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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I posted this on another forum and got some suggestions but I’m still on the hunt. The JEM777 is my main electric, the one I play the most. The strat is a squire that I put some money into, new bridge, new wiring, custom shop pickups. Crazy I know but I like that cheap guitar.

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Looking for a combo tube amp. I have 2 guitars, a strat SSS and an Ibanez JEM. I play classic rock like Beatles, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Van Halen. Most playing is at home, no gigging. Portability is important as I sometimes play with friends. Desire is for all sounds to come from the amp without pedals.

I currently have a Yamaha THR30 but really want tube sound. There’s no stores around me except the big retailers Sam Ashe and Guitar Center so I can’t try much out before buying.

The Mesa Mark V25 is what I’m thinking about so far. Any other suggestions?
 

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The Blackstar HT series are great. But are you wanting effects on board as well, is that what you mean by "Desire is for all sounds to come from the amp without pedals"? Or are you just talking about clean and dirty tones?
 

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Hi. I posted this on another forum and got some suggestions but I’m still on the hunt. The JEM777 is my main electric, the one I play the most. The strat is a squire that I put some money into, new bridge, new wiring, custom shop pickups. Crazy I know but I like that cheap guitar.

Here’s the post.
Looking for a combo tube amp. I have 2 guitars, a strat SSS and an Ibanez JEM. I play classic rock like Beatles, Hendrix, Zeppelin, Van Halen. Most playing is at home, no gigging. Portability is important as I sometimes play with friends. Desire is for all sounds to come from the amp without pedals.

I currently have a Yamaha THR30 but really want tube sound. There’s no stores around me except the big retailers Sam Ashe and Guitar Center so I can’t try much out before buying.

The Mesa Mark V25 is what I’m thinking about so far. Any other suggestions?
‘I have a mark V 25, it is really versatile. I even manage to get Voxy tones out of it. Worth every penny.
Musical instrument Guitar Guitar accessory Plucked string instruments String instrument accessory
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The Blackstar HT series are great. But are you wanting effects on board as well, is that what you mean by "Desire is for all sounds to come from the amp without pedals"? Or are you just talking about clean and dirty tones?
Clean with some headroom and gets dirty for Van Halen sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
‘I have a mark V 25, it is really versatile. I even manage to get Voxy tones out of it. Worth every penny. View attachment 18221
Thanks. Nice looking setup you have. Mark v 25 is at the top of my list even after doing more research. I think the combo is around 26 pounds which is very appealing. I really don’t want to lug around a 40 or 50 pound amp at my age. I don’t need to move it too often though. It sounds like all the tones I want are there but it takes some time to dial it in.
 

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Clean with some headroom and gets dirty for Van Halen sound.
I've got the Blackstar Studio 10.
Small enough for home use. But KT88 tube powered so warm and good gain sounds if you push it. Big enough for small bar gigs and neighborhood jam sessions with a drummer as it can get loud. It doesn't have any inbuilt effects other than reverb, but I'm a pedal junkie so I like that. Not sure from your original post looked like you wanted a one solution does it all?

With these Blackstar valve combos the bit that helps keep the price down is the speaker. Mines upgraded to a 12" celestion creamback. So it's now a hell of a lot of amp for the money.
 

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These came out a little while ago. The 5150 iconic... Comes in a head or combo. Check out some YouTube videos of it. Pretty good bang for your buck... You should be able to get anything from clean, classic rock to metal tones. It's 40 watts... It has a noise gate, xf loop, power reduction for nice tones at lower volume... and reverb.

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
These came out a little while ago. The 5150 iconic... Comes in a head or combo. Check out some YouTube videos of it. Pretty good bang for your buck... You should be able to get anything from clean, classic rock to metal tones. It's 40 watts... It has a noise gate, xf loop, power reduction for nice tones at lower volume... and reverb.

Thanks. I did see this one but ruled it out due to weight, 53 pounds.
 

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Most tube combos are not light... Real ply wood (though this is constructed from MDF... Which may be heavier due to all the glue 🤔), Transformers and nice magnets are heavy. Weight vs. tone... I'll take tone hands down every time. Regardless of what you choose, don't let a little more weight be a deal breaker. Getting some casters to roll it around could make life a little easier. I have a Soldano SLO 30 with a 4x12 celestion cab... Wouldn't trade a full size cab for anything! Even my back 😆 and I'm 5'6" and 150lbs 😐
 

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When I read your post I instantly thought of the Boss Katana series... Super versatile, loaded with every effect/feature you can imagine for jamming, recording, or whatever. The 50 watt is only 25 lbs and has 3 power setting for cranked amp tones at lower volumes, etc, blah blah blah too much to list. The only thing you wont like is the fact that it is not tube, but check it out and look at the reviews. I got to check out the 100w at the local music store and it sounded AMAZING. Thought about simplifying my rig and going with the Katana for all effects/amp/interface, etc.

