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Best Guitar Amp Combo By Budget: Blues

Best Guitar Amp Combo By Budget: Blues

Certain things just go together, wine and cheese, salt and pepper, tequila, salt and lemon...I think you are getting the picture. The same symbiosis occurs in the world of guitars. There is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy. If someone has a number of hits with a particular set up (guitar & amp combo) then others will replicate and if enough do it, we now have a classic sound. Then we are in a perennial chicken and egg situation regarding tone and style. Was it the guitar and amp combo that crossed the road first etc. The world of blues has many divisions of style and aggression and the simplicity of the blues has meant that it has crossed over into many other forms of music.

Our first foray into Guitar and Amp combinations sees us enter the many-headed world of blues. With three distinct categories, the blues offers the player a range of styles to choose from. From heavy-rock blues played by the likes of Slash or Jared James Nichols to the fiery soul of Hendrix or SRV. Let's also not forget that some of the biggest selling blues acts play a clean simple style such as B.B King. Our approach will look at an unlimited budget, a professional budget and a beginner budget. We will look at the heavier side of the blues, then the fiery vintage style and finally the clean style of the blues.

Modern Blues

No Limit Budget ££££
Pro Budget Around £1000
Beginner Budget Around £500

The Classic sound of 50's Les Paul can and has worked well in conjunction with many famous brand amplifiers. However, more and more guitarists are gravitating towards the tube screaming tones of Blackstar. One great example of Blackstar innovation is the Jared James Nichols signature amp. With a button that cuts power from 20 to 2 watts this is perfect for both live and practise but without losing tone. This hot-headed amp is a perfect partner to the glorious Gold Top. If you want Slash style tones this is definitely the way to go.

If many thousands of pounds are not at your disposal but you still need legendary tone then how about a guitar inspired by a 50's Gold Top. Jared James Nichols Old Glory was inspired by a chance encounter with Joe Perry of Aerosmith and his single pickup 50's Les Paul. The Old Glory is geared towards a simple yet blistering approach to the blues. The bridge even has a plate that says blues power. Married to classic Tube tones the Marshall DSL20CR is another 20-watt powerhouse. With a choice between crystal clear cleans and super-hot lead the DSL20CR is a great partner to the Old Glory.

So you are starting out in the world of guitar, you know who your heroes are and want to put your best foot forward early on. The Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II Outfit not only has that special name but with superb manufacturing has great tones and great accessories. With a built in Tuner, Zebra humbuckers and a solid build the AFD is a rock-solid start to your guitar life. The Fender Champion 100 Combo is a tour de force of sound. With built in adjustable effects a great clean tone and can produce super heavy tones this 2x12 beast will work both for practise and live.

Gibson Les Paul Standard 50s Electric Guitar - Gold Top

Epiphone Ltd. Ed. Jared James Nichols Old Glory Les Paul Custom Outfit

Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II Outfit

Blackstar JJN-20RH MKII Guitar Amplifier Head

Marshall DSL20CR 20-Watt Valve Guitar Amplifier Combo

Fender Champion 100 Combo Guitar Amplifier

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Blackstar JJN-212VOC MKII Speaker Cabinet

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Fiery Blues

No Limit Budget ££££
Pro Budget Around £1000
Beginner Budget Around £500

When looking for that soulful blues crunch of Hendrix or SRV look no further than the classically finished Fender Ltd AM performer in Olympic White. With classic hot single coil pickups and a maple fretboard this is a blues leviathan. With a silky-smooth neck and classic "C" profiled neck this is the perfect blues guitar. Combine this with its brand mate the Fender Tone Master and you will searing hot crunch and crystal-clear tonality. The Fender Tone Master is a legendary amp and delivers great sounds. This duo however, will set you back so is strictly for the advanced hobbyist or touring professional.

The Telecaster is often overlooked as a blues machine, but its versatility is and has been a draw to blues players for generations. This Player Series Telecaster in Polar White has all the elements needed to produce red hot lead tones. The single coil Tele pickups and tight Rosewood fretboard are an amazing combination giving great sustain and bends that won't choke thanks to the profile of the neck. When combined with the combo horse power of an Orange amp with its own unique British blues tone you be able to wield an almost Jimmy Page-esque tone.

