The 7 Best Practice Amps For Guitar (2023)
Practice amps are the ultimate training necessity, they are small yet powerful enough for successful practice sessions and usually have a headphone jack. They are compact yet versatile amps that take practice to a whole new level.
If you want a small, portable guitar amplifier that will sound good at low volumes, then this is the article for you. So, what should you choose from the large selection available online? I made out a list of the 7 best practice amps.
My top recommended practice amp is the Fender Mustang LT25. A great value-for-price ratio with a sleek user interface, along with trademark Fender quality.
My second recommended practice amp is the Blackstar FLY 3 Mini. If you want something more affordable, the FLY 3 Mini is a small practice amp that will do the job well.
The 7 Best Guitar Practice Amps (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Fender Mustang LT25
The Fender Mustang LT25 is the top pick for a reason. This Fender quality practice amp hits the sweet spot with its 25-watt power output which is more than enough for a good practice session. Equipped with a wooden cabinet, this just screams value for money!
It features an 8″ Fender Special Design speaker that delivers a crispy clean tone. It also comes with suitable inputs for an immersive experience like the AUX-in, a headphone jack, a USB jack, and a built-in tuner to make it even more impressive.
Along with the usual control options, it has an integrated user-friendly interface with a color display.
All in all, this is the ultimate practice amp for silent sessions, and recording, as well as providing enough versatility to keep it interesting.
2. Blackstar FLY 3 Mini
As a budget option, you have the Blackstar FLY 3 Mini. This is a miniature, 3-watt powered guitar amp that has some nice sound and options to it. First off, it’s really small – like ‘put it on your hand’ small. Nevertheless, FLY 3 will give out a decent sound, with a lot of options to it.
It has an ISF – Infinite Shape Feature, as well as a very nice digital delay effect, which allows you to control your sound nicely, powered by a 6.5V power supply.
It works on AA batteries or can be plugged into the power outlet and has an extension input for another 3W speaker to be put into it. It has a standard input jack and two 3.5mm jacks through which you can put headphones or play mp3s, another sound source for backing music, and “emulated” output to record if you need it.
This is an affordable, small, amp great for practice or playing out on the street if you like.
3. Roland Micro Cube GX
Roland Micro Cube GX is a great, tiny amp that is made to have everything you need in this small box. This is a 3W amp with a carrying handle, which makes it ideal for busking and playing outdoors. It has a 5 inch speaker inside, providing clear and quality sound.
The effects on this amp are what make it stand out from others in this category. It has 8 amp types you can choose from as well as six effects.
It also comes with a built-in guitar tuner to tune your guitar, as we all know, fine tuning is an important element. Apart from that, you can connect your iPhone/iPad through the I-Cube link (aux input) and use your phone or tablet to play backing tracks easily.
The price is high for this type of mini amp, but it’s well worth it when you think about what you’re getting with it.
4. Orange Crush 20
Orange Crush 20 is a 20-watt guitar amplifier, perfect for apartment practice. Equipped with a powerful and crispy overdrive, as well as detailed saturation, the sonic capabilities of this little powerhouse are of high quality.
It has two channels, clean and dirty, and a footswitch input, so you can easily change the sound while playing. It also comes with a 3 band EQ, so you can perfectly adjust your tone.
The Orange Crush 20 emulates a 4 x 12″ cabinet along with great on-set effects for a versatile practice session. Even without headphones, this little guy comes with an 8″ speaker so playing will still be volume-friendly.
The price is standard for this type of amp, so you don’t have to worry about that, and also it will look great with its bright orange design and sturdy build.
5. Marshall MG30GFX
A Marshall quality standard joins the ranks. The Marshall MG30GFX is a versatile practice amp with striking 30-watt power output. It is a compact amp that comes with a great power wattage and a custom 10″ speaker, as opposed to the usual 8″ ones seen on most practice amps.
Equipped with a 3-band EQ, as well as integrated digital effects like reverb, delay, chorus, distortion, and phaser, increasing the versatility of your playing session. It features a Clean/Crunch channel as well as OD1 and OD2 channels adding even more texture to your sound.
You can save your preset channels and pull them up when needed, the usual headphone jack for quiet sessions, also, a line out for recording and studio purposes.
Overall, this Marshall practice amp is a great and quality product with a slightly higher-end price tag but it is all worth it when you consider what you’re getting.
6. Fender Champion 20
Coming close to the end, joining the list is a classic Fender quality amp. Fender Champion 20 is one of the most sold practice amps because it has a near-perfect combination of options, quality, and price.
