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Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Justin Thomas

Displays Lev Baker playing the guitar

Author: Lev Baker

Lev grew up in the live music capital of the world, Austin, Texas. So, naturally, he was bound to be a musician. From a very young age, he was fascinated by the guitar. Lev even performed living room concerts for the family featuring him and a toy plastic guitar. Lev can still remember the feeling of unboxing his first Fender Squier and plugging it into the amp. He was hooked.

Over the years, Lev became classically trained and competed in classical guitar competitions all over the country. Lev has also recorded several albums and performed countless shows in various genres, including indie pop, alternative, jazz fusion, and heavy metal. Guitar was Lev’s first love, but he also plays bass, drums, and piano.

displays Edward Bond and Gibson Guitar

Editor: Edward Bond

Edward has been playing the guitar since 2002. So Edward has over 20 years of experience as a guitarist, has authored 15 guitar books, has written for renowned music blogs, and spent a decade teaching music. He began merging his passion for writing and music in 2020 and has written for big guitar websites such as Guitar Head Publishing and KillerGuitarRigs.com.

Originally from Seattle, Edward moved to Norway in 2021 for a master’s in music. He’s studied at the Jazz Institute Berlin and Conservatorium van Amsterdam, and currently resides in Trondheim. His education includes a European Jazz Master’s, a diploma in Film and Game Scoring from Sofia, and a Bachelor’s in Jazz from University of Oregon.

Edward has played in numerous bands and currently, Edward works on his own project Starship Infinity


Without guitar amps, electric guitars would be anticlimactic. Seriously, imagine a heavy metal band playing an unplugged concert. It would definitely not have the same effect. 

That said, a career or hobby in music is a financial investment, and a decent guitar amp will cost you. So, to find the best guitar tone, you’ll need to find a good quality guitar amp. 

But how much do guitar amps cost? And how much should you spend on one?

In this article, we will detail the cost of guitar amps, from affordable solid-state amps to high-end stack amps. Let’s get rockin’!


Full Guitar Amp Cost Rundown

Guitar amps come in all shapes and sizes, from battery-powered practice amps to massive full-stacks. I have divided this list into different sections to determine how much a guitar amp costs. I will break down the various cost ranges of: 

  • Solid-state amps.
  • Tube amps. 
  • Stack amps.
  • Acoustic amps.

Solid-State Amps

Most beginner guitarists start out with a solid-state amp. This is because they are more affordable and easier to use. While professional guitarists typically gravitate towards authentic tube amps, solid-state amps remain much more beginner and intermediate-friendly. 

Also, digital amp technology has improved immensely in recent years, so solid-state amps are sounding better and better each year. That said, not all solid-state amps are created equal. Depending on your budget and the size of your solid-state amp, you can expect to pay between $60 and $1,000. That is a considerable price range, so let’s dissect it further.

5 Solid-state Amps With Tons of Tube-like Vibes

Beginner and Cheap Solid-State Amps ($50 to $100)

Beginner solid-state amps won’t have many fancy features, but they will have all the basics you need to practice and possibly play smaller gigs. These incredibly budget-friendly amps cost less than $100, so they are usually the first amp an electric guitar player will own.

Cheap solid-state guitar amps are generally between 5 and 20 watts, so they won’t be loud enough for larger venues. But if you need something for bedroom practice, an affordable beginner solid-state amp is a great choice!

Here are a few of my top choices for beginner solid-state amps:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender Frontman 10G10No$79.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Boss Katana Mini 7W7Yes$99.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Orange Crush Micro3No$75Sweetwater
Thomann
Behringer HA-20R-UL20Yes$99.99Sweetwater
Blackstar Debut 10E10No$89.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Vox Pathfinder 1010No$109.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Peavey Backstage 10W10No$99.99Sweetwater
Laney LX1010No$109.99Sweetwater

Check out our article on the best guitar amps under $100 for more recommendations.

Mid-Range Solid-State Amps ($100 to $500)

Guitarists with a bit more budget who want a louder amp with more features should look for mid-range solid-state amps. These don’t cost astronomically more than beginner amps, but they pack a punch, and many of these amps can be used for gigging and even basic studio sessions. 

In fact, there are quite a few excellent guitar amps for around $200 that are solid beginner options. These amps may also be able to model popular tube amps, and some will even have built-in effects pedals.

For less than $500, you can get a decent solid-state amp with a high-quality sound. Will it sound as good as a $1,500 tube amp? Absolutely not. But it will come at a much more accessible price point!

