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Amp advice - Help me spend money!

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  • Amp advice - Help me spend money!

    I recently started playing guitar again after taking about ten years off, and I am now in the market for an amp. I started doing some research online, but quickly got overwhelmed by all of the options that are out there.

    I have a max budget of about $800, but would rather spend less if possible. These days I pretty much just play in my house, but I do plan to have casual "jam" sessions with a drummer buddy of mine. I do not see any serious gigging in my future, although if I am going to drop a lot of cash I would probably like to have the option to play with a full band at reasonable volumes.

    Another factor to consider is I have a Mesa Boogie Thiele 1x12 cab with a EVM-12L left over from when I used to play with a band about a decade ago.

    Features the "perfect" amp would have:
    -Enough headroom to keep up with a drummer
    -Variable wattage options or at least the ability to sound good when turned down
    -Headphone jack would be a big plus
    -Simple to use. I would prefer to not jack around with settings for an hour to dial in a solid tone.
    -Takes pedals well
    -Prefer tube, but I am open to solid state/digital if that technology is better than it was back when I played more seriously.

    Any advice you all can offer is much appreciated. For what it is worth I mostly play rock, but nothing crazy heavy. Usually something like Wilco, Band of Horses, The Jayhawks, Ryan Adams, Golden Smog, Doves, The Strokes, etc.

  • #2
    I am a fan of these band too.
    The amp you might like is a 65 Fender Deluxe Reverb RI.

    New they are 1100 bucks, used it's in your price range.

    Have the GC sent you good photos of the amp and make sure they include the foot switch with it. jwt6fHBRDtm9O8xPPHq4gBEiQAdxotvDK9VDit5HMUWXxBfOn2 C9NPbQonjGFoT9NNNffZq4caAlq38P8HAQ&kwid=productads-adid^66736785762-device^c-plaid^172968890202-sku^112942394@ADL4GC-adType^PLA

    There's better stuff out there, but I stuck to your price range.

    Just for kicks , check out the Quilter amp line too. They have transistors in them and really do a nice job of replicating the Fender amps and a Marshall.

    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


    • #3
      I would think a head would be a good option as you already have a killer cab. Using $800 as a guideline...
      Orange Tiny Terror 15, don't let the 15w rating fool you...the Jim Root sig model will get you where you want to go.
      BlackStar HT100 head...'nufsed...Marshall meets Fender with Boogie and Vox mixed in. Hard to get a bad sound out this head. Can be found used under $700
      Fender Bassbreaker 15 head...again, 15w is louder than you expect.
      Vox AC30CH head, used: well under 800, new: just over 800...
      Bad Cat Cougar 50 Head [used]...if you can find one of these, the beast will lead you...
      H&K Tubemeister 36 [used]...
      "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 ', 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


      • #4
        Best suggestion I can make is go down to your local music store and try out some amps.

        Choices will depend on whether you have effects pedals or plan on buying some.

        For home use a 15W amp with a drive channel is more then enough. If you play with a drummer its just enough to get by with. If you were to play with a bassist and full band you'd need 30W. a 15/30W amp might be ideal for both.

        Whether you use SS or tube makes a big difference in cost. Some of the new modeling amps with built in effects are absolutely amazing in how they give you a variety of different amp types and tones. Marshall code, Line 6, Vox, Fender, Peavey are all making Modeling amps now which allow you to change amp and cab tones plus they have the full array of effects built in so you don't wind up having to spend a mint on stomp pedals.

        Finding a head for you can may limit what you can find. There are a few small heads made but the rest are likely to be high wattage. You may be better off buying a combo and simply using that cab as an extension to get a little more beef when playing with that drummer.


        • #5
          Thanks a lot for the responses!

