7 Best Low Wattage Amps (For Blues & Jazz)

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  • Need a hot amp tone that won’t upset the neighbors?
  • We’ve rounded up the best low-wattage amps you can find for blues, jazz, and rock!

Low-wattage amps have become quite popular in the past few years and with good reason. They are easier to carry and store, and will allow you to practice without getting evicted.

Jokes aside, high wattage amps present a variety of problems for most regular guitarists. They’re nearly impossible to use as a practice amp if you have roommates or a family and are quite heavy and cumbersome.

Additionally, smaller amps are better suited for the reality of club and coffee house gigs that seem to be the common denominator for blues and jazz players. Manufacturers know this and act accordingly.

Therefore the market is full of options for low wattage amps and in this article, we’ll help you decide what’s best for you, especially for playing blues and jazz.

(For the best 15-watt tube amps, check out 7 Best 15-Watt Tube Amps For Rock, Blues, Jazz)

What Are The 7 Best Low Wattage Amps For Blues and Jazz?

Our pick for the best low wattage amp for blues and jazz is the Fender Blues Junior IV. The Blues Junior is a classic amp at this point, and it is quite popular for plenty of good reasons. This amp features a great Fender tube tone at a fair price.

For those that are short on cash, the Orange Crush 12 1x 6 is our best value choice. And finally, for those players who demand the best, the Dr. Z Z Wreck is our premium choice. This amp will work wonders for any blues and jazz player that wants superior tone and features.

Our candidates for 7 best low wattage amps for blues and jazz are:

  • Fender Blues Junior IV (Our Pick)
  • Orange Crush 12 1×6″ (Budget Choice)
  • Dr. Z Z Wreck 112 (Premium Option)
  • Bugera V5 Infinium
  • Supro 1970RK Keeley
  • Blackstar HT1R MKII 1×8″
  • Vox AC4 1×12″ 

1. Fender Blues Junior IV

OUR PRICE
Fender Blues Junior IV

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. 

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This guitar amplifier packs a punch with just 15 watts of power and delivers great tone in a compact form factor. The Fender Blues Junior IV is a fantastic option for those looking for a good tube amplifier tone for jazz and blues.

This fan-favorite from Fender amps is one of the most popular amps on the market today. With this amp, you can get a classic Fender tone for smaller gigs and practice. This is our top pick for this list, as it offers an ideal balance of quality and price. 

Features

  • 15 watts
  • 12″ Celestion A-type speaker for American tones and higher headroom
  • Smooth-sounding spring reverb onboard
  • Fat switch adds low end and gain with the push of a button
  • Simple and effective 3-band EQ

Review

The Fender Blues Junior IV is a great-sounding tube amp offering fantastic classic Fender tone. It has just one channel but still delivers a big sound plus includes all the characteristics of tube guitar amps. At 31.5 lbs, it is easy to transport and store, making it a great choice for blues and jazz guitarists alike.

This amp has great sound and good volume control and has become one of the most popular tube amps in recent history thanks to all of its advantages listed above.

It is great for practicing, giving you a warm tube sound at low volumes, and can also work wonders in the studio as well as jam sessions at some smaller-venue gigs.

The Blues Junior IV is a well-built compact size combo amp with a nice sounding reverb, great durability, and fantastic tone as we would expect from a good Fender amp.

At 15 Watt, this amp makes it easy to dial in a good sound, is easy to store, easy to carry, and easy to use. This is our top choice, as it’s an all-around solid option for blues, jazz, and rock players.

2. Orange Crush 12 1×6″

BEST VALUE
Orange Amplifiers Crush12 12W 1x6
$99.00

The Orange Crush 12 guitar combo amplifier raises the bar for practice amps, giving you gut-punching tones with highly-responsive overdrive and levels of detailed saturation that will absolutely blow your mind. 

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06/12/2021 05:15 am GMT

The Orange Crush 12 1×6 guitar combo amplifier is a solid choice for blues and jazz guitarists looking for a practice amp that can also be useful at a low volume gig.

The Crush 12 1×6 features Orange’s innovative CabSim circuit that emulates the sound and overall vibe of an Orange 4 x 12″ cabinet through the Crush 12’s headphone/line output.

Best of all, this amp is quite inexpensive, making it our best value choice for this list.

Features

  • Solid-state amp
  • Custom Orange Voice of the World speaker for wide-ranging tones
  • CabSim-loaded headphone output emulates a 4 x 12″ cabinet
  • Low, mid, high, volume, overdrive, and gain controls
  • Durable enclosure with Orange’s trademark look

Review

The Orange Crush 12 1×6″ features a panel with a mono input, a 1/4″ headphone/line output, control knobs for volume, gain, overdrive, and a 3-band EQ, complete with their iconic look. The headphone/line out features CabSIM cabinet emulation but does not offer an auxiliary input.

