Guitar amps come in sizes and flavors. You have tube and modeling amps, combos and amp heads, low watt versus high watt amps, and so on. Each one of these is built with a specific purpose in mind. Overall, the best of the best, the absolute heavy weight champions of electric guitar amplifications are going to be amp heads.
The reason for this is that you get more versatility and usually more power out of them. Combo amps are primarily made for easier practicing and smaller gigs. Since tube amps produce the best results when they hit that sweet spot, a combo will work a lot better in a home or studio environment than a full amp head plus cabinet stack. You are risking hearing damage if you try to push a high output stack into the sweet spot in your bedroom.
Amp heads are designed to be connected to different cabinets. When you reach a certain point in your guitar playing career, not only will the choice of an amp matter, but the type of speakers the sound is coming from will matter as well.
If you’re performing on a larger stage, an amp head is far more practical to use as it was designed to be coupled with one or more cabinets. Let’s take a look at some of the best amp guitar amp heads on the market and see what they offer.
Marshall amps are in a category of their own by now. And what more iconic amp from their spectrum is there than the legendary Plexi. This is a truly vintage tube amp that can give you all kinds of classic rock sounds and a sweet bluesy overdrive.
However, it’s still flexible enough to pump out that high gain distortion if you’re into more aggressive genres of metal.
This Marshall is packing 50 watts of power and brings a similar front and back panel as it’s bigger brother, the 1959 SLP. There’s no gimmicky controls or features on this Marshall, just the good old proven layout that has served guitar players well for decades. Hook this thing up to a cab full of Greenbacks, and you are pretty much ready to go.
Vintage sweetness at its best is what this amp has to offer. That ZZ Top sound comes natural once you play with the EQ a bit. This is a classic rock amp first and foremost. However, if you want to go wild, you definitely can.
Slap a decent distortion pedal in your chain, and you are ready to go. Marshall 1987X 50W Plexi is such an impressive amp that we thing every guitar player should have at least one.
When it comes metal amps, Randall is up there in terms of heavy sound and overall quality. Their Satan is definitely one of the more unique sounding amps. It looks mean, has the presence of an unholy entity, and just plays so well with distortion pedals and overdrive in general.
If you need a decent metal amp and you want a different flavor from a Dual Rectifier, this Randall is a good choice.
You get a 2 channel amp that is pushing 120 watts through a series of some pretty mean tubes. The sound shaping controls are extensive, and include some that are not so standard on the market.
You get girth and grind knobs to play with, and they do exactly what they say. This amp comes with an active and passive input, and a two button foot switch.
The sound this amp produces is massive. There’s an abundance of overdrive saturation across the range, and it just glows when you drop a good distortion pedal on top of it. Cleans are pretty crisp for a metal amp, but the OD channel is where all the fun is.
For a 120 watt amp, it’s pretty loud. Once you hit the sweet spot at around 12 o’clock volume position, you quickly come to understand why this amp is called Satan. Face melting riffs are to be had with this thing.
With all the Mesa/Boogies and Marshalls stealing the shows lately, it’s worth remembering that Peavey produced one of the best metal amps ever. We are of course talking about the Peavey 6505+.
This amp is great for a number of reasons. It’s affordable enough for those on a budget, and it drops the hammer like almost nothing out there.
This legendary amplifier can push out 120 watts RMS through six 12AX7 preamp and four 6L6GC power amp tubes. It’s stacked with controls that allow you to dial in just about any tone you can ever need, and the performance is just impressive.
For an ‘affordable’ amp, this Peavey definitely packs one mean punch.
Peavey 6505+ is one of the dirties and grittiest amps on the market. You will have to sit down and spend some time to tune in the sound you’re looking for, but once you do, you will fall in love with the 6505+.
Many guitar players in the world swear by this head, and wouldn’t replace it for anything else.
You probably noticed the lack of Mesa/Boogies and other names that are usually there in the best guitar amp head lists.
We wanted to draw your attention to equally incredible models that definitely are some of the best guitar amp head out on the market.