On Low Wattage Amplifiers: What Are Their Advantages?

Brian May at live queen concert


I suppose many will agree that there’s no better feeling than going up on stage and playing your guitar whilst a huge and very loud amplifier backs you up. Well, unfortunately, many guitar players would probably disagree. Contrary to the idea that the bigger and louder, the better, smaller amps are actually what’s on trend on today. Many guitarists and musicians are ditching giant amps and are going for the smaller, lower-powered ones.

However, this is not something new in the music industry. As a matter of fact, the guitarist of Queen, stuck with a low wattage equipment. That’s right, we’re talking about none other than the famous band who’s responsible for the works like “Bohemian Rhapsody”, ” We Will Rock You”, “I Want to Break Free, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and so many more. Queen’s guitarist, Brian May, used VOX AC30 amps, which was made famous by The Beatles, for amplifying even when their band Queen hosted live shows in big venues.

Still, many aspiring guitarists are quite confused as to why low-wattage amps are getting a lot of attention. And if you’re one of those wondering about this issue, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will walk you through the advantages of smaller, low-wattage amplifiers. Moreover, knowing some of these advantages will also, hopefully, correct misconceptions about smaller amps.


  • Portability

What’s great about low-wattage amps is that they’re usually more compact, smaller, ad lighter. This makes them much easier to carry around especially for musicians who travel different places for gigs and concerts. As opposed to heavyweight amps that will need a truck for transport, low-wattage amps are much easier to deal with while still giving great amplification quality.

  • Tone Maintenance

Many guitarists have pointed out this advantage when it comes to low-wattage amps; their tone maintenance is just amazing. You may crank up the amp at its highest volume and still it maintains an amazing tone quality. On the other hand, dealing with amps that have 100-wattage in smaller venues would require you to tone down the volume and sadly, this might just overall kill the tone.

  • Sound Volume

As opposed to the popular idea that smaller amps are only for smaller venues as they have lower sound volume, smaller amps can actually play the volume role of high-wattage amps and this is because of the existence of a PA. When low-wattage amps are played through a PA, they will still be able to provide great sound quality in a larger venue. So, if you’re picturing a rock concert with laser lights and a large amp automatically pops in your head, feel free to imagine the possibility of a small amp on stage as well.

choosing the best amp for tone

  • Studio or Home Use

When it comes to playing in your own bedroom or in some other places at home, high-wattage amps will require you to tone down the volume because you do not want to disturb the neighbors; however, it’s quite difficult to find the right level when using high-wattage amps. The sound would still be either a bit too loud or too low. On the contrary, smaller amps makes this easier to deal with.


It’s safe to conclude that higher-wattage don’t always mean better quality. At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal preference for tone, volume, and other characteristics. Furthermore, you should also know that smaller and lower-wattage amps don’t equate to lower prices. These small boys can still put a hole in your pocket.