7 Best Amps for Les Paul Guitars (Gibson & Epiphone)

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Editor's Choice
Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35
  • The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35's Cabclone technology is perfect for recording and live performances
  • With two independent channels for cleans and gain, three modes each, a 5-band EQ, and built-in reverb, the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35 gives every type of Les Paul owner the perfect guitar tone
  • Impeccably designed and will last a lifetime
For Rock & Blues
Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage
  • The Marshall SV20C gives you the 1959 Plexi sound - the amp that helped kickstart the rock 'n roll revolution - in a compact size
  • The DI outputs let you connect directly to your recording software or PA
  • Wonderfully built and hand-wired. This combo amp will last you a lifetime
For Hard Rock
EVH 5150 Iconic
  • Thick and punchy distortion that retains articulation
  • Incredible versatility for all genres of music
  • Keep your sound consistent from practice to performance with DI output

The Les Paul is one of the most popular guitars on the market, and for a good reason. Its unique sound and style have made it a favorite among guitar players for decades.

But what’s the best way to get that signature Les Paul sound? With the right amp, of course!

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the seven best amps for Les Pauls, whether you’re playing a Gibson or Epiphone Les Paul. From classic clean tones to modern high-gain sounds, there’s an amp on this list that will suit your style.

So plug in and crank up your Les Paul – it’s time to find your perfect sound!

The 7 Best Amps for Les Paul Guitars at a Glance 2023

  1. Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35 (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage (Best Vintage Rock & Blues Tone)
  3. EVH 5150 Iconic (Best for Hard Rock & Metal)
  4. Supro 1968RK Keeley (Best for Pedals)
  5. Fender Mustang GTX 100 (Best Features & Flexibility)
  6. Blackstar HT1R MKII (Best Mini Amp)
  7. Bugera V5 Infinium (Best Value)
Editor's Choice
Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35

Looking for a great amp that can do it all, including recreating the classic sound of stacks without all the heavy lifting (thanks to Cabclone Technology)? Look no further than the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five.

With two independent channels and three tonal variations on each channel, the Mark Five:35 gives you unprecedented control over your sound.

So if you're looking for an amp that will make your Les Paul sound even better, the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five is the one for you.

While Les Paul’s have a particular sound and vibe, the tones and attitude of each can be wildly different.

When I was considering what the best amp for Les Pauls should be, the versatility and quality of tone were one of my top considerations. One amplifier stood out above the rest: The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35.

First, Gibson announced the acquisition of the artist-loved Mesa/Boogie brand in 2021. So if the maker of Les Paul guitars sees Mesa/Boogie as an “on-brand” amplifier, then that should say a lot about this pairing.

The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five pulls from the tradition of the Mark Series valve amps. The amps beloved by players like Santana, Keith Richards, Mick Jones, and Jerry Garcia, to name a few.

The Mark Five:35 gives you decades of classic guitar tones and innovative circuit design. It puts it all together into a powerhouse combo amp perfect for recording, playing live, and all genres of music.

The Mark Five:35 comes with two channels. The first is the clean channel, and the second is the gain channel. These channels work independently, giving you ultimate flexibility between your clean and distorted tones.

Each channel has 3 options for tonal variation. The clean channel has clean, fat, and crunch mode, while the drive channel has the choice between the Mark V, Mark IV, and Mark IIC+ preamplifiers.

To make your tones even more flexible, you can switch between 35w, 25w, and 10w output to increase and decrease the headroom and volume of the amp. This variable watt control also makes the amp an excellent home studio practice amp while giving you enough juice for live performance.

Add in the 5-band EQ, independent Solo controls, and the epic midrange boost, and you have a sonically diverse amplifier that will satisfy genres from jazz to metal. There isn’t anything this tube amp can’t do.

The Mark series of amps are known for being loud sounding amps. While this was needed when playing music usually meant being in a live room with other musicians, the needs of today’s modern musicians look different. Mesa/Boogie has included Mesa’s Cabclone technology, which directly outputs a signal with speaker emulation that you can use for recording or live performances.

This allows you to get powerful and versatile valve amp tones without disturbing your family/roommates or introducing lots of stage noise during live performances. Again, this tech only increases the flexibility and use cases this amp gives you.

The only real complaint most have about this little Mesa/Boogie Mark Five is it’s heavy at 44 pounds.

The combination of flexible tube tones that spans decades and genres, paired with modern flourishes like the Cabclone technology, makes this an amp every Les Paul owner will love. Definitely a 10/10!

