all styles of playing. The Orange Crush Pro CR60C has a lot to offer you as a blues player.

The Orange Crush Pro CR 60C provides 60 watts of power, so it’s a perfect choice if you’re playing larger gigs and need more power. The best part of this amp is that you get a lot of power or not a whole lot of money, and it’s priced lower than many similar amps on the market today. The amp is a solid state, so there is no need to worry about tubes breaking down or blowing out while you’re playing. The amp is on the medium side of weight at 44 pounds, so you can still carry it to gigs.

You get two channels with this amp. One a clean channel and one with a high-gain preamp. You can play all different styles of music with this amp and not just blues guitar, as it’s very versatile. The clean channel has two stages, while the dirty channel has four stages for plenty of distortion if you need it. It comes with an effects loop, so it’s a good choice if you use a lot of effects pedals. You get built-in reverb and a 12” speaker to further enhance the tones out of the amp. It also features the typical volume, middle, and bass control EQ settings found on most amplifiers. This is a high-quality solid-state amp that won’t break your budget.

Design Specifications

  • 60 watts
  • Effects loop
  • A clean and dirty channel
  • EQ settings
  • Reverb control

Pros

  1. Two channels with various stages
  2. EQ settings
  3. Reverb Control
  4. Moderate price
  5. Effects loop

Cons

  1. Lacks “tube” tones
  2. A bit loud for regular practice
  3. The clean channel could be better

Whom is it Suited For?

This map is well suited for anyone that is looking to play larger gigs where you need more power. The amp is perfect for beginners to advanced guitar players. It’s easy to use, and you can get plenty of useable tones out of the amp.

Conclusion

The Orange Crush Pro CR 60C is an excellent mao for almost anyone. It has plenty of power, so it’s suitable for many tasks including larger gigs. You get both a clean and a distorted channel with the amp so it can play many different styles of music. Any blues player will love this amp, and you can crank it up for other styles too. This is a recommended product.

To check the current price of Orange Crush Pro CR 60C, click here


What to Consider When You Are Going to choose on of the best blues amps

There are several things you need to keep in mind when you buy an amp for playing blues guitar. Here is a breakdown of what you need to think about

What Do You Need it For?

Consider what you’re going to be using the amplifier for. If you plan on just practicing blues, for example, then you don’t need some giant stack of amplifiers as this is not practical. In most cases, you’ll need a simple 10-30 watt practice amplifier. If you play live, you’ll need around 40 watts and up, so the amp cuts through the sounds of the other musicians.

Features

You have to look at the features of the amp. For example, you may want an amp that has effects such as distortion, reverb, chorus, and other effects built into the amplifier. Many cheap amps and practice amps have effects built into the amp. The downside to this is that you have less control over your sound. Floor pedals give you more options than amps with their own effects.

You may also want thigs such as a line out so you can attach your amp to other music gear. Some amps come with a footswitch so you can control the amp channels and things such as reverb with your foot. This makes it easy to change channels so you can switch from your rhythm guitar sound to your lead guitar sound without much difficulty.

You also want an amp that has a good EQ system. You want a tone, volume, middle, and bass control. Some small amps don’t have all of these features, so you need to be careful when you buy them. Look for an amp that has a headphone jack so you can practice without disturbing anyone else. Some amps may also have a jack for your MP3 or phone, so you can practice along with your music.

Weight

Amps can weight a lot, so if you plan to carry the amp to practice sessions, you might want one that has less weight. Large tube-type amps can weigh a ton. Most smaller practice maps for blues won’t weight that much, so you should be fine. If the amp is quite heavy, have two people lift it as you’ll save yourself some back strain.

Sound

The sound of your amp is a personal preference. You may want to play through several maps before you settle on just one. Most amp manufacturers have a wide range of models for you to choose from. You should research the various brands before you buy. Sometimes a manufacturer will release a lemon, so be careful and have a good idea of what you’re buying. This guide reviews several excellent blues amps, so you’re sure to find something you like in this guide to suit your needs.

Avoid high-gain amps as you won’t need these for blues guitar. You want an amp that has a natural type of distortion. Amps designed for metal, for example, aren’t going to be suitable for blues guitar as the gain is too high.

Tube Amps Vs. Solid State Amps for Playing Blues

You can play blues with both a tube amp and a solid-state amp. In general, tube amps sound better as they have a natural tone produced by the tubes. Many blues players use tube amps, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a solid-state amp or even an amp that uses amp modeling. These amps have come a long way in recent years, and there are great brands on the market.

