What amps work best with single coils?
The possibilities are endless when you buy a single coil guitar. Classically, single coils have been limited to clean and crunchy tones. But more and more players from different backgrounds are choosing single coils over humbuckers. Why? Simply put, they sound great. They offer intriguing characteristics and dynamism you simply can’t get anywhere else. Single coil pickups have a naturally wide frequency range, exceptional clarity and nasal voicing.
Now you’ll need to pick the right amp for your guitar and the way you want to sound. We’ve compiled a list of amp ranges from the biggest and best brands offering flavours suited to all styles of music. Whatever you like to play, there’s an amp here to suit you. Let’s take a look.
What better way to kick off than the ultimate clean combo amp. These dominated clean tones during the eighties and nineties. Everyone from The Smiths to Metallica loved the pure, unadulterated sound of the Roland Jazz Chorus.
Because the Jazz Chorus is all solid state, it provides huge headroom and is therefore a great pedal platform amp – your guitar pedals will sound superb out in front. It also means you can crank the volume at larger gigs and retain the completely clean tone.
A true classic range of Fender amps. The Fender Hot Rod balances pure valve chime and a nice amount of grit on breakup at an affordable price. Fender are a behemoth in the guitar industry in amps, acoustic guitar and electric guitar sectors and it’s no surprise when they’re making great ranges like the Hot Rod.
These amps have made it onto many a famous stage and into plenty of legendary guitar rigs. Nothing beats the classic clean boom of a Fender amp and that beautiful built-in reverb.
British brand Victory are fairly new to the industry, but they’re making unprecedented advances in all the right areas. The Compact Series is a super versatile valve head range made of awesome high gain, crunchy and classic amps. They’re also extremely portable thanks to their small size, but still whack out monumental tones.
If you like crunch, the Countess or Duchess are the way to go. High gain distortion is dominated by the Kraken and the Sheriff has all those retro British Plexi sounds covered.
A tube amp under £600? Yes please. You may not think of Line 6 first when it comes to the vintage amp style, but they sure nail it with the DT head and combo. This is what you’d classify as versatile. Dial in anything from American overdrive to Snappy British crunch in both classic and modern variations.
Combine with the Line 6 POD to take efficiency to the next level. This way you can swap out sounds at the press of a footswitch. It’s a truly invaluable tool for home recording on the go.
Legendary British amp manufacturer Marshall reinvigorated their line-up with the Studio series. These are compact tidy takes on some of their best ever amps. Marshall have always been known as the go-to choice for rock and crunch through humbuckers, but the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan certainly favoured single coils.
Available in both combo and head and speaker cabinet variations, these mini amps churn out serious Plexi tones aplenty. The likes of the SV20H even caters to single coils with a lower gain input, keeping your guitar sounding crisp.
Vox finish off the famous trio of amp companies, the other two slots occupied by Fender and Marshall. The British amp makers are renowned for the AC30. These offer the ultimate refreshing spanky UK tones in the world.
Single coil guitars and the Vox AC30 go together like ham and eggs. Gorgeous cleans, that little bit of breakup when you turn up the volume and rich, pure tube greatness. There are plenty of models to choose from in a number of price brackets and in both combo and head forms.
Here are some serious high-end American-made amps. Milkman amps are favoured by the likes of John Mayer, famous for his classy blues and pop guitar tones. While the Milkman One can’t guarantee you’ll play the same way, they do make sure your single coils sound flawless. These are one channel super raw EQ amps made for one thing – West Coast valve chime.
At just 10 watts, the valves break up early as you turn as you crank it and pack a real punch through the Celestion speakers. If you’re after simple yet supreme tone, Milkman are your guys.
Rift Amplification are like the British equivalent to Milkman. They make extremely high-end boutique amps in Brackley, Northamptonshire. Rift make their amps in an old school way. Hand wired and built to order, which you can do through us!
Tweed Rift amps replicate the sound of the fifties. They’re all about touch response, similar to single coil pickups. And seeing as though humbuckers hadn’t come into production yet at the time, they’re perfectly suited to them. The more you play through Rift amps, the more you get in return.
What can’t a Boss Katana do? And why not play through one with a single coil guitar? Katanas are renowned for their incredible versatility and quality sound at a great price. Aimed primarily at players who need a class practice amp, the Boss Katana can muster everything from classy American cleans with reverb to modern high gain that will still sound great with single coils.
The Brown setting on the Katana is taken directly from Boss’ high-end solid-state masterpiece – the Waza. It provides super high gain with plenty of tonal control through the three-band EQ. You can even tap into the amazing acoustic setting to utilise your guitar as an electro-acoustic.
The pride of British amps. Laney specialise in tight gain and a wide range of crisp cleans, and the Lionheart stays true to their mantra. These all-tube beasts can handle those softer moments when you need, but truly excel at crunch and high gain. An excellent choice for modern players who still want the characteristics of a good single coil guitar.
You can get a Lionheart amp in combo variations, as well as lunchbox head setups so you can switch out the speakers to your preferences.
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