11 Best Amps for Gigging

Light Weight

Boss Katana

Low Cost Tube

Fender Pro Junior

Life as a guitar player can feel like you're always on the go. You may spend your days in an office, and then play live shows at night. Maybe you are part of a cover band that plays gigs all over town- or maybe you just want to practice with some friends every now and again. No matter what your lifestyle is, it's important to have the right gear for playing live! This blog post will take a look at 11 amps that are fantastic for gigging musicians. We'll talk about why these amps were chosen, what they offer, and who they might be best suited for.

#1 Best Amp for Gigging: George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe

Pro:

  • Designed to be lightweight
  • More Headroom

Con:

  • More expensive than normal Hot Rod Deluxe

Key Features:

Lightweight: With a weight of only 40 pounds, the GB Hot Rod Deluxe is perfect for gigging musicians, and those who love to travel.

More Headroom: The GB Hot Rod Deluxe's unique design allows it to produce more headroom than other amps in its class. This means that you can crank your amp up without worrying about unwanted distortion or overdrive.

Versatility: You'll be able to craft your own sound with this amp, thanks to its incredible responsiveness to stomp box effects. The GB Hot Rod Deluxe contains all that classic Fender tone, and then some.

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe is the best amp for gigging because it is based off a legendary amp, it was designed to be lighter, and was designed to be louder.  

This amp is the best gigging amp under $1000 for sure.  The addition of extra headroom means that this amp can be pushed further before it begins to distort.  This allows you to get much louder clean sounds than available in the normal Hot Rod Deluxe.  Its sound can fill any bar or theatre.  

Along with that, George Benson wants all his signature amps to be lightweight.  This amp is about 10 pounds lighter than the normal Hot Rod Deluxe, which might not sound like a lot, but your arm will notice it when carrying it to a gig.  Making this one of the best lightweight guitar amps for gigging.

Best Lightweight Amp for Gigging: Fender Pro Junior

Pro:

  • Great Tone
  • Low Price

Con:

  • Super simple

Key Features:

One 10 Inch Speaker: The Fender Pro Junior IV is a 15-watt, 1 x 10" amplifier that delivers the goods with its modified volume circuit and classic tweed appearance.

Simple Circuity: This amp is a straightforward tone machine ideal for performing guitarists who need great tone and remarkably touch-sensitive dynamic response.

Light Weight: At just 22 lbs, this amp's portability makes it an excellent choice for gigging musicians.

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Fender Pro Junior is one of the best amps for small to medium gigs.  It is loud enough to play with a drummer, but not much more.  The Pro Junior could absolutely be used in venues like bars, or areas of similar size.  

The Simplicity of the Pro Junior can be a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it.  There are simply three things on top, a volume knob, a tone knob, and the on/off switch.  This allows for you to stop meddling with your settings so much, and get to playing.  This also means that the circuitry of the amp is much smaller than a typical Fender amp, so the tone you get out of it is more pure than any other amp.  

Overall, this amp is killer for small to medium sized gigs, and is certainly not worth overlooking.

Best Modeling Amp for Gigs: Boss Katana

Pro:

  • Super Loud
  • Great Tonal Options

Con:

  • Tone is Obviously Solid State

Key Features:

Two 12 Inch Speakers: This version of the Boss Katana is a 2 by 12 amplifier meaning it comes equipped with Two 12 inch speakers.  These speakers are specially designed by Boss to deliver crisp singing highs and articulate lows while pumping out a ton of volume.

Solid State Amplifier: Solid State Amplifiers are known for generally being a lot lighter than traditional tube amplifiers.  They also require a lot less maintenance than a tube amplifier.

Built in Effects: The Boss Katana includes a wide array of effects that can be applied to your signal super quickly via the smartphone application.

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Boss Katana 212 is a great option for the gigging musician due to its low price tag, high volume, and great tone.  

The Boss Katana comes in priced well below most of the other amps on this list.  Its low price tag gives people with a lower budget an opportunity for a great amp.

This amp has two 12 inch speakers.  Two 12 inch speakers can pump out a ton of sound.  This amp can get extremely loud, and will serve you well in any bar or theatre.

The tone of this amp is top notch compared to any other solid state amp.  Obviously it cannot quite replicate the tone of a tube amp, but this is about as close as a solid state amp has ever gotten.

This makes the Boss Katana the best solid state amp for gigging.

Best Acoustic Guitar amp for Gigging: Fender Acoustasonic

Pro:

  • Can be used for guitar and vocals at once

Con:

  • Too small to use with a drummer

Key Features:

Two 6 Inch Speakers: The Acoustic 40 amplifier features two 6 inch speakers that deliver a full and balanced sound.

Vocal Amp: This amp allows you to use one of the inputs for a microphone, so you can run your vocals as well as a guitar through the amplifier at the same time.

Simple but Effective:
The Acoustic 40 amplifier is designed to provide clean, clear amplification for any performance situation without all the bells and whistles. It’s perfect for small venues where you need to amplify your vocals and acoustic guitar, but don’t want to carry around a separate PA system.

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Fender Acoustasonic is a great option for someone that is looking for a portable guitar amp that can allow them to play solo shows with just once piece of equipment.

