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  • buying used amps

    is it advisable to buy used amps instead of getting a brand new one ? the way i see it, used amps might have issues but these can be fixed by a capable amp repair person. i have two main amps and theyre both used. but should i buy a new one in the future? i want a 100 watt jcm800 half stack actually.

  • #2
    Well, kaibigan, there are two schools of thought, both valid.
    Odds are buying a used amp means you are buying something someone has decided is not getting the job done. But you will definitely save a chunk of change.
    Buying a new amp means you get the learning curve, that 'new amp smell', the warranty and the MSRP that goes with it

    ...unless you wait for it to be a 'close out'.

    That said, of the last 3 amps I bought, one was used, two were close outs. Which ones am I happiest with? The closeouts. Which one have I spent time on with tube swaps, speaker changes, etc? The used one.

    Just FYI, the age of the dinosaurs is over. Halfstack amps, 100w heads, all that are totally unnecessary. Why you would want to haul that much gear around in the name of unusable volume is beyond me.
    Last edited by daddymack; 02-26-2017, 07:56 PM.
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
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    • #3
      Here in the US an amp like what you want will cost well over $3000 new and, as daddymack said, it's totally unnecessary for just about any venue. FWIW, all my amps have been bought used: three guitar amps and a bass amp plus two more amps I bought for friends. All have been relatively trouble free.
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      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment
        I actually used to haul a Marshall SL100 and a 4x12 slant cab to gigs back in the late 70's, before PA systems came into their own. Back then big was better... and I was doing mainly outdoor gigs; but as we know now, a 100w tube amp is not five times louder than a 20w tube amp, nor twice as loud as a 50w tube amp...but a wide open 100w tube amp is going to be far too loud for almost any indoor venue, and certainly will deafen the band members.

    • #4
      While there is risks involved in buying used gear, most musicians who sell they're used gear tend to be honest. If anything its the non musicians selling gear you have to be more careful about.

      Places like EBay do a good job filtering out the scam artists because they can charge the seller back if the buyer gets scammed by someone selling defective gear as good. Most sellers want to keep high ratings too so its in they're best interest to be honest with they're sales. If you read something like, "I have no idea what this is so I'm selling it as is with no refunds" you have a high chance it's non functional.

      Gear owners do tend to be honest. I've bought used gear for most of my life, in fact I can only think of two amps I've bought new during my entire lifetime. I'm an actual certified tech however and can afford to take risks on gear others cant. Even there I prefer to buy gear that's fully functional whenever possible. (Its too much like work having to do my own repairs)

      Musicians turn over gear allot. Beginners regularly buy the wrong gear to suit they're needs based on popularity or idol worship. Sometimes they simply have an amp sitting there collecting dust because its too loud for most gigs or maybe they get married and they're wives make them sell it. Working musicians are always in need of cash, I know I did. Other times they simply want to try another brand on a quest to find they're own unique tone.

      Whatever the reason, you can find great buys, but it isn't always easy being in the right place at the right time.

      When I buy basic amps I have a rule of thumb I use which has worked out well for me. I pay between $1~$2 a watt for SS amp heads and up to $3 a watt for combos on used gear.

      This can change depending on the popularity. Tube heads can be $5~$10 a watt, but given the scarcity of good used heads they often sell for more. Last one I bought was a 1976 60w Music Man head in mint condition. It wasn't working and the seller was moving out of state so he needed cash fast. I bought it as a seal sweetener for a bundle of rack gear which I paid $200 for and he essentially gave me the head. I found 2 cold solder joints and it was running like new.

      If your plans are to buy a used Marshall you'll likely make out with a well maintained head. The amps are in the highest demand and anyone who owns one is likely to keep it in good shape, at least electronically. The exteriors are often well worn from allot of gigging. Tube amps are really easy to repair so even if it needs a cap job and tubes, its par for the course. Finding one at a reasonable cost is the hard part because most owners hang onto them and they know what they sell for. You have to be constantly looking and ready to buy when a good deal comes up and ready to walk away when its overpriced.

      I would buy the head and cab separate. You can buy Marshall cabs at very low costs. Replacing the Grill cloth is very easy too. I found a slant 1960 with 4 X 75W cream backs for $400. The grill cloth was that ugly brown burlap which was beat and saggy. I bought a yard of the black and white Marshall weave and had it replaced in an hour and it looks great. Had enough to replace the cloth on the head to make it match too.

