There aren’t many who would recommend a solid state amp for blues. Whether guitar players like to admit it or not, there’s a clearer preference for tube amps over their solid state counterparts. Despite the many improvements solid state amps have gone through, it seems that they are still struggling to shake off their bad reputation.
Back in the day, musicians commended tube amps to be the better-sounding option.
However, times have changed and we now see solid state amps slowly rising in the ranks.
Unfortunately, we don’t see much of them when it comes to the blues.
In retrospect, most amp recommendations for blues are based on the rigs of popular artists while others are just a collection of high-end gear. Where are the more practical and affordable amps? Tube amps aren’t for everyone, not to mention the fact that they are often more expensive than solid states.
Sure, the tubes may be one step above when it comes to smoothness and warmth, but the solid state is often the better option for beginners and music enthusiasts. While the tubes are made for professional sound quality, the solid states offer convenience and affordability.
Below is our attempt at searching for the best solid state amps for blues. If you are new to amps and are a fan of the blues, you may want to check these options out.
10 Best Solid State Amps for Blues in 2021
The Marshall CODE is an easy favorite, thanks to its wide range of tones from digital amp model amps, power amps, cabinet simulations, FX, and more. Anything from perfect cleans to vintage crunches, the Marshall CODE will deliver.
Its impeccable ability to dial-in to various tones makes this amp the perfect solid-state solution to the blues genre. With the Marshall CODE, users have a good chance of perfecting the class blues styles.
But that’s not all there is to love about the Marshall CODE. With the Marshall Gateway software, the amp can be connected via USB or Bluetooth allowing remote control of all features and functions. The Marshall Gateway also includes a mobile app with access to an online community, tutorials, patch sharing, and more.
- Comes with convenient remote control via Bluetooth
- Provides amazing consistent sound quality
- Sports a compact design making it travel-friendly
- Has issues with Bluetooth connectivity
Looking for an amp to take along with you during your travels? Thanks to its compact design and portability, the Roland Blues Cube Hot may be your next travel buddy. This 30-watt amp may be smaller in size but it carries everything you need for a great jam. No matter if you are at home, at the studio, or out on a gig, the Roland Cube Hot offers consistent quality.
Its 12-inch custom speaker might seem mediocre but just wait until you hear its powerful and rich tone and you’ll never think of it the same way again. With the Roland Tube Logic design philosophy, musicians can reproduce the sound of the early amp favorites from the tweed-era.
Out of all the other portable amps out there, I personally think that this has the fullest, most expressive tonal quality.
- Comes with four-way power control
- For cranked up tones at any volume
- Features the Roland Tube Logic design for true vintage-style tones
- Has a custom 12″ speaker and poplar cabinet for an enhanced presence on stage
- Pricey considering its size and the number of features it offers
The Roland JC-40 is a solid-state combo amp in the Roland Jazz Chorus series and is the lower watt version of the Roland JC-120. The amps were initially created with the electric guitarist in mind. With impressively clean electric guitar tones and a wide variety of onboard effects, the Roland JC-40 is the dream amp of any electric guitarist.
This amp also comes with true stereo input for better performance when using effects pedals and other amp modeling gear. It also contains two individuals power amps that control onboard effects in stereo for a room-filling sound on stage.
My favorite part of the Roland Jazz Chorus JC-40 is its trademark Dimensional Space chorus effect. It features effects like the renewed vibrato and reverb, built-in distortion and chorus features that are unique to the Roland Jazz Chorus.
- Produces impressive clean tones with lush reverbs
- takes distortion pedals very well
- Lightweight and portable
- One of the more expensive amps on this list
Here’s an interesting fact: the Blackstar company was founded by former Marshall employees. Although the company is a lot younger than the well-established Marshall brand, there is no doubt that Blackstar is one to look out for. In 11 years, they have already produced quite a handful of amplifier series – the ID series being one of them.
In my opinion, the Blackstar IDCORE40 amp is perfect for practice. Despite being smaller in size, it has enough volume and size to last a small private gig. And with its 6 voice control settings, users can play around with settings such as clean warm, clean bright, crunch, super crunch, overdrive 1, and overdrive 2.
Along with the amp’s signature ISF control, finding the perfect custom tone is a breeze!
