The biggest selling amp of 2021 is also the smallest

Fender Mustang Micro
(Image credit: Future)

Internet music retail giant Reverb has been doing its end-of-year accounting, tallying up the gear that we have been buying, and has released its list of the top 20 biggest-selling amps of 2021. 

It a list that has some familiar faces, some guitar amp classics that dominated last year’s list, but taking number one spot in its inaugural year was a micro amplifier with stacks of effects and digital amp modelling tech under the hood, in a compact form that fits inside your pocket. That’s right, step on down, Fender’s Mustang Micro – officially, Reverb’s top-selling amplifier of 2021. 

What does the Mustang Micro’s triumph tell us about the current trends in guitar playing? Well, from a supply side POV, it tells us that digital modelling technology is changing what’s possible with the guitar amplifier. 

Again, the Mustang Micro is pocket-sized, it has a dozen onboard effects and a dozen amp emulations – most remarkable. And yet, not only is this a generously spec’d practice solution, it can be used as an audio interface

Fender Mustang Micro

(Image credit: Fender)

From the demand side, Reverb said that another year in which digital amps dominated the list was yet again another sign of the pandemic’s impact.

“Modellers in general were quite popular again this year, which can certainly be attributed to the pandemic, at least partially,” says Reverb. “The other reason that they're getting quite popular is that they're frankly getting much better. The qualities that have always made them appealing – smaller size, less weight, and wealth of amp options in one package – are still there, while the tech has improved tremendously.”

Indeed, it is telling that the highest-charting tube amp in 2021 was the Vox AC15C1, which came in at number eight – though it should be noted the tube-driven preamp hybrid designs of the Orange Micro Dark and Micro Terror came in fourth and fifth respectably, suggesting that guitar players still value tube tech somewhere in the design. With digital technology getting closer to emulating the response of the vacuum tube amplifier, today’s guitarist now has the option.

1. Fender Mustang Micro Amp

2. Boss Katana MKII

3. Positive Grid Spark 40

4. Orange Micro Dark

5. Orange MT20 Micro Terror

6. Yamaha THR10II

7. Yamaha THR30II

8. Vox AC15C1

9. Orange Crush CR35RT

10. Fender Tone Master Deluxe Reverb

11. Fender '65 Reissue Deluxe Reverb

12. Fender Rumble 100 / Boss KTN-Mini

13. Boss Waza Air

14. Fender Blues Junior III

15. Marshall DSL20HR

16. Fender Champion 20

17. Orange Terror Stamp 20

18. Fender Rumble 40 V3

19. Kemper Amps Profiler Stage

20. Marshall Studio Vintage SV20H MKII

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.