Incite
Music

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifier for 2021 - Smooth As Silk

There are a few factors to consider what will make the best jazz guitar amplifier for you. The clean channel is obviously more important for most subgenres of jazz. Crystal clear tones that shimmer no matter the settings are perfect for jazz. You really want to be able to hear the nuances in your playing while picking away at some jazz.

That is not to say that many of these amps aren't also capable of getting down and dirty too. They can be perfect for some overdriven blues or even pop. You may want a separate amp if you plan to play some very heavy stuff though.

Quality reverb on the clean channel is synonymous with jazz tone and very sought after for jazz musicians. Analog is the preferred style for many but that does not mean solid-state digital amps don't have a lot to offer too.

Fender is a manufacturer that comes to mind for jazz and blues amps. They also build other amps for metal so you must be careful with your choice. There are also a lot of different brands that offer amps with amazing clean channels. Roland is another that we really like for this.

We have curated a list of some of our favorites at a variety of price points to help you find one that is just right. Make sure you match them with the perfect guitar!

Let's take a peek!

A Quick Look At The Best Jazz Amplifiers
Our preferred retailer is
zzounds logo
  • Lowest price guarantee
  • Free 30-day return policy
  • Fast and free shipping in the US
  • Excellent customer service

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifiers

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifier over $2000

Fender '64 Custom Princeton Reverb

Fender Princeton - Product Image

Stats

  • Amplifier Type: Tube
  • Height: 16.4" (41.6 cm)
  • Width: 20" (50.8 cm)
  • Depth: 9.4" (23.8 cm)
  • Weight: 32 lbs. (14.5 kg)
  • Wattage: 12 Watts at 8 ohms
  • Preamp Tubes: 1 x 12AT7, 3 x 12AX7
  • Power Tubes: 2 x 6V
  • Rectifier: Tube (1 x 5AR4)
  • Speaker: One - 10" Jensen P10R Alnico
Pros
  • Hand-wired
  • Beautiful clean tones
  • Tremolo and tube-driven reverb
Cons
  • Overdrive requires high volume

The Fender Princeton is one of the most recognizable amps in the world and with good reason. Many of the world's most famous guitarists have played a Princeton at some point in their career. As such, it has become one of the gold standards for a small combo amp.

Original Princeton amps in good condition are extremely hard to find. If you are lucky enough to find one, you will have to prepare yourself to fork out a very hefty sum. This is where the 64' Custom Deluxe Reverb comes into the picture. You will find it is still a pretty expensive guitar amp, especially for its size. However, it is a heck of a lot cheaper than an original and much easier to get your hands on.

 

Construction

This guitar amp shares a lot of what makes the original Princeton great. It has hand-wired hardware and 12 watts of manageable power from the tubes.

It differs from the original by having a 10" Jenson Alnico speaker. This is different from the ceramic speakers in the initial '64 run of these amps. We think that the newer speaker actually sounds better than the original. The Janson speaker sounds a little warmer and not as harsh. It may not please someone who is looking for the exact tone they had in the '60s, but it really is an incredibly clear and lovely sounding end product.

Getting a look under the hood of this amplifier will get hardcore gear heads very excited. The wiring, capacitors, and tubes really hit old school hardware standards. The fact that Fender builds these amps with such care in the 2020s is amazing.

 

Sound

The clear tones you get are only improved by the tremolo and spring reverb. You will find yourself adding layers upon layers of depth and texture to your sound. All without the help of any pedals. However, this amp actually pairs very well with pedals too. If you've got a huge pedalboard to play around with this amp is a fantastic starting point to create a unique tone.

These amps have a surprising amount of headroom for a smaller amp. It makes them great for studio work or playing mid-sized gigs. For big gigs, you're more than likely going to use a mic with your amp so this could easily be your main gigging amp. At a tiny weight of 32lb, it will make load in a breeze.

This jazz guitar amp is a bit more versatile than some others on our top picks. This is due to it having a quality dirty channel. You have to really drive the tubes hard to get the perfect tone though. Be prepared to be loud if you want to get down and dirty.

