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billroy

Favorite Guitar / Amp combo

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I'm an acoustic guy - so ignore if it's a stupid question (but this forum has got me interested in looking for opportunities to plug in and play loud (er))...  lots of NGDs get posted here, but I figure the amp has a lot to do with the sound - so was wondering what are people's favorite guitar / amp combo.  Anyone have favorites?

My favorite was Fender Strat through Fender Blues Jr (small room) but is now '67 SG through the Blues Jr.  In bigger rooms, I've played a Fender Blues, and liked it - but only had a few opportunities to try that.

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I have a number of electric guitars and a number of amps so in theory, I have a lot of potential combinations to play with but in reality, there are only a few ones that sound 'good' to me, at least to my admittedly, very imperfect, ears. I have a Fender Champion 100 amp, that is great for a solid state amp. Unfortunately, my Gibsons tend to sound like arse through it whereas my two Fenders ( a Strat and a Tele) sound lovely though it - the Strat in particular chimes like a bell. Obviously, Fender designed their amps to sound good with their guitars as opposed to being more generic I guess.

I have a Marshall DSL 30 combo and that sounds fantastic with any guitar plugged in but in particular, my Les Paul and Firebird sound best through it. That's my 'go-to' amp; my workhorse,m if you like.

I also have a small 5 watt Marshall DSL tube combo that I picked up for a laugh, just to see if I could whack up the gain and volume on a small amp and get that lovely tube overdrive but without the neighbour unfriendly volumes. It's a decent little amp but a little too much gain on the 'clean' channel for my liking; the sound breaks up unless you roll back on the guitar volume quite a bit.

Finally, I also have a little Vox solid state amp and that is the most surprising out of the lot. I get a really good sound out of that and it almost sounds like a tube amp if you wind the gain up. Really impressed by it, so much so that I would like to get a 'proper' Vox tube at some point.

TLDR: The Marshall/Firebird or Les Paul combo is great as you would expect but very closely followed by Marshall/Strat which also sounds good. It does help that my Strat is an HSS Shawbucker model as well so has a little extra grunt.

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I tend to like both Gibson and Fender 'regular fare' electrics through a Fender Twin-type combo. I know full-well that a Les Paul plugged into a Marshall should be the bee's knees but for reasons unbeknownst to me I've never had much luck in finding the same sweet-spot with a Marshall as I have with Fender-type combos - and that's after having an original late '60s Marshall 2x10 as my only amp for several years. I've played in groups where other guitarists DID have that superb, archetypal LP-Marshall tone but after I plugged in and used the same settings it STILL didn't work out for me. Weird.

Actually there was one Marshall that I played through which sounded absolutely amazing to me but I had practically zero experience at the time so perhaps it's a case of 'rose-tinted specs'. Whatever; that was a late '70's (I think) 'Club and Country' Combo. Thin on the ground these days - I've occasionally had a look for one - and not common even back then when they were new but probably well worth a listen if you get the chance.

Philip.

 

Edited by pippy
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Humbuckers thru a Fender Deluxe is a hard combo to beat.

If you can find them, a Gibson Goldtone GA15R would be a nice amp, about the size of a blues Jr.   I have it's big bro, the Goldtone GA30RVS, it's a beast.

If you just want to noodle, and have a lot of "different" sounds, you could look at a Mustang GT or a Marshall CODE amp..   these are modelers.  Lots of different kinds of sounds, built in effects, and the CODE amps, you can run them from your smart phone with the Marhsall Gateway app  (pretty cool)    They are fun little practice amps, but you CAN gig with them too.  Many people don't like modelers but I think they have their spot in the infinite universe of Geardom.

 

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Gibson or Fender into -

1.  Fender tweed type amp, or 2.  Fender Blackface/Silverface.

Lots of good amps are derived from those designs.  I'm not big on modern Marshall amps.  the old 1959's and JTM45's are nice for what they do but the new amps, the DSL/TSL's and those amps, are thin and fizzy,  Hard to work on.  They tend to have cranky owners too, lol.  Gibson basically never made good amps.  There were a few, but they also made some really bad amps.  Fender just totally kicked Gibson's butt in the amp department.  Nobody did anything as well as Fender did amps.

