A great amp is essential if you’re looking to get a warm and clean guitar tone typical of jazz music. This guide will share with you the best amplifiers for jazz guitarists that can get you those clear and full-sounding chords and silky-smooth leads that everyone loves.
Table of Contents
Fender Blues Deluxe
Fender historically has produced some of the best amps for blues and jazz, and what’s more appropriate for these genres than the Blues Deluxes?
The Fender Blues Deluxe is a 40-watt tube amp that consists of just a single 1×12 speaker and a knob to control the spring reverb, but it provides all of the tone and volume you need for jazz music.
This amp has two channels – classic and drive, and for jazz, you’ll probably be spending most of your time on the latter, but of course, it’s nice to have other channels if you play different styles of music, such as blues-rock.
However, Fender amps aren’t high-gain amps that are exactly known for producing a lot of overdrive or distortion on their own. So unless you have some pedals, it’s probably best to steer clear from these if you also like to play heavier music on the side.
Nonetheless, these are still versatile amps but are definitely for those who prefer those vintage tones, and the gorgeous tweed covering on them reflects that.
If you’re looking for the best Fender amp for jazz that’s more affordable, lightweight, and you don’t necessarily need the power that the Deluxe provides, the Fender Blues Jr. is a very popular option. Even though it’s only 15-watts, it’s still a strong but compact tube amp that you can use for smaller gigs if you play with a group.
Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb
While tube amps are sought-after by many, jazz guitarists sometimes prefer solid-state amps because of their ability to sound consistent at different volumes, and they don’t require much maintenance.
Tube amps sound great cranked up, but this can create an overdriven tone, which isn’t always ideal for jazz. With a solid-state amplifier, you can go loud and keep it clean.
If this sounds right up your alley, Fender has a solid-state combo amp that is an excellent alternative to the Blues amps talked about in the previous section – the Tone Master Twin Reverb.
2×12 speakers power this amp at 200-watts and the digital technology closely imitates the tube sound of the original Twin Reverb, and the output controls on the back of the amp help you recreate that tube power at up to 85-watts.
Of course, as the name suggests, this amp has a spring reverb, just like the previous one, but for a solid-state amp, it doesn’t offer much in terms of effects – you get a vintage tremolo effect, and that’s about it. However, this is pretty common for a lot of the amplifiers in this guide.
This amp is excellent if you want something that sounds incredible, but at the end of the day, it is simple and has low maintenance. You can also check out the Fender Deluxe Reverb if you want a very similar amp but don’t need as much power (1×12 speakers at 100 watts).
Another amp manufacturer that has been around forever is Vox. Their AC30 is an iconic amplifier used by countless musicians for decades and has seen different iterations over the years.
While it’s primarily associated with those early British rock bands like the Beatles, Queen, Dire Straits, and The Rolling Stones, these amps are just as versatile as the Fender amps and are great for jazz as well.
In fact, these were initially designed to be competitors to the Fender Twin tube amps back in the day.
The Vox AC30C2 is a variant of the original AC30 that is quite straightforward in terms of its features – it’s a two-channel 30-watt tube amp that comes with a pair of 12-inch Celestion Greenback speakers (the C2X uses Alnico Blues).
For jazz, you’ll probably be spending most of your time on the normal channel and enjoying those warm cleans. However, when paired with the right pedals, this amp can pretty much do anything.
However, one thing to point is that this amp is heavier than most combo amps, weighing at about 70lbs. So if you need something more affordable, lighter-weight, but still great for gigs, you could try the downsized version of this one, the Vox AC15C1, or you can look into the Vox AC30S1.
One of the most famous amps for jazz guitarists is the Roland JC-120 because of its classic clean tone; these are solid-state amplifiers that have been around since the 1970s, and even metal bands have taken advantage of its notable sound.
The JC in its name means Jazz Chorus, and this refers to the chorus effect that these amps were known for, and the number is the wattage that this combo amp provides.
In this amplifier, you have two 12-inch speakers, and in addition to the chorus, it also has a built-in vibrato effect, and of course, reverb.
