Page 1 of 2

Tube Amps...

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:02 am
by ImLost@Sea
Recently, there's been a growing urge inside me to invest in a new amplifier. I would like a tube amp, and since there are 5000 models nowadays, I come to you all seeking advice. I need something that is powerful enough to project through drums/bass and gig-worthy, but I don't need 100 class A watts or something as heavy as a horse. Clean channel is somewhat more important than what type of gain it has, and I don't want something with a million shitty digital effects built in. I have been prowling on ebay but ultimately don't think it's a good idea to buy an amp before you play through it and know how it sounds. My amp (Fender Ultimate Chorus) crapped out on me, putting to bed the theory that solid-state amps are reliable.

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2006 9:39 pm
by John
No amp is perfectly reliable, but we have had great success with the Fender '65 Deluxe reissue with the Jensen special design speaker. Small, powerful, sounds great, used by Will Johnson of Centro-matic, what more could you ask?

But you have to find the one with the Jensen special design speaker.

Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:50 am
by ImLost@Sea
I've been eyeing a Fender Blues Deluxe from '93, still American made and not the re-issue. The guy replaced the tubes and the speaker is an EV Force (?), he lives close to me so I was considering making the trip to try it out. Fender is definitely high on my list, I have a Tele '72 Deluxe re-issue and am saving for a '57 re-issue American Strat. No Starcaster though, although there's a nice sunburst one on eBay.

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2006 10:48 pm
by A Mess
I just bought a Fender Deville. It's all clean tone, and I'm not sure if I like that yet. I think I need more cool pedals.

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:45 am
by grant
But is it... possessed???

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:51 am
by GMM
grant wrote:But is it... possessed???


Yes it is.

Next question?

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 7:35 pm
by A Mess
Wow, I'm a little embarressed about how long it took me to get that.

Posted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 1:01 pm
by I.T.
You might want to check out a THD Univalve.
They're cool...made in Seattle.

Also, the Allesandro Working Dog amps are fantastic.


Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:52 am
by Like_a_zero
If you like fender, try Traynor amps, canadian, very nice clean, vintage 30 speaker, the ycv50 is the most gig worthy,
The gain channel is quite versatile.
Im looking into a new rig soon too, ive played the traynor amps and for the money they are so good.
Another fave of mine at the mo is the H and K Switchblade 50 watt valve combo, a bit more pricey, made in germany, very good indeed

Posted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:49 pm
by ImLost@Sea
Thanks for the recommendations. I went with John's suggestion and bought a used Fender '65 Deluxe Reverb RI. It sounds fantastic and warm and breaks up early but still can get great clean tones. Then I saw TLW in Philly and noticed both John and Jon using the '65 Deluxe. They sounded great and made me extra happy with my purchase. Next on the list, indie cred... can't buy that on eBay.

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:57 pm
by brodie
what does everyone think of Vox AC30's? (with the celestion blues of course). I've got around 1800(Canadian) to spend on an amp and I'm trying to decide on the right one for me. The only downside I can see to the vox is that its not footswitchable as far as channels go. I'm also looking into some fenders(deluxe reverb, super reverb, twin reverb) and maybe some traynors(the weakerhans guitarist plays thru one and damn does his tone sound good - which is how i got interested in them***) Im gonna hit up steves music in toronto next week and test drive as many amps as possible! ANY THOUGHTS? Also, has anyone ever heard of modifying a vox to allow for footswitchable channels? is that even possible? thanks for the help!

edit: ***how i got interested in traynors- not the weakerthans! canadian heroes that they are!

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:54 pm
by cam_rock
I did some gigging in Mississippi recently where we backlined the whole band through a rental house; I had an AC30, the other guy had a Twin Reverb. For the most part, the Twin was wayyy easier to dial some tasty tone on than the AC30. My biggest problem with the Vox was getting the distortion to sound just right (Ibanez TS7), the clean tone was incredible though. Hope that helps!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:10 am
by Patr!ck
As per buying musical machines, I'm from the school of thought that used is always better. I've never been able to find justification in spending $1300 on a guitar, amplifier or whatever. Unless it's vintage (which still... eh) you can usually find the same thing used and non-name brand for half the price. I'm constantly prowling the small music shops of my county (when I have the time and a little cash) and playing things people have dropped off. There are basically two category's of used gear:

1. The stuff that sucks. Somebody found a Fender Bassman in his dad's garage from 20 years ago, and pawned it off as fast as they could. This is the type of gear that you can almost instantly tell is abused. It's sat in unfavorable conditions for years and all of it's playability died with it's owner. This gear is usually marked by visible water damage, torn leather, chipped wood, faded paint etc. The good thing is, all the the worst used gear stores refuse to buy this crap.

2. The gear someone loved dearly, and finally got the money to upgrade or had a kid. I found a Peavey, I believe it's an Express 112, at a place called Music-Go-Round. I fell in love with it instantly. The price was a whopping 180 dollars. It's lasted over a year and hasn't changed in any way one bit (save for a couple stickers). I believe this is the greatest advantage used gear has over new. Next year your brand new Vox Super EFX TUBE LOL 1000 might not have the same twang it had when you found it. Maybe some of the effects that you rely don't sound quite the same. Not the performance I expect from something that cost me a month and a half's wages.

