9 Best Amp for Stratocaster (2021 List)

The Stratocaster has many different legendary tones to offer.  From Clapton, to Hendrix, to Gilmour, to Mayer.  The list goes on and on.  Even after all these years players are still finding new ways to use this instrument.  Innovators like Cory Wong have recently opened up a whole to new world of Stratocaster sounds.  All of these legends have used a myriad of different amps, but what is the best amp for a Stratocaster?

The Real question is: What kind of sound do you want?  Each amp offers its own unique fingerprint of sound, and each person has their own unique preferences for what they want to hear.  Because of that we will be listing the best amps for a Stratocaster by a wide consensus.  The amps that have paired well with these instruments in many different genres for years, and will continue to do so.  

Stratocasters have been known to produce sounds in R&B, Rock, Country, Soul, Funk and many different genres.  They are extremely versatile instruments, and because of that we need to have a very diverse list that can cover all bases.

Without further ado, here are the best amps for Stratocasters.

Best Amp for Fender and Squier Strat

Some people wonder if there is a difference in the best amps for a Squier Strat vs. a Fender Strat.  In reality, there isn't an amp that is great for a squier that is bad for a fender.  What is good for one is good for the other.

Top Pick: Fender Twin Reverb

Pros:

  • Out of this world tone
  • Extreme control over your tone
  • Takes pedals extremely well
  • Top tier quality
  • Can last a lifetime of playing
Cons:
  • Price is out of reach for some players
  • Very heavy

This is the one amp to rule them all.  This is the best amp for a Stratocaster.  No doubt in my mind.  The biggest issue with this amp however is its price.  Because the price is not accessible for players of all tiers.  The only other negative thing about this amp is that it is very heavy at 64 lbs.  Making it not very easy to haul around.

Now that we have all the negative out of the way, let's tell you about how great this amp can be.  The first time I plugged into this amp, in the musty basement of my college guitar teacher's basement, it felt like magic.  The tone from my $500 Mexican made Stratocaster blew me away.  I had never heard a tone that crisp.  When my teacher, who had been a jazz guitarist for 55+ years, plugged in the magic reached a whole new level.

This amp allows for the small details that great players do to shine through.  The small things that great players do can get muffled out by other things in many other amps, but not this one.  It allows for every little bit of sound to come through.  

If there was any amp we would classify as the "Best Amp for Stratocasters" it would certainly be this one.  Pairing a Stratocaster with a Fender amp, who would've guessed?

This amp was also mentioned in our "Best Jazz Guitar Amp for you" article.  Click here to read!

Other Great Amps for a Stratocaster
Fender Hot Rod DeVille

Pros:

  • Great quality
  • Reasonable price
  • Classic Fender tube tone
  • Can put out massive volume
  • Takes pedals extremely well

Cons:

  • Very heavy (50 lbs)
  • Some issues with reverb tanks
  • Almost too loud

The Fender Hot Rod DeVille is a crazy value.  The quality of the amp you get for a medium level price is off the charts.  This has been personally one of my favorite amps for a long time because of its build quality and tone.  It can be used on the road, in the studio, or in the basement.  

One of the best things about this amp is its versatility.  It has an amazing breakup tone, and once there is a little overdrive on the signal, this amp really begins to shine.  Couple that with the fact that this amp offers great clean tones as well, and you have an amazingly versatile amp.  I, personally, have used this amp for jazz gigs, country gigs, funk gigs, and rock gigs.  This amp can do almost anything you need it to.  Slap on a very affordable price tag with a quality level that can last you a lifetime, and you have an amp that cannot disappoint.

For someone in the middle price range, this amp is absolutely killer.

Fender Blues Junior

Pros:

  • Great Price
  • Professional level tone
  • Portable tube amp
  • Compact size
  • Will last a lifetime

Cons:

  • Does not have the same volume as a Hot Rod DeVille
  • Not a lot of built in tone control

The Fender Blues Junior is a legendary amp.  It is a middle of the price range amp that has kept up with big name amps twice its price for decades.  Names like U2's Edge and Oasis' Noel Galligher have been seen using these amps for their whole careers.  These amps have a great reputation for a reason.

One of the best things about these amps is that they are not extremely heavy like most tube amps, but till put out killer tones.  Also the amp is a lot smaller than an amp like the Hot Rod DeVille or the Twin Reverb, so it is just all around a lot more portable.

If you are into Fender amps and are in the mid level price range the Blues Junior and Hot Rod DeVille are both great options for you to consider.  

Vox AC15C1

Pros:

  • Massive sound
  • Extreme clarity on clean signals
  • Can take two guitars at once

Cons:

  • A little pricier than similar Fender amps
  • Low quality control

Vox and Fender are the two biggest amp brands for clean tones.  Each has their own unique sound, but both consistently create great products.  The Vox AC15C1 is a 1 by 10, 15 watt, amplifier that can really pump out some massive sound.  I would say this amp is very comparable to a Fender Blues Junior.  They both offer great clean tones, can pump out similar volume levels, and offer a great clean slate for pedals to be put on top of.  

