Like anything else, the concept of "what sounds good" is purely subjective—it's in the ears of the beholder.
Therefore, it's impossible to declare that one guitar amp sounds—or simply is—"better" than another. And there are other factors to consider.
Case in point: If your $3,667 vintage British amp weighs 85 lbs., and you're an easliy flustered busy gigging musician with a little Subaru and an achy back, guess what: that cheap 20-pound amp in the basement is suddenly "better."
That said, it's a lot easier to determine whether or not an amp is "classic," or better still, iconic. After all, we've had 70-plus years to listen, learn, put two and two together and decide which amps have a special place in the history of, well, amps.
So we went ahead and put two and two together—and came up with 10. Here, for your reading and listening pleasure, is a list of 10 iconic guitar amps—tone machines that have earned a place in history for being—in one way or another—first-rate game changers. Enjoy!
Vox AC 30 Top Boost
Vox engineer Dick Denney created the AC30 when Hank Marvin, guitarist for Britain’s the Shadows, complained that his 15-watt Vox AC15 couldn’t be heard over the screams of fans when they backed pop sensation Cliff Richard. Vox introduced the 30-watt AC30 in 1958, offering it in 1x12 and 2x12 configurations, and with a single tone control.
In late 1960, the amp was redesigned with three, rather than two, channels, each with two inputs, and offered with an optional Top Boost, or Brilliance, circuit, which introduced an extra gain stage and separate bass and treble controls. The Top Boost feature proved popular enough that it became standard on the AC30/6 (so named for its six