In another forum we were discussing basic sound coming from an instrument and Ted mentioned " "I have a tone control on my amp!!"
No truer statement ever made when it comes to getting sound out of a cigar box. Facing reality, cigar box guitars are fantastic instruments. They're home-made, hand-made and are incredible folk music devices-- but compared to a regular full-size acoustic guitar, acoustically they just don't cut it. CBGs have their own sound and they're wonderful... but they really shine when they're hooked up to an amplifier. It is when we flip in that amp that our friend's eyes open wide and jaws hit the floor.
If you're looking for great, versatile sound from a small, low-cost amp, I recently came across the Fender Mustang I modelling amp. I have to say, for the price it is difficult to beat the versatility of this amplifier. Its only weakness is that it's not a "busking" amp; you can't run mike and instrument through it at the same time. But at the cost, buy a separate voice amp, run your git into the Fender, you're good to go.
I won't bore with details here, but go to YouTube and check out demos of the Fender Mustang I amp. After buying mine I have to admit, I'm pretty much out of the amplifier business. The only amps I build these days are for custom looks (steampunk amps etc). There is just no way a home-made amp is going to beat the sounds that can come from the Fender.
Now agreed, the Fender likely isn't going to get that special "honky tonk" sound one can produce from an overdriven cigar box amp using a HoneyTone driver board. There is something to be said for home-made, be it guitar or amp. But if you're looking for just about any kind of sound you want out of an amplifier, I have to recommend the Fender. It's relatively inexpensive (about $120). I got mine used and in perfect condition at Guitar Center for $49.) People upgrade from this amp to the larger version regularly, so quite often quality used amps are available. Or invest more and get a larger modeling amp instead, depending on your needs. But I can say that for most of us, the Model I and a small accompanying voice amp is all we need.
Thought I'd pass it on. It's not the only amp in the world nor is it the "very best", but for the money it is more versatile and powerful than you'd expect.
I can type almost the exact post, except for the Roland Micro Cube. Incredible assortment of tones & effects, for about the same price. The new one has an iPad (or phone) app where you can download and apply different samples. HMMMM, today I want to sound like Gilmore on Comfortably Numb... Runs on 120v and battery, and the batteries last forever.
I agree Ted, the Roland is a great amp... and works well as a busking amp. I wish they'd make it in an 8" model. I've heard of people taking it apart and adapting it to an 8" speaker and every person raves at the results. If I still performed I'd be tempted to do that myself.