To be a bluesman, you don’t need an amplifier. You don’t even need a guitar for this. Whether your weapon of choice is a pawnshop prize, diddley bow, or ’62 Stratocaster, you’ll need something to plug into if your preferences want something with a bit more volume and sting than a parlour acoustic or resonator can give. If you’re a seasoned musician who’s developed an interest in the blues but can’t quite nail the killer blues tone, the correct amp could be the difference between success and failure. The best blues amps have preamp and power tubes, which produce a vintage, complex sound that is required to express the genre’s essential elements.
Table of Contents
Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb 15-Watt 1×10-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- 15-watt all tube amp (including tube rectification) offers stellar tone for small stages and the studio.
- 1-10" Jensen C-10R, 8 Ohm, 40 Watt Speaker with Ceramic Magnet
- Legendary long-spring Fender reverb and tube vibrato.
This list starts with a Fender – a 1965 Princeton Reverb, no less – which proves to be one of the best blues amp on the market. This high-end all-tube combo amp is a tonal masterpiece, delivering the distinctive sound that the original was famous for. This reissue has everything from sparkling cleans to a creamy, natural breakup that blues guitarists will love, as we demonstrate in the full ’65 Princeton Reverb breakdown. It has a single 10″ Jensen C-10R speaker, as well as high-quality tubes and circuitry. With only 12 watts of power, it’s a little and simple amp that packs a lot of punch for its size!
The first thing to know about the Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is that it’s a reimagining of a classic. Fender’s decision has proven to be one of the best things that has ever happened in the guitar amp industry. You’re looking at a rather straightforward configuration in terms of controls. Two instrument inputs, a volume knob, a two-band EQ, and reverb controls are all included. There’s a reverb knob, a speed knob, and an intensity knob among them. There’s nothing complicated about it. In reality, getting acclimated to this amplifier is really simple. It takes about a half-hour to figure out what’s going on. Fender could have crammed this amp with all of the contemporary tube amp bells and whistles, but they didn’t. That is something we are extremely grateful for.
The vacuum tubes are the heart of the Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb. Three 12AX7s, one 12AT7, two 6V6 tubes, and one 5AR4 rectifier tube are included. That’s essentially the same arrangement as the original amp had back in the day. At 8 Ohms, the overall power output is rated at 15 Watts. All of the power is channeled via a single Jensen Special Design C-10R 10′′ speaker, which accomplishes the job admirably. In general, it doesn’t get much better than this if you’re searching for authentic vintage sound. Swapping out the 6V6s for a better pair is one of the most common methods to improve the flavor of a Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb. On the other hand, the ones that come with the amp are made by Groove Tubes, and they’re far from mediocre or awful.
- 10 Watt tube combo offering the classic VOX Top Boost tone
- EL84 power tubes; 12AX7 preamp tubes
- Custom 10" VX10 speaker made by Celestion
Although the VOX AC30C2 isn’t a dedicated – or even obvious – blues guitar amps, the original AC30 has proven its merits in the genre time and time again (just ask Rory Gallagher), and this latest incarnation does the same! This all-tube 30-watt combo has three 12AX7 preamp tubes, four EL84 power tubes, and two 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback Speakers, all working together to provide a strong, soulful, and responsive sound.
You don’t have to be an expert in blues amplifiers, or even amplifiers in general, to recognize the AC30’s status. Every celebrity from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Queen, Radiohead, and Rory Gallagher has utilized this classic amp on the world’s most recognized stages. The AC30C2 is one of the most recent variants of this all-tube VOX legend, and it’s been dubbed “the most adaptable AC30 design in VOX history” by the British company. Let’s see how it compares!
The settings on the AC30C2 aren’t as extensive as those on some other amps in the sub-$1,000 price range, but they’re adequate. From left to right, the ‘regular’ channel has a simple volume control, followed by the ‘top boost’ channel’s volume, treble, and bass settings. Individual controls for reverb and tremolo, as well as the ultimate master volume and tone cut knobs, are located alongside these. It’s a pretty basic approach, but one that’s straightforward to grasp.
While the design is quite similar to the original, the AC30C2 has a number of current enhancements that make it a very appealing possibility. The circuitry, in particular, is impressive: three 12AX7 preamp tubes and four EL84 power tubes are housed inside this combo amp, providing a healthy 30 watts of power to the two Celestion G12M Greenback Speakers. The AC30C2 is a two-channel amp with two input jacks each for regular and top boost channels, as well as excellent reverb and tremolo built in.
The AC30C2 will very certainly be replaced by another AC30 variant in the future – VOX continues coming up with innovative ways to pay homage to the original legend. For the time being, the AC30C2 is the closest you’ll get to owning that classic British invasion sound, but it’s also a rock-solid blues amp with plenty of bite and soul. The AC30C2 is an excellent buy at a medium price.
Fender Blues Junior IV 15 Watt Electric Guitar Amplifier
- 15 Watts
- Celestion 12" A-Type speaker
- Preamp circuit modified for increased fullness
Blues Deluxe Reissue is a tube combo amp with origins in the 1950s that boasts plenty of vintage flair, tone, and charm, but with 21st-century upgrades that modern blues players will appreciate. It delivers everything from traditional Fender cleans to a warm, screaming overdrive — an all-American tonebox – with 40 watts of power. In the end, the Blues Deluxe Reissue is a great option for stage musicians and blues fans alike.
The controls are situated on a chrome control panel towards the back of the amps for blues, which is a little awkward to read if the amp is positioned right next to a wall, but it’s a little price to pay for authenticity. Furthermore, having 3-band EQ (middle, bass, and treble) on each channel, as well as reverb, presence, and master volume settings, these controls are responsive and add flexibility to your tone.