Pros
  • The Mark Five:35 has every color of tone you could want. From crystal cleans to fierce distortion
  • Cabclone technology gives you ultimate flexibility with your recordings and live tones
  • It comes in tons of great color options to fit your vibe
Cons
  • It's expensive
  • At 44 pounds, the Mesa/Boogie Mark V is heavy for a small amp
Best for Classic Rock & Blues
Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage

The Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage combo amp is the perfect pairing for your Les Paul to get that classic Marshall sound in a modern and practical package. 

This hand-wired, vintage-style tube amp has the mojo of Marshall's iconic 1959 Plexi SuperLead amp. However, some modern touches, like a reduction circuit, allow you to bring the overall output down to reasonable levels for home playing or studio work.

So if you're looking for an amp that will help you get that classic rock and blues tone like Slash or Jimmy Page, the Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage combo amp is a perfect choice.

There is something undeniably rock n’ roll about Marshall amps paired with a Les Paul electric guitar. Think Slash, Jimmy Page, and Peter Green.

The challenge is getting that classic Marshall amp tone that debatably launched the rock n’ roll revolution in a package that makes sense for the modern guitar player.

However, with the Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage combo amp, you get the hand-wired, vintage tubed mojo you’d find from Marshall’s iconic 1959 Plexi SuperLead amp.

The Marshall SV20C has a reduction circuit that can bring the overall output of your amplifier down to reasonable levels for home playing and studio work. However, true to Marshall’s rock n’ roll history, many users have claimed that the amp is still very loud even when set to the 5-watt circuit.

This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the articulate crunch and sustain you’ll get from this amp when paired with a Les Paul. You may have to invest in a power attenuator, like the Bugera PS1, to get the most out of this amplifier at lower volumes.

The Marshall SV20C is exceptionally responsive, which makes this mold to the style of the player and the type of Les Paul they own.

There are some modern features that Marshall has added to this amp. One such is a DI output that allows you to plug your sound directly into a recording interface or PA for easy access to the amp’s tone without the added noise.

The FX loops are clean and will let you expand this amplifier into an excellent pedal platform if using FX is part of your guitar sound. You can also connect external cabs to the amplifier if you need more than a single 10” Celestion.

If you’re looking for that iconic and beloved vintage Marshall tone to get the most out of your Les Paul guitar, then the Marshall SV20C is an amp you must check out if you can get your hands on one!

Pros
  • Get that classic Marshall amp tone in a package that makes sense for the modern guitarist
  • DI output lets you connect directly to recording software or a PA
  • High- and low-sensitivity master volume and gain controls make this a highly responsive amp that will suit all types of players
Cons
  • Amp could be too loud for some, even in 5W modeNot as tonally flexible as other options on this list
  • You're buying into the Marshall sound (which is fantastic)
Best for Hard Rock & Metal
EVH 5150 Iconic Series Combo

Looking for a guitar amp that can keep up with your hard-rocking, heavy-metal riffs? Then check out the EVH 5150 Iconic combo amp.

This powerful little machine is built for shredding, with a tube design that gives you plenty of distortion for those crunchy chords and solo licks. But it's not all about the gain - the 5150 also has a great clean sound when you want to lay back and play something mellow.

If you're looking for an amp that will keep your Les Paul spicey, the 5150 Iconic combo amp is the one for you!

Les Paul and crunch tones go hand in hand. But what if you’re looking for a guitar amp that pushes beyond crunch and can go give you tight and punchy high-gain distortion?

The Eddie Van Halen 5150 is one of those amps that will bring out the gnarliest of tones while still having a surprisingly excellent clean sound for players who want the best of both worlds.

The 5150 Iconic combo amb has everything you’d want from a great rock and metal machine. Tube design, two channels with independent gain and volume, three-band eq, resonance and presence knobs, and a built-in spring reverb.

This amp is incredibly versatile for all genres of music. Still, the 5150’s bread and butter are those high-gain tones that lend themselves to shredding and chugging. The amp’s distortion is thick and punchy, but it never loses its articulation.

While the 5150 is one of the most budget-friendly tube amps on this list, it has some surprisingly high-end features.

First, the second channel (which has more gain) has a built-in noise gate. It’s surprisingly dynamic and does a great job of not killing your tone and sustain while ensuring you minimize amp noise for recordings and live gigs.

Second, there is a DI output and speaker emulation, which you can use for recording, late-night practices, and live gigs. This is a feature that I love because you get to keep your analog tube tone while not disturbing neighbors (or bumming out sound engineers).

The 5150 takes humbuckers and single-coil pickups well. So no matter what kind of Les Paul electric guitar you own, this amp will bring out its best.

