Guitar Amplifier Inside and Out Reviews

Amplifier Reviews: In depth reviews of great guitar amplifiers

Check out these cool guitar amps in review

Over the years of playing guitar I have learned one lesson above all other things as a guitarist that many players don't quite get.

And that is, the amp you play through is even more important than the guitar, effects, strings, pickups, cables or anything else relating to playing the guitar. Choosing the 'right amplifier' helps you become the guitar player that is inside you! Its true it will never make you 'better' at actual playing (or will it?) but with the wrong amplifier there is no doubt that you will not be inspired to write that masterpiece of music that you 'know' is inside you. All it takes is a bit of skill and the right circumstance.

Some say that the tube amp is just that, a nondescript piece of heavy hardware with hot tubes in that no one wants to carry anymore. Typically some guys prefer the clinical sounds of digital hardware (and I show some of those on this website) but personally I do think although some of them come close - sort of - I still do believe from all my experience that you cannot beat a true tube amp for tone and 'feel'. Judging by some of what I have played and owned below I guess I should have a good idea by now and in fact I do.

Guitar amplifiers come in many brands and formats and I have reviewed and owned many brands such as Marshall, Engl, Mesa Boogie, Fender, Peavey, Ceriatone, DV-Mark, Kemper, Egnater, Laney, Burman, Diezel, Splawn and indeed the list could go on so you could say that I have had lots of experience with tube amplifiers for guitar so I hope that you gain something from all these efforts and reviews about these amps. That's the reason they are here! One thing, without exception I have bought each and every single amp just as you would so don't think these reviews have ANY bias towards particular makers. Every single word I wrote is exactly as I found the amp myself. Some of which are good, some bad and some plain and simply awful and not worthy of the money they cost. Note that some of these reviews are being updated or written and are added all the time.

Below are some of the amps I have reviewed over the years, its not a complete list of reviews as I did not review every amp, but I have some so check them out. Simply click an image to see the review.

There are new additions to this list below.

Bogner Brixton

The Bogner Brixton looks like a really strange amp for sure. With no bass, mid or treble to be found, just a few silly flickable switches and either 6 or 12 watts output it seems that you don't get much for your money right? But this little amp has enough dynamite to blow up your house. Check this amp out because you will really be surprised just how good it is.

Ceriatone Chupacabra 50w

The Ceriatone Chupacabra amplifier comes as a 100w or 50w version. This amp under review is the 50w version but don't be shy... it is loud if you want it to be. It uses EL34 tubes and has a wonderful array of modifications that have been applied to what was originally basically a Marshall Plexi type of amp. But it's none the worse for that and has some really increedible tones. Click the image to read the review.

BluGuitar Amp1

The BluGuitar amplifier is not made by Thomas Blug, but rather a third party company that Thomas has been involved with for the sounds and/or designs of this unit. A 'nano-tube' is responsible for the output tones - a small tube design made for the military but used here in the preamp. This amplifier has up to 100w output and a small footprint on the floor so its an exciting device. Click the image to read more.

Diezel Hagen

The Diezel Hagen looks a really complex 100 watt amplifier. Its using either 6L6 or EL34 tubes so you can get the best of both worlds from this amp. I bought this one a while ago but these are a top end amp so find out what's going on in this 'inside and out' review. Click the image to read more.

Orange Jim Root #4

Ah the Orange Jim Root number 4 amp. A low cost Far Eastern delight that is surprisingly great sounding especially for the money. Here is a review of what I found with this amplifier and whether its worth the effort or not. Click the image to read more.

Hughes and Kettner Grandmeister 36

The Hughes and Kettner amp was a delight to review. This relatively low cost amplifier includes loads of effects, is extremely flexible, has four channels, is made well and basically tips all the boxes. But just how good is this amp against everything else out there? And could this amp be for you with just 36 watts output? Click the image to read more.

DV-Mark Multiamp

The DV-Mark Multiamp promises a lot for a little and when I bought one in the early release of this amp it does certainly kick something, but hey, let's just make sure it kicks the right places! There have been a number of updates regarding firmware and the amp is now more powerful than ever. Check out this in depth 'inside and out' review. Click the image to read more.

