If you could have 5 amps…

guitar guy

Dr. Squier
Nov 3, 2010
Tampa Bay Area
If you could only have 5 guitar amps for a personal studio what would they be and why? This includes bass and guitar amps, not PAs, keyboard amps, etc.

Mine would be as follows;

1. Fender Frontman 2x12. The amp had great head room, great volume, a really nice clean channel, the distortion channel was useable and foot-switch-able, and it took pedals extremely well. While it wasn’t perfect for any one thing, it could be pressed into service for anything from blues country and rock, to scream o and metal. You’d never have to worry about getting enough volume or sounding good enough. It’s a perfect rehearsal amp, especially if you are in the beginning of a project and don’t know what sound you’re going for yet, or if you bounce from style to style.

2. My second choice would be a Marshall Valvestate 50 watt 1x12 or larger. The clean channel is nothing but bluesy creamy goodness that perfectly compliments my playing styles. The hybrid tube and SS technology gives you legit tube sound through a single tube in the pre amp and the simplicity of a solid state power amp. This makes blown tubes less of a hassle in my mind, and you can just keep an extra 12ax7 around like you would extra picks or a set of strings. Like the Fender Frontman it take pedals very well and can be used to make a whole recording or just add a different flavor to the frontman. It’s loud enough to gig with and could also easily be pressed into a practice amp.

3. My third choice would be the Fender Excelsior. 15 watts of pure tube tone through a 15” speaker is just all around a different sound. I’ve heard it used for guitar bass and vocals and can be used to add a whole different flavor to tracks, create a whole array of interesting tones for experimental projects, and can be used as a second practice amp for quieter jamming and song writing with friends since it’s only 15 watts.

4. My fourth choice is the TC Electronics BG250. 250 watts of solid state power with plenty of head room and a 15” bass speaker is enough to get ahead volume wise and be heard. It’s also got some modeling capability allowing you to download different bass sounds through its tone print technology. It’s a versatile sounding rig that lends itself well to a multitude of styles and is designed to work well with 4,5,&6 string basses.

5. My last choice is the Gallien-Krueger Backline 112. Mostly is just a more basic bass amp that will be easier to use at practice volumes that is smaller and more compact. At 100 watts it can be used at smaller venues or songwriting with band members and jamming with friends. But the kicker that sets this little 112 apart from other amps in its class is that it has an INSANE dirt channel that could be used to very interesting effect.

Anyway. When I go to set up my studio, and when I do I will be on a budget, these are the amps that I will be looking for and I feel that these amps will give me the widest array of tones that will compliment all the different styles I play around with, along with some funky tones I can experiment with. Lemme know if you agree or whatever and if you want to take the time lemme know what your choices would be and why you chose them.


Dr. Squier
Jun 29, 2011
The Frontman 2x12 is a good amp. Good pedal platform too.
My List if I were to have 5 amps.
1. Fender Champ (Tweed or Siverface)
2. Fender Tweed Deluxe
3. Friedman (Marshall style head with a 4x12)
4. Fender Deluxe Reverb
5. 5150 head and 4x12

I can't see buying all those since I can get all my tones from the Line6 POD HD500X.


Jun 19, 2020
Upstate NY
1. Princeton Reverb - classic studio amp, nice almost Twin-like cleans at low volume and nice breakup as you turn it up. All those CA studio guys can't be wrong! (Larry Carlton, etc.)
2. Deluxe Reverb - for when you want a little more than the Princeton with a distinctive blackface breakup tone
3. Vox AC15 - EL84 for some classic pristine chime all the way to gritty Vox crunch
4. Pro Jr. - tweedy EL84 with an American edge. Smaller speaker (10") and very directional, good for recording
5. Some flavor of Marshall for heavy rock crunch. I'm not super versed in Marshall amps, but some flavor of 25-50w combo should do it, maybe DSL 20 or 40?

