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  • Looking for a Small, Inexpensive Amp

    I am a seriously hard core acoustic guy, and have been for a lot of years. I broke out of my shell today and bought a FSR Butterscotch telecaster (NGD coming sometime next week). I haven't owned an electric guitar in a lot of years.

    I want a small, inexpensive amp to start with. Used is fine, I'm thinking something in the $100-150 range would be ideal. Could possibly go more or less. Don't need big volume. I have no gig applications for an electric now. If something came up, I could always mic the amp.

    My playing style/sound will be country, classic rock, and blues. So, I'd favor more of a tube amp sound - can't afford a nice tube amp now, though. I don't need super heavy distortion. I don't need a bunch of modeling and effects. Just gain, tone, and volume as the basics. Reverb on the amp would be nice to have.

    At the store, I've been playing around quite a bit with that little Vox 4w Blue amp. I like it quite a bit, though it would probably be too expensive for now - even used. Seems like I also played one of those little 5w Bugera amps once and liked that as well. Since I'll probably mostly be playing at night after the kids are in bed, I also like the idea of the attenuation control switch on those.

    Thought about the Vox hybrid amps. Also thought about the little Orange solid state numbers. Can't say I've played either of those in a long time, though.

    Anything else I should be looking out for on the used market that would work well for me?


    EDIT: Seven years and 1600 posts, and I didn't even realize that there was a separate amp forum. Mod can feel free to move this post over there
    Last edited by Howie22; 08-01-2014, 03:31 PM.

  • #2
    I love my Mustang I v2 Fender models and I have a setting that is pretty close to a VOX AC15. I think it sounds better than every $100 tube amp I have tried in the store and way better than any other modeling amp. It has bells and whistles and built in effects, etc... But that doesn't mean you have to use them. I have set up two fender amps models one Bassman and I think the other is a Twin and I do most of my playing by turning the knobs on those. Add the 65 reverb built in and that covers most of what I play. Yet when I feel like playing Metallica, I can select one of the high gain models, throw in some of the built in pedals and it's very satisfying. Best new amp for around $100. Of course you might get lucky and find a Blues Junior someone is giving away

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    • #3
      Marshall Full Stack FTW. Come on you deserve it.
      Hamilton Steele CD's / Hamilton Steele MP3 Downloads / Hamilton Steele iTunes

      Comment


      • #4
        I have a Mustang 1 and an Orange Micro Terror w a used $100 1-12 cab.
        The Mustang 1 does good Fender cleans without a buncha tweakin and fiddlin. But getting much more out of it than that requires some computer tweaking and experimentation. If you are savy tho it can sound all kinds of great. Myself Im not much of a tweaker but my bandmate gets all kinds of good tones out of his.

        But I LOVE the Micro Terror. It runs clean enough, especially with lower output single coils, and has more of a tube amp feel to it. You can also swap the tube for more clean headroom but I havnt found that necc. I even did an acoustic gig with it. Your tele and a decent cab and a reverb pedal and you can play country all day long. Or crank it for some killer gain. Take you tele to GC, plug the micro into some cheap used cab and try it out.

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        • #5
          Roland Cube 20 XL... best practice amp I've ever owned, hands down. Picked it up used for $99 at Guitar Center about a year ago. Replaced my Fender Mustang II. Find one and try it... clean channel is outstanding, effects sound great, and the distortions sound good, as well.
          My Gear:
          2008 Fender American Standard Telecaster
          1998 Squire MIM Stratocaster
          Takamine acoustic
          Fender P-Bass

          Comment


          • #6
            Fender Mustang I's are toys, IMO. I agree with steve_man, the cube blows it away. If you want to spend $400, the Bugera V22 sounds magnificent, does everything you require and well.
            One MIA Fender Strat, one Gibson Les Paul, one Martin Acoustic, what more do you need?

            http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/...ps92b32f13.gif

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            • #7

              The Fender Mustang combo with the best bang-for-the-buck is the Mustang III. After living with both a Mustang I and a Mustang II for a while, I found both left a bit to be desired if you want to play even at moderate volumes. Mainly, the speaker is too small in the Mustang I and the Mustang II doesn't have much clean power. The Mustang III has a much better 12-inch speaker than the Mustang II and a clean 100 solid state watts driving that better speaker, which makes a lot of difference.

              However, if you are only looking for "small," then the highly-rated Yamaha THR10 series micro combos still has everyone beat for authentic classic amp reproduction. These do not have complicated controls. Just select the amp type, tweak the tone and drive knobs and you are done. These THR series amps have excellent amp emulation circuits, and due to their advance acoustic design, they sound positively huge compared to their size when you turn the volume up. You can even run them on batteries if you want. There are three models these days...

              http://www.musiciansfriend.com/searc...t=Yamaha+THR10


              Good demos...









