“Is it too loud up there – is it too loud?”– Jimi Hendrix, Live At Berkeley, (just before melting faces with his strat and Marshall stacks over Johnny B. Goode)
More than likely, you’ve welcomed a Fender Stratocaster into your life (or will be shortly), and you’re sending a question out to the universe, “what guitar amp is best for my Fender Stratocaster?”
Thanks to the revelations of Clapton & Hendrix, verse 19:69, the Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most popular electric guitar today, and has been for quite some time now.
Its simple design and great playability make it the perfect elder wand for both beginner and professional guitarists.
Without any doubts, the Strat is a pretty versatile pup, but what amp should you get in order to get the best sound?
In the vast sea of various different amps, it’s easy to get lost in the storm and not always pick the right one. As an S.O.S. tugboat, sailing in from the horizon to save you from your shipwreck, I’ve done some interwebs research to come up with a shortlist of amps Strat aficionados favor for their geets.
Let’s piledrive through the important features you should look for, as well as what makes each and every model unique and suitable for this sonorous guitar!
Top 5 Amps for the Fender Stratocasters
1. Fender Blues Junior
2. Vox AC4
4. Fender Deluxe Reverb
5. Fender Hot Rod DeVille
What Makes the Strat Unique?
Apart from the design of this guitar, which has inspired countless variations by other brands, the Strat offers a unique playing experience and tonal characteristics.
Of course, depending on the actual model you have, and the money you spent on it, you’ll be getting slightly different specs.
The Stratocaster can easily be used for a variety of different genres.
Most Strats come with a pickup layout that consists of single- coils for the neck and middle position, and a single-coil on the bridge position (although sometimes there’s a humbucker there).
This, coupled with a five-way pickup switch means you can easily switch through 5 types of sound.
Whether it’s a solo, chord progressions, or fast riffs, the Strat has provides a tonal palette that has allowed it to withstand the tests of time.
With that in mind, you’re looking for an amp that’s as versatile as the actual guitar.
Besides the electronics, the design of the neck makes for a pretty comfortable playing experience.
Having a slim and relatively narrow neck means you can easily grip chords and fret riffs without actually noticing the neck in any cumbersome kind of way.
If you’re the envy of the town and have a vintage Strat, know that the vintage models do come with a slightly less slim neck profile, but that’s occasionally actually preferable since it provides more leverage as you try and fret notes and chords.
Find an Adequate Pair for Your Strat – Try to Match the Price Range
Generally speaking, the end result of you playing guitar depends on a few things.
95% of it (or arguably more) is your skill level. Then, in a distant second and third, your sound is subject to the guitar and amp you’re using.
If you gave a random person Margaret Atwood’s pen, that person wouldn’t suddenly become a generational talent in writing. The same goes for guitar gear; if a beginner gets a $4,000 vintage amplifier – first of all I’m insanely jealous – but also that beginner won’t necessarily become Roy Buchanan right away.
Do pay for gear which you feel matches your playing level, and look forward to future guitar and amp upgrades as a reward for progressing on your instrument.
Also, for a budget Strat, look for more of a budget amp, and for a more expensive one, a better amp makes more sense.
Have a Rough Idea of What You’re Looking for
While you could use any amp for any genre and playing technique, some models simply perform better and give you more useful features than others.
As you know, the Strat is one of the most versatile guitars out there.
So, depending on the style of music you plan on playing the most, you should choose an amp accordingly:
- Jazz, country, funk, and other similar genres usually utilize the clean channel the most, so you’ll be looking for an amp with a good clean tone.
- Tube amps, while they can be more expensive than other types, usually offer a strong and crisp clean sound, as well as the unique sounding natural overdrive.
- Modeling amps may be an interesting choice for the Strat as well. Because they offer so many different amp and cab simulations, and usually come with numerous interesting effects to play around with, with a simple press of a button you can go from playing blues to shredding heavy metal riffs.
- Solid state amps, on the other hand, don’t offer as wide of a range of different presets but balance clean and distortion tone quality pretty well. As they are easy to repair and generally much more sturdy than tube amps, they are a great choice for beginner guitarists, and Strats can sound pretty good on them.
What’s the bottom line?
Well, amalgamate the information you’ve researched and make a decision; in fact, enjoy being on the market! It’s great fun to search for new gear. Head over to your local shop, try out gear, ask questions, talk to friends, do more research, but most importantly pull the trigger when you know you’ve find something you love and is within your means. As a bonus, with a Fender Stratocaster, you really can’t really go wrong.