Practice Amp for 1st Electric Guitar

Hi, I’m getting ready to branch out from beginner acoustic to my first electric guitar (currently in Grade 2 beginner) and progressing nicely. I’m going with a Squire Affinity Stratocaster.

Now I need an amp too. I just need something for my small 300 sq. ft. space. I don’t need anything big since I am just learning.

What I have noticed when searching are these:

Blackstar Fly 3
Fender Champion 20
Fender Mustang LT25
Orange Crush 20

The Blackstar Fly 3 looks cool and would be a good additional little practice amp but I would like something that has a little more features to grow into such as effects even though the Fly 3 has been said to have pretty nice GAIN.

Headphones are a must so that I can practice silently when I want/need to as well as input for backing tracks to jam to while practicing.

I searched a little bit but didn’t find what I needed in the threads.

Thanks!

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I’ve been using a Fender Champion 20 as my practice amp for years. I only play through headphones so as not to annoy my wife any more than I regularly do and it works fine for that purpose. I’m not one to be constantly fiddling around with the settings. I found a tone that I like and leave it there, so my experience may be of no use to you if you are going to want to chase tones for different songs.

I have no knowledge of the other two.

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:joy: Ok, thanks for your response. People seem to like the Blackstar brand nd I was just @ Guitar Center and saw the Fender Mustang LT25 so now that is an option too.

Still interested in other responses - thanks!

If you are only going to play through headphones then think about this (or similar)

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This little amp is great and awesome price.

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Want more than just headphones…thanks.

Get a Positive Grid Spark40. It’s been my daily practice amp for years. There’s no amp it can’t emulate. Just sick how awesome it is…

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Interesting you should recommend that amp, folks in this other thread are bagging on the Spark40. Why Should I Get an Electric Guitar? - #29 by moose408

Thanks for your recommendation.

EDIT: Oh, I can see why they are saying that about the Spark40 in the other thread. It has all of those features that learn your style and can be what they are saying is “distracting”. I think I might agree - it would probably take away from just focusing on actually learning the guitar rather and learning how to use the app & amp.

One advantage of modellers with cloud tones is you can quickly grab ‘the tone’ for the track your trying and not have to worry about settings

I got Spark a couple months ago and I find myself practicing a lot more because of the features. There are enough presets that you don’t need to spend much time setting it up.

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Yes, I agree. That is why I bought a very basic amp when I started with electric guitar. Really, you have more than enough to think about just learning how to make a nice clean, consistently good sound (and I still have a long way to go on that yet). Once you feel like you have learned how to make one good tone then maybe look at amps that give you other options.

When I first got the guitar I thought “wow, this is easy” because the sound just leaps out, but you soon learn it needs a whole other level of control and nuance. To me, it is more like playing violin.

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The amp itself is just a Bluetooth practice amp, and a fairly average one at that. All of the “clever” stuff is in an app.

Personally, I found the app gimmicky and not particularly effective with all of the “practice tools”. Many I could achieve better in other ways using other apps which would work on other amps.

That’s just me, and other may find them useful.

They were super-hyped by YouTubers who were being paid by Positive Gris when they first came out and many people, including me, pre-ordered them.

Mine took nearly a year for them to fulfil the pre-order, and I needed something for my travels, so I bought a Yamaha THR10ii in the meantime

When it eventually arrived I was excited to try it but found it didn’t live up to the hype, and I preferred my Katana and THR over it most of the time, so I got rid.

Cheers,

Keith

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The first 2 weeks I had my Spark40, I absolutely HATED it. No matter what I tried, I just couldn’t get a sound I liked. The bass was killing me, even when dialed completely back. I was steamed.

Being in my 60s, I’m an app-adverse sort of person. I wanted the amp to work like my other amps, and let me dial in sounds without resorting to the app. Once I joined a Spark group on Facebook and put forth my dilemma, I got responses that led me to suck it up, use the app, find and use the EQ, and BOOM, it was love at first note.

I have loved it every day since then.

