Looking for the best amp for your acoustic guitar?
Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this insider's guide, you'll learn:
- What are amps made for acoustic guitars?
- What are the different kinds of acoustic guitar amps?
- What to look for in the best amps for acoustic guitars
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of some of my top product picks. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use the best acoustic guitar amps.
Fender Acoustasonic 40
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SUNYIN 10 Watt Protable
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Fishman PRO-LBT-700 Loudbox Performer
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Marshall Soloist AS50D
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Roland MOBILE AC
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
Out of the acoustic amplifiers I reviewed, I really liked the Fender Acoustasonic 40. This “big brother” to the popular Fender Acoustasonic 15 impressed me off the bat with its stylish design and versatile sound.
Going further, though, I found the Acoustasonic 40 to be notable for its ability to balance all the features a budding acoustic guitarist would need.
Two-channel inputs, for instance, give players the freedom to run both their guitar and a microphone through the amp (and make setting up for vocals a breeze).
The built-in reverb effects allow musicians to fine-tune their sound, and the 6-inch speaker with anti-feedback controls ensures a crystal-clear sound under most performance scenarios.
What’s more, the Fender Acoustasonic 40 offers a fair amount of portability, since it’s not too heavy and can squeeze into small spaces with ease.
Add to that the ability to accept auxiliary inputs (for external audio devices) and hookup with most PA systems (for use as an onstage monitor), and you’ve got an affordable all-around amp that can hold its own in just about any scenario a musician might find themselves.
Top 5 Best Amps For An Acoustic Guitar
In a hurry? Check out my top 5 amps below! Keep reading to learn more about these best amps for your acoustic guitar.
What’s The Difference Between An Acoustic Amp And A Regular Amp?
Most musical novices can explain the basics of a guitar amp. These devices amplify the sounds of guitars by taking the electrical signals from a guitar’s pickup, then running that signal through a loudspeaker.
Not all amps are suited for every single type of guitar out there, though, and there are some differences you’ll want to note between “regular” solid states and tube amps for electric guitars and amps made for acoustic models.
Let’s take a quick look at electric guitar amps, shall we?
Without getting too deep into the weeds on the technical details, the purpose of electric guitar amps is to take the signal from an electric guitar and, in addition to amplifying the sound, to “color” it with various forms of overdrive, distortion, and effects.
The end result is a tone that’s uniquely suited for louder forms of music: heavy jazz, rock, metal, etc. For many electric guitarists, the amp can be more important a tool than their guitar itself because of its ability to transform their sound with a depth they’d not achieve otherwise.
Now, contrast the way an acoustic guitar creates sound and the purpose of a dedicated acoustic guitar amp. An acoustic guitar can create audible tones without amplification, via the vibration of its strings.
The goal of an acoustic amp is to magnify this natural sound with as little distortion as possible. Thus, acoustic guitar amps are geared toward creating a neutral, “colorless” tone that more accurately reflects the true sound of the guitar without amplification.
This emphasis on “cleanness” of sound makes acoustic guitar amps more akin to keyboard amplifiers or miniature PA systems than their electric-focused counterparts.
The difference between the two is one you’ll be able to hear immediately, should you compare the sound of your acoustic guitar running through a regular amp and an acoustic one (more on that later, though).
What Are The Different Types Of Amps For Acoustic Guitars?
Within the realm of acoustic guitar amps, there are different varieties for different needs. The following section will provide insight into the scenarios in which you might need an acoustic amp, and how different acoustic amps fulfill different niche roles.
Amps For Home Use & Practice
While it’s true that you can hear your guitar sans-amplification in a home setting, some guitarists prefer playing through an amp to better analyze their playing while practicing (much as a keyboardist would listen to themselves play through headphones).
Personally, I find I can apply a more critical ear to my mistakes when practicing at home with an amp, and the added features that practice amps provide — such as the ability to link up with an external audio device for backing tracks — allow me to get more creative with my drills.
If you just need an amp for training your skills at home, you won’t need anything terribly large or powerful, so the emphasis for these types of acoustic amps is compactness and ease of use.