 

The Verdict

This amp is arguably better than an original Princeton and a fraction of the cost. It is still an expensive amp though. If you have the budget it is definitely our favorite premium jazz amp.

Is it worth almost $1000 more than the '68 Twin reverb though? If you have the disposable income, for sure. But, our other picks will not disappoint you if you don't have the budget for this premium amp.

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifier Under $2000

Fender '68 Custom Twin Reverb

Fender '68 Twin Custom Reverb -  Product Image

Stats

  • Amplifier Type: Tube
  • Wattage: 85 Watts
  • Speaker: Two - 12" Celestion(R) G12V-70
  • Preamp Tubes: 4 x 12AX7, 2 X 12AT7
  • Power Tubes: 4 x 6L6
  • Height: 19.87" (50.46 cm)
  • Width: 26.15" (66.4 cm)
  • Depth: 10.375" (21.9 cm)
  • Weight: 64 lbs. (29 kg)
Pros
  • Classic styling
  • Versatile tones
Cons
  • High gain means a crunchy tone on this amp so it’s a little difficult to get a loud clean tone

Another Fender vintage amp in our top picks. Who would have guessed it? Well, anyone who has played one of these amps might have. We should mention that this amp isn't completely a jazz amp. It is more of a jack of all trades. However, Its sweet-sounding clean channel and twin reverb give it all the chops it needs to deserve its place in our top picks.

 

Construction

This amp looks the part of a true '68 model amplifier. It has a classic Silverface Fender appearance. This includes design features that were otherwise abandoned in the late '60s.

There are a few features that separate these recreations from the classic amplifiers.

The internals of these amps has a typical modern printed circuit board construction. It is because of this type of construction that this amp costs significantly less than our top pick.

A second variation is the inclusion of a custom channel. This channel is in lieu of a naked channel. It allows the tremolo and reverb to be global across both channels of the amplifier. This means these amplifiers are more pedal-friendly than their older counterparts.

Instead of the 'vibrato' channel you now have a vintage channel that sounds more like the old-school amplifiers.

 

Sound

This offering from Fender is another all-time favorite amp amongst working musicians both in the studio and on the stage. You may already be familiar with the signature tone of these amps.

Having the new channel setup that we mentioned earlier arguably makes this an even more versatile amp. The spread of effect across 2 channels means more variety for each. The effects can also be completely turned off which was not possible in the older version.

The vintage channel is a little less bright but has an awesome clarity at low volumes. If you push it a little harder you can also get a warm crunch out of it. This is great for rock music but for your jazzy vibes, you'll need to keep the gain lower.

The custom channel has similar characteristics to a tweed amp. It can also go balls to the wall loud and dirty if you want it to. It's good to keep this in mind if you want to use this amp for other genres too.

 

The Verdict

A modern take on an absolute classic. For the purists out there, you may want to try to find a second-hand old school '68 amp but this amp offers some upgrades.

The slight changes in tone account for better compatibility with pedals and a much lower overall cost. This amp is up there as one of the best jazz amps. Its ability to play dirty and hard also means It is fantastic for other genres. A nice buy if you need something versatile.

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifier Under $1000

Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus

Roland JC120 - Product Image

Stats

  • Amplifier Type: Solid State
  • Height: 24.5"
  • Width: 30"
  • Depth: 11.25"
  • Weight: 62 lbs.
  • Wattage: 120W (60W+ 60W)
Pros
  • Pristine clean tones
  • Plenty of power
  • Built-in chorus effect
Cons
  • The dirty channel is not so great

The two more expensive amps in our top picks have vintage styling reminiscent of the '60s. The Roland Jazz Chorus-120 is more like something out of the late '80s or early '90s, at least in appearance. This amp is solid-state and one of the few non-tube amps to ever make it to legendary status in the guitar world. This is due to the amazing clarity of its clean channel. It is the perfect place to start off with if you plan to use a lot of pedals.

 

Construction

This amp uses a separate power stage for each speaker. Such a setup allows for true stereo imaging. With each of these amps cranking out 60w you will have a total of 120w at your disposal. This is plenty for most gigs and rehearsals. It is definitely enough to get enough volume in the studio.

