If you are a guitarist you most definitely know that there is no better sound than that produced by a fine clean guitar amp. A cool clean tone without distortion can change the dynamics of a guitar performance, whether you are playing at home, in a band or at a venue, a clean guitar amp is a dream for many guitarists.
Tube amplifiers make the best clean guitar amp, but recently some hybrid type amps have emerged that give the good old vacuum tube amps a run for their money. If you are looking to purchase the best clean guitar amp read on, this article will provide an honest review of some of the best guitar amps available in the market.
What to look for when buying clean guitar amp
Knowing what to look for when buying a clean guitar amp can be challenging especially for a first-time buyer. Here are some tips on how to buy the best clean guitar amp:
- Never purchase the first amp that you see no matter how impressive it seems. Always look around and see what other options are available
- There are 3 types of amps, tube-based amps, solid state amps and combined amps. Tube amps offer the best clean sound but combined amps have proven to quite as good as well.
- Always look at the three factors that generate distortions: the power amp, the preamp, and the speakers. A balance of the three will give you the best sound.
- Control is also important; as a guitarist, you want to have maximum control of your sound. When purchasing a guitar preamp always check out the amount of control an amp gives you, especially when it comes to tone and volume.
- An amp with multiple channels will allow you to use a lot of different tones.
- Also look for some additional features and compare with the price tag.
Some of the best clean guitar amps available on the market include:
Fender ’65 Twin Reverb 85-Watt 2×12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
The Fender ’65 Twin Reverb is, as the name suggests, a reproduction of a classic Fender amp that has always been loved by many. The reverb now comes with 85 watts of loud clean guitar tone that can be cranked into overdrive thanks to the tubes used.
It features 4 x 6L6 Groove Tubes output tubes, 4 x 12AX7 preamp tubes and 2 x 12AT7 preamp tubes, the combination of these tubes allows for a super clean sound that is difficult to get from any other device on the market. The sound produced is best suited to rock, blues and country music genres. The guitar amp comes equipped with 2 8-ohm Jensen C-12K speakers that add on to the clarity and quality of the sound.
In terms of control, the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb allows you maximum control on the tone through the availability of dual channels normal and vibrato. There is a two-button switch to toggle between reverb and vibrato. When it comes to looks the twin reverb is a beauty, it comes in a black textured vinyl covering and a silver grille cloth.
- It has a great clean sound that is a perfect platform for pedals
- The sounds actually get better the louder you play
- The control functions are very welcomed
- Some people describe mesa-like hiss that is hard to ignore
- The price is on the high side for personal use
- After some time, it may need to be retubed and rebiased to maintain the clean sound output
VOX AC30VR Guitar Combo Amplifier
The best way to describe the VOX AC30VR is that it is a modern version of the British classic VOX. However, it was designed to be a more affordable version so some parts of the VOX AC30VR may look cheap but its performance is world class.
It is a combo amp, meaning it is a tube and solid-state amplifier which gives it a more diverse soundscape of authentic and satisfying tones. The use of one tube is what reduces the price of the VOX AC30VR significantly but make no mistake, its sound is still as clean as it could be.
It features a number of controls including master volume and a 3 band equalizer dirty channel that operates in 2 modes. The amp is not as loud as the other amps put this is because the focus was on sound quality and not volume.
The sound quality is amazing for an amp of this price. Other features include 2 x 12-Inch Celestion VX12 Speakers, an 8 Ohm Extension Speaker output, and pedal response. Overall, it is a great amp, it could be sold for even more without drawing complaints.
- Credible tone and improved reliability
- Doesn’t lose sound quality when cranked up
- Tone isn’t quite as warm as the classic version
- The plastic carry handles give away its budget price
- Heavy, weighs 50.7 pounds
Marshall DSL5C 1×10″ 5-Watt 2-Channel Tube Combo Guitar Amp
The Marshall DSL5C is quite an affordable tube amp for anyone who wants an authentic and clean sound similar to the one produced by high-end models. It uses a combination of 2 tubes, the ECC83 and ECC99 tubes to produce a satisfying guitar sound.
The quality of the tone produced by using a combination of these tubes is boosted by the built-in Celestion Ten-30 10” custom-voiced speaker which provides, even more, clarity to the sound. The Marshall DSL5C offers the user more control over the sound, it has 2 foot-switchable channels, a deep switch, and rear-panel by-passable effects loop.
It can amplify guitar sound up to 15 watts with a tweakable combo that lets you produce a variety of tones including the plexi-style cleans and the JCM800-esque snarl. It is really a great buy for anyone who is on a budget and needs a clean guitar amp.
- Works well in a home studio setup
- Sounds good even at low volumes
- Has all Marshall qualities at an affordable price
- Low-end bass causes the amp to damage quickly
- The effects loop could have been better