 

I just work on tube amps, so I've grown to dislike modelling amps and distortion pedals and heavy effects, cause they're so compressed and flat. Playing with effects makes it hard to develop a intuitive connection between your fingers and your ears.

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Straight plug and play. My Jr. and a Vox AC10.  Back in the day getting crazy, my Electra bass into a Fender Vibrolux with fuzz pedal. Had to keep the volume down. 

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Awesome, thank you for all the replies folks!  I like all the suggestions - I think I'd like to get a fender twin reverb first, then one of the Gibson GA15R's, and then a Marshall something.  Those would go with my new LP and Firebird (or maybe flying V in honor of Albert King).  Time to go start soundproofing my barn.  Maybe I'll plug my SG into my Blues Jr and work some overdrive first.

 

Edited by billroy
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4 hours ago, badbluesplayer said:

I just work on tube amps, so I've grown to dislike modelling amps and distortion pedals and heavy effects, cause they're so compressed and flat. Playing with effects makes it hard to develop a intuitive connection between your fingers and your ears.

well said

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I have three amps and I love them all; a Music Man RD 112 50 (a fifty watt hybrid amp with two 6L6 GC's and a 12AX7 driving a single 12"), a Carvin V3mc (also a fifty watt single 12" with four EL 84's and four 12AX7's), and a Danelectro Cadet which I call my "Lightning Hopkins" amp because it has that sound like "Gimme Back My Wig". I gig regularly and find that for almost everything, the Music Man rules. It has a beautiful sparkly clean and a nice blues/rock overdrive and is very responsive. The Carvin is good for metal/modern distortion sounds and is very versatile as it has a lot of preamp sculpting choices and multiple wattage selections (7, 25, or 50). I call it my "poor man's" Mesa Boogie. The Danelectro I only use at home and for teaching lessons as it is the only one with two inputs. I don't use any effects (not even reverb; I've grown to love just the sound of guitar...) so the amp(s) I use are important to me. Having said that though, I have found that I can get a usable sound out of almost any amp...sometimes one has to use what's provided. I use a Strat, an Epi Les Paul, and a Gibson ES-330 through all of them with equal glee. However, my favorite hands down, is the Music Man. I really cannot overstate its purity of tone, ease of use, and reliability. Whatever you're playing, brothers and sisters...stand and deliver!

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That's interesting insight G Mac - I've got a birthday coming up and have never had a 'good' amp - though at my level I've been happy enough with my early 90's US made Fender soldid state Priceton 112s and my cheapo HiWatt 200w SS head into Kuston quad for gigs, ....but, you only live once and a rare treat of a tube or hybrid amp to see out my days would be cool. I will check out the MM RD 112. The band plays alternate/pub rock with an overdriven sound https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Kn9mV6eMM so I'd be keen to have a decent mid gain channel for that stuff.

Tell me please, does the reverb work on clean on these? - it is grouped with the gain knobs, but I'd like a Fender style clean with spring- reverb option. Thanks

All - what would be other good options along those lines?

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19 hours ago, badbluesplayer said:

I just work on tube amps, so I've grown to dislike modelling amps and distortion pedals and heavy effects, cause they're so compressed and flat. Playing with effects makes it hard to develop a intuitive connection between your fingers and your ears.

Well,... first off, for a practice, jam around your house amp, they work fine plus  you need to edit the settings man,, they are all over done from the factory settings..   I've got a marshall and a fender modeler, I've got three tube amps.  I have gigged with ALL of them.   Spend a bit of time with a modeler and you can get very usable sounds out of em..'

Just sayin...

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14 hours ago, G Mac said:

I have.........a Music Man RD 112 50 (a fifty watt hybrid amp with two 6L6 GC's and a 12AX7 driving a single 12").........I gig regularly and find that for almost everything, the Music Man rules. It has a beautiful sparkly clean and a nice blues/rock overdrive and is very responsive..........my favorite hands down, is the Music Man. I really cannot overstate its purity of tone, ease of use, and reliability....

