The Best small Amps
Not everyone lives in an aircraft hangar with the space to crank up a Marshall stack or four whenever they want to practice and, it gets old pretty fast, dragging heavy amps up and down stairs and muscling them in an out of your car every time you want to play a gig, have a jam or rehearse and practice – especially if you don’t need an amplifier with enough headroom for Wembley Arena.
Real amps no Cheese
The great guitar news is that these days you just don’t have to blow the windows out to get an amazing tone – and we are talking about authentic guitar tone. we are NOT talking about modelling
Low Wattage Amps
If you play small clubs and spend time recording in studios then even modestly sized modern combos have more than enough muscle to cut the guitar amp mustard. If you select the right guitar amplifier you’ll be gifted with bags of tone as well as an amplifer that you can use in the studio, at rehearsal and when you want to play guitar at home without traumatising the neighbours.
Pure Guitar Amp Sound
If you’re a guitarist who cares about your guitar’s unique sound, about the sound THAT YOU make with your HANDS, listen up! because we are going to focus on amps that enhance your tone, with NO MODELLING, so it’s down to you, your guitar and your hands.
We’ve already written about ZVEX stunning hand painted guitar effects pedals; but what we didn’t remark upon was the ZVEX Nano Head – the worlds smallest production valve amplifier. The ZVEX Nano houses two military spec valves, a mini transformer and a cooling fan so despite the fact it is as small as a guitar pedal it’s no toy. The driven sound of the ZVEX Nano is reminiscent of a revved-up Blackface Bassman with touches of Marshall and the clean sound similar to VOX. The Nano delivers an authetic valve amp experience with rich harmonics and bags of tone.
DR Z Mini Z 1×10 combo 5 watt and below
This is the same no-nonsense Mini Z 1×8 combo circuit but with a built in attenuator – dial up some serious tube distortion and fat sustain or roll back for crunchy rhythm – at any volume. If you desire clean tones roll off on your guitar’s volume. The Mini Z houses one EL84 vacuum tube , a single 12AX7 valve, and outputs 5 watts down to under 1 watt. This small amp with killer tones is availabe in black, blonde and red.
Liveried in classic two tone vinyl, with a vintage tone control, reverb, and handbuilt to an authentic 1960’s preamp design the Bugera V5 is driven by one EL84 vacuum tube. The attenuator will dial up everything from full-blown tube saturation to hot crunch and sweet sustain at any volume – all with that distinct Bugera vintage voice. There’s a headphone jack for private guitar practice and speaker output for adding a cabinet.
Find out more about the Bugera V5
Find out more about the awesome Bugera V5 RAT MOD
Goodsell Amplifiers Unibox 10
The Goodsell Unibox is a modern and improved design based upon the legendary Univox U45B from the late 1960’s. Goodsell’s amplifier retains the the unusual 6BM8/ECL82 tubes that have a triode and power pentode each in the same bottle – this alone will give this amp some highly unique charasterics. Goodsell has also added a very decent bias-vary tremolo, and added reverb, along with two pre-amp 12AX7s.
The Goodsell Sound
The sounds from the Goodsell Amps are impeccably rich and harmonically huge – warm, sparkling, crunch and, stunning, juicy, clean tones – Goodsell has used a ceramic speaker in this beauty. These amplifiers are small but they mean very serious business and the Goddsell sound is off the record – here is the evidence, fantastically demonstrated by a man who sounds like Tommy Lee Jones and looks like Telly Savales
Goodsell Black Series amps are handcrafted and handwired in Atlanta, Georgia. Just take a quick look at the tube line up on this Goodsell amp deck:
Carr Amps Mini Mercury
Fortunately, I get to try a lot of different amps. I love an amp that lets my guitars sound like guitars, a Les Paul should sound like a Les Paul, a Dano like a Dano, etc., with as little outside coloration as possible. It should be as transparent as possible while giving you that feeling that your guitar is coming alive. I have a bunch of amps to choose from and what can I say but my Carr is on the A-list in front of the mics in my studio and not in the back collecting dust and has been since it came out of the box. Joe Perry Aerosmith
The Carr Mini Mercury looks like it was designed in the Forties but within the retro chassis an innovative, power attenuating circuit that delivers huge EL-34 tube tone at any level – bedroom or small club. The Carr amps mini Mercury uses a hempcone Eminence Lil Buddy speaker and the reknowned Carr reverb circuit and a three position boost switch for subtle to intense output tube distortion. Available in around 12 finishes from Ostrich, Tweed and Cowboy through to Purple, Cream and Gator.
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