A few weeks ago my post Why Are Guitar Amps So Ugly? stimulated a lot of comments.
Of course, it came as no surprise that taste in amplifier looks, just like tone, is a personal matter; one man’s ugly amp is another’s beauty. Some readers love the looks of their amp. But plenty of others agreed that the “black breeze block” is not always well suited to the living room.
Since that post was published some helpful readers have suggested amps that could be more suited to life in the living room (special thanks to reader Adrien R). In this post I've gathered a few of their suggestions.
A word of warning before you proceed... many of these amps are expensive... :-(
- A bunch of beauties in various styles can be found in "Tone aside, what amp do you think looks the best?" a Best Looking Amp thread at The Gear Page forum.
- Some nice looking amps, and some choice of colours are proposed by Somatome Amps.
- Another small amp company offering some amps with well-finished wooden housing, Basic Audio Amplifiers.
These links show that there is some hope for those seeking an amp with different looks. The downside is that it seems you have to pay a lot if that’s what you want...
Fender Blues Junior
For those on a smaller budget, one amp I found that I think offers quite good looks for the home setting is the Fender Blues Junior.
The Blues Junior is a great sounding and versatile amp that can be used for practice, small jams and rehearsals, or even for concerts – with a microphone through a PA if more power is needed. Its control knobs are hidden in a recess in the rear top of the amp, hidden from the view. So from the front it has a neat and tidy appearance that looks just like a speaker.
Another nice point is that it has been produced in several special editions with the same electronics but different colour schemes and speakers. You can get an overview of these editions in this article, Fender Blues Junior Editions. I've also seen a few more editions out there, like the emerald green one you can see in this video demo.
The Blues Junior is still a little expensive compared to transistor practice amps and probably won't be in everybody's budget. But you do get really nice all-tube tone and have some choice of colours. I’ve seen some in my neck of the woods for between 300 and 350 euros.