Something that sets it apart from a fender amp though is the classic Vox sound.  The Vox sound is a lot less in your face than the Fender sound.  It has a lot more of a laid back feel than Fender amps do.  I would prefer this amp for styles like Jazz and R&B over a Fender Blues Junior. 

Peavey Classic 30

Pros:

  • Can do clean and dirty very well
  • Super loud
  • Great "Fender style" tone
  • Extreme versatility

Cons:

  • Almost too loud for bedroom practice

This 30 watt amp is equipped with one 12 inch blue marvel speaker, 3 AX7 preamp tubes as well as 4 EL 84 power amp tubes.  To me these amps really have something special about them once the overdrive begins to kick in a little bit.  The natural overdriven tone of the amp is something really special.  It creates such a pure overdrive sound.  

Along with that this amp can also do super wet clean tones.  It can do genres like jazz and funk super well.  This amp really is all around killer.  I think especially if you are looking to have a little more grit on your playing this is the amp for you.  

Its price falls in the middle of the price spectrum, so it still isn't exactly cheap.  That's okay though because the difference between a low tier amp and a middle tier amp is extreme.  Middle tier amps are amps you can gig with, record with, or practice with for the rest of your life.  

Best amp under $400 for a Stratocaster
Fender Mustang

Pros: 

  • Tons of preinstalled tones
  • Can create your own presets and download others online
  • Is loud enough for coffee shops, musical pits, and other small to medium gigs
  • Super affordable
  • Great for any genre

Cons:

  • Tone is not as good as a tube amp
  • Some issues connecting the app to the amp

This is an amp we have a lot of experience with.  Many of us had used one model or another of a Fender Mustang.  This is because they are great for beginner and intermediate guitarists.  The versatility of a modeling amp is truly unmatched by any other amp on this list.  I've played gigs for musicals where I needed 7 or 8 different sounds, and I could flip back and forth between them instantly with no worry.  The price point is another thing about this amp that really makes it stand out.  You can get a crazy amount of different sounds out of this amp for a cheap price.

The biggest drawback with this amp is that to some guitar snobs, such as myself, the amp seems to be lacking in tone.  It is something that is almost not describable about how a tube amp just sounds better to our ears.  That being said, the vast majority of people will not be able to tell the difference.  Only a few guitar snobs here and there.  

My favorite part about this amp is its portability.  It only weighs about 17 lbs.  This makes it super easy to pick up and go to different gigs and shows.  Compare that to my 55 lbs Fender Hot Rod DeVille, and there is a world of difference.

For someone looking for an affordable amp this could very well be the best amp for a stratocaster.

Vox Adio Air GT 50W

Pros:

  • Extreme portability
  • Loud enough for small gigs
  • Modeling amp with tonnes of prebuilt tones

Cons:

  • Too small for medium sized gigs and up
  • A little pricey for the volume 

This is an extremely interesting little amp.  It is particularly strange because it is only a little bigger than small practice amps like the honey tone, but offers so much more in both volume and sound quality.  

Similar to the Fender Mustang, this Vox amplifier is a modeling amp.  This means that it has prebuilt in setting so that you can change the tone completely in a matter of seconds.  It is "modeling" the sound of other amps and pedals.  

I think although this amp is in the "Under $400" section, I believe this amp to be a little pricey because it would be pretty hard to play anywhere except a coffee shop with this amp. 

All that being said.  If you are looking for an amp purely for home use and maybe super small gigs.  This amp can surely get you by.

Frequently Asked Questions - Best Amp for Stratocaster
What amps did Jimi Hendrix use?

Hendrix was known mainly for playing two amps.  A Marshall Super 100, and a Fender Twin Reverb.  The Twin Reverb was already mentioned on this list as the best amp for a Stratocaster.  It offers an amazing canvas of sound for you to then make your own mark on.  

You can hear Jimi using the Marshall amp a lot towards the end of his career.  Many songs off of Electric Ladyland feature this amp.  

Fender Twin Reverb
Marshall Amplifier and Cab
What amp does John Mayer use?

All of the amps John Mayer uses are crazy expensive amps, that are super are to find.  The Blues Junior, Hot Rod DeVille, or Twin Reverb amps would all work great to get a John Mayer style sound.

Conclusion

The best amp for a Stratocaster is whatever amp is best for the sound you want and the budget you have.  The Twin Reverb is a crazy good amp, but spending that kind of money on an amp is quite a large investment.  

One of the most important things to remember is that tone is not just in the gear.  Tone is in the fingers.  The skills of the craftsman come through that amp as well.  Many people mistake things like vibrato, correct timing, and solid bending technique for tone.  So no matter what, make sure you practice.  

Getting better at your instrument is a life long journey that does not come easy.  Take your time and enjoy it.


Best Amp for Stratocaster - Dwane's Music

Best Amp for a Stratocaster - Colin J

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