beginning to look for a tube amp - Jemsite
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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
 
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beginning to look for a tube amp

I have a Flextone III 1x12 combo, and it's cool, ...but I guess I just want to find out what a tube amp is all about. The curiosity is just killing me so I want to get myself a good tube amp on a budget and, well, see if I can tell the difference, see what all the hype is about, see if I've been missing something, etc. I'm just a pure victim of "curiosity killed the cat" at the moment. It's an itch I've got to scratch.

Can you guys make some recommendations? I won't spend more than $500, period. Actually, I wanna stay well below that mark if at all humanly possible and still get awesome "tube tone" that I'm hearing about. I'm very open to used amps. I have a friend who swears by his Peavey Classic 30, ...and he has a Carvin Legacy 2x12 but won't gig it because it's too heavy to haul around. I get it, ..my flextone 1x12 ain't exactly light or compact. I want something loud enough to do small to mid-sized gigs, but also be able to get good tone at home to see what it's all about. I don't do gigs more than about once a year right now, ...but I'm looking to change that in the near future and get in a band, so i do want something that's not just a practice amp. It's my understanding from some friends, and one who's a professional full time musician, that I really don't need a big amp or half stack and that lots of pros tour and gig with a 1x12 30w amp or things in that size range. They say those amps get mic'd 99% of the time anyway, so there's really no need for a big amp, ...unless you're playing an amphitheather. I don't anticipate that any time soon, ...if ever, lol. (but who knows what the future holds? i never expected to pick up a guitar or play in front of people either, ...but that happened). There's also the issue of loading, unloading, and transporting an amp, ...and if it is large and really heavy, ..well, that just sucks, especially when it's just you loading it, or when you just wanna take your amp over and jam with some friends. SOOO, ..with all that info: <help> lol.

This all seems really overwhelming to me because of all the options. It'd be so much easier if there were only 3 to choose from, lol.

Amps I'm considering at the moment are:

-Peavey Classic 30
-B-52 (don't know anything about this)
-Vox AC15CC1 15w 1x12 (I love this model in the flextone, but is it right for my playing style? eh, dunno for sure)

-I really like the Buddha model in the flextone, A LOT, but based on the price I'm certain I can hang that up, lol.
-I like the Bogner Ecstasy in the flextone as well, but I'm sure I can hang that up too. Kinda helps ya know what I like though, so I mention it.

What are some good options out there?

I play Satch, Vai, AC/DC, led, police, audioslave, rage A.T.M., some Van Halen, some coldplay, some iron maiden, etc. When I have played out, it's been with coworkers and a chick singer to raise money for charities and so I'm doing lighter stuff since it's a corporate crowd and she's not a metal chick, lol, ...mostly old soulful tunes mixed with a few newer radio tunes, ...some that kinda rock. So, I play stuff all over the board, ...which is one reason the flextone is cool.

Based on those "all over the place" kinda tastes, ...what's good bread and butta tube ampage? I have a Boss DS-1 to drive it so that should help get some hard rock tones or approaching metal. I guess I don't actually play metal, but I guess it depends on what you classify as metal.
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 09:15 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Try a Valve Junior and a good cabinet. Won't break the bank, and sounds really good.
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 09:26 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Orange Tiny Terror, Peavey Windsor Studio, Laney LC15/30, VC15,30 - try those out.
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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonePhantom View Post
Orange Tiny Terror, Peavey Windsor Studio, Laney LC15/30, VC15,30 - try those out.
I'd like to try out that Orange after hearing a clip on youtube, but I don't have a cab unless I can run it through the flextone 1x12.

What would be the difference between a Peavey Windsor Studio and a Peavey Classic 30? Besides the extra 15watts I'd like to have.
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 11:06 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

only problem with the ac15 is u only really get one good sound..
classic 30 would be my pick for ur wants.
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 11:32 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

First of all, the Carvin Legacy too heavy to haul to gigs? I've got a Legacy and have no problem carrying that around. There are wheels, he could push it if it's too heavy.

Seems like the Classic 30 would be a good choice for you. The Windsor is nothing special, I'd take a Classic 30 over that any day. I wouldn't recommend B-52. They are very unreliable. I used to work at a music store. There two common scenarios for B-52 amps, either dead upon arrival or returned for repair a few weeks later. Often, there were problems with the input.

The Vox AC's are nice. I like them for their clean sound and that's about it. Out of what you mentioned, the Classic 30 would be worth looking into.
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Thanks for the input. Ya know, ...I'm looking at demos of the classic 30 on youtube and the amp sounds good but i'm unsure if it's capable of the distorted tones I want. Perhaps that's just a function of what pedals are in front of it?

All the stuff I'm listening to on there seems like it only gets to blues distortion. These samples make the amp seem a little too tamed for my taste. Is it capable of, oh, say some Rob Balducci/satch distortion? I just ask about his tone because I just heard some of his stuff on his webpage. I know they are using Cornford/Marshall, but don't know if that is where all the tone is or if some of that type distortion is locked up in the pedals overdriving the amp.
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-08-2007, 11:52 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

I would opt for one of these bad boys...
E Bay item #
280161203992
I have one and it kills.
I'd either go with the boogie or an Orange or maybe a nice VHT pitbull 1x12 combo.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 12:14 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

I'm really feeling the orange I think. Listening to this demo promo, at about the 2:00 Mark he hits the region of tone I'm lookin' for.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Crs53Jybij4
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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 12:52 AM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Give me an example of a Satch song(s) that have the sound your looking for.
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitarmiester View Post
Give me an example of a Satch song(s) that have the sound your looking for.
I absolutely love his tone on the album Flying in a Blue Dream. I don't know if a lot of that has to do with the paf's he was using, but that album just kills me on tone man.

