Just like their guitars, Fender’s amps are some of the most iconic in the industry. They have been around nearly as long and have been played by just as many famous guitarists.
Top 3 - Fender Amps
And just like the guitars, Fender amps come in a variety of different styles and sounds. Here is a selection of six of the best Fender amps for your consideration.
6 Best Fender Amps
With the increasing popularity of modeling amps, it is no wonder that Fender has entered that space with their own series of modeling amps. The Mustang LT 25 sits at the entry-level range of this series.
Even though it is an entry-level amp, it doesn’t feel like one. I think Fender has done a great job to keep the LT 25 playing as good as the more expensive Mustang amps.
The amp itself is very solid. It is as well-built as you would expect a Fender amp to be.
Of course, this is a modeling amp, so the main attraction is the sound. I have come to expect quite a bit from modeling amps, even the cheaper ones.
The LT 25 doesn’t disappoint, with its 20 amp models, 25 effects, and 50 presets. The sounds on offer are varied and pretty much everything you beginner or intermediate could need.
They all also sound really nice. I am not too surprised if Fender is using the same software as the bigger Mustangs.
It is also quite loud for a 25-watt amp. It can easily fill up a room with sound. Of course, I wouldn’t take this to any gigs, but it is perfect for practice and a hands down great busking amp.
If I had to choose a downside, it would be the size and weight. It isn’t super heavy or big, but it is just a bit heavier and bigger to make it not quite as portable.
The ’65 Princeton Reverb is an amp that is almost as icon as Fender’s guitars. The Princeton Reverb was one of the first Fender amps ever made, and has remained a classic ever since.
The Princeton sports a much more vintage look than many other Fender amps. With its lacquered tweed giving it that old-school style. It does also come in the more modern black.
Its sound very much matches its look. It has quite a classic Fender tone, with a touch of modern on top.
The amp is quite bright, but not as sparkly as other Fenders. It also has quite a nice bottom end, giving its tone a bit more weight.
As the name suggests, this amp also has built-in reverb. And it is some fantastic reverb.
I find the reverb to be very responsive and versatile. You can go from a subtle reverb that just adds some color, to a big, expansive reverb really easily.
The amp also has a decent amount of volume for a 12-watt. Probably not enough for any gigs, but more than enough for practice and even for recording. In fact, the Princeton has been used by countless guitarists and can be heard on plenty of famous albums.
This isn’t the most versatile Fender amp, however. I would place it more in the genres of jazz, country, and blues.
It can distort quite nicely, but not really enough to push it very far into rock territory. But it is more than right for clean and light gain music.
The Blues Junior IV is very up front about what it does. This amp is very much geared towards blues guitarists.
Because of this heavy focus, the Blues Junior is also a fairly basic amp. It has a volume, 3-band EQ, master, and reverb, that is it. I usually prefer a few more controls on my amps, but on an amp like the Blues Junior, you don’t need more than it already has.
But don’t let its controls full you, this amp is anything but basic. The Blues Junior has a very rich, flavorful sound.
The tone is also much warmer than you would expect from a Fender amp. You can brighten it up quite a lot through the EQ, but I don’t think it gets quite as bright.
The one unique control on the Blues Junior is the fat switch. This gives the amp more presence and I actually found myself playing with the fat switch on more than off.
As the name also suggests, this is the fourth amp in the Blues Junior range. I feel Fender has improved quite a lot over the III, especially with the reverb.
I never used the reverb on the III because it just didn’t sound great. But the reverb on the IV is just superb. It is on par with other modern Fender amps.
Similar to the Princeton, my only real issue with the Blues Junior is its lack of versatility. It only does a handful of things, but what it does do, it does really well.
The second modeling amp on this list, the Mustang GTX 100 is Fender’s main modeling amp. It was designed to compete with the likes of the Boss Katana-100 MKII and Marshall Code 50. And compete it does.
The Mustang GTX 100 is a very effects-packed amp. With 40 amp models and 200 presets, you are quite spoiled for choice here. I do think it might be a bit intimidating for many at first, but the amp is easy enough to use and navigate.
As for the sound quality, just like with the LT 25, the modeling is absolutely incredible. The GTX 100 manages to get pretty close to the actual sound of the amps it is modeling.
I do feel like the GTX 100 sounds a bit crisper than the LT 25. But I am pretty sure just is just because it uses a larger and higher quality speaker.
I did roll my eyes a bit when I heard that there was a smartphone amp for the amp. But after actually trying it out I can’t imagine going without it.
The app allows you to change presets straight from your phone. No need to cycle through everything using the LED screen on the amp.
The amp also has Bluetooth, allowing you to play songs through it from any device. Not only is this great for practicing along to songs, but I can easily picture this being used by buskers.
This is genuinely an excellent amp, no matter what you want to use it for or your skill level.
The Tone Master Twin Reverb is an amp that doesn’t mess around. It is stacked to the brim with both features and sound.
Right off the bat, the Twin Reverb looks a bit intimidating. It has two channels, a Normal and Vibrato, both sporting two inputs and a number of controls.
Both channels have volume and 3-band EQ, always a good thing in my opinion. Both channels also have a bright switch that, well, brightens up the sound. The Vibrato channel then also has a reverb with controls for speed and intensity.
Then there are a few interesting features at the back. The amp has quite an extensive output control with options for 1, 5, 12, 22, 44, or the full 85 watts.
What I also found interesting was the XLR output. This allows you to adjust how much output the speakers produce. You can either put the output at full for mic’ing up on stage, completely silent, having it run only through a soundboard, or any mix of the two.