Since the Fender Acoustasonic can be used for guitar and vocals at the same time, it is a wonderful choice for someone that does small, coffee shop style, shows by themselves.

It also is great for a duo where one sings and the other plays.  It is plenty loud for smaller venues, but couldn't be used in any situation with a live drummer because the drums will simply over power it.

Best Lightweight Modeling Amp: Fender Mustang

Pros:

  • Tonnes of amazing tones 
  • Switch tones in a matter of seconds
  • Super Lightweight

Cons:

  • Just barely loud enough to gig with.  Not very fit for larger venues

Key Features:

Lightweight: Fender's new, innovative design of the Mustang GT makes it one of the lightest and most portable modeling amp ever.

Presets:
The Mustang GT comes with 200 onboard presets that are perfect for any style of music. You can also easily create your own custom presets to store in memory or share with friends.

Low Price: With a street price under $400, the Mustang GT is an incredible value!

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Fender Mustang is one of the best lightweight amps for gigging because it offers so much all in a great sounding affordable amp.  

The Fender Mustang comes stock with over 200 presets that are all made to replicate classic guitar tones.  They have sounds that replicate Prince, Eddie Van Halen, Hendrix and tonnes more.  Not only do they have they presets, but you can create your own.  With different amps, effects, and cabs to choose from, you will never run out of tones to create.

Overall, the value of this amp is really hard to beat.  Coming in at a price under $400 really sets this amp apart from a bunch of other amps that are considered gigging amps.  Overall this is one of the best modeling amps out there, and best lightweight amps out there today.  

Best Beginner Amp for Gigging: Fender Champion

Key Features:

Tonal Versatility: This amp gives you all the tonal versatility you could want in a small package. You can get clean and overdriven tones, British and modern amp voicings, and various effects including reverb, delay, and more.

Low Price: This amp is one of the most affordable options on the market today. It's perfect for beginner guitarists or anyone on a budget.

Lightweight: This amp is lightweight and easy to transport, making it perfect for taking to gigs or rehearsals.

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Fender Champion amp is a great option for someone that wants an amp big enough to gig with, but isn't working with a massive budget.  It comes in just around $250, making it one of the most affordable amps on this list.  

Something that is great about this amp is all the different sounds you can create with it.  This amp comes with different voicings and effects.  It comes with voicings for blues, rock, metal, funk, and everything in-between.  Some of the effects include reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, and distortion. 

One final thing to consider is this amps weight.  After I personally spent years lugging around a 60lbs tube amp, I switched to a lightweight solid state amp for gigging, and I couldn't be happier with that choice.  Buying a lightweight amp for gigging will save you a lot of stress and struggle.  Also your back will thank you for not having to carry around such a heavy amp.

Best Cheap amp for Gigging: Fender Frontman

Key Features:

Great for Beginners: If you're just starting out, this amp is the perfect fit. It has a 10" speaker and 10 watts of power, giving you plenty of volume to play with your electric guitar.

Intuitive Controls: The Frontman 10G features an overdrive control that lets you add some grit to your sound. There's also a 3-band EQ so you can shape your tone just right.

Lightweight and Low Cost: At only 7 pounds, this amp is super portable and easy to carry around for gigs or jam sessions. And at only $99, it's great for beginners who are on a budget!

Why is this the Best Amp for Gigging?

The Fender Frontman is a great amp for super tiny gigs.  You might not be able to really play with this amp for a bar gig, but you certainly can play with it in a tiny coffee shop or basement.  

As the cheapest option on this list, the Frontman comes in under $100, making it affordable for just about everyone.  

If you're on a budget, and need an amp for tiny gigs.  The Fender Frontman won't let you down.

Honorable Mentions

Vox AC15

The Vox AC15 is a legendary amp with an iconic sound.  Its tone is often described as "Jangly".  The AC15 gives you that classic British sound heard on records by The Beatles, The Animals, and The Yardbirds.  

It's not only great for classic British Rock though.  Many players use them for jazz and blues.  Whenever I go to a jazz jam, I often times see someone with an AC15.

Vox Valvetronics

The Vox Valvetronics series is one of the best series of low cost modeling amps.  The valvetronics give you an insane amount of tonal options, and really allows you to create whatever sound you need for any gig.  

Marshall MG40

Classic Amp Sound: The Marshall MG40 gives you the sound and feel of a classic amp, without all the extra weight. This lightweight amp is perfect for gigging musicians who need a reliable, versatile amp that can handle any situation.

Affordable and Versatile:  The Marshall MG40 is perfect for any musician on a budget. This amp is packed with features, including a 12 inch speaker, 3 channels, and an emulated headphone output. You'll be able to get the sound you need for any style of music.

Looks Great: The Marshall MG40 looks as good as it sounds. With its black vinyl covering and silver piping,

Orange 35RT

10 Inch Speaker: The Orange Crush 35RT guitar amplifier is equipped with a 10 inch speaker that will deliver the kind of punch and attack you've been looking for in your amplifier.

Onboard Tuner: This feature makes it easy to keep your guitar in tune, so you can focus on rocking out instead of tuning up.

Affordable: If you're looking for an affordable, high quality amp that won't break the bank, look no further than the Orange Crush 35RT. It's perfect for any player who wants to get their hands on a classic sounding amp without having to pay a fortune!