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Hello fellow music makers n music players...

I have put in hours of research yet still pretty much at square 1. I'll attempt brevity but verbosity may rear its ugly head.

I have a sound/tone in my head but having been through 2 blackstars and now a cool little Peavey Vyper (my issue is likely the very inexpensive amps) but I  still cannot find that magic tone that is locked in my head... Im trying to find an amp that in lieu of all the bells n whistles I'd  settle for 3 main things....  1.) Sustainability.... want to hit that 80's hairband Power chord and it ring out for longer than 5 seconds before starting to die 2.) I once heard a guy play and from his Marshall amp he could hit a false or pinch harmonic and it was not fuzzy, didn't die out  after 2 seconds and i want that bad *** pinch to have clarity and a good life span 3.) A distortion or crunch that doesn't sound so muffled and dull when power chording (not a word I'm sure) the low strings.

I guess I'm answering my own question... Do you feel like I need a 1,500 dollar or more amp or what is your experience??? I also remember hearing (no pedal) a stadium reverb that was nothing short of glorious... just don't remember the amp he had and his guitar was a Kramer Beretta hockey stick head stock and an early 90's model.

Just when I see a great amp review on YouTube i notice its been posted 6,7, or 8+ years ago so that dated amp is done...

Any thoughts? Ps i am not opposed to a quality reverb pedal if you have any suggestions.

Thank you for any thoughts you may have.

 

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Kramer4lyfe, 

The short answer, in my opinion, is no, you don't need to drop fifteen hundred bones on a new amp to get the sounds and tone you desire. 

Just sitting back soaking in the description of your quandary and your quest, I can say that I can relate. 

I have bought and sold a lot of guitar amplifiers over the past ten years, and currently own 14 of the doggone things. 
(I know, I know, I should probably sell some of them. )

Some background information, and I'll gladly cop to being verbose here;

* I'm a band leader, and I gig with my band, though we aren't full-time professional bar band musicians. We all have steady day jobs, and the band is a creative outlet for all of us, and we love to play for live audiences. 

* I view any given guitar amp as fitting into one of two categories
1. Sounds great clean, has an onboard spring reverb, and will accommodate my guitar pedals and effects (the complicated "amp serving as a PA" approach)
or
2. Sounds great clean and distorted, has an onboard spring reverb, and I can play an entire show with it using no pedals at all (the simple "plug and play" approach)

Whichever amps I lug to a gig will be viewed in that light. The set up and logistics are slightly different for every job, and sometimes I am setting up for my band and another band to play on my gear, in alternating sets.   There's no one size fits all solution in live music, or if there is, I have never encountered it. 

* Of my guitar amps, I can name three that would fit the bill for your requirements, they are of the simple plug and play variety, and none of them cost all that much:

- Well used 1998 Marshall Valvestate VS265 – 130 watt (each speaker drives 65 watts) 2x12 guitar amp with a tube preamp and a solid state power amp. Bought it used in 2018 from a pair of addicts living off of Douglas Road in Huntsville. I paid their asking price of $300, and it’s worth every bit of that. Three-button foot switch, which allows you to select the Clean channel or either of two Overdrive channels. The footswitch also triggers the Chorus, though the bottom-mounted spring reverb is controlled from the amp face. This thing is a BEAST, and it really kicks ***.

-  1992 Tubeworks TD-752 Tube Driver - 100 watt, 1x12 combo amp, great, loud, clear, and with awesome crunch and sustain. Really funky old spring reverb, very splashy and surf-like. I bought it from on old high school friend when her husband was looking to divest a lot of old gear due to health issues. They shipped it from the Gulf Coast of Florida, and the old beastie traveled well. $250 used. 

-  2017 Vox AC-15VR- 15 watt 1x12 amp with a tube pre-amp and a digital 'valve reactor' circuit power amp to deliver the Vox magic. Not a spring reverb, but rather a digital replication. Always wanted a 15-watt Vox, and needed to fill a void in my life while my big, heavy Fender twin was out for repair. Awesome amplifier, and louder than you might expect. She offers me pure, crystal clear Celestion speaker magic. I paid $400 brand new at a local guitar shop, over in Decatur.  They go used for $300 or so now. 

If you live near Houston, you have dozens of music stores and pawn shops nearby, and all I can recommend is that you go and try out EVERTHING you can get your hands on. 
The trick is bringing your favorite Kramer guitar and cable with you, and finding some store owners willing to let you relax and spend time cranking up a whole lot of their amplifiers, in that quest for the tones you desire. You're bringing money to their store, so they shouldn't complain. 