Generally speaking, practice amps cost less than performance amps, are lighter in weight, and are fitted with smaller speakers.
Such amps are typically lower wattage (10W, 15W, or 20W) and have a minimal number of controls (usually a volume and EQ) so you can just plug into the guitar input and play.
That said, there are some practice amps with limited built-in effects, like reverb and chorus, that can add a small amount of shimmer and echo to your sound.
Amps For Traveling & Busking
Much like practice amps, portable acoustic guitar amps are often small and light. Guitarists-on-the-go needs to be able to transport their gear with minimal strain, so compact amps rule the roost in this niche.
There’s an added feature that separates most traveling amps from in-home practice amps, though, and that’s the ability to run off of battery power.
Street corners lack power outlets for performers to plug in their amps, so having a backup power source is critical.
The combination of these factors is what makes portable amps, by and large, less powerful than most other acoustic guitar amps, and portable players should be prepared to sacrifice a bit of power to have an amp they take with them virtually anywhere.
A reduction in power does not automatically equate to a reduction in features. However, it is still possible to find portable amps that provide modest amounts of audio effects, sound looping, and connectivity with external audio devices.
Amps For The Studio
When it comes to acoustic amps for studio settings, the goal is to make fine-tuning and capturing your sound as simple as possible.
If you think about it, you could easily use a microphone setup or direct input from your acoustic-electric guitar to do your studio recordings, so why would you even bother running your sound through an amplifier?
The answer is “depth.” Studio-focused acoustic guitar amps often include features that, in addition to making it easy to interface with audio recording software, enable you to quickly add a variety of onboard effects to your sound — delay, reverb, chorus, phaser, etc.
These capabilities make studio acoustic guitar amps a welcome addition to any home setup, particularly for songwriters who are interested in recording their own tracks and want to experiment with a sound beyond what their guitars can deliver on their own.
Amps For Solo & Club Gigs
For your standard coffeehouse or club gig, where you’re playing to a larger space, you’re going to need a bit more power than what your practice amp can provide. Enter the realm of 40W - 100W acoustic amps, which offer the punch you’ll need to be heard in these situations.
Though not always the case, amps in this wattage range are more likely to come with two speakers (a woofer and tweeter setup).
This allows them the ability to handle high and low-end frequencies from your guitar separately, reproducing a more precise sound. Some may even include mid range speakers for even greater clarity.
Gig-ready amps often provide dual input channels for guitars and vocals. This allows musicians to hook their guitars up through a ¼” jack and a microphone through an identical jack or XLR input.
More advanced amps in this category will have tone controls for each channel, allowing you to fine-tune their sound separately.
As solo musicians might occasionally want to play with some accompaniment, many gig amps also include a 3.5mm input or Bluetooth connectivity that allows guitarists to hook up external audio devices and play along with their own backing tracks.
Combined, these features provide guitarists with everything they might need to put on a small solo show, with the trade-off being their increased size and weight.
Whereas most practice amps range from 10-15 pounds, gig amps in the 40W-100W range can weigh well over 20 pounds.
Amps For Band Settings
On its own, your acoustic guitar isn’t hard to hear. Add a few other instruments, though (say in a rehearsal or stage setting) and the likelihood of you getting drowned out starts to go up.
It’s in these situations that you’ll need the most power — amps over 100W in power. Increased wattage isn’t the only detail that distinguishes these high-end amps, though.
Like solo gig amps, high-wattage amps have dedicated speakers and controls for low, mid-range, and higher frequencies to accurately replicate the guitar’s entire sonic spectrum.
What’s more, high-end amps include feedback control and other features to help maintain a clear sound — even at high volumes.
You’ll find many of the same features on high-end amps that are present on solo gig amps, and then some. Multiple inputs, built-in effects, Bluetooth connectivity, and even options like phantom power that you can use for condenser microphones.
Acoustic guitar players should be prepared to pay a premium for high-end amps, however, and like solo gig amps, high-wattage amps fall on the larger/heavier side of the spectrum.
Expect most amps over 100W to take up a fair amount of space, and weigh in over 30 pounds.