It’s a 20W solid-state combo amp with one channel, it has 3 bands EQ and lots of different amp models onboard to choose from. Apart from that it also has several different effects, so you can easily go through them.
Featuring an 8″ Fender Special Design speaker, along with a stereo AUX-in and the usual headphone jack for better practice sessions, this trademark Fender quality amp delivers exceptional sonic capabilities while having a slick and aesthetically pleasing design.
Pricewise, it has a reasonable price tag, but you can rely on that this amp will last you for decades and give you outstanding quality sound.
7. Vox Pathfinder 10
The Vox Pathfinder 10 Combo is the last entry on this list, it comes with a striking yet classic Vox design that all are familiar with along with a very affordable price tag attached.
This amp has a 10-watt power output which is great as a practice amp, with a unique 6.5″ speaker that even without headphones, will not bother your family or neighbors for the ultimate practice experience. The controls feature the usual Volume, Gain, Bass, and Treble.
The Pathfinder has a 2-band EQ along with a Clean/Overdrive switch that makes switching between clean and crunchy very easy. Featuring a headphone/lineout jack, practice sessions will be a breeze with this aesthetically pleasing yet quality amp.
All in all, the Vox Pathfinder 10 Combo is a great addition for practicing purposes while also being incredibly affordable.
Do you need a Practice Guitar Amp?
Practice amps are a great addition to have nearby for when inspiration strikes, or when you want a quiet practice session without bothering anyone. Naturally, practice amps are versatile creatures that offer great features like presets, and modulation effects, along with flexible connectivity like Bluetooth, USB connection, or even Android or iOS devices. There are even wireless amps like the Yamaha THR 10. These amps might be small but their capabilities are huge!
Can you practice Guitar without an Amp?
Of course, you can. Electric or acoustic guitars emit enough sound for you to hear clearly, therefore, they are suitable for practice even without the aid of a practice amp. However, the practice amp is not just for loudness, it features much-needed modes, knobs, dials, effects, and sound-shaping that will make practice sessions more fun and effective.
Can you gig with a Practice Amp?
This is a tricky question, the answer is yes, however, it’s a question that has many factors surrounding it. A practice amp does not usually have enough power for even a small gig, but if you mic it, it will probably get the job done one way or the other.
Naturally, for gigging purposes, you want something bigger and more powerful, as with practice amps, the volume will be cranked up and you might end up sacrificing tone quality due to the high gain. Not to mention that you will have little to no vital stage volume unless you have an in-ear monitor and a transmitter.
Should my Amp cost more than my Guitar?
The simple answer would be no. Not that it can’t, however, your guitar is the primary objective to scratch off the list before committing to a pricey amp. Of course, guitars can also be budget-friendly while some amps do have a steep price tag, especially vintage ones. My advice would be to get a good quality guitar if you have the budget for it then focus your efforts on an amp.
What to look for in a Practice Guitar Amp when buying?
If you’re a beginner looking to buy a first amp, you can be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of options you can have. And when you go online, you’ll find confusing advice as to what you really need.
When you’re buying your practice amp, you need to consider what are you going to use it for mainly. If you’re needing just an amp for the practice you’re not going to need more than 20W. If you need an amp for performing, you’ll probably need something around 60W or more.
Also, as to power the amp, if you need your amp to go busking, you’ll want to get a battery-powered amp, but if you just want it to sit in one place, there’s really no need for that.
Tube vs. solid-state vs. digital
Even though you’re going to find that all of the top-level guitarists are playing stadiums on tube amps and also you’ll find some guitar amp purists saying that guitar can only be played on a tube amp.
You’ll probably do just fine with solid-state or digital sound amps for guitar practice. However, low-watt tube amps have become relatively inexpensive so it’s certainly worth checking those out.
Experienced guitarists almost always use effects using pedals. However, building a pedalboard is an expensive task, where one or two pedals might cost as much as your whole practice amp. So, if you’re a beginner, you might want to get an amp with at least some effects on it, as it will get you to know basic effects and how they affect your tone when playing, which is important when you’re learning to play electric guitar. Naturally, effects like reverb, delay, tremolo, and others make playing way more fun!
I hope that this article has helped you in getting to terms with what you might need and what’s available on the market if you’re looking to buy practice amps. Whether you’re just a beginner, or an experienced player looking to get a new amp for your home, you’ll find what you need on this list.
My top practice amp pick is the Fender Mustang LT25. This amp offers great value for your money along with a sleek user interface and trademark Fender quality.
My budget practice amp pick is the Blackstar FLY 3 Mini, an affordable practice amp with great overall quality that will get the job done.