Musicians today have more tools at their disposal than ever before to create music that sounds exactly how they want it to. But among so many different types of guitars, effects, samplers, digital processing units, and amps, it’s easy to feel inundated and utterly paralyzed.
A nearly foolproof way to make sure you spend your money wisely and choose an excellent product is by sticking with one of the huge names in the industry, like Fender, for example, who’s been making quality gear since 1946. But, even then… there are just so many options! How do the gear manufacturer giants expect us to decide what to spend our hard-earned dough on?
As guitar experts, we decided to make things a little easier for you by breaking it down. Here are the ins and outs of the 4 Best Fender Guitar Amps on the market today.
Well… what are we waiting for? Let’s get rockin’!
Ah, what better way to start off than with the Champion? Praised for its unending versatility, the Champion 100 2×12 combo amp is truly something to behold. Weighing in at a midrange 40 lbs., the Champion boasts twin Special Design speakers that produce a whopping 100 watts of power and comes dressed in sexy black vinyl and a classic silver grill cloth.
The Champion 100’s onboard effects are impressive, to say the least. With separate effect settings for each channel and each effect knob offering a wide range of sounds—including delay, chorus+delay+reverb, tremolo, flange, and more—you’re sure to be satisfied with your tone. But other than the onboard effects, channel 2’s amp modeling is really where the Champion outshines its competition. The Voice knob offers tweed, blackface, British, metal, and jazz amp modeling settings… and boy do they deliver! No matter what sound you’re looking for, it’s there. Just dial it in.
Between the impressive amp modeling, onboard effects, and effect loop, the Champion 100 is without a doubt one of the most versatile amps on the market. Do you pride yourself on playing in a wide variety of genres? Do you go nuts over creative tone and timbre shifts? Then rest easy, because this may just be the amp for you.
Let’s take a step back in time to the 1950s, a time when pompadours, poodle skirts, and tweed-covered amps were a dime a dozen. That’s where this classic amp hails from.
The Blues Deluxe Reissue is a tad bit smaller than the Champion, but weighs five pounds more, at 45 lbs. total. This increase in weight is due largely due to the five tubes sitting snug inside the cabinet. Three pre-amp tubes and two power tubes give the Deluxe a rich, vintage tone that’s both more authentic and a better use of money than your Tinder date last week was.
An amp that exudes a confident air, the Deluxe pumps out 40 watts of power through a single 12” Eminence® Special Design speaker that responds beautifully to the complex richness of the tube sound. While it lacks effects and modeling, the simple straight-through signal chain responds dynamically to effects in the effect loop. With pretty basic faceplate controls, most of your sound design comes from the presence and reverb knobs, the drive channel selector, and the bright switch.
The Blues Deluxe Reissue is a sweet amp for its confident simplicity and vintage tweed look. What it lacks in onboard effect processing, it more than makes up for in tube richness and vintage style.
Look out, here comes the boxy heavyweight! The Super Reverb 4×10 Combo boasts four 10” Jensen® P10R speakers with Alnico magnets and produces a strong 45 watts of sound. This is on the heavier end for a combo amp, weighing in at 65 lbs.
Just take a look inside and you’ll find four preamp tubes, two power tubes, and a rectifier tube, giving the Super Reverb all-tube circuitry. The amp offers two channels (normal and vibrato) with two inputs on each channel. The vibrato channel, of course, is the amp’s namesake—with reverb, speed, and intensity knobs ready to be dialed into your preferred taste.
While the Super Reverb is plenty loud, the 4×10 arrangement does produce different tonal qualities than the next amp on the list, the Twin Reverb 2×12. With 4×10” Alnico speakers, the sound will break up and begin showing off the classic Fender distortion at a slightly lower volume level. The sound is generally a little bit more transparent and open as well and has a bit of tasteful sag where the Twin plays loud and punchy right down the middle. If you’re playing smaller venues and you dig some vintage Fender grit, this is an excellent choice. Read on for more about the Twin…
Last but not least, we have the wonderfully renowned Fender Twin Reverb 2×12. Recognized around the world for its punchy power and wide-set classic vinyl appearance, the Twin has lots to brag about.
Where the Super Reverb has 4×10 Jensen speakers with Alnicos, the Twin offers two 12” Jensen C12Ks with ceramic magnets. The designers knew what they were doing when the opted for ceramic magnets alongside the 2×12 85-watt combo. Where the Super Reverb delivers a broader, more transparent tone, the Twin provides a powerful punch, getting gritty only at higher volumes. That means through a Twin, cleans will sound clean until you crank it up to 11.
Another difference between the Super and the Twin is in the tube setup. The Twin Reverb has six preamp tubes and four power tubes and utilizes a solid state rectifier. The resultant sound is rich and vibrant with a highly sensitive dynamic range.
And of course, another reason for the Twin’s fame is the built-in spring reverb. The famous glossy shimmer that Fender’s amps have provided for decades live on in the Twin Reverb. A note about the Reverb, though, is that because the best tone comes out at mid-to-loud volume settings, it plays loud. If you’re playing smaller rooms or have sensitive neighbors, this might not be the best choice because of its massive volume… because absolutely nobody wants to sit around and play a Twin Reverb with the volume ducked just under the 1.
So, there you have it. Fender has been producing some of the world’s best guitars and amps for 70 years, and boy do they know what they’re doing! With a huge line-up of amp options—both vintage and new/reissue—there’s truly something for everybody. (Well… nearly, anyway.)
Fender’s Champion 100, Blues Deluxe Reissue, Super Reverb, and Twin Reverb sit proudly at the top of the food chain, spanning across a huge range of prices. But, I know now you’re thinking, “So, tell me… which one’s the best?” Truth be told, the issue isn’t about quality, because all of Fender’s amps are truly fantastic. The deciding factors are twofold: price range and tone desire.
Obviously, the Champion 100 is the cheapest of the bunch ($349.99). While it uses fully solid state amplification, the amp modeling settings are fantastic and you will still get the tone you want. For the price, it’s an absolute steal. The Blues Deluxe is a little bit pricier ($769.99) and is the perfect mid-range tube amp if you’re looking for a clean, responsive signal without any onboard effect processing. Both the Super and Twin Reverbs are on the upper end of the price range ($1,549.99 and $1,449.99 respectively), but they deliver enormously in tube processing, vintage Fender tone, and rich shimmering reverb. As we’ve discussed, the Super produces a slightly more transparent and broad tone, while the Twin’s tone is pointed, punchy, and loud.
Whichever amp you decide on, you’ll love it. So what are you waiting for? Get up and go find your dream amp. It’s waiting for you at this very moment.