How Do You Pick An Amp For An Acoustic Guitar?
To help narrow down your personal picks for an acoustic guitar amp, you’ll first need to identify the specific role your new amp will play (which I covered in the previous section).
If you’re just starting out and want to practice your skills at home, for example, you might lean towards a portable or practice amp.
If you’re a serious performer and need an amp for your shows, however, your focus should shift to higher-end amps that will deliver the power you need.
After determining what kind of acoustic guitar amp you need, you’ll need to calculate your budget. Depending on how feature-rich an amp you’re after, the differences in price can fluctuate by hundreds of dollars.
You’ll want to compare aspects like the number of inputs, the number of speakers, types of effects, presence of feedback control, and more to help narrow down your options even further.
Once you’ve weighed all of these primary criteria, your final decision might be swayed by user testimony and brand familiarity.
Certain manufacturers, like Fender and Marshall, have built a reputation for high-quality gear, and this, in combination with glowing reviews from others who have firsthand experience with a particular amp, may well push you toward one amp or another.
How Much Do Amps For Acoustic Guitars Cost?
Prices for acoustic guitar amps can vary based upon their functionality, features, and overall power. At the lower end of the spectrum, you have your portable and practice amps.
These are typically in the 10W-20W range, and their prices can vary in price from $50 to $100.
Acoustic sound quality, design, and features influence where an amp in this power range will fall in terms of price. At the lower range, basic amps like the Sunyin 10W offer simple features and unmatched portability for only $55.99.
Meanwhile, the 15W Fender Acoustasonic 15 brings a bit more power to the table, along with two-channel inputs and on-board effects, fetching a higher price tag of $99.99.
Higher wattage amps, those in the 30W-100W range, cost a bit more, usually anywhere from $100 to $400. Like practice amps, wattage isn’t the only element that factors into the price, though, as the more feature-packed an amp in this range is, the more you can expect to pay.
Take the Fender Acoustic 100 and the Acoustic A1000, for instance. Both are 100W models, but while the Fender costs around $399.99, the Acoustic A1000 runs considerably more — around $579.00.
The difference between the two?
The A1000 includes more technology and more effects, pushing it past the upper limit of what 100W amps normally run for.
Once you start looking past 100 watts of power, you can expect to pay in excess of $500. The Fender Acoustic 200, for instance, packs a 200W punch along with an array of onboard studio effects, running about $549.99.
A bit higher up the price chain, you’ll find models like the Schertler JAM 200W, which packs an impressive array of effects and features into its frame for a considerable $1,288.00.
High power amps can get even pricier, still, with huge acoustic combo amps like the AER Domino, 3 set at $2,799.00.
Acoustic amps at this end of the spectrum, however, are more than what most beginner and intermediate guitarists require, and it's likely that modestly-priced models will more than satisfy their needs.
Can You Use A Regular Amp For An Acoustic Guitar?
The short answer is “yes.” You’ll find that in practice, however, using an electric guitar amp with an acoustic guitar will produce a sub-optimal sound. You’ll recall we mentioned how electric guitar amps are designed to “color” sound, and that applies to acoustic guitars as well.
While it might be possible to get a palatable tone with some rigorous EQ adjustments, most guitarists are underwhelmed by the distorted sound of their acoustic guitar running through an electric amp, and, conversely, the lifeless sound of an electric guitar running on an acoustic amp.
I'll never forget the shock I received when first trying to hook my Takamine up through my Fender FM 212 — sure, it worked, but that buzzy tone was enough to make me want to hang my head in shame.
As an aside, acoustic players often find that they can get a pretty good amplified sound from their guitars by running it through a complete PA system.
This is standard practice for large performance venues, and it works because the PA system, much like an acoustic amp, won’t distort an acoustic instrument's natural sound.
Most new guitarists don’t have the funds to purchase a whole PA system, however, and lugging one around to every performance can prove quite the hassle.
In addition, acoustic-dedicated amps come packed with extra features that can benefit most performers, which makes investing in one sound decision for most musicians.
