The Top 9 Best Blues Guitar Amplifiers
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Last Updated: Apr-25-2019
In our first revisit to this blues amp article since writing it, not much had changed. However, we decided to remove a Fender model – the Champion 100 – to make room for the awesome little Orange CR60C, which is excellent for blues jamming.
Whether you are channeling your inner Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, BB King or Rory Gallagher, you may already have your perfect blues guitar – now all you need is the ideal blues amp!
Table Of Contents
Some are big, powerful and stage-worthy, others are more suited to practice at home. Some are pushing $1,000 while others cost less than $100. All of them share one thing in common – they’ll give you an awesome blues tone for a price most can afford.
So check out the chart below, before taking a look at our brief buyer’s guide below, which will help you determine the best amplifier for you. Let’s get started!
The Top 9 Best Blues Guitar Amplifiers
|Image||Guitar Amplifier / Rating||Summary||Check Price|
|+ -|| VOX AC30C2 |
Total of 4.72/5
The new iteration of a legend, with plenty to offer blues players.
|+ -|| Fender '65 Princeton Reverb |
Total of 4.67/5
Pure cleans and creamy overdrive for a masterpiece in tone!
|+ -|| Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue |
Total of 4.67/5
One of the best blues amps around!
|+ -|| Peavey Classic 30 |
Total of 4.67/5
A real classic in the world of blues tube amps.
|+ -|| Roland Blues Cube Hot |
Total of 4.80/5
This affordable solid-state combo acts just like a tube amp!
|+ -|| Orange Crush Pro CR60C Guitar Amp |
Total of 4.70/5
A beautifully expressive amp for the modern blues guitarist.
|+ -|| Marshall Code 50W |
Total of 4.80/5
Some awesome blues voicings on offer from this modern classic.
|+ -|| Pignose 7-200 Hog 20 |
Total of 4.55/5
Cute and compact, but packs a mean squeal!
|+ -|| VOX Amplug 2 Blues |
Total of 4.25/5
The blues iteration of VOX’s Amplug headphone amp series.
The VOX AC30C2 may not be a dedicated – or even obvious – blues amp, but the original AC30 proved its worth in this genre time and again (just ask Rory Gallagher), and this new iteration does exactly the same!
In addition to retaining the timeless AC30 design, this all-tube 30-watt combo features three 12AX7 preamp tubes, four EL84 power tubes and two 12” Celestion G12M Greenback Speakers, all coming together to deliver a powerful, soulful and responsive sound.
As we highlight in the complete VOX AC30C2 review, this versatile amp offers a lot of vintage bite to play with and big emotion, lending itself well to all subgenres of blues music. Well worth a look!
Fender '65 Princeton Reverb
This chart begins with a Fender – the ’65 Princeton Reverb no less, which proves to be one of the best blues amps around. This higher-end all-tube combo amp is a masterpiece in the tone department, offering the classic ‘Blackface’ sound the original was known for.
This reissue provides everything from sparkling cleans to a creamy, natural breakup that blues guitarists will adore, and beyond – as we highlight in the full ’65 Princeton Reverb breakdown.
As you’d expect, it features quality tubes and circuitry, as well as single 10” Jensen C-10R speaker. It’s a relatively small and simple amp with just 12 watts of power, yet it packs a lot of punch for the size!
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Next, we have another Fender, which is just incredible for blues. With its roots firmly in the 1950s, the Blues Deluxe Reissue is a tube combo amp features plenty of vintage style, tone and charm, but with 21st Century improvements that modern blues guitarists will appreciate.
As we highlight in the complete Blues Deluxe Reissue review, this two-channel combo sports a classic tweed covering and a reliable build. It’s just as reliable under the hood, with advanced circuitry leading to very little unwanted noise.
With 40 watts of power, it delivers everything from classic Fender cleans to a warm, screaming overdrive – an all-American tonebox. Ultimately, the Blues Deluxe Reissue is a solid choice for stage musicians and blues fanatics everywhere.
Peavey Classic 30
While the guys at Peavey know a thing or two about heavy metal gear, amps such as the Classic 30 make them a very popular brand with blues guitarists too.
Packing seven tubes, a quality 12” speaker and 30 watts of power, this cool combo amp features plenty of volume as well as a lovely vintage tweed design and a reliable build. Due to its compact size, it’s just as good for studio recording as it is on stage for small club gigs.
As we discuss in the full review of the Peavey Classic 30, it offers sweet cleans and a hefty punch of bluesy overdrive that makes it hard to turn off!
Roland Blues Cube Hot
This is another blues-soaked combo amp that couldn’t be left off this list! Roland have a great selection of amps, but none as bluesy as the Blues Cube Hot.
What may be most surprising is that it’s a solid-state amplifier – no tubes in sight. However, this is no bad thing, as anybody who has played this baby can testify. With the Tube Logic tech and 30 watts of power, the Blues Cube Hot offers true tube tone and is surprisingly responsive to your playing dynamics.
Considering how affordable it is, blues guitarists craving real tube tone on a budget will be hard-pushed to find a better option. Check out the full review for more on this intriguing amp.
