5 Best Practice Guitar Amps (2018)

Practice makes perfect. While this might be a trite statement that your teacher used to say as you rolled your eyes in annoyance it could not be closer to the truth. Practice is especially vital with music. No matter what you plan on playing or already play unless you practice you’re not going to get anywhere even with the best guitar. So we have figured out so fat that practice is vital to reaching the level you want but that is not the end of it. A good guitar is just as important. And I don’t mean a great guitar that you will have to shell out your entire savings on. No, I mean a quality guitar that will help you out in your practice rather than hinder you. (If you still have not got a guitar but plan on doing so we have an entire catalog of the best guitars under $100, best guitars under $300 and so forth). You thought that’s where we would end the list of what you need to learn how to play? Nope. You need a good amplifier. As much as this equipment is often overlooked because it seems too had to choose, it is vital for practice.  Without further ado, let’s get into some of the best guitar practice amps.

Top 5 Best Practice Amps

#ImageAmplifier Model
Rating
Check Price
1Fender Mustang I V2 (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
2Laney LG12 (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
3Blackstar LTECHO10 (4.6 / 5)Check on Amazon
4Roland CUBE-10GX (4.5 / 5)Check on Amazon
5Donner AMP DEA-1 (4.5 / 5)Check on Amazon

Fender Mustang I V2 20-Watt

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We are going to start with a Fender amplifier. This Mustang I V2 is a 20-watt combo amp that has won over hearts of a lot of players because of its ease of use and versatility. With one channel that has 24 presets and eighteen amp models you won’t be scrambling for diversity. Apart from that, of course, you get some of the major controls like Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, Modulation Select, Delay/Reverb Select, Save, Exit and Tap Tempo. The size and price of this model really do not do it justice (I mean, don’t make it more pricey but still). You also will find that this amp features USB connectivity, chromatic tuner and black textured vinyl covering with silver grille cloth that accentuates the simple and elegant look of this model. While 20-watt, as you might know, is not much (unless it’s a tube amplifier) this baby is pretty great if you want it for practice.

Laney LG12 12 Watt RMS Guitar Combo

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While Laney brand might not sound as familiar to the “uninitiated”, this brand has been producing quality amps for very good prices. The  LG12 is a combo amp with 12-watts. While 12-watts isn’t much it seems to kick in a punch when needed (and plus, you want it for practice and more practice amps don’t have a lot of wattages). Apart from that this combo offers  LG12 12 single channel with switchable drive, CD input, headphone socket (a much for practice) as well as Bass, Middle and Treble control. The tone of this amp is pretty crisp and clean. That’s partly due to the 6.5″ custom-designed speaker. The speaker is not only functional but looks pretty nice. Looks wise this model has top mounted construction, rubber feet for sturdiness and leather handle for ease of transportation. Apart from being a great practice amp, it is also great if you travel around and want a model that can take a punch or two.

Blackstar LTECHO10 10W Guitar Amplifier

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This Blackstar combo amp might be really inexpensive (under $80) but it’s not a cheap model, quality-wise. Ideal for house practice, this baby has two channels (Clean, Overdrive) and is also fit for traveling. The compactness and durability of the model are great for people who want to travel with their instrument and equipment. If you are a beginner who has long given up on looking at the best amplifiers at $100, you need to know where to compromise on an amp. And Blackstar seems to do the best job as compromising on some aspects to still deliver a good sounding amp that is not too expensive. With 10-watts (there is also a 15-watt model available), you can practice for hours on end and produce pretty crisp, versatile tone. Is it the best amplifier I have ever tried? Definitely not, but it sure is one hell of a good competitor in its price range and an amazing guitar practice amp.

Roland CUBE-10GX 10W 1×8 Guitar Combo Amp

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Uh, Roland. I don’t know when was the last time I read about the best amplifiers and one of Roland’s models was not there. That’s not due to their ability to market their instruments to everyone (well, they are good at that too, probably) BUT the main reason why they are always a talk of the town (of a very musical and amplifier obsessed town) is their quality of production. With a lot of expensive amps, they are also graceful enough to give us the MERE MORTALS ability to bath in the glory of what is Roland tone. This CUBE‌-10GX amp is a 10-watt little combo amp with one 8 inch speaker that is ideal for home practice or anyone who needs an inexpensive model that will not ruin their performance. With built-in effects, heavy-duty cabinet design, and a compact construction the CUBE‌-10GX amp might be your best choice for a practice amp that also works as a traveling amp.

Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier 10 Watt Classical Guitar AMP DEA-1

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We saved the most affordable amplifier for the last. This Donner electric guitar amp might have only 10-watts, but it does not lack other features. The controls include Gain, boost Select Switch, Volume, Treble, Middle, Bass and are pretty intuitive. The tone is clean and damn big for such a small model. Other than that this model also has 3-Band EQ, 1/8″ Auxiliary Input Jack for Jam-Along with Media Player and, of course, the handy-dandy Headphone Output Jack for Silent Practice (unless you want to be evicted from your apartment for practicing days on end). Best practice amps are not best just because you can practice in your basement and never move the thing. They are pretty functional and easy to carry around. That’s why Donner put durable, hard material on the edges of the amp and a pad of rubber makes it more sturdy. With that your amp will be pretty much indestructible.

