Marshall Vs Fender Amps: The Great Debate

Marshall and Fender have been around for many decades. If you look back at their history, these 2 guitar amplifier brands are pioneers.

They have made some of the most iconic models. Today they still produce amazing products which can make selecting one hard.

The main difference is the music style that they made to play. Marshall amps are better for hard rock and metal tones. Fender is associated with country, blues, and classic rock.

They also each have a different aesthetic. Some players find one more appealing than the other for their specific looks.

In this Killer Rig article, we are going to explore how these amps are different in detail. We will also try and help you decide on which one is best for your style.

The Differences Between Marshall vs Fender Amps

Marshall and Fender are two of the most popular guitar amp manufacturers in the world. Both companies have a long history of making awesome sounding amplifiers. So, what are the differences between these two companies?

A quick look tell us that the big differences are:

  • Sound
  • Response
  • Feel
  • Aesthetic
  • Tube type
  • Music style

Marshall is known for its British rock sound. This tends to be a thicker, heavier tone with a great deal of distortion.

These sounds have generally been more suited to hard rock and metal styles. And many bands have come to love them and have for decades.

Fender is known for its American sound which is cleaner, and brighter. For many years, Fender amps have been used for mid-gain tones as well as country and blues styles of music. They are well known for their pristine clean sounds and are desired for this reason alone.

Marshall and Fender amps have different aesthetic styles as well. Marshall amps tend to be darker and more industrial looking. While Fenders tend to be lighter and more vintage in appearance.


Choosing between these two guitar amp companies is not easy! They both make great guitar amplifiers. It comes down to what you’re looking for in an amp, and how you want it to sound.

The good news is that there are many great models from each company, so you’re sure to find one that will do what you need.

You will also need to select between the two different looks, as each one has its vibe.

For some players, it begins with the one that has the better look for the music style. So if you are torn between the two, decide which one looks best with your style and start there.

Clean Tones

When it comes to a clean tone, they both sound very good. Fender amps are known for their clean sound that is bright, and clear. They were designed to be distortion-free in the beginning. Today you can get them with some added crunch that is chewier.

Marshall amps are less bright and have a darker mid-range sound when compared to the Fender tones. They also tend to break up a lot sooner and are less clean.

Click Here for Marshall vs Vox!

Marshall Mini Jubilee Amplifier

Distorted Tones

When it comes to distortion, both amps can also provide a great sound.

Fender amps are not what they use to be. Today, we have many Fender amps that have been designed to offer high-gain sounds.

One that many people rave about is the Tonemaster which had a great distorted sound.

Marshall is known for its high gain, and it’s what they do best. This is because distortion is what they have always been designed to do, and so they have perfected it. You can’t go wrong with the sound of an angry Marshall head!

Music Styles

Both Marshall and Fender are favored by musicians in a variety of different genres. Yet, it’s worth noting that each brand has its own unique sound and characteristics. This makes each amplifier brand better suited for certain types of music.

Marshall amps are known for their powerful, high-gain sound. This makes them a popular choice for rock, metal, and other loud, aggressive music.

With the right pedals and boosts, you can even play music like doom metal and get some tight tones.

Fender amps tend to have a cleaner, more precise sound. They are well-suited for blues, jazz, and rock. Even other styles where you need a more nuanced and subtle approach.

Both brands offer a wide range of different models. So it’s important to consider the specific needs of your music when choosing an amp. For example, Fender does make some models that have a bit more gain.

Comparing Different Models

Let’s take a look at amplifiers from both brands to see how they compare in the same range. Their output power offerings are slightly different.

This is something to keep in mind as well as head or combo. Fender makes more combo amps when compared to Marshall.

Check out our Marshall vs Orange comparison here.

Lower Power Models

For lower wattage options, we will consider 20-50 watt models.

Marshall Mini JubileeTubeCombo2201950
Fender 65 Deluxe ReverbTubeCombo2221400
Fender Mustang GTXSolid StateCombo150400
Marshall MGSolid StateCombo450500

Higher Power Models

Marshall JVMTubeCombo41003700
Fender Tone Master TwinTubeCombo22001300
Fender 65 Twin reverbTubeCombo2852000

As you can see from the two charts, all the amps compared are combos. This is because fender doesn’t have any offerings other than this format.

Head Formats

Fender doesn’t have any amp head offerings. So we thought we would add a few that are made in this format by Marshall for comparison.

Marshall JVM210HTubeHead21002600
Marshall 1959HWTubeHead21003900
Marshall SC20HTubeHead1201800

Not only does Marshall offer heads, there is also quite a bit more output power from them. So if you really need a loud amp, this might be a better option.

Which One Is Best With Pedals?

If part of your sound comes from a wide range of pedals, then this is also something to keep in mind. Not every amplifier takes pedals well, so this should be considered.

There are a lot of players who use pedals to create their distortion sound. In this case, you may want the one with better clean tones. Both companies make great pedal platform amplifiers ready for the task.


For Marshall amps, I would recommend looking at:

  • Origin 20
  • Origin 50
  • SV20H Studio Vintage
  • 2525H Mini Silver Jubilee 20 watt
  • 2555X Silver Jubilee 100 Watt

The format, power, and cost of these models all differ, but they are great pedal platform amps. They are not overly option-heavy, which is great for a player who uses pedals for their primary tone. A majority of them are valve models, but there are solid state amps also available.


Fender frontman 10g Amplifier

Fender amp options I would recommend are with good cleans:

  • Mustang GTX100
  • Champion 20
  • Champion 40
  • Champion 100
  • Tone Master Deluxe Reverb

There are some great options! But we would suggest staying away from the 12-watt models if you need lots of clean headroom. But there are great combo platform amps that would be a perfect fit. All with different channel arrangements and modeling.

Which One Is Better?

Now that we know a bit of what sets these two amp brands apart, which is better, Marshall or Fender?

The answer to this question is not as simple as you might think. Both companies make great amplifiers that have excellent sounds. There is a reason they are both so popular, and so It depends on what you’re looking for in an amplifier.

Looking for a great-sounding amplifier that can be used for lighter music styles? Then we would recommend checking out Fender. If you’re mostly interested in rock or metal styles, then Marshall is going to be a better fit.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this. Each company also makes models that compete in each other’s space.

Some Marshall amps are great for clean tones, and some Fenders can get nice and heavy. And so in the end, it comes down to what you like more.

Some people prefer the way one looks over the other. This also plays a part in the decision-making process.


So, what’s the bottom line? Which of these two brands makes better guitar amps?

It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want an amp that has lots of clean headroom and has a more vintage tone and aesthetic, then Fender is the way to go.

If you’re looking for an amp with modern high-gain distortion tones, then check out a Marshall.

Both companies make great products, so it really comes down to your specific needs and the look you want.

Photo of author

Don East

My name is Don East, I'm the editor for Killer Rig. I've been playing guitar for over 20 years and have designed and manufactured products like guitar amps, effects pedals, and more. Over the years I have played in many bands and have a deep love for quality gear. I am an electrical engineer and have a passion for music gear, and now want to share what I know with the community!