The Fender Telecaster is one of the most popular and beloved electric solid-body guitars in history. It is renowned for having a fantastic tone, unique twang, and great playability, and has been used extensively in nearly all genres.
In order to make the most out of all the various attributes of the Telecaster, a good amp must be employed. Ideally, you want an amp that lets the true character of your Tele come through. And there are plenty of choices out there.
Some come with more features than others, including effects, versatile I/O, and different amp voicings. With so many options out there, where do you even start? We’re here to help pick the best amp for your Telecaster. Keep Reading.
Features: Jensen Special Design C-10R speaker, 12 Watts of tube power, Reverb and vibrato FX
Benefits: Fantastic recording amp, Enough power to keep up with drums, Excellent portability
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Features: Stereo output, 2x10" speakers, Rugged construction
Benefits: Built to last, Incredible tonal texture, Preserves the Tele "twang"
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Features: 5 Amp voicings, Built in Boss FX, 50W of power
Benefits: Works for practice and gigs, Great sound quality, Tens of thousands of tones
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- Our Top 3
- Best Amps for Telecasters: Individual Reviews
- How To Choose The Best Amp for You
- Final Thoughts
Our Top 3
The Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus is our top pick for this article. This is a 2 x 10-inch 40-watt amp based on one of the best-known amps in history, the JC-120. This amp gives your Tele a lush, stereo image with fantastic reverb and chorus.
The Boss Katana-50 MkII is our Budget Choice. This is a convenient and modern combo amp that features five voicings that deliver everything from clean tone to heavily distorted sound. With several customizable effects, this is a fantastic stand-alone choice.
The Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is our Editor’s Choice. This amp is a great pick for dedicated musicians who value quality and tone. It comes in a 1 x 10-inch configuration for 12 watts of pure tube tone going through a Jensen Special Design C-10R speaker.
Best Amps for Telecasters: Individual Reviews
A smaller version of an iconic amp.
The combination of a Telecaster with a Roland JC-120 has let its indelible mark in music history. Andy Summers of The Police recorded and wrote extensively using this combination, and with the JC-40 you get that same mix of amp and guitar, but with a smaller and more convenient size.
The Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus is a 2 x 10-inch 40-watt amp based on one of the best-known amps in history, the JC-120. Despite its fantastic sound, the JC-120 is too heavy and cumbersome, and carrying it up a flight of stairs is not for the faint of heart. The JC-40 gives you the same sonic voice while significantly decreasing the original weight.
We plugged in our Tele and were excited to try the JC-40. With dual 20 W amps, we got that lush, stereo image that the Jazz Chorus is known for. We loved playing some open chords as well as some inversions up the neck while varying the speed and depth of this amp’s chorus as well as its reverb.
The Jazz Chorus name is associated with the ultimate clean sound, so we spent quite some time trying it out in clean. From country on the bridge pickup all the way to jazz with the neck pickup on our Tele, the JC-40 delivered iconic clean sounds.
Besides offering fantastic cleans, this amp, just like the JC-120, takes pedals really well. We ran our Ibanez Tube Screamer and EHX Big Muff Pi and got killer distortion and overdriven tones, great for just about any application. The JC-40 also responded well to our delay and modulation pedals, making it a great overall amp.
In short, a fantastic amp based on a classic.
Verdict: The Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus is a 40-watt version of one of the best-known amps in history. With the same sonic quality as the original and with significantly less weight, this amp is a great choice for gigging musicians of all genres.
Versatile tonal options and affordability in one convenient amp.
The Boss Katana series amps have been quite popular since this company released them a few years ago. They offer nice functionality and features and come loaded with sounds and effects, perfect for beginner Tele players.
The Boss Katana-50 MkII (full review here) is a combo amp that features five useful amp voicings that can take you from clean to heavily distorted quickly and conveniently. In addition, this amp comes with several customizable effects, and the ability to edit and save your own presets.
We plugged in our Tele to test the Lead, Clean, Brown, Crunch, and Acoustic amp voicings, one at a time. We particularly liked the Brown amp voicing. We felt our Tele sounded great within this distortion setting, particularly with the single coil bridge pickup, for heavy rock.
We also liked how the Clean voicing let the true nature of our Tele to come through.
