With its iconic single-cutaway body shape, the Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable guitars to ever be manufactured. Choosing the best amp is vital if you want to get the best out of a Les Paul.
The key is to choose an amplifier that complements the natural qualities of a Les Paul. In this guide, I’ll provide you with a selection of premium quality combo amps that emphasize the warm, immersive tone of the legendary Gibson axe.
8 Best Amps for Les Paul Guitars
The Marshall DSL line has long been a favorite amongst guitarists who crave power. The DSL40CR resurrects the range. A tube combo offering, it produces the classic Marshall tone that is full of character.
When paired with a Les Paul, the DSL40CR flourishes. It features independent gain and volume controls for each channel, in addition to a resonance control and multiple onboard effects.
The inner mechanisms of the DSL40CR are largely responsible for its full-bodied output. It houses the same tubes as the original DSL, with two EL34s in the power section and four ECC83s in the preamp section.
Tonally, this blend of tubes produces plenty of low-end thickness, which caters for stomping blues riffs on your Les Paul. The resonance control allows you to adjust the amount of low-end decay.
There's also studio-quality digital reverb housed within the DSL40CR's effects channel and a newly-refined EQ section for tonal flexibility. The effects loop can be bypassed if you want to enjoy the clean combination of this amp with your Les Paul.
Renowned worldwide for the expertise in the field of guitar effects, Boss produces a wide-spanning range of tone-enhancing stompboxes and amplifiers. The Katana-50 MkII, with its five unique amp characters, is a worthy companion for your Les Paul.
The latest model in the popular Katana series, the MkII houses a powerful 100-watt output section. Coupled with the purpose-built 12” speaker, this amp can be used in conjunction with preamps or as a standalone to sculpt your tone.
Catering for multi-channel footswitch operation, the Katana-50 MkII is the ideal effects hub. Whether you need extra bite for a solo on your Les Paul or a cleaner sound for suspended chords, you can access it instantly, hands-free.
Indeed, the qualities that Boss is known for are also present in this amplifier. With a selection of newly designed amp variations and access to a bank of 60 Boss-designed effects within the Tone Studio editor, there's no shortage of processing options.
If the need to use your Les Paul for recording arises, the Katana-50 MkII provides a solid platform. With its cab-emulated output, the amp records silently, allowing a cranked-tone even at low volumes.
The V5 Infinium is a compact tube amplifier that enhances the authentic tone of a Les Paul, whether it be Gibson or Epiphone manufactured. Housing a classic 12AX7 preamp tube and a reliable EL84 power tube, this 5-watt amp packs a surprising punch.
Additionally, there's an inbuilt power attenuator that allows you to access the amp's "sweet spot" regardless of the volume. This is a great quality for practice sessions in settings when cranking the gain and volume perhaps isn't a viable option.
One of the main concerns guitarists have when investing in a valve amplifier is that the tubes degrades quickly and require frequent replacements. Thankfully, Bugera has accounted for this with their Tube Life Multiplier Technology.
Also housed within the inner workings of the V5 Infinium is a detailed, high-quality reverb channel. This can be used to add sprinkles of space to your Les Paul’s output, or for more extreme, decaying effects.
If there’s one type of amplifier that the Les Paul was made to interact with, it’s a gritty tube amp. The V5 Infinium, with its all-tube design and compact sizing, is a great way to access the classic Les Paul tones of decades gone by.
4. Vox AC15C1
Vox burst onto the scene into the 1960s, with their range of gain-heavy amplifiers defining the British-invasion tone. To this day, their tone remains highly sought-after by guitarists of all styles.
Many a Les Paul has been paired with a Vox amp over the years, and few are so compatible with the iconic guitar as the AC15C1. Delivering a variety of crunching, immersive tones, this amp performs well on stage and in the studio.
At the heart of the AC15C1's power output is a custom-class, EL84-driven power amp. This, combined with the Top Boost preamp, forms the inner tube construction that results in a warm and well-rounded sound.
One of the standout qualities of Vox amplifiers is their compatibility with effects. If you like to use a variety of tone-altering pedals with your Les Paul, the AC15C1 will have no problems interacting with distortion, modulation, and space-based effects.
You get access to two high-quality effects without even needing pedals. The onboard tremolo and spring reverb expand your sonic options, and there's a Top Boost channel that instantly increases the treble output of your Les Paul.
The HT Venue MkII range by Blackstar contains a selection of powerhouse amplifiers that offer plenty of tonal versatility. The 20R is one of the standout offerings from this range, packed with a multitude of tones.
