best acoustic guitar amps

Loud & Clear: The Best Acoustic Guitar Amps For Playing Gigs

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Sometimes a little boost is required to project to your audience, and an acoustic guitar amp can decrease the amount of effort it takes to produce a louder volume if you own an acoustic-electric guitar. In this guide, I will show you a few of the best acoustic guitar amplifiers that can instantly help step up your performances.

 

Behringer Ultracoustic AT108: 15-Watt Guitar Amp

This Behringer is the most compact of the acoustic amplifiers in this guide; however, it still packs a punch and is unquestionably one of the best entry-level amps for acoustic guitarists.

Despite the wattage, this little powerhouse boasts a virtual tube circuit (VTC) which will provide you with one of the warmest and sweetest tones I’ve ever heard out of a guitar amp under $200. It has an 8” Bugera speaker inside of it, and with the three EQ knobs, you shouldn’t have any issue dialing in the tone that you want.

The VTC, while it’s not an actual tube, does recreate it pretty decently, and it’s probably this amp’s shining moment other than being so compact.

 

Sure, some would argue that bigger is better, but its modest size may actually be favorable depending on your situation and your goals. I think it’s perfect for playing small, intimate gigs such as at coffee shops. The amp also weighs less than 15 pounds, which makes it less burdensome to carry around compared to other ones.

On top of that, some features on this one make practice and accompaniment easier, and, of course, more fun. This little piece of gear offers CD and microphone inputs, which allows you to play along with your favorite tracks and sing along too!  

The headphone jack is also a nice touch, and while it won’t completely silence your guitar playing (you are playing on an acoustic after all), you can enjoy the tone of your equipment and keep the sound level to a minimum, if you are worried about disturbing anyone.

All in all, I really like the design of this 15-watt Behringer Ultracoustic amplifier, and its appearance is simplistic and pleasing to the eye, in my humble opinion. It’s also easy to work with, which is why it’s great for beginners, but importantly, it’s a hassle-free device which makes it excellent for gigs.

 

 

Roland AC33RW Acoustic Chorus 30-Watt Guitar Amp

Roland is well-known for producing a variety of different musical equipment, and in the amp world, they might be most famous for their Cube models. If you’re familiar with the Roland Cube, you’ll probably be pleased to learn that the AC33 is somewhat similar in a few aspects.

One of the perks that made the Cube so popular is its portability, and with the AC33RW you get just that! It weighs about 15lbs, and one of the coolest parts about this one is that it can be entirely battery powered.

By using eight AA batteries, you can have a fully-functional amp without the need for any cables. This is awesome for guitarists who like to play outside in public, such as street performers. The amount of life you get out these batteries can vary, but I’ve heard of people getting around 6 to 8 hours of enjoyment out of them.

You might want to carry an extra set of batteries just in case though, and of course, you can use an adapter if you have an outlet available to you.

 

 

The interface is also reminiscent of the Roland Cube, and on it, you can switch between two channels, control the EQ, and even play with some effects – this amplifier places emphasis on chorus and reverb. Additionally, you get the anti-feedback controls which is always welcome, and the looper is a fine inclusion as well. Many amps don’t include one, and with Roland’s, you can loop up to 40 seconds.

Encased in the beautiful rosewood (RW) cabinet are two 5-inch speakers, which are capable of producing 15-watts each. This is more than enough for small to medium-sized locations and will be suitable even if you’re playing outside for a crowd, like at a shopping mall.

The Roland AC33RW is a fantastic amp; however, its best quality is the option to use batteries and is definitely ideal for outdoor guitarists. If this doesn’t really interest you, or you don’t foresee yourself doing that, I think you’ll enjoy the Marshall one that’s coming up next – it has a bit more power, retains a lot of the same general features but at a more approachable price.

 

 

 

Marshall Acoustic Soloist AS50D: 50-Watt Guitar Amp

Marshall, world-renowned for their guitar amplifiers, is probably most famous for their iconic electric guitar ones that were responsible for shaping the tone for countless rock and metal guitarists; however, the legendary brand also makes amazing acoustic guitar amps too – who would have thought?

This Marshall model has a lot of the same characteristics that the Behringer and Roland models here possess, but with a few notable upgrades that you’ll be sure to enjoy.

The first obvious difference is the wattage. 50 watts is a considerable boost from 15 watts, and since it is capable of being louder, it is suitable for larger gigs like a small club, theater, or religious center. Inside, it has two 8-inch speakers instead of just the single 8” and the dual 5-inch ones seen in the previous ones.

 

 

Like the Roland, this budget amp is that it offers two built-in guitar effects – chorus and reverb. This lets you create atmospheric and glistening tones, which were especially prevalent in 80s music.

This amplifier also has anti-feedback controls on the front, and in the back, there is a native DI box, which allows you to connect directly to the venue’s PA, which are two reasons why this one is totally made for gigs. It’s also bigger and therefore, more durable, so if you’re on the move a lot, this gear can handle some of the woes of touring.

As mentioned before, this particular amp does retain a lot of the hallmarks from the previous ones, and you do have the option to run a microphone through it, which is played through a separate channel than the acoustic guitar. Instead of a CD input though, you have some auxiliary ports.

