electric guitar amps for beginners

Electric Guitar Amps for Beginners: What to Look For

Finding the right amplifier for your guitar is important because there are so many different varieties out there. As a beginner, you may be facing the seemingly daunting task of selecting your first amp.

If you are ready to find great electric amps for beginners, you are in the right place. We’ll look at what qualities and features you should pay attention to when shopping around, such as the size and wattage. Our tips and tricks will help you get an amp that is user-friendly and perfect for anyone starting out on their music journey.

Selecting the Amp Configuration

Amps come in different types, sizes, and configurations. When you are trying to find the ideal one for you, you are going to have to make a choice between a combo amp and an amp head and cab. Let’s look at these options in turn.

Combo Amp

The combo amp is a popular choice for electric guitar beginners. In this configuration, you find a combination of the speakers with the power amp and preamplifier. Each of these components has its own important function.

The preamplifier is responsible for the tone of the guitar. The power amplifier, on the other hand, ensures that the sound is pushed to the speakers.

Amp Head and Cab

Unlike the combo amp, which exists as a single unit, the amp head and cab exist in two parts. The speakers are their own and are found inside a speaker cabinet. The rest of the electronic component of the amplifier is a separate unit known as the “head.”

There are many things to consider if you are going to pick between a combo amp, an amp head, and cab. Each has its own advantages and best use cases.

When comparing these electric amps for beginners, many opt for the combo amp. It is compact and therefore smaller and more portable. These features make it the ideal pick if you just want to practice your craft at home or carry your gear with you on the road. 

The good news is that the smaller size of the combo amp doesn’t signify a lack of features. You will find nice-to-have extras on this device, including an input jack and headphone jack. These make it easier for you to practice along with your own music from a separate device.

electric guitar amps for beginners

What to Look for in an Amplifier

We have touched on the two amp configurations and some of the considerations you should make. There’s a lot more to think about because there is a wide variety of amplifiers available.

As an electric guitar beginner, your focus should primarily be on mastering the instrument. You don’t have to find the biggest and baddest amp around. If you go on to join a band or start playing for an audience, you can always upgrade your amp to something more complex and professional.

You may now be wondering what is important and what is not so important when it comes to a beginner guitar amp. We’re here to help. Up next, we’ll look at various features and qualities of amps that should help inform your buying decision. 

Amp Size

Some amplifiers are small and compact, while others are large and complex. As a beginner guitarist, you can get away with a small guitar amplifier, especially if it checks the other boxes.

It’s a good idea to consider how much space you have to practice your electric guitar and store your amp. The larger the amp, the more room you are going to need for both of these activities. 


Portability goes hand-in-hand with amp size. How often are you going to need to transport your amplifier from one location to the next? The smaller and more compact the amp, the easier this will be.

As you advance in your guitar journey and perhaps start to play in new settings, you will need to find a balance between portability and features of the amplifier. 

Amp Wattage 

The next factor and a very important one to consider for a beginner player and anyone shopping for an amp is the wattage or watts of power. The amp wattage is a common way of rating amplifiers. 

There are various guidelines for picking this, and you will find a correlation between wattage and loudness, although this is not direct.

Many of the amplifiers used by electric guitar pros have a wattage that lies in the range of 30-100 watts. When you are starting out, a 20-30 watt amplifier is good enough, but if you see yourself advancing to a professional guitarist, you may soon need to upgrade to an 80-100 watt amp.

As a general guide, experts recommend that you pick an amplifier whose power is double the speaker’s power rating. 

Sound Level

We mentioned some of the sound considerations and relationship with wattage. You are going to have to look at the speaker rating and amp rating if you are going for a loud and power guitar sound.

What happens when you are looking to practice with minimal sound? You may need to engage in silent practice if you live with other people and don’t have the space and luxury to go on full blast. In this case, you can always use your amp with some headphones.

Another option would be to invest in a multi-effects pedal or unit instead. This electronic device can be combined with any audio input or musical instrument. Using audio signal processing, it is able to alter the sound coming from the various sources. 

Such a unit has a range of effects that can produce a variety of sounds. These include delay, reverb, volume, filters, modulation effects, and other dynamic effects. If you are just starting out, a multi-effects unit may be an investment worth looking into.

Solid-state Versus Tube Amp

Solid-state amps and tube amps are just two types of amplifier classes. Solid-state amps are commonly used to amplify the sound coming from musical instruments like electric guitars. This option uses semiconductor circuits and a circuit board to produce sound.

Vacuum tube or tube amps amplify sound using glass tubes. Although they have their benefits, they also tend to burn out and need replacement often compared with the solid-state amps.

If you have to pick between one or the other, you might be better starting with a solid-state amplifier. Besides better durability and reliability, this type of amp also offers a better sound quality and more affordable pricing. 

Additional Considerations

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into picking a beginner amplifier. This device affects the sound quality you are going to produce, so you should think carefully about what you settle with. 

You have to ask yourself questions around what you are going to use the amp for, where you will play and practice, and what style of music and range of sounds you are going to play.

If you are looking for extra features and built-in effects and multiple input jacks, then these are some of the things you should ask about before you finalize any purchase.

An amplifier can impact your guitar learning and playing journey, so wherever possible, it’s a good idea to try out the amp before you buy it. When this option is not available, the best you can do is make sure you get a good grasp of all the features and specifications of each amp you consider. 

FAQs about Electric Guitar Amps for Beginners

Finding your first amplifier as a beginner player doesn’t have to be intimidating. You may still have some questions about some of the features and functions, and which ones are most essential. Have a look at the frequently asked questions below to learn more about electric guitar amplifiers for beginners.

If I double the wattage of my amp, does that mean the sound will be twice as loud? 

In brief, the answer is no. The wattage of an amp is not the best indicator of how loud it is, although it provides a good rating system for comparison.

Do I need an amplifier for silent practice? 

If you have restrictions on how much noise you can make with your electric guitar, you can always forgo the amp and use a multi-effects pedal with headphones. If you are just trying to keep the noise down, you can also use your amp with headphones.

What is a modelling amplifier? 

Modelling amps make use of computer algorithms to generate tones. They have excellent range and versatility, are affordable and portable, making them a good choice for a beginner.

Closing Thoughts

After reading this article, I would hope that you would have enough facts to properly choose an amp and what questions to ask the seller.

There is a wide selection of electric amps for beginners. Before you pick any one of these, you need a good idea of the options and of what you are looking for.

Some of the considerations you are going to have to make include looking at the amplifier size, portability, wattage, and additional features. All of these will affect your experience and allow you to produce a quality sound at this stage of your guitar learning. 

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