Good luck!!
🙂

Edited by sparquelito
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Not enough information to even get an idea of where you are right now.

what Blackstar amps are you referring to?  what kind of pickups is in your guitar (Single coil?  humbuckers?)

keep in mind that what you are hearing on albums, is studio presentation quality.  half the time, they might even be using traditional amps,

Things like pro tools plugins,  Eleven Rack, or other modeling studio gear is often what is what you are hearing.

Then there's the one pure and final thing that no one often takes into account when chasing someone else's tone around  Their "Hands"...

 

 

Edited by kidblast
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4 minutes ago, kidblast said:

keep in mind that what you are hearing on albums, is studio presentation quality.  half the time, they might even be using traditional amps,

 

Yeah, and that brings to mind: compression.  You want sustain?  Add a high quality compressor to your existing rig.  

61kiwEkHhyL._AC_SX425_.jpg

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There are many factors, but I agree with Sparky, you don't need to spend a ton of money to get what you're after.  I would say try a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.  They have a lot of headroom for loud clean sound, a spring reverb, and a overdrive channel.  As far as reverbs go I have not heard too many pedals that emulate a good spring reverb and Fender makes good ones.  As to the distorted sound sustaining, try cutting back the amount of drive or distortion somewhat on your pedal.  I have always found the more drive/gain/distortion you dial up the more mush you get.  The old adage "less is more" really holds true to guitar sound.

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Thank you to each... i appreciate the help.

Couple of comments and or answers to questions... I am rebuilding my Kramer so for now I predominantly  use a Jackson soloist which  has: 

Duncan Designed Alnico HB-103N (neck) and high-output ceramic HB-103B (bridge) humbucking pickups...includes single volume and tone controls, three-way blade switching and a Floyd Rose Special double-locking two-point tremolo bridge system for "Claiming for" superior string stability improved sustain and dynamic tremolo action.

As for the one that mentioned "chasing someone else's tone"... my biggest influence was Warren De Martini then my motivation was Mick Mars then my aspiration was Vai..... i don't chase their "tone" because EVH trumps them all.... but I have a sustaining pinch harm with a sus power chord that isn't muffled and bad *** stadium reverb in my head... I'm going to take some of the advice here as it is appreciated... 

Pic of my Jackson.

Thanks

 

Screenshot_20200506-210904_Samsung Internet_compress9.jpg

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Thank you. I remember my first guitar i was 17 32 yrs ago a buddy had a Kramer Baretta. I couldn't afford that model but i got a white Kramer stryker... the neck made a popping sound or cracking sound everytime i used the trem... finally i had to swap it at the store for a red one. 

Its totally i guess.. psychological but in my head the white one just  sounded better and i think i was sold on my buddies Baretta EMGs... my stryker didn't have them.. 

I threaten to install them in my Baretta Spesh as I'm replacing all the lower level equipment on it.. but Guitar Center Guy said... hey man u should get the bare knuckle or something like that... so im not sure what to do on that.

Foot Note I'm def adding a compressor so thx for that suggestion kidblast.

Edited by Kramer4lyfe
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I saw a review of the dave mustang edition Marshall mini stack mg15fxmsdm... id like to move to an amp head and cabinet....any thoughts on mini stacks? I'm not playing gigs with a band so maybe a mini is the ticket. Besides my wife said i shouldn't join a band i should play solo. I was like hell yeah.... you must have heard me rocking out way cool jr by ratt.... she was like um i meant play solo....So low that no one can hear it!

I said thats it ur not going on tour with me! Lol

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7 hours ago, Kramer4lyfe said:

Thank you. I remember my first guitar i was 17 32 yrs ago a buddy had a Kramer Baretta. I couldn't afford that model but i got a white Kramer stryker... the neck made a popping sound or cracking sound everytime i used the trem... finally i had to swap it at the store for a red one. 

Its totally i guess.. psychological but in my head the white one just  sounded better and i think i was sold on my buddies Baretta EMGs... my stryker didn't have them.. 

I threaten to install them in my Baretta Spesh as I'm replacing all the lower level equipment on it.. but Guitar Center Guy said... hey man u should get the bare knuckle or something like that... so im not sure what to do on that.

Foot Note I'm def adding a compressor so thx for that suggestion kidblast.

ghost_of_fl first suggested, and yep  a good one.

 

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Well Gents... I think I completely solved my issues in one fell swoop...

Wanted sustainability (a pinch harmonic that lasted and clear) stadium like reverb, low string power cords that were not muffled.... 

Got the (recommended) Boss Compressor CP-1x and picked up the EVH 5150 III EL34 AMP, and changed my Duncan designed pick-ups to Fishman Fluence.....WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

 

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