A lot of amps that work for twangy genres, like country, are also perfect for funk. Most funk players prefer tube amps to solid state, though any amp that has a crisp clean channel can give you the sound you’re looking for. Many solid state amps also have built-in effects, models, and EQ settings that can help you refine your sound. So what’s the right amp for funk? We’ve reviewed our favorites below.
These are our recommendations for the 4 best guitar amps for funk on the market:
Peavey Classic 50 Guitar Amp
The Peavey Classic 50 is the performance amp of choice of funkmaster Nile Rodgers, which is a pretty solid vote of confidence for its funk abilities. It’s a classic 2X12” tube amp driven by four EL84 power tubes. It has a sparkling, bright clean channel tone.
The clean tone from the Peavey Classic 50 (see full specs) is dark and warm with a good amount of punch. It also has both pre- and post-gain volume controls, in addition to a standard 3-band EQ and a presence control. These tone shaping options make it a lot easier to adjust the amp sound to perfectly complement your guitar’s natural tone.
A 2X12” amp is a nice size for a professional guitarist. It has a high enough volume and output to fill live venues with sound but it’s still portable enough to travel with. The cabinet weighs just over 20 pounds and comes with a durable carrying handle built in. If you’re a gigging guitarist, the Peavey Classic 50 is our top choice for the best guitar amp for funk period.
Orange Rocker 15 Guitar Amp
- Orange Rocker 15 Combo Amplifier Bundle with Instrument Cable and Austin Bazaar Polishing Cloth
- Price as of 08/06/2020 14:16 PDT(more info)
The best thing about the Orange Rocker 15 is its versatility. This 1X10” tube amp has an adjustable output up to 15 watts. That’s plenty of power for gigs in small and medium venues. At the same time, it’s small enough you can use it for home practice without bothering the neighbors. The “headroom/bedroom” switch lets you easily transition from home to the stage.
Sonically, the Orange Rocker 15 (see full specs) has the British tube tone a lot of funk guitarists love. It uses EL84 output tubes with a 10” custom Voice of the World Gold Label speaker. You’ll especially love the Natural channel, which is optimized to bring out the pure sound of your instrument. No complicated EQ settings here—just adjust the volume knob and let your guitar do the work.
When you’re playing funk, tone is more important than output. The Orange Rocker 15 has the rounded, warm tone you need in a simple, versatile package you can use anywhere. It has a relatively compact footprint, too, and while it’s not the lightest amp on the list, it’s still very portable.
Roland JC-22 Jazz Chorus Guitar Amp
- Roland JC-22 Jazz Chorus 40-Watt Guitar Amplifier with Two 6.5-Inch Speakers
- Price: $421.00
- Price as of 08/06/2020 14:16 PDT(more info)
If you’re looking for a solid funk combo amp in a mid-range price point, check out the Roland Jazz Chorus. Jazz players have a lot of the same sonic needs as funk players, notably a bright and transparent clean channel. You’ll get that with the Roland Jazz Chorus, along with a range of stereo effects that can eliminate the need for pedals.
Now this is a solid state amp, so if you’re looking for a true tube sound it’s not going to deliver. Having said that, it has an excellent array of amp models and a full, well-balanced sound that are perfect for funk. Its twin 6.5” speakers have a nice output for small venues, and it pairs well with extension cabinets if you need a bit more oomph.
The Roland JC-22 is also portable and versatile enough to be your go-to amp. It’s easy to transport and has a sturdy, road-worthy build. It’s also a great option for the recording studio, with an easy to access stereo input and excellent on-board reverb and chorus effects. Overall, for the money, the Roland JC-22 is the best guitar amp for funk if you want versatility.
Vox Pathfinder Guitar Amp
Finally, let’s look at a budget-friendly option: the Vox Pathfinder. It’s a steal for any amp of this quality. While it’s the smallest amp on the list, you’ll get a deceptively big tone with a full array of EQ controls for fine-tuning.
The Vox Pathfinder is designed more for studio and home play than it is for the stage. It has the output to hold its own in small venues, but it’s not going to compete against a full band without an extension cabinet. It’s perfect for recording, though. The line-out jack sends a filtered signal straight to the deck for mixing, and doubles as a headphone jack for silent practice.
Sonically, the Vox Pathfinder doesn’t disappoint. Its clean channel has a chiming, bright tone that’s ideal for most funk guitarists. Tone-shaping controls include a 2-band EQ along with gain and volume knobs—simple but effective at dialing in your perfect sound.
The Best Guitar Amps for Funk – the Right EQ
When you’re looking for the perfect funk tone, getting the right amp is just part of the equation. You’ll probably need to tweak the EQ settings to make sure you’re getting the right sound.
Remember that your guitar and pickups will have an impact, too. Because of that, there’s no one EQ setting that will work for every funk player—you’ll want to adjust to accommodate the specific sound characteristics these components bring to the equation.
Generally speaking, the best funk EQ has the bass and treble set higher than the mids. This is a bit counter-intuitive, since the bulk of the guitar’s sound comes through the mid-range frequencies. It makes sense for funk, though, getting that bright edge from the treble with the rounded bass to ground the tone.
Even if you buy the perfect funk amp, you’ll probably need to tweak the sound a bit before you get it where you want it. Any one of the amps above can be a great funk amp. It all depends on your budget and how much output you need. Best of luck buying the perfect funk amp for you!
Micah Johnson started playing music in high school, when he taught himself the bass to join his friend’s band. He added guitar and drums during his twenties playing in local clubs, and along the way, he picked up unique, hands-on experience from hand drums to studio mixers. On Song Simian, he aims to share this knowledge from 20+ years playing and recording music. When not in gearhead mode, he enjoys photography and travel. Email him