With finances on everyone's mind, whether you are buying for a relative or for yourself there has to be a compromise. Thankfully not on tone or sonic possibility. The Squier Classic Vibe 70's Stratocaster is straight out of the Stevie Ray Vaughan handbook. With a classic finish and scratch-plate, this is a blues machine. The Rosewood fretboard will produce tight snappy tones and the single coil pickups are high output and will help produce a fierce tonality. The Fender champion 40 like the 100 has adjustable effects and two channels of clean and dirty glory. Still very capable of producing high gain that goes well beyond the fiery blues tones we are looking for; the Fender Champion 40 is a very versatile amp.

Fender Ltd AM Performer Stratocaster - Olympic White

Fender Player Series Telecaster PF Electric Guitar - Polar White

Squier Classic Vibe 70s Stratocaster Electric Guitar - Natural

Fender Tone Master Twin Reverb Combo Guitar Amplifier

Orange Crush Pro CR60C Guitar Amplifier

Fender Champion 40 Combo Guitar Amplifier

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Clean Blues

No Limit Budget ££££
Pro Budget Around £1000
Beginner Budget Around £500

Some of the most popular guitarists of our time have been playing with a crystal-clear tone only applying a little crunch when needed. One of the finest examples of electric guitar craftsmanship is the Gibson ES-335 Figured Semi-Hollow Electric guitar in Sunset Burst. Capable of producing singing crystal clear, clean tones. The ES-335 has an immensely playable neck made out of quarter sawn mahogany and with a rounded profile and binding this is the very epitome of soulful blues. Combined with a Marshall Studio Vintage SV20C, a classic Gibson, Marshall crossover. The SV20C is in a class of its own when it comes to clean vintage tones. The SV20C has Celestion V-Type speakers used in so many classic amps previously. If money is no object, then these two will produce a timeless tonality.

The Vintage styling of the Ibanez AS73V lend themselves perfectly to jazz or blues and therefore swagger brazenly into our list of best guitars for clean blues. However, the pickups are good enough to produce some excellent hot tones as well so bear in mind the AS73Vs versatility. Finished with authentic vintage hardware the Ibanez looks the part as well. The Marshall MG101FX is a great amp for versatility, with built in FX and four channels this is something of a 1x12 powerhouse. With plenty of connectivity it is more of a modern amp but will produce the right amount of Marshall gain to get those snappy blues lines. This amp is perfect for live use but is compact enough for practise. This combination could also be a fine fit for the fiery blues combos.

The Ibanez AS53-TKF doesn't quite have the horsepower of the AS73 but will produce beautiful warm tones at a fraction of the cost. Retaining the look of a classic blues machine but with a modern finish the Ibanez AS53-TKF is a solid choice at this price point for the kind of clear snappy tones required. The warm tones are provided by the Ibanez infinity R pickups. Again, another Ibanez Marshall combo and again a combo with premier versatility. The Code50 is a top tier modelling amp with superior connectivity allowing you download tones and amp types from an online library, as well as dial those tones in directly through the amp. This versatility again allows you to produce the tight clean tones for that classic blues sound. You can also turn the gain up, change the amp type play backing tracks and all for a beginner budget.

Gibson ES-335 Figured Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar - Sunset Burst

Ibanez AS73V Artcore Vintage Electric Guitar - Vintage Amber Burst


 

Ibanez 2017 AS53-TKF Semi-Hollowbody Electric Guitar - Transparent Black Flat

Marshall Studio Vintage SV20C Guitar Combo Amplifier

Marshall MG101FX 1 x 12 Combo Guitar Amplifier - Gold

Marshall CODE50 50-Watt 1x12 Guitar Amplifier Combo

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Subjectivity and objectivity play a large role in defining any buying guide or any of our choices for that matter. As individuals there is no definitive way, route or path but there are footprints where others have walked to help you on your way. The above combinations are in the main interchangeable. Plenty of musicians use a Les Paul for clean jazz tones and the Stratocaster has been used for every type of music genre from clean blues to heavy metal. Here I have simply put together guitars and amps that either give you that tone straight out of the box or are versatile enough to provide a range of sounds at the kinds of prices that fit a range of budgets. Next, I will traverse the complex world of Jazz and some of its sub genres and look at some great guitar and amp combinations.

About The Author

Paul Flett

Always hungry and tired, likes guitars, cameras and dogs.