best amp for surf guitar


Hello, fellow surf guitar enthusiasts! Are you searching for the perfect amp to create those quintessential surf guitar tones? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will explore the top 7 amps that are specifically designed to deliver the ultimate surf guitar sound. So grab your board and let’s dive in!

Understanding the Surf Guitar Sound

🌊 The Essence of Surf Guitar: Surf guitar is characterized by its distinctive, reverb-drenched twang and energetic, high-energy melodies. It emerged in the early 1960s and quickly became synonymous with the sun-soaked beaches and cool vibes of California.

🏄‍♂️ Amps and Surf Guitar: To achieve that iconic surf guitar sound, it is crucial to have the right amplifier. A well-suited amp will enhance the shimmering reverb, provide sparkling cleans, and offer a touch of vintage warmth. Let’s explore the top 7 amps that will transport you to the golden era of surf music.

1. Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb

One of the undisputed kings of surf guitar amps, the Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb delivers the iconic sound that surf guitarists crave. Its 22 watts of pure tube power provide the perfect balance between clean headroom and natural tube overdrive. The built-in spring reverb and tremolo add an extra layer of surfy goodness.


  1. Authentic vintage surf sound
  2. Perfect balance of clean tones and tube breakup
  3. Reverb and tremolo effects
  4. Compact and portable
  5. Great value for money
  6. Reliable and durable
  7. Classic Fender aesthetics


  1. May need additional pedals for certain tones
  2. Can be quite heavy for extended gigging
  3. Limited onboard controls
  4. Not ideal for high-gain styles
  5. Higher price point compared to some competitors
  6. May require regular tube replacements
  7. No built-in effects loop

2. Vox AC15C1


  1. Rich, jangly cleans
  2. Responsive and touch-sensitive
  3. Classic British tone
  4. Decent headroom for smaller gigs
  5. Built-in spring reverb
  6. Compact and portable
  7. Reliable and durable


  1. May require pedals for heavier tones
  2. Relatively limited onboard controls
  3. Not ideal for high-gain genres
  4. No built-in effects loop
  5. Reverb can be a bit overpowering at higher settings
  6. Speaker quality could be improved
  7. No standby switch

3. Fender ’68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb


  1. Versatile amp with vintage and modern tones
  2. Tube-driven spring reverb and vibrato
  3. Plenty of headroom for gigs
  4. Responsive to playing dynamics
  5. Relatively lightweight for a 2×10 combo
  6. Impressive build quality
  7. Stylish vintage design


  1. Higher price point compared to some competitors
  2. Not an ideal choice for metal or high-gain genres
  3. Reverb can be a bit overpowering at higher settings
  4. Noisy reverb circuitry at times
  5. No effects loop
  6. May require regular maintenance
  7. Can be too loud for bedroom playing

4. Marshall DSL40CR


  1. Authentic Marshall tone and crunch
  2. Two channels for versatile sound options
  3. Switchable output power for various gigging scenarios
  4. Built-in reverb
  5. Reliable and robust build quality
  6. Great value for money
  7. Footswitch included


  1. Heavier and less portable than some competitors
  2. May require pedals for surf guitar tones
  3. Noisy reverb circuitry at times
  4. No effects loop
  5. Can be too loud for bedroom playing
  6. Not ideal for pristine clean tones
  7. No built-in tremolo

5. Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII


  1. Powerful and versatile
  2. Excellent clean and overdrive tones
  3. Built-in spring reverb and tube-driven tremolo
  4. Effects loop for adding pedals
  5. Sturdy and reliable construction
  6. Distinctive Orange aesthetics
  7. Footswitch included


  1. Expensive compared to some alternatives
  2. Quite heavy and bulky
  3. May be too loud for small gigs or home use
  4. Noisy at high gain settings
  5. Requires regular tube maintenance
  6. No built-in attenuator
  7. Not suitable for lower volume rehearsals or practice

6. Supro 1695T Black Magick


  1. Authentic vintage tones
  2. Rich, warm clean sound
  3. Tube-driven spring reverb
  4. Compact and portable
  5. Stylish retro design
  6. Quality craftsmanship
  7. Footswitch included


  1. Less versatile compared to some competitors
  2. No built-in effects loop
  3. Noisy at high gain settings
  4. May require additional pedals for certain tones
  5. Not ideal for metal or high-gain genres
  6. Limited control options
  7. Speaker quality could be better

7. Fender ’59 Bassman LTD


  1. Classic vintage Fender tone
  2. Powerful 45-watt tube amp
  3. Rich cleans and creamy overdrive
  4. Tube-driven spring reverb
  5. Compatible with various speaker cabs
  6. Sturdy and durable construction
  7. Footswitch included


  1. Expensive compared to some alternatives
  2. Relatively heavy and bulky
  3. Noisy at high gain settings
  4. No built-in effects loop or tremolo
  5. Requires regular tube maintenance
  6. May be too loud for home use or smaller gigs
  7. No attenuation options

