If you’re a guitarist that has yet to learn about tube amplification, you’re about to have your world flipped upside down. For anybody who’s been involved in guitar music or around other experienced guitarists may have already heard about how good these amps are.
Let’s break it down. Within your amplifier, the signal from your guitar is amplified using a feature called ‘vacuum tubes.’ In these elements, there are tiny, almost unnoticeable defects or variations.
After all, during production, it’s unlikely they are going to make each part exactly the same as the last.
However, this is what gives an amplifier its unique sound and tone. In your typical solid-state amplifier, your guitar signal is converted using components such as transistors and diodes. These signals are renowned for being clean and defined, which is what many guitarists are looking for.
Nevertheless, these amps simply may not be to every musician’s liking. Since clean tube amps are unique, they produce a kind of exclusive shimmer that you simply cannot recreate with any other amp.
While tube amps are also typically more expensive than your typical amps, almost any experienced guitarist will tell you that tube amps are a long-lasting investment that’s sure to pay off in the long term.
Nevertheless, you need to make sure you’re doing your research to ensure that you’re choosing a tube amp that suits exactly what you’re looking for. Otherwise, you could be wasting your money.
To help you make the right purchasing decision, we’ve searched far and wide and managed to narrow down what’s available to just four of the best amps out there. We’ve taken all considerations into account, helping you find the best clean tube amp for you.
Peavey Classic 50 212 Power Amplifier
Starting off our list of the best clean tube guitar amplifiers, we’ve chosen this high-end, premium amplifier that’s well worth its initial investment. From the expert manufacturers at Peavey, one of the most popular and iconic audio brands in the world, guitar amps don’t get much better than this.
Inside this amp, you’d find the outstanding dual power of four 12AX7 tubes with an additional three EL84 tubes. This means you’ll be able to enjoy a wealth of benefits, including rapid response times, incredible gain structure and an overall warm and punchy sound.
This means you’ll be able to master all kinds of guitar genre while maintaining a high-quality sound. In particular, this amp is ideally designed for blues and country, but if you’re looking for an amp that creates an original Stones-like rock sound, this amp will continue to excel.
Regarding the functionality of this guitar, the entire system is fan-cooled thanks to the integrated fan, helping you rock out for longer, without the risk of damage to your amplifier from overheating. On the top of the amp, you’ll also find all the amp controls you’d expect from your typical amplifier, including volume, range control, and overdrive settings.
This model also features a 2-channel preamp, allowing you to make sure your signals are matched with any other types of audio equipment or setups that you might be using. All in all, this is one of the most powerful, best sounding and professional guitar amplifiers on the market.
- A fan-cooled system to keep you playing for longer
- Integrated 2-channel preamp
- Ideal for all kinds of genre, including blues, country, and rock N’ roll
- Dual-team EL84s and 12AX7 tubes for optimal sound quality and amplification
- Premium price tag
- The fan produces noise when on or on standby
Marshall DSL15C DSL Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp
Another leading audio equipment manufacturer that you’re sure to have heard of is Marshall, a leading audio company that has over 60 years of experience behind them. When it comes to their latest DSL15C guitar amplifier, this long-standing history is evident.
This 15-watt amplifier sets in a mid-range yet affordable price bracket and is a fantastic investment since you can be sure that it will last and maintain its level of high performance for many years to come. Inside the amp, you’ll find one 12-inch Celestion speaker, as well as two individual audio channels.
These channels include your Classic Gain setting for conventional styles of play, whereas the other, Ultra Gain, allows you to take your guitar sounds to the next level. Of course, plug in the included pedal and these two playing styles are switchable with a tap of your foot.
Not only can this footswitch help you control the channels, but you can also control your integrated Reverb settings. This is all powered by the two 6V6 power valves which are only complimented by the three ECC83 tubes that provide the crisp and clear audio you would expect from a tube amplifier.
As you would expect from a leading amplifier, you have all the typical amplification controls you need to master what your sound sounds like, including a notable bass boost feature that help you give your low tones more punch and a bit more of a mesmerizing rumble.
