Do we know what you’re thinking – solid-state amps? Is this a joke? For any serious musician, solid-state amps don’t exactly have the best reputation. Despite being the main amp of many revered guitarists throughout the years, solid-state amps somehow still fail to impress the larger crowd.
The problem seems to stem from the standard transistor technology these amps have. According to those who have witnessed its early beginnings, the transistors were just too cheap and unreliable to play with hence, the bad reputation.
But that was roughly 30 years ago and a lot of things have changed in terms of tech in the music industry. Designs have been improved, sound quality and reliability has been enhanced, and some of the solid-state amps in our list even have some really cool features you might want to check out.
For many years, tube amps have always been the guitar amplifier of choice. But if you look past first impressions on solid-state amps, you’ll come to realize that they do have some attractive qualities.
For one, they are generally a lot cheaper than most tube amps, making them the perfect companion for most beginners. Solid state amps also don’t require time to warm-up or cool down, and they are a better fit for the road in terms of portability.
But don’t just take our word for it. Below is a list of our favorite solid state amps. I hope that this list can convince you to try them out and with enough luck, maybe they can finally get rid of their bad reputation.
Top 10 Best Solid State Amps for Gigging 2021
Fender Champion 20 Electric Guitar Amplifier
If there was one solid state amp that I would recommend to the tube amp junkies, it would have to be the Fender Champion. Sure, its 20-watt power may not impress you. But if you were told that solid state amps don’t sound right, this is is the amp that will convince you otherwise.
It has an amazing set of lush effects such as the vibratone, delay, and chorus, and digital reverbs. With a turn of a knob, you also get access to a variety of tones from clean to mean – derived from 17 various amp models that’s perfect for almost any type of music genre.
I also love that the Fender Champion has an open-back cabinet. Portability is so important for gigging and with this solid state amp, you can conveniently store extra cables and small accessories whenever you and your band are on the go.
- Comes with a wide array of effects and tones via convenient dials
- Gives users a lot of control
- Perfect for shaping personal sound
- Packs extra cables and small accessories in its open back cabinet
- Comes with only 1 channel switch
- A loud pop can be heard when powering off the amp
Orange Amps Crush12 Amplifier
Are you an electric guitar newbie looking for an affordable, no-nonsense amp? Look no further, Orange has got you covered with its Crush PiX CR12L. Sporting its classic striking orange design, this solid state amp is a head-turner.
The Orange Crush12 is a bona fide option for the beginner guitarist. With humble 12-watt power, this amp has the loudest 6-inch speakers you’ve ever heard – a great steal for an amp within this price range.
But what impressed me the most about this Orange amp is its controls. For this inexpensive amp, you get a super easy 3-band EQ plus Overdrive and Gain control. Just dial away and you’re sure to get a tone that best fits your style.
And if you’re also new to gigging, no worries – the Crush PiX CR12L weighs just a little over 12 pounds, making it one of the most portable amps on this list.
- Simple and easy to use
- Great for beginners and for those who have just started gigging
- Has the best quality components and control for an amp within this price range
- Lightweight and super portable
- Great for traveling
- Outputs need more improvement
- A bit of distortion above mid-volume range can be heard
Fender Mustang GT 40 Solid State
Who can resist a Fender? As one of the most respectable brands of music instruments, Fender never ceases to impress its loyal fans. With their new and improved amp modeling technology, Fender has taken the bad rep of solid state amps and transformed it into a sophisticated and advanced instrument: the Mustang GT.
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’d know that I love all things wireless: remote controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth – whatever it is, I’ll like it. Blame it on the laziness of today’s generation but you still can’t deny how convenient it is. Take the Mustang GT, for example.
Being Wi-Fi equipped, it can get easy updates, preset exchanges, and access to the Fender tone app. You can also stream and control the amp via Bluetooth using your mobile device – how convenient is that?
- Supports wireless connectivity via wi-fi and Bluetooth
- Works with the Fender tone app
- Comes with 21 classic amp voices and more than 45 different effects offering countless tone combinations
- Has a beautifully vibrant display screen and a light but durable wooden chassis
- Bluetooth connection via Android is faulty
- Sound clarity and overall quality lacks consistency
Here’s one solid state amp that is built for rock and roll. The Boss Katana 50 comes with 5 amp characters that’s 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 pedalboard.
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
Marshall CODE 100W 2×12 Guitar Combo Amp
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
Orange Amps Amplifier Part (ROCKER15)
Loved the Orange amp from a while back but needed a lot more power? No worries – the Orange Rocker 15 might just be the thing you’re looking for. This 15-watt amp comes with three 12AX7 preamps and two EL84 power amps.
It also has two channels and a single input speaker. Plus, it also features the Voice of the World Gold Label Controls: 3-band EQ, gain, bass, and volume in channel 2.
In my opinion, the Orange Rocker 15 is one of the most versatile amps on this list. No matter where you are, the amp fits right in with your environment. Even if you’re playing in your bedroom, or out there playing on stage, the Rocker 15 sounds impeccable.
Also what interests me most about the Rocker 15 is the fact that it has a twin channel design – it has the Natural channel as well as Dirty channel. As the name suggests, one channel focuses on reproducing natural sound, while the other is more familiar with controls for gain, volume, and the 3-band EQ section.