There is little bad to say about the 5150 if you’re looking for a rock n’ roll machine that doesn’t cost $2,000+.

Definitely a worthy amplifier that sounds great and will keep your Les Paul sounding spicey.

Pros
  • Even though it's geared toward shredders, it's an incredibly versatile amp for all genres of music
  • Built-in noise gate helps keep your tone sounding tight while pushing your tubes to punishing levels
  • Get a great tube amp tone for a great price
Cons
  • It's popular, so you may have to pre-order and wait to get one
Best for Pedals
Supro 1968RK Keeley

Looking for a Les Paul amp that breaks from the vintage mold? Are you more interested in exploring the sonic textures of guitar pedals and want an amplifier that won't hold you back?

Well, Supro teamed up with pedal guru Robert Keeley of Keeley Electronics to bring the guitar world a high headroom amplifier that lets you shape your sound with pedals rather than the amp. The simple signal chain and 2-band EQ make it easy to get great tones without overloading the amp. Plus, the transparent FX loop is perfect for modulation and time-based effects.

So don't hesitate – get the Supro 1968RK Keeley Combo Amp today and start exploring new sonic possibilities!

You may be a proud owner of a Les Paul but are looking for an amp that isn’t a throwback to a vintage design. You may be more interested in exploring the sonic textures of guitar pedals and want an amplifier that won’t hold you back.

Well, Supro teamed up with pedal guru Robert Keeley of Keeley Electronics to bring the guitar world a high headroom amplifier that lets you shape your sound with pedals rather than the amp.

Supro keeps the signal chain reasonably simple. This is a hybrid one channel amplifier that has a 2-band EQ that is designed to take your gain and tone pedals without overloading. The transparent FX loop does an excellent job for modulation and time-based effects.

The only real downside is some feel the Supro 1968k relies too heavily on external effects. Some players find its tone too dark and bassy for clean amp tones, which could make Les Paul players with humbuckers feel disappointed in a dull tone.

Others have reported some quality control issues, reporting popping and crackling shortly after the Supro 1968k arrived. Luckily, everyone who’s had issues has excellent things to say about Supro’s customer service!

However, if a pedal platform amp is what you’re after, you have to look at the Supro 1968RK Keeley. It’s an inspired amp for Les Paul players who want to push beyond the past.

Pros
  • Finally have an amp that won't hold you back from discovering your unique sound
  • Combo amp has a clean effects loop for faithful reproduction of your time-based effects
  • It has plenty of headroom for even the most punishing distortion pedals
Cons
  • It might be too dark and bassy for players who haven't yet perfected their tone with pedals
  • Some report quality assurance issues after purchasing the amp
Best Features & Flexibility
Fender Mustang GTX 100

The Fender Mustang GTX 100 is the perfect amp for anyone who wants to explore all the different types of tones their Les Paul can produce.

With its built-in effects and 200 presets, this amp has everything you need to get started. And best of all, it's affordable!

You may have to get on a waiting list to purchase, but it's worth the wait for most players!

If you’re looking for an affordable amp that will allow you to explore all different types of amps, FX, and genres with your Les Paul, you must check out the Fender Amps Mustang GTX 100.

With the Fender Mustang GTX 100 unique amp modeling technology, built-in effects, and 200 presets, it’s like multiple amps in one. It’s ideal for the Les Paul player who wants flexibility in their tones (without having to buy numerous amps and pedals).

However, does the modeling technology in these digital amps sound any good? Surprisingly yes.

While this Fender amp may sound and react differently than the real thing, to most guitar players and listeners, they’d never really be able to tell the difference.

The biggest challenge with the Mustang GTX 100 is that you might spend more time tweaking and geeking out over all the options instead of actually playing your Les Paul.

The Fender Mustang GTX is loaded with effects that can be mixed, matched, and stacked. However, some find all the features to be a distraction. With so many presets to explore, you can sometimes get lost flipping through options.

Suppose you’re looking to push the boundaries of your sound and unlock new territories for your Les Paul. In that case, you will definitely want to check out the Fender Mustang GTX 100

Pros
  • Powerful amp modeling technology and a wide array of presets give you access to 40 amp models and 200 presets
  • Amp is even more customizable with the Fender TONE 3.0 smartphone app, which connects via Wi-Fi
  • Be able to explore all different types of sounds from every era and genre with your Les Paul
Cons
  • Some users have reported Wi-Fi connectivity can be finicky
  • You can get lost in all the options
Best Mini Amp
Blackstar HT1R MKII

Looking for a mini amp that packs a punch? The Blackstar HT1R MKII is perfect for Les Paul guitarists who want tube tone and versatility in a small package.

