If you're just getting started on the guitar or if you're on a tight budget, purchasing cheap guitar amps can be the way to go so you can get maximum enjoyment out of your guitar at the minimum price. Many cheap guitar amps are up to the task of handling rehearsals and playing in small venues, but to make sure you get value for money, you have to prioritize what you need from an amp.
Choosing a Guitar Amp: The Basics
Cheap guitar amplifiers aren't such a good deal when they don't do the job you need them to, so you can't go looking for guitar amps based on price tag alone. Here's a quick "Amps 101" to help you decide what you really need.
- The power of an amp can be determined by the wattage of the amp. For playing at home, an amp that has anywhere from 1-10 watts (called a micro amp) will do the job, but keep in mind that although these are the lightest weight amps you can find, they're not ideal for more than personal practicing. These units just don't have enough volume when other people are playing, and if you try to play a gig with one of these, you're probably going to be the butt of more than a few jokes. Consider it fair warning.
- For rehearsing with a band, something between 10 and 30 watts is ideal. Make sure your amp has at least a 10-inch speaker.
- Crate combo amps, either 1x12" or 2x12", with at least 50 watts of power will do the trick for playing live. Granted, you're not going to rock out in Madison Square Garden with something this size, but this is as small as you can go and still have an amp that will serve you well on the club scene.
- The amps listed above are all combo amps, meaning they have a speaker and the electronic board in one unit. There are separate head and cabinet amps (heads and cabs) that have the speaker and the board in different units. Even the cheap heads and cabs are not that cheap, and really, unless you have an arena tour planned, you don't need one. And if you do have an arena tour planned, why are you buying your own amps? Get the manufacturers to give you one in a sponsorship deal!
Where do you fit into this picture? Figure out which amp is going to meet your needs. Now you're ready to move on to cheap amp shopping.
Cheap Guitar Amps: Where to Shop
A great way to track down cheap guitar amps is to ask around in the music circles in your area. If you know a lot of other people who play, you can almost always find someone looking to unload an amp, and you have the added benefit of testing it out before you buy. If this isn't an option for you, check the following websites out for cheap guitar amps.
- eBay: eBay has tons of guitar amps for sale at any one time, and you can often find some great deals on amps you might not be able to afford otherwise. Don't forget to factor in shipping costs, however, which will not be insignificant with a heavy amp.
- Craigslist: Craigslist is as handy as eBay for getting a deal, but it takes the shipping costs out of the equation by helping you find amps within driving distance.
- Musicians News: This site offers classified listings from musicians trying to off load their amps as well as links to stores that have good deals and sales.