      You should be able to find a JMC 800 for around $1000 and buy a can for $500.

      Here's a head at Guitar center for a grand and since its a big named store you have some kind of a warrantee http://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Marshall/JCM800-Tube-Guitar-Amp-Head-112938798.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=CI2in7 yosNICFYM8gQodY2EEZw&kwid=productads-adid^66736785762-device^c-plaid^172968151962-sku^112938798@ADL4GC-adType^PLA

      Here's a 1960 can for $650. Has that same ugly cloth like mine. Not sure what speakers it has, you'd need to check. The cabs are factory rated for 300W but its hard to know because people often swap out the speakers. http://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Marshall/Vintage-1986-Marshall-JCM800-1960A-Cab-Guitar-Cabinet.gc?cntry=us&source=4WWRWXGP&gclid=COPB-d2osNICFUc6gQodf4QEDg&kwid=productads-adid^66736785762-device^c-plaid^140858841141-sku^112845335@ADL4GC-adType^PLA
      Last edited by WRGKMC; 02-27-2017, 06:54 AM.

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      • daddymack
        daddymack commented
        Editing a comment
        the drawback for mbengs is he is not in the US, he is in the Philippines. That used to be an interesting market when there were numerous US military bases there. Lots of gear common here and Japan made its way there. Not so anymore, as the bases are gone; now it is the 'balikbayans' [ex-pats] moving back home to retire who bring gear, and they tend to hold on to it. Shipping costs from the US to the PI are prohibitive, unless you can fill a 20' container.
        Last edited by daddymack; 02-27-2017, 11:51 AM.

    • #5
      Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
      is it advisable to buy used amps instead of getting a brand new one ? the way i see it, used amps might have issues but these can be fixed by a capable amp repair person. i have two main amps and theyre both used. but should i buy a new one in the future? i want a 100 watt jcm800 half stack actually.


      I have a very old JCM 800, how ever mine is a 2x12 50 watt combo. Model 4104, if you really want to know.

      They don't make these any more and have not for a long time. I used to use this and a Fender Twin Reveb.

      They were not cheap in 1983 when I bought it, and folks that want them to this day, really want them and are willing to pay a pretty penny for them.

      Mine has no channel switching, but they did make ones that had channel switching on them.

      The cleans are not that sweet, but as you start turning up the gain on the amp it shine. The gain is not super high, but they have a sweet sound.


      Personally , there are better choice out there these days that will give you a similar sound, but better. Probably cost you a lot less too.

      I will post some options when I get back to he office.

      Unfortunately you are not in the USA, because I am more familiar with USA manufactures that others out there.


      I have owned a few used amp over my life time, but I buy mostly new gear. Trouble free, and I take care of my stuff the way I like it to look.


      _____________________________________
      Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

      Join Date: Aug 2001
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      • #6
        Oh coarse I get back to work and things got busy.

        Before I'd run out and look for a Marshall I look at these amps.

        http://www.ceriatone.com/british-style-jcm800-2203-hw/



        http://www.retrokingamps.com/plexi100.htm


        You will pee your pants
        https://reverb.com/item/3514934-bogn...2wSJABbVoxBwJV 3HvKuQRnRpOF726hKuN8EURAzb5odDCncMzEkRBoCjy3w_wcB& pla=1


        https://reverb.com/item/2821107-farg...Lgvw_wcB&pla=1


        Owned the combo of this guy
        amazing, but it weight 100 lbs
        https://reverb.com/p/mesa-boogie-dua...2wSJABbVoxBXVo rhhvdi2YZmAmICKDjI-t5nc2YqMx_lS8rL3VkORoCPYPw_wcB&hfid=3961077



        Others you might not want to spring the coin for, but they are good stuff
        https://www.germinoamplification.com/monterey-100

        http://friedmanamplification.com/heads/be-100-head






        Enjoy










        _____________________________________
        Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

        Join Date: Aug 2001
        Location: N. Adams, MA USA
        Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

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        • #7
          Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
          is it advisable to buy used amps instead of getting a brand new one ? the way i see it, used amps might have issues but these can be fixed by a capable amp repair person. i have two main amps and theyre both used. but should i buy a new one in the future? i want a 100 watt jcm800 half stack actually.
          I've had pretty good luck buying used, but did get one lemon in recent years, so it is a crap shoot sometimes.