What I love about the Blackstar IDCORE40 is the fact that it stores studio-quality effects including standard modulation, delay, and reverb. It also comes with a handy stereo MP3/Line input so you can enjoy a private practice without angering your neighbors.
- Easy to use
- Perfect for beginners looking for their first amp
- Has great tones for multiple genres and styles
- Offers a lot of value for at an affordable pric
- The quality of the cords included needs improvement
Have a lot of gigs in your schedule? Don’t worry, the Roland Blues Cube Stage will help you get gig-ready no matter if you’re pressed for time. This amp is the higher watt version of the Roland Blues Cube Hot.
Powered with 60-watts, the Roland Blues Cube Stage is all about giving players flexibility. It’s designed to work in any situation, whether you’re at home jamming or at a gig, its quality of sound is consistent.
It comes with a power control with four output settings from a full 45-watt for gigs to a 0.5-watt setting for private practice. The headphone output is a huge plus as well so players can practice without disturbing anyone.
If you think that’s all this amp has to offer, wait until you see its wide range of tones. The Roland Blues Cube Stage is known for its vintage-flavored tube tone and response. This is personally one of the reasons why I love this amp for blues.
The Roland Blues Cube Stage reproduces the vintage tone so well, there’s no reason why you should look for other options. This 2-channel amp with a wide tonal palette is all you ever need for a gig, really.
- Offers an amazing range of tones plus a huge variety of effects
- Provides a true vintage-style that’s tone perfect for the blues
- Sports a clean and classic look
- Lacks an effects loop which could have provided more convenience for users
The VOX AC151 is a unique one. It is an At 15-watts of power, this amp is an EL84 driven workhorse that delivers classic British tones through your choice of a genuine Celestion Greenback or an Alnico Blue speaker. This amp also offers a foot-switchable spring reverb and the classic VOX tremolo for enhanced sound quality.
But for me, the VOX AC15C1 is a winner because of its tonal dexterity. The VOX AC15 combo was introduced back in 1958 and was highly praised by numerous guitar legends around the world. Throughout so many years, VOX has successfully created this amp with a stunning range of authentic tones. And the best part of it all? It’s portable even if it packs a lot of useful features.
- Comes in a clean and simple vintage look
- Louder than it seems with consistent sound quality no matter the volume
- Has a cool distortion
- Lush reverb
- And an impressive tremolo effects
- Lacks an FX loop that a lot of users might have appreciated
The Fender Pro Junior IV is a crowd favorite loved by both beginners and veterans. If its classic tweed appearance isn’t enough to impress you, perhaps its modified volume circuit and workhorse amplifier would.
Believe it or not, this tiny and compact amp packs a lot of power and punch. And thanks to its straightforward tone controls, the Fender Pro Junior makes a perfect amp solution for those who want to achieve quality tones with a remarkably touch-sensitive dynamic response.
The Fender Pro Junior IV also features the iconic Jensen speakers. They are the traditional Fender amp speakers, featuring impeccable articulation with that cool vintage-style break up a lot of musicians love. To me, the Fender Pro Junior is the perfect amp for those who are no longer beginners but are on their way to becoming a pro.
- Comes in a compact and lightweight design that’s perfect for traveling
- Features straightforward controls
- User-friendly for beginners
- Makes a great companion for guitarists interested in recording
- Does not come with a pine cabinet
If you’re looking for a versatile amp that’s perfect for any music genre, then the Fender Bassbreaker is an obvious selection. This amp comes with a vintage-style treble-booster circuit that adds pre-amp gain and additional harmonics.
And speaking of rich harmonics, the Fender Bassbreaker features an overdriven tube tone with just a single EL84 power tube and two 12AX7 preamp tubes. You can’t get harmonics richer than this amp at just 7 watts of power!
The Fender Bassbreaker also comes with a 1/4 Line Out jack that supports a recording device or another line input of an amp – perfect for those who are also thinking of recording their work.
Personally, the beautiful design on this amp is enough for me to fall in love. Its durable design is clothed with dark gray lacquered tweed and accessorized with its black grille and white-stitched black leatherette wide handle. Who said solid state amps lacked style?
- Simple and easy to use
- A great amp for beginners’ practice
- Offers great tonal possibilities for a tiny amp
- Touch sensitive effectively exposing user’s playing capabilities
- Great for practice or for smaller gigs only
No list of guitar amps is ever complete without mentioning a Marshall. There are really no other explanations why you need to get an amp from Marshall except that it has reliable superior quality. And if you’re looking for a simple yet powerful amp, the Marshall CODE should do the trick for you.