Blackstar has updated the clean channel to make it sound smoother, which is a welcome improvement for Les Paul players. The overdrive channel instantly beefs up your output and ensures that you cut through the mix.
An interesting aspect of the HT20R is the Infinite Shape Feature. Designed by Blackstar, this unique modeling option allows you to dial in the classic British break-ups, or opt for American style high-gain.
The reverb channel has been revoiced, and the result is a smooth, spacey effect. There's also an emulated line-out and a USB audio output which make a recording with this Blackstar amp easily accessible.
Granted, there are many iconic amplifier manufacturers out there. But few can claim to have created a line of amps that are more recognizable than Orange. With their unique design and excellent tone, their amplifiers are a thing of beauty.
The Orange Rocker 15 is the result of a decade of tweaking their Rockerverb series. It has been adjusted gradually to create a high-performance tube amplifier that sounds exceptional when paired with a Les Paul.
Like all Orange amps, the Rocker 15 boasts simple operation. With a clean and dirty channel to choose from, you can conjure up the classic British crunch of the 60s or go even further and create screaming metal tones.
Useful additions such as power scaling and switch-operated attenuation add nice touches to the Rocker 15. Even the effects loop is completely tube-driven, with 12AT7s being used for this purpose.
Fender's wealth of knowledge on guitars and amplifiers is unrivaled. Their tube-amps set the standard for the whole industry, and they continue to innovate and improve in the modern-day.
The Blues Junior IV is a 15-watt combo amp that blends seamlessly with a Gibson Les Paul. Based on one of their most popular tube amps of years gone by, the Junior IV is a conveniently sized and well-oiled machine.
Fender chose to make adjustments to the preamp section of the amp. This has resulted in a wider, more immersive tonality. The Celestion A-type packs a punch for a relatively modest-sized speaker.
With the classic inclusion of smooth, Fender-designed reverb, this all-tube amp looks and sounds like it has come straight out of the 60s. There are an onboard 3-band EQ section and a FAT switch which instantaneously adds substance to your output.
The Mustang GTX 100 is a revamped and reinvigorated carnation of the classic Fender-line, with numerous improvements that make it perfectly suited to being used in conjunction with a Les Paul.
A great choice for confessed effects-addicts like me, the GTX 100 houses a wide selection of processing options. On top of that, there are 200 presets which produce classic tones of the past and more experimental sounds.
The GTX-100 isn’t lacking in power. With a 100-watt output, it drives the 12” Celestion speaker beautifully. It’s also Wi-Fi enabled, which means you can access Fender’s online modeling and effects library and download them straight to the amp!
If you enjoy creating loops with your Les Paul, you'll be pleased to learn that the Mustang GTX 100 has a powerful looper function that can be controlled using a footswitch.
Les Paul Amps: Tube vs. Solid State
One of the reasons the Les Paul is such a beloved instrument to so many musicians is the sheer range of styles it can be used for. Although predominantly used for rock guitar throughout the 60s and 70s, the classic Gibson guitar has gone on to be utilized for many different purposes.
When it comes to identifying the best-suited amplifier to pair with your Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul, you need to identify the results you're aiming for.
Do you simply want to amplify and enhance the natural, warm tone of the Les Paul, or would you rather have access to a plethora of effects to bathe the guitar in?
If the former is your preference, then an all-tube amplifier is likely to be your best bet. If the latter piques your interest, then perhaps a solid-state amplifier with many onboard processing options would be better suited.
Amplifiers with all-tube constructions are generally preferred by music purists. They popularly produce a natural layer of grit, which is sometimes called "breakups", adding character and color to an electric guitar.
Solid-state amps, on the other hand, are preferred for the additional headroom they offer a guitarist. The signal is much cleaner and less likely to be subjected to distortion or saturation.
In terms of effects, tube amplifiers often house the classic combination of tremolo and reverb. These channels have a distinctive sound, with spring reverb the predominant variety used on valve amps.
Solid-state amps have the potential to house hundreds of inbuilt presets and effects. They can often be accessed simply by using a rotary control or buttons, and for that reason, these amps are well-suited to experimental guitarists.
Tube amplifiers are generally more expensive than their solid-state counterparts, due largely to the inner components that form them. However, they are more fragile, and the tubes are prone to wear out eventually.
Whether it's Gibson or Epiphone-made, a Les Paul deserved to be paired with an amplifier of sufficient quality. Hopefully, this list has pointed you in the direction of the ideal companion for your beautiful guitar.
It takes time to figure out the operation of a new amplifier, so be patient, and you’ll be producing some wonderful tones in no time!