If there’s one brand that every guitarist and wannabe guitarist knows, it’s Fender. Some of the best fender amps have been used for decades to create amazing music that has stood the test of time.
The unique voicing of Fender amps is legendary, to say the least. And, because vintage amps are getting harder and harder to come by, modern Fender amps have been designed to emulate the more elusive Fender tones, characterized by impeccable clarity, note separation, and bright phrasing.
6 Best Fender Amps for Versatile Guitarists
Using the Fender Champion 40 is one of the most affordable ways to get as close as possible to the vintage Fender clean tone. This amp comes with a 12” speaker that delivers up to 40W of power. It’s not the most powerful amp you can get, but it can hold its own in small venues and rehearsal studios.
The amp features two channels: clean and drive. If you’re not a one-trick-pony then you might just appreciate the versatility here. You may also like the fact that this is a combo amplifier. This means that it has some built-in effects for you to play with.
You can use the FX control knob to switch between effects and use the dedicated FX level knob to set the intensity. The amp also provides you with master volume, channel volume, gain, and a 2-band EQ. It’s pretty much the standard stuff you would expect from an entry-level Fender amp, with the added benefits of the built-in effects and a tap tempo feature.
The sound is as close as it gets to a traditional vintage Fender clean. The drive channel is not bad itself, especially after you make some adjustments. Even the design of the Fender Champion 40 is a throwback to old-school Fender amps.
What this amp may lack in oomph it certainly makes up for in versatility and impressive noise reduction for the money.
If you’re looking for raw power, a vintage clean sound, and premium overdrive potential, then you would be hard-pressed to find a Fender amp that outclasses the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb combo amp.
This ’65 Twin Reverb has two 12” Jensen C-12K speakers. Combined, these speakers put out 85W of power and premium sound clarity. Another characteristic of this amp is the superior note separation that makes it a top choice for blues, country, jazz, and hard rock guitarists.
The amp has two channels. Both the clean and drive channels have standard 3-band EQ controls. However, the overdrive channel also offers the classic Fender tube spring reverb, with three control knobs for reverb, speed, and intensity.
Getting your own unique tone whilst maintaining the Blackface sound signature shouldn’t be too difficult. The Fender ’65 Twin Reverb is more of a live combo amp than a practice amp. Although you could play it at lower volumes, why would you when the amp offers so much power and clarity.
If there’s one thing I wish was different, it’d be the pricing. The ’65 Twin Reverb is not a cheap amp, which you’d expect from a handmade amp of an all-tube design from input to output. It’s best-suited for professional guitarists rather than students or amateur players.
Equipped with a color LCD display and an extensive list of presets, the Fender Mustang LT25 is one of the best Fender amps that have been designed with students in mind. The Mustang LT25 only boasts 25W of power. However, this combo amp has a lot more going for it in other departments.
For example, it features a USB interface which you can use to record. Another cool thing is the amp selection feature. With the Mustang LT25, you gain access to 20 types of amps, most of them have been emulated after Fender amps.
There are 50 total presets and 25 effects that allow unparalleled customization in this price range. A chromatic tuner is also available, that’s a lot more reliable than any cheap clip-on tuners. The speaker is an 8” speaker and there’s only one channel you can use.
The Mustang LT25 is also a lot sturdier than you would expect. The amp weighs nearly 15lbs and has a solid wood enclosure. It’s anything but flimsy and its tone offers clarity above all else. You can use up to four effects to create a unique sound that fits your play style and genre.
Whether you’re playing clean country or metal, the Mustang LT25 is a versatile combo amplifier that looks and sounds great.
The Fender Frontman 10G has been around for a couple of years now and appears to be ahead of the competition in its price range or wattage class. It’s a compact 10W amp with a custom 6” speaker capable of impressive clear projection.
It only has one onboard effect, the overdrive effect. Don’t get me wrong. The clean tone has a bluesy feel that’s indicative of a classic Fender in a modern format. There are also treble and bass controls as well as a master volume knob.
This amp has a rich sound, no matter how you adjust the tone. The closed-back design gives it an improved bass response which adds richness and warmth to the sound, especially when you’re playing clean.
