parson amplification

A mid-’70s Marshall-style head at a budget-friendly price.

Have you noticed how today’s guitar amps tend to fall into two opposing price categories? In one corner: budget-conscious, mass-produced stuff, often made in Asia using modern circuit board construction. In the other corner: handmade boutique beauties, with price tags ranging from two to four grand.

Upgrading from category A to category B can flatten your wallet like a panini press. But the situation has created a growing “middle class” of amps that aim to deliver high-end performance at prices closer to $1,000. Do these amps cut corners? Duh—how could they not? But if the builder compromises intelligently (and if you know the relevant details in advance), it’s possible to have a boutique experience at a relatively reasonable price.

Read MoreShow less