Boss Katana 50 Watt 1x12
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The katana's do kick ass, I just recommended that to a buddy yesterday for a practice amp. Probably the most impressive sounding digital amp I've ever heard.
Thanks. I have checked them out and do like. Just looking for that tube sound. The THR30 is a nice practice amp as well but I want to get away from modeling amps.
 

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The Beatles used old Vox and Fender amps, Zep and Van Halen old Marshall Plexi, of course you can get an amp that will sound great for playing this kinda music but hard to get exactly there without a modelling amp. Honestly though, there is nothing quite like being in the room with a tube amp and playing guitar, it's like a magical experience, I've played the Katana on a handful of occasions live and for me it just sounded dead, plastic, lifeless, I know a lot of people like them but really for me it just doesn't compare to the other amps I've been playing over the years.. I know nothing about Blackstar amps really, played them once or twice at stores but one of the most vivid memories of seeing a band live at a local venue was this originals rock band playing Blackstars, and damn their sound was so damn good I had to wrestle with myself because I had been badmouthing Blackstar based on my limited experience only to then hear a band playing live and it was one of the best guitar sounds I've ever heard live, and it sat so well with the rest of the band.

If you go check out the Andertons guitar channel they often play through Victory amps (and they list the model), those really do well at those older rock/blues sounds, amazing cleans and really nice low/mid gain stuff, they cover a lot of ground. The designer at Victory is Martin Kidd and honestly I think he has designed some of the best sounding guitar amps in history, like the Cornford MK50, so it's no surprise the Victory stuff is decent.

Mesa Boogie too, about 2 years back I played a wedding where the groom had his own band setup there ready, including a Mesa Boogie (think it was a Lonestar) combo.. Honestly that amp was just incredible, filled the room with this monstrous 3 dimensional sound, really open and dynamic.. Just an experience to play through. You just can't get this kinda thing from a budget solid state like a Katana.
 

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I was going to get the victory v30 mkii before I found out they made a 30 watt Soldano. Victory amps are definitely great sounding amps. But I agree with BigBazz, tube is just better. It's organic... It feels alive... It's like playing with a recording or with a band. Sure the recording serves the purpose, but playing with real human beings... It provides a whole other level of energy and inspiration. But!!!!! Tube amps are not light. Not normally anyway... So wanting a light amp with real tube tone that doesn't suck is a a hefty order to fulfill. Real high quality satisfying tube tone isn't going to come from digital amps... Take it from the "line6" in my name. I loved solidstate amps until my line 6 amp died during band practice and I played through a half stack musicman 60 watt amp from the 60's... Digital amps make awesome practice amps, but that's definitely as far as it goes IMO.
 

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I know nothing about Blackstar amps really, played them once or twice at stores but one of the most vivid memories of seeing a band live at a local venue was this originals rock band playing Blackstars, and damn their sound was so damn good I had to wrestle with myself because I had been badmouthing Blackstar based on my limited experience only to then hear a band playing live and it was one of the best guitar sounds I've ever heard live, and it sat so well with the rest of the band.
I currently use a Blackstar HT-5R and it does very well... Quite a lot of sound for a 5 watt head. Very solid amps and great sound, pretty tweakable with the ISF and standard tone controls. I only play at home in a spare bedroom (err... home studio, lol) and it is more than enough power. For me though, I need an eq and overdrive in front of it (occasionally a wah) and a delay in the fx loop. If I need more effects I use a Boss ME-80 as the front end and run it directly into the fx return. Pretty versatile and cost effective for a below average goofball home player like myself. :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I definitely will be using tube amps going forward. I’ve had a couple of digital modeling amps and they just don’t do it for me. That said I haven’t found the right tube amp yet. I’ve been through a few, most recently a PRRI. The Princeton was good for cleans but required pedals for high gain and that was a never ending quest. I have a THR30 now, it’s a decent practice amp with no character. I’m looking for something different that brings out the nuances of my guitars. That said I just bought a Mesa Mark V 25. It weighs in at 24 pounds which is just right for me. On paper and reading the reviews it’s the perfect amp for what I need. We’ll see once it arrives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Just received my Mesa Mark V 25. Initial impression is what a fantastic small amp. Already got a couple nice sounds dialed in. I finally have an amp that brings out the best of my JEM777. Thanks everyone for the input. It’s hard for me buying online and I’ve gone through too much gear as a result.
 
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