What to Look for in Your First Amp

Because your guitar is only as good as your amp allows it to be, it’s important to take as much care in selecting your first amp as you did your first guitar—you didn't waltz in and grab the first battle axe on the shelf so you certainly shouldn't do that with your amp! That said, as a first-time amp buyer, there are a few things you should look for that will better your chances of being happy with your maiden purchase and, most importantly, ensure that it was money well spent.


Just like the first rule of real estate is location, location, location, the first rule of amp buying is tone, tone, tone. As you probably already know, each amp creates a distinctly different tone so it’s important to find one that really speaks to you. You’re not just buying a box that makes noise; you and your ears have to love what they hear!

So, when it comes to finding an amp with the tone to end all tones, we encourage you to shop around, test them all and sleep on it. Ultimately, you should choose the rig that best reflects your personal style and makes you feel like the rock star that you are.

AMPLIFi guitar amp


If you don’t already have a really defined personal tone, it’s probably a good idea for your first amp to come equipped with a variety of presets so that you can explore. Countless guitar experts have spent endless hours defining presets that emulate history’s most famous tones, therefore, getting an amp that houses these presets (like our Spider or AMPLIFi amp) will give you the opportunity to test the many tones and gain an understanding of the qualities and characteristics that are most appealing to you. Versatile presets will help you stay flexible and provide you with an amp that will grow with you!


The purpose of owning a guitar amp is to have fun so, in addition to its most basic function of producing sound, you should look for a few “above and beyond” features that can contribute to the fun times. For example, AMPLIFi Remote gives you the ability to collaborate socially with other musicians, share and download other users’ presets and even stream music through Bluetooth. Not your average “make noise and nothing else” type of amp!


If it’s your first amp, chances are good that you’re not playing mega arena shows —so be sure to get an amp that is a reasonable size for your everyday performance purposes. Whether you’re playing at home or regularly gigging at clubs, oversized amps are probably more juice than you’ll need and definitely more cash than you’ll want to spend.


Not all guitar amps are created equal so these are just a few of the features you should look for in your first rig. While you might be really excited to get in and make an impulse purchase (so you can start shredding immediately), always keep in mind that your amp is the vital tool that brings your guitar to life, so it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Choose wisely!