In every guitarist’s life, a time comes when they start looking for a decent practice amp. A practice amp helps you to practice the guitar without getting worried about the noise levels. Although people may love playing through a cranked tube amp, for home practice, one doesn't need such kind of volume. Out of the wide variety of amps, the best practice amp will be the one that will fit all your needs. The majority of the practice amps don’t cost too much, while one doesn’t need to push the air out of the speakers to sound good.
Everyone has their own requirements for the amp. Some people look at the speakers, some on the distortion box that goes with it, etc. Yet, every guitarist knows that a good amp begins from a really solid cabinet. There are many brands that have been manufacturing these cabinets for decades and have extraordinary quality products to offer. Mesa Boogie, Marshall, Peavey, Dr. Z are some of the names that one might have heard before. But the majority of these brands make amps in a wide price range and a wide variety. This means that there is no particular practice amp but rather a different set of amps for every type of sound you want to create. Hence it would be difficult to find a perfect match for your requirement, and bring you the whole range of amps from many well-known brands to suit everyone's needs.
The first thing that you should be looking at when selecting a practice amp is whether it has a clean channel or not. By clean channel, we mean the sound without any distortion. This is the sound that is outputted when one doesn't push any buttons on the guitar and simply uses their fingers to play anything they like. Many practice amps don’t offer this kind of option as they are specifically designed to only provide distorted tones, hence if you want a clean tone, you will have to either search for an individual amp that has this feature or you can settle for the distortion sound and turn it off when needed.
One common issue with most of these practice amps is that they don’t have an inbuilt effects loop, which means you will have to connect your guitar and any other pedal in front of the amplifier. Although some suggest that this is not really necessary, it is indeed a good option to have if you ever want to use your amp for gigs.
Another important thing that often tends to be overlooked is the size of the amplifier itself. If you are looking for something that can produce enough volume for practicing at home or recording purposes, then having a big amp isn’t really an option. Some of these amps are small enough to fit into your car’s trunk if you wish to take them with you on your trips or anywhere else.
A practice amp is something that one should look for when they were just starting their guitar journey years ago. It gives them the opportunity to play whenever they want without bothering anybody. One doesn't need any external pedals to enhance their sound as the amps are powerful enough to produce rich tones without compromising on quality. Hence for some, these amps can bring them closer to achieving their dreams of playing guitar in front of an audience.
Best practice amps available in the market
Yamaha THR10II Wireless
The THR series by Yamaha is one of the classic household guitar amps specially designed to sit on your table or the desktop or be placed on the bookshelf. The Yamaha THR10II can play music with a 3” stereo speaker that might be ideal for live streaming. The Virtual Circuit Modeling tech does a superb job of mimicking the amp response. This latest THR edition offers 15 valve amp models, and this makes it one of the most versatile practice tools.
- 15 Valves amplifier models
- 11 custom speakers
- 12 Effect blocks
- Aux in for playing along with the favorite tracks
- Stereo USB out for digital recording or to play as a (miniature) PA system.
- The Yamaha THR10II is a reasonably priced practice amp that offers great quality. With the number of effects being offered in this amp, it does not feel like one is just practicing but rather creating music.
- Has a built-in tuner that makes tuning before starting to play incredibly easy
- The sound quality isn’t as good as the larger amps.
- It does not have a headphone jack, so one must use an external device to hear what they are playing through the speakers.
- Loss of some low end at high volumes due to its size.
The THR10II Wireless is the ideal practice amp for those who want to take their playing to the next level. The sound quality is pretty good for its size, and it also has plenty of effects that make music production fun for everyone in your household or in your studio. This could be a great starter package for guitar players because it can produce both clean and distorted tones, and it also has a built-in tuner.
Fender Mustang LT25
Mustang LT25 is an entry-level digital modeling amp by Fender, which is a no-brainer for those looking for a wallet-friendly and fuss-friendly practice amp with a lot of things going under the hood compared to its understated design. There are 50 available presets and 30 preloaded fright from the factory, so you can press down the encoder and save according to your wish. A USB connection is available to record the playing, a guitar tuner for keeping things straight, as well as headphones output so that you can practice quietly.
- 25 watts of power to drive a 4" Fender Special Design speaker.
- 30 preloaded factory presets, plus 35 user-programmable channels allow you to save and recall all the sound settings and configurations.
- Create up to four AMP MODELING channels with one amp type selected using the amp block mode.
- Match your favorite tones through a variety of easy-to-use controls, from tube preamp emulation to power level control.
- Enough juice under the hood for those who do not have a huge room or want to play at outdoor venues as well as it is loud enough for home use.
- Its compact size makes it tough to leave behind, especially for those who travel a lot.
- The speaker is not of the highest quality and sounds like it has some echo or reverb effect on it. This might be due to its small size which deters Fender from putting a better speaker in it.
- Although affordable, many people lament the fact that they purchased and found out that the amp was actually made in China instead of America.
The Mustang LT25 comes with some great factory presets which can be used as-is or modified to your needs. It also has enough storage space to keep things organized in case you want to create your very own preset. For practicing, the Mustang LT25 is perfect because it has a headphone output that allows you to practice quietly when necessary.
