Best Amp for Rhythm Guitar (our Top Pick)
Mesa/Boogie Badlander 25
For heavier percussive styles and clean strumming tones, the Mesa Badlander 25 (part of the Rectifier series) is one of the absolute best amps for rhythm guitar. It even has an onboard attenuator so you can play without a speaker cab and just use headphones. Read my full Badlander review here.
Updated on October 16th, 2023
We made sure all three listed amps were available on the links we've set and made some adjustments to the copy to help the article read better. If you have questions, let us know in the comments section.
The best amp for rhythm guitar will be different depending on what you mean by rhythm guitar. Because basic rhythm is usually going to prioritize one of the following:
- Strumming with a clean tone
- Percussive and heavy patterns with distortion
We would recommend different amps depending on which playing style is your priority. I say priority because those two rhythm techniques cross paths a lot, so I think it's good to keep an open mind as we niche-down. For me, the percussive "chunk" takes priority over clean strumming, simply because of my playing style. Clean tones and strumming matter to me, but not as much.
So with these style considerations in mind, here are the three best amps for rhythm that we recommend - one for distortions, one for cleans, and a happy medium.
Note that if there are different sizes and wattage variation within an amp series, the lower wattage options will always be cheaper. From what I have seen, this is one of the most significant factors when it comes to how much a guitar amp will cost. Speaker count (in combo amps) and weight also have a similar impact. I typically recommend going with the lower wattage option in a higher quality amp series.
Read more: Best guitar amps overall
Compare Guitar Amps
You can search for the Badlander and Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb, and compare them to other amps in our database. We don't have everything, but we have a lot and are adding to it on a regular basis.
You should also make sure you aren't over-thinking this. You won't buy "the wrong" amp. Sure, a Marshall is typically a brighter tone, but you can still use it for rhythmic playing styles. And like Fender tube amps are warmer and more mellow, you can still use those for lead.
Let's hit some bullet points.
The best amp for rhythm guitar should check off the following boxes:
- Onboard gain (distortion)
- Warm EQ (higher bass, balanced mids, filtering out bite)
- Two channels (or more) for switching between sounds
- Preferably a tube circuit
If you don't want to go with any of our suggestions, just focus on these four features and go with something that sounds good to you. A tube amp isn't necessarily a must because there are some really good modeling amps these days that can do a wide range of styles.
But the main thing is to do your own research and get something that you are happy with. We can give advice and I can certainly speak from experience, but you have to make the call. Let me know if you have questions by leaving them in the comments section below.
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