          Here are some examples of amp purchases I've made:

          1) Mesa Boogie TA-15 TransAtlantic head. Purchased New in 2010 and I love it! No regrets.

          2) Mesa Boogie TA-30 TransAtlantic head. Purchased used last year. Got it for a good price but had to replace all the tubes, otherwise no complaints.

          3) Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue. Bought about three years ago. Couldn't get a good sound out of this thing no matter what I did. Sold last year and haven't missed it since.

          4) Carvin X60 Combo. Bought used back in the 90's and still sounds fantastic!

          So, there you go...
          Last edited by axemanvr; 02-28-2017, 04:07 PM.

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          • #8
            techs here are now capable of fixing tube amps. so its convenient to get a used amp and have it fixed its its broken. but i havent made a serious amp purchase. i need at least a hundred watts. and at least a 2x12 cabinet. preferably new...

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            • DeepEnd
              DeepEnd commented
              Editing a comment
              I think you mean ''want'' rather than ''need.''

          • #9
            Originally posted by axemanvr View Post

            I've had pretty good luck buying used, but did get one lemon in recent years, so it is a crap shoot sometimes.

            Here are some examples of amp purchases I've made:

            1) Mesa Boogie TA-15 TransAtlantic head. Purchased New in 2010 and I love it! No regrets.

            2) Mesa Boogie TA-30 TransAtlantic head. Purchased used last year. Got it for a good price but had to replace all the tubes, otherwise no complaints.

            3) Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue. Bought about three years ago. Couldn't get a good sound out of this thing no matter what I did. Sold last year and haven't missed it since.

            4) Carvin X60 Combo. Bought used back in the 90's and still sounds fantastic!

            So, there you go...
            I bought a Carvin X-100 B back in 1986, when my Marshall JCM-800 head blew out.
            The X-100 B was only going to be temporary as my Marshall was going through repairs.
            I still own both, but the Carvin blow the Marshall away , by a long shot.

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            • #10
              Originally posted by axemanvr View Post

              I've had pretty good luck buying used, but did get one lemon in recent years, so it is a crap shoot sometimes.

              Here are some examples of amp purchases I've made:

              1) Mesa Boogie TA-15 TransAtlantic head. Purchased New in 2010 and I love it! No regrets.

              2) Mesa Boogie TA-30 TransAtlantic head. Purchased used last year. Got it for a good price but had to replace all the tubes, otherwise no complaints.

              3) Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue. Bought about three years ago. Couldn't get a good sound out of this thing no matter what I did. Sold last year and haven't missed it since.

              4) Carvin X60 Combo. Bought used back in the 90's and still sounds fantastic!

              So, there you go...


              I had a Fender Blues Deluxe, that I bought back in the 90's. They were made in Corona back then and I loved the thing. Owned a Carin x60 1-12 combo, that I thought was nothing special.

              Different strokes for different folks.

              I do like the Trans Amps

              _____________________________________
              Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

              Join Date: Aug 2001
              Location: N. Adams, MA USA
              Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

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              • mbengs1
                mbengs1 commented
                Editing a comment
                i like to buy used amps and just have them checked by my tech to make sure theyre stable. then u can just have them maintained regularly or when they breakdown which is rare. i think amp technology is relatively simple since its been around since the 30's or so... my tech here can fix it and it works and sounds as good as a brand new amp. or does it not?

            • #11
              Originally posted by mbengs1 View Post
              techs here are now capable of fixing tube amps. so its convenient to get a used amp and have it fixed its its broken. but i havent made a serious amp purchase. i need at least a hundred watts. and at least a 2x12 cabinet. preferably new...
              Why do you think you need at least 100 watts?
              Do you need to play that loud and project for half a mile?
              Do you wear ear protection when you play? If not, you will need to...
              Capable is one thing, able to get top quality tubes and electronic components, transformers, etc. is maybe a little iffier.
              Plus an amp like that will not work well for your jazz learning experience.
              "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminate period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

              Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
              "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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              • #12
                Originally posted by daddymack View Post

                Why do you think you need at least 100 watts?
                Do you need to play that loud and project for half a mile?
                Do you wear ear protection when you play? If not, you will need to...
                Capable is one thing, able to get top quality tubes and electronic components, transformers, etc. is maybe a little iffier.
                Plus an amp like that will not work well for your jazz learning experience.


