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viliroca

Supergrass using a Valve Junior Head+Cab

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Extremely hard to see in any of those pictures… although I like the model in the lime/yellow

 

But I see something very hazy in a fuzz background that could be a VJ

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I honestly can't imagine any serious player gigging a stock Vjr.

We're just clowns...' date='

...and crazy like foxes.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm still playing on:-"

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I honestly can't imagine any serious player gigging a stock Vjr.

 

So it's not about the tone after all?

Or it's too small to gig?

 

TWANG

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So it's not about the tone after all?

Or it's too small to gig?

 

TWANG

 

Well I've said it before and I'll say it again.....for lead tones in a small blues club the valve jr is fine and mic'd it works on most stages with a good monitor system. For clean headroom it just doesn't have enough horsepower for me,but on the semi-clean to dirty stuff it's usable live IMHO. (Modded amps in particular ...I find the stock Jr's kinda farty and blatty sounding)

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So it's not about the tone after all?

Or it's too small to gig?

Both. The stock Vjr tone is mushy, "farty," inarticulate, and dark. Hardly the characteristics you need to cut through a mix. I love these little amps for what they're capable of, but I think that they're not much to write home about in stock form. Obviously, YMMV. After all, tone is subjective.

 

Couple that blatty/flabby/mushy/inarticulate tone with the fact that it's nothing but fuzz tone past about noon, and you've got an amp that simply will not deliver the goods for live use. Yes, it can be mic'd. Raise your hand if you like hearing your guitar coming through nothing but a monitor. If you haven't tried it, you're in for a bit of an awakening.

 

Now, take that same amp and tweak it a bit here and there, and you've got something that's useable. Get rid of the mushy/blatty/farty/inarticulate fuzz, increase the headroom a bit, tighten up the bottom end a bit, and you've got something that you can work with.

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"mushy/blatty/farty/inarticulate fuzz" is the name of my debut album! Actually, it's the names of my backing band in order of bassist/keyboardist/myself/drummer.

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For years I've argued in guitar forums about this ELITIST EQUIPMENT SNOBBERY that exists with younger musicians (some older ones too). I entertained rooms full of people with $49 guitars back in the day and junk amplification too. Equipment doesn't make the man - it's "how you sling it"... If you think it requires a lot of expensive Boutique junk then you're in the dark. It ain't the guitar, it ain't the amp - IT'S THE MAN BEHIND DEM FINGERS.

 

I'm a Remodeling Contractor here in Florida and 1 thing I learned after 30 years of doing it - it ain't the tools a man has it's the FINISHED PRODUCT that's the true measure of craftsmanship.

 

If you feel it takes loads of expensive junk to entertain a crowd then you're NOT a true musician - a True Musician can make whatever he has WORK.

 

I'm sure you could have given Jimi Hendrix a 15-watt Fender Frontman or a Valve Junior combo like I use and he'd entertain till the cows came home.

 

That's my 2 cents.

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Oh yeah...I know of a LOT of professional contractors that refuse to use decent tools and equipment, and instead choose to use crappy, sub par, Chinese products, because "dey've got dem fingers" to make up for the crappy tools. In fact, I refuse to hire any contractors that use real tools, personally, because I figure them to be "elitist equipment snobs" that are too incompetent to do the work with crappy tools, and therefore feel the need to rely upon quality. Who needs that?

 

Come on guys, get real. Now we're going to compare this cheap little, poorly designed, cookie cutter, Chinese made amp, built from the cheapest of cheap grade components, to the finest amps available, that are designed properly and built from scratch by hand, with the finest parts available?

 

You're entitled to your own opinions, of course, but you're not entitled to your own set of facts. The Vjr, in its stock form, is poorly designed and is built from poor quality parts. That is a fact of life. I'm sorry, but it is. This has nothing to do with "elitist equipment snobbery." This is REALITY.

 

I could give a rat's patootey what my equipment costs. In fact, almost everything I use was either handbuilt by myself or bought used and modified to my tastes. The only pieces of actual gear that I even own that I bought new are my Les Paul and my first Vjr. Everything else I use was either homemade or bought used, for cheap. This isn't about "elitist snobbery," although I suppose that's a convenient way to create a strawman argument, in order to avoid actually discussing facts.

