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Valve Guitar Amp Models That Won’t Break The Bank

Valve Guitar Amp Models That Won’t Break The Bank

Updated 17/09/18

No longer the preserve of the well-heeled, a valve guitar amp can be surprisingly affordable these days…

When you’re aiming to get the best guitar tone possible, one piece of equipment always seems to figure- a valve guitar amp.

Producing tone with legendary rich tone, and astonishing dynamic performance, there really is no substitute for real valves.

Once upon a time, owning a valve amp required a serious financial commitment. These days, however, the huge increase in demand for tube amps at the more affordable end of the spectrum has meant that you can you get your hands on some glowing tubes for a surprisingly low price.

Here are four great examples…

Fender Super Champ X2

Affordable Valve Guitar Amp - Fender Super Champ X2

Fender is no stranger to hybrid digital-tube technologies, but one of its most recent amps provided this at an unprecedented low price.

The Champ X2 combines valve guitar amp technology (it’s equipped with a 12AX7 pre-amp valve, and two 6V6 power amp valve) with its incredibly popular FUSE modelling tech.

Essentially, channel 1 is a clean valve channel (with all of Fender’s classic sparkle and warmth), and channel 2 offers all of the modelling technology. So, it can emulate countless amps, edit sounds via a host computer, and even record to a DAW via USB.

Marshall DSL5CR Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier

Marshall DSL5CR Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier

The Marshall brand is now synonymous with the valve amplifier, having graced the stages of the musical world since 1962, the people there tend to know a thing or two about crafting great valve amplifiers for all styles, and budgets. The Marshall DSL5CR Electric Guitar Combo Amplifier is a great option for those who want an all valve sound without breaking the bank, or their back! Packed inside this easy to carry box is a two channel, all-valve combo guitar amplifier with 1 x Celestion Ten 30 speaker that provides a huge amount of attitude.

The two channels i.e. Classic Gain and Ultra Gain give you some great tonal options and plenty of room to explore all facets of music. If you want traditional vintage tones, then the Classic gain is for you, however if you want to really add some power to your riffs the Ultra Gain can really kick your sound up a notch (or 10) providing bone crunching distortion. The master volume knob ensures you can get that driven valve sound at low volumes whilst Marshall’s very useful high/low Power Shift, allows you to change the output power and reduce it from 5 watts to 1 watt – perfect for practicing at home. It’s an all valve amplifier at a fraction of the cost.

Vox AC10C1 Guitar Amp Combo

Vox AC10C1 Guitar Combo Amplifier

Vox have a worthy reputation for building outstanding amps that deliver sparkling tones with classic crunch that offers the quintessential British rock tone. Here we have the very impressive Vox AC10C1. Yes, it’s small in size, but don’t think for a second that this thing won’t blow your windows out if you crank it. Packed with 12AX7 and EL84 tubes for a dynamic range of tone, a 10-inch Celestion speaker and 10 watts of pure power, it’s capable of handling smaller sized venues, practice rooms or studio work with ease. Go from gorgeous crystal-clear tones to humbucker style drive and use the treble boost switch with caution; this thing bites.

If you’ve ever hankered after real valve amp tone, there’s never been a better time to get it…

About The Author


Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.