Below are a couple of awesome mid-range solid-state amps:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender Mustang LT4040Yes$249.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Boss Katana 50 MKII50Yes$269.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Orange Crush 35RT35Yes$299.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Marshall MG50GFX50Yes$499.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Line 6 Catalyst 6060Yes$249.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Blackstar Debut 50R50Yes$249.99Sweetwater
Vox VT40X40Yes$349.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Line 6 Spider V 6060Yes$349.99Sweetwater
Peavey Vypyr X3 100-watt100Yes$399.99Sweetwater

Exploring the Fender Mustang LT40S | Fender Amplifiers | Fender

Premium Solid-State Amps ($500 to $1,000+)

Most amps in this price range are tube amps, but there are a few professional solid-state amps with premium features. These amps are designed for large gigs and recording sessions. Dedicated guitarists with high budgets will shoot for the moon with these amps. 

Premium guitar amps will be up to 100 watts and have many built-in effects and features. Amps like the JC-40 and the Tone Master are renowned as the best solid-state amps on the market.

Here are a few of the best premium solid-state amps out there:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb200No$1,049.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb100No$999.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Roland JC-4040Yes$699.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Orange Super Crush 100100No$699Sweetwater
Thomann
Roland Blues Cube Stage60No$899Sweetwater
Thomann
Boss Katana Artist 100w100Yes$599Sweetwater
Thomann
Quilter Labs Aviator Mach 3200Yes$1199Sweetwater
Thomann

Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus Guitar Amp

Tube Amps

Most professional guitarists prefer tube amps due to their warmer tone and responsiveness. While some professionals use solid-state amps, most touring and recording guitarists use tube amps. 

But before you jump the gun and purchase one, it is important to note that tube amps are considerably more expensive than solid-state amps. The cheapest options cost around $300, ranging up to $3,000 or more! Let’s break down what to expect for tube amps in different price ranges.

Tube Amp vs Solid State – What’s the Difference?

Cheap Tube Amps ($250 to $500)

There isn’t really a “cheap” option when it comes to tube amps. This is because an entry-level tube amp costs around as much as a mid-range solid-state amp. Affordable tube amps are not nearly as loud as large 30-watt amps with 12” speakers, but they have an authentic vintage sound that pairs very well with rock, blues, metal, and just about any modern guitar genre. 

At around 1 to 5 watts, these cheap tube amps make great bedroom practice amps and can even be used for small, intimate gigs. An inexpensive tube amp is an excellent choice for entry-level guitarists who want the classic rock crunch without the high price tag of a premium option.

Here are a few of my absolute favorite entry-level tube amps:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Blackstar HT1R MKII1No$319.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Bugera V5 Infinium 5W5No$279Sweetwater
Thomann
Vox AC46No$479.99Sweetwater
Marshall DSL1CR1No$599.99Sweetwater
Thomann

Mid-Range Tube Amps ($500 to $1,000)

When jumping into mid-tier tube amps, we see a significant improvement. These amps cost less than $1,000 and are generally between 10 and 30 watts. This kind of power may not be able to fill stadiums, but these amps are significantly louder than budget options. After all, the difference between a 1-watt and a 15-watt tube amp is MAJOR in terms of volume and tone. 

While $1,000 may seem like a hefty price tag, it is standard for mid-level tube amps. You’ll find iconic amps, such as Van Halen’s 5150 and the Vox AC15C1, in this price range. You can get a terrific, professional-level tube amp in this price range. 

Below are a few of my top picks for mid-range tube amps.

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender Blues Junior IV15No$799.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Vox AC15C115Yes$799.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Marshall DSL40CR 40No$1049Sweetwater
Thomann
Peavey Classic 3030No$999Sweetwater
Orange Rocker 1515No$999Sweetwater
Thomann
EVH 5150 15W15Yes$799.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Supro Delta King15No$699Sweetwater
Thomann

Premium Tube Amps ($1,000+)

The sky’s the limit when it comes to premium guitar tube amps. While $1,200 can undoubtedly get you a professional-level tube amp with enough power for most live shows and studio settings, there are options costing 3 to 4 times as much! 

Premium tube amps typically range between 30 and 60 watts and can easily fill a massive room without losing tonal integrity. As the price tag will suggest, these amps are reserved for serious enthusiasts and professionals willing to spend the big bucks in exchange for top quality.

