The Best-Selling Amps of 2016

In our series of year-end sales retrospectives, we've already examined the top-selling pedals and synths of 2016. Today, we're turning our spotlight to that corner of the stage where we stack all the guitar and bass amplifiers.

The amp market is a bit different than other branches of the gear industry. While there are certainly hot new amps that come out every year, typically the tried-and-true models and brands earn the most sales annually.

Compared to the constant buying and selling we see on the pedal market, guitarists buy amps far less frequently, which means lower overall sales velocity.

That said, an examination of the year in amps in the Reverb marketplace still yields some fascinating takeaways. Below are some numbers taken from our sales records presented as a snapshot of what the amp market has looked like in 2016.

These figures are limited to the sales on Reverb which, while reflective of the broader market, may differ from overall industry figures.

Top Amp Models in 2016

To start, let's take a look at the most popular individual amp models from the year. The first list shows the top selling amps by total number of sales. The second list shows the top amps by total gross sales by dollar amount.

Overall Best Sellers

#1 Vox AC15C1 15W Tube Guitar Combo

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#2 Orange MT20 Micro Terror Head Shop Now
#3 Orange Micro Dark Terror Head Shop Now
#4 Marshall DSL40C 40/20W Combo Shop Now
#5 Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue Shop Now
#6 Mesa Boogie Mark Five 25 Head Shop Now
#7 Fender Blues Junior III Combo Shop Now
#8 Vox AC10C1 Combo Shop Now
#9 Orange Tiny Terror TT15 Head Shop Now
#10 Vox AC4TV Combo Shop Now

Highest Grossing by $

#1 Mesa/Boogie Mark V Guitar Amplifier Head

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#2 Mesa/Boogie Mark Five 25 Head Shop Now
#3 Vox AC15C1 15W Tube Combo Shop Now
#4 Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb Reissue Shop Now
#5 Marshall DSL40C 40/20W Combo Shop Now
#6 Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 100w Head Shop Now
#7 Carr Skylark 1x12 Combo Shop Now
#8 Fender '65 Princeton Reverb Reissue 1x10 Combo Shop Now
#9 Vox AC30C2 30W Combo Shop Now
#10 Fender ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb 1x12 Combo Shop Now

Takeaways:

  • While Fender reigns supreme as the top selling brand, the trusty Vox AC15 sold more than any other individual amp. This may be due to its position as the only amp of this style and size in Vox's lineup, whereas Fender offers a wide variety.

  • Both the Orange Micro Terror and Micro Dark Terror ranked highly this year. These tiny amps are similar to pedals in their appeal. They're affordable enough that intrigued Orange fans can try one out without risking too much cash up front, which accounts for the high sales numbers.

  • The Mark V series from Mesa/Boogie sold extremely well this year. Unlike some other amps in Mesa's catalog, the Mark V channel the sound and design of the original Boogie amps of the '70s, which it appears more players are seeking out.

Top Amp Brands of 2016

Next up, we'll take a look at our sales metrics on a brand basis. Again, we'll split things up by first showing brand amp market share by total number of orders and then by total dollars spent on each brand.

Breakdown of brands by total number of orders

Best Sellers by # of Orders

#1 Fender
#2 Orange
#3 Marshall
#4 Vox
#5 Mesa Boogie
#6 Blackstar
#7 Peavey
#8 Roland
#9 Dr. Z
#10 Line 6
#11 Ampeg
#12 Panama Guitars
#13 Yamaha
#14 EVH
#15 Supro
#16 Egnater
#17 Fishman
#18 Kemper Amps
#19 Hughes & Kettner
#20 Quilter

Highest Grossing by $

#1 Fender
#2 Marshall
#3 Mesa Boogie
#4 Orange
#5 Vox
#6 Dr. Z
#7 Kemper Amps
#8 Peavey
#9 Ampeg
#10 Blackstar
#11 Tone King
#12 Supro
#13 Carr
#14 Roland
#15 Two Rock
#16 EVH
#17 Panama Guitars
#18 Swart
#19 Line 6
#20 Bad Cat

Takeaways:

  • Fender absolutely dominated amp sales on Reverb this year. This is nothing new. Apart from their obvious value and reputation, Fender amps cover a massive range of styles and sizes with a six-decade legacy of used and vintage amps still on the market.

  • Panama Guitars placing on both lists is an example of where our internal data may differ from the broader market. Panama sells its gear direct on Reverb, with an impressive line-up of budget-friendly amps that clearly strike a chord with our community.

  • Of the boutique makes on the list, Dr. Z leads the pack, with Tone King, Two Rock and Carr close behind. Check out our ongoing series of boutique amp guides for more information on these and other fantastic boutique amps.

Fender Leads Vintage Amp Sales

As you can see above, Fender amps continue to sell extremely well and make up nearly a quarter of amp sales on Reverb. This is especially prevalent with vintage amps where the entire top ten list of best-selling individual vintage models is comprised of Fender amps. They rank as follows:

Brand Model
#1Fender Princeton Reverb
#3Fender Champ
#3Fender Vibro Champ
#4Fender Deluxe Reverb
#5Fender Twin Reverb
#6Fender Bassman Head
#7Fender Super Reverb
#8Fender Princeton
#9Fender Bandmaster Head
#10Fender Deluxe

This dominance is staggering, though not entirely surprising. When you think vintage amps, you usually first think Fender, Vox and Marshall. With Vox, historic production was significantly less consistent than Fender, and there's really only a few year period where, for example, the AC-30 in its most sought-after form was produced, making sales for these relatively low. Similarly, with Marshall, prices on actual '60s Hendrix-style Plexi stacks are so high that it's not the sort of commodity that gets traded with much regularity.

This leaves Fender, where a robust and varied vintage inventory continues to see strong sales. Not surprisingly, the less expensive models sell more regularly and are frequently bought and sold by players who crave that '60s tolex without dropping multiple thousands of dollars. Additionally, this data set includes sales from the '70s Silverface-era amps which are relatively attainable for most players, though going up in value.

Beyond these less expensive Fenders, a noticeable chunk of vintage amp sales on Reverb are comprised of cheap amps from Kay and Teisco and various other department store brands. The models that make up this amp class are so diffuse and occasionally difficult to identify that no single amp model really stands out from the crowd the way a Fender Champ does.

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