This 1-watt mini amp features an impressive array of sound sculpting capabilities and a USB output, making it ideal for both live and recording situations.

So whether you're looking for an excellent practice bedroom amp or to take your guitar recordings to the next level, the Blackstar HT1R MKII is a good choice.

It’s incredible how many features are packed into this tiny mini amp. It’s even more remarkable how much power this 1-watt mini amp can kick out. 

The Blackstar HT1R MKII 1×8″ proves that as a Les Paul player living in the future, you can have it all – and in a small package at that! 

This mini guitar amp features an impressive array of features, especially for such a small amp, and at such an attractive price point. The Blackstar HT1R MKII offers extensive sound sculpting thanks to its Infinite Shape Feature.

Blackstar’s Infinite Shape will let you choose between a classic American amp tone, a more overdriven British tone, or any combination of the two.

The Blackstar HT1R makes an exceptional recording amp thanks to its direct USB output. Suppose you’ve been looking to expand your recorded guitar tones away from guitar amp simulation plugins. In that case, the Blackstar HT1R is an excellent alternative.

You’ll get an authentic tube tone that you can plug directly into your PC or Mac and a more inspiring tone for your recordings.

Some users may gripe that the HT1R isn’t a pure tube amp because it uses solid-state circuitry for the Phase Inverter (PI). But let’s be honest, even the most ardent tube lover won’t really be able to tell the difference here.

Also, this criticism seems unfair, as hybrid amps are more the rule than the exception nowadays.

If you’re looking for a powerful amp for your Les Paul that is compact, portable and has an attractive price point, look no further than the Blackstar HT1R MKII.

Pros
  • Infinite Shape Feature gives you both classic American as well as British tones
  • Blackstar HT1R features real tubes and a great sounding reverb
  • It has a USB output, making it ideal as both a recording interface and for live gigs
Cons
  • 1-watt output isn't powerful enough for noisy environments
  • Inconsistent levels when switching between gain and clean channels
Best Value for Money
Bugera V5 Infinium

If you're looking for an amp that will give you an authentic vintage British sound without breaking the bank, then the Bugera V5 Infinium is the perfect choice for you.

This little amp packs a serious punch, with its 12AX7 preamp tube and EL84 power tube delivering classic rock 'n roll tones reminiscent of many outstanding records from the past. And with a built-in power attenuator, you can enjoy those great tones at any volume, making it ideal for small apartments or anywhere else where space is at a premium.

So don't wait any longer; get your hands on a Bugera V5 Infinium and start making music that will stand the test of time

The Bugera V5 Infinium gives you an authentic vintage British tube amp sound in an amazingly compact size and an impressively low price point. 

You can barely get a decent solid-state amp for that cost, let alone an all-tube amplifier which usually runs around $500 at a minimum.

With its 12AX7 preamp tube and EL84 power tube, the Bugera V5 Infinium delivers a vintage rock ‘n roll tube amp sound so well-loved by Les Paul players. The V5 sound resembles that of many great classic rock and blues records for a fraction of what it typically costs.

Even better, a built-in power attenuator gives you that authentic tube tone at any volume. So if you are looking for an amp that will work well for small apartments, this is a great choice.

The overall tone of the amplifier is midrange heavy. There aren’t a lot of highs to the tone, which makes this an excellent blues amp but not so much a modern hi-fi amp.

However, with its combination of a tube preamp, built-in reverb, compact size, and affordable price, anyone looking for an authentic vintage tube amp on a budget should check out the Bugera V5 Infinium

Pros
  • The all-tube design delivers a warm and crunchy retro sound that works great with a Les Paul
  • A power attenuator lets you get a sweet overdriven tube amp tone that won't upset your roommates or neighbors
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • Limited controls make this a one-trick pony practice amp
  • This amp has a mid-range, vintage tone. Don't expect to get many modern "sparkly" tones out of it

Buyer’s Guide

When looking for the best amps for Les Paul, it is important to consider the features you need and the sound you want. Here are some key points to keep in mind when making your decision.

Combos vs. Heads/Stacks

A man playing an orange les paul gibson electric guitar standing up. He is surrounded by quite a few large guitar amplifiers and a monitor wedge.

Some of you Les Paul players might wonder why I didn’t include full stacks in our roundup. What’s more iconic than a guitar icon wailing on a Les Paul in front of full stacks?

