“Taking guitar ambitions to the next level”: Boss ushers in the third generation of its flagship, seven amp-strong Katana line

Boss's Katana Gen 3 amplifiers
(Image credit: Boss)

With the unveiling of the third generation of its best-selling Katana modeling amp series, Boss is promising to “take guitar ambitions to the next level.”

Refreshed with some updated sounds and features, the series features seven amps, comprising 50- and 100-watt combo amps, and two 100-watt heads. 

The first generation of Katanas took the guitar modeling world by storm in 2016, with a second iteration following three years later. In the face of what is now a far more competitive modeling amp market, Boss has taken its time to ensure the third-gen series can elevate its flagship amp line.     

Core enhancements to its Tube Logic technology aim to “enrich the core platform with even greater sound, feel, and response.” 

That sees a new Pushed amp character added to its existing five amp characters – Acoustic, Clean, Crunch, Lead, and Brown. The new channel delivers a touch-sensitive, edge-of-breakup sound akin to the gain of a clean combo driven into harmonic saturation.

This amp architecture, sitting alongside Boss' reactive Class AB power, has helped set the standard for modeling amps by offering tube-inspired sounds in a digital context. That means those sought-after tones can be paired with the benefits of digital amps, including a huge scope of tweakable onboard effects, one-touch memory recall, and variable power control. 

A guitarist wielding a Les Paul plays through one of Boss's Katana Gen 3 amplifiers

(Image credit: Boss)

The Katana's five amp characters have all been refined, and include selectable variations, resulting in 12 distinctive and diverse tones. A newly introduced Bloom circuit has been added to several Katana models – notably its high-end models only – revoicing their feel and response. 

There are five onboard effects categories to explore: Booster, Mod, FX, Delay, and Reverb. All effects benefit from refined wizardry from the Boss boffins, and grab-and-go parameter controls, with each effect served up in three different forms.  

Key updates have also been made to the Boss Tone Studio app – available for PC and Mac – to make remote tone tweaking and editing workflows more intuitive. 

The update makes 60 different effect types available to players for detailed customization that cannot be made on the amp alone. 

It's also possible to stream audio from a mobile device and wirelessly edit sounds using the app on iOS and Android when connecting via Bluetooth. It must be noted that a $60 Boss BT-Dual Bluetooth Audio MIDI Dual Adapter needs to be installed to access those capabilities.  

A Stratocaster sits next to one of Boss's Katana Gen 3 amplifiers

(Image credit: Boss)

As with previous generations, it’s possible to store Tone Settings, which can be recalled via a single button, with rear-panel jacks supporting footswitch controls and expression pedals. 

All the Gen 3 amps, apart from the Katana-50, are compatible with Boss' stage-ready GA-FC and GA-FC EX Foot Controllers.

The series features two 50-watt combos, each with 1x12 speakers. The Katana-50 Gen 3 is the entry-level model, while the Katana-50 EX offers an upgraded speaker and foot control compatibility.

Of the 100-watt models, the Katana-100 features a 1x12 speaker, and the Katana-100/212 doubles its speaker count. The Katana Head, meanwhile, boasts a Bloom voicing option and a five-inch onboard speaker for low-volume practices. 

The range is completed with the Katana Artist, its flagship combo model, which delivers 100 watts of power, a custom 12-inch Waza speaker, Bloom voicing, and advanced tone tools. As the name suggests, the Katana Artist Head is the head version of the amp. 

A guitarist plays through one of Boss's Katana Gen 3 amplifiers

(Image credit: Boss)

The series will be released in stages, with the Katana-50, Katana-100, and Katana-100/212 now available to purchase, starting at $299.99. The rest of the series will be released later this year. 

Head to Boss for more information about the highly-anticipated Katana Gen 3 series. 

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.