6 Best Marshall Amps in 2020 – Combo Amp Reviews

Updated on by Gavin Whitner

Many guitarists chase that classic Marshall tone. But, as you can see from any list of the best Marshall amps, the vintage Marshall sound is not the only thing you can get.

There are many modern reiterations of classic amps as well as modern amps that cater to contemporary styles, effects, and more extreme expectations. Once you know what type of amp you want, then choosing one should come easy. Here are some models for pro playing as well as home practicing.

Best Marshall Amps for Old School and Modern Guitarists

This amp is a real powerhouse. It has loads of tone customization options, and it comes with a high-end Celestion V speaker. With an output of 40W, this is more than just a practice amp. It’s a transitional amp to bigger and better things, and you can even use it to play live in small venues.

What’s great is that you get two reverb-equipped channels, resonance control, as well as individual gain and volume channel controls. You can easily use this amp for almost any genre short of extreme metal.

The first three channels are excellent for rhythm and solo work in blues, rock, and hard rock styles. And, you can push things further on the “Ultragain” channel. Though at most, you would only get an 80’s or 90’s style chugging sound. It lacks some clarity and oomph if you’re in a black or death metal band.

For everything else, it has sufficient customization options and volume.

  • Resonance control
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    Individual channel controls
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    Two reverb channels
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    Sounds better the louder it plays
  • Not the best for extreme metal

The Marshall Origin 50c is a single channel tube amp. It’s an excellent fit for players that prefers to create their tone from a pedalboard instead of the built-in amp EQ. As such, the 50c doesn’t come with reverb or channel switching options.

That said, it’s loud and even comes with a boost feature, and the default sound is a bit different than what you would expect. The 50c doesn’t feature a vintage Marshall sound. Instead, it offers more details on the low end and in the higher register.

What’s also nice is the tilt control, which allows you to switch between a darker, mellow sound and something brighter. Even better, you can also limit the output of the amp at 5, 20, and 50W. Thus you can use it for live performances or comfortably set it to a practice amp setting when you don’t want to play loud.

  • Three output settings
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    More bass definition
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    A bright tilt knob controller
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    Convenient open-back design
  • No reverb

The MG10 is one of the best small amps you can get from any manufacturer. It’s tiny, yet it allows enough tone shaping, and it manages to emulate a tube amp rather well for its size. That’s especially true when you use headphones with it.

Its control panel features clean and overdrive channel switch, as well as contour shaping. Note that this is not a good fit if you want to use a pedalboard. I recommend it for practicing clean or with minimal overdrive.

The output is clear, and 10 watts of power should be more than enough for small to medium-sized rooms. In terms of sound, it’s reminiscent of a vintage British rock tone, although you can alter that through contouring.

The build seems stable, and the amp is pretty lightweight and portable. Of course, the main advantages are probably the ability to practice at low volume levels as well as jamming to your favorite tracks thanks to the line input.

  • Line input available
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    Contour control knob
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    5” speaker
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    Clean and overdrive channels
  • Sounds extra crunchy when cranked to the max

This acoustic, solid-state amp comes with two Celestion speakers, one tweeter, an impressive 50-watt output, and enough effects for acoustic playing.

The reverb is vintage Marshall and will help you get a classic tone out of your guitar. I also like the use of a chorus effect as well as the presence of anti-feedback controls. They will help maintain sound clarity even at higher volume levels, as well as when running a lower-end guitar through the amp.

Overall, this amp does little in terms of coloring the guitar tone. And, for most acoustic-electric players, this is one of the essential things in an amp. The price to performance ratio is also excellent, seeing as how the amp is more than well-equipped for live playing.

  • Effects loop
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    Anti-feedback controls
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    Limited tone coloring
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    Loud and clear sound
  • It takes some time to calibrate

This 30W amp is one of my personal favorites. It features Celestion Greenback speakers, which project a unique, vintage tone. The amp is also clean in terms of tone shaping, offering very little apart from a standard three-band EQ.

That said, the tremolo effect can be quite nice, and you can easily activate it from the footswitch. It’s also worth mentioning that the amp has two channels, one for rhythm and one for the lead. The modern iteration of the Bluesbreaker also caters to a specific user base.

Its bluesy, rocky tone is suited for blues and 60’s or 70’s rock tunes. It won’t handle contemporary effects well. But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of guitar players out there chasing a vintage Marshall sound. I would also probably recommend this amp more to seasoned players than beginners since it’s not as versatile in tone shaping.

Therefore, if you know what you’re looking for in a blues-rock tone, this could be the one. If you’re not sure, then there are other options.

  • Vintage Marshall blues and rock tone
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    Simple three-band EQ
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    Footswitch-activated tremolo
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    Output power and clarity
  • Not for modern styles

The MG30FX combo amp comes with a bunch of effects, a custom speaker, and an emulated headphone output. It also features a line-in channel, which comes in handy for practicing and studying songs.

Its 30W output is loud enough for practicing with your band, alone, or even playing in small indoor venues. I will say that the amp sounds rather clear at high volume levels. That’s with minimal tinkering too.

I also like the inclusion of preset channel modes, which take away a lot of guesswork and should help beginners find a convincing and pleasing tone.

The amp is more versatile than others in terms of what you can play on it. Although, the clean channel might get some distortion if you crank the volume up to the max levels.

  • Good vintage/modern combo amp
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    Custom speaker
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    Headphone out and line in
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    Two preset channels included
  • Not the cleanest clean channel

How Many Watts Do You Need in A Practice Amp?

You don’t need more than 10 watts. The best practice amps are the ones that work well with headphones, allow some tone shaping, and are light enough to carry with you wherever you go.

In my experience, practicing on 10 to 20-watt amps can get boring after a while. So, having a headphone out is most important.

However, it’s also worth pointing out that some manufacturers, Marshall included, do offer combo amps that can run at different output settings.

That means that you can get yourself an amp that can handle stage play well, and that you can also tone down to 20, 10, or even 5 watts for practice purposes.

Get an Acoustic Amp for Your Electric-Acoustic Guitar

You may feel tempted to buy a regular amp that can take in effects and amplify your sound to insane levels. I recommend using only acoustic amps on semi-acoustic or acoustic-electric guitars.

The reason is quite simple. When you’re playing this type of guitar, you should want to maintain the tonal consistency and position your guitar’s natural tone front and center. That means that you should have as few tone shaping and contouring settings on the amp as possible.

That’s what acoustic amps are all about, boosting the volume without altering the tone even at the highest volume settings.

How Many Effects Do You Need on Your Amp?

It will depend on how you prefer to shape your tone. If you’re all about using pedalboards and multiple pedal effects in series, then the tone-shaping features on the amp shouldn’t matter.

You can do great things with a simple three-band EQ and individual channel gain and volume control. Everything else can be done from your effects pedals.

Sure, something like a chorus or reverb can come in handy on your amp. But even those are not necessary. The most important thing is that your amp doesn’t add unwanted distortion or buzzing when you play it loud, or at low volume levels for that matter.

Marshall Amps – Great for Beginners and Pros

Marshall is one of the most respected amp manufacturers, and the fact that they cater to guitarists of all genres, as well as all pockets, says a lot.

If you’re looking for a Marshall amp, it won’t take you long to find a great fit. However, you can save time and money if you make up your mind first on what genre you want to play and what accessories you want to use with your guitar and amp.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, songwriter, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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