 

I agree with everything G Mac says here. After my old 2x10 Marshall mentioned in my earlier post kicked the bucket in 1980 I bought an ex-demo MM 212 Sixty-five (the marginally bigger - 2x12 and 65w - and slightly older brother to G Mac's) and have used it ever since. In the ensuing nigh-on 40 years it's had its valves replaced once (although purely as a precaution before one very important gig) and has never, ever let me down despite some fairly heavy-handed lugging around. Magnificent Amp.

As to Scales' question about the reverb; I can't speak for the later (RD) models but with the 212 65 on 'clean' the reverb is Marianas Trench deep.

Pip.

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20 minutes ago, Karloff said:

a Les Paul or Firebird through either my Orange AD30 or my Traynor YCS50 combo.

I'm of the opinion a Gibson guitar through a English amp is a match made in heaven.

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A Twin is still one of the trebliest amps out there, more top than a Roland JC120 I believe.

Unfortunately they are too big and need to be turned up too loud for my gigs, so these days I alternate between a Fender red-knob Super 60 or my rebuilt original Vox AC10 which drives a 1x12" cab. Both sound good to me and the more I use them, the more I know how to use them.  I've sold my Twin Reverb II now.

I wanted a Music Man 1 x 10" combo once - I second the comments about MM amps; Leo built to last, but if anything they are heavier than a Fender. 

Depending on what music and how loud you are playing, a Vibro Champ ain't bad either -  I use a reverb pedal with it - needs an eq pedal to get good bass!

 

Edited by jdgm

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On 8/11/2019 at 7:03 AM, Twang Gang said:

Les Paul through a Fender Twin Reverb.  Nuf said.

My favorite, too. Second choice, when volume and weight are a concern, is a Blues Junior. I like Fender amps.

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1 hour ago, Marky Forrest said:

My favorite, too. Second choice, when volume and weight are a concern, is a Blues Junior. I like Fender amps.

Blues Junior's are pretty much the bomb.  I've had two, I regretted selling them both times.

OTOH, I've got so many amps now, buying another would be just silly..  but  fear not!

I won't let that stop me..

 

Edited by kidblast
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Back in "ye olden days" of the 80's and early 90's I played mostly Flying V's through a Randall RG120 half stack. Loud, lots of gain, 80's and 90's hard rock/heavy metal.

Lately, it's been mostly my Les Pauls through my Marshall DSL40CR. 40 watt tube amp, clean/crunch channel, overdrive1/overdrive2 channel, slight reverb, master volume control, gain control, decent speaker and EQ. It has a built in attenuator type feature where it can go from 40 to 20 watts. This is the amp I use most often with the band and is perfect for rehearsals and live shows. We play mostly classic rock, blues, some country, some hard rock. This amp can do it all.

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13 hours ago, 'Scales said:

That's interesting insight G Mac - I've got a birthday coming up and have never had a 'good' amp - though at my level I've been happy enough with my early 90's US made Fender soldid state Priceton 112s and my cheapo HiWatt 200w SS head into Kuston quad for gigs, ....but, you only live once and a rare treat of a tube or hybrid amp to see out my days would be cool. I will check out the MM RD 112. The band plays alternate/pub rock with an overdriven sound https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=i4Kn9mV6eMM so I'd be keen to have a decent mid gain channel for that stuff.

Tell me please, does the reverb work on clean on these? - it is grouped with the gain knobs, but I'd like a Fender style clean with spring- reverb option. Thanks

All - what would be other good options along those lines?

