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Old 06-08-2019, 04:34 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Default 7 Best Portable Guitar Amps

Posting a link to an article on Sweetwater as grist for the mill or perhaps as an additional resource for those searching for a portable amp...no vested interest from my POV regarding this article, and I realize that Sweetwater are focusing on amps that they sell (for obvious and understandable reasons). I know that there are frequent threads asking for opinions on "the best amp..." so here's another point of reference for anyone searching.

7 Best Portable Guitar Amps

At the risk of stating the obvious, "best" is subjective and dependent on what works for you. So ultimately, you have to write your own, "7 Best..." story, based on your needs, wants and desires.

Having said that, interestingly I own 2 of the 7 amps mentioned in Sweetwater's article. For me, they do indeed meet my expectation on what I want a small, portable amp to sound like for the types of music I play...and they are perfectly portable as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, hoping someone who is searching for and asking about potential portable guitar amps will find this article of some interest.
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Old 06-08-2019, 08:10 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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Interesting article, thanks.

Here’re some to think about (not from Sweetwater afaik, no shade intended)

Carr Mercury and other low watt offerings
Swart 6L6, spacetone/reverb/ Atomic Space Tone (20 watt)
Goodsell Super 17 (5/17 watt switchable)
Henriksen Blue/Bud/310 Jazzamp etc
AER 60
Schertler Giulia/David/Unico
Fender (original) SF Princeton Reverb, serviced to modern spec

And, for the more budget minded, but a very nice amp

Fishman Loudbox/mini

Lots more out there, acoustic and electric. My pick of all the above for electric, and believe me, they are all excellent plus, might be my early 70 Fender SF PR. I hear the ‘65 RI’s are good, but have yet to play or hear one.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:14 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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I'll take that '65 Princeton Reverb and - with the emphasis on "portable" - raise you (in ascending price order):
  • Bugera V5: more tone than anything this inexpensive ($199 street price, far less on Coupon/Holiday Sale days) has the right to have - flip the money you save into a set of primo tubes, go toe-to-toe with the big-buck mini-amps, and hit 'em right in the ego where it hurts
  • Tech 21 Trademark 30: still available as NOS, a bit pricey for a 1x10" solid-state 30-watter but if you need gigworthy tone/small-hall volume in the lightest (14 lbs.) possible package the original is still the best IME
  • Vox AC10: Let's face it, most of us don't need an AC30, and considering the AGF demographic even the 50-pound AC15 isn't exactly "portable" any more; far louder than its nominal 10-watt rating might lead you to believe, easy on the back at 27 pounds, and if you own one of the new-generation Gretsch Electromatics you'll be hard-pressed to find a better match in a combo amp
  • Egnater Tweaker: Want a low-power tube amp but can't decide between American or British tones - not to worry, this one lets you mix-and-match to find your signature sound, with a minimum of controls and none of the complexity (or IMO soullessness) of modeling amps
  • Roland JC-40: If you like your tone crystal-clear and clean the Roland JC amps have long been the Holy Grail - this one delivers most of the mojo of its JC-120 big brother at about half the weight (the JC-22 sounds thin by comparison, especially with single-coils), and if you're running a well-stocked pedal board I can't think of a better platform for small-/medium-size venues
  • Quilter Labs MicroPro: The "killer chihuahua" of the guitar-amp world, full-stack power in a 19-pound all-analog solid-state package with a full complement of features - not exactly cheap at ~$1K street but competitive with the boutique solid-state jazz amps from Henriksen, Evans, et al., and far more versatile in its potential applications
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:27 AM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Funny I just read that article this morning in my e-mail before coming here and was thinking I might post it
I agree "Best" is subjective as evidenced by the 2 replies above.

Although I don't usually care for sound of most "modeling" amps, the Boss Katana Air looked interesting from a strictly busking point of reference ,albeit not for the singing git player
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:39 AM
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No offense, but it's a silly article. At least I get to pad my post count.
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Old 06-09-2019, 11:05 AM
Jaden Jaden is offline
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I’ll add three Fender tube amps a little more portable than the 12” Princeton included in the article:

Blues Junior: 12” speaker, 15 watts, approx 31 lbs
Pro Junior: 10” speaker, 15 watts, no reverb. Light and compact. One volume and one tone control. 2 EL84 power tubes
Bassbreaker 007: 10” speaker, 7 watts, no reverb, volume and gain control; lots of gain on tap.

All of the above easy to manage with simple controls
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:10 AM
s2y s2y is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
Interesting article, thanks.

