Choosing the correct practice amp could possibly be one of the most effective ways to achieve great bedroom guitar tone. After all, this is where the sound is coming from. Back when I started out playing guitar, there were barely any decent practice amps around. I distinctly remember my first practice amp was a 10w Laney Hardcore Max. It wasn’t necessarily a bad sounding amp but it had minimal features in comparison to what’s out there these days.
There are so many options today when it comes to practice amps. Not only are there a lot of options but a lot of different features too. Some manufacturers even have various different practice amps as part of their line up. For example, Vox has a stellar range of practice amps. So does Line 6 and many other manufacturers. There are also plenty good tube amps out there that are also great for practicing and bedroom playing.
I will explore the different practice amps I think are best for achieving great bedroom tone. The amps that will be discussed, I’ve owned and still do own some.
Orange Micro Terror & Micro Dark Terror With Small Cabinet
The micro terror series are really versatile amps. They can be used for bedroom practice, band practice and live gigs. Both of them are 20 watt solid-state amplifiers with a valve in the pre amp. The amp heads are so small they could just about fit on your pedal board. Besides for the Dark Terror being well, darker there are two differences between the two amps. The first is that the Dark terror has an emulated output so you can go straight into a mixing desk or into headphones. The second is that the Dark Terror has an effects loop. You can choose to get these with or without the mini cabinet. For practicing and getting good bedroom tone I’d definitely say the dark terror is your best bet. As I said, it has an emulated output so you can jam along with headphones. It also has an effects loop so you can use the volume pedal and/or equaliser pedal to control the volume while the amp is still cranked as I’ve talked about in my blog.
Laney Cub 12 Combo
This is an amp that I actually own and use for gigs and practice all the time. It is called the “Cub 12” which would suggest it is a 12 Watt amp. However the 12 actually refers to the 12 inch driver of the amp. The amp is 15 watts. Laney does make a 10 Watt version of this amp which is also really good but for bedroom guitar tone and practice I’ve decided to go with the 12. There are 3 main reasons for this:
- The effects loop. If you’ve read some of my earlier blog posts you’ll notice I talk about this a lot as a great tool for practicing with tube amps.
- EQ: The Cub 12 has tone, bass, middle, treble, gain, volume and reverb. It’s 10 watt counter part only has tone, gain and volume.
- 15w & 1w Inputs: The best feature of the amp for practicing and bedroom guitar tone is it has two input options. The first is a 15 watt option and the second is a 1 watt option. The 1 watt option is good for practicing and will make your neighbors much happier.
Vox Valvetronix AD30
There are so many options in this range I have completely lost track. Vox have brought out I believe three versions of this range in the ten years. I’ll talk about the first range of Valvetronix amps because I own one. The range comes in 15, 30, 50, 100 watt options. All of which have the same interface, only the wattage is different. The greatest feature of this amp if that at the back, there is a knob that allows you to change the wattage of the amplifier. The amp also has a master volume. With these features, you can crank your amp as much as you want and still not annoy your neighbors or wake up your household. I used to own the 100 watt version which is massive but I used it for band practices so I always had enough volume and control over the volume wherever my band was practicing. Features include among others:
- Effects loop
- 11 amp models and 11 effects with tap tempo
- 2 writable channels
- Preset and manual mode
Fender Mustang Amp
This is basically Fender’s version of the Valvetronix. A lot of amp manufacturers have a similar type of thing in their range. The list for these types of amps goes on and on. Also, they keep improving by the year with more and more features so it is sometimes very hard to keep up. I’ve never owned this Fender mustang amp but I’ve tried it multiple times and is one of the very few modeling amps that have stood out to me for bedroom playing and practicing. As I am not very well equipped to talk about this amp I’ll leave you with a Video by Fender explaining it better than I can.