Best Guitar Amp for Fender Stratocaster (Our Top Pick)
Fender Blues Junior IV Combo Amp
While we recommend the Blues Junior in a lot of situations, it's definitely our top recommendation for those looking to pair with a Fender Stratocaster. The Blues Junior runs off an entirely tube-driven circuit, sounds amazing, and echoes the wonderful simplicity and vintage tone that we love about the Fender Stratocaster. The two are a fantastic match, especially if you're into more bluesy lead guitar styles.
You have a Fender Stratocaster (or perhaps a different brand of Strat) and you want to pair it with the perfect amplifier.
First, it's important to point out that there isn't really a "wrong answer" here. Strats will work well with just about any amplifier on the market, though there are a few that we like particularly and match really well with the Stratocaster's tonal persona.
In this roundup, we're going to focus on three of the best guitar amps for a Fender Stratocaster, targeting two amps from Fender and a third from VOX.
All three of these amps are entirely tube-powered.
Read more: Best Fender amps
Best Guitar amp for Fender Stratocaster (our top picks)
We've recommended the Fender Blues Junior, the '65 Princeton Reverb, and the VOX AC15C1. All three of these amplifiers are warm, full and provide a base tone that's well-matched to the Stratocaster's bluesy, vintage tone profile.
Use the compare buttons to look at more info and pricing for each amp, or the Sweetwater buttons to read product descriptions and shop.
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Fender Blues Junior
Fender '65 Princeton Reverb
Should Fender Stratocasters always be paired with a Fender amp?
No, definitely not.
Like I said earlier, the Fender Stratocaster can work well with a ton of different amplifiers. But Fender tube amps, in particular, do have a unique relationship with Stratocasters and Telecasters since they're all built by the same company.
The warmth of Fender tube amps does a good job of both balancing and accentuating the brightness of the Strat.
Together, they do make an exceptionally good pair, giving you rich tone that's ideal for bluesy leads and crisp, clean playing styles.
The Case for Tube Amps and Stratocasters
While solid state amps have gotten better in the past couple decades, we still recommend and prefer tube amps in most cases. Fender Strats are no exception, especially given that guitars with single coil pickups tend to benefit from the warmth of a tube-driven circuit, thus producing a better overall tone.
Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we're looking for a balance of brightness and warmth, which is most likely to be achieved with a tube amp.
In this scenario, you've got the following:
- From the Stratocaster: Bright, crisp, bluesy leads
- From the tube amp: Warm, smooth, vintage lows and rhythm tones
Together, tube amps and Stratocasters give you a sound that's truly hard to replicate with solid state amps or other guitars.
What about pairing these amps with Squier Stratocasters?
For the most part, these same rules apply when you're talking about Strats from other brands.
While Fender is the originator, the Strat shape and style has been mimicked by a ton of other companies where the main feature is the three single-coil pickups you see inside the pickguard.
When you're dealing with a Squier Strat, the features and styles are still pretty much the same.
You just have cheaper tonewood, cheaper pickups, and a lower-grade of quality overall.
This means that Squier Strats might stand to benefit even more from a high-end tube amp, especially since you're not getting as much natural tone quality from the guitar itself.
Whether it's a Squier or Fender Strat, these amps are going to be a great fit.
What are the best amp settings to use for a Fender Stratocaster?
While the answer to this question is somewhat subjective, we have written some material on the best settings for a Fender amp, which we believe would also apply to setups where you're using a Fender Stratocaster.
We'd recommend starting there if you have tone or settings questions.
Read more: Fender amp settings
Keep in mind, there are a ton of other great amplifier options out there for Fender Stratocasters.
But these are three we've tested and trust, that we'd recommend to folks who just want some ideas and direction. If you're wanting some more general guidance to do your own shopping, look for amps with the following:
- Tube circuits (preamp and power amp)
- Gain control
- Smooth, bluesy tone profile
- Onboard reverb
If you buy an amp that can be described with these qualities, it'll likely be a good fit for your Strat.
For those that still have questions, hit us up in the comments section below and we'll help out.
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