Top 10 Guitar Amps For Your Christmas Wishlist
2020 was a special year for guitar amps, with plenty of new and innovative releases whetting the appetites of guitarists worldwide.
Just in time for the holiday season, we've compiled a top 10 list of some of our favourite amplifiers from the past year - and thrown in a few best-sellers for good measure!
It's that time of the year again. As Christmas draws closer, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to buying presents - whether you're shopping for someone close or looking to treat yourself!
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled this neat little top 10 guitar amps list so that you can easily find the perfect new amp to plug into on Christmas day. We’ve ensured that there’s a lot of diversity, regarding not only price but also the types of tones that these contenders can offer. So whether you’re a hard-rocking metalhead or a boutique-style blues amp aficionado - we’re confident that you’ll find an inspiring tone-machine to annoy the neighbours with!
BOSS unveiled its second generation of flagship guitar amplifiers in October 2019 - the Katana MkII series! While the originals received worldwide acclaim for their authentic tube tones, high-quality built-in effects and brilliant value, the MkII editions were enhanced with more sounds, effects and connectivity options for even greater versatility. It’s no surprise that these have been best-sellers for the past year - they’re perfect for both home practice and gigging!
BOSS quickly followed up its Katana MkII launch with the release of its highly-innovative Waza-Air wireless headphones. This all-in-one personal guitar amp system won the prestigious ‘Best in Show’ award at the 2020 NAMM Show, and sends pro-grade amp tones straight to your ears! With sounds that derive from the Katana series, other cutting-edge features include immersive ‘Gyro Ambience’ that adds real-time surround sound for a genuine studio, stage and room feel, as well as BOSS ‘Tone Studio’ compatibility. Is this the ultimate silent guitar practice solution? We think so!
BOSS Katana MkII Amps on Andertons T.V.
When Yamaha launched its THR amp range a few years ago, frankly, it took the industry by storm! Marketed as all-encompassing desktop amps, original Yamaha THRs were distinctive for their lightweight lunchbox-style enclosures and praised for the versatile tones that they could offer - as well as their surprising volume! In late 2019, Yamaha gave it’s THR range a significant makeover with the launch of the THR-II series - which have been immensely popular in 2020!
Yamaha's THR-II amps retain the same form-factor of their older counterparts, albeit with slightly fancier front grille styling. The main upgrades have more to do with their feature-sets, with Yamaha packing its second-iteration THRs with almost twice as many amp and mic emulations. Also offering wireless compatibility with Line 6's G10T transmitter and Bluetooth support for stereo audio playback, the USB connectivity enables direct recording to your computer's DAW software too - no external interfaces required!
The Japanese brand even unveiled a dedicated acoustic version just a couple of months ago - the THR-30IIA. Equipped with handy features for strummers and pluckers, this portable amplifier delivers beautiful stereo sounds with built-in effects and detailed microphone emulations. It’s simply the perfect acoustic companion.
Yamaha THR-II Amps on Andertons T.V.
For 2020, Victory rebranded its flagship 'The Countess' amplifiers to a name more befitting of their versatility. Now referred to as 'The Jack' series, these newly-named amps keep all of the features that users loved about the originals, and ultimately, they’re designed to cover lots of sonic territory with pure valve power!
Victory’s ‘The Jack’ range comprises several models. Starting with the pedalboard-friendly V4 preamp, this unit allows you to attain gorgeous Victory tones through practically any amplifier, while the pint-sized V30 MkII heads are perfectly-made for gigging with their small chassis’ and light construction. The mighty V130 'Super Jack' 100w head is the king of the lineup - geared up for filling the largest of venues with unbridled British roar!
All versions of Victory's 'The Jack' boast two tweakable channels and ingenious mode switches that really expand their tonal palettes. Allowing you to add some sizzling gain to their clean channels for saturated crunch sounds, the V130 goes a step further with its overdrive channel voicing switch that captures the characteristics of Victory's high-gain VX 'The Kraken' amplifiers.
Victory 'The Super Jack' Amp Demo
The Orange Tiny Terror is a modern classic, and was largely responsible for kicking off the lunchbox-style amp craze more than 10 years ago. Taking its pocket-sized powerhouse one step further, Orange released the Terror Stamp at the 2020 NAMM Show - a pedalboard-friendly amplifier that puts your core guitar tones quite literally at your feet!
Packing all of the punch of the minuscule Micro Terror and Micro Dark amps into an even smaller format, this valve/solid-state hybrid amp brings 20-watts of killer Orange tone in the most portable of packages. A footswitchable master volume makes it easy to increase the Terror Stamp’s level for solos, while a buffered effects loop allows you to use your modulation and time-based effects seamlessly with the unit. There’s even a cab-simulated headphone output!
Orange Terror Stamp on Andertons T.V.
