Well I bit the bullet and spent some decent money on a full on tube head again, and holy cow I couldn't be happier! I got a used Stiletto Deuce Stage 1 from Guitar Center's used site and it got here today. Stock tubes, the EL34 STR 447s and just kinda monkeyed around with it since I have to go to bed soon to get up at 3am, but damn! I was using my Warmoth Soloist style body with a 24 fret ebony board and a Floyd, with a JB in the bridge and a 59 in the neck. The cleans were gorgeous (at least to my ears) for a high gain rock head, and the coil tap only made them sweeter, even on the bridge pickup. The crunch was fun but the Tite Gain on channel 2 was heavenly! Great for rocking out on some quick hair metal riffs. Only played with the Fluid Drive for a second and just wanted to go back to crunch. I kinda left the presence at about 3-4, bass around 6-7, mids about 7-8 and treble around 5, with the gain about 7-8 and just left it there to goof around. I was playing it through my Peavey MS412 with stock Sheffields for now but I'm going to pick up a Mesa cab with Vintage 30s. I might even hook it up to my Red Bear cab with Celestion 75s to see how different it sounds but I had fun goofing off for 15 or 20 minutes....probably pissed my neighbors off.
Maybe tomorrow I'll set it for 100 watts and try out the Spongy setting to see how it browns it up. Also, I might break out the Hamer Centaura with an EMG 89 in the bridge to see what it sounds like.
I left it on tube rectification and I think I finally heard the "sag" that tube rectified amps produce, it was kinda cool. I'm used to solid state rectifiers. I haven't had a good rock head in a while. Had a JCM 900 SLX, Peavey Ultra Plus for a while, then a VTM120 after that, and then went to a Mesa Studio Pre for a while into a Simulclass 2:90 and hated that amp since I couldn't crank it. So I sold it and used the Studio Pre through a Peavey Classic 50/50 and liked it for a while, then decided I hated the preamp so I sold it and have been "real amp"less for a while...just been jamming through an 80s or 90s Peavey combo practice amp and it sucked...but now I have something worth playing again, and now that I've picked the guitar back up and played through an amp with no reverb (haven't hooked up my rack stuff yet) and no frills or over the top gain, I realize how much I've started to suck! I'll have to "rectify" that....pun intended.