Ceriatone HRM Dumble

I made this Dumble copy in about 2010 give or take from a kit supplied by Ceriatone, a well known amplifier kit supplier from the Far East. But don't let that put you off! This amp is one awesome duplicate of the real Dumble amp and it sounds awesome. This one even comes with the output transformer marked up as a 'Dumble'. Take a look at this review by clicking the image.

Kemper Profiling Amplifier

When the Kemper first came out I was right there at the front of the queue... and mine arrived in January just after release. I bought the 'Geeks Handbag' version but later upgraded to the rack version as you see on the right. Mine was unpowered (Kemper released a powered version later with no upgrade path) so I even installed a 90w stereo power amp. Click the image to find out more.

Marshall JVM410H

Sometimes you can just make a mistake... and for me the JVM410H was that mistake. This amp, while made nice enough squealed like a pig at anything past 10:00am on the gain knobs of channels three and four. So I sold it, only later buying the second one to carry out mods to solve the problems. But did I solve them? Click the image to find out more.

Marshall JVM410HJS (Satriani head)

The moment I plugged in to this amp head I just knew it was something very different than the regular 410H head. Joe Satriani was involved with the input re the design and tones and the result is one quite incredible amplifier. While the aesthetics are similar to the regular JVM410H the fact is that the PCB is redesigned and the result is spectacular. Click the image to read the in depth review.

Marshall AFD100 Appetite head

The Marshall AFD100 was developed by Marshall Amplification and Slash. As a signature amp it does a great job of achieving nice tones. In this review I show you the good and less good points about the AFD100 amplifier. Its a dual channel amp and my 'inside and out' review shows you exactly what you are getting for the money. This is an in depth review with input from the designer (Santiago Alvarez) from Marshall Amplification. Click the image to read more.

Marshall YJM100

Yngwie Malmsteen has been one of my favorite guitarists since those first two albums he made. And after using Marshall amps for years he collaborated with Marshall's Santiago Alvarez to develop the YJM100. Its a unique amp with some incredible features. There is no doubt that this amp is one of those limited editions that will be sought out for years to come. Find out about this amp with my 'inside and out' in depth review by clicking on the image to read more.

Marshall 2061x Head

The little Marshall 2061X head harks back to a bygone era to the early 70's or before. This amp is a reissue that I bought because I was very curious about just how good this amp is or is not. Find out what I thought in this short review by clicking on the image to read more.

Marshall JTM45 Head

The JTM45 at inception at the end of the 60's was a revolutionary amp that changed rock forever, then moving forward to a 50w and Plexi etc. This amp under review is a JTM45 with an output of 30 watts that I made and added a few custom mods to make the design more suitable for today. Find out exactly what these amps are like and whether it could be for you. I review this amp with a short overall view. Click the image to read more.

Marshall TSL100 (JCM2000) Head

I recently bought this amp and as you can see I recovered it in Marshall red tolex. But back in 2007 I wrote an album called 'Eniac' and used one of these TSL 100's extensively throughout the recording process. To this day, even after using loads of amplifiers, the TSL100 has an awesome tone especially for recording. These amplifiers can be bought for literally a few hundred dollars (or pounds) and they are probably one of the best buys you can make. Find out all about the JCM2000 Triple Super Lead amp by clicking on the image to read more.

Marshall 1987x Head

This is the second 50w 1987x amp head I have owned. These are expensive new, but of more recent times you can get a second user one for reasonable money. Used with drive pedals like the TS808 or similar you get great tones at reasonable volumes. Check out this amp and why you should consider one from my inside and out review by clicking on the image to read more.

Marshall DSL100 Head

The DSL100 100w amplifier was originally made in the UK at Marshalls Milton Keynes factory. This racing green limited edition was made there. But later versions moved out of the UK. This is a short review of this limited edition I owned for a while and gives an overall impression of what this amp is about. Click the image to read more.

Marshall 2555X Silver Jubilee Head

The Marshall Silver Jubilee head was made to commemorate 25 years of Marshall and 50 years of Jim Marshall in the music business. This was originally made for one year in 1987 and the originals today are rare and collectable. But now theres the reissue - so is it really up to scratch with the originals? Check out this amp with it's unique No 1 serial number to find out. Click the image to read more.