Fender made a giant leap into the world of amp modelling with its innovative Tone Master combos in 2019. For Summer 2020, the American giant took this digital valve-less formula to new sonic heights with the release of its limited edition Tone Master Blonde amplifiers. Not only do they sport classy blonde tolex and oxblood grille cloths, but they have some cool new features up their sleeves too!
Equipped with lightweight Celestion Neo Creamback speakers and new impulse responses, these cutting-edge amps also received a variety of firmware updates for improved usability. This included the removal of the virtual “bright cap” on the Deluxe, which is a very popular mod on the valve versions as it allows for a smoother overdrive when using pedals, while the reverb was also modified for greater ambient control at lower volumes.
Fender Tone Master Blonde Amps on Andertons T.V.
We have a second entry in this list from Fender, which kind of breaks the rules. But their new-for-2020, feature-rich Mustang LT50 amp is definitely worthy of a shout and we just couldn’t resist including it! Incorporating everything that Fender has learned over the years, producing some of the world’s most coveted amplifiers, the Mustang LT50 is an ultra-versatile tonal chameleon packed with a wealth of “greatest hits” tone presets - in their own words!
Providing excellent projection with its 50-watts of power and high-quality 12-inch speaker, the Fender Mustang LT50 is also super-easy to dial-in thanks to its full-colour display and intuitive virtual signal chain that gives you a wide palette of amp and effect models. The free, accompanying TONE 3.0 software also allows you to manage your custom-made patches and tweak them to perfection with a variety of parameters.
Fender Mustang LT50 Amp on Andertons T.V.
Laney's superb CUB-SUPER amps bring boutique style and sound back at a price-point that most can afford. Unleashed at the 2020 NAMM Show, these stylish single-channel amps dish out genuine valve-powered tones with their EL84 output tubes and 12AX7-driven preamp stages. However, a number of modern appointments bring them up to scratch for today's musicians too!
Boasting footswitchable boost functions that allow you to pump your solos up in a mix, the Laney CUB-SUPER amplifiers also come equipped with a built-in digital spring reverb algorithm that derives from the amazing Black Country Customs Secret Path pedal. But perhaps best of all, the CUB-SUPERs all feature effects loops - meaning that you can use ambient and modulation pedals between their preamp and power amp sections for optimal sonics.
Laney CUB-SUPER Amps on Andertons T.V.
Hughes & Kettner have always had a stellar reputation for innovating and pushing the boundaries of guitar amp engineering. Their new-for-2020 "Spirit Of" Nano heads pay testament to that perception - pumping out 50-watts of pure analogue tone from enclosures that weigh just a mere 1.1kg and are no bigger than most pedals!
Making use of their award-winning 'Spirit Tone Generator' technology, H&K's Nano amplifier heads offer an authentic tube-like feel and response completely free of latency. Available in three different designs - Spirit Of Vintage, Spirit Of Rock and Spirit Of Metal - players of all disciplines and styles are accommodated for. Key features include 'Sagging' controls for volume-independent power amp saturation, headphone outputs with RedBox cabinet emulation and non-frequency compensated line outs. They do a lot!
Hughes & Kettner Nano Amps Official Video
Kinsman amps are perfect for beginners just starting out on their guitar journeys. With dedicated electric, bass and acoustic amplifiers forming their lineup - pretty much all types of players are catered for! And you really don’t have to spend much money to get a great tone with these amps - in fact, all current Kinsman models cost less than £120!
The KGX15R and KGX30R electric guitar amps are fantastic for the home, but the latter can even be used for rehearsals and gigs with its full 30-watts of headroom and 2 versatile clean/overdrive channels. Both versions boast headphone outputs for silent practice too, as well as built-in reverb effects that allow you to add some tasteful ambience to your tones.Shop All Practice Amps!
The MG Series has been part of Marshall’s lineup for years. In fact, they’ve become some of the best-selling solid-state amplifiers ever made! A popular choice with beginners for their affordability, Marshall’s MG amplifiers provide iconic “black & gold” sounds but without traditional valve power. Adhering to a transistor-driven design, Marshall MG amps are suitable for bedroom levels but still have enough punch and volume for live scenarios - particularly the bigger ones.
Speaking of which, there’s a huge amount of choice in the MG lineup when it comes to size and features. Ranging from highly-portable 10-watt and 15-watt combos all the way up to 100-watt tone machines, the MG range caters for all price-points and playing needs. Some of those higher up in the range can be worth the extra money though, with more channels, built-in effects, and additional tone-shaping controls. But all models feature thoughtful headphones outputs for silent practice, as well as auxiliary inputs that enable you to jam along to your favourite tracks from a connected phone or MP3 player!
If you're looking for something really "cool" this Christmas though (pun intended), why not kit out your practice space or studio with the Marshall fridge? It doesn't go to 11, but it'll keep your beers chilled!