          Mikeo - I have definitely heard good things about that amp and also the Princeton. Fender amps have those great clean sounds that are hard to beat. These options are on the top-end of the budget, but worth plugging into if I can find a nice used one locally. Never heard on Quilter before, but I did check them out online this morning. Very intriguing and they seem to be getting some good reviews.

          daddymack - Lots of options to think about! I have looked at the Tiny Terror a bit online, but never considered the Jim Root signature model. I don't play much Slipknot-type music, though. Does it still deliver on solid cleans and less metal-ish rock tones? If so, I might have to go find one to test. Bassbreakers seem to be getting a lot of hype and sound decent in videos I have seen.

          WRGKMC - I do have some pedals left over and am not opposed to buying some more over time. You bring up a great point about SS and modeling options. I could save a bit of money that way, although I do tend to shy away from modeling amps that have too many options. It may be stupid of me, but I always gravitate toward simplicity whenever possible.

          By the way, have any of you heard or played the Orange Rocker 15 combo? I recently read about that one and it seems like it has potential.

          Thanks again to all of you for chiming in. I appreciate it!


          • daddymack
            daddymack commented
            Editing a comment
            my comment on the Orange 'Rocker' 15 is that the 10 inch speaker should have been a 12 inch, and they learned a bad thing from their competitors and don't include the foot switch to change channels...that will cost you another $36 plus tax. Everything else about it is good.
            Last edited by daddymack; 04-10-2017, 10:47 AM.

        • #6
          Originally posted by rekcals View Post
          Thanks a lot for the responses!

          Mikeo - I have definitely heard good things about that amp and also the Princeton. Fender amps have those great clean sounds that are hard to beat. These options are on the top-end of the budget, but worth plugging into if I can find a nice used one locally. Never heard on Quilter before, but I did check them out online this morning. Very intriguing and they seem to be getting some good reviews.

          Thanks again to all of you for chiming in. I appreciate it!
          I have both the 65 PRRI and the 65 DRRI. The reason I recommend the DRRI over the PRRI is the Princeton gets a bit weird and farts out as you start turning up the volume. I have heard many say it's the cheap transformer which there is a mod for.

          A guy names Billm sells a good one too, however he had cancer, but he might be back up and running now. It's called a TO20, I believe, but double check. Sorry, but I now remember that Bill Machrone passed away last October.

          Some guys are also doing a speaker change to the Celestion Gold. This is not a cheap speaker.

          I haven't done anything to mine, it's all stock. the 10 speaker is a touch wimpy, it kind of is what it is.
          The DRRI is louder, and goes from a clean tone to a nice distortion tone, without an issue, right out of the box.

          Both take pedals ever well.

          The DRRI has a trem thump, some are worse than others. You just shut the trem on and off with the footswitch and the issues is solved. It's when your not playing anything and have the trem on, that you can hear the thump thump thumping trem. That's why I said make sure if you buy used they include the foot switch.

          It would be just like the GC sales staff to bag the thing and sell it for 25 bucks.

          Every year the American made Fender amps seem to increase in price, so it's kind of easy to recoup your money, if you ever need to ditch it.

          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


          • #7
            There are a lot of good amps within your budget. As mentioned above, heading out to your local music store and trying some out is really the best way to see what you like. FWIW, I got a new Marshall DSL 40C for Christmas and couldn't be happier. Doesn't have a headphone jack, but hits all of your other items on the wishlist. Great tone both clean and overdriven, 1/2 power switch, all tube, plenty of headroom to gig if you want (I play with a pretty loud drummer and have no problem keeping up), takes every pedal I put in front of it, and it has a simple front panel to dial in your tone. And, it's a 1x12 combo that won't break your back.
            Bill Lawrence custom Strat
            Ibanez Artcore AS-73 (Member Ibanez Art Corps)
            1991 Peavey Classic 50 2x12 Tweed


            • #8
              Awesome! Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I have a good list of amps to look at now, so the next step is to try them out in person. Thanks again for the help.


              • #9
                Look into a Used Fender Cyber Twin, or CT SE. SE is Second Edition, and has more presets, and an Extension Speaker jack. You couldn't run the EV with the CT as the CT is 4 ohm, your EV is most likely 8. While you can run mismatches on some amps, and I do my 69 Dual Showman this way sometimes, I cant recommend it with the EV/CT as I don't know if the CT Transformer is built for that. But 2 EVs would fit in CT, but I'm sure you dont want to lug that. I would, but you may not.