My Reviews For The Best Amps For Acoustic Guitars
In terms of features, this acoustic amp includes two front-panel instrument inputs, allowing guitarists to hook up their axe and microphone for amplified vocal performances.
The 3.5mm auxiliary jack allows musicians to connect an external audio device for backing, and the amp also includes an onboard reverb effect for additional sonic enhancement.
- Great all-around amp
- Compact and portable
- No chorus effect
- Lacks the power for biggest venues
SUNYIN 10W Portable
Another area in which the Sunyin 10W excels is portability. In addition to being small and light, this amp can run off of battery power (6AA batteries), has an energy-saving mode, and even includes knobs for a carrying strap, so you can sling it on your shoulder and go.
- Only one input
- Comparatively underpowered
Fishman PRO-LBT-700 Loudbox Performer
The Loudbox Performer’s dedicated mid-range control grants increased sonic detail, and enhanced feedback controls help ensure clarity.
The Loudbox Performer includes an array of on-board effects, multiple inputs, phantom power, and many of the other features you’d expect from an amp in this category.
But one particularly notable characteristic is Bluetooth connectivity, allowing players to stream backing tracks from a phone or computer and straight into the amp.
- Big power for big performances
- Packed with features
Marshall Acoustic Soloist
For solo gigs, this 50W Marshall amp is a strong choice. It definitely projects, and I'm tempted to call this model deceptively powerful.
Filling up a club or small outdoor performance space is easy with this amp in tow, and dialing in a crystal clear tone from its multiple speaker setup is like a walk in the park.
The additional features on the Marshall Acoustic cover just about every base a solo performer will need.
You can hook up whatever complementary external audio you’ll need via the phone input, and the on-board effects will allow you to control both chorus and reverb for an even deeper tone.
- Full featured
- Great sounding amp
Lightweight and portable, the Roland MOBILE AC was made for the traveling player.
At only 7 pounds, most guitarists will find taking this amp on the go to be a breeze, and in this case, that ease-of-transport is aided by battery power.
On 6 AA batteries, you’ll be able to jam for about 15 hours, plenty of time for a full day of playing.
Note that the lightweight doesn’t automatically equal a deficiency in power. Sure, the Roland AC won’t fill up the room like a 200W beast, but it packs a decent punch in small spaces and built-in effects combined with tone control give you the ability to craft your perfect sound.
- Limited effects
- Limited power
My Top Pick: Fender Acoustasonic 40
While there are plenty of acoustic guitar amps that can out-muscle it, and plenty more that are just a bit lighter and smaller, I selected the Fender Acoustasonic 40 as my top pick because of its amazing flexibility.
This amp might not be the best in any one category, but the ability to hold its own in multiple categories is nothing to sneeze at.
For home practice situations, the Acoustasonic 40 packs more than enough of a punch, and it’s small enough to not take up too much room in a bedroom or small studio.
In a solo or duo performance situation, the Acoustasonic 40 can still provide ample utility, and it’s only when you get to bigger band scenarios or larger clubs that you’d want to consider a more powerful amp.
Add in the well-rounded perks this amp offers, such as the dual front-facing inputs, built-in reverb, and 3.5mm input, and you’ve got everything you need to take on most musical scenarios with confidence.
While there are a few things missing that I might like to see on future models (chorus effects, for one) this amp has proven itself to be a solid all-arounder that any guitarist would love to have in their collection.
Final Thoughts On Amps For Acoustic Guitars
Though at first, it might seem a superfluous investment, having an acoustic guitar amplifier is critical for guitarists who want the cleanest amplified tone for practice and performances.
There are plenty of options out there when it comes to acoustic guitar amps, and plenty to consider when trying to find the right model for your specific needs.
It’s important to assess your preferred criteria carefully, properly gauge how much power you’ll need, and keep in mind the importance of extra features to help yourself arrive at the right decision.
In addition to these crucial factors, be sure to consider your budget when narrowing down the best acoustic amps for your situation.
Prices can vary dramatically based upon both power and features, but you can get plenty of bang for your buck — provided you do your research ahead of time.