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Need a reliable clean guitar amp that can handle pedals with ease?
We’ve rounded up 7 of the best guitar amps for clean tones.
A clean amp that takes effects well is a highly sought-after tool for guitarists. As usual, a good part of the debate on guitar amplification comes down to taste and personal preference. The guitar amps below are fantastic choices and one (or more) of them will be sure to fit your needs.
What Are The Best Clean Guitar Amps Of All Time?
For us, the Supro 1970RK Keeley is the best overall option. It has a beautiful clean tone and takes pedals really well. If you are on a budget, then the Fender Blues Junior IV is an ideal choice. If price is not a consideration and you want the cream of the crop, then look no further than the Dr. Z Z Wreck.
Below, we’ll go over 7 candidates for the best clean amps that work nicely with effects pedals:
Supro 1970RK Keeley (Our Pick)
Fender Blues Junior IV (Best Value)
Dr. Z Z Wreck 112 (Premium Option)
Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb
Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus
Fender 65′ Deluxe Reverb
1. Supro 1970RK Keeley
This amplifier was designed with one of the most respected names in guitar pedals: Keeley Electronics. The Supro 1970RK Keeley provides a great sonic foundation for your guitar tone.
Supro amps are used by some of the most celebrated players today, including Richard Fortus of Guns N Roses, Joe Perry, Joe Walsh, and Bob Lanzetti of Snarky Puppy.
Designed in collaboration with Keeley Electronics, the Supro 1970RK Keeley tube combo amplifier sets an amazing sonic foundation for your guitar tone. And with input from the pedal masters at Keeley, it's the perfect platform for your pedalboard.
The Supro 1970RK Keely is a single channel amp and as far as we’re concerned, it’s the best clean amp for using guitar pedals. This is in great part because it was developed with Keely Electronics.
Besides having a gorgeous clean sound and being exceptionally great with pedals, this amp is also one of the best guitar amplifiers in the market for any price range.
This amp features a CR10 custom-designed speaker that is voiced for deep but tight bass response, with Supro’s signature midrange girth and sparkle. Its high input headroom allows you to run effects into the front end with beautiful results. This amp also features a transparent effects loop for your time-based effects.
The 1970RK Keely enclosure is made of Blue Rhino Hide Tolex for that vintage feel, and it’s a truly distinctive look. It weighs 35 lbs, making it lighter and easier to carry around than many of its competitors. Overall, the 1970RK is a fantastic amp that will make your effects pedals shine.
2. Fender Blues Junior IV
This guitar amplifier packs a punch and delivers a great tone in a compact package. The Fender Blues Junior IV is the best budget option for those looking for a good clean tone that also takes pedals well.
This fan-favorite from Fender amps is one of the most popular guitar amps on the market today. With the Blues Junior IV, you get classic Fender tone on a budget.
Players of all styles and genres have been leaning on Fender Blues Junior all-tube combo amplifiers for years. Their ability to coax American cleans and thick drive from their EL84 power sections allows them to fit within any rig.
The Fender Blues Junior IV is my personal favorite guitar amplifier on this list. It’s a great-sounding tube amp that gives you that fantastic classic Fender tone. It has a single channel, takes pedals well, and won’t break any backs if you have to carry it. At 31.5 lbs, it weighs just a fraction of all the others on this list and it also costs much less.
This amp has a lovely sound with good volume control and has become one of the most popular tube amps in recent history. It is great for anyone after a warm tube sound at low volumes and can also work wonders in the studio or at small coffee shop gigs.
It is a smaller size combo amp with good reverb, great build quality, and sounds as good as you would expect a Fender amp to sound. At 15 Watts, this amp provides great tone and is easy to store, easy to carry, and easy to use. The Blues Junior IV is a godsend for guitar players everywhere.
If you are a guitar player looking for a truly gorgeous sounding guitar amp that works very well with effects pedals, then the Dr. Z Z Wreck is for you. This boutique combo amp was built for country superstar Brad Paisley but can handle a number of styles with ease. This is our pick for the amp with the best clean tone and is our premium option.
The Dr. Z Z Wreck is the ultimate pedal platform, with its glassy clean tone and overall boutique features. This amp is for players that want the best quality and are willing to pay for it.
The Z Wreck features a simple control set that allows the player to quickly dial in their sound. It comes with switchable plate voltage settings (Comfort/Speed) right on the amp to give players a higher and faster response.
This amp is great for fingerpicking playing styles as well as regular picking. It is very sensitive to touch dynamics but loud enough to keep up with a band. Also, it features a lightweight custom birch cabinet that makes it easier to carry around. All of this without significantly impacting the tone.
This amp is a true classic by Fender, with two distinctive channels. The ’68 Custom is in a class of its own and features a custom channel with a modified tone circuit to deliver greater flexibility when used with pedals.
