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5 Best Guitar Amps for Funk – Complete Buying Guide and Reviews

Last Updated:
March 9, 2023
summary

Particularly with such a rhythmic music like funk, the real funky sounds and tones will undoubtedly come from the looseness of your picking hand (as it intuitively feels around for different tonal areas around the neck and bridge to strum), and the timing of the musical ideas which flow from your ears.

Once you’ve got that down, the best amplifier for your funk is the one which complements the feel from your hands. For Jimmy Nolen, James Brown’s guitar player, that was the Fender Twin Reverb, an amp with a classic tube sound, and brilliant trebles for his strums to pierce through recordings like “I Got the Feeling”.

For selections like the Fender Twin Reverb which can hopefully pair well with your funk sound, keep reading for some selections we’ve made.

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There’s just something about funk that makes your body move to the groove.

This genre is amazingly enjoyable to listen to, but even more fun to play on your guitar.

However, once again, you’re not really sure what kind of amp you should get.

Lucky for you, I’ve come up with a simple explanation of the sound you’re looking for, as well as a list of some of the best amps you can get for this kind of music.

So, let’s see exactly how you can achieve that slick chuck-ah tone in no time!

What Defines That Unique Funky Guitar Tone?

Take a listen to some of the most popular funk guitarists out there.

James Brown, Prince, Nile Rodgers.

What can you tell about the guitar tone?

First of all, for funk music, you’re mostly going to be using the clean channel. So, you’re basically looking for an amp that can give you a nice, crisp, and balanced clean tone.

Many of the amps I’ve recommended for country twang can be easily used for this kind of tone, as you’re kind of looking for the same traits.

Generally speaking, playing funk is more about the actual technique than the gear you’re using.

Sure, most musicians would recommend amps such as the Fender Deluxe, or the Bassman. However, these are pretty expensive, and as a beginner, you won’t be able to really tell the difference.

  • A Good EQ to Start With – Don’t Forget the Mids!

Once you actually get an amp, you should at least have a rough idea about the settings that you’re going to use for this kind of tone.

Using the neck pickups can give you more definition as well.

A good EQ combination for funk is: boosted highs and lows, and slightly lower mids.

This is great for practicing riffs and licks at home.

However, playing alongside other people, whether it’s band practice or on a stage, with this kind of EQ setup won’t get you far.

As mids are the guitar’s frequencies, you won’t be able to cut through the mix.

So, the bottom line is: turn up the treble and bass but give the mids a good kick as well.

As with any genre of music, this kind of advice is to be used as a baseline. Build your own unique sound on top of it, and you’ll be delivering groovy licks in no time!

  • The Age-Old Question – Tube, Solid State, or Modeling?

Once again, you need to choose from these 3 main types of amps.

When it comes to funk, and that particular tone, a tube amp is always a good idea.

You’re looking for as clear of a clean tone possible. That natural tube overdrive you get from this kind of amps is good, but make sure you’re not getting it accidentally when you’re playing certain parts of songs that require a clean sound.

Solid state amps often offer handy effects such as Phaser, which can add a nice flavor to your sound. Being pretty affordable in most cases is definitely something that you’re looking for as a beginner guitarist.

Modeling amps, well, as I’ve already said before, can be pretty tricky. Depending on the actual model, you can either have a natural sounding, or pretty artificially-colored tone.

The best thing about this kind of amps is that they do offer simulations of some amps that can be pretty expensive. Sure, they won’t sound exactly like the real thing, but can get pretty close.

  • Less is More – Let Your Amp do the Talking

I’ve heard of many guitarists using this simple trick for achieving that sweet funky tone.

By using a smaller, less powerful amp, you can crank it up much more without actually collapsing the walls of your house or the venue you’re playing in.

This way, you can really unleash the full potential of the amp, and get as tight of a clean tone possible.

For home practice sessions, you can go under 10W and achieve this effect easily.

As for gigs, it depends on the size of the venue. Downscaling proves to be a good way of getting a good tone while at the same time, saving up some money!

Now, let’s see some of the best guitar amps for funk!

Reviews of the Best Guitar Amps for Funk

Ideas to get started

the Shortlist

Fender Blues Junior

Fender Blues Junior
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
1
Speaker
Celestion 12" A-Type
Wattage
15W
Tubes
Yes
Reverb
Yes
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'68 Fender Deluxe Reverb

'68 Fender Deluxe Reverb
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
42
Speaker Size
12” Celestion G12V-70
Wattage
22
Tubes
Yes
Reverb
Yes
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Fender Super Champ XD

Fender Super Champ XD
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
24
Speaker Size
10" 8-ohm speaker
Wattage
15W
Tubes
Yes
Reverb
No
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Fender '68 Custom Twin Reverb

Fender '68 Custom Twin Reverb
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
64 lbs
Speaker Size
Dual 12” Celestion G12V-70
Wattage
85W
Tubes
Yes
Reverb
Yes
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Fender Hot Rod DeVille

Fender Hot Rod DeVille
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
55.25 lbs
Speaker size
Dual Celestion 12" A-Type
Wattage
60W
Tubes
Yes
Reverb
Yes
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Boss Katana 50

Boss Katana 50
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
25 lbs
Speaker size
12"
Wattage
50W
Tubes
No
Reverb
Yes
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Roland JC-40

Roland JC-40
View product description
Key Specifications
🛈
Weight
34 lbs
Speaker size
Dual 10" speakers
Wattage
40W
Tubes
No
Reverb
Yes
Read More

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