A combo amp is an absolute necessity for a budding new guitarist and an expert, alike. The simple reason being portability and ease of use. Sure, a half stack with a tube amplifier is going to give you professional-grade sound, but the fact of the matter is, even professionals find it practical to practice their chops on a compact combo amp. Even if you are a sound purist who craves for the warmth and sound definition of a tube amp, there are some excellent choices from Marshall, the legendary amplifier makers from London. Marshall is a name that is synonymous with rock and roll and especially, heavy metal.
The main requirement for a Marshall combo amp is versatility and they have some serious amounts of it. From cleans, overdriven sound, to the menacing sound of the distorted electric guitar, Marshall has long established themselves as the undisputed champions of sound. A good combo amp should give you enough leverage to dial in a variety of sounds. It should also have a speaker that reproduces the true nature of your guitar and the pickups it has while being compact and easy to use at the same time. We are going to take a look at some of the best combo amps that Marshall has on offer.
Marshall 1962HW 30W 2×12 Handwired Tube Guitar Combo Amp BlackPro: Phenomenal tone quality, proper tube amp, built in tremolo with dedicated controls, superb sounding Celestion speakers, heritage driven product.
Con: May not be an ideal choice for many players, given the cost. Modern age rock and Metal guitar players need to invest in multiple effects pedals to get the sound they need.
Say hello to the heritage and the very roots of Marshall Amplification with the Marshall 1962 HW. This is a hand soldered all valve amplifier and is a recreation of the original 1962, 2*12 amp. Used by the likes of Eric Clapton back in the day, this amplifier is the celebration of the influence that Marshall’s sound has had on rock and blues music. This amplifier is for the soulful blues player in you. Extremely simple to use, it has an output of 30 watts and it comes with two Celestion 12 inch speakers, the best you can get in a combo amp. Taking the old school approach to the controls, the amp has two volume knobs to give you absolute control over how hard the tubes are driven, one each for the low and and the mids. The amp has two dedicated controls for the input tremolos, to extract some melancholy melodies out of it. The four different inputs that the amp has, can be used independently, or all together. This is a superb amplifier for any blues guitar player. Just plug in your Les Paul or your single coil Stratocaster into it and prepare to forget the world!
Marshall JVM M-JVM210C-U Combo Guitar AmplifierPro: Marshall Versatility, tube driven amp, exceptional control over tone, three independent gain stages for overdrive and clean channel, footswitch, professional grade equipment.
Con: There are cheaper alternatives from other manufacturers with almost the same features.
The Marshall JVM is a must have amp for a guitar player, whose music has a dual personality! What we mean by that is, if your taste ranges from the laid-back sound of clean melodies and crunch of the blues, to the absolutely vicious earth shattering angry bellow of Metal, then you are going to fall in love with the JVM 50. This is a true blue tube amp and is a great platform for a learning guitarist to find his or her sound as they progress. The absolute range of tones this amp is capable of is remarkable. It is loaded with two 12 inch speakers and has 3 foot switchable modes per channel. While you are practising your licks on your guitar, this amp is also training you on the timing of tone changes with the foot switch. The amp has standard EQ knobs, a set each for the overdrive and Clean channel with three gain stages that you can dial in, with led lit switches. This one is an all rounder.
Marshall DSL-1C 50th Anniversary 1-Watt Guitar Combo AmplifierPro: Spectacular tone for such a small package, ultra portable and easy to use, tube driven setup.
Con: If it had a bigger speaker sound definition when used with effects pedals would be a lot better, not enough power to play along with a drummer, the price may be a deal breaker for many players.
An extremely well-made amplifier, this is the closest you could possibly get to condensing the sound of a marshall 100-watt head. To elaborate, even though this is just a tiny equipment, it packs a decent punch. But the best part is the quality of the sound that it produces. The sound quality is unbelievably close to that of a full-blown stage performance amp! Equipped with a 10 inch Celestion speaker, this has to be one of the best practice amplifier produced by Marshall. It has two channels one for the clean and the other for over drive. Two buttons marked “Tone shift” and “Deep” scoop out your mids and add bottom end to your sound, respectively. This is especially helpful for guitar players who use their guitars with Alternate Tuning.