Switching to the overdrive will be as easy as pressing a button. Can you take this amp with you to a gig? Probably not. Due to its low output and minimalist EQ, you won’t be able to squeeze too much out of it. But, if you just want to practice at home without disturbing the neighbors or if you want to practice with your headphones on, then the Frontman 10G can really start to deliver your money’s worth.
The Fender Mustang I V2 amp is another interesting combo amplifier designed for users shopping on a low budget, or perhaps those that play in modest indoor venues. The V2 is an upgraded version of the Mustang I, in that it received a few extra amp choices in the list of presets.
In total, the V2 has 17 amp presets, including the ’65 Twin Reverb for clean playing, and some American-style beefy amps that can put out a true metal tone. That’s something you just won’t get too often from a Fender amp.
44 effects are available like stompboxes, modulation, delay, and reverb. However, not all the effects are available right off the bat. The stompbox effects are only available if the amp is connected to a computer. This software component may not please everyone, but given the price to performance ratio of the Mustang I V2, one can hardly argue with the result
The Fender Fuse software (for editing presets) is quite impressive too. For example, you can save up to 36 presets, 24 on top of the 12 factory presets the amp comes with. You can also override and customize the factory presets too, if they’re not to your liking.
The 20W Fender Mustang I V2 may not be the most powerful amp on the market. But, it’s a very-easy-to-use combo amplifier that has some unique sounds and quality-of-life features.
Fender did such a good job with the Mustang GT 40 that it’s no wonder the GT 100 turned out damn near perfect. This is a beefy modeling amplifier that takes a lot of space but also delivers 100W of power through its 12” Celestion Special Design speaker.
One of the coolest things about the GT 100 is the Bluetooth LE support. You can use this in conjunction with the Fender Tone app and edit effects in just a few seconds. The range of supported amps that the GT 100 can emulate is nothing short of impressive.
You’ll have access to the Blackface of the Twin Reverb, the Bassman, and even the tweed Champ. All unique Fender tones that many have tried to copy but failed. There are also quite a few artist presets to sift through, each one customizable to suit your style from within the app.
The intuitive design of the Mustang GT 100 is one of the best things about this amp. Although it’s pricey and probably overkill for most beginners, it won’t take anyone too long to figure out how to get the most out of its deep effect editing features. And, to make things even better, whether you want to practice or perform, the GT 100 has the power to back you up anytime.
What You Need to Know About Fender Amps
First and foremost, I can’t stress enough how far Fender has come in terms of offering quality amplifiers at entry-level prices. It’s no longer an overpriced manufacturer that left some of its customers a bit disappointed.
For a long time, Fender amps have been associated with softer genres like blues, country, jazz, and maybe rock. In other words, genres that emphasize clean playing more than anything else. In a way, the same can be said of both Fender guitars and amps.
These days though, you can achieve a lot more with Fender gear. But you still need to manage expectations. Although most Fender combo amps can emulate some interesting amplifiers, they still lack some aggression in the overdrive department.
Pick Your Power Level
Don’t overpay for power if you don’t need it. For practice purposes, a good 10 to 20W Fender amp should take care of most your needs. You can push it to 40W if you really want the extra volume, but it would be unnecessary.
It’s also worth pointing out that once you go above the 40W range, most of these amplifiers can also handle live performances. No, you won’t be able to count on a 40W amp for a stadium gig, but you will be able to count on it for small indoor venue gigs and rehearsal studios.
Input Channels & Control Options
Not all Fender amps come with two input channels. Although this would be a necessity for some guitarists, it really depends on your playing style and preferred genre as to whether or not it’s worth paying the extra buck.
All fender amps will have an overdrive switch even if they don’t have a dedicated drive channel. The main difference would be in the EQ department. Dual-channel Fender amps will almost always feature a more advanced EQ band for their overdrive channel, including more effects and means to customize those effects.
Fender Loyalists Have Reasons to Stay True
As you can see, Fender has come a long way in terms of diversifying its combo amp line-up. you’re looking for, Fender can probably provide.
The combo amps above each has its own unique niche and caters to some specific guitarist requirements. Whether it’s practicing, rehearsing, recording, or performing live, getting access to a customizable vintage tone has never been easier or more affordable.