Being solid-state means you don't need to push this amp hard to get a warm sound. This means that these amps are among the best jazz amps to practice with at home too.

The included effects are chorus, reverb, and vibrato. These effects come with Roland's trusted silver cone speakers. These speakers deliver a sparkling yet neutral and clear sound. The effects work with the included footswitch.

 

Sound

As mentioned, this amp is famous for its clean channel. It delivers unrivaled clarity within the world of solid-state amplifiers. The crystal clear tone is a perfect blank canvas for you to create your own signature sound. You can do this with the built-in effects or by adding effects of your own.

There is also a dirty channel on this amp. However, it does not receive the same accolades and respect as its clean channel. We would even go as far as to say, it may not even be worth using this channel. A few stompboxes paired with its clean channel would likely do a better job of providing an overdriven sound.

 

Verdict

With its less than great dirty channel, this amp is less versatile than some others. However, we are reviewing jazz amps! This amp is an absolute beast when it comes to jazz. The clean sound from this amp is one of the best in the industry, especially for a solid-state.

This is a really strong option for anyone that just needs a fantastic clean channel. It may also be perfect for someone that has a lot of pedals already for adapting their sound.

If you don't need such a powerful amp and would like to save a little money there is also a smaller version of this amp. The JC-40 comes in under $600 and still has the signature clean tones of its bigger brother.

The Best Signature Model Jazz Amplifier

Fender GB George Benson Hot Rod Deluxe

George Benson Hot Rod - Product Image

Stats

  • Amplifier Type: Tube
  • Wattage: 40 Watts
  • peaker: 1x12" Jensen C12K 100-Watt - 8 ohm
  • Preamp Tubes: 1 x 12AT7, 2 x 12AX7
  • Power Tubes: 2 x 6L6
  • Height: 18.75" (47.6 cm)
  • Width: 23.5" (59.7 cm)
  • Depth: 10.5" (26.7 cm)
  • Weight: 43 lbs. (19.5 kg)
Pros
  • Very fairly priced at under $1000
  • A clear and resonant clean channel
  • Fender hot rod reliability combined with jazz specific mods
Cons
  • Significantly more expensive than a standard hot rod deluxe

Another Fender amp!? Sorry, but they make good stuff for clean tones.

The Hot Rod series by Fender is a staple bit of gear across many genres. They are well regarded as being reliable and versatile. However, Fender modified this particular model to be a jazz monster.

If you are looking for a jazz amp you are likely familiar with the work of George Benson. If you haven't guessed by the name of this amp it is his signature model. You can recreate his trademark resonant clean tones with this amp. It also has plenty of power for anything you can throw at it.

George is not only known as a great jazz guitar player but also a blues guitarist. You should feel fairly safe in the knowledge this tube amplifier is capable of creating some superb tones for both of these genres and beyond.

 

Construction

These amps are much more modern looking than our other Fender picks. They have a black and grey design that almost looks like it would fit in with a metal band. The pine construction is great for the resonant tones you would be aiming for with this amp. It also has the benefit of being relatively lightweight. The 40w of power should provide enough headroom for pretty much anything. It will also maintain its extremely clean signal.

 

Sound

You can probably guess by now that we are going to say this amp has amazing clarity. It does. Any amp that is going to make our best jazz amplifier top picks must be fantastic on the clean channel. For this amp, it's easier to say if you like George Benson's tones you will love this amp's sound.

It has built-in spring reverb just like any respectable jazz amp should have. There is also a second channel that is for overdrive. You can still get the reputable Hot Rod distortion sounds from this amp too.

 

The Verdict

Another great amp for jazz by Fender. It may be an option for you if you have a budget of under $1000 and you would prefer a tube amp.

The Roland JC-100 has just as good of a clean channel but this amp also has the versatility of a quality dirty channel too. As they are direct competition, you should keep this in mind when picking between the two.