Orange Crush Pro CR60C Guitar Amp
Orange amps are well known for their classic blues crunch and the CR60C is no exception. Playing the blues isn't about how many notes you use – it's about what you do with those notes. The CR60 follows that ethos. It doesn't have anything it doesn't need, it just sets about making the tone as pure as possible.
With a gig-worthy 60 watts of power, the amp’s 12” Voice of the World speaker produces sound with incredible depth. Perfect for the percussive, rhythmic chords driving your 12-bar blues.
Add some subtle shimmer from the built-in digital reverb and all those licks we borrow from B.B. King sound great! Find out more about this amp in our full Orange Crush Pro CR60C review.
Marshall Code 50W
Hang on… a Marshall solid-state amp on a list of the best blues amplifiers… are you crazy? Not at all! While blues guitarists adore the sound of tube amps, this 50-watt beast is guaranteed to have a blues sound you love.
The Code 50W comes with 14 preamp models (including classics like the Bluesbreaker Plexi), as well as 24 built-in digital effects. There are some awesome blues tones, but plenty of others for everything from jazz and funk to the heaviest rock and metal – perfect if you like to play a bit of everything.
For the affordable price, this is a very good choice for both practice and club gigs. Read more about this amp in the full Marshall Code 50W review.
Pignose 7-200 Hog 20
If we were buying a blues amp based solely on looks, the Hog 20 from Pignose would take some beating! With the old suitcase design and cool vintage brown ‘pigskin’ cover, this compact combo amp offers some killer retro looks.
But, as we delve into further in the complete Hog 20 review, there is more to this affordable little beast than just good looks.
This solid-state battery-powered amp features a 6.5” speaker offering 20 watts of power, so it’s great for practice, travel and even small impromptu performances. Tonally it’s clean, clear and rich, while cranking up the ‘squeal’ knob delivers a dirty growl that’s perfect for classic blues jam sessions.
VOX Amplug 2 Blues
The wallet-friendly Amplug 2 Blues from VOX proves a bit of a wildcard on this list as it’s a tony headphone amp, meaning only you will be experiencing the tone.
While performance is out of the question, and it has its limitations in sound shaping, plugging this mini amp into your guitar will provide you with a pretty awesome blues tone, with a hefty dose of grit and – dare we say it – a little soul.
With three decent effects and basic EQ controls, it proves great for practice wherever you are – from a crowded train to a hotel room late at night. You can read more on the Amplug 2 Blues in the full review.
What to Look for in a Blues Guitar Amplifier
Ultimately, like any amplifier, you will want a blues amp with a good bluesy tone. If that sounds a bit vague, that’s probably because it is! Like most things in the wonderful world of guitar, a good tone is subjective and what sounds like the ideal blues tone to us may not be the perfect tone for you.
However, there are a few widely accepted truths. Generally speaking, a good blues tone is one that has both warmth and bite, allowing you to add some grit and emotion to your playing. Since the genre’s arrival in the early 1950s, blues has always relied on an overdriven amp sound to achieve this gravelly tone and little has changed in 2019.
This is why tube amplifiers in particular are so popular with blues players, as reflected in our chart. Tube amps usually offer warm, organic cleans that break up naturally to reveal the thick, creamy, growly overdriven tone that blues is best known for.
Tube amps are also naturally more responsive to a player’s dynamics and allow you to express yourself much better than using a solid-state amp. Tubes amps with wide dynamic ranges allow the guitar to truly ‘talk’ to the audience.
Having said that, you shouldn’t discard all solid-state amps. Some of these amplifiers are perfectly suited for blues, with modelling amps packing several classic blues voicings into one package. In fairness, these blues tones are decent – they may lack some of the warmth and responsiveness, but the ease of use and generally lower prices are a big plus.
When it comes to power, there’s no ideal wattage as it depends on where you are using the amp. Many players make the mistake of choosing something too powerful when, in reality, all they will use the amp for is playing in a bedroom or jamming with others. If that’s the case, buying something with too much power will result in you not being able to turn the volume up past 1 or 2, and not being able to unleash the amp’s true potential.
Ultimately, a blues amp doesn’t need a lot of headroom because you want the natural breakup to occur at lower volumes. Of course, you can use a good booster pedal to force the amp into overdrive earlier if you have a higher powered amp. You can read more in our booster pedals explained article.
At the end of the day, for home and casual players, 10 to 15 watts is ample, while gigging guitarists won’t require much more than 40 watts to be heard. Of course, if you want to go ahead and buy a 200-watt amp stack for your apartment, don’t let us stop you!
Finally, you will find that most brands, from Peavey to VOX, have suitable blues amps. However, when it comes to finding the true American blues sound, Fender is always seen as the king, while Marshall is seen as the go-to brand when it comes to delivering that British blues tone.
The Final Word
Ultimately, finding the perfect blues amp for you will be a personal decision. Therefore, if possible, try to sample a few of the amps on your shortlist in your local guitar store – or at least watch a few review videos – before making a purchase.
It’s actually quite easy to buy something that’s either too powerful or doesn’t deliver the right sound, so make sure you know each amp’s sound profile, pros and cons before diving in. We hope our chart has been able to offer a little inspiration. Whatever you go for, we hope you end up with a blues amp you love!
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