Really need amp for beginner

Hi guys i read the electric guitar buyers guide and Justin said i don’t need an amp for beginner. And so should i really need to buy one. Many people said to use my Laptop as an amp to, can u guys guide me how to use it :smiling_face_with_tear: . Thank mates

Don’t think twice, get Spark Mini


It really depends what you want, are you going to be near a computer? Playing with headphones? Playing loud?

With an electric guitar you need something…

2i2 or similar to a pc with some software

Katana go with headphones

Spark mini


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You’ve got a lot of choices…

You ask about using a laptop and you could do that. You’ll need to get an audio interface to connect the guitar to the laptop, and also some sort of external monitor speaker (assuming you want sound that’s better/louder than the internal laptop speakers). The interface and monitor could be useful for the future if you want to record yourself. Once you have the hardware, then you’ll need some amp modelling software - there are several options. If you have a mac, then it comes with GarageBand which will work just fine, or companies such as Neural DSP have some free offerings. I’m not an expert on the laptop route, and I’ll sure others will chime in.

However, you might find it’s all a bit of a faf if you just want to quickly set up and play. Personally I’d recommend a dedicated amp of some sort.

If you go the amp route, then there is huge choice - the Boss Katana is a great amp that will serve you well for many years.

I recently bought a Spark mini and think it’s a great choice, limited in volume - you certainly won’t be playing in a band or gigging with it, but for home use it’s great - super small and very portable.


I’d recommend some sort of practice amp. I like the simplicity of simply plugging in turning on and playing. I prefer the sound of an amp over headphones.

The other advantage with a modern practice amp is that:

  1. They generally have a headphone jack so you can play through headphones if necessary.
  2. Many have a built in audio interface so you can still connect play and record via computer when/if you want to do that. You’ll need software of some sort. Amp software and/or a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).
  3. Many have a built-in bluetooth, allowing you to stream music, lessons, backing tracks, etc., directly to the amp.

Do you have a budget? How loud do you want to go?

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As a beginner I am quite happy with my amp setup. I use headphone amp Fender Mustang Micro with AKG K-240 MKII headphones which is great for night practice, where kids are asleep. Also great because it features bluetooth input, so while playing I can also listen to metronome, YouTube, Justin lessons, Clubs, etc. I can even plug the speakers in the headphone jack and the sound is quite decent.
For the main amplifier I had some bad experience with Marshall Code and I changed it to Blackstar HT-5R MKii and I really love this amp. It is still beginner amp, just slightly up the prices point. But I am really happy with it.
For your dilema for starters I would suggest a good headphone amp.

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I have a NUX mighty plug mk-2, similar to Fender Mustang Micro. To add to what bk2 says, I think it is very useful to listen on how well you succeed with your chords etc regarding buzzing which can depend on the fingering, things like that. Possible with a true amp as well, of course. You can also easily record to your computer, it is quite good.

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My only advice is don’t focus too much on being a beginner… I’m not saying spend thousands but getting something that is decent and will last a lot of years (like a Boss Katana for example) isn’t so much more money than a “beginner” amp.

I hate the concept of beginner gear. If you buy cheap you either end up quitting cos you sound bad or upgrading and spending more money. Either way the cheap gear ends up in landfill which is bad


lAs @mattswain said, don’t focus on the “beginner” term. I believe that to be marketing speak for “you didn’t spend so much that you feel bad for abandoning this”. Those products should be considered throw-away in general. Instead, I recommend that do enough research to feel your purchase will be something you will want to use long term. That doesn’t NEED to be expensive! There are a lot of options, so do some research to fill your personal needs best.

I have several options that I use depending on how and where I want to play/practice. Each is targeted at goals of ‘do everything’, ‘secondary setup location’, ‘portability to the back yard’, ‘quiet/personal practice’.

  1. Do Everything - this was expensive and purchased after I knew just enough to realize I enjoy fiddling with signal chain settings. It includes a Line 6 Helix modeling effects processor and the Line 6 PowerCab amp that ties into it. I use this pretty much daily for anything I want to do. Cost was around $2k.
  2. I work from home (since lockdown - never went back to the office!) and I have an amp and speaker under my desk with guitar behind me I can grab when I have a few minutes. The amp was $68 on amazon on sale, a Hotone Mojo Diamond. I do like the sound of it and it is the right volume for home. The speaker is a gutted Fender Champion 40 that I picked up for $50 from a local used guitar store. This is just the 12-inch speaker and cabinet, not even a face plate. Total cost about $120. The sound options are limited, but I prefer to play in its range, so a good option for me.
  3. Laptop with 1/4-inch to USB interface and headphones. This is my portable setup for going to back yard on a nice day. I’ll assume you have a laptop and set of headphones (NOT Bluetooth!). My laptop is a Mac, so I use Garage Band that is part of the operating system install. There are options for Windows, but I have not used those. The interface was about $20 on Amazon and I see no fault with it - it just works. I see mine is no longer sold, but there are plenty of others.
  4. I also have a budget ‘headphone amp’. Mine is a Lekato Headphone Amp. There are a lot of similar products (search “Fender Mustang micro” will get you the style). I like the sound of the laptop better, so don’t use this much. Cost was I think $35 on sale.
  5. I have an external small speaker that can accept an aux input from a headphone output. I can use the speaker with the laptop or Mojo Diamond, or headphone amp. It doesn’t sound very good compared to a larger speaker, but is sufficient for use in a hotel room when others want to listen. It is easily portable compared to the other speakers I have. Cost was $18 on sale if I remember correctly.
  6. I initially purchased a Spark 40. I was always unhappy with it and didn’t realize how much better I could sound with better choices. I posted my comments about it here. Lots of folks like the Katana and the THX-10. There are lots of posts on the Katana and a few on the THX and others on our forums here.

