Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Amp Too Damn Loud? Here Are 10 Attenuators That'll Save Your Bacon

Cop-call-deterring boxes from Weber, Two Notes, Bugera, Radial, Mesa/Boogie, and more.

Sure, you could simply roll down your amp’s volume when you receive the evil eye (or worse) from your bandmates, engineer, spouse, or neighbor, but then your tonal sweet spot disappears. We’ve rounded up 10 attenuation options, from $50 to $550, that’ll let you hit your amp as hard as you like, while still maintaining your friendships.

Torpedo Captor X

Not just an attenuator, this little powerhouse also functions as an IR loader and cab simulator, and can be paired with your laptop or mobile device for expansive tone shaping.

TWO NOTES
$549

Little Black Amp Box

This inexpensive and different device to attenuate allows you to tame your volume—while still pushing your amp’s front end—by placing it in your series effects loop.

JHS
$45

Brake-Lite

For any tube amp up to 45 watts, and for use with 4, 8, or 16 ohm loads, this attenuator mounts inside your favorite combo and out of the way while you enjoy bedroom-level audio volumes.

DR. Z
$299

Ironman II Mini

Ideal for tube amps up to 30 watts, and pedalboard friendly, this petite version of the company’s 100-watt unit attenuates your amp’s volume with the very same reactive load and transformer-coupled tech.

TONE KING
$395

PS1 Power Soak

Priced attractively, this 100-watt unit’s multi-impedance input connectors will match virtually any amplifier for cranked-amp tone at manageable volumes.

BUGERA
$117

Reducer

Developed in coordination with Tonehunter amps, this passive, point-to-point handwired attenuator features 200-watt power soak and is suited for amps with 4, 8, and 16 ohms.

SPL
$499

MiniMASS

Designed for 35-watt amps and lower, this box features a 3-position treble compensation switch and an actual speaker motor for realistic interaction between the attenuator and the amp’s output circuit.

WEBER SPEAKERS
$161

Headload Prodigy

This load box offers selectable output levels or complete attenuation, and features a built-in DI and EQ as well as an onboard headphone amp for those times you need to be completely silent.

RADIAL ENGINEERING
$399

POWERHOUSE

Rated for guitar amps up to 150 watts, this attenuator features five levels of power reduction, a 3-position voicing switch (normal, bright, or warm), and a speaker/load switch for options galore.

MESA/BOOGIE
$499

RockCrusher Gold Face

Boasting balanced XLR and unbalanced 1/4" outs for easy interfacing, this attenuator/load box was designed to ensure the amp and speaker see each other in a proper relationship of impedance and inductive/capacitive reactance.

RIVERA
$549

With a team of experts on hand, we look at six workhorse vintage amps you can still find for around $1,000 or less.

If you survey the gear that shows up on stages and studios for long enough, you’ll spot some patterns in the kinds of guitar amplification players are using. There’s the rotating cast of backline badasses that do the bulk of the work cranking it out every day and night—we’re all looking at you, ’65 Deluxe Reverb reissue.

Read MoreShow less

Amazon Prime Day is here (July 16-17). Whether you're a veteran player or just picking up your first guitar, these are some bargains you don't want to miss. Check out more deals here! https://amzn.to/3LskPRV

Read MoreShow less

A technicolor swirl of distortion, drive, boost, and ferocious fuzz.

Summons a wealth of engaging, and often unique, boost, drive, distortion, and fuzz tones that deviate from common templates. Interactive controls.

Finding just-right tones, while rewarding, might demand patience from less assured and experienced drive-pedal users. Tone control could be more nuanced.

$199

Danelectro Nichols 1966
danelectro.com

4.5
4
4
4.5

The Danelectro Nichols 1966, in spite of its simplicity, feels and sounds like a stompbox people will use in about a million different ways. Its creator, Steve Ridinger, who built the first version as an industrious Angeleno teen in 1966, modestly calls the China-made Nichols 1966 a cross between a fuzz and a distortion. And, at many settings, it is most certainly that.

Read MoreShow less

The author standing next to a Richardson gunstock lathe purchased from Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. It was used to make six necks at a time at Gibson in the 1950s and 1960s.

Keep your head down and put in the work if you want to succeed in the gear-building business.

The accelerated commodification of musical instruments during the late 20th century conjures up visions of massive factories churning out violins, pianos, and, of course, fretted instruments. Even the venerable builders of the so-called “golden age” were not exactly the boutique luthier shops of our imagination.

Read MoreShow less