Blackstar Fly 3
The Blackstar Fly 3 amp is considered tiny and super cheap, but it surely packs a wallop when you crank it up. This best practice amp is powered by a 6.5V DC power supply, whereas you can throw it in the briefcase or take it wherever you are taking your guitar. Its ISF feature is loved by many, which is a global EQ control that sets this amp on top of the classic Fender amps.
- This amp has a built-in tuner, so you can always go right in the middle of your favorite tunes without worrying about straying out of tune.
- There is also an auxiliary input for MP3 players and other audio sources which makes jamming extra fun.
- Even though it is small, its speaker can produce a big sound and there's no need for you to purchase another cabinet to pair with it.
- It has an "i" button that lets you scan through the list of effects until you find what sounds good to your ears.
- Its speaker is not that well constructed and many say that it sounds a bit "tinny" or "boxy." Others have also commented that they can hear the buzzing when you're in silent mode.
- The speaker volume cannot be adjusted, so if you do not want to overdrive your amp, then this is for you.
- Because the speaker is not that great, this amp cannot be used for home practice unless paired with another cabinet or subwoofer.
The Blackstar Fly 3 may only have one speaker which it packs a good punch, but if you want to learn lead guitar soloing techniques or play slide, fretless, or other kinds of instruments that require you to push the limits of your amp's volume, this is not for you. However, if you want to practice quietly and still get a pure tone without annoying those around you, then this product is perfect as it has a headphone output that also features silent mode.
Hardke HD15 Bass Combo Amp
The majority of small and underpowered amps might be struggling to produce the low frequencies because they need a lot of power to the cone, but Hardke HD15 is the best practice amp that is capable of performing well above its weight class even in the low-end division. Its weight is only 16 pounds; therefore, it is super portable, whereas its 6.5-inch hybrid cone offers you an ear-pleasing combo of smoothness and punchiness that you may not find in the majority of speakers of this size.
- This amp comes with a tri-band equalizer that can be tweaked to your liking. Plus, the bass and treble knobs have been placed below the EQ for easy access.
- The speaker has been made from a high-density material which prevents it from being damaged easily when you pick hard on it.
- This amp is small, but it has a really good punch because of its material that can work as a barrier against intense heavy pick attacks. It also has an amazing tonal range to boot.
- Some have complained about the absence of a headphone jack, but your practice time will not be compromised by the absence of it.
- The EQ knobs cannot go past twelve because of their built-in circuitry, so this may limit you when you want to push the volume beyond normal levels.
If you're an electric bassist who is looking for the best practice amps, then you should start here because this product will surely deliver. It has all the essential features that an electric bassist needs to hone their craft and it comes with a low budget-friendly price tag.
Peavey KB-1 Keyboard Amp
This is a conveniently sized 20-watt keyboard amp by Peavey that features an 8-inch driver. With a built-in mixer and 1/4-inch inputs, it can indeed be an excellent choice for amplifying many instruments at a time. The extended frequency response is superb for the varied sounds of the samplers, electronic drum kits, and various other instruments. Although it lacks any custom-tailored tones and onboard effects, it can still perform great for the bassists and guitarists who use the outboard effects or the paddleboards a lot.
- This amp comes with a heavy-duty handle which makes it easy to carry around. Plus, it has rubber skid pads at the bottom so you can place it on any surface without worrying about damage.
- It also has an EQ control for treble, mid, and bass that you can adjust to your liking.
- Comes with a headphone output and an Auxiliary input for mp3 players or other sources of music, including drum machines and sequencers.
- It has a built-in auxiliary input that allows you to connect your mp3 player, iPod, laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc., so you can practice without disturbing those around you.
- This amp is capable of producing a clear and high-quality sound that can make an electric guitar or bass shine; therefore, it can definitely provide you with the perfect tone for your next jam session.
- It has a low price tag which makes it affordable to many people, whereas its features are more than enough to justify the low price.
- It has an Auxiliary input which makes it easy for you to connect your other devices; therefore, practicing will never be boring again because you'll have something other than your guitar or bass to play with. You can play along to your favorite tracks or you can explore new songs that you haven't heard before.
- It is light in weight and easy to carry around, so you can practice your riffs and melodies at any place and time.
- Some said that they wanted a headphone jack; however, it is not a big deal considering its low price.
- It comes with an 8-inch driver, which might be too small for some people's taste; however, you cannot expect much from a 20-watt amp.
This is indeed the best practice amps for those who are on a tight budget yet want quality sound and performance. Many beginners and amateurs have bought and used this amp and they were satisfied with its performance, which is probably the best testimony to its quality. They said that this product lived up to its promises so you can expect great things from it too.
The best practice amp for a guitar, keyboard, or any other instrument can be a portable alternative to the bulkier option that may be available. Therefore, it can be great for quiet performances and rehearsal use. The best practice amps with a higher wattage are heavier and more capable of producing low frequencies, making them well-suited for brand rehearsals. On the other hand, smaller best practice amps come with low wattages and can be great for playing at home or mobile performances.