These features mean nothing if the amp doesn’t sound great, and boy does it. I think this is one of Fender’s best sounding modern amps.
It has all the twang and brightness you would expect from a Fender amp, but a bit more rounded in the mids and at the bottom. The amp doesn’t distort much on its own, but pedals are no issue if you want to make it a bit meaner.
This is a very versatile amp. Loud enough for big gigs, soft enough for your bedroom, and an excellent pedal platform.
6. Frontman 10G
Fender’s Frontman series of amps seems to have fallen out of favor over the last few years. I actually still own a Frontman 65R, so I was quite interested to check out the Frontman 10G.
I will get this out right now, this is a practice amp. Nothing more, nothing less. It is very limited in both features and sound.
That being said, I still really like this little amp. I had quite a bit of fun playing with it, and I think it is one of the best practice amps out there.
The features are as straightforward as you can get: Volume, Gain, Treble, and Bass.
The sound is also pretty straightforward. You plug your guitar in, guitar sound comes out. What is interesting is that, while I didn’t find the sound exciting, I also never felt like it was dull either. The responsive EQ does help to give it a bit more life.
I really appreciate that Fender decided to give this little amp two dedicated channels: clean and overdrive. This gives it a bit more versatility and means that you don’t also need to hook up any pedals to it.
The overdrive channel actually has quite a nice crunch to it. I also discovered that if you keep the gain low while on the overdrive channel, the amp has quite a pleasant, bright clean tone.
This amp is definitely not going to be anything more than a practice amp. I wouldn’t even really recommend it as a beginner amp. But as a practice amp, and at this price, it is a fantastic little amp.
Who Are Fender Amps For?
Just like their guitars, Fender amps are for everyone. There is an amp for you whether you are just starting out, have been playing for a few years, or a professional musician.
Fender amps have been used by the likes of The Beatles, The Who, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer. So, you can rest assured knowing they are built to the same high standards as their guitars.
Fender also has an amp regardless of your needs. For gigging musicians there are amps like the Twin Reverb. Bedroom musicians have amps like the Mustang LT 25 or Frontman 10G. and then there is every amp in between.
Choosing the Right Fender Amp
Fender is one of those brands where you can’t really go wrong when it comes to choosing between their amps. It all just comes down to what you prefer.
But because their amps are all so great, it can be hard to narrow down which one to choose. Here are some things to consider.
Solid State vs Tube
This is a debate that will likely never be settled. Guitarists will always argue which is better: solid state or tube amps. I personally feel that both have pros and cons that end up making them equal.
Solid states are much easier and cheaper to produce, making them more affordable. They also don’t require a lot of maintenance and are fairly durable.
The downside is that they don’t sound quite as natural as tube amps. Fender solid state amps are also often said to have ‘fizzy’ sounding distortion.
Solid state amps have come quite a long way, and plenty of them come quite close if not outright matching tube amps in terms of tone. Amps like the Tone Master Twin Reverb are especially close to their tube counterparts, and would be my pick for the best solid state amp on this list.
Tube amps are almost the complete opposite of solid state amps. They are harder and more expensive to build, making them more expensive.
They require more maintenance since their tubes die after a few years. The tubes are also very sensitive and can break easily if the amp isn’t handled properly.
But they also sound more natural than solid state amps. Their distortion is especially better than that of a solid state. The Princeton Reverb is a fantastic tube amp, but the Blues Junior IV is also great and a bit more affordable.
Versatility can be a bit of a mixed bag with Fender amps. They can either be good at a wide variety of things, or only really good at one or two things. The style of music you play is going to have a big effect on which amp you choose.
If you play a wide variety of genres, or maybe you play in a cover band, you are going to need a versatile amp. Something like the Mustang GTX 100 that can do practically anything would be the easy choice.
Or even the Twin Reverb that isn’t itself quite as versatile, but works well with pedals, giving it a bit more versatility.
But if you only need something that can do one thing, but you want it to be done well, then I would pick the Blues Junior or Princeton. They might not be Jacks of all trades, but they are absolutely masters of some.
You should also keep in mind the controls and features of the amp, as this can increase or decrease its versatility. I usually go with more features rather than less.
A full 3-band EQ is going to give you more control over your tone, giving you more versatility. Separate channels for clean and distorted tones are also a good thing to consider,
Power attenuation like the Twin Reverb has is also a very valuable tool. This allows you to switch the amp between a full volume, gig-ready amp, to low volume, won’t disturb the neighbors practice.
Modern vs Vintage
Fender amps can be split into two types of sound: vintage or modern.
This is another thing that will affect your decision. Amps like the Princeton, Deluxe Reverb, and Custom Champ all have a very vintage Fender tone. Whereas amps like the Blues Junior, Mustang, and Hot Rod are all more modern sounding.
This will also be more of a preference thing, but I would also rather go with a modern sounding amp if you need something versatile. This is especially true if you are playing a lot of modern songs in a cover band. A vintage sound might make the songs sound a bit off.
Genres like blues and jazz benefit more from a vintage sound, however. So, go with a vintage sounding amp if you play more old-school, vintage genres.
Whether you are looking for the ultimate blues tone, a sparkling clean tone, or an amp that can do a bit of everything, Fender has got you covered.
With a selection of amps as diverse as their guitars, I am certain there is one right for you. Even if it wasn’t one of the amps on this list, I know you will find the best Fender amp that suites your needs.