The Best Jazz Amplifier For Busking

Roland Cube Street

Roland Street Cube - Product Image

Stats

  • Amplifier Type: Solid-state
  • Wattage: 5 Watts
  • Speaker: 2x6.5"
  • Height: 9-⅞” (25 cm)
  • Width: 16-⅜” (41.5 cm)
  • Depth: 11-⅝” (29.5 cm)
  • Weight: 12 lbs. (5.8 kg)
Pros
  • Decent modeling
  • Surprisingly loud
  • Portable
Cons
  • Nowhere near as good as a pure AC power amp

This is more of a bonus to our list. If you want bright clean tones akin to the jazz greats you will need an ac powered amplifier. This amp just doesn't have the headroom. However, playing in the street is a classic jazz move. In this situation, you may need your guitar to compete with louder instruments. You may even need to compete with a whole street band. Your acoustic guitar probably isn't going to cut it.

This little guy does a decent job at emulating the JC-100 with the right settings so that also makes it great for jazz. It is also loud enough to be confident within a band situation.

 

Construction

A tough little box that can run on 6 AA batteries. It is feather-light at under 12lb and gets surprisingly loud for its low watt rating. It's a versatile unit too. It has an XLR input as well in case you wanted to sing or to have accompaniment from another musician. It's also good for practice as it has a headphone jack and an aux port.

 

Sound

Don't expect this to sound exactly like the JC-100 but for its power and cost, it does a decent job. The signal sounds pretty clean and is definitely good enough for playing on the street. It also models 7 other amps for a huge variety of tones. It includes a ton of built-in effects. You can really experiment with a lot of sounds to find something perfect for any setting.

 

Verdict

A cool little amp that is capable of pumping out some awesome clean tones for its size. It's also very versatile. Yet, this is far from the best jazz amplifier. I wouldn't get this as my main amplifier but it is great for the street.

The Best Jazz Guitar Amplifiers FAQ

 

Is a tube or a solid-state amplifier best for jazz?

Musicians could argue until the cows come home about this one. The general consensus is that a tube amp is better. This applies to pretty much any genre. However, they also require more care, are heavier, and need professional servicing.

The JC-100 is well known for its fantastic clean jazz tones and it is a solid-state. If you do decide to shop outside of our recommendations and go for a solid-state amp, do your research first. Make sure it is perfect for your needs. If not, a tube amp could be a safer bet.

 

If I Get A Jazz Amplifier Can I Play Other Genres?

Yes! Of course you can. Just be aware that the overdriven channel of many jazz amps is less than desirable. Yet, many of our top picks are super versatile amps. They are happy to play anything from hard rock, to blues, and of course jazz.

I'm not saying jazz amplifiers are going to be the best amps for heavy metal, djent, or hardcore punk. You could add some effects pedals later though. The amazingly clean and neutral sound from many jazz amps is a perfect place to build a tone library.

 

How Much Do I Need To Spend On A Jazz Amplifier?

You should be looking at close to $1000. There are of course cheaper options but they don't really hold a candle to the big boys. We will write an article in the future for cheaper options for those with a smaller budget. However, if you can swing the extra spend it is definitely worth it.

 

Why Do You Have So Many Fender Amps In Your Top Picks?

The fact that they build so many retro amps makes them one of the top manufacturers for a classic jazz sound. I try not to suckle at the teet of any one manufacturer when I am writing my reviews but I stand by my genuine beliefs while reviewing. My lists are not exhaustive, there are of course other great amps and I will add more over time. The Fenders are just my favorites from personal experience.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author

Hi, I'm Chris, the owner, creator, and head writer for InciteMusic.com 
I have been a touring cover musician and a teacher for the last 10 years and take helping people to achieve their musical goals very seriously.
On this website, we try to provide the best reviews possible by actual working musicians so you can find gear, lessons, and software to help you perfect your craft.
Check out the link to our about page in the footer if you would like to know more.

Quick Links To Our Best Content
Affiliate Disclosure
We unbiasedly and independently review products on our website. We are funded by affiliate links. We may earn if you make a purchase through our links. As an Amazon affiliate we may earn from qualifying purchases
Contact details
(use contact form first please)
Email: info () incitemusic.com 
Address: 308 Circus Drive
Icksberg  PA 17037, USA
Hours: Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm
Phone: +1(717) 220-9204