While this amp is mostly known for its ability to produce rich, clean tones, it does offer a distortion channel too, but in my opinion, it’s not that great sounding.
You’d be better off running a distortion pedal through the clean channel, but if you’re going to be playing jazz primarily, this shouldn’t really be too much of an issue. This heads-up is mainly for those who are looking for something more versatile.
Nonetheless, the Roland Jazz Chorus is one of the best solid-state amps for jazz, and there’s a good chance that’s what you came here for. I do like that this amp comes with wheels on it to make it easier to transport, but like all of the other amps so far, there is a smaller version if you need it. In that case, the JC-40 or 22 may be what you’re looking for here.
Roland Blues Cube Artist
The Roland Blues Cube Artist is a solid-state amp, but if you’re more a tube-lover, this could be a great alternative to the JC series amps due to how well it emulates that vintage tube tone that a lot of people cherish.
This amplifier is 80-watts with a single 12-inch speaker and gives some of the warmest and smoothest clean tones I’ve ever heard out of any amplifier, which is why I recommend this for jazz guitarists.
However, at its core, this amp is designed for blues guitarists and is modeled after a tube, so if you bring up the volume loud enough, it will get overdriven. Additionally, there is a crunch channel for those who love to play blues licks with a dirtier tone.
A cool feature of this amp is that you can also blend these two channels using the Dual Tone button, but you probably won’t be using this much for jazz music.
Still, I would consider these aspects pretty advantageous over the Jazz Chorus amps; I’d say the JC-120 and its siblings do a fantastic job at one thing, but this amp is better for those who want an amp that can provide more diversity.
It’s also worth noting that the Artist model is just one of many in the Blues Cube line, such as the Blues Cube Hot, the Blues Cube Stage, and the BC-30 that are easier on the wallet but still made for performance.
Peavey Classic 50 410
Even though Peavey is also known for its solid-state modeling amps, the Peavey Classic series produces some of the best tube amps in the game regarding combo amps for jazz.
In fact, I think some of their stuff tends to be somewhat underrated, including their guitars!
Immediately, one feature that sets this amp apart from the others is that this amp uses four ten-inch speakers rather than the single or dual 12-inch ones that have dominated this list so far.
One of the key differences between them from what I’ve learned over the years is that 12-inch speakers tend to be bassier due to their larger size, whereas 10s will be tighter, punchier, and be more mid-focused.
However, with four speakers in total being powered by 50-watts, you won’t have an issue getting full-sounding tones for jazz with this amplifier.
Some of the other amps in the Classic line, such as the Classic 30, do use 12-inch speakers, though, so if you prefer those, you might want to check out some of the other ones. Nonetheless, aside from the amazing clean tones, these amps have a lot to offer.
Fishman Loudbox Artist
Fishman has been making many waves in the industry lately, not only because of their amazing guitar pickups but also because of their fantastic Loudbox amps.
What’s really interesting about these amps is that they’re not actually made for electric guitars – these are acoustic guitar amps. So, therefore, there isn’t any crunch or distortion channel on it.
However, the clean tone that they produce is pretty much perfect for jazz, especially if you have a hollow-bodied archtop guitar.
The Loudbox Artist is a 120-watt amp that just uses one 8-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter speaker, and it comes with a little more effects than the other amps I’ve talked about so far. I think the delay and echo effects are a very nice touch, and a little bit of it can add some more dimension to your tone.
The Bluetooth feature is also great if you love to play along with backing tracks at home or during gigs; as long as you have a device that can connect to it, it will pair with your Loudbox amp.
I think the Loudbox Artist model provides great value for its cost, but if you want a version that’s a little more compact and stripped-down, the Loudbox Mini 60-watt amp still packs a punch and has that same warm, clean tone that jazz guitarists love and is one of the best practice amps for jazz.
AER Compact 60
Another manufacturer of acoustic guitar amps that work well for jazz is AER, particularly their Compact line of amplifiers.
AER is from Germany, a location that is renowned for its engineering of all types of high-end products, such as cars, beer, and of course, amps.