Even though we recommend it for clean tones, it also happens to sound great with a lot of gain, making this the most versatile amp on this list. Some famous users of this amp include Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Eric Johnson, and Joe Bonamassa.
No matter how you look at it, the '68 Custom Twin Reverb was made to play and perform like a classic. The tube sockets are handwired, and Fender even reduced the negative feedback, which gives you exceptional touch sensitivity.
The Fender ’68 Custom Twin Reverb is one of the best amps in history. Besides serving up a pristine clean tone, it also has a transparent enough sound to work with any effects pedal. This amp is good for basically any genre of music, as it can go from sublime cleans to screeching distortion when paired with a good pedal.
Fender went above and beyond on this one and included custom-made Schumacher transformers to get that original character of the ’60s. This amp can be heard in countless records throughout history, and you’ll no doubt notice its familiar sound right away.
Tone purist Eric Johnson uses a vintage ’68 Silvervate Twin to produce his mind-blowing clean tone. The Fender ’68 is a late ’60s tribute amp with a hot-rodded vintage vibe.
The original Twin Reverb is inarguably one of the most beloved combo amplifiers in history. The ‘68 Custom is an enhanced version that will provide you with amazing clean tones and handle your pedals with ease, making it a fantastic amplifier choice.
5. Vox AC30C2
The VoxAC30C2 is a true British classic amp. It offers a very unique clean sound, takes pedals well, and is the most versatile amp on this list.
The sound of the AC30 is imprinted on timeless records by the Beatles, Tom Petty, and Queen. It offers two channels: normal and the legendary top boost.
The AC30C2 offers classic Vox tone and then some. This amp is quite versatile and will sound great in rock, blues, jazz, pop, country, and more. You can use its top boost channel to get that chiming treble sound, along with the tone cut and volume controls on the master section.
It features three 12AX7 preamp tubes and four EL84 tubes in the power section for that distinctive Vox sound that appeals to so many guitar players. Finally, there is an 8-16 ohm output jack that allows you to play through an external speaker if you wish.
6. Roland JC-120
The JC-120 is the flagship guitar amp of the Roland Jazz Chorus series. This solid-state combo amplifier is known for its pristine clean sound and beautiful stereo chorus. It has been used by guitarists and acts such as Andy Summers, Zakk Wylde, Slowdive, and The Flaming Lips to name just a few.
The Roland JC-120 was introduced in 1975 and has been in continuous production for 45 years. It is an impressive 120-watt stereo amp with two 12-inch “silver cone” speakers. Besides its gorgeous stereo chorus, the JC-120 also comes with reverb.
Aside from being one of the best amps for a clean tone and for pedals, the JC-120 is also incredibly durable. It is a solid-state amp, which can withstand hits and the rigors of the road much better than a tube amp. Having said this, it’s an incredibly heavy amp, weighing a whopping 62 lbs.
This amp comes with oversized, industrial-grade studs, and is equipped with top-quality casters, hard-fiber edge protectors, and high impact corner brackets. This makes one of the most durable amps ever, as well as one of the best for clean sounds and pedals.
The JC-120 takes stomp-box pedals, modelers, and multi-effects quite well, and is a reason why it has gained such a name for itself in genres like shoegaze.
Many praise the amp for its extremely “flat” frequency response that doesn’t color your sound, letting the natural beauty of your guitars and pedals shine through. The JC-120 is a classic and arguably the most beloved solid-state amp for decades, and for good reason.
The ’65 Deluxe Reverb is a workhorse of an amp that has fantastic Fender tone and allows for tone shaping via pedals and its onboard reverb, vibrato, and 2-band EQ. It comes with a fantastic valve combination: four 12AX7, two 12AT7, two 6V6, and a 5AR4 rectifier tube. It is one of the best clean amps in the market today and can also handle high gain saturation very well.
This amp will work splendidly for rock, country, blues, and even players who want a moderately powered amp that can also be cranked up in the gig or studio.
The onboard reverb is tube-driven for the true Fender sound. It comes in black textured vinyl covering and a silver grille cloth to match that iconic Fender look that other brands imitate.
At 42 lbs, it weighs less than most other amps with this kind of power. This has made the ’65 Deluxe Reverb the go-to amp for many gigging guitarists that want to get classic tones in an amp that is easier to carry.
This amp offers a tight low end, nice mids, and crisp high end, just like one would expect in a vintage-sounding Fender tube amp.
In conclusion, a clean amp that takes pedals well is truly a great all-around amp. Almost all guitar players today take time to assemble meticulous pedalboards, and without the right amp, this is wasted time.
All the amps listed above have stood the test of time and are highly popular choices among guitarists. They will help you explore all kinds of sounds, from clean guitar tones to whatever else your pedals and creativity allow.
As always, it would be best for you to plug your guitar into these amps and experience them first hand. Failing that, there’s always YouTube demos with high-quality sound. At the end of the day, you need to ensure you will connect with a guitar amp and there is only one way to find out which amp is “the one”.