Flying in a Blue Dream: One Big Rush, Flying in a Blue Dream, Big Bad Moon on rythym but I don't care for his lead tone on that song which could be due to effects rather than the amp, Ride has fantastic tone, The Forgotten (Part 2) just about decimates all, ...it just feels so freakin' awesome.

On Strange Beautiful Music I always am ready to hear The Traveler. I love that song completely, tone wise and every other regard.

On Super Colossal: Ten Words (very big sound), Cool New Way (love the cleans! and the lead tone rocks! man I love that lead tone.), The Meaning of Love and A Love Eternal.

On the "Joe Satriani" album, ...which is predominately blues in nature, Luminous Flesh Giants has great tone, Down, Down,Down, S.M.F. but it's pure blues tone, absolutely love tone on Home and (You're) My World. This album has some great tone, ...but I don't want to be locked into not being able to go heavier than this album.

On Crystal Planet: Crystal Planet, Time, Love Thing, With Jupiter in Mind, Secret Prayer.

There's definitely some variation in tone there, from almost muddy and highly distorted on Crystal Planet to the cool bright cleans on Super Colossal.

You know, ...I'm a big Vai fan, but in honest self evaluation I believe I'm coming to the conclusion that I might like Satch's tone better simply because it isn't SO distinctly unique. Vai's tone on K'm Pee Du Wee slays. But some of my favorite stuff from him is so distinct that to sound like that is to me "trying to be vai" which I want to avoid.

Thanks for your input and insightful question. I'm curious to see what you'll say. It seems one of the big struggles is getting an amp hot enough for small to mid-size gigs, and yet with the ability to get good tone at home without disturbing the neighbors. A friend has recommended I just full out get a Bogner and put a power block on it, ...but I dunno if that actually works the way I imagine, lol. But, I don't want a 4x12 to haul around. A 30w amp is sufficient for almost any gig, and I would like to stay with either a 1x12 or 2x12. A 1x12 combo is nice and compact and easy to carry around. A 2x12 can get quite heavy unless it's a head and separate cab. I AM willing to go with 50W as long as it is usable at home. I imagine, correct me if I'm wrong, that anywhere in the 30-50watt range should be usable for both home and stage.

I think I'm going to unrestrict myself on the money and just get the right thing up to say $1300-$1400, ...and for just the right amp, ...maybe more if it's "the last amp you'll buy" kinda thing that will make me happy for life.

Last edited by tt0511; 10-09-2007 at 10:08 AM.
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 01:44 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

Quote:
...A 30w amp is sufficient for almost any gig, and I would like to stay with either a 1x12 or 2x12. A 1x12 combo is nice and compact and easy to carry around. A 2x12 can get quite heavy unless it's a head and separate cab. I AM willing to go with 50W as long as it is usable at home. I imagine, correct me if I'm wrong, that anywhere in the 30-50watt range should be usable for both home and stage.

I think I'm going to unrestrict myself on the money and just get the right thing up to say $1300-$1400, ...and for just the right amp, ...maybe more if it's "the last amp you'll buy" kinda thing that will make me happy for life.
for that price range, ya might as well look into a Mesa Mark III or IV... the combo's might suit your need... maybe with a Paf Pro equipped guitar will get you closer to Satch's vowel-esque tone as well.
Otherwise, Orange's sounds great for that all-around in-yer-face British tone... but I've never came across one within your price range.
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

I'd like to check out the Laney, ...but I've read a lot of reviews praising the tone but most have had significant problems with them breaking down and other issues. That bothers me.

Does Mesa make a smaller amp that sounds good around 30watts?

I just read a great deal of the Jemsite Guide to amps. Great info in there. Based on that stuff it sounds like I'm interested in looking at Orange, Rivera, Mesa and Laney. Hope I didn't leave anything out. I really love the tone samples on the Bogner site of one of the Shiva's, ...and of course the Ecstasy, ...but man the prices are staggering.
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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

The songs, tones, and albums you mentioned none of them are very gainy or something the Classic 30 can't handle. Satch has used the Classic 50 (head) in the studio in the past. He really doesn't use a whole lot of gain, especially live. On tour, he's had the gain on his JSX at about 10 o'clock.

If you're willing to spend more you've got a ton of options. For most of his albums Satch used Marshall's, stock and modded. I had a custom 3-tube preamp made by the guy who modded Satch's Marshall's a while ago.

A 30 watt amp is just fine for playing out. You don't have to crank an amp live, that's what the PA is for. Find the sweet spot with your amp and mic it. I don't have any input on Bogner amps, never had the chance to try any out.

As for Mesa making a 30 watt amp, there's the F-30 which I wasn't overly impressed with. If you're willing to spend the money, check out the Lone Star. Might be a little too pricey for you though. If you're looking to go for a Mesa and want a great amp for the money - Nomad 45, Lone Star (Lone Star Special is 5, 15, and 30 watt selectable if i remember correctly) DC-3 (maybe not the voicing your looking for, but a great amp).

Maybe, go around to music shops in the area and play as many amps as you can. Figure out what you like about each and what you dont like. It'll help narrow down your amp search and help us give better suggestions.
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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 10-09-2007, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: beginning to look for a tube amp

I'll try a few as soon as possible. I can't find a price on that lone star anywhere online. The mesa homepage description of it makes it sound like the holy grail though!
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