Seriously, I can think of a handful of lovely German amp brands off the top of my head, like Hughes & Kettner, ENGL, Diezel, and Behringer. AER also belongs in this list and should definitely be in the conversation for the best combo amps for jazz, even though their Compacts are acoustic amps like the Fishman Loudboxes.
The AER Compact 60/4, including the Tommy Emmanuel signature version, has 60-watts, as you might have guessed from its name, but the number “4” refers to the number of effects that it has: two types of reverb (short and long), delay, and chorus.
Like the Loudbox Artist, this amp features an 8” speaker, but rather than a single woofer, this one is a twin cone speaker, which is able to handle both lower and higher frequencies better simultaneously.
While the AER Compact 60 is a favorite amongst many players, it’s also worth seeing the other stuff they have, such as the 40-watt AER Alpha.
DV Mark Jazz 212
One amp company based out of Italy that specifically caters to the needs of jazz guitarists is DV Mark, and their products certainly reflect that.
The DV Jazz 212 is a 50-watt solid-state combo amp with two 12-inch custom speakers explicitly designed for people who enjoy playing jazz guitar.
The tone is rich and dynamic, and the amplifier is very simple to use; it doesn’t take much to dial in a sound that works for you with these. There is only one channel with the typical bass, mid, and treble EQ controls and a reverb knob.
These are some of the primary reasons why these are so highly regarded, but for being an amp that has two prominent speakers, this is one of the lightest amps you can get weighing at about 30 pounds.
The DV Mark Little Jazz is also super popular and even more compact without losing the tone that makes these some of the best solid-state amps for jazz.
If you’re interested in tube amps, the ECG Raw Dog by DV Mark is also an excellent alternative, but I still think their Jazz line really speaks for themselves, and I prefer those overall.
Henriksen The Bud TEN
If you’re looking for the best of the best, I believe Henriksen they are at the top of the game when it comes to jazz guitar amps.
Before, Henriksen used to have a model appropriately known as the JazzAmp, but this has been discontinued; however, they now have a bunch of awesome offerings like the Bud and the Blue amplifiers.
Here, I will focus specifically on The Bud TEN, but you are still encouraged to check out their other amazing amps, like the Blu TEN, which is very similar to this one, but with one channel.
The Bud TEN is a two-channel solid-state amp that produces some of the most incredible tones for its size. However, don’t be deceived by its tiny casing – it still has a single 10-inch speaker with 120 watts of power, so it’s more than capable of doing just about anything, and that can also be said about their other amps.
Depending on the model, Henriksen amps weigh about 15-20 pounds, making them easily one of the most portable amps you can find that produces top-notch tones for gigs and recording.
As of right now, you can’t find Henrikson products at the major online retails like Amazon or Sweetwater, so to get your hands on one, you should check out their website to order directly from them.
Whether you’re looking for a tube or solid-state, the perfect amp is out there for you. I’ve found that ten of the best combo amplifiers for jazz are:
- Fender Blues Deluxe
- Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb
- Vox AC30C2
- Roland JC-120
- Roland Blues Cube Artist
- Peavey Classic 50 410
- Fishman Loudbox Artist
- AER Compact 60
- DV Mark Jazz 212
- Henriksen The Bud TEN
All of these are more than capable of getting your fantastic jazz tones, but it’s up to you to decide if you want something that’s more versatile or focused on getting you that specific sound, such as the latter four amps in the list.
Hopefully, the info and the videos here can give you an idea of the best jazz amp for your needs, including your budget. I understand some of these amps can be pricey, but perhaps my alternative suggestions, like the smaller versions of these amps, can be very helpful in getting your dream amplifier in your home and even on the stage. Also, in addition, to getting a good amp, you can also consider looking to getting some guitar pickups that are fantastic for jazz. Alongside an amplifier, a great guitar with nice pickups are key to honing in on that jazz sound, and it’s an upgrade you can consider making if you haven’t already.
You may also want to check out some of my recommendations for the best combo amps under $500. Not all of them are designed for jazz specifically, but they are versatile and can be great for personal use, such as practicing at home. Give them a look if you’re on a tighter budget!