This 100-watt modeling guitar amp has two powerful 12-inch speakers. It also has an impressive set of 14 digital preamp models, 4 digital power amp models, and 24 onboard FX, along with speaker emulation.
But the list doesn’t end there – the Marshall CODE also supports Bluetooth connectivity, making it a very convenient tool to work with. And it also comes with a 2-channel foot switch. In my opinion, you can’t get another amp as good as this with such a high value.
- Has a lot of power at 100 watts with a strong and durable build
- Comes with high-quality components
- Created by one of the world’s top instrument makers
- Impressive sound quality
- Produces a rich deep sound
- Sound of the presets are not as good as other options
- The quality of sound on the bottom end at higher volumes need improvement
Here’s one solid state amp that is built for rock and roll. The Boss Katana 50 comes with 5 amp characters that are perfect for versatile players who love various styles of rock.
With these amp characters, you can get any tone from classic vintage rock to something modern with high gain. Apart from this wonderful feature, the Katana 50 also comes with a huge selection of customizable effects, thanks to the BOSS Tone Studio editor software.
Personally, what I love most about this amp isn’t just the fact that it gives users plenty of room for sound shaping, but also because of its usability. With the Katana 50, you can say goodbye to your pedal board.
They’re a hassle to bring along for gigging, aren’t they? With the Katana 50, users can connect to the Boss Tone Studio software via USB and load their favorite effects into the amp’s effects sections. So next time you want to travel with an amp, you don’t have to bring so much with you.
- Comes with plenty of tones and effects to choose from and play around with
- Does not need a pedalboard to access effect
- Simply use the Boss Tone Studio
- An affordable amp that offers the highest value for your money
- Has a bit of a learning curve getting to know all the effects
Similar to the Roland amps listed earlier, the Roland Blues Cube Artist is all about getting that vintage vibe with the brand’s unique Tube Logic design. Apart from capturing the classic tweed-era tone, this amp also has a touch response that so many musicians crave for.
Its clean and crunch channels offer a wide range of overdrive options and its Dual Tone switch provides a huge sonic soundscape.
Like the Roland Blues Cube Stage, the Artist version allows users to select wattage. A 0.5 wattage is perfect for private practice while a 45-watt power is perfect for a gig. I also love how this amp has a handy USB record output that allows users to send their sound directly to the computer and DAW. I would highly recommend this amp for those interested in recording their work as well.
- Convenient for recording purposes thanks to its USB record output
- Captures true classic vintage tones better than most amps
- Offers a super wide range of effects and overdrive options
- One of the more expensive amps on this list
How To Choose The Best Solid State Amps For Blues
The rule is simple: if you want to buy a solid state for blues, pay attention to the amp’s list of effects. To achieve a true blues style, you need an amp that could give you the right kind of vintage blues tones. But to be honest, that’s not enough if you’re looking for the best solid state amps for blues.
The right one for you will always depend on your unique needs. Buying an amp is almost always about choosing the wattage first. After all, the wattage has a great impact on where and how you play.
If you’re purchasing an amp strictly for private practice, an amp with a smaller wattage may suffice. On the other hand, you’ll be needing one with greater power if you want to go out gigging and doing live performances.
Also, pay attention to the amp’s channel surfing capabilities and how easy it is to dial-in to a tone you like. This is especially true for beginners who have yet to master how to use effects on amps. Multichannel amps are great for users who use various tones but if you’re looking for just looking for a clean sound or a bit of distortion, you might need more amps.
For this roundup, the Marshall CODE 25 is the obvious winner as the best solid state amp for blues. In our opinion, no other amp on this list has as many effects and amp voices as the Marshall CODE.
The fact that it has a diverse range of tones gives users the freedom to choose their favorite sound. Although the blues may have a distinct sound, having users dial-in to a personalized sound gives them a lot of creative freedom.
Apart from its wide range of effects, the Marshall CODE 25 makes a convenient solution for both beginners and expert guitarists. Thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity and Marshall Gateway software, the amp is easier to control and use. Plus, it comes with a lot of resources thanks to the online community and tutorials provided by the Marshall Gateway.