Oops, I did two 2s, lmao. Well I'll dump the bass amp since I don't even have a bass. ;- )
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Sep 30, 2020
Assuming I have unlimited funds and a much larger dedicated studio space:

Marshall JCM800 2203
Mesa Boogie Mark II C+
Fender Twin Reverb
Marshall 1959 SLP
Friedman JJ 100

And a isolation cab and set of 4x12s to run them through.
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Feb 7, 2012
Do I have to get rid of the rest?

77 Marshall 2204 JMP - 50 watt(H)
73 Marshall 2034 8x10 cab (7442)

83 Marshall 4104 JCM 800 - 50 watt(C) 2x12
79 Marshall 1960B JMP 4x12 cab (G12-65)

78 Fender Silverface Twin Reverb(C) MV 135 watts 2x12 (Rola)

Mesa/Boogie Studio Caliber 22(C) 1x12

06 Mesa/Boogie Stiletto Deuce 100 watt(H)
80's Mesa/Boogie 4x12 Halfback cab (firegrate front)

Edit: this is actually a good exercise for me... I need to cut down but my amps are harder to part with than my guitars!
Pretty much every one is killer, and I have more guitars so it's easier to pick something to put up for sale!
I guess I will see when the guitars get down to 20 like the amps.
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Mar 8, 2016
Great. White. North.
The Frontman 2x12 is a good amp. Good pedal platform too.
My List if I were to have 5 amps.
1. Fender Champ (Tweed or Siverface)
2. Fender Tweed Deluxe
3. Friedman (Marshall style head with a 4x12)
4. Fender Deluxe Reverb
5. 5150 head and 4x12

I can't see buying all those since I can get all my tones from the Line6 POD HD500X.
I'm going to steal your list, swap out the 5150 and Champ and pop in an Ampeg B-15 and Eden World Tour head and cab to cover off the bass requirements.


Dr. Squier
Jun 8, 2017
Honolulu, HI
I have the 15 watter. The stock speaker was terrible. but it sounded really good with a cabinet.

65 watt 1x12 may be up my alley. :)
Fender made a series of good sounding 65 watt 112 amps, the Princeton 65, the 65 DSP with digital effects, and the 650 DSP with a more modern look than the 65 DSP. fender-princeton-65-155505.jpg YFENDER58640b.jpg 286.jpg After I got my 65 DSP I started taking it to rehearsals and gigs instead of my Classic 30, 'cause it was a lot lighter and sounded just as good
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Nov 15, 2021
Fagaras, Romania
1. Diezel Amps , 100 W 4 ch.
2. Fender Twin Reverb 65
3. Mesa Boogie IV
4. Hartke 100 W +4X12 + tweeter
5.my first DIY amp, a thousand times revamped still sounds interesting on overdrive channel. All nicely boxed now,but the preamp began its life inside an empty (and cleaned, yes) tuna can (for heavy Faraday cage effects). Long story short, although I live quite a way away from....Afghanistan (!) I did during amp tests, catch some interference..so turning everything up and keeping it quiet, with the guitar tone knob I could find a clear rendition of.. Radio Afghanistan! My mistake was that being a total beginner and not having a good ground (non grounded outlets in my old block ) I used a long-ish wire from the ground plane and ..tuna can to the radiator piping that eventually went to Earth - or so I thought... no way to know my first floor neighbor was a modernist and switched her plumbing to plastic ... /PPR. Insulators. Insulators everywhere, on my grounding line. So I end up with the largest passive antenna in civilian use for a while.. I mean I was connected to 12 apartments' worth of plumbing but not going to ground... and with a pre with amplification 500 because I thought my old e-guitar needed " a lot of amplification". Well in about a week I got wiser, fixed the embarrassment using a shorter ground wire and a lot less amplification.. 10X or so in the pre...rebuilt Faraday cage, rebuilt power section.. finally got something out ( 1X 15 W, on a high excursion full range Visaton speaker in a solid wood cabinet previously used for... a pickup.