Obviously, a good guitar tone depends on a good amplifier.
Of course, if you just started learning the guitar, you won’t need a bulky Marshal stack – you want to get something affordable and convenient.
However, if you are stepping up the game, and you need an amp that you can gig with or record in a studio, you will definitely need an amp that can serve you well.
In this article, we are going to review the best guitar amps under 500 dollars.
Moreover, we are reviewing the best valve and solid-state amp options for the money.
Well, when investing in an amp, try to do research as much as possible.
Also, try the amp before purchasing if possible. That will assure you whether you are going for the right one or not.
Continue reading, and learn about our top picks for amps in this price range.
Vox AC10C1 Reviews(Best guitar amps under 500)
Well, Vox amplifiers have been around since the very beginning of rock&roll.
Namely, artists such as Hank Marvin, George Harrison, Brian May, Pete Townshend, Mark Knopfler, Johny Greenwood, have all tracked guitars on legendary records using a Vox amplifier.
The Vox AC10C1 is a 10W tube amp combo with one 10’ Celestion speaker.
It has two EL84 power tubes and two 12AX7 tubes in the preamplifier.
On its top panel, you’ll find the input, control knobs for Gain, Bass, Treble, Volume, and Reverb, and the power switch. Additionally, on the back, there is a jack for a 16Ohm external speaker.
Of course, being a compact amp that packs 10W of tube power, the Vox AC10C1 is a great amp both for playing gigs and for recording in the studio.
- Warm and natural tube sound;
- Great for small gigging and for studio recording;
- Classy look;
- Of course, this model is way cheaper compared to the Vox amps that the rock stars are playing – this means that Vox cuts some corners here and there. As a result, there are owners that have experienced unpleasant things, like “rattle” coming from the amp.
Orange Crush Pro CR60C Reviews
Of course, Orange amps have made a lot of history too. Many famous players use these amps due to their capability to produce great overdriven and clean tones, and because they are built like tanks.
The Orange Crush Pro CR60C is a 60W solid-state combo, with one twelve-inch speaker.
Moreover, it has two switchable channels (Clean and Dirty) with separate control knobs.
While the Clean channel has only Volume, Bass, and Treble knobs, the Dirty channel has Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, and Volume control knobs.
Then, there is the level control knob and the mode switch for the built-in Reverb, and the Master Volume control knob.
In addition, the built-in Reverb is a digital one, and it has three modes: Plate, Hall, and Spring.
Obviously, the CR60C is a very robust combo and can stand the beatings of the road without a problem. Also, it looks very nice.
- Great sound – from Crystal Clear, through Crunch, to High-Gain tone, the CR60C produces tones with great articulation and sustain;
- No cons!
Fender Champion 100 (Best guitar amps under 500)
The biggest model from Fender’s Champion series is truly a great solid-state combo amplifier. The Fender Champion 100 provides a 100Watts of RMS power through two twelve-inch Fender Special Design speakers.
It has two switchable channels – the first channel provides a clean sound, while the second channel offers a couple of different Voicings.
Moreover, it has these built-in effects: Auto-Wah, Flanger, Vibratone, Chorus+Delay +Reverb, Delay, Tremolo, Reverb, and Reverb+Delay.
The first channel has Volume, two-band EQ, FX Level, FX select knobs, and a Tap-tempo button. In addition, the second channel has all of that, plus a Gain control knob, a Middle control knob, and a Voice switch.
The Voice switch allows you to pick from Jazz, Tweed, Blackface, British, and Metal voices. Also, the Champion 100 has a Footswitch jack, 1/8 Aux-in and Headphones jacks, a Pre-amp out, and Power-in jack.
- Very versatile;
- Impressive clean sound;
- Powerful and loud enough for gigging;
- Well, the built-in overdriven tones are not the best ones you can get.
Orange Crush Pro CR120H
Well, it is a well-known fact that Orange makes one of the best sounding solid-state amplifiers. Undoubtedly, all of their products are very well-crafted and sturdy too.
The Orange Crush Pro 120 Head is a solid-state amplifier with 120Watts of power.
Furthermore, it has a Clean and a Dirty channel (switchable), and a built-in digital Reverb with a level control knob and three modes (Spring/Hall/Plate).
The Clean channel has a two-band EQ control knobs and a Volume knob.
The Dirty channel has three-band EQ, Volume, ad Gain control knobs.
Basically, this amp head has the same circuit and controls just like the CR60C combo, with the only differences in the output power of the amplifier, and the input/output jacks. On its back panel, you’ll find Effects Loop Send/Return jacks, separate Footswitch jacks for channel-switching, and for the Reverb, and two Speaker output jacks (8Ohm-16Ohm).
- Remarkable sound;
- Extremely powerful;
- Exceptionally well-crafted;
- No cons;
Fender Bassbreaker 007 (Best guitar amps under 500)
The James Bond of guitar amplifiers – the Fender Bassbreaker 007 is a modern 7W tube amplifier combo with one ten-inch Celestion speaker.
This amp is packed with one EL84 power tube and two 12AX7 preamp tubes.
As a result of its combination of tubes, the Bassbreaker 007 has both an amazing overdrive and fantastic brightness.
On its control board, you’ll find a Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, and Master control knobs, plus a Treble Boost button-switch. On the back panel of the amp, you’ll find an External speaker out, a Line out, and a Footswitch jack.
