2022 was the year when I, GuitarWorld.com’s resident tech luddite, finally joined the space race, picking up Positive Grid’s Spark. It is a superb cheap amp option and currently you can bag the same deal I did – $229 (reduced from $299), with a free carry bag thrown-in.
Prior to this revelatory experience, I primarily played a single-pickup Strat into a Vox AC4TV tube amp, and attended weekend barn-raising events. As such, the Spark has not left me with buyer’s remorse.
It has not so much changed my life, but slotted into it. I’ve still got love for the Vox, but the Spark offers something completely different.
For me it’s proven ideal for late-night playing, when I’ve got a bit more time to dig through delay settings or take advantage of the smart practise features – loading up YouTube clips and seeing it transcribe the chords does not get old.
The Spark seems to go through periods of discounting throughout the year, but Black Friday is just about the best time to pick one up.
However, if you’re in the market for a cheap amp – whether you’re a beginner, a you fancy a secondary practise unit, or just something you can dump on your desktop – there are some good options getting discounted right now.
Here I’ve rounded-up a few amps I’ve spotted in this year’s sales, all with prices below $500 and available in Black Friday deals direct from the manufacturer, or from big retailers like Sweetwater or Guitar Center...
Positive Grid Spark 40:
Was $299, now $229
The Positive Grid Spark 40 might just be the ultimate at-home amp - and it's even better with a $70 discount today. The tones are great, and the smart tech is indeed smart. Auto Chord and Smart Jam are incredible practise and learning tools, and a lot of fun, too.
Yamaha THR10II: Was $329.99, now $309.99
The perfect home amp, the 20-watt THR10II has got 15 amp models, 3 bass amps, 3 mic models for your electro-acoustic, four modulation effects and four reverb types. There’s Bluetooth and wired connections for hooking up your music playback devices, as well as USB audio for computer recording, and you can edit the sounds via your phone with the THR Editor app for iOS and Android. iOS users can also benefit from Yamaha’s Rec’N’Share app, which puts the THR tone into your phone videos, making it an easy, convenient way to capture your playing on camera!
Boss Katana Head MKII 100W
You might not guess it, but this Katana head can handle anything from bedroom jams through to medium-sized gig settings. It’s been a runaway success since its introduction in 2015 and this second generation edition scored 4.5/5 stars in our 2021 review – being lauded for its rock solid build, library of beloved Boss effects and a great variety of useable tones on offer. Guitar Center is offering discounts on several Katana models, but this head has one of the chunkiest: with nearly 20% off the list price.
Line 6 Catalyst 200:
$499.99, now $379.99
The powerful Line 6 Catalyst 200 is a fantastic modeling amplifier and now you can get it for much less over at Guitar Center. It's got a hefty $100 discount, making it phenomenal value for such a powerful and versatile amplifier.
Mini heads from Soldano, Bogner and more: 15% off
The mini head movement shows no signs of slowing down and that is a-okay with us. These tiny solid-state reworkings of Soldano, Bogner, Friedman and Diezel models punch well above their weight, tonally. Solid-state tech has moved on massively in the past decade and the likes of Soldano's SLO-Mini and Bogner Ecstasy Mini (both available for $212.49 right now) do a surprisingly convincing job of capturing the character of heads 10 times their price.
Fender Mini Deluxe Amp:
was $49.99, now $25
If your budget is really, really low, this adorable pint-sized version of Fender’s revered Deluxe guitar amps is the absolute cheapest you’re going to find. It accurately replicates the classic design, right down to the chickenhead knobs and dogbone handle, all in a fiery Texas Red finish. The Mini Deluxe’s 2” speaker puts out one watt of power, and the amp features controls for Tone, Volume and Gain, plus an onboard headphone output. At just $25 – a full 50% off the regular price of $49.99 – from Fender.com, can you afford not to pick one up?