Here are some of the best premium tube amps on the market:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender ’68 Custom Princeton Reverb12No$1,299Sweetwater
Thomann
EVH 5150 Iconic Series 60-watt60Yes$1,399Sweetwater
Thomann
Vox AC30C230Yes$1,299.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Mesa/Boogie Mark V90Yes$3,799Sweetwater
Magnatone Panoramic Stereo12No$3,599Sweetwater

Review Demo – Fender ’68 Custom Princeton Reverb

Stack Amps

Combo amps are all-inclusive, so you only need to purchase the amp and plug it in. On the other hand, a stack amp has two parts: the amp head and the cabinet. These amps are generally massive and loud, built for touring musicians who need a TON of wattage. 

In the ’70s and ’80s, stack amps were necessary for rock and heavy metal bands that needed a loud and powerful presence. But, as PA system technology has improved, stack amps are no longer as much of a necessity. However, they are still loved by many guitarists. 

A stack amp will generally set you back around $800 on the absolute low end, but most guitarists spend more than $2,000 for both the cabinet and the amp head.

Guitar Amp Heads ($500 to $3,000+)

Amp heads are the “brains” of the machine. This is where all the complex circuitry, valves, and controls are located. They won’t make any sound on their own, though. So, you’ll need to connect amp heads to a cabinet (or speaker). 

Guitar amp heads range dramatically in price from around $500 for a low-end solid-state option to more than $3,000 for a premium amp head.

Here are a few of our top choices for guitar amp heads in various price ranges:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Marshall JVM410H 100-watt 100No$3,199Sweetwater
Thomann
Mesa/Boogie Mark V Amp Head35Yes$2,399Sweetwater
Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII50No$2,149Sweetwater
Thomann
EVH 5150III 50-watt Tube Head50No$1,449Sweetwater
Thomann
Boss Katana Artist Head MkII 100-watt100Yes$569Sweetwater
Thomann
Friedman BE-50 Deluxe50No$3,699Sweetwater
Soldano SLO-30 Super Lead30Yes$2,899Sweetwater
Thomann
Blackstar HT Stage 100 Mark II100Yes$1,149Sweetwater
Mesa/Boogie JP-2C Mark IIC+100Yes$3,999Sweetwater

Randall RGT100 Fullstack – Metal

Amplifier Cabinets ($350 to $1,700)

Cabinets and amp heads go together like peanut butter and jelly! As we mentioned, you can’t simply purchase an amp head. You’ll also need a speaker cabinet to get any output from your head. 

Cabinets can be relatively small and affordable, but depending on the wattage and the speakers’ size/quantity, they can be much pricier.

Here are a few of our top amplifier cabinet choices:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Line 6 Spider V 412 MkII 320-watt320No$349.99Sweetwater
Orange Crush Pro 240-watt 4×12″240No$699Sweetwater
Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Horizontal 2×12” 120-watt 120No$949Sweetwater
Mesa/Boogie Rectifier Vertical 2×12″ 120-watt120No$1,049Sweetwater
EVH 5150III 4×12″ 100-watt100No$1,149.99Sweetwater
Marshall 1960A 300-watt 4×12″ 300No$1,599.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Friedman 412/15 Checkered 260-watt 2×12″260No$1,699Sweetwater

Acoustic Amps ($130 to $1,000)

Contrary to what you might think, you cannot simply plug your electric acoustic guitar into a standard electric guitar amp. It won’t necessarily destroy your amp, but chances are, you won’t get the sound you are looking for. So, this is why acoustic amps exist! 

While you’ll have fewer options to choose from, acoustic amps are generally cheaper than electric guitar amps. On average, expect to spend under $200 for an entry-level acoustic amp and up to $1,000 for a high-end option.

Here are some of our top picks:

AmplifierWattsEffectsNormal PriceCheck Today’s Price
Fender Acoustasonic 1515Yes$129.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Vox VX50AG50Yes$299.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Fishman Loudbox Mini BT 60-watt 60Yes$399.95Sweetwater
Thomann
Fender Acoustic Junior100Yes$399.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Roland CUBE Street EX 2×8″50Yes$599.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Boss Acoustic Singer Live 60-watt 60Yes$579.99Sweetwater
Thomann
Hughes & Kettner ERA 1 250-watt250Yes$979Sweetwater
Thomann

Make sure to check out our complete list of beginner acoustic amp recommendations!


What Makes Up a Guitar Amp’s Price?

So, now you know how much a guitar amp costs and what to expect from the different price ranges. But what causes an amp to cost more or less? Here are a few of the most critical factors that affect the cost of a guitar amp.

Brand Recognition

The brand of a guitar amp significantly impacts its cost. Even when comparing two amps with nearly identical specs (watts, speaker size, features, etc.), the amp from a more high-end amplifier brand will likely cost much more. 