                I have owned a few 100 watt amps. Crazy not that I think about it. I still kept my Paul Rivera designed Fender Twin Reverb. They are 135 watts.

                I turn it on here and there, to make sure it works. Even the 50 watt Marshall combo I have is just as loud as the Twin.

                _____________________________________
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                Join Date: Aug 2001
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                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's the thing...some people assume that a linear increase in wattage is a linear volume increase...but as we know, a 100w amp is not twice as loud as a 50w amp...it is ~3% louder, all things being equal. A 50w amp with an efficient speaker can actually be louder than a higher wattage amp.
                  Back in the dinosaur years, when stacks ruled the planet, we all played loud...that was rock'n'roll, baybee!
                  But I find my 15 and 20w amps are fine for 99% of gigs I do, and anything else, I bring the 35w Vibrolux Reverb out, more for the dispersion advantage of 2x10, not for volume's sake. I use 5 or 10W tube amps for practice...they're plenty loud...when you are sitting right next to them, cranked...bedroom volume be damned
                  Last edited by daddymack; 03-02-2017, 03:01 PM.

                • DeepEnd
                  DeepEnd commented
                  Editing a comment
                  No, a 100 Watt amp is not 3% louder than a 50 Watt amp. It's 3 dB louder. 10 dB normally corresponds to ''twice as loud'' so 3 dB is 2^(3/10) or about 1 1/4 times as loud (1.231 times to be more precise). The point is that a doubling of amplifier power is pretty minimal.

                • daddymack
                  daddymack commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sorry, you are correct...it was a typo, I meant ~30%, but yes, it is even less than 25%.

              • #13
                Originally posted by daddymack View Post
                Why do you think you need at least 100 watts?
                Do you need to play that loud and project for half a mile?
                Do you wear ear protection when you play? If not, you will need to...
                Capable is one thing, able to get top quality tubes and electronic components, transformers, etc. is maybe a little iffier.
                Plus an amp like that will not work well for your jazz learning experience.
                To reiterate my previous comment, I think he means "want," not "need." FWIW, I have a 65 Watt SS Fender that's deafening. It's probably equivalent to a 25 or 30 Watt tube amp. An AC30 is overkill for most of us.
                Official HCAG “Theory-Challenged Hack”
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                • #14
                  Originally posted by DeepEnd View Post
                  To reiterate my previous comment, I think he means "want," not "need." FWIW, I have a 65 Watt SS Fender that's deafening. It's probably equivalent to a 25 or 30 Watt tube amp. An AC30 is overkill for most of us.

                  My wants are many, my needs, not so much.


                  The AC 15 cc isn't a bad amp either.
                  _____________________________________
                  Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                  Join Date: Aug 2001
                  Location: N. Adams, MA USA
                  Posts as of Jan 10th 2013: 82,617

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                  • #15
                    Originally posted by daddymack View Post

                    Why do you think you need at least 100 watts?
                    Do you need to play that loud and project for half a mile?
                    Do you wear ear protection when you play? If not, you will need to...
                    Capable is one thing, able to get top quality tubes and electronic components, transformers, etc. is maybe a little iffier.
                    Plus an amp like that will not work well for your jazz learning experience.
                    because from experience. 50 watts isnt loud enough. my 60 watt jtm60 is loud enough its maxed out ( volume is about 75%). so whats the next step up in wattage? a hundred watts. i rarely see any wattage in between 50 and 100. (i guess since each power tube adds 25 watts of power and there can only an even number of power tubes) not like 100 watts u get plenty of headroom, which is what i look for in amps. a great clean sound that stays clean even at high volumes. clean sound that gets as loud as a loud drummer at least. i want to get my distortion and overdrive sounds only from the pedals, no power tube distortion. i don't use ear plugs but if i play with a full band, i'd use earplugs since i've lost enough hearing.
                    Last edited by mbengs1; 03-07-2017, 02:05 AM.

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                    • daddymack
                      daddymack commented
                      Editing a comment
                      what you want is a Twin Reverb...100W, 2x12, ice-pick-y to the 10....but really, find a drummer who won't be deaf before he's 40...then again, if your drummer has to play THAT LOUD, he probably is already losing his hearing.
                      Last edited by daddymack; 03-08-2017, 05:46 PM.
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