Here’re some to think about (not from Sweetwater afaik, no shade intended)

Carr Mercury and other low watt offerings
Swart 6L6, spacetone/reverb/ Atomic Space Tone (20 watt)
Goodsell Super 17 (5/17 watt switchable)
Henriksen Blue/Bud/310 Jazzamp etc
AER 60
Schertler Giulia/David/Unico
Fender (original) SF Princeton Reverb, serviced to modern spec

And, for the more budget minded, but a very nice amp

Fishman Loudbox/mini

Lots more out there, acoustic and electric. My pick of all the above for electric, and believe me, they are all excellent plus, might be my early 70 Fender SF PR. I hear the ‘65 RI’s are good, but have yet to play or hear one.
I like your list much better. The only thing I'd add is Phil Jones for the bass guitar side. I have a few really deep and thuddy basses, which often sound limited on "regular" smaller bass amps.
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Old 06-10-2019, 03:49 AM
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Regarding the Sweetwater article, for the money, the Yahama THR’s are pretty impressive little practice amps and just a lot of fun. I have two of them in addition to a Henricksen Bud.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:07 AM
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i take merchant articles with a grain of salt, i guess all are on stock ready to ship
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:24 PM
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The Yamaha THR 10 is a great little amp.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:50 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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Thanks s2Y.

I’ve got to admit I’m in a bit of a different zip code than what the Sweetwater article addresses, with respect to amps.

I have bought some things from Sweetwater, and I have found them to be an excellent company, aimed at a wide swath of buddgets, experience and needs. I would, for example, benefit from a similarly conceived article aimed at, say home recording studio gear, of which I know little.

With regards to adding a bass amp, and consistent with the guitar amp bent of the original article, I’ll suggest a Henriksen 312 Jazzamp. I have one, bought used in mint condition for a great price. It weighs 40lb., which is on the upper edge of portable, but far from, say, a Matchless DC30 ( wanna buy one?).

The Henriksen 312 is designed for just about everything. I specifically got it because I wanted to play baritone and possibly 7 string, acoustic and electric, in a solo/trio/quartet setting. It’s a great amp, solid state notwithstanding to say the least, and I suggest anyone interested in live performance or recording check one out. The baritone 6 string, acoustic 6 and 12 string, archtop jazz box and LP type all sound good through this amp,with or without pedals as needed. Something like a RedEye preamp makes it even better.

I think this one would do well for keyboard, bass and mic’ed horns as well.

Another one I’m interested in is Quilter, as Steve DeRosa mentions above. Talk about portable! Of course, they're just the pre and power amp, no speaker box. But literally pedal size.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:54 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark L View Post
...Another one I’m interested in is Quilter, as Steve DeRosa mentions above. Talk about portable! Of course, they're just the pre and power amp, no speaker box. But literally pedal size.
You're thinking of the "Block" amps, which can be matched up with a variety of dedicated speaker cabinets to create a combo tailored to your individual tonal/size/power needs (much like the first-run Mesa Boogie Walkabout bass amps). The MicroPro Series is TMK the original post-2K Quilter amp design (they made some guitar rigs during the Woodstock era), a line of full-featured combos (dual switchable/blendable channels, reverb, tremolo, limiter, preset EQ curves) capable of cranking out a real-world 200 watts into the appropriate speaker complement (BTW they're all equipped with upscale Celestions as OEM); at 19 pounds the 8" version is about the size/weight of a typical $99 10-20W solid-state practice combo, and none of them (there's also a 1x10", 1x12", and heavy-duty 1x12" equipped with a 300W-rated neo-magnet speaker) weigh more than 27 pounds TMK...

I neglected to mention the Quilter Steelaire, a 1x15" combo aimed at pedal-steel players as well as fans of the old Vibrosonic Reverb (this one uses a proprietary Eminence speaker designed to replicate the tone of the old 15" JBL's) which, at 36 pounds, is supremely portable (especially for a 200-watter) if somewhat bulky in its Super Reverb-sized cabinet. I'm a lifelong guitar-cable-amp guy into "big-clean" tones (think blackface Fender or blue-check Ampeg), and although I've always preferred tube amps this one's been on my radar for some time: the days of hauling my '65 Super RI are just about over, I still need a high-powered combo in my arsenal, and if I can clear some space in the music room/home office (and get the seal of approval from the Domestic Accounting Department) - and nothing else gets in the way (I've got a line on an early-2K's NOS major-brand tube combo at a good price, hiding in plain sight here in the NYC Tri-State area) - I'm seriously considering taking the plunge...
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:29 PM
teejayh teejayh is offline
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Default portable amps

I have a Quilter MP Mach 2 12" Combo. Best buy I have made in equipment in the last 10 years. It takes pedals well, its light and very sturdy. Its PLENTY loud enough and has a great warranty.
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Old 06-10-2019, 11:05 PM
Mark L Mark L is offline
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I stand corrected on the Quilters fellas. While I’m quite happy with the Henriksen 312, my eyes are now peeled for the next slightly used Quilter in my area!

Uh...thanks.....
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Old 06-11-2019, 10:40 AM
teejayh teejayh is offline
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Default Quilter

Keep you’re eye on Reverb.com and
Guitar center used items. I see Quilter amps
up on there for decent prices at times.

Good luck!
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