Don’t hate me for this Positive Grid Spark 40 practice amp review! (But it’s the TRUTH)

You’re going to hate me for this Positive Grid Spark 40 guitar amp review. Why? Because I love this practice amp! There are a few small quirks that might annoy you, which I’ll cover in this review, but all in all this is a fantastic guitar amp. (Which you can use with bass guitar and acoustic guitar as well.) As you might know I also love the Spark GO mini guitar amp, but I play the Spark 40 more. If you live in an apartment, dorm, or condo this might be the amp for you.

So just to be clear: I think this is the best home practice amp you can buy for beginning or intermediate guitarists or anybody who never plays live, which is most guitarists. (If money is tight then my favorite is the Spark GO, but there are a few things that make the Spark 40 better.)

Editor of ArtOfShred Karol Gajda with his Positive Grid Spark 40 amp

I bought the Spark 40 for $278 and that included the travel gig bag that I never use and you probably don’t need. It is often available for around $270 – $300 without the travel bag and I think it’s worth that price, considering everything this amp can do.

Karol's Spark 40 order receipt
Karol’s Spark 40 order receipt

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Why You Should Trust Us

Hey, I’m Karol (like Karl not Carol). I’ve been playing guitar for 20+ years, but I’m still an amateur and learning every day. In my younger years I played in a band, but nowadays it’s for fun. I’m not a guitar snob, and I think everybody should just have fun with it.

Why should you listen to this Spark 40 practice amp review? Because I don’t care about selling you anything and I want to help you make an informed choice about this and every other piece of gear I review. I started Art Of Shred because I was unimpressed with the obviously biased paid for guitar and musical equipment reviews online. I only get paid if you use one of the referral links below to buy something. Everything I write here is unbiased. Keep in mind, of course, that these are just my views. I don’t know everything and my opinions are my opinions.

Positive Grid Spark 40

8.8 out of 10

Spark 40 guitar, bass, and acoustic practice amp

Weight: 11.5 lbs

Made in: China

9 out of 10
Looks good, and has a customizable grille
Setup (out of box)
9 out of 10
Playable out of the box, but it does sometimes have firmware updates that require plugging it into your computer
9 out of 10
A better more full sound than the Spark GO, but not a 10/10
8 out of 10
A good value, but it is a higher end home practice amp


Feature packed modeling amp

Can be used as an audio interface to record songs

Gets really loud, but also sounds good quiet

Has a headphone output for extra quiet use


It's pricey for a practice amp

Depending on what you're playing, sometimes the small speakers lack clarity

Not ideal for live performances

Requires the iOS/Android app to get the best use out of the amp

Spark 40 Amp Video Review

This 20 minute video review of the Spark 40 amp on ArtOfShred’s YouTube channel goes into fairly extensive detail about this modeling amp from Positive Grid. I cover the amp sounds, effects, the Positive Grid Tone Cloud (where you can download my tone presets!), recording, use of the Spark Control, and more.

The Basics of the Positive Grid Spark 40

It’s like this: the Spark 40 is a feature packed home practice amp that is suitable for guitar, bass, and acoustic. It really is the Swiss Army Knife of guitar amps. It sounds good loud or quiet and has nearly endless tonal possibilities through the accompanying app. It’s my favorite of the digital modeling practice amps. (That’s not to say that modeling amps like the Boss Katana aren’t good. They are!)

What is a digital modeling amp? That’s simply how amps like the Positive Grid Spark 40 create their sounds. They clone popular amps by Marshall, Fender, Vox, Mesa Boogie and others, as well as popular effects from Boss, EHX, and others. These digital clones are not exact replicas, but they are quite close.

The Positive Grid Spark 40 spec breakdown:

  • 40 watt amplifier
  • Two 4″ speakers
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 33 amp models
  • 43 effects models
  • Access to 10,000+ tone presets in the Positive Grid Tone Cloud (search Art of Shred to find mine)
  • 4 programmable preset buttons to save your favorite tone presets on the amp itself
  • 350 x 180 x 190 mm (13.78 x 7.08 x 7.48 in)
  • Made in China

First Impressions

Spark 40 with grille removed
Spark 40 with grille removed

Well it’s a practice amp, what more do you want? Haha, just kidding.

