5 Best Guitar Amps Under 500 (2018)

Amplifiers are not easy to choose. They play such a big part in creating the final sound that if you choose a wrong one, you end up with crappy tone. BUT if you choose a right one… well, my friend, you are a lucky bastard. We have been “blessed” by manufacturers basically drowning us in different models of amplifiers. So you get a choice of pretty much anything. You don’t like the weight of the amp? There is another one pretty much the same one in the same price range. Don’t like the color? They got you on that one too. This might be a bit daunting sometimes since there are just too many options on the market with a lot of very similar models. Here we have compiled some of the best guitar amplifiers under $500.

Top 5 Best Guitar Amps Under 500

#ImageAmplifier Model
Rating
Check Price
1Line 6 Spider V 240 (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
2Fender Champion 100 (4.8 / 5)Check on Amazon
3Bugera V22 Vintage Valve (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
4Marshall MG50CFX MG Series (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon
5Line 6 Spider Jam (4.7 / 5)Check on Amazon

Line 6 Spider V 240 Wireless Ready Modeling Amplifier

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First of all, if you are going for a $500 amplifier your expectations should be pretty high. Well, not as high as with $1000 ones but definitely higher than with a $200. Not to bash on cheap amplifiers but if you are serious about music you should try to invest in an amplifier. One of those amplifiers that we think is worth putting your money into is Line 6 Spider V 240 Wireless Ready Modeling Amplifier. With a sleek, minimalist design this model offers looks along with functionality. With Iconic Rig, Artist, and Standard presents you will be getting quite a range. Add on top the amazing full-range stereo speaker with high-frequency driver and this baby will be all you will ever need. This spider 240-watt model is easy to use and brings in the best of tone and volume.

Fender Champion 100 – Electric Guitar Amplifier

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Even people who have never played the guitar in their lives have heard about Fender. The company’s name precedes them and for a good reason – they produce top-notch instruments and equipment. Fender Champion 100 – Electric Guitar Amplifier is not an exception to the rule. With 100 watts and 12″ Special Design speakers, this amp delivers on tone quality and power. Of course, there are a lot of effects such as reverb, delay/echo, chorus, tremolo, vibratone and a lot more than you can tweak around and produce the perfect sound for your needs including jazz, blues, country, and a lot more. Beginners and intermediate players will equally love this model. Whether you want to practice alone at home or do your first gig in front of people, this model will not fail you. That’s along with its versatile and ease-of-use is why we love this amp.

Bugera V22 Vintage Valve Combo with Reverb

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This Bugera V22 amp is a stunner. While you might think that the looks are the only thing that makes it vintage, plug it in and you’ll know that there is a lot more to it. Sort of an homage to the old design of Bugera amps, this model synthesizes old style and modern technology to deliver on the perfection of tone and power that will blow your mind. So what do we get with this mode? First of all, you will notice the vintage equalizer section with Bass, Mid, Treble, and Presence controls. The speakers are 12″ BUGERA original that is responsible for the beautiful vintage sound that this baby gifts to this world. All in all this 2-Channel Valve Combo with 22 watts offers sweet tone and raging power that is almost unmatched in its price range.

Marshall MG50CFX MG Series 50-Watt Guitar Combo Amp

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Moving on to the legendary brand, Marshall has been producing some of the best and the most well-known amps on the market. Their MG50CFX MG Series is a 50-watt combo amp that can serve all purposes. Do you just need to practice at home in quite? OR maybe you want to gig around? This amp has you covered. Gigging and traveling with this model is made easy due to very lightweight construction and durability. You can just put this amp in the van and not worry that it won’t come out alive in an hour or two.  Featuring one 12″ speaker, Line In jack, external FX loop and a lot more this MG series model does not stop there. It has all the necessary effects like Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Vibe, Octave so you will not have a problem with versatility.