All in all, this is one of the most complete clean tube amplifiers out there, producing a high-quality sound to take with you wherever you go, as well as remaining highly durable thanks to its high-quality build and materials.
- Integrated premium-quality 12-inch Celestion speaker
- 3x ECC83 tubes for high-quality sound
- Incredible build quality (highly durable and long-lasting)
- Included footswitch for channel and reverb control
- Physically larger than a lot of amps this size
- Will need to ‘break in’ over several months for the best sound quality
Blackstar HT-5R 5-Watt Guitar Combo Amp
While some of the other amps on this list are rather sizable and powerful, you may be looking for a more affordable, more portable amp that you can take with you wherever you go, but without weighing you down.
This is where the Blackstar Guitar Combo Amp comes in.
This 5-watt amp comes with one built-in 12-inch Blackbird speaker and one 12BH7 power tube to provide you with the optimal sound quality you’ve been looking, even when playing at high volumes.
Despite the affordable price tag, you’ll also have access to many premium features, such as an integrated Reverb feature, two accessible channels, including a Clean channel and the Overdrive channel, as well as three-band EQ settings to play around with.
However, in addition to all these award-winning features that you’ll need to play your guitar, there’s even a headphone port and stereo MP3 input, so you can play your own tunes from your phone, perhaps while you’re setting up for your set.
As you would expect, there’s an included footswitch to make sure you can effortlessly switch between the available channels and effects, and an exclusive ISF control for making sure your Reverb effects are perfect.
All in all, this is one tube amplifier that maintains a high level of performance for a highly competitive price tag.
- Three-band EQ knobs for controlling your sound
- Headphone and MP3 Player input/output ports
- Included footswitch for controlling which channel you’re using
- Reverb effect complete with exclusive ISF control
- Not as powerful as other guitar amps
- The preamp is in a solid-state design
Fender ’65 Super Reverb 45-Watt 4×10-Inch Guitar Amp Combo
To finish off with, we’ve opted for this premium priced guitar amp combo that while taking the top spot of the most expensive amplifier on this list, once you’ve made this investment, you’re never going to need, or want, another guitar amp ever again.
As the title suggests, the Fender ’65 amp provides an incredible 45 watts of power to your sounds. This means your guitar sounds remain clear and crisp, even when they’re compressed or overdriven. There’s no risk of distortion or unwanted undertones with this amp, even when you’re playing at the loudest volumes.
This is all thanks to the built-in speaker system that doesn’t include just one, or even two, speakers, but an astounding four 10-inch Jensen P-10R speakers, produced using leading Alnico magnets. This provides you with an outstanding level of clarity with your sounds, including shimmering highs, punchy mids and fat, rich lows; perfect for all styles and genres of music.
Since this is the ‘Super Reverb’ model, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits that come with Fender’s iconic reverb functionality and vibrato features. This can help you to adjust and customize your sounds till you find the perfect tone you’ve been looking for.
Just looking at the collection of the 10 customizable settings at the top of this amp shows you how much control you’ll receive. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an amp that can stay with you as your progress your skills, or a professional guitarist looking for the best piece of equipment that won’t let you down, this is an amp that guarantees to match everything you’ve been looking for.
These unforgettable sounds are all produced thanks to the double 6L6 Groove tubes, the single 5AR4 rectifier tube, the four 12AX7 preamp tubes and the two 12AT7 tubes. These all come together to provide an out-of-this-world guitar experience, whether you’re playing at home, in the studio or live on stage.
- Nine integrated tubes for the most premium sound quality
- Ideal for playing at home, in the studio or on stage
- Built using 4x 10-inch Jensen P-10R speakers
- The range of extra features including footswitch, reverb, vibrato and multiple channels
- Much larger than many other guitar amplifiers
- No effects loop setting for Reverb or Vibrato
When it comes to choosing the right tube guitar amplifier for you, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of options out there for you to enjoy.
Any of the four amps we’ve listed above are great choices that will provide many great benefits when it comes to performing, regardless of whether you’re at home, in the studio or performing to your fans.