Hey, 'Scales! As far as the reverb goes, it works on both channels and as Pippy said, it is a nice reverb. I watched your video and think that the MM might not give you the midrange gain that I hear on the video. Some people are not fond of the gain channel on the MM amps...it's not a modern type high gain sound. I would say that it's more of a classic overdrive sound; very good for most everything but, for heavy music, maybe not so much. I will say that MM amps are very good pedal platforms and will deliver a Fender clean (they were designed/ produced by Leo) with good headroom and they are plenty loud. I'll include this video of a recording that was made some time ago to give you an idea of the sound of the amp...no effects, no reverb, just switching to the O.D. channel for the solo. The solo starts at around 3:15 so you don't have to listen to the whole thing, unless you like it. Also note that the amp is not mic'ed. I hope this helps!

The sound of the Music Man RD 112 50.

Edited by G Mac
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Thanks G Mac and Pip, I think it would be worth a look/listen. My sound is more of an ugly 'strident' spiky thing which seems to offset lead players well for that music  - much of which is a bit less heavy than that particular video, I actually don't use much gain (lesser of the 2 gain channels set to 2) but have a Dimarzio ceramic beast of a humbucker stuck in the bridge position which gives a lot of drive. I noticed the MM says they now use a quality modern light weight speaker and the whole amp is less than 12kg - I like the sound of that if it still works as it should! Cool video too G Mac - fun stuff.

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2 hours ago, 'Scales said:

Thanks G Mac and Pip, I think it would be worth a look/listen. My sound is more of an ugly 'strident' spiky thing which seems to offset lead players well for that music  - much of which is a bit less heavy than that particular video, I actually don't use much gain (lesser of the 2 gain channels set to 2) but have a Dimarzio ceramic beast of a humbucker stuck in the bridge position which gives a lot of drive. I noticed the MM says they now use a quality modern light weight speaker and the whole amp is less than 12kg - I like the sound of that if it still works as it should! Cool video too G Mac - fun stuff.

I don't know anything about the reissues. I called and emailed Ernie Ball/ Music Man about releasing the new amps in the U.S. and their answer was, "No!". Apparently, the new ones were only marketed in Japan, Italy, and the U.K.. I think I'd love to try one if they ever make it over here! Mine is from 1983 - '84 and has been recapped in 2014 and I replace the power tubes every couple of years when they start to sound a bit anemic. She does well for a nearly forty year old amp and we'll likely never part! Also, thanks for digging the video! I really enjoyed working with those guys...all original and all instrumental! I wish you the best of luck in your quest for your sound! I also enjoyed your video. Keep up the good work and, as always, stand and deliver! Peace!

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1 hour ago, G Mac said:

I don't know anything about the reissues. I called and emailed Ernie Ball/ Music Man about releasing the new amps in the U.S. and their answer was, "No!". Apparently, the new ones were only marketed in Japan, Italy, and the U.K.. I think I'd love to try one if they ever make it over here!

According to the blurb here (in Oz):

A true blast from the past…with all new parts and that classic look! The Music Man 112RD 50w Guitar Amplifier Combo is a faithful recreation of the hugely popular version from the golden era of amp design. It has been 30 years since they were last produced but the Music Man still looks good and with the new Neoclassic 1x12 speaker on board, it sounds even better. Crafted in Italy by leading designers, it features two solid-state channels each with independent volume, treble and bass controls, plus a single ECC83 tube and gain controls on Ch2, spring reverb and 2 6L6 / 50W tubes. The classic Music Man is back...and it is bringing back the bite!

  • Channels: Two
  • Preamp Ch1 (Clean): Solid State
  • Preamp Ch2 (Limiter): 1 x ECC 83 (Gain) + Solid State
  • Power Output: 50W
  • Power Tubes: 2 x 6L6
  • Controls Ch1: Normal/Bright - Volume - Treble - Bass
  • Controls Ch2: Volume - Treble - Bass - Gain
  • Reverb: Spring (common)
  • Speaker Size: 1x12” DV Mark NEOCLASSIC
  • Speaker Impedance / Power Handling: 8 ohm | 150W
  • Footswitch input for channels switch and rev
  • Voltage selector 120V/240V
  • Dimensions (W/H/D): 45.6cm x 52cm x 25.4cm
  • Weight: 11.9 Kg

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