 

I'm not saying that the amp is completely without merit. It's been the first exposure to tube amps for countless young players, and that's a terrific thing. It's also an outstanding platform upon which one can build a truly impressive amp, for very little cash. I love both of mine, and wouldn't hesitate to buy another, at the right price, but I honestly cannot stand the way that they sound in stock form. If you want to call that "elitist," so be it. I'm picky about my tone, and that amp, in stock form, simply ain't got it. Sorry.

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Well...apart from the Valve Junior, I`ve got a Fender Blues Junior, Vox AC30 too and recently i've purchased a Vox VT50 and a Vox VOX Nightrain head and a Vox V212BN Cab (you'll notice i'm a big fan of the Vox vintage tone) ...of course that the VJ is not as good as a Vox or a full valve Fender amp, but honestly I think the distance in terms of tone, richness of distortion, harmonics, etc, between the VJ and any of the Vox amps is not that far....and the VJ is not as good as a Vox or a Fender (not talking a Bugera or Mesa Boogie...) but neither the price is as high...you know....so I think the VJ is a very decent amp, and even more that decent for a beginner player interested in vintage amp tones and new in the valve amps stuff.

 

PD: Absolutely agree with strangedogs and sorry for my english.

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As with most things I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle here guys. I'm an admitted tube snob and I mod most every amp I've ever owned(and I've owned quite a few). That being said, both the Valve Jr and the Blackhearts with a few tweaks bring boutique quality tube tone(or pretty damn close) to the masses and in that regard what's not to like? Sure you can improve on the quality of them with turretboards or PTP wiring,better quality transformers and the like,but in all honesty they are pretty solid little boxes for the $. The chassis and cabinets are worth the price alone IMHO. I'll put my voxy/marshall hybrid modded Valve Jr up against any 5 watter out there......it's a good sounding little head for what it is. Are there better amps....SURE but not for around $200 IMO.

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so I think the VJ is a very decent amp, and even more that decent for a beginner player interested in vintage amp tones and new in the valve amps stuff.

I don't entirely disagree with this. I think you guys are reading too much into my comments, though I can understand why. You're taking my comments as a personal attack.

 

I've never advocated AGAINST the Vjr, nor have I ever said that everybody that buys one is required to modify it. I totally understand that some people like the stock Vjr tone. All I'm saying is that the stock Vjr tone isn't really what most would consider top shelf. My comments are based upon both fact and opinion.

 

The fact is, the amp is built from rather poor design and from rather poor grade components. The opinion is that the amp sounds muddy, mushy, farty, and dark as a direct result of the design and quality issues.

 

I think it's great that there are some low-cost tube amps available for budding guitarists to play around with, and I think that the Vjr is probably one of the better of those ultra-cheap, small tube amp offerings. But, to pretend that it's a serious gigging amp in stock form is a bit of a stretch, imo. It is what it is....a small, cheap tube amp that can produce ratty tones.

 

How many Nascar drivers do you know of who refuse to drive a custom-built car, and instead insist upon racing their wife's stock Ford Taurus, so that they're not perceived as being "elitist snobs?" In fact, how many serious contenders in ANY trade do you know of that prefer to base their careers on the cheapest tools and equipment they can get their hands on? Anybody care to have the Walmart surgeon perform their next operation?

 

And, why is it such a bad thing that some players choose quality anyway? We're supposed to look down on someone who has the cash, and is willing to spend thousands for top quality gear, while praising someone who refuses to do so? Why is that? Who's really being the snob?

 

I say take the Vjr for what it is. A low cost, simple, SE tube amp, built from subpar design and with subpar components, that reflects both in its tone. It also happens to be an excellent little platform for worthy mods that can turn it into a very serious contender.

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I honestly can't imagine any serious player gigging a stock Vjr.

 

My post was in reaction to this... it's just "wrong" IN MY OPINION. Being a serious musician has NOTHING to do with your "stuff" you've managed to accumulate. It has to do with what you do with what you have. In my day (the 70's) I owned lots of expensive toys including a 68' Les Paul Custom' date=' a 25/50 Anniversary Les Paul Custom, A 1970 100-watt Marshall Superlead full stack (red no less), a Fender Super Twin, (the list goes on) etc... Now in my old age I have a copy of a LP, a copy of a strat and 6 amps (none of which are really expensive), but I find I'm fine with that. At 58 I gave up the expensive stuff and settled for stuff that plays fairly well and sounds fairly decent... And I sound fine according to anyone I jam with or who listens. [b']Am I not a serious musician cause I don't have expensive stuff?[/b] Maybe a "player" and a musician are different...

