There’s some ball-bustin’ amps in this list…
Whether you’re a metal-head or a indie-kid. There’s a formidable amp in this list that you should definitely get your hands on.
Each and every one of these amps are worth their weight in gold
(and they all weigh a fuck-ton!)
In no particular order…
First, we have the Vox AC30HW2X:
If you were to ask me what the fuck HW2X meant, I wouldn’t have had a clue before watching Dan Cooper go through some Brian May-style settings in the video below.
Vox amps have always been renowned for being versatile and with the amount of expanding sub-genres being declared these days, that reputation will only grow into more styles. I own a Vox AC30VR, which is significantly cheaper than this AC30HW2X. But oh my god, there are vast differences. Being a big fan of Prof. Brian May, this amp speaks to me! But it’s capable of so much more than replicating. Just check out the video.
* These amps come in at just under £2000 here in the UK right now but these prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
Next, we have the Hughes & Kettner Triamp Mk III:
No great amps lists would be complete without mentioning the superb Hughes & Kettner Triamps. These things are just insane. Best with the Hughes & Kettner 4x12 cabinet but we will only be looking at the head in this article.
When artists like Alex Lifeson have their own signature Hughes & Kettner amps, you know they’re good. I mean, just check out this review with Gundy Keller. Some awesome playing but the tones that are achievable with this amp are just immense. Your personal style isn’t even an issue with this amp. It’s incredible.
* These heads tend to be sold for approximately £2100 here in the UK but these prices may have fluctuated beyond the release of this article. *
Third, we have Victory V50 the earl:
It would be rude of me not to mention Victory Amps. They are English of course… they have worked with Mr. Guthrie Govan, arguably the number 1 guitarist in the world right now.
The V50 (The Earl) amp head is hand-wired. Already, this boosts the price right up… but the tonal quality that you can achieve with it is immeasurable. With versatile clean and overdrive channels, it’s definitely up there with some of the best we’ve heard. To own this amp would be a great victory! Sorry.
* These amps come in at approximately £1900, here in the UK but these prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
Here’s a quick demo of the amp on Victory’s YouTube Channel.
Fourth in the list, we have the Marshall JVM410HJS Joe Satriani Signature:
If the fact that it’s a Joe Satriani model doesn’t impress you enough, check out the review video below with Danny Gill.
Similar to the Hughes & Kettner head, which was second in this list, the JVM410HJS offers an enormous amount of editable features, allowing you to create your own unique settings which will almost never be recreated by anyone else.
You know, because of the laws of maths and stuff…
Marshalls took what we believe to be their greatest step in 2007 when their JVM amps were released. The already-biggest-name in amplifier brands had open another avenue for the versatile guitarists and songwriters. No longer would you need to cater to the primary genre that an amp was designed for. This amp in particular is Joe Satriani’s spin-off edition of the original JVM410H, which was, in its own right, a god amongst men in the world of amplifiers.
* One of the cheaper amps on this list, coming in at approximately £1260 here in the UK. These prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
Now, we come to the Fender Deluxe Reverb:
Like Marshall, Fender have been in the top league for as long as anyone alive right now can remember. Not only have they helped pave the way for instrumentalists around the globe but they’ve release some pretty nifty amps over their time too.
The 1965 Deluxe Reverb amp is from Fender’s Blackface era, which refers to the colour of the amp-faces in that era (between 1963 and 1967). Since this era, the Silverface lines have been very popular but there have always been plenty of fans of the Blackface models so Fender has brought out re-releases too. The original will always hold fond memories in the music industry but it’s likely that you will only ever be able to get your hands on the reissue. Don’t get me wrong, the reissues are still awesome beyond comprehension!
As you would expect, the clean settings that are achievable with this amp are phenomenal. Fender never fails to offer crystal clear clarity. The vibrato settings are also top-notch!
* The amps tend to go for around £1350, here in the UK. These prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
One of my personal favourites, the EVH 5150 iii 50 watt:
If the guitar-god that is Eddie Van Halen hadn’t already brought enough to the music industry following his virtuosity on stage with the rest of Van Halen, then his range of EVH amplifiers certainly has. Not only did Eddie Van Halen help mould the future of rock and metal with his playing style and technique but his EVH amps have done the same thing. EVH amps are the dog’s bollocks.
Our clear favourite, by a country mile, is the 5150 III 50 watt amp head. It packs a mighty morphin’ punch! Superb for any Rock or Metal guitarist and it has a surprisingly good clean setting. Perfect for those who prefer pedal distortions. The gain though. The utter weight behind the heavier tones that this amp can produce. (if I were a lady amp…)
Best part is, it’s the cheapest amp on our list…
* These amps come in at just about £925 in the UK. Prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
And finally, to end our list, we have the PRS Archon 100 watt:
Archon is Greek for “Ruler” or “Lord” apparently (according to the PRS Site), which should offer some hints as to what this amp is all about.
It’s a master of high gain. So now, not only do PRS provide guitarists with some of the world’s most incredible (and versatile) instruments but they’ve proffered these godly amps to us guitarists for some time too.
The clean settings on these amps are startling. Often is the case with high gain amps, they tend to lack depth or clarity when it comes to the cleans. Not the Archon. The cleans are beautifully crafted and we can genuinely see these amps being useful to people in genres such as Indie or Country as well as the obvious Rock or Metal.
Below, you can check out GAK’s demo of the PRS Archon 100 watt head.
* These amps tend to go for approximately £1970 here in the UK but these prices may have fluctuated since the release of this article. *
If you agree with our list, click the share button and let your other guitar-wielding friends know about them!
If you don’t agree, share it anyway… but please leave a comment. Which amps would you take out? and which amps would you put in their place?
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