The solid-state amplifier design keeps the weight down, while the internal circuitry is designed to maximize tone.

The Orange Crush comes with one channel and a four-stage preamp that recreates the Dirty channel of their classic Rockerverb series amplifiers in a solid-state design. The overdrive and gain controls allow you to get that perfect amount of grit for a blistering blues solo or modern jazz tone.

Shining and sparkling at high levels without unwanted distortion or clipping, the overdrive can cut through and provide long sustain as well.

The Orange Crush also features a 3-band EQ that allows you to sculpt and modify your desired sound. This is a great addition as typically small practice amps come with only a two-band EQ which is a bit limiting.

The Crush 12 uses a single 6″ Orange-designed Voice of the World speaker. Built to strike a balance between modern lows and vintage highs, the speaker maintains clarity even when you have a string of distortion pedals driving the amp.

Overall, this is a fantastic choice for jazz and blues guitarists that want great tone for practicing but also partake in low volume jam sessions and gigs. 

3. Dr. Z Z Wreck 112

PREMIUM CHOICE
Dr. Z Z Wreck 112

The original Z Wreck amplifier earned acclaim with its incredible touch sensitivity and edge-of-overdrive character. Equipped with a 5Y3 rectifier tube, the Z Wreck Jr. yields the beloved touch sensitivity and "blooming" character found in the original Z Wreck's "Comfort" setting.

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If you are a guitar player looking for a truly gorgeous sounding guitar amp that excels in tone and overall quality, then the Dr. Z Z Wreck is for you.

This boutique combo is a superior small tube amp and is our premium choice for this list. The Dr. Z Z Wreck 112 is for discerning jazz and blues guitarist who want the best in a low-watt tube amp.

Features

  • Impeccable touch dynamics
  • NOS Russian (6n14n) EL84 tubes
  • 1 x 12″ Celestion Gold alnico speaker
  • 30 watts of power
  • High headroom

Review

The Dr. Z Z Wreck features a glassy clean tone and overall boutique traits. This amp is for players that want the best quality and are willing to pay for it.

You can get a nice clean tone that is ideal for more straight-ahead jazz or you could also go with a bit of overdrive, making it great for blues and jazz fusion.

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 is great for fingerpicking 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 is one of the best premium guitar amplifiers in the market today. It allows for great tone shaping with a special emphasis on player dynamics, which is essential in both jazz and blues.

Overall, this is a superior combo amp that is also quite practical given its smaller size.

4. Bugera V5 Infinium

Bugera V5 Infinium

Packed with a 12AX7 preamp tube and an EL84 power tube, the 5-watt Bugera V5 Infinium guitar combo amplifier serves up all of the buttery, tube-soaked tones that you've heard on countless songs throughout the history of the electric guitar. 

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Bugera has developed a stellar reputation in amp making in recent years. With the V5 Infinium, this company delivers a 5-watt tube combo amplifier that is capable of fantastic tone even at low volumes, for clean and overdrive.

And at just 22 lbs, the Bugera V5 Infinium can be the perfect solution for the blues and jazz guitarist that also wants something easy to transport and store but without sacrificing much quality.

Features

  • 12AX7 preamp tube and EL84 power tube
  • British-engineered Turbosound speaker
  • Infinium Tube Life Multiplier technology for longer lifespan of your tubes
  • Built-in power attenuator
  • Integrated high-definition reverb with dedicated reverb control

Review

The 5-watt Bugera V5 Infinium guitar combo amplifier features a 12AX7 preamp tube and an EL84 power tube. The 12AX7 provides you with gently balanced harmonics and straightforward tube compression, while the EL84 drives the V5 Infinium when pushed to the max.

This amp offers beautiful tube tones despite its small frame. The Bugera V5 Infinium features a built-in power attenuator that allows you to reach the tonal sweet spot at any volume.

This amp also features a high-definition reverb and British-engineered Turbosound speaker for enhanced sound. The high-definition reverb is versatile and can go from subtle ambiance to a cavernous, reverberant effect.

Additionally, Bugera’s Tube Life Multiplier Technology ensures that the V5 Infinium guitar combo amplifier delivers reliability and regular tone over the lifespan of your tubes.

This technology monitors the performance of each of the amplifier’s output tubes and keeps them at their ideal operating point for an evenly distributed load. Also, a LED next to each tube lets you know when they’re about to die, so you can anticipate issues before they cause problems.