              Comment


              • #8
                I found a Roland JC-77 for $250. You probably could, too. 2x10, strange-yet-musical built in distortion, with reverb and of course chorus. Sounds great quiet, and for a little more money, you would have an amp that would really never, ever need replacing. It also fits your musical profile and guitar well.

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                • #9
                  I recommend staying away from any amp that needs you to hook it up to a computer to "find the better tones." That includes the Fender Mustang and Yamaha THX amps. The sound quality just isn't there. You'll spend a ton of time in your computer chasing after the elusive satisfying tone only to fund that it ultimately sounds unsatisfying, in particular the over driven and distorted tones.

                  I think your very best option under the $500 price point is a Bugera V5. They are simply great amps. You can find them used at $130.


                  (Note the reviews on this amp on any site that sells them. They are overwhelmingly very positive).
                  http://www.amazon.com/Bugera-V5-Clas...rds=bugera+v22


                  A Bugera V22 would be another good option, though, it might well be a bigger amp then you want/need.

                  The Orange Micro Terror is another excellent amp. People may think of it as an amp that is all about the distorted sound but actually it has an excellent clean sound, too, especially if you place a reverb box in front of it. You'll need to buy a speaker cab and that will set you back another $100, so this one kind of kills your budget.

                  I commented a little on that amp here,
                  http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/...-and-a-new-rig

                  Couldn't be more pleased with both the Orange Micro and the Bugera V5.

                  Besides being a guitar player,
                  I'm a big fan of the guitar.
                  I love that damn instrument.
                  -Steve Vai

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Radar-Love View Post
                    However, if you are only looking for "small,&quot
                    Right now, it is more about affordable. Typically, I'm all about spending money up front. However, I've spent a lot already this year on music stuff, and I really don't have any true "need" for a big amp right now, and I have other places where my gig money needs to go right now. A used Mustang might be a good starter option for the price, just to get me going. I could always give it to my son in the event he gets more serious about playing guitar later on. I also really like the idea of the Micro Terror and V5, in that I could start small and add a bigger cab later. Thanks for the feedback thus far!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The mustang 1 goes for $50 used.
                      I understand the thinking that it is hard to go wrong at that price. They do offer an okay clean tone. My thinking on it goes like this. I've only got so much time. When I sit down to play a guitar I want to play my instrument, I want to create music. I don't want to think about, "Man, how do I get this to sound better?" or "What do all of these knobs and buttons do anyway?" I just want a good tone so that I can get right into playing.

                      The playing is the point, that is the quality time.
                      So, buying something like the Mustang 1 does not help with that goal. It's $50 not well spent IMO because it is not worth your time.
                      Besides being a guitar player,
                      I'm a big fan of the guitar.
                      I love that damn instrument.
                      -Steve Vai

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Radar-Love View Post
                        The Fender Mustang combo with the best bang-for-the-buck is the Mustang III. After living with both a Mustang I and a Mustang II for a while, I found both left a bit to be desired if you want to play even at moderate volumes. Mainly, the speaker is too small in the Mustang I and the Mustang II doesn't have much clean power. The Mustang III has a much better 12-inch speaker than the Mustang II and a clean 100 solid state watts driving that better speaker, which makes a lot of difference.

                        However, if you are only looking for "small," then the highly-rated Yamaha THR10 series micro combos still has everyone beat for authentic classic amp reproduction. These do not have complicated controls. Just select the amp type, tweak the tone and drive knobs and you are done. These THR series amps have excellent amp emulation circuits, and due to their advance acoustic design, they sound positively huge compared to their size when you turn the volume up. You can even run them on batteries if you want. There are three models these days...

                        http://www.musiciansfriend.com/searc...t=Yamaha+THR10


                        Good demos...










                        They are good demos. But these demos have been mixed professionally my Yamaha, which I think makes them less valuable as a reference point.
                        Besides being a guitar player,
                        I'm a big fan of the guitar.
                        I love that damn instrument.
                        -Steve Vai

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Fender Pro Junior great amp 1x10 20 lb. and 15 watts about $200 + used.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have a Mustang I. My wife got it for me after I asked for an Acoustic 20W and an multi-effects pedal. The amp is merely ok. I don't like fiddling with knobs, I wanna play. My nephew has a Roland Cube, it is awesome for a simple modeling amp.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm serious... For the money, The Cube 20 (or higher) is the best sounding amp that I've ever used. I didn't believe the hype until I compared them. No contest...
                              My Gear:
                              2008 Fender American Standard Telecaster
                              1998 Squire MIM Stratocaster
                              Takamine acoustic
                              Fender P-Bass

                              Comment



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