On the bridge pickup, it gave us that country twang that is uniquely Tele. When we switched over to the neck pickup, we got a nice tone that reminded us of jazz maestro Ted Greene, while we played some chord solos with some extended voicings.
The Katana-50 also comes with 60 Boss effects, which is quite useful as you can use it sans a pedalboard. This is especially good for beginners that have just invested in a Tele and don’t have the funds to create a pedalboard.
This amp had us covered with effects, from time-based and modulation-based, all the way to different distortions and more. Additionally, all of these effects are accessible from the company’s Tone Studio editor software so you can edit them at will and then save them.
In short, a great amp that is used onstage, or as your spare amp for practicing. It is also a fantastic choice for those that are starting out as it comes with a variety of options that make it a versatile amp for your Telecaster.
Verdict: The Boss Katana-50 MkII offers you outstanding versatility and is very easy to operate. This is a great option for beginners and intermediate players, and comes with five amp voicings, plenty of effects, and even a few wattage options.
A true classic for stellar Fender tube tone.
The '65 Princeton Reverb is one of the most used amps in the world, and a staple among professional recording studios. They are famous for their clean tones, and give you a fantastic tube tone that is purely Fender.
The Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb (full review here) comes in a 1 x 10-inch configuration to offer you a 12-watt tube tone in a combo amp that is ideal for dedicated working professionals. Featuring a Jensen Special Design C-10R speaker and three 12AX7 tubes, one 12AT7 tube, two 6V6s tubes, and one 5AR4 rectifier tube, this amp gave us a stellar tone with added convenience.
The first thing we loved about this amp is how small and light it is for such a good-sounding unit. Fender made the ’65 Princeton Reverb specifically for quality practice sessions. However, this amp gave us enough authentic Fender tone to use in smaller gig situations.
Our Tele sounded fantastic, with its bite and true character coming through the Jensen speaker. The reverb on this amp is also world-class reverb and gave us a beautiful tone in our extended voicings and much more, in an easy and simple-to-use amp.
Another fantastic feature of this amp is that it takes pedals extremely well. We dialed in our Ibanez Tube Screamer to different levels of distortion and got killer tones throughout our tests. Although the ’65 Princeton Reverb is a small amp, it gave us a nice representation of the frequency spectrum, with fat lows, present mids, and clear highs.
This amp is also great for stacking up effects, and we loved to combine our pedals during our tests as this amp would give us a great tone regardless of the effects being used. We also loved the black textured vinyl covering that makes this amp durable and able to take on harsh gig situations.
In short, a fantastic amp that gives you a legendary Princeton tone on a much smaller and lighter package.
Verdict: The Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb features a 10-inch Jensen Special Design C-10R speaker and gives you 12-watts of pure tube tone. This amp is a great choice for discerning professionals that want a superior practice amp or an amp for playing smaller gigs in style.
Unmistakable Fender tone on a 1x12 configuration.
This amp gives the user an authentic Fender tone on an all-tube design, and convenience as it it is significantly smaller than many of this company's legendary models. Easy to use, store and transport, this is a fantastic choice for your Tele.
The Fender Blues Junior IV comes with a single 12-inch Celestion A-Type speaker that gives you 15 watts of power. You also get a Fat switch for adding low end and gain.
Despite the small form factor, this amp features three 12AX7 preamp tubes as well as two EL84 power tubes. You also get a Spring Reverb and a simple 3-band EQ that allowed us to quickly dial whatever tone we were going for.
We were excited to try this convenient tube amp and started by playing in clean with our Tele. We got that tried and true combination of Tele sound on an all American Fender amp that let all that twang and bite of our instrument to come through.
We loved the addition of the Fat switch, as it gave us a bigger yet controlled low end, with a nice gain that made our Tele sing. We liked our tone with the Fat switch engaged in both positions. For the neck pickup, we got a warm attack that can be used in many styles, even jazz. And for the bridge pickup, the Fat switch provided an extra layer of punch that works great from blues, rock, and beyond.
We then dialed up some overdrive via our Tube screamer and got a forward tone with nice sustain, with authentic Tele attitude. We dialed in some more aggressive distortion and loved how gritty our tone was, particularly on the bridge pickup, perfect for rock and blues.
In short, a convenient Fender amp that is small yet offers an authentic Fender tube tone.
