I am just learning how to play guitar. I am looking for a small inexpensive amp. The ones I've been told to look into are the fender mini deluxe, the blackstar fly3, the mashall Ms2, and the honeytone. What would you recommend and why?
Do you have a bigger amp to use at home?
The reason that I ask is that those tiny amps have little bitty speakers that don't produce guitar frequencies all that well and use solid state circuitry that doesn't sound very good unless it's set super clean.
If you really need a tiny portable battery-powered practice amp, I've always heard the little Pignose is as good as it gets, but I've never used one.
If you can swing it, I'd spend a little more money on a 1 watt to 5 watt, maaaybe a 15 watt tube amplifier. A simple one is fine - very simple tube circuits sound great as long as you aren't trying to play metal.
I don't think I've ever played a tube amp that really sounded bad and I don't think I've ever played a solid state amp that really sounded great.
I have a top-of-the-line digital modeling amplifier (Kemper) for practicing with headphones at home. It sounds very good and it can sound like almost anything, but the most basic tube amp I have (a Fender tweed deluxe clone I built through a bare speaker sitting in a hole in a cardboard box) sounds better for the sounds it can do.
What's you're budget? If you can afford $100 to $200 your options get a lot better. Although some under $50 amps aren't all that bad, they aren't all that good either. Do you have an acoustic? It usually works out better for someone to learn on an acoustic. It tends to strengthen the fretting hand and builds up your callouses.
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If you want to play electric, buy an electric. Sometimes people suggest learning to play an acoustic, but if that doesn't make you happy, then you'll never be happy and won't dedicate the effort needed.
What is your budget for an amp? None of those mini-amps you mentioned really sound very good. All you can do is get the one that sounds least offensive. At best, they make a guitar-like sound.
The amp is half of the sound making equation with an electric guitar. You just won't get much for $50.
A Fender Champion 20 ($100) has an 8" speaker and will sound much better than any of the options you mentioned. It is Fenders most basic almost full-sized amp.
Look for a used amp. You can save a ton, and get more amp that way.
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I recently sold a couple Fender Ultimate Chorus amps that I no longer needed. I really liked the sound and flexibility for around $200.
Get one see on eBay.
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I have a Blackstar ID:Core BEAM. I really like it. I now have a Marshall DSL40C and the BEAM is had been relegated to bass and Bluetooth streaming. The clean sounds are really great and take pedals very well. The distortion sounds are decent, too. It's surprisingly loud.
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Fender Champion 40 is another good option
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Agree with Chuck.
Fender Champion 40
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As someone that tried this approach when learning electric guitar, let me dissuade you from the notion. These tiny amps sound BAD. You will quickly grow to hate the noise they produce. That's what it is, noise. Not music.
Spend the coin on a decent 10" or 12" amp. Your guitar will sound cleaner and FAR more pleasant. I enjoy learning on my big amp, but I hated it on the tiny one I had.
This is not to say that there is no use for these in the hands of a skilled player, but as a beginner, if I had it to do-over, I'd stay away.
For my needs with an acoustic guitar I like the Fender Acoustasonic models. Price is decent and the amps have a range of power that go up with price.
I can't say about an electric, as I only play acoustic.
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Try the small Blackstar amps. You'll be surprised.
We've got an orange micro terror and 8" cab. It will scream.
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I agree... best to buy the equipment most suited to the kind of music you want to play. If you can make your playing sound the way you want it to, you're a lot more likely to practice.
I wouldn't be surprised if the little Blackstar amps sound pretty good.
They don't have much in common with the little amps in the original post, though.
The Blackstar amps are digital modeling amps and Blackstar apparently does a pretty good job with the modeling software.
The little amps in the original post are very simple analog circuits that push transistors too hard in order to make distortion. Overdriven transistor distortion does not, in general, sound good unless you're trying for a very specific fuzz sound and have the right transistors in the right circuit. They sound OK super clean.
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