Splawn Nitro

Splawn Amps is a small company, but big on value and design. I bought this Nitro version after hearing it on the internet and it sounded awesome. One feature is the covering that you can specify at no extra cost when ordering direct from Splawn. Check this amp out as I give an overall short review of this amplifier. I also have a website dedicated to the Splawn Nitro. Click on the image to read more.

Egnater 4100 Tourmaster Head

There is a story behind the Egnater for me. I bought this 4100 Tourmaster a while ago. While it is made in the Far East the design is pure 'Bruce Egnater' and the amp does have a lot to offer. Find out more about this amp in my review by clicking on the image.

Divided by 13 Head

This Head was owned by a friend Dan Kelly, who kindly appeared with it so I could review it. This is a VERY loud amplifier. I review this head inside and out and tell you what I found from the first time I have ever seen one of these amps. Stand back, light the touch paper and turn it on! Be prepared for a very loud amp. My review says lots about this amp so click the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier

There is no doubt that if you want a well made amplifier for guitar then Mesa Boogie have to be in there somewhere. The build quality is incredible usually. I had two triple rectifier amps and I did a short introduction type of review and discuss a few other things that can help make this amp work as you want it to but can't understand why it does not sound right for you. Check this out as some of these tips will help dramatically to change your view on the triple rec. Click the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Road King II

The Mesa Boogie Road king is a behemoth of an amp that can actually do it all. But along with that comes some complexity of use. While I review the Road King II here on this page there is also other sections of this website to help you get more out of the amp more easily than just reading the manual. The review includes a video section too. Check out this amp as it remains one of my favorite amps especially when you know how to drive it. Click the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Electra dyne Head

You could say that the Electra Dyne is Mesa Boogie's answer to Marshall Amplifiers but made in the USA. But I really think there's much more to it than that simplistic view. The Electra Dyne can sound like the Marshall amps, but it has that extra something that can even make it sound like a Fender! Check this amp out in an 'inside and out' review showing some of the features that you might not otherwise pick up on. Can this amp replace a Marshall and a Fender? Surely not? Find out by clicking on the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Royal Atlantic

I later bought a Royal Atlantic after having the Electra Dyne head. It is quite amazing how similar the designs are, but the tones are different and there is an attenuator on each channel so you can get really great tone. These are not that common an amp and I suspect did not sell in massive volumes, but is it going to be for you? Find out in this 'inside and out' review by clicking on the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Mark V

I bought my Mark V Mesa Boogie second user, but it had not seen that much work. Mesa said it could sound like a Mark IV amp (I had one for many years) so I was soon buying one of these. But does the Mark V really cut it on the Mark IV sounds? and what about those IIc+ tones that Mesa talk about? How do they sound? And, where's the midi control? I tell it all in this inside and out review. Click the image to read more.

Mesa Boogie Triaxis and 2:90 Tube Power Amp

The Triaxis amp and 2:90 power amp have been used by the worlds best... think John Petrucci and Metallica just to name two. The Triaxis is an analogue preamp that is digitally controlled, and the 2:90 power amp was developed to be used with the Triaxis. These two make sounds of the gods! But how hard is it to use and get working in a rack? Find out about these two great products by clicking on the image to read more.

Fractal Audio Axe FX II

Ah the Fractal Audio Axe-FX II I remember it well. I spent near enough £2600 (or $3700) on this thing only to find out a load of stuff that I really wished I had known before I bought it. I still have the review in my possession, but check this out to understand why you may never get to see it in reality. You might be shocked, but if you're not well maybe right and wrong don't matter? Click the image to read more and don't believe the hype surrounding this very overpriced product. Check out the Helix... better for half the price.

Engl E670 Tube Amp Head

The Engl E670 is one really awesome amp, in many ways not too dissimilar to the Mesa Road King II. But it has that unique Engl tone and is made to the highest German quality. But its also not a cheap amplifier for any guitarist. Find out what I think of this amplifier and whether its really worth all that money? You could literally buy two other amps from say Marshall and have change! Click the image to read more.



© A B Mckenzie 1997-2017. All Rights Reserved