So Why An Amplifier For Guitar Practice?

If you are looking into a list of the best guitar practice amps chances are you plan on practicing… a lot. The chances are also high that you are a beginner and the idea of getting yourself into this unknown yet fascinating world is somewhat confusing. While figuring out which guitar you want is a big step forward the next step is not that much easier. You got to find a good amplifier. The market is full of all kinds of amplifiers. Starting from tube amps over $2000 for pre-level players and going down to amplifiers under $100. And yes, maybe $100 amps are not the highest in quality but they do the job, especially if you have done your research.

Another thing to keep in mind is the purpose of the amplifier. And I don’t mean the actual purpose. We all know that I’m pretty sure. What I mean is what you will be using it for? Are you a beginner who wants to practice a lot in their basement before they ever take their guitar and amp into the daylight or maybe you have been playing for quite some time and want to record your music. MAYBE you have gathered all your strength and confidence (and your band) and decided to gig. All of these situations are somewhat different and various amps work for different purposes. While there are a lot of amps that do all of them together, sometimes getting an amp just for practice might be more efficient and, of course, affordable.

What You Should Be Looking For In A Practice Amplifier

A lot of amps, especially in higher price ranges, have a lot of effects and features. They catch an eye and are pretty fascinating, but in a lot of cases, they are … useless. Well, not all of them but I am pretty sure that if an amp has a hundred different features you won’t be using all of them or even half of them. Features on amps are like the stand at the registrar of a grocery shop. They just catch an eye and you want WANT WANT them (for no other reason than it is interesting and cool looking)! Well, if you are going for an amp is the $100 price range you won’t have as much luxury or freedom to choose from a lot of features. Most practice amps are pretty standard and basic (in the best of ways). And to be honest, I don’t think as a beginner you really need a lot more than the basic effects and functions.

What you definitely need to keep in mind when buying your first practice amplifier:

POWER – amps are created for amplifying the sound (duh) in the first place. Of course, nowadays amps are these versatile things that can do pretty much anything but cook you a scrambled egg (maybe SOON?). But power is expensive. This might sound like some deep statement I make as I look into the sunset but what I mean is wattage is not a cheap thing to come by. That is why most inexpensive models or practice models (which are often the same) do not have a lot of wattages. While this might be disheartening, trust me, as a beginner you won’t need a lot of watts. I mean unless you are a prodigy you will be spending a lot of time practicing on your own whether it be in your room, basement or wherever. You won’t be needing the wattage that much unless you are playing with other instruments or on stage. AND if you are going on stage, then you should be great enough not to need a practice amp, in the first place.

COST – I have touched upon this topic several times maybe but I feel like I need to reiterate. Amps are usually not a cheap thing to come by, especially if you want a tube amp. BUT practice amps are good because they help beginners develop their skills without having to spend several hundred. Needless to mention, even practice amps come at various prices. For instance, Donner Electric Guitar Amplifier 10 Watt Classical Guitar AMP DEA‌-1 we talked about is twice as cheap as Roland CUBE‌-10GX 10W 1×8 Guitar Combo Amp. While price often is a good guideline to which model is better you should always keep in mind that more famous brands will have more expensive models even in the cheap sections. Apart from that, keep in mind that an amp having a lot of great features and effects does not mean it’s good.  

Tube Is Probably Not The Way To Go – Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of tube amps. There are a lot of great things about them, but in most cases, tube amps are a lot more expensive than solid-state amps. They are also harder to maintain and keep working. While you might want the tone of a tube amplifier, a chance is you can’t afford it as a beginner and neither do you have to afford it. As a beginner, at least I, did not have enough skills to make full use of tube amps so why spend money on a model that you cannot fully make use of? Apart from that, solid-state, especially practice ones are renowned for their durability. Whether you play it for hours on end or have a small accident you probably won’t damage it (unless you really try).

Conclusion

So here we are at the end of our journey (well, probably not yours). Maybe you have found the best guitar practice amplifier from this list and cannot wait to buy it or maybe you still want to have your options. BUT my point is that starting with an amplifier for practice is a great idea. Not only will the amp serve a very particular purpose it was made for but you will also save quite a lot of money. For instance, most amplifiers under $100 are great for practice so you can check out our list of the best cheap amplifiers for beginners. And while I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of “cheap” being in the same sentence as their instrument or equipment, the thing is cheaper does not necessarily means bad. Is a $100 amp going to win over an amplifier in the best amplifiers $1000 list? Probably not, but as I already mention the best “objective” amplifier (or what brands and people deem to be the best at the moment) is not always a good option for everyone. That is especially a case with someone who is just starting off their journey into the world of music, amps, guitars and everything of that sort.

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