Line 6 Spider Jam Guitar Amplifier

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Last but not least we got Line 6 Spider Jam Guitar Amplifier. I know, I know, we have two Line 6 models but that’s because… well, Line 6 is just hella good at making amps. This specific model has 200 artist-created presets as well as 150 song-based presets, and 36 user-programmable presets. If you thought that was a lot to take in, it also has 12 original amp models including clean, twang, crunch, metal and a lot more. Apart from 75 watts, 12″ custom Celestion speaker will make sure you get the freshest and most powerful sound you have heard in a while. Usually, with combo models that have a lot of presents and extra goodies, I get a bit suspicious. Like, what are you trying to sell me if you are adding so many things to make me want to buy it? Well… my paranoia aside, this model definitely proves that an amp can have great tone, power, ease-of-use and not cost over $500.

There Is No One Best Amplifier

Although there are dozens of dozens of articles with lists of the best amplifiers in the world the truth is there is no one best amplifier. And yes, all brands claim their amp is the one and the only thing you will ever need. That their amps will change your performance and I don’t know… make a complete novice become a legend overnight (well… that’s an exaggeration but you get the gist). While there are some general guidelines to judge an amplifier and whether it is any good, there is no way for a stranger to tell you which model is going to be the best one for you and your needs.

For instance, if you are just going to practice at home and you are just starting off you definitely don’t need a $1000 amplifier. The only people who will hear you are you and well… the annoyed neighbours. On the other hand, if you plan on gigging or recording the best amplifier would be the one that is easy to use in those situations and have great effects and recording accessories.

Then comes the issue of the tube or solid-state amplifier and don’t even get me started on that. If someone tells you that a tube is better than a solid-state in all situations, you better run fast from that person because it could not be any farther from the truth. There are a lot of websites that will explain pros and cons of both but just in case you can check out our blog about “Tube Vs. Solid-State Amplifier”. It’s pretty short but gives a nice, comprehensive view of advantages and disadvantages of both types.  

And while there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when buying your first or second or tenth amplifier (well, if it’s your tenth you are either an expert or have ruined tenth amplifier for no reason) some of the major ones are pretty obvious.

  •    Well, you have obviously figured out that you want an amplifier that is under $500 mark. That is already good. But trust me, there are a lot of people who get into their research, browse $1000 models while they can only afford $300 amplifiers at best. Don’t waste too much of your time on browsing if you need an amp right away.
  •    What tone do you want? Tone does not only depend on an amplifier. You have to have a proper guitar and setup. You need to know how to work your amplifier, but if you have not figured that out yet you just have to look at other pros playing it. While a lot of people assume that tube amplifiers are always better than solid state ones, that are not really very true. With the development of technology, a lot of solid–states have become pretty amazing at producing a warm tone that so many people love about tube amps.
  •    By the way, if some of these things seem a bit obvious it is because … well, they are. But I can remember myself as a beginner knowing close to nothing about amps or even guitars trying to figure out things that today seem like a second-nature. BUT let’s talk wattage. You have probably noticed that most (if not all) amplifiers have watt numbers in the title. That is because wattage determines power or the level of amplification. If you want an amp for gigging with a lot of other loud instruments you would not go for a 20-watt model.

Conclusion

Never underestimate the power of amplifiers. I mean, yeah… guitars matter but if you plan on gigging, or recording –especially with your electric guitar – then a good amplifier is a must. Ever since its creation in the early 1900s amplifiers have undergone massive changes. Hell, it’s not like the changes have stopped. Year-by-year brands have been coming up with new ways to improve tone, durability, versatility and a lot more (including raising prices but…). That is pretty much why solid-state amplifiers have become so popular. Many years ago people swore by tube amps and never wanted to use solid-state. Now? A lot of people go for solid-states or combos because they have improved tone and are a lot easier to maintain. In any case, I hope this list of the best guitar amplifiers under $500 was somewhat helpful, BUT if you still have not figured out your budget we have a range of articles about the best guitar amplifiers under $300, best cheap amplifiers for beginners and basically for any purpose. So have a look and GOOD LUCK!

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