Amp Comparison Table

Amp Model Advantages Disadvantages
Fender ’65 Deluxe Reverb Authentic vintage sound, reverb and tremolo effects, compact and portable May need additional pedals, heavy for extended gigging, limited onboard controls
Vox AC15C1 Rich, jangly cleans, classic British tone, compact and portable May require pedals for heavier tones, limited onboard controls, no effects loop
Fender ’68 Custom Vibrolux Reverb Versatile vintage/modern tones, tube-driven reverb and vibrato, stylish vintage design Higher price point, not ideal for high-gain genres, no effects loop
Marshall DSL40CR Authentic Marshall tone, versatile, switchable output power Heavier and less portable, may require pedals for surf tones, no effects loop
Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII Powerful and versatile, excellent tones, effects loop Expensive, heavy and bulky, noisy at high gain settings
Supro 1695T Black Magick Authentic vintage tones, warm clean sound, compact and portable Less versatile, no built-in effects loop, noisy at high gain settings
Fender ’59 Bassman LTD Classic vintage Fender tone, powerful, rich cleans and creamy overdrive Expensive, heavy and bulky, noisy at high gain settings

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Can I use any amp for surf guitar?

Absolutely! However, certain amps are specifically designed to deliver the quintessential surf guitar sound. These amps usually offer built-in reverb, tremolo, and the right tonal characteristics to capture that vintage surf vibe.

2. Do I need to use pedals with these amps?

It depends on your preference. While these amps provide excellent clean and overdrive tones, some surf guitarists like to add a touch of extra reverb, tremolo, or even slapback delay using pedals to achieve their desired sound.

3. What type of speakers should I pair with these amps?

It’s generally recommended to pair these amps with speakers that can handle the power and deliver the desired tonal characteristics. Celestion, Jensen, and Eminence are popular choices among surf guitarists.

4. Are tube amps essential for surf guitar?

Tubes amps are highly desirable for surf guitar due to their warm, rich tone and natural tube saturation. However, there are solid-state amps that can also produce great surf tones, albeit with a slightly different character.

5. Can these amps handle other genres besides surf?

Definitely! While these amps are tailored for surf guitar, they are versatile enough to be used in various genres like rock, blues, and even jazz. They offer a wide range of tonal options that can suit different playing styles.

6. Can I achieve surf guitar tones with digital modeling amps?

Yes, modern digital modeling amps can replicate surf guitar tones quite convincingly. They offer convenience and a plethora of amp models, effects, and speaker simulations, making them a viable option for surf guitarists.

7. Are these amps suitable for live performances?

Absolutely! These amps are designed with gigging musicians in mind. They offer sufficient power and projection to fill small to mid-sized venues, ensuring that you can deliver your surf guitar magic to the audience.

8. What guitar should I use with these amps?

While personal preference plays a significant role, traditional surf guitars like the Fender Stratocaster, Jaguar, Jazzmaster, or similar single-coil equipped guitars are popular choices. However, feel free to experiment with different guitars to find your unique surf sound.

9. Can I achieve surf tones with a budget amp?

Absolutely! While some budget amps may not offer all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, you can still achieve surf tones with careful tweaking and the right guitar. Don’t let a limited budget hold you back from riding the surf wave!

10. Do these amps sound better at high volumes?

While surf guitar is often associated with energetic live performances, most of these amps offer great tone even at lower volume levels. You can still capture the essence of surf music without waking up the entire neighborhood!

11. Are vintage amps better for surf guitar?

Vintage amps certainly have their charm and can offer that authentic surf sound. However, modern reissues and boutique amps have come a long way in emulating those classic tones while providing additional features and reliability.

12. Should I consider the weight and portability of these amps?

If you’re planning on gigging frequently or need to transport your amp to practice sessions, weight and portability are important factors to consider. However, if your amp will mostly stay at home, these factors may be less crucial.

13. Can I achieve surf tones with a combo amp or do I need a separate head and cab?

Both combo amps and separate head and cab setups can deliver excellent surf tones. Combo amps offer convenience and all-in-one simplicity, while separate head and cab setups provide flexibility and customization options.


There you have it, fellow surf guitar enthusiasts! We’ve explored the top 7 amps that are sure to satisfy your craving for that signature surf sound. Whether you prefer the vintage warmth of a Fender or the British charm of a Vox, there’s an amp on this list that will help you ride the wave of surf music.

Remember, each amp has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so be sure to consider your specific needs and playing style. Experiment, have fun, and let the surf-inspired melodies flow through your fingers!

🎸 “Surf’s up, dude! Catch the perfect wave of tone with the best amp for surf guitar!” 🌊

Closing Statement

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on personal opinion and research. Every guitarist has their own preferences and requirements, so it’s crucial to try out different amps and consult with experts before making a final decision. Prices and availability may vary, so please check with retailers for the most up-to-date information.

We hope this article has helped you on your quest to find the best amp for surf guitar. Remember, the journey to finding your perfect tone is as important as the destination. So, dive headfirst into the world of surf guitar and let the waves of inspiration carry you to new musical heights!

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