Hughes & Kettner ATTAX: Affordable Clean Solid State Amp

Hughes & Kettner ATTAX

The older Hughes & Kettner ATTAX Series are some of the best-built solid state amps out there. 

Not all of us can afford tube amps, or in some cases, it is simply not the best solution. If you want a reliable solid state amp to practice or an amp to use while you give classes to students there are many options out there. It can be difficult to choose or to have the chance to try all of these amps. Over the years there was one solid state amp in particular that has stood out from the rest. Not only in terms of tone but also in the build quality – the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX Series.

This is not by any means an expensive amp. In fact, some years ago you could still get the 50-watt version for about $100 used. Since then, they have gone up in price since more guitarists are aware of this, but it is still an affordable amp. 

The tone

First things first, forget about the overdrive channel it is not even worth reviewing. That is not why you should buy this amp. Instead, the clean channel is one of the most pristine clean tones out of a solid state amp I have ever heard. It also has reverb and an effects loop, which helps those who want to use pedals.

 It is undeniable how great the tone is, and how well the amp works with pedals. You have to remember that this review is also based on the price. So there are certainly better amps out there, with better tone, there are much more versatile. However, for an amp that costs less than $200, the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX has one of the best clean solid state amp tones ever.

It is a great choice as a practice amp, or if you give guitar classes and want to use this amp for your students.

For jazz guitarists, this is certainly an amp to consider. We know how some jazz solid state amps can be expensive, and the tone of the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX is well worth the money. If you want to use some gain, I would definitely advise you to use some pedals with the amp. Some Boss distortion pedals, or if you can a Xotic BB Preamp would go a long way to improve your overdrive and distorted tones. 

With pedals, the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX really shines and allows you to cover a lot of different music genres. So if you want to play some crunchy blues or rock you will have to get a distortion pedal.

Hughes & Kettner ATTAX 50

The best about the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX

The best selling point of the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX is its clean channel. Outstanding clean, and pristine tones that are reminiscent of a Fender Twin. Of course, there are differences, but considering the price, it is one of the best options out there.

Another great thing about the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX is how cheap it is. This is an amp that you will still be able to find in some places for $100-$150 used. For the quality of the clean channel and the reliability, it is worth it.

All of the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX Series amps come with Celestion G12. Only the speaker will cost you new about $150, so you are really getting a great deal even if you buy the 50-watt Hughes & Kettner ATTAX for $200. You can always use that speaker for another amp or cabinet if you don’t like how it sounds.

The worst about the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX

The worst thing about the Hughes & Kettner ATTAX is definitely the overdrive channel. The tone is just unbearable, and honestly, that is not a reason why you should buy this amp. If you want a great crunchy or overdrive tone, you will need to get some pedals. What this amp does is create a great clean sound foundation that you can then modify with some of your favorite pedals.

It might be difficult to find one in pristine condition since many people are snagging them up. It is also a lot easier to find used ones in Europe as opposed to the US. However, there are still quite a few of these available if you know where to look.

If you can’t really use the lead channel, it might not be the best option for guitarists that want to avoid pedals.

Hughes & Kettner ATTAX prices

You can still get this amp for under $200 for the 55-watt version, which will be enough for most people. If you really want there is the 100-watt version (Hughes & Kettner ATTAX 100), and that packs a lot more power. It could be an interesting option if you are going to play live shows, and want a reliable amp.

Here are some used ones available on Reverb, starting around $180.

Guitar Center also seems to have two of them, and one of the 50-watt is going for $150 – a complete steal!

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