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:12 am
by brodie
agreed that used gear is better. Only problem for me is I'm not technical enough to know when I'm getting screwed. I can see when there is obvious damage to an amp(torn leather etc) but I'll never know when a small detail is defective and thus could get scammed. For instance, I would love to buy a 71 fender twin reverb. My pal has one and it sounds great, but he got it from a reliable source and it works perfectly. One of those used could run me a little over a grand(Canadian). I also don't want to shell out out a grand on somethign already broken or soon to break. Thus, my dilemma. Any advice? Anyone know where I could get a good quality used amp in the greater toronto area?(I'm looking at you sour!) I'm going to school in Guyelph but can pickup from anywhere in GTA! Any more amp advice? What have you all been playing through?(By the way I have an american tele - what have you tele users been palyin thru!) Thanks for all the help!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:47 pm
by sour29
brodie wrote:Any advice? Anyone know where I could get a good quality used amp in the greater toronto area?(I'm looking at you sour!)
Actually, I know little or nothing about amps in general. I'm primarily an acoustic player, and what little I do electric I do at home with a small Pevey I commandeered from my little brother. The one time I needed an amp for a gig, I rented it. I've only started getting into electric guitars in July, when I got that Ibanez semi-hollowbody -- which still plays acoustically, mind you! I've been more focused on getting a pedal rig set-up to worry too much about amps just yet; especially since any decent ones are still out of my price range, and haven't gigged in over a year.

My best advice? Probably keep an eye on Craigslist. There's been some sweet deals to be had. In fact, a Toronto-area band, Hotel (yeah, I never heard of them either -- but they were big enough to land a deal with Maple Records) recently broke up and had a "band garage sale", selling tonnes of excellent used equipment for ridiculously cheap prices. I made out like a bandit with a handful of pedals, cables and a three-guitar stand, but others left with amps, mics, studio equipment, and doo-hickeys out the doo-dah. Always try before you buy, and inquire about history. Many musicians know they're going to get ripped off selling their gear to a pawn shop or music store, and prefer to cut out the middle-man. If you don't already know the musician, you're in a bad place as they seem to like to sell to friends... but when friends don't buy, they seem to make their way to CL.

Now that I've shared my secret, you're not allowed to buy anything i want before I bid for it. ;)

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:11 pm
by John
Canadians are actually the luckiest North Americans in terms of tube amps, because your country is literally flooded with awesome Traynors that everyone else in the world almost completely ignores. In fact, Canadians mostly ignore them too, so they can be had cheaply. They are often derisively called "the Peavey of Canada", but in fact the early ones were modeled on the Blackface Bassmans, except with bigger transformers, and run about as close to full class A as an A/B amp can run. The amp I used throughout the Western State years was a Traynor YBA-1 and it was truly amazing. I got it for ninety bucks.

AC-30's are great, don't get me wrong, although the new ones with the dip switches are an insult to all of us, but anyone with ready access to a variety of Traynors should take advantage of their incredible value. They are made like tanks, and they sound boss!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:40 pm
by cam_rock
"What have you all been playing through?"

I use a Peavey Classic 30 I picked up for a couple hundred bucks that sounds AWESOME. I love everything that comes out of this amp. I play a Gibson ES-335 and a G&L ASAT Bluesboy Tribute through it. I especially love the feedback tone I get through the Classic 30.

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:26 pm
by berkstin
My Tech 21 Trademark 60 has close-to-tube warmth and tone BUT only weighs 30 lbs... I had never heard a Tech 21 (other than the sansamp modules) until I auditioned for a band over in San Rafael - didn't get the gig, but I got hooked on the tone the other guitarist was getting - luckily I scored one super-cheap on craigslist (they're kind of pricey, especially for solid-state)...

Posted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:07 pm
by sour29
So, I came across a Traynor YGM-1 from '67. All the hype from this thread has me super close to closing a deal on it. Strange, considering I'd never ever heard of the brand until just the other day... do you reckon the Guitar Mates are as good as the Bass Mates, JR? It's hard to find much literature on the YGM-1 at all, let alone reviews...

EDIT: IF anyone wants the one John used in WSH, it's going for a buck on eBay.

EDIT 2: OK, it was this morning -- now it's going for over $250 in a matter of hours. Whoa!

Posted: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:00 pm
by John
I don't think you can go wrong with the tone of a '60's Traynor. I've never heard a bad one. Be forwarned, however, that they are LOUD and HEAVY, and you need a good speaker cabinet to handle the load. They can destroy cheap speakers. Back in the day we were all using "heads and cabs", but these days almost everyone settles for the ease of combos, since modern PA systems don't require the extra on-stage volume of bigger amps. I remember standing in front of my 35 watt Fender Pro Reverb, which was cranked, and being unable to hear a peep out of it over the din of my bandmate's Ampegs and Hiwatts. KEE-RYST, we were loud back then. So I found my Traynor, ran it through a Marshall 4x12, and blew them all out of the water. Point being, it's a great amp if you're making lots of noise, which is cool to do and I highly recommend it, but you have to be committed to the idea.