Choosing a new guitar amp is an exciting task, but with so many amps to choose from, it can also be a daunting process.
It helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for. Are you in a band, looking to find your next touring mainstay? Or perhaps you’re a beginner searching for their first ‘proper’ guitar amplifier. Whatever your needs, from sofa to stage, there will be a guitar amp out there for you, and we’re here to help you find it.
In this guide we’ll offer up some suggestions of some of the best used guitar amp bargains on eBay. From feature-rich professional amps capable of lighting up arenas, through to smaller practice buddies to keep you playing at home, we’ve got them all. Here’s 10 of our favorites to get your search started.
The Fender Blues Junior is, in amplifier terms, a veteran on the scene. Originally introduced in 1990, and now in its fourth iteration, the Blues Junior delivers incredible tone and classy looks for a very reasonable price.
Despite coming in at only 15 watts, it can reach some serious volume when pushed, and the harmonic break-up at higher levels is truly wonderful. It boasts a built-in spring reverb, and Fender has also been quite liberal with its alternate color schemes so it’s highly likely you’ll see them crop up in anything from red, black, tweed – even seafoam green.
Orange amps are famous within guitar circles for delivering one of the most unique gain channels around. While more known for its sizable tube amps, the Orange Crush series delivers all that tonal know-how and expertise but in a form factor that makes them ideal for practice, or for beginners.
There are a host of different sizes within the Crush line-up, from a tiny desktop amp right up to a 100-watt head, and each of them sounds as good as you’d hope for from Orange.
We couldn’t do an article on amps and not have a Marshall, right? The Marshall DSL series is legendary, having been the amp of choice for some of rock’s biggest names over the years.
Within the DSL family there are head and combo variants, and each of them delivers that unique, thick overdriven sound for which Marshall is famous. Marshall amps have a great reputation for reliability too, meaning you can happily take one out on the road and feel confident it’s got your back.
For metal players, the Peavey 6505 series is well worth a look. It comes in both a head and combo version – the combo version is among the heaviest amps, weight-wise, so be ready for that – and has a gain channel that’ll make you go weak at the knees.
Admittedly, it’s not the most versatile – there’s a reason you don’t tend to see jazz players using them – but for rock, metal and heavier styles of music the Peavey 6505 series ought to be high up your list for consideration.
At the higher end of the price bracket, you have the Mesa/Boogie Mini Rectifier. Based on the same tonal architecture as its bigger brothers, but without the eye-watering price tag, the ‘Mini Rec’ is arguably one of the most versatile amps out there. It can do high gain, it can do clean, and at just 25W it’s ideal for studio or recording purposes.
These do crop up fairly regularly on the used market, often because the seller has graduated to the full fat version, meaning there are certainly bargains to be had.
For beginners, it pays to have an amp with plenty of versatility. By that, we mean lots of options for the amplifier’s ‘voice’, along with effects and – ideally – the ability to record into a computer. The Boss Katana series ticks all these boxes, delivering a range of incredible tones which complement the famous Boss effects perfectly.
A USB port to the rear of the amp allows the player to record directly into a computer, meaning they are a great solution for home studio enthusiasts who need access to a wide range of tones and effects.
The Blackstar ID Core range is a great choice for home practice. Within the range sits everything from a Bluetooth-enabled desktop amplifier right up to stage-ready heads and combos.
Blackstar is a relatively young company, certainly compared with the Marshalls and Fenders of this planet, but has built itself a great reputation for providing superb tones and solid, reliable build quality. The amps feature a USB connection, which allows for recording to a computer and also grants access to a software editor for the onboard effects.
Certain tones are so synonymous with the brand that they transcend music. That bell-like, chiming, crystal clean sound from a Fender Deluxe Reverb is up there with the best.
Put simply, there are few amps out there today which can match the warmth and glorious playability of the Deluxe Reverb. And, as the name suggests, the amp is also home to one of the finest reverb units of any amplifier.
It’s certainly not the cheapest, even on the pre-owned market, but as an investment in your musical pleasure it’s well worth consideration.
We don’t all have the time, money or lifestyle to allow us access to oversized amplifiers. For some, playing the guitar is more of a treat, when time allows. If this sounds familiar, the Yamaha THR series is worth a look.
Classed as ‘desktop’ amps, they aren’t going to be seen at concert venues any time soon on account of their size, but as an at-home practice tool they are of tremendous value. There are a number of variants within the series, including an acoustic guitar version, and each provides the player with plenty in the way of tones and effects.
If you’ve got your heart set on a Marshall, but don’t have the funds or space to acquire a vintage model, then the Marshall Origin series is worth consideration.
Tonally, these all-tube amps are more than worthy of bearing the Marshall badge, and overall levels of build quality and reliability are great. They offer some great features for home-practice, including power scaling, yet their tube architecture makes them perfect for small to medium sized gigs. It’s never been easier, or cheaper, to nail that classic Marshall sound.
Guitar amplifiers are, arguably, the single most important element of your tone and you should make sure that whatever you choose, it’ll get you closer to the sound you’ve got in your head.
Thankfully there are plenty of options, from large to small and from cheap to eye-wateringly expensive. The used market is constantly evolving, with new models cropping up all the time, so you’re sure to find the right amp for your needs here.
There are some amazing bargains to be found. Often, people buy massively overpowered amplifiers before realizing their needs don’t require 100 watts of pure tube power.
Look for phrases like ‘never gigged’ and ‘studio use only’ and you’ll find a treasure trove of high quality guitar amplifiers which have never gone past one on the volume knob. These amps will have plenty of life in them, and will serve you well in your quest for tonal excellence.