When I first got this amp I tested the on board amp models without any customization through the Positive Grid Spark app and I don’t love any of those tones. So if you’re buying this amp without plans to connect it with the app I probably wouldn’t recommend the Spark series of amps. Spark 40 gets it’s best use by using the Spark iOS/Android app where you can get lost in a fun world of tone shaping.

So my first impressions were: okay this amp is fine, but it’s not worth it to me without customizing tones through the app (and what’s called the Positive Grid Tone Cloud). Setting it up to use with the app was simple. I downloaded the Spark App from the Play Store, opened it, clicked Connect to connect the Spark 40, and I was off to the races.

Apparently some people have issues with the app connection, but I’m not sure what that’s about. I have not had issues with the 3 different Android phones I’ve used.


Back of the Spark 40
Back of the Spark 40, taking a look at the Aux input, the USB output, and the power input.

The Spark 40 comes with a USB A cable because you need that to update the firmware or to use it as an audio recording interface but if you have a Macbook you need a USB C cable. I bought this one for $10 and it has treated me well over the years. I honestly don’t understand why companies still include USB A cables with their products since nearly every device is USB C now, but that’s a different issue.

I’ve already mentioned this, but the reliance on the iOS/Android app is a negative for some folks. It’s not a negative for me.

Lastly, it is really helpful to have the $99 Spark Control footswitch. It’s not an absolute requirement — I had the Spark 40 for over a year before the Spark Control was even released! — but it is helpful.

If some of these cons feel like nitpicking well, you’re not wrong. These are minor issues at worst as far as I’m concerned.


Top of the Spark 40 practice amp
Close up of the four Spark 40 presets as well as other controls

As you can already tell this practice amp is mostly pros for me.

  • It gets loud and sounds good. You could hypothetically use it for a performance but I wouldn’t use it for anything other than maybe a coffee shop or small open mic.
  • The Positive Grid Tone Cloud gets you access to 10,000+ tone options and you can create, save, and upload your own tones to the Tone Cloud as well. Tone shaping is really fun with the app.
  • You can use it to record great sounding demos since it doubles as a USB audio interface! (I also use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 to record to my computer, but that’s when I’m using pedals.)
  • It’s a good amp option if you live in a very small space with shared walls. The Spark GO might be better for you but it depends on your needs & wants.
  • With the app you can play along to YouTube videos, which is a fun way to practice guitar.

How Does A Spark 40 Sound?

It sounds good, but I won’t say it sounds phenomenal. These are 4″ speakers and there is only so much you can do there. For my needs it’s great, though. If you’re looking for a true tube amp tone and feel then you won’t get that with a Spark. But you will get close to tube amp tones, because modeling amps like the Spark have come a long way.

I use the Spark on every guitar review I do.

My suggestion is to watch some of the ArtOfShred YouTube videos to get a better sense of what the amp sounds like:

Honestly you can watch any guitar review on the channel because I use the Spark 40 (or the Spark GO) on every single review. (At the time of this writing.)

I also need to point out that the Spark 40 sounds really good used as a USB audio interface. If you want to record demos on your computer you will not need a separate device if you buy a Spark 40.

Should you buy a Spark GO, Spark Mini, or Spark 40?

An alternate question is: Who Is The Spark 40 Amp Made For?

Here’s the deal: if you’re looking for a very feature packed home practice amp that gets loud then the Spark 40 is for you. If you’re a beginner or an advanced player who plays at home then I can’t imagine you won’t love this amp as much as me.

But if you’re looking for something a little smaller and more portable the Mini or GO might be more suited to your needs. Those are both battery powered with the GO being ultra portable (and I love it too!).

Spark 40 Photo Gallery

Final Thoughts on the Positive Grid Spark 40 guitar practice amp

This is a great choice for a practice amp. That’s not to say that it’s the perfect choice for you, but after reading this review and you’re still interested I doubt you will be unhappy if you go ahead and make the purchase. It really is a feature packed practice amp that sounds really good and there isn’t much more you can ask for from an amp.

Overall: 8.8 / 10. A wonderful practice amp for beginners and non-beginners alike.

Do you own a Spark 40? Please let me know below what you like and dislike about it.

2 thoughts on “Don’t hate me for this Positive Grid Spark 40 practice amp review! (But it’s the TRUTH)”

  1. Just received my amp two days ago. It came with no instructions other than asking to download the app and my cell phone is acting up and I cannot download anything. I hope my experience match yours when I am able to download the app.

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