10 High-Gain Lunchbox Amps That Will Melt Your Face

Need big-time tones without the heft? Here's a good place to start.

It's no longer necessary to break your back lugging around a huge, heavy amp just to get your high-gain fix. This collection features lunchbox-sized heads that offer a wealth of big-time features in handy and portable packages.

Orange Dual Terror

Packed with two individual Tiny Terror circuits, this 30-watt outfit is loaded with EL84 tubes, individual tone, volume, and gain controls, and a half-power mode. Around back you have a switch that allows you to move between using 2 or 4 power tubes.

$899 street


Diezel VH-Micro

Based on the famed circuit that was favored by Adam Jones and James Hetfield, this mini-sized version packs 30 watts. Naturally, it includes Diezel's popular deep and presence controls, along with an effects loop.

$329 street


Revv G20

The flagship feature of this lunchbox amp is the built-in Two notes technology that allows you to use a variety of different virtual cabs, mics, and effects–and even load your own! The 2-channel 6V6 setup features a 3-band EQ plus aggression and wide voice switches to give added dimension to your tone.

$1,299 street

Bogner Ecstasy Mini

A pint-sized version of, arguably, the company's most beloved model. In addition to the 3-band EQ, volume, gain, and presence controls, this 30-watt monster features a switchable variac control. A trio of switches also affects the gain, mid frequencies, and post-EQ options.

$329 street


Marshall DSL1HR

The famed purveyors of British-style crunch offer a mini 1-watt amp that punches well above its weight class. It comes loaded with onboard reverb, classic gain and ultra gain channels, line output with cab emulation, and two different power modes.

$399 street



King Edward's arena-sized tone from the green and blue channels of the company's flagship amp have been squeezed into this 15-watt package. Both channels share a 3-band EQ but have individual gain and volume controls.

$699 street


MESA/Boogie Mini Rectifier 25

The sound of '90s metal becomes way more portable with this EL84-based, 2-channel/4-mode monster. Each footswitchable channel has independent controls, power scaling, and a shared buffered effects loop.

$1,249 street

PRS Mark Tremonti MT15

Designed in conjunction with one of modern rock's biggest gearheads, this 15-watt head houses two channels (clean and dirty) and is powered by a set of JJ 5881 tubes. Each channel has individual EQ controls, while the dirty side includes a built-in boost.

$749 street

Peavey 6505 MH

The company's flagship metal machine carries on with this mini version that features an all-tube preamp and power amp. It can scale between 20 watts and 1 watt and can also record direct via USB or feed FOH with a cab-simulated output.
$599 street


Blackstar HT-5RH

The latest iteration of the British company's mini head offers digital reverb, direct out with cab emulation, USB, effects loop, and an aux input. The 5-watt package can scale down to .5 watts in addition to independent voices for both the clean and overdrive channels.

$529 street


It’s not difficult to replace the wiring in your pickups, but it takes some finesse. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. After numerous requests, this month we’ll have a closer look at changing wires on a single-coil pickup. As our guinea pig for this, I chose a standard Stratocaster single-coil, but it’s basically the same on all single-coil pickups and easy to transfer. It’s not complicated but it is a delicate task to not destroy your pickup during this process, and there are some things you should keep in mind.

Read More Show less

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

Read More Show less

Need an affordable distortion pedal? Look no further.

We live in the golden age of boutique pedals that are loaded with advanced features—many of which were nearly unthinkable a decade or so ago. But there’s something that will always be valuable about a rock-solid dirt box that won’t break your wallet. Here’s a collection of old classics and newly designed stomps that cost less than an average concert ticket.

Read More Show less