First of all, there are a lot of amps out there. We’d be here all month if we wrote about every amp that will make your Les Paul sound awesome.

Secondly, combo amps are just more practical for most guitar players in this day and age. Amp makers create combos with tons of power and features and are much more portable and easy to store. Plus, manufacturers pair the proper speaker with combos to get the most out of the tone.

If you want to try the tone of a particular amp with different speakers or cabinets, then most of the options I have mentioned in this article have a head option.

For anyone looking to recreate the classic Les Paul/Marshall 1959 Plexi SuperLead amp sounds so loved by early rockers, you must check out the Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage.

Solid State vs. Tube Amps

The solid-state vs. tube amp debate is hotly contested among guitar players. However, most amplifiers these days use a mixture of both to bring retro-tone and modern functionality and design to amplifiers.

Solid-state amplifiers get their sound by sending electricity through circuitry. A tube amp, on the other hand, amplifies the guitar signal using vacuum tubes. 

This gives tube amplifiers those non-linearaties and analog vibe that is musical to people’s ears. However, tube amps are more delicate than solid-state amps due to vacuum tubes. They also tend to be more expensive than solid-state amps.

But with modeling technology being so sophisticated these days, solid-state amps have lots to offer. They generally come with tons of features and are light weight and durable.

Amp Versatility

Versatility is important when picking out an amp, especially if you play in many different styles.

Luckily, many modern amps do a lot of different things really well. One amp can sound brilliant for a bunch of different styles and genres.

For those looking for a versatile amp, we recommend the Fender Mustang GTX 100. Its detailed amp modeling and extensive range of presets, which can be further customized with the Fender TONE 3.0 smartphone app, make the Fender GTX many amps in one. 

Pickup Configuration

The pickups you’re using should be a major consideration towards the amp model you choose. You’ll get a more aggressive and bright-sounding guitar if you have a Les Paul equipped with P-90 pickups.

If you have a modern Les Paul, you’ll have Humbucker pickups that are more creamy and midrange forward.

The style of pickup your Les Paul has will help you to determine what kind of amplifier you should be looking at.

P90 soapbar style pickups in a gold top gibson les paul electric guitar.
Soapbar P90 pickups that you would find in a vintage gold top Les Paul
Zebra style (black and white) humbucking electric guitar pickups that are out of the body cavity of an orange electric guitar.
Humbucking pickups are the most common in more modern Les Paul guitars

FAQ

What makes a good amp for a Gibson Les Paul?

What makes an amp good for a Les Paul depends entirely on what you’re looking for. 

Many guitarists choose Les Pauls for their classic early rock ‘n roll look and sound. If you’re looking to recreate the classic Les Paul/Marshall Plexi combo that defined the rock ‘n roll of the late ’50s through the ’60s, try the Marshall SV20C.

If you’re living in a smaller space and don’t need the full force of a Marshall, you’ll want the Bugera V5 Infinium is also great for a classic early rock ‘n roll sound.

If you’re playing in multiple styles or are looking for a modern sound, you’ll want a more versatile amp like the Fender GTX with its extensive sound-shaping capabilities and extreme customizability.  

Conclusion

So there you have it – the seven best amps for Les Pauls. Whether you’re a beginner just starting or a seasoned pro looking for a new tone, we hope this list has given you some ideas.

If you’re looking for the best for your Les Paul, I recommend you check out the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five. It’s an incredibly versatile and impeccably made amplifier that will keep your Les Paul tone rooted in history but reaching for the future.

Check it out today!

Editor's Choice
Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35
  • The Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35's Cabclone technology is perfect for recording and live performances
  • With two independent channels for cleans and gain, three modes each, a 5-band EQ, and built-in reverb, the Mesa/Boogie Mark Five:35 gives every type of Les Paul owner the perfect guitar tone
  • Impeccably designed and will last a lifetime
For Rock & Blues
Marshall SV20C Studio Vintage
  • The Marshall SV20C gives you the 1959 Plexi sound - the amp that helped kickstart the rock 'n roll revolution - in a compact size
  • The DI outputs let you connect directly to your recording software or PA
  • Wonderfully built and hand-wired. This combo amp will last you a lifetime
For Hard Rock
EVH 5150 Iconic
  • Thick and punchy distortion that retains articulation
  • Incredible versatility for all genres of music
  • Keep your sound consistent from practice to performance with DI output
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AUTHOR
Brad Johnson
Brad is the creator of Song Production Pros. He writes songs and surfs on the weekends when he's not too busy with family or this website. He writes music under the moniker FJ Isles, and can be heard on all streaming services.