The downside to tube amps is that you’ll need to replace the tubes when they break down or burnout, and this can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you don’t know how to do it.  The downside to solid-state amps is that you lose a bit of the authentic tone that you get with a tube amplifier. Solid-state amp tends to cost less when compared to tube amps, so you end up saving money. If you care about your tone and want more of a “pure” sound for blues, tube amps are your best bet. A solid-state or amp modeler would be the second choice, but they are still good just not quite as good for blues as a good tube amp.

What Are Preferable Guitar Amp Settings for Blues?

Many players wonder what the best amp setting is for playing blues guitar. There are several settings that you need to understand for blues guitar. Here is how to set up your amp for a good blues tone.

Drop the Gain

Far too many blues blast the gain to 10 when playing blues. This isn’t the way to go. You want to drop the gain to zero and slowly dial it up to what you prefer. Blues guitar doesn’t have a lot of gain. High gain blues are basically “blues-rock.” You don’t need a lot of gain for regular blues guitar. You probably won’t need a distortion pedal to play blues, but a good overdrive can give your playing a bit of bite. The rue it to dial back the gain and let the natural sound of the amp do its work for blues guitar. This is where a good tube amp comes into play. A good tube amp will distort a bit naturally when you turn it up, and this gives an excellent blues tone.

Reverb or Chorus

Reverb and chorus sound good for clean blues guitar playing. A lot of amps have reverb built into them. Like the gain setting, start with a little reverb and increase it until you get a tone that you like. If your amp has a chorus effect or you have a chorus pedal, you may want to use a little of that as well to fatten up your tone some.

EQ Settings

Play around with the EQ settings of the map. You won’t need full bass, treble, or middle for blues.  Work the settings until you get a tone you like.

Less is More

In general, less is more for blues. You don’t need a lot of effects or fancy equipment. You need a good amp that can play a decent clean tone and an amp that has good quality gain. These settings, along with your guitar, will go a long way to creating authentic blues guitar sounds. Tube amplifiers excel at paying blues, so that would be a solid investment on your part.

BEST BLUES AMPS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can Marshall Amps Play Blues?

ANSWER: Yes. There are Marshall amps for blues guitar on the market. Marshall is known for its hard rock distortion setting, but they can create good blues tones, especially the tube models. Go easy on the gain, and you’ll be creating good blues tones with a Marshall amp in no time.

My Tube Amp Makes Noise, what is Wrong?

ANSWER: If your tube amp makes noise, the tubes may be faulty. Tubes wear out over time, and sometimes you can buy a new amp that has a bad tube. Try replacing the tubes and see if the tone improves. If you still notice the noise, turn off other electronics near your amp and try again. Amps can pick up other sounds when they are turned up. If you still notice a noise, take it to a technician and have them look over it or call the amp manufacturer if it’s still under warranty.

What is an Effects Loop?

ANSWER: An effects loop can be found on some amplifiers. This essentially allows you to add foot pedals to your amp and gives you a clean sound. Without a loop, the pedal would interact with the other effects on your amp, and you would get a muddy or overly distorted tone. Most quality guitar amps have their own effects loop.

What is More Important the Clean or Distortion Channel for Blues Guitar?

ANSWER: In general, you want an amp that has a good clean channel. Most blues guitar is played with not a lot of distortion. If you have a good clean channel, you can add your own overdrive pedals to it. Always reduce the gain to a bare minimum when playing blues as it just sounds better. Turn up the clean channel and allow the amp to naturally distort for a great blues tone.

What is an Amp Combo?

ANSWER: An amp combo is short for “combination amplifier.” This is an amp that has some sort of amp head, which is the electronics and then one or more speakers in one cabinet. Many combo amps have two speakers and the electronics portion of the amp.

How Do I Record My Blues Guitar with my Amp?

ANSWER: That all depends. Some amps will hook up to computers. This is common with amps amp modelers. They come with inputs for your computer. This makes it easy to record your guitar sounds. In other cases, you’ll need a good mic to get the sound of your amp into your computer. You will also need a guitar computer interface device to process the signal. Your computer will also need a DAW or digital audio workstation to transform the guitar tones into a finished song. There are many great guides online that wills how you how to record your blues guitar successfully as there are several methods to accomplish this.

Conclusion

This guide to blues guitar amps should help you find a great amp to meet your needs. You’ll spend more on tube amps, but they are your best bet for blues. There are still great amp modelers, and solid-state amps out there for playing blues, so try those as well.

 

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