Due to its low wattage, the Bassbreaker 007 breaks up into overdrive easily at lower volumes, which is very good for playing small gigs where you don’t want to overblow the rest of your band with your volume.
Also, the treble booster will help you out getting rich tone at a lower volume.
- Great tone at lower volumes – perfect for studio use;
- Its compact design and its line output make it convenient for smaller gigs;
- No cons – The Bassbreaker 007 is a great, lightweight and compact tube amp combo;
Egnater Tweaker Head 15
Briefly, the Egnater Tweaker 15 is a compact and flexible tube amp head.
It is powered up by two 6V6 tubes, and it has three 12AX7 tubes in the preamp.
On its front panel, you will find the power and the standby switches, the Gain, Master, and the Equalisation controls.
In spite of being a very simple and easy-to-use amp, the Tweaker 15 is a very versatile head. Well, the thing that makes it so versatile, is the small toggle switches.
It has a Vintage/Modern Voice switch, a USA/AC/British EQ switch, a Hot/Clean Gain switch, Bright/Normal switch, and a Tight/Deep switch.
Furthermore, on its back panel, the Egnater Tweaker 15 has Effects Loop jacks, Main and Extension speaker output jacks, a 4Ohm/8Ohm/16Ohm impedance switch, and a three-way AC switch. Undoubtedly, considering its wattage, and its price the Egnater Tweaker 15 head is truly an amazing one.
- It offers an awesome tone for hard rock genres;
- Of course, it is not a Marshall JTM45 we are talking about here, but hey, the Egnater Tweaker, with its price, and tone flexibility, is definitely a great choice for someone that wants to get into the world of tube amps.
Fender Pro Junior IV Reviews(Best guitar amps under 500)
Of course, most of the beginner guitar players will look for an amp that has a ton of bells and whistles. However, if you are the type of player that has already come to the conclusion (at which we all come at some point) that the tone comes from the fingers and that you don’t need all the fancy features, and instead you just want to plug and play, the Fender Pro Junior IV is a perfect option for you.
This combo has two EL84 power tubes, and two 12AX7’s in the preamplifier.
It has a ten-inch Jensen speaker.
On its top panel, it has just a guitar input, a power switch, a power indicator, and Volume and Tone control knobs.
Namely, this amp is very touch-responsive, and dynamic when it comes to tone. Also, it looks fantastic with its tweed covering, chicken head knobs, and vintage-looking grill cloth.
- No bells and whistles;
- Great sensitivity and dynamics – great for blues and rock genres;
- Compact, lightweight, and sturdy;
- No cons!
Marshal DSL20HR Reviews
The Marshal DSL20HR head is a tube amplifier that’s capable of huge tones and massive power. It has two EL34 power tubes and three ECC83 preamp tubes.
Furthermore, it has two channels – Classic Gain, and Ultra Gain, it has a built-in digital Reverb, three-band EQ, and switchable output power.
On its control panel, you’ll find the power switch a three-way Low(10W)/Standby/High(20W) switch, channel-select switch, tone shift button-switch, control knobs for Reverb, Resonance, Presence, Bass, Middle, Treble, and separate Volume and Gain control knobs for each of the channels.
On its back, the DSL20HR has one 16Ohm speaker out jack, two 8-16Ohm speaker output jacks, 1/8 emulated output jack and aux-in jacks, a Footswitch jack, and FX Loop jacks.
Due to its power attenuation option, emulated out and aux-in, the DSL20HR is great for practice, and because of its power and sound, it is also great for recording and gigging.
- Huge sound;
- Affordable for what it offers;
- Unfortunately, the Ultra Gain channel doesn’t take pedals very well. Well, this might not be a concern for you, if you don’t play metal. However, if you are on the heavy side, that would be a huge turn-off.
Roland Blues Cube Hot (Best guitar amps under 500)
In short, the Roland Blues Cube Hot is a versatile combo amplifier with one twelve-inch speaker and total power of 30Watts.
Furthermore, on its top panel, the Blues Cube Hot has Tone(Bright) and Boost button-switches, Volume control knob, three-band EQ control knobs, Reverb level knob, Master control knob, and a four-way power-attenuation switch. Because of its attenuation switch (0.5W/5W/15W/Max), this combo is perfect for a wide variety of uses.
On the back of the amp, you will find a Footswitch jack, a 1/4’ Headphones jack, a Line output jack, and a USB port for recording.
It should be noted, the Blues Cube Hot utilizes Roland’s “Tube Logic” tube emulation, which makes this combo sound like a tube amplifier, although it is a solid-state one.
- Sounds just like a tube amp!
- Compact, lightweight and easy-to-use;
- Fantastic features;
- Of course, if you are looking for a tube amp sound from a solid-state combo, the Roland Blues Cube Hot is the closest you can get. Still, it is not a real tube amplifier, so don’t expect the warm and natural tones you can get out of a tube amplifier.
Briefly, you can get a pretty decent amplifier with a budget of five hundred bucks.
Of course, before purchasing one, you should do proper research, and if possible you should try the amp yourself. In summary, it all depends on your personal wants and needs.
However, our top one pick would be the Fender Pro Junior IV amp.
Without a doubt, the Fender Pro Junior IV is the most straight-forward combo that you can get, it has a great tone, it is very touch-sensitive, and it is lightweight and compact.
Well, generally the thing that makes us like a particular amp, is how it sounds.
Definitely, the Fender Pro Junior IV is the real deal.