- Simple and made with high-quality components
- Features a smart and unique two-channel design
- Works well in any environment from home to studio or live performances
- One of the more expensive amps on this list
Randall RG80 Guitar Amplifier Head
If you love old school metal without all that digital nonsense, the Randall RG80 is the perfect solution for you. It’s a must-have for any Steeler out there, but this amp is actually more versatile than you think.
It hits all the deep basses, has a sweet mid-range, and silky smooth highs. Plus, at 80-watts, these amps are pretty loud, making them a great companion to have during gigs.
What I love most about this amp is its overall simplicity. The Randall RG80 is a no-frills 2-channel, high gain FET solid state amp. It’s responsive and it has basically everything you really need.
If you’re searching for something straightforward, then getting the Randall RG80 is a definitely worthy investment.
- Covers all the basics
- Just plug and play
- Features a speaker emulated XLR direct output with ground lift
- Also comes with a footswitch
- A great deal at a super affordable price
- Crunch channel becomes mellow as volume increases
Peavey 6505+ 112 Combo Guitar Electric
The brand Peavey seems to be on everyone’s lips when talking about solid-state amps, and with very good reason. Personally, I think that Peavey amps work best with metal guitars, but based on its high reviews, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sound great no matter what the genre.
But if you’re a metalhead, take my word for it and go buy this amp.
The Peavey 6505+ has five 12AX7 preamp tubes that provide impressive gain, two 6L6GC power amp tubes, and a separate 3-band EQ on each channel. Plus, it also has separate Resonance and Presence controls for each channel.
Basically, it has all the components that make a high-quality amp reliable and consistent – what more can you really ask for?
- Has great volume range and control
- Perfect for at-home practice and on-stage as well
- Comes with a lot of amazing effects
- A great value at an affordable price range
- Produces impressive gain compared to most options on this list
- Super heavy and bulky
- Not ideal for travelling
At first glance, the Danelectro Guitar Mini Amplifier may seem like the type that’s bought just for novelty but in fact, it’s made for long hours of practice. If you’re looking for a mini amp that works well with smaller gigs, then this amp is your best bet.
On the outside, the Danelectro mini amp sports a compact yet unique and stylish body. But don’t let its size fool you, this amp cranks like a little hot rod with a spotless clean or overdriven sound. It has a real leather handle, a belt clip, and a headphone jack.
It also comes with Volume, Tone, and Overdrive controls. Powered by 9V battery or a Danelectro DA-1 adapter, this little amp has everything you might need while on the go to a gig.
- Sports a unique vintage-style design yet durable and lightweight for travel
- Provides a good quality sound
- Clean or overdriven
- Dual-power capabilities via 9V battery or an adapter
- Cuts out often due to the lower quality of its cord
Mugig Guitar Amplifier
Coming in with 10 watts of volume is the Mugig Guitar Amplifier. This robust device comes with an 8-inch Fender speaker that’s designed for an enhanced high-frequency response.
It allows users to shape their designed sound with the EQ section (Bass + Treble) while also giving them the freedom to dial in lush effects such as digital reverbs, chorus, vibrato, and delay.
This amp also comes with the following controls: Gain, Volume, Treble, Bass, Master, Preset Select, and Modulation – basically everything any player might need.
My favorite part about the Mugig guitar amp was the ability to play along with favorite songs. Just plug in your MP3 player into the auxiliary input and become part of the band.
And if private practice is what you prefer, simply use the 1/8th headphone output jack. And if that’s not enough, you can also build original songs with the help of the Ableton Live Lite 8 Fender Edition – a studio-quality recording software.
- Made with great craftsmanship
- Comes with a high-quality speaker by Fender
- Features a good range of effects as well as a library of songs through Ableton Live Lite 8 Offers
- Great quality sound at an affordable rate
- Inconsistent sound quality
- Has a grainy sound and static
Choosing The Best Solid State Amps For Gigging
Choosing the perfect brand or model of any kind of instrument is a fruitless endeavor. We just think that the “perfect one” doesn’t exist, and that the best one will always be what feels right for the user.
The same rule applies to choosing the best solid state amps for gigging – you have to know how you play and what your needs are.
If we’ve somehow convinced you to give solid state amps a try, then the very first thing you need to keep in mind is tonal quality. You want an amp that could help you achieve the sound that you like. Having an amp that is consistent and reliable in terms of tone can help you achieve that goal even faster.
Another aspect you need to consider are effects. Just like tonal quality, an amp’s effects has a great impact on how you would sound. An amp that has a large variety can give you more room for creativity.
Lastly, you need consider your environment. If you’re playing within the four walls of your bedroom, you wouldn’t want an amp that could potentially annoy your neighbors. But if your goal is to perform live and do gigs more often, then you’d want to get am amp that is loud, powerful, and also highly portable.
Solid state amps are a hard sell – especially for those who don’t see them in a positive light. But like most things in this world, it all depends on one’s personal taste.
If you’re sold on getting a solid state amp, then go ahead and get yourself a Fender Champion. In our opinion, it is the best solid state amp for gigging or even for practicing at home.
It’s made by a well-trusted brand and it has a great balance of features – nothing too crazy and overwhelming for the beginner yet something to keep players of all skill levels interested. It’s robust, well-built, and quite honestly, it comes very close to a guitarist’s ideal quality of sound.