What to expect from a guitar amp under $200?
For under $200, you should expect a good-quality sound. However, don’t expect an amp that has enough power to be sufficient for playing a gig at a club or a larger bar. The amps in this price range usually have enough power for smaller venues, like a coffee shop, practicing, or smaller outdoor gigs and gatherings. Expect at least a 3-band EQ at the very minimum. However, don’t be surprised if there are other useful features or effects added in. Some even include software for you to directly record into, or that allows you to further alter your effects and presets.
Features to consider while choosing a guitar amplifier
As previously mentioned, at the very least, you should have 3-band EQs so you can tweak and alter your tone how you like it. Most guitar players will quickly get bored with just this, and if you don’t have pedals, you will know what we’re talking about. Having a Booster button which sends your guitar into overdrive is a nice option to have so you don’t always have to go with the “clean” sound. Also, having USB connectivity or an aux input to play along with your favorite songs through your smartphone is always cool.
It’s also essential to think about where you’re going to be performing and what you’re going to use the amp for. Be realistic about the capabilities of the amp and the size of the venue you’ll be using it with.
Type and Configuration
There are various types and configurations of guitar amps, and it’s important to know the difference before making your purchase. There are tub, solid-state, modeling, hybrid, and acoustic amps. Vacuum tubes are big, glass cylinders that get hot as they’re used. They’re almost never used due to burn out so often. Solid-states use transistors and printed circuit boards, and are the most popular type. They’re very lightweight and affordable. Hybrids combine tube and solid-state circuitry. Dig-modeling amps are cheaper, lighter, and use computer modeling to create sounds. They have a ton of effects and are versatile.
Power and speakers
Again, think about how much power you’re going to need. If you’ll just be practicing, then even the smallest amount of watts will be okay. However, if you’re going to be playing smaller venues, you’ll want to go with at least, ideally, 10 watts, or better 20 watts and up to 40 watts in this price range.
Built-in effects can completely change the amp experience for you. If you’re a beginner, then you may not think about these. Sure, you could buy a pedal or two, but with all of the different parameters those often have, they can be intimidating. Having a delay, reverb, or a Booster button thrown in can completely change your sound, and make it a lot more fun, giving you more creativity and flexibility.
As we’d mentioned earlier, it’s important to take into consideration the warranty of your new amp. If your amp doesn’t have a warranty, that may be worth it, or it may not. Perhaps it’s affordable, but if it breaks on you in a month, then you’re out of luck. We recommend going with an amp that has at least a 3-year warranty, but preferably 5 years.