 

Most of the early Bluesman (my heros) had junk Guitars and Pawnshop Amps - mostly JUNK - but they "brought it"... We're they not serious players?

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Most of the early Bluesman (my heros) had junk Guitars and Pawnshop Amps - mostly JUNK - but they "brought it"...

...bluesmen' date=' rockers, punkers, even hillbilly plunkers....

Look at the gear today and the music being made now versus back-then. Hell, we should all go back to cheap/junk low-watt SE amps -- it might just bring forth musical innovation once again -- insted of everyone gear-obsessing trying to sound like _________.

 

VJr. V3 definitely needs a valve change from OEM for headroom/clarity to my ears. But if you put anything at all in front of it (and who doesn't?) then considerable tone tweekage is only a knob twist away....

... or you can take a monkey-wrench to that $149 beast and who knows what tones you may find lurking in there amongst those cheapo components. Mostly all good ones from what I've heard. The other two potential OEM weak-links are HP and valve life, right? Valve life of 500+ hrs. is definitely in the VERY ACCEPTABLE ballpark in my pair -- and I have no plans to play an arena so I'm good on HP.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm serious, I'm going to play on:-"

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"mushy/blatty/farty/inarticulate fuzz" is the name of my debut album!

Actually' date=' it's the names of my backing band in order of bassist/keyboardist/myself/drummer.[/quote']

THAT is great stuff! LOL B) =D> =D>

 

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm serious, I'm going to play on:-"

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I find speakers also make or break this amp. I have 3 different sets but mostly run my WGS British Lead80’s, very sharp sounding and 100db.

The sales guys at a local store wanted to hear my amp, so I brought it in on a ‘slow’ day.

They connected it to a Mesa upright 2x12; and cranked it.

Most were really impressed (except for the metal-head and he just shrugged his shoulders on his Drop-D tuning)

The shredder sounded really muddy; so I could see why.. I also had 4.7uf caps in both pre-amp stages.

 

The “high end” room was an easy 20’x20’ and the ET-5 (as I call it) easily filled the room loud enough that people had to yell to talk.

Then we switched it to an Orange 4x12, and the tone jumped out… Far less mud at full, bright and articulate.

 

I almost bought the Orange cab.

 

Since then added switches to the pre-amp cap’s, so now I have a choice between 1uf and 3.3uf; depending on the volume setting you can ‘dial’ in the Fatness.

 

P.S. I think most people in the audience couldn't tell you if your sound was comming from the stage or your rig. Most bars have well over 2000watts of house sound now.

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:-k

Being a serious musician has NOTHING to do with your "stuff" you've managed to accumulate.

Uh...ok. I think I've already pretty much acknowledged this. Generally speaking, however, serious players want serious tone, whether that comes from a $50 garage sale find or a $5,000 booteeky amp. Fact of life. Sorry.

 

I owned lots of expensive toys including a 68' Les Paul Custom, a 25/50 Anniversary Les Paul Custom, A 1970 100-watt Marshall Superlead full stack (red no less), a Fender Super Twin, (the list goes on) etc... Now in my old age I have a copy of a LP, a copy of a strat and 6 amps (none of which are really expensive), but I find I'm fine with that.

That's GREAT! That's why God makes so many different things. Some people like different things than others.

 

At 58 I gave up the expensive stuff and settled for stuff that plays fairly well and sounds fairly decent... And I sound fine according to anyone I jam with or who listens. Am I not a serious musician cause I don't have expensive stuff?

This has nothing to do with the cost of your gear. You either haven't read what I've written or you didn't read it very well. I'm as cheap as they come, as far as steadily working musicians.

 

For the 17th time, this is about TONE, not CASH. I don't give a rat's brown eye if the Vjr is $150 or $10,000. It sounds bad in stock form, imo.

 

And, what exactly is WRONG with playing through quality gear, if it happens to cost a lot? Why does that automatically make someone a lesser player in your eyes? Are you suggesting that only those who use subpar, mushy sounding gear are serious? Or is it just a dollar figure? Anyone who gigs an amp worth more than $200 is a hack poser, right?