Lots to think about. Ask about anything I listed if you have questions.


FYI: there was a long thread on this subject a few months back:

When I bought my first (and only!) electric guitar a few years ago, I had these ideas about the amp:

  1. I did not want to only play through headphones, on the contrary, I want to hear the music in the room (usually).
  2. I did not want to necessarily be tied to the computer in order to play. I sit in front of one all day, playing guitar for me is an escape from the computer.
  3. As a fervent anti-gear head, I wanted something simple and easy to use: just turn it on and play. Three knobs to dial in the tone (I don’t care about tone much at all) and add a touch of reverb, maybe.

That’s it. I bought a small practice amp (Roland Cube), which has served me well and I’m still perfectly satisfied with it.

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thank sir, that was really helpful :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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i am really serious about playing guitar and i dont mind to spent money on it. Eventhough i am studying and this budget is my little scholarship. I can only spent 250USD now and i will buy a second hand guitar in my local and an amp too. Thanks for advice sir

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If 250 is your budged do consider the Fender Micro AMP. You can use it either via headphones or you can plug into into existing monitors that have AUX port using the cable it comes with.

The Fender Micro AMP has many nice sounds, lots of noise control so muting strings is easy, easy to control, and when used with headphones really gives you the freedom to move.

And it is just over 100$.

Or you can consider a small Blackstar digital stereo amp that can delivery a variety of sounds at a low price but I have never tried those.


Keep in mind. Your amp is how you will sound.
A great and expensive guitar played through $50 amp will sound like your playing through a hand held portable am radio w/ 1" speaker in it, in the 1960s.
A cheap guitar played through a real amp will sound like your a rock star.

Ya don’t have to spend a gob on a real amp though. There are many out there.
These new gen 3 katana’s look pretty good to me, sound pretty good I mean.

That said.
See if ya can score a used peavey bandit, red stripe or silver stripe. Here in the USA they’re right about in your $250 price range.
This is likely a life long amp.
They are not modeler’s.
But they are solid state.
They are simple. vol. + 3 band eq on the clean channel. Gain/vol. + 3 band eq on the dirt channel. + on the dirt channel ya get three levels of distortion you can add, from minimal to full fuzz.
These amps simulate a tube amp. They do this pretty well too.

fwiw. I have both amps I suggested. I’ve played for a while and I play through other real tube amps that I like a lot. But when it comes down to it. My transtube bandit hangs right in there with either of them. While not quite a tube amp. They have a real good tone to them and it’s not unusual for folks to play them live w/ a band.
They also go down to straight up bedroom vol.
About the only frill you get on them is line out and a fx loop.
They are rated at 80w and will bother your neighbors if you want. They move air.
I only suggest these amps as I’ve been very happy (I like a great quality tone) with them for years and they are not horrible expensive.
Peavy still makes this model, but they’re near $500 new now a days + they are not quite the same cool tones that ya get from the red strip or silver stripe.

Another fwiw. I had/have a peavey audition 20. A 8" speaker, 12w solid state. It sounds like s**t. I gave it to my boy who don’t play.

imho, get something that sounds good, beginner or not. A crummy amp will not inspire you to play guitar.

Just food for thought.

I do both…I have a small practice amp for electric. And I use my computer. Advantages for the amp is you can plug in and play. The advantages for the computer, I don’t need a pedal board. I can get all the effects I need from the software when needed. And you can save the settings for each piece you play and load it when needed. Song 1 needs echo, song 2 some crunch, etc… Especially if you use that setup for recording.

As for buying gear, get the best that you can afford. It will be more than good enough for many years.

If you do decide to use your laptop and a cheap 1/4 inch to USB interface cable or a more expensive Focusrite Scarlett Solo, be aware that there are free amp softwares like Neural Amp Modeler (NAM). See example on youtube .

Still, probably not the easiest option when starting out.

I agree that as a beginner something that is plug and play is better. I mean that in the sense that otherwise you’re trying to learn two things at once. In the early days just focus on the guitar playing rather than trying to learn computer software as well. There’s no point having amazing skills in whatever package if you can’t play guitar!