When it comes to tone and loudness, a guitar amplifier is arguably even more important than the guitar! As a guitarist, an amplifier is likely one of the biggest purchases (second only to the guitar itself) you'll have to make.
The size, character and functionality of guitar amplifiers varies greatly across the huge market. With so many different amps to choose from, it can be difficult to make the best decision.
Though there are plenty of companies that manufacture guitar amplifiers, some stand out among the rest. In this article, I’ll share the top 11 guitar amp brands I think you should know about.
The Top 11 Best Guitar Amplifier Brands Are:
We’ll get into each of these brands in greater detail to explain why they made this list. I’ll also share some of their notable amplifiers; a link to their official website and a bit of history about each company.
Related article: Top 11 Best Bass Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World
Fender is not only one of the most well-known and played guitar brands but also one of the best brands for guitar amplifiers.
The Deluxe Reverb amplifiers from Fender are perhaps the most well-known guitar amps ever produced and they aren't even considered a “series”. Fender offers plenty of guitar amps for all practical applications and each is designed to sound incredibly good.
Whether we're concerned with filling a small or large venue or getting the perfect tone in the studio, Fender has a guitar amp for our situation. There's a great variety of practice amps from the company's wide catalogue and Fender even offers amps designed specifically for acoustic-electric guitars.
Notable Amplifier: Tone Master Deluxe Reverb
The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation also produces EVH-branded amplifiers.
Notable EVH Amplifier: 5150 III 50W 6L6
Second on this list is Orange Amplifiers: a well-known and well-respected guitar amplifier brand from England. With the bright orange branding of their amplifiers and cabinets, Orange also produces some of the most recognizable guitar amplifiers on the market.
From their innovative tube amp designs to their awesome solid-state transistor circuits, Orange produces some of the best and most highly-regarded amps in the world.
The company has a long history of consistent improvement and has been a top brand in the guitar amplifier game for much of this history.
Notable Amplifier: Micro Terror
Vox is another popular and cherished guitar amplifier brand from England. Like Orange, Vox Amplification has a significant history of superb guitar amplifiers. These amps can be found on stages, in studios and in jam spaces/practice rooms around the world.
So Vox has a strong legacy of high-quality guitar amps. This can be seen in the great number of tube, hybrid and digital modeling amplifiers the company has to offer. Where we're after an amp head and a cabinet or a combo unit, Vox will have a model to get us our desired tone and volume without fail!
Though best-known for its guitar amps, Vox also produces a variety of musical instruments and effects units.
Notable Amplifier: AC30 Custom
Victory is by far the youngest company on this list, making its debut in 2013. This English brand aims to inspire the guitarists that use its amps with noteworthy tone and durability.
Victory takes a modern-boutique approach to the design and production of its guitar amplifiers. The hand-built amps are designed and built by expert engineers and craftspeople using high-end components to ensure superb quality control. The core philosophy across all Victory amp designs is to offer maximal flexibility in tone with the simplest operation possible.
To make things even better, many of Victory's boutique amplifiers can be purchased in different formats. The high-end amp circuits can be integrated into compact or deluxe heads; combo amps and even stompbox pedals (depending on the model).
Notable Amplifier: VX The Kraken
As if to prove how great the English are at producing guitar amps, let's now turn our discussion to Blackstar Amplification. This British manufacturer is a world-class brand for guitar and bass amps alike.
The team at Blackstar is comprised of musicians with a passion for great tone. This enthusiasm comes across in the sound of the company's amazing guitar amplifiers. Clever engineering has given Blackstar an edge over the competition with unique designs (like Response control) that give the guitarist extra control in order to achieve the perfect tone.
Whether practicing at home or on stage in a live environment, these world-class amps can be counted on to deliver excellent sound.
Notable Amplifier: Series One 200
Mesa/Boogie (or Mesa Engineering) has been producing superb guitar amplifiers since the 1960s and continues to improve to this day.
This innovative brand has been a pioneer in the world of guitar amplification for quite some time. Its excellent amplifiers are as consistent as the company's drive to improve. Mesa/Boogie is also a customer-centric company focused on building lifelong connections with its customers.
Each and every Mesa/Boogie guitar amp comes with a quality control card signed with the initials of the artisans who proudly created it, ensuring guitarists around the world get the best of the best when it comes to their new amplifier(s)!
Notable Amplifier: Triple Rectifier guitar amp head
Friedman is fully deserving of a spot on this list. The company's innovative amp designs and meticulous construction have made it a household name among guitar professionals and tone enthusiasts around the world. Dave Friedman, the founder, even consults with amp companies to help them to improve upon their designs!
Drawing experience from countless modifications and repairs, Friedman amplifiers provide guitarists with unmatched tonality. Each amp is built to the highest standard, burned in and diligently inspected before ever reaching the guitarist.
In addition to awe-inspiring amps, Friedman also produces cabinets, guitars, pickups, pedals, pedalboards and accessories for guitars.
Notable Amplifier: BE-100 Deluxe
Laney is yet another English company that produces some of the world's greatest guitar amplifiers. This company is focused on amplification and has been since the 1960s. Besides high-end guitar amps, Laney also produces amps for bass, keyboards, drums and live sound/PA systems.
So the brand has a long legacy to draw from when designing its guitar amplifiers. This is true of the tube and the solid-state amps as well as the new and the time-tested amps. Choose a Laney amplifier that's the right fit for your guitar style and playing situation and expect nothing less than the best tones.
Notable Amplifier: IRT120H
Hughes & Kettner
Hughes & Kettner has made a name for itself as a premier guitar amplifier company from Germany.
This is a company that prides itself on high-quality tone and hassle-free usage that meets the needs of the most discerning guitar player. The awesome amps of H&K are made possible by a passionate team of engineers specialized in the realms of acoustics, electronics and mechanics.
Hughes & Kettner is a forward-thinking company that keeps improving its products while maintaining dialogue with customers and distributors around the world.
Notable Amplifier: GrandMeister Deluxe 40
When most musicians think of Boss, they probably think of effects pedals. While it's true that Boss is definitely one of the best (if not the best) pedal brands on the market, the company also produces some excellent guitar amplifiers.
While Boss had been recreating the sound of amps for a long time with effects pedals, its first official foray in guitar amplifiers was only in 2016 with the introduction of the Katana Amp Lineup. Since then, Boss has made several strides forward in the guitar amplifier market, getting the company a spot on this list.
Notable Amplifier: Waza Amp Head 150W
As a two-for-one, I'll add that Boss's parent company Roland Corporation also makes some excellent guitar (including acoustic guitar) amplifiers along with bass, keyboard and percussion amps.
Notable Roland Amplifier: Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus
Last but not least is perhaps the most famous British brand on this English-majority list: Marshall.
Marshall amplifiers have been heard on countless records and in countless venues throughout the company's long history. There's a reason for that. These amplifiers sound great and there are plenty of them on the market to choose from.
The JVM series of Marshall amps, as a prime example, has been dubbed the ultimate all-rounder series of amplifiers for professional musicians.
Regardless of genre or application, Marshall will have an amp for any guitarist and that amp will sound phenomenal!
Notable Amplifier: JVM205H
Past The Top 11
Of course, there are plenty more guitar amplifier brands that could have broken my top 11. Since this is such a subjective premise, I figured I'd end this article with a longer list of brands that very well could replace some of my picks in my readers' top 11 lists. I'll add links to the website of each brand: