If you like to keep things light and easy (and save your back in the process), having an amp on your pedalboard might just be the ticket.

Schlepping a heavy amp from home to practice to gig to home is not likely on any guitarist’s list of favorite things to do. So what to do? Technology today has allowed manufacturers to create amps that are light as a feather and small enough to actually fit on a pedalboard, like the 10 options highlighted here. Whether you’re just tired of schlepping, a fly gig warrior, or want a backup in case your big rig goes down, one of these little amps might belong on your ’board.

Stomp-Head 5

Designed with both fly rigs and everyday use in mind, this 40-/90-watt, 3-channel amp boasts a tube preamp, a Master Tube Design power section, noise gate, boost, and mode switch. The amp’s mix mode allows all three channels to run simultaneously.

TAURUS
$299

Tone Block 200

This compact-yet-powerful solid-state amp delivers tube-like tone up to 200 watts and features gain, master, and contour controls, a proprietary direct out, and a universal power supply.

QUILTER LABS
$399

44 Magnum Power Amp

Able to fit in the palm of your hand, this box delivers 44 watts into 8 or 16 ohms, has a tone switch for toggling between neutral and a top-end boost, and can be driven to a natural, true-amplifier saturation.

ELECTRO-HARMONIX
$151

Little Smasher

This 5-watt, full-fledged amp head has four, analog-modeled cascading gain stages with a range from chime-y clean to rock crunch. With its 4- to 16-ohm output impedance, this pedal-sized enclosure can drive up to a 4x12.

DIAGO
$199

AMP1

This 100-watt amp features four channels (clean, vintage, classic, and modern), switchable and adjustable boost and reverb controls, three integrated footswitches, and a speaker simulation output for recording/headphones.

BLUGUITAR
$799

TGA-1-180D Mighty Minnie

Originally designed for Sonny Landreth, who needed a sized-for-pedalboard amp, the handbuilt TGA-1 can deliver 180 watts into 4 ohms and houses a full range of controls for gain, bass, midrange, treble, and master.

DEMETER
$949

Mojo Diamond

This 5-watt, class-A/B amp was inspired by the sound of the Fender Tweed and manages to fit a 3-band EQ onboard its svelte enclosure. Other features include an effects loop, headphone out, and auxiliary in.

HOTONE AUDIO
$99

RG13

Features on this 3-channel, 1-watt floor amplifier include a switchable effects loop, volume-boost function, auxiliary in, headphone out, and a speaker-emulated XLR direct output with ground lift.

RANDALL
$249

QuarterHorse Microamp

This 25-watt amp features a 2-channel design for delivering both clean and lead tones, and tape-delay and tremolo effects with full control. A micro-toggle selects the desired effects while the three integrated footswitches allow quick, one-touch channel selection.

TRAYNOR
$99

Ethos Overdrive Amp

This compact, 30-watt (at 8 ohms) amp offers two independent channels with EQ and high-cut, tone-stack toggles for brite, modern/classic, and jazz/rock. Upgrades are available including a 3-band, post-overdrive EQ and/or an active effects-loop mod.

CUSTOM TONES
$595

Made in Canada, this two-voice guitar features a chambered Mahogany body, carved Swamp Ash top, 25.5” scale Mahogany neck and Rosewood Fingerboard.

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Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.


We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

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A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists

$2,799

Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM
charvel.com

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Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

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