Verdict: The Fender Blues Junior IV features a 12-inch Celestion A-Type speaker for 15 watts of power and a tube design with three 12AX7 preamp tubes as well as two EL84. A Fat switch adds low end and gain to push your Tele to its sweet spot.
British tone for fantastic Tele sound.
Vox is one of the biggest names in the history of electric guitar amplification, particularly for the so-called British tone. The AC10C1 is a simple and easy-to-use amp that delivers a good tone for practice sessions and small gigs and pairs up nicely with Telecasters.
The Vox AC10C1 comes in a 1×10″ configuration that delivers 10 watts of power on a tube combo amp. It features 12AX7 dual triode vacuum tubes at the preamp and EL84 pentode tubes for the power stage. Vox chose to use a Celestion VX10 custom speaker in order to complete the package.
We started our tests on clean and got great Tele tone with that bite and chimey character that this amp is known for. Although we liked how it sounded on the neck pickup, we loved how the AC10C1 gave us a forward twang when our Tele was on the bridge pickup. This sound was fantastic for chicken picking and other uses such as country, rock, and blues contexts on clean.
We then turned the Gain high and dialed a classic Top-Boost-style crunch with an authentic British flavor. Here, our favorite was the sound we got from the neck pickup, with a nice growl that favored our Tele. We also liked how simple this amp is to operate, with a master volume, a 2-band EQ, as well as a digital reverb.
In short, a fantastic choice for folks that want to practice with tube tone with a British flavor. Although it is convenient and small, this amp is not big enough for most live gig situations.
Verdict: The Vox AC10C1 gives you all tube British tone in a compact package, perfect for practicing or small gigs. With a 1×10″ configuration that features a Celestion VX10 custom speaker and a combination of 12AX7 dual triode vacuum tubes with EL84 pentode tubes, you get a fantastic British tone for your Telecaster.
A stylish amp that delivers vintage tone and looks.
Supro is one of the unsung heroes of rock & roll amplification, and their amps were used in historic recordings by the likes of Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. The Delta King brings all that swagger to your practice room, with versatility and killer looks.
The Supro Delta King 10 comes in a 1 x 10-inch configuration and offers 5-watt of tube tone on a practice combo amp. The first thing we liked about it was its retro look, in a stylish tweed and black color.
We set out to try this amp by plugging our Tele in and going feature by feature. We started trying out the FET-driven boost function, activated via a small switch right next to the main volume knob. Our Tele got a nice midrange boost that imprinted a sonic girth on our tone. From bluesy solos to chunking some saturated chords, the boost switch was our favorite feature on this Supro amp.
We then hit the Pigtronix FAT high-gain mode and got a gnarling tone that was quite huge for such a little amp. This setting is perfect for working on rock chops, and even for some aggressive blues soloing.
Finally, we also enjoyed the sound of the Delta King 10’s analog spring reverb, which gave our Tele a nice spacious glow, great for working on your jazz chops and other clean contexts.
In essence, you don’t really need to add effect pedals to make this amp a versatile practice tool. As good as it sounded and as versatile as it is, the price of this amp may be a bit elevated for some, especially for a practice amplifier.
Verdict: The Supro Delta King 10 is a great amp for practicing and comes in a 1 x 10-inch configuration (or you can get the Delta King 12 with a 12 inch speaker). With five watts of tube power, it features a 2-band EQ, FET-driven Boost, Pigtronix FAT Mode, and Spring Reverb for maximum versatility.
Massive sound with added effects.
This amp is a good solution for folks that need a loud gigging amp that does not cost a fortune. With a solid state design that also makes it more durable, this amp gives you two channels and nice versatility thanks to the onboard effects.
The Fender Champion 100 is a 2 x 12″ solid-state combo amp that comes with Fender Special Design speakers and two channels, each with built-in effects. This amp delivers a whopping 100 watts and comes in the classic Blackface styling that is legendary.
We started our tests by plugging our Tele into channel two, which features the selectable voice knob, plus the effects knob, Gain knob and 3-band EQ. Our favorite of all the voices was the Blackface, as it gives us a punchy bite that let our Tele’s twang ring through the best.
