Finding good guitar amps while on a low budget is definitely no easy task. The mission becomes even harder when it comes to having a low budget to buy both a guitar and an amplifier. Most amplifiers under the 200 dollars range are poor-quality. Non-serious players are the ones who often invest in these.
Don’t fret, though. There are definitely some proper amplifiers out there that cost less than $200, or even, believe it or not, $100. Now, if you are a professional guitar player, it’s highly unlikely that these amps are going to do you or your performances any justice. Amps for such a price range are targeted mostly for beginner to early intermediate players, so that’s one thing to keep in mind. However, you can, as a professional, use these amps for practice purposes. Without any further ado, let’s start!
Fender Mustang I
This amplifier has a wide variety of features that allow to change the on-board amp models directly or by editing them using a computer software, Fender FUSE. Using this feature, you can tweak many effects including, but not limited to, the tremolo, delay and echo, and phaser.
You can also track your own music using the built-in Fender Edition Ableton Live Lite 8 recording software, which is compatible with both PC and MAC. This Fender Mustang also allows the option to play either privately or publicly thanks to the Auxiliary input and the 1/8th headphone output that mutes the speaker output.
The Controls built into this amp include:
Gain, Treble, Preset Selection, Bass, Master, Volume, Modulation, Delay, and Reverb Selects, Exit and Save Buttons, as well as a Tap Tempo Button.
There has been questions on whether this amp comes with a cord or not, and I couldn’t come to a conclusive answer. It seems like some buyers received a cord and other did not. If you already own a cord, then this shouldn’t bother you. On the flip side, if this is the first time you buy an amp, then you may want to buy a cord just in case.
Overall, the Fender Mustang I received a decent amount of positive reviews, which were enough to deduce that it is very well worth buying. It’s one of the best that you could get for under $200.
Check price on Amazon.
Check price on Thomann.
Update: There is a new version of this amp. Geneerally, there isn’t much of a difference between the two except for the notorious buzz that infected the V1 Mustang products. V2 was meant to fix this issue, not to ad new features. However, Fender did add a few extra effects to the V2 products. There isn’t much of a price difference, though.
Marshall M-MG30GFX-U Combo Amp
This 30-watt 110v Marshall is another great amp that is both beginner and price-friendly. It posses a 10-inch speaker and an emulated headphone output that makes private playing simple. It delivers a range of modern and classic tones, not to mention modern digital effects. It also allows manual and preset channel modes for an even better practice experience.
On Amazon, and as of writing this, the Marshall received no negative reviews. This shows that this amp is a qualified candidate worth looking at. Now it may be slightly on the costlier side for some, but it’s still under $200. Or actually, it is $200. That one cent isn’t making any difference.
For more information on the Marshall amp, look here.
Yamaha THR5 Amp
How can we possibly leave Yamaha out of this? This particular one is a mini Desktop guitar combo amp with five classic amp models – Crunch, Clean, Lead, Brit Hi, and Modern – and a variety of effects processing. It’s portable and easy to carry around thanks to it’s lightweight and – well – mini figure. It can be run on AC power and batteries and offers a hi-fi quality stereo playback.
Yamaha boasts that the THR5 sounds like a massive tube amplifier despite it’s mini size. And all of that is thanks to Yamaha’s spectacular VCM, or Virtual Circuitry Modeling, technology.
The Yamaha THR5 is designed specifically for acoustic-electric guitars, and it is as convenient as the guitars themselves.
Check price on Amazon.
Check price on Thomann.
Update: There is a new version for this one, too. This time, people are saying that V2 is much better than V1. There are new cleans that are upgraded, and the bass/lower frequencies sound much better in the lead settings. You can go here for more information.
Peavey Vypyr VIP 1 Amp
This particular one works well with multiple guitar instruments, whether it be electric guitars, acoustic guitars, or even bass guitars. It’s a 20-watt modeling amplifier that uses Patented TransTube technology with 16 presents and 25 effects. The VIP 1 has 36 on-board amp models with 6 bass models and 6 acoustic models. The controls are WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get – design, and they are real-time dual parameters. It also carries an on-board looper which can be activated with either Sanpera I or II (optional).
The VIP 1 has a quality headphone outputs along with bi-directional USB, Data, Midi, and audio record outputs. There are also auxiliary, MP3, and CD inputs. The speaker is an 8″ voiced speaker.
I noticed that plenty of the buyers complained of how complicated setting up this amp is. They found a bit difficult to find the tone the are looking for, no mater how simple it is. However, the good news is that the VIP 1 comes accompanied with a DVD that elaborates on how to properly use it. In other words, if you are new to the amplifier world, then using the DVD is essential to help you find what you are looking for; otherwise, you can experiment yourself if you have the patience.
The VIP1 costs around $100 from Amazon. It’s a good practice amp, but it can also be used for simple and small gigs. You can’t really get much from a 20-watt amplifier. However, if you have some extra bucks to spare, Peavey also has the VIP2 and VIP3 as part of their Vypyr series. There isn’t much difference between any of the VIP 1, 2, and 3 amps. The VIP 2, for instance, is 40-watts and the VIP 3 is a whopping 100-watts amp.
For more information on the Peavey VIP 1, you can go here (you can find the VIP 2 and 3 listed on that page too).
Which one is the best?
And there you have it, 4 of the best guitar amplifiers for just under 200 dollars. Getting one of those 4 as your first amp would be a great start to your amplified playing journey. Of course, we will be adding more when we find good enough candidates for the subject.
As far as “the best” is concerned, it would be too hard to come to a conclusion on which one is the best. After all, it all comes down to your own taste and preference. It’s pretty much the same case with guitars: what one ear likes may be what another dislikes. Everyone should judge for themselves.
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