                CT has

                Solid State Power Section, and 2 x 12 x 12ax7
                65w x 2 Stereo
                130w x Mono‚Äč
                Headphone jack
                Effects Loop
                Line Level
                In/Out Phase

                I bought 1 when they 1st came out in 2001, and have used it as my grab, and go/practice amp ever since, and have had 0 problems from it in 16 years. Id say it has 1500-2000 hours on it.

                It takes pedals straight into the input just like a normal amplifier, and has some really usable Modulation, Reverb, Delays, and Compressor functions. I believe the effects were Roland, but cant remember. The only thing I don't like is the Limited way you can combine them.

                The thing to learn with this amp is the Gain, and Trim Knobs. Especially if using Fuzz/Drive/Boost ect.

                This amp is also Not a Modeling Amp, and was $1700 List price in 2001. So was Not a cheap amp either. They go for $500, and sometimes less, but the prices have been going up recently. I wouldn't sell mine for $1000, other than I could buy 2 more, at $500 a crack.

                The CT has a 100% Analog Signal Path, and has a Virtual Circuit Board. It Reconfigures the Values of the Circuit to those of the original circuits of the amp being Profiled. Also not saying its 100% the same, as the composition of materials makes a difference, but I can say they sound great. You can then adjust the amp, as you would a normal amp, though tis generally said the Gain is a bit high on many profiles, but is easy enough to turn it down. But its only a small amount. Many on the Cyber Twin Site Fender Forum, also swap out the 12ax7s for 12au7s, and this smooths out the gain, and also makes the higher gain setting smoother, and better in general. The Effects are Modeled.

                I also have a couple other nice amps. Really nice amps, and for my money Id buy a CT if budget was anywhere near yours of $800.

                My other main amps are a Metropoulos LTD ED GMP45 Head, all NOS glass x 4 1972 G12M, a Mather/1966 Marshall oversized TVB cabinet, with EC Collins Pinstripe cloth.

                Blackfaced 69 Dual Showman/ODS mod/NOS glass x either 2 Celestion Creams or 2 Hemp Coned JBL E120s, or 2 Altec Lansing 418H.
                Steve Winwood has used 2 CT SE since 2004, both Live, and in the Studio.
                Neil Schon has used them extensively, and just sold his, but it was a Head x 4 x 12.
                Buddy Guy also loves them for recreating his 59 Bassmans, and used them while his original amps were being repaired years ago.

                The CT is also 2 x 12, ( Celestion G12T 100. ) and weighs in at around 55lbs, and will blast a drummer off of his seat if you want it to. And also plays nice at lower volumes. It has a really good Master Volume. But I will admit, this amp is made to be gigged, and really shines when you can run it up even a bit.

                I mainly use the Marshall, and Fender settings on this amp, and last year replaced the Celestions G12T 100, with Celestion 90 watt Alnico Creams. Made it louder, and way better OD, but what can you expect for a $300 speaker vs $100 or less. Not saying $$$ is everything, but the Cream is 1 of the best speakers out there, for Fender/Marshall amps.

                Last edited by Mustard Caps; 04-13-2017, 08:46 AM.


                • #10
                  Just get a Line6 and be done with it.(tm)
                  Last edited by Cornholio Farquarth III; 05-07-2017, 09:06 PM.
                  Originally posted by MrKnobs
                  God, that's beautiful man! And they say romance is dead!


                  • #11
                    I would try a Quilter. Great sounds and it'll plug into your Thiele cabinet.

                    They are really nice sounding and reasonably priced from $250 on up .
                    2004 Fender Lite Ash Strat (w/voodoo '57)
                    2012 Gibson Firebird V 2010
                    Mesa Boogie Mark 1 reissue 1-12 combo
                    'old' Fender medium and Herco Flex 75 picks
                    2-12 cab sapele/maple

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