Regarding the effects, our favorites were reverb, delay/echo, and chorus. We were able to dial in how much of the chosen effect we wanted via the FX Level knob. All these effects make this amp a versatile option, and although we prefer the quality of our pedalboard effects, this is still a viable option, especially for practicing.
The Fender Champion 100 is a loud amp. However, it does come with a Headphones out for silent practice at home. In short, a good choice for folks that need a working amp with a good tone. That said, this is not a tube amp, and that impacts the tonal warmth and punch.
Verdict: The Fender Champion 100 features a 2 x 12″ solid-state combo configuration. With two channels, built-in effects, and an effects loop, you get 100 watts of power on an affordable and durable amplifier.
How To Choose The Best Amp for You
The Telecaster is a versatile guitar that can sound fantastic with a variety of amps. Whether you prefer something with vintage and timeless tube tones, or would rather have a more modern amp with a big sound, you can find it.
There are also small and convenient practice amps that come with loads of features such as modeling, effects, etc. Like most things guitar related, it is important for you to ask yourself what you need the amp for. Below we give you a few pointers on what to look for.
Tube amps can give you everything from beautiful cleans to rich crunch. Tube amps were predominantly used in legendary recordings of the past half-century. With the advent of pricier modeling digital amps like Kempers, Fractals, etc, some professionals have opted to ditch tube amps in the name of convenience.
However, plenty of professional guitar players still have tube amps as their main choice for the stage and the studio. Many brands offer quality tube amps that can match up nicely with your Telecaster. If you decide this is the way to go, then the next question becomes how big and how much wattage you want in your amp.
Keep in mind that although tube amps can give you a beautiful tone, they are also more fragile and pricier. This is because tubes have a specific lifespan and are relatively delicate. You may have to change tubes right before a gig, so keep that in mind as well.
Solid State amps
Solid-state amps are usually more durable than tube amps and tend to cost less. Naturally, there is a tradeoff for this, as most solid-state amps cannot match the tone and response of a good tube amp. This is particularly noticeable in distortion circuits of these amps, where tube models basically smoke solid-state amps.
As usual, it is important for you to try these different types of amps and hear what they sound like and how they respond. In all fairness, some solid-state amps can be quite good and you could get the distortion and overdrive from your trusted pedals, instead of the amp.
Folks that need tons of power but cannot splurge, often choose to get a solid-state amp. This is because you can get more wattage for less money. There is a clear trade-off in tone, but at least you can show up at the gig and play with a decent level of quality.
Nowadays, you can get amps with an extensive array of features that were unthinkable years ago. From modeling to effects, editing, Bluetooth capability, and more, there’s plenty to choose from.
However, please know that more features do not mean a better tone for your Tele or any instrument for that matter. When it comes to features, asking yourself what you need your amp for is key. Sure, you want it to sound good with your Tele, but under what context?
Do you want to play some gigs? Or do you want a practice amp that you can take anywhere that comes with effects and allows you to seamlessly play tracks from your smartphone? By answering these questions thoroughly, you will gain a clearer picture of which amp to get.
Price is a major consideration. In general terms, a good tube amp that can be used for live gigs is likely to cost more than a solid state amp with the same wattage. The same is true for practice amps of a similar size.
Last but not least, do not forget to take the weight of the amp into consideration. A vintage tube amp that sounds incredible may be quite cumbersome to move around and it will eventually take a toll on your body. Make sure you pick wisely.
The best amps for Telecaster can come in a variety of designs and with varying features. The one thing they have in common is that they allow the true character of the Telecaster to come through.
Naturally, Fender amps have a bit of an edge here, as they are specifically designed to sound good with Fender instruments and this particular pairing has been used in countless legendary recordings. However, Telecasters can also sound fantastic in other brands and models of amps.
To recap our choices, the Roland JC-40 Jazz Chorus is our top pick for this list. Featuring a 2 x 10-inch configuration, this 40-watt amp is based on the iconic JC-120, but with a smaller footprint.
The Boss Katana-50 MkII is our Budget Choice, offering you a convenient combo amp with five voicings. With several customizable effects, you don’t even need a pedalboard to get the most out of this amp.
Finally, the Fender ’65 Princeton Reverb is our Editor’s Choice. A wonderful pick for devoted musicians, this amp comes in a 1 x 10-inch configuration for 12 watts of pure tube tone that will make your Tele be at its very best.