 

Your argument not only completely ignores what I've said, but it makes no sense, from a logical standpoint. It seems as though you're focused solely on arguing for the case of arguing, rather than thinking rationally and discussing honestly. You're so intent on defending your position, that you've chosen to just throw logic and rational thought out the window.

 

I think it's great that the Vjr came around, and I think it's great that some people think that, in stock form, they sound better than anything they've ever played through. I stand by my earlier comments, however. The amp is poorly designed and is built from poor quality components. Those are simple, undeniable facts that are very easily proven. The amp, in its stock form, is a buzz bomb that isn't even close to its real potential. That opinion has NOTHING, I repeat NOTHING to do with the cost of the amp. I'd say the same thing if the amp cost $10k.

 

Here's the final proof to back my initial statement: How many major and influential guitarist have you seen gigging with a stock Vjr? I've seen a grand total of "zero." In fact, nearly all of the influential players use rather expensive gear that's either entirely custom built or heavily modified by a custom builder. And, not a single one of them has chosen to build an amp that sounds like the Vjr. I wonder why that would be? :-k

 

Of course, using your logic, those major, influential players are just hack wannabee losers, because they haven't got the finger skills to make up for mushy/buzzy amp tone. They can only be real musicians if they play through a Vjr, right? Good luck with that Walmart Dr. of yours.

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I find speakers also make or break this amp.

This is true for any amp. You have to realize as well that, amps generally like one particular speaker impedance load a whole lot better than any others. When you're using the right load from the right tap, the amp comes alive, but when you're not, it can be flat and dull.

 

However, in the case of the stock Vjr, there's more that's in need than just a good speaker.

 

P.S. I think most people in the audience couldn't tell you if your sound was comming from the stage or your rig.

If the mix is right. Guitar amps aren't really about massive anymore. It makes no sense to gig a 100 watt stack when you never use more than 20 watts of it, and frankly, 20 watts IS going to cover 95% of the venues the typical player performs at.

 

There are a couple of factors involved that matter, though. First, if you get your dirt from pedals, you want as much clean headroom as possible, so in that case, maybe the 100 watt amp isn't such a bad idea, although it seems pretty dumb to lug something like that around just so you can get your tone from little boxes on the stage floor.

 

If you get your overdriven/crunchy rhythm tones from your amp, roll your guitar volume back for "clean," and kick on a pedal for solo boost, you don't need more than about 20 watts for just about every venue.

 

You do want enough to be able to use your amp speaker as a monitor as much as possible, however. PA monitors make pretty lousy guitar amp speakers. Assuming that you even have enough of a monitor system to get away with relying entirely upon the monitor for your on stage guitar sounds, you'll find that the tone is rather harsh and difficult to get inspired over, compared to what you hear coming from the amp's speaker. It's useable, but it's hardly ideal, imo.

 

This is one major reason why I find the stock Vjr deficient for live use. Yes, any amp can be mic'd up. But, it's not the same feel or sound, as using an amp that's large enough to fill the stage on its own. You don't want to blow out the FOH mix, but you do want enough sound from your amp to fit well in the stage mix.

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I wanna add something here, if I may...

 

I'm not trying to be a **** here. I'm just stating my opinion. I never intended for anyone to assume that my opinion is the only valid opinion worth consideration. I'm fully aware that there are people who like the stock Vjr just the way it is, and I don't have a problem with that at all. Tone is, after all, entirely subjective.

 

My point in making my statement was not to prove how much of an "elitist gear snob" I am at all, but rather, to point out that, IMHO, no serious player that I'm aware of would consider gigging the amp in stock form, that's all. The tone of the stock amp is simply not up to par with what serious players in my circle would care to gig with.

 

That is entirely to do with the design flaws and low-quality components used in the amp, and would be the case regardless of what the amp cost. A poorly designed amp made with poor quality parts will sound like a poorly designed amp made with poor quality parts whether it costs $100 or $10,000.

 

I never made this discussion about the cost of entry, and don't understand why that became the key focus for some. Nor did I slay the amp in general, as a product offering. I happen to love the amp, myself. I just don't like it in stock form.

 

All I'm saying here is that I feel it a bit of a stretch to suggest that it's some kind of magical wonder-creature that only a fool (or elitist snob) wouldn't want to gig with. That's a false argument, imo. It COULD just be that some would never consider gigging a stock Vjr because it doesn't sound very good to them, and does nothing to inspire them, musically. That's all.

 

- Elitist gear snob

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