JJ 12AX7 / ECC83 Preamp Vacuum Tubes
$41.61

Well balanced colourful tube with strong lows & mids whilst also providing smooth highs, allowing for more clean head-room compared to some of the higher gain 12AX7s.

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06/12/2021 02:41 am GMT

5. Supro 1970RK Keeley 

Supro 1970RK Keeley

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. 

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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 jazz or blues guitar tone.

Supro amps are used in a variety of settings and offer great results. The Supro 1070RK Keeley is a solid choice for jazz and blues, and you could even use it convincingly for classic rock.

Features

  • High input headroom
  • 25 Watts Class A
  • 2 x ECC83S (12AX7) preamp tubes
  • 2 x 6V6GT power tubes
  • 1 x 10″ Supro CR10 speaker

Review

The Supro 1970RK Keely is a single-channel amp that provides great tone and ease of use. It was developed with one of the most respected names in the industry: Robert Keely of Keely Electronics.

Besides having a great clean sound and being exceptionally good with pedals, this amp is also one of the best guitar amplifiers on the market at its 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 look. It weighs 35 lbs, making it lighter and easier to carry around than many of its competitors. Overall, this is a fantastic amp that will make your guitar playing shine.

6. Blackstar HT1R MKII 1×8″

Blackstar HT1R MKII 1x8"
$299.99

Whether you need cranked up tones in your practice space or a great all-rounder for your studio, the HT-1R MkII is a top-shelf low-watt amp combo.

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The Blackstar HT-1R MkII builds on the tradition and popularity of the original HT-1RH, but with some added enhancements.

This amp features just 1-watt of power but delivers as a great practice amp for blues and jazz guitarists. You can even get into rock thanks to its fantastic overdrive channel, with tones similar to John Scofield or Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Offering ultimate portability, this is a great choice to practice at low volumes but still retains the real feel and behavior of a high volume amp.

Features

  • 1-watt all-tube 1 x 8″ guitar combo amplifier
  • 2 channels with foot-switchable voices
  • Overdrive for blues, classic rock, hard rock, and metal
  • Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) for tone variety
  • USB audio output

Review

The Blackstar HT-1R MkII is a 1-watt combo amp that features an updated clean channel as well as an overdrive channel.

The clean channel has a clarity and note definition not commonly found on amps in the MkII’s price range while the gain channel offers the whole range of overdrive.

This combo guitar amp features Blackstar’s patented Infinite Shape Feature, which allows you to dial in everything from authentic British edge-of-breakup grit to tight and punchy American high gain.

To use ISF technology, you turn the knob fully counterclockwise for American tones with a tight bottom end and aggressive middle. Turned to the right, you’ll get more of a British sound.

On top of that, four different operating modes can be accessed via a pair of Voice switches, offering both vintage and modern voicings for each channel

Additionally, the Blackstar HT-1R MkII includes onboard reverb and a USB output. And at just 12.3 lbs, this is a great choice for jazz and blues guitarists that need a practice amp that doesn’t skimp on the sound quality.

7. Vox AC4 1×12″

Vox AC4 1x12"

There are two classic Vox tones that guitar players really want; the classic, clean chime and the rowdier Top Boost. The Vox AC4C1 gives you both in a compact and affordable package.

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Vox has been a major player in the amp business for decades. Although most commonly associated with rock, Vox amps can also do a great job for blues and even jazz.

The AC4 1 x12″ is a relatively inexpensive Vox amp that has the classic AC 15/30 sound but in a smaller form factor and a 12-inch speaker. If you like the AC 30 sound for your blues and jazz but want a reduced price tag, then the AC4 is for you.

Features

  • 4-watt all-tube mini combo amp
  • 12AX7 preamp tubes and EL84 power tube
  • Vintage-style cosmetics
  • 1 x 12″ Celestion speaker
  • Classic Vox chime and Top Boost tones

Review

The Vox AC4C1 combo tube amp features 12AX7 preamp tubes and an EL84 power tube. This combination gives you the classic Vox Top Boost tones at reasonable volume levels, and in this case, a smaller form factor.

This amplifier is an all-tube 4-watt combo with a Celestion 12″ speaker. It features volume, treble, bass, and gain controls that let you dial in everything from clean, chimey, classic Vox sounds to serious overdrive for those more aggressive blues solos.

The AC4C1 features a printed circuit using a non-plated board in a simple L-shaped steel chassis. Alongside the single-input jack socket, there are chicken head knobs for preamp gain, bass, treble, and master volume.

Used at lower gain levels, the AC4’s clean sounds are typical of what you might expect to hear from an early Vox: a boxy midrange and restrained bass coupled with a zingy treble that needs to be carefully tamed. Overall, this is one of the best small tube amps in the market today.