For example, a Bugera or Blackstar tube amp with 22 watts and a single 12” speaker will generally cost around $500 to $800, while a Fender or Mesa/Boogie amp of the same caliber will cost more than double that (even triple)!

Type

As you can see from our price breakdown above, tube amps cost a lot more than solid-state amps. Tube amps are the preferred type of amp for many guitarists, and they are much more complicated to manufacture. Since there is a high demand for this type of guitar amp and fewer manufacturers, simple supply and demand dictate the high cost.

Watts

The wattage of your guitar amp is a measurement of how much power the amp can create. While wattage doesn’t directly correlate to how loud the amp can get, higher wattage generally means a louder amp. The more watts you need for your guitar amp, the more you should expect to pay. Check out our guide on guitar amp watts for more on this.

Speaker Size/Quality

Another major factor to consider in a guitar amp is the size and quality of your speaker(s). Larger speakers generate more sound and provide different tones and sound textures. You could have the best amp head on the market, but if you are running it through a cheap speaker cabinet, it isn’t going to sound very good. A more expensive speaker will generally be louder and have a better overall tone.

Features

Another factor that will affect the cost of a guitar amp is added features and effects. Guitar amps with built-in reverb, modeling features, tuners, and added channels will typically be pricier than amps without these features. 

However, keep in mind that plenty of no-frills tube amps are still much more expensive than modeling amps with tons of features. For example, the Boss Katana has many built-in amp models and effects, but it is much more affordable than most tube amps with few features.


Conclusion

As you can tell by now, the cost of your guitar amp varies drastically. Factors such as brand, quality, watts, and speaker size will affect the price of an amp. Finally, we recommend researching and even trying amps before purchasing. This will ensure that you get your money’s worth!


FAQs

Are Guitar Amps Expensive?

Guitar amps are pricey. You should expect to spend around $100 at the absolute low end, but most guitarists invest in high-quality guitar amps that cost much more. Your amp gives your guitar a voice, so investing in a decent guitar amplifier with good volume and tone is important.

How Much Should You Spend on a Good Amp?

The answer to this question depends on what you expect to get out of your amp. If you want a small and affordable practice amp, spending less than $200 is fine. Touring musicians needing quality sound should spend at least $500.

Should a Beginner Buy an Expensive Amp?

In most cases, beginner guitarists do NOT need a professional-level expensive guitar amp. These amps sound great, but they are designed for touring musicians and recording artists who need the best sound possible. Most beginners can get away with using an affordable solid-state amp.

Should I Spend More on a Better Amp or Guitar?

Having both a good quality guitar and amp is the dream for most musicians, but most people will have to pick and choose due to budget limitations. You should buy a good guitar first, as having a comfortable neck and high-quality pickups is more important than having an expensive amp.

Do Cheap Guitar Amps Sound Bad?

Budget guitar amps don’t generally sound “bad,” but you get what you pay for. A cheaper amp will not play as loud and may not sound as good as expensive options. Expensive amps have a well-rounded tone and sound much clearer than cheap amps.

Are Old Guitar Amps Better?

Vintage amps are all the buzz, but are they worth the hype? The answer is complicated, as there are a lot of pros and cons for both. Older vintage amps were built like tanks and tended to last very long. If you are after the distorted, crunchy, vintage tube amp sound, vintage is the way to go, but newer amps have a more stable, clear sound.

What Is the Lifespan of a Guitar Amp?

Guitar amps can last decades if they are well taken care of. There are plenty of good quality tube amps from as far back as the 1950s and 1960s that musicians still use today! Service your amp frequently and care for it well; it could last you many years!

Is It Worth It to Buy Used Guitar Amps?

Buying a used guitar amp is a great way to reduce costs. New amps are pricey, and as long as the previous owner took good care of the amp, you’ll likely get a high-quality amp for much cheaper. That said, you should make sure the used amp is in good condition. The last thing you want is to spend big bucks on an amp needing significant repairs.

Lev Baker

Lev is classically trained guitarist who has competed in classical guitar competitions all over the country. Lev has also recorded several albums and performed countless shows in various genres, including indie pop, alternative, jazz fusion, and heavy metal. Guitar was Lev’s first love, but he also plays bass, drums, and piano.
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Justin Thomas

I adore my Boss Katana 100 MkII It provides me with a great unit that does a lot of things. It certainly provides me with enough ooomph to gig next to a drummer for small venues and has enough quality effects to save me using my pedal board. Setup and break down are a breeze and it is great for twiddling at home on 0.5W to explore new tones.