This acoustic guitar amplifier is more expensive than the Behringer AT108 but it is sometimes cheaper than the Roland AC33RW,  so if you need more power and some extra goodies, this one is well worth the money. It’s an attractive, good-quality piece of equipment that can be a huge asset to your live performances.

 

 

Fender Acoustic 100: 100-Watt Guitar Amp

A fun fact that some people may not know is that Leo Fender and his company actually got its start by fixing and making guitar amps. Today, Fender is usually associated with some iconic guitars and celebrated players, but their amplifiers are still a top priority for them, and they continue to put out high-quality stuff.

Unlike the Marshall, this one has just a single 8” driver, despite being double the wattage. Don’t worry – because of its wattage, you’ll be able to sound big at most gigs while also retaining clarity.

With the Acoustic 100, you’ll mostly be getting the standard features that come from an acoustic guitar amp under $500 or around that pricing-point, but you’ll also find some cool stuff that even some of the more costly ones don’t have.

 

 

This Fender model has 2 channels where you can run two instruments or a microphone simultaneously and boasts a variety of effects that you can choose. I think the vibratone option is neat, and it’s not something you always see included on amplifiers – in fact, I’m pretty sure it’s something that originated from Fender and is exclusive to them.

Although you can use the auxiliary input to connect external devices to the amp, like your phone, one of the most unique attributes about this one is that it is Bluetooth compatible. This means that you can play tunes from your device to your amplifier (which is excellent for some accompaniment of course) but also have one less cable or cord to deal with. Some people like the consistency of connecting via cables, but Bluetooth gives you a cleaner looking set-up.

Speaking of cleanliness, this acoustic guitar amp is by far the most gorgeous one in this guide. The wooden cabinet combined with the brown cloth is both visually appealing and solidly built. The texture of the interface and the knobs also feel quite nice as well. Additionally, if you want a little bit more of a hands-free experience, an optional footswitch is sold separately.

Because this acoustic amplifier combines good looks with power and functionality, you should definitely keep this one on your radar. There is also a 200-watt version of this amp, which is appropriately called the Acoustic 200 if you are absolutely sure you need something stronger. However, I think the next one is a bit better for those larger venues because of its drivers and a few different quality-of-life aspects.

 

Fishman Loudbox Performer: 180-Watt Guitar Amp

In guides like these, some prefer to save the best for last, but in this one, I am saving the biggest for last (though, many guitarists can rightfully call this one the best)! The Loudbox Performer by Fishman is the largest acoustic guitar amp on this list, and therefore, will be the amp you will want to have if you plan on taking on biggest gigs that you can.

The Performer is the largest in the Loudbox line; the other two are the Mini and Artist models. Don’t let the name of the former fool you; the Mini is a very potent 60W amplifier despite its size, and the Artist is a 120W one, which is a still a viable option if you feel that 180 is too much.

Nonetheless, inside the cabinet, there is a 1” tweeter, a 5” mid-range speaker, and an 8” woofer, which allows you to produce clear sounds at a variety of frequencies. Not only is this a loud amp, but it is also a very rich-sounding one, and will help give you a professional tone.

Regarding features, this one pretty much provides you with the essential stuff, and it has pretty much everything you’d expect in a high-end acoustic amp. It has two separate channels and supports microphones, a three-band EQ, a DI box input in the back, and anti-feedback controls. It also has reverb, chorus, flanger, delay, and two kinds of echoes, which sound very nice.

I also really like that you have the option to tilt the amplifier more if you wish to have a better angle to project your sound. Naturally, it has a 10-degree tilt, but you can make it 50-degrees, which I personally prefer the look of.

Unfortunately, like most amps that support them, the footswitch for this amplifier is sold separately, but I highly recommend that you snag one if you can. They’re very well-made and will make your experience more seamless.

At 180 watts, this piece of equipment can easily hold its own against a full band as well, so if you’re part of an ensemble, this amp is one you should definitely consider. Even though it has massive power, it weighs only 30 pounds, so it won’t be too much of a pain to haul around. In my opinion, this one is easily one of the best acoustic guitar amplifiers, and it has everything you’ll ever need. Even though it’s kind of pricey, you’ll probably never need to replace it either.

 

 

Conclusion

Acoustic guitars sound naturally lovely, but sometimes you might need a little extra help to be heard by your audience. From small to big to even outdoor gigs, there is an amp for you here!

In this guide, I’ve covered, in detail, amps that range from 15 to 180-watts, so you can learn and decide which one is best for your current situation or your future aspirations.

A great amplifier can make a break your performance, and thankfully, all of these sound great and come with plenty of stuff that you’ll be able to utilize consistently. Some brands and models out there have some strange gimmicks, but these ones are pretty straightforward, yet still have some aspects that make them unique.

Whether you are plugging in for smaller audiences at coffee shops or playing at a packed venue, the best acoustic guitar amp will make all of the difference, and hopefully, you’ve learned about what you’ve been missing, and one of these becomes an asset for all of your performances soon.