Marshall AS50D Ox Blood Limited Edition 50w 2×8 Acoustic Combo AmplifierPro: A well-rounded package with brilliant tonal quality, provision for auxiliary inputs, excellent value for money.
Con: It was hard for us to find any cons in a purpose made a product from Marshall, such as this one.
Unlike an electric guitar amplifier, the accuracy of the tone and sound is critical to an acoustic guitar amplifier. The Marshall AS50D is a comprehensive solution to the needs of an acoustic guitar player. The amp is driven by 2, 8-inch speakers and has a total power output of 50 watts. This is an extremely well-made amplifier with provisions to plug in auxiliary input sound devices, like a CD player and a mic as well. There is also a dedicated channel for Digital effects and feedback controls and they are independent of each other. Finished in a lovely red color, this is the ultimate gesture from Marshall to recognize the efforts of an acoustic guitar player.
Marshall AS100D Acoustic Series 100-Watt 2×8-Inch Guitar Combo AmpPro: Superb tonal quality, purpose made product, excellent value for money, packs plenty of power.
Con: Too good to have any cons!
Another brilliant package targeted towards acoustic guitarists, the Marshall AS100D is a 100 watts set up and is performance grade equipment. The best part about the acoustic series is the sheer amount of tonal control that it gives to you, as a guitar player. The amp has dedicated controls for auxiliary devices like a mic and a CD player, so you can play along to a song. It also has a channel for sound effects devices. The amp has been made considering the overall needs of a budding acoustic player and this one in particular packs enough power for a small scale performance as well. A good looking product, on the whole, Marshall have out done themselves with this one, with regards to tonal quality and build quality.
Marshall DSL Series DSL40C 40 Watt Valve 2 Channel Guitar Amplifier ComboPro: Superb value for money, enough power to play along with a drummer, excellent tonal quality.
Con: The clean and the overdriven channel use the same EQ.
A superb and a compact solution for guitarists with varied tastes, the marshall DSL is driven by a single 12 inch Celestion speaker. The amp has two-foot switchable channels, one for classic gain and the other for ultra gain. This is a valve amp and given its price, it is a wonderful solution to someone who craves for the pure sound of a tube amp. Loved by many guitarists for its ability to replicate the sounds of larger marshall heads, the DSL is a compact and aptly powered amp for practice and learning purposes. The controls consist of a standard layout that helps you dial in some of the classic sounds of the yester years to the modern day guitar sounds as well.
Marshall MG30CFX MG Series 30-Watt Guitar Combo AmpPro: Built in FX and Line in and out for mp3 players and Headphones, sturdy construction, excellent value for money, four dedicated channels that are programmable.
Con: It does feel a little underpowered in a band practice situation.
Powered by Marshall’s solid state circuit wizardry and by a 10-inch speaker, the MG30CFX is a straightforward approach to a combo amp, by Marshall. The controls have the standard EQ knobs and a master, volume, reverb and a gain knob. It has four programmable channels and built in FX. This combo is a cost effective solution to someone who just has started learning how to play. Given the versatility of its tone, it is a great amp to have for an expert as well. What’s more? It also has jacks to accommodate a mp3 player and has a line out for headphones, so you can practice your chops without disturbing anyone. While Marshall is known to have paved the way for many legends, they have done a great job by thinking about a budding young guitarist, who is strapped for money, with the MG30CFX.
Marshall MG15CFR MG Series 15-Watt Guitar Combo Amp with ReverbPro: Good value for money, mp3 input.
Con: No built in effects, this may disappoint some metal guitar players.
Another entry level combo amp from Marshall, the MG15CFR is a ‘bare bones’ approach to an amplifier and it has worked well! Powered by solid state circuits, the amp has an 8-inch speaker that pushes out 15 watts. This is plenty of power for a beginner guitarist. The controls are straightforward and are populated by standard EQ knobs. The amp has a simple two-channel layout that is secured with a toggle switch. A well made sturdy product from Marshall, the MG15CFR, is a superb entry level combo amp.