Why the Vox AC30 is the “desert island” amp of choice for guitar legends including Brian May, the Edge and Rory Gallagher

Vox AC30 Twin
(Image credit: Future)

The Vox AC30 consistently appears near the top of lists of the greatest guitar amps of all time (and if it doesn’t appear, that list is highly suspect). The reason is simple: the Vox AC30 has a very distinctive sound that also happens to correspond with what many guitarists consider great tone.

The bass is tight and round, the midrange throaty and vocal-like, the treble has a distinctive upper midrange “chime” and cut that sounds magical from clean to heavily overdriven, the attack is percussive, brilliant and instantaneous, and the dynamics are tantalizingly touch-responsive. A good Vox AC30 is the “desert island” amp of choice for many players, and the experience of playing through one should be on every guitarist’s bucket list.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.