Asking for a friend :)


A guy I work with has a 16yo that is getting into guitar. The boy has an Epi LP and a little Epi SS combo amp. My friend is thinking about getting a little nicer amp setup for his son, perhaps for Christmas. Right now, he is learning Metallica songs and I guess leans in that heavy rock/metal direction. I don't yet know the upper end of the budget but I'm guessing around $500, give or take. I was asked for my recommendation and off the top of my head, I'm leaning towards maybe a low watt tube combo...used probably. Something like a Blackstar HT20R or Studio 10 EL34s? Maybe an Egnater (Rebel?) combo? Of course there is Marshall but I'm sure what would be decent in that price range..maybe Origin 20?

What says the brain trust here. What would you recommend? Something that can rock out but maybe also offer some cleaner settings in case he decides he doesn't have to rock out all the time. Modelers are also a consideration but then we get into monitoring solutions, etc. and that can be a whole other we know :)

If you want something versatile that can handle several things at once, look at an Eleven Rack used and a power amp with a speaker cab into one (like the Line 6 deal or even a Tech 21 Power Engine 60). If you want a tube amp, look for a Peavey JSX combo, Marshall Code 50 used or a Yamaha THR practice amp.
I don't play any heavy rock/metal, so I'm probably the wrong guy to ask, but I'd recommend a Boss Katana. Endless tones in those boxes and imho, they sound and feel pretty damn good.
Fender GTX50? Or GTX100 if budget allows.

Katana is a good option as well. It has a “katana sound” to it, but it’s not bad and for this kid, he won’t know any difference.