If you’re familiar with the Fender Deluxe from the 1950s, you’ll notice how its 21st-century improvement is influenced by the original, with its creamy tweed jacket and strong construction, making it feel like a reliable combo amp to travel with. It’s also more than capable of holding its own on stage, with 40 watts of power delivered by two 6L6 power tubes through a 12″ Eminence Special Design speaker.
Is it as good to listen to as it is to look at? In a nutshell, certainly it does! It’s easy to tune in a fat blues tone, and the tone is warmer and bluesier than the original Hot Rod Deluxe. Plus, the improved technology eliminates the hum and extra noise that plagued the original. It should come as no surprise that we adore this amplifier! The Blues Deluxe Reissue retains the original’s warmth and flair while adding some current enhancements that make it a must-have for any blues performer. This shouldn’t limit it to blues guitarists, though; classic rock and country guitarists will benefit greatly from it as well.
Marshall Amps Guitar Combo Amplifier
- Gain and volume per channel. Dedicated resonance control. 2 separate master volume controls
- Reverb. High and low power settings
- Now with Celestion V type speaker
This Marshall DSL20C Guitar Combo Amplifier is a flexible piece of gear that’s ideal for a beginner looking for a long-term investment. Experienced musicians, on the other hand, will enjoy it as well. The all-tube circuit contributes to Marshall’s signature rich tone. To boost the concentration and clarity of bass notes, it features a single 12-inch speaker with a semi-open back setup.
Classic and Ultra are the two channels available. You can alter highs, mids, lows, resonance, and presence using the equalization that they share. Volume and gain controls are separate for each channel. You may also fine-tune your sound by adjusting reverb and using the Tone Shift button. As you can see, you have a lot of control over the music you’re making with this amp.
Another great feature of this amp is that you can operate it at full or half power, with the amp running at 10 or 20 watts to compensate for different playing environments. It has several inputs and outputs, as well as a footswitch for switching channels and controlling the FX loop. The design is attractive and long-lasting, making it ideal for travel. Despite rare claims of interference or white noise, buyers were generally pleased with this amplifier.
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue 40-Watt 1×12-Inch Guitar Combo Amp
- 40 watts of legendary Fender tone.
- Fantastic clean and overdriven tones plus lusciously Fender spring reverb.
- 1X 12" Eminence special-design speaker offers enhanced midrange that fills the stage and projects through the densest mix.
Blues artists, as well as rock and country musicians, love the Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue Guitar Combo Amp. Many musicians prefer this vintage-style tube amp to more modern designs because it has classic qualities. Real tubes offer an unmistakable rich tone, which is something Fender is recognized for.
The control panel is not only packed with features, but it also has a stylish chrome finish. With the adjustable spring reverb, effects loop, and three-band equalizer that adjusts highs, mids, and lows, you can create a distinctive sound. This combination amp features an Eminence speaker that can sustain a wide range of tones, from squeaky clean to filthy. The sound is intense.
Powered by two power tubes backed by 40 watts of power, a fantastic blues combo. This version differs from the original in that it has improved circuitry, which means you get the same sound quality without the obtrusive, unpleasant hum. The classic tweed covering must be mentioned, even though it has little effect on the sound quality. This vintage look is reminiscent of the original Fender designs from the 1950s and adds a special touch to the overall experience.
Users liked the sound in general, but some of the settings were too sensitive for them like tube amplifiers. Despite the fact that it is an improvement over the original, several users found the hum to be annoying in the best amps for blues.
VOX AC15C1X Guitar Combo Amplifier
- Classic Series 15 Watt combo amp with Normal and Top-Boost channels
- Master Section features Master Volume and Tone Cut controls
- Tremolo (Speed/Depth); Spring Reverb (Level); Switchable via optional VFS2A pedal
The VOX AC15 was first made available by Vox in the late 1950s, and it quickly gained notoriety. Up until the 1960s, when stacks became popular, it was widely utilized, but then interest began to wane. Vox brought it back in 2013.
What makes this amplifier so unique? One channel is for regular play, and the other is for a power boost. They both have a master volume control and a feature called Tone Cut that alters the sound of the amp before it reaches the speaker rather than during the preamp. In addition to the master volume, each channel has its own independent volume control for blues rock tones. Additionally, Boost mode offers separate bass and treble controls. You have a lot of control over tone thanks to all of this. A built-in tremolo effect with adjustable rate and depth and spring reverb to produce more conventional-sounding notes are among the other features.
Although this amp weighs just under 50 pounds, it’s a little heavy to carry around. It may be utilized to play in smaller clubs or bars because it has an output jack for an external speaker. The majority of folks love this greatest tube amp for blues. Users are usually very delighted with the sound, while some were upset that the case was constructed of particleboard and yearned for an effects loop.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a blues amp?
A blues amp is an amplifier designed to produce the warm and soulful tones associated with blues music. It typically features a clean, warm sound and may include reverb or tremolo effects to enhance the bluesy vibe.
What is the difference between a blues amp and other types of amps?
Blues amps are typically known for their clean, warm, and responsive tone. They emphasize the midrange frequencies, and they often have a lower wattage, making it easier to achieve natural tube saturation at reasonable volume levels. Other amps, like metal or rock amps, have more aggressive and distorted tones.
What wattage is ideal for a blues amp?
The ideal wattage for a blues amp can vary, but many blues players prefer lower wattage amps in the range of 5 to 30 watts. Lower-wattage amps tend to break up or distort at lower volume levels, which is desirable for achieving classic blues tones.
What are some key features to look for in a blues amp?
Look for features like a good clean channel, built-in reverb, and a responsive EQ section. Some amps also have a “vintage” or “tweed” setting to mimic classic blues amp tones.