For reference, my other amps are a 1963 Fender Princeton (was my dad’s), a 3Monkeys Orangutan Jr, a 3Monkeys Sock Monkey, and a Fender Mustang LT25.

The Spark40 is head and shoulders above them all as a practice amp. There are still so many features I’ve yet to delve into, and I look forward to doing so.

Definitely the best guitar-related investment I’ve made in 50 years.

Buy it, put all the packaging and shipping box safely aside, and use it. If you don’t love it, I’ll buy it from you and gift it to a friend.

I wrote an answer to a similar thread in the link below. I think I have seen similar questions to this thread before as well. Nothing new I know of is on the market in this category since that was written.
I’m linking in Keith’s response, and then mine is just below.

Also… There will always be haters, no matter the product. Usually people who haven’t learned how to properly use something. Ignore their noise, and reach your own conclusions

I have many different types of guitars, and with the Spark40, I have many different types of amps. I have also purchased the Spark MINI, the Spark GO, and in December, my Spark CAB will arrive.

That is true.

But there’s also people who do know what they are doing and who have experienced lots of other similar kit, and know how to dial in a tone on kit.

For my part, I’ve owned and used various amps and modelling kit from Boss, Zoom, Line 6, Digitech, Yamaha, and Nux as well as more conventional amps from Roland, Vox, and Bugera.

I’ve used tube amps including a 100W Marshall and a 50W Fender I used to play regularly, as well as some Laney’s and Blackstars. Currently, I frequently do jam sessions with a 50W Blackstar and, occasionally, a 50W Orange amp.

I tend to hoard kit, and I don’t tend to get rid of stuff unless it really doesn’t gel with me or unless it’s taking up space or I think someone else would get better use from it.

It was with a heavy heart I sold my Katana Mk1 100W about 2 years ago, but I knew it was something I just couldn’t justify keeping for the foreseeable future. If the circumstances change, I will buy another without hesitation.

I gave the Spark 40 away and was glad to get rid of it.

I spent most of two years trying to make it work for me. I got some decent tones, but nothing that blew me out of the water and, except for the Jimi Hendrix pack (which I did buy) which was pretty nice, there was nothing in the Spark 40 for me that I couldn’t get from other amps I own.

And things like the bass-heavy response bugged me. And, because I actually do know how to use EQ, when they eventually introduced an EQ it was a good thing, except you couldn’t use it when using a modulation pedal, which was lame.

In my experience, the THR10 is a better sounding and easier to use, and better made desktop amp. It doesn’t have quite the range of tones of the Spark 40, but that’s more than made up for (for me) by the better sound quality.

In my experience, if you have room for a full-sized Katana, for a similar price, a 50W Katana is a far better buy than a Spark 40: it sounds better, has a far wider range of tones and effects, is more versatile in general, and sounds good from bedroom volumes to full stage performances.

Keith

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I have a Fender Champion 2. It is great for using at home with or without headphones. It doesnt come with as many features as other beginner amps,byt is does the Fender modelling very well. Its not perfect ,I bought an overdrive pedal to use ,but Im very happy with it.

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Thanks for the feedback.

I bought a Squire Affinity Stratocaster a year or two ago. I started with a small practice amp, a Vox Pathfinder 10, and later purchased a Boss Katana 50 MKII which is bigger with many effects. The Vox Pathfinder is a great small practice amp for less than $100. Only effect is overdrive.

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All the amps you’re looking at are good. I would add a recommendation to look at something slightly larger / more powerful, like Boss Katana 50. The amps you’re looking for with small 8" speakers are, imo, purely for at-home practice, while a Katana 50 is both great for at home practice with the 0.5W setting but also can get loud enough to play with a drummer should you want to jam with other musicians.

The Katana is also far more versatile in terms of the tones you can get from it and the included effects, while still being small and light enough that it’s pretty easy to carry and transport. I know it’s almost cliché at this point to recommend the Boss Katana, but it’s really a terrific amp.

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