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If you had $700 to spend on an amp...

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What would you do? I'm considering the Epi Blues Custom . I realize I'll have to change out the tubes right out of the box, so $100 more. I've considered kits, custom builds from experts, Fenders, Marshalls. What would you do?

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Blues Custom, if you just want an amp. If it isn't exactly what you want/need/whatever, don't compromise! Build a kit amp and get the tone you know you just gotta have from the get go.

 

Gil...

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Blues Custom' date=' if you just want an amp. If it isn't exactly what you want/need/whatever, don't compromise! Build a kit amp and get the tone you know you just gotta have from the get go.

 

Gil...[/quote']

 

lol. Really? Is there that much of a difference? I didn't quite expect that response from you Gil. I thought you might exalt the BC to some degree. Sort of pacify me. ha. Well, show me the way... I'm just not that confident in the idea of building an amp. The more I learn, the more confidence I loose. Maybe I just haven't reached that bridge yet. Maybe I should start with something small. I have been looking into the Baby Will as you suggested. I just don't like the VS cabinet enough to put that into it. I've actually considered making my own cabinet. My brother is a carpenter so I have some help there if I need it as well. So you see. With all these thoughts swirling around in my head, I want to nail whatever I do. Still searching.

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If you had $700 to spend on an amp............

I would quite likely buy the wrong one, although I would be asking a whole heap of questions in here before shelling out the hard-earned.

At my level of guitaring, the one I did buy, only a few weeks ago, seems to do the job of being quite a few things rolled into a small package, The Roland Cube 60. It's RRP, in $AU, is around the $750 mark, but they did mine for $450AU, so I was happy enough to get into the 'package' of guitar & amp for less than a grand. I did come very close to grabbing a similarly priced Line 6 unit, but went the way of the Roland after listening as well as i was able to both side by side.

I feel sure that, as amps go, mine is fairly ordinary, but there will be time enough to spend more on a 'proper' amp if I keep-up my end of the bargain, ie, learn to play my guitar well and, perhaps, have the need for something a bit special.

In the meantime, it'll be interesting to learn a little from those that know a lot more than I do about The Wide World of Amps.

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I'm sure I would already have something in mind but I would go out and play as many amps as I could. Alot depends on what you will playing too but, for what I play, I would be looking at Fenders, such as the Pro or Blues Junior, or the Peavey Classic 30.

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I'd keep saving until I had enough to build or buy what I really wanted. $700 is a pretty meager amp budget that won't get you much beyond consumer level, although one interesting possibility might be a no-name vintage amp. Many can be had for a few hundred dollars, leaving enough leftover to have the chassis overhauled and brought to spec, and possibly even a speaker or two, if need be.

 

My advice to you would be to figure out what sounds you're looking to achieve first. Spend some time researching just what it is you're looking for. Although $700 is only a fraction of what you generally would spend on a pro level, giggable amp, it's enough that it's worth considering shoveling that money towards something that'll light your fire, rather than just buying the first $700 amp that comes along.

 

You'll want to consider things like:

 

1) Closed cabinet vs. open back (or, perhaps convertible?)

2) Reverb or non-reverb

3) Tremolo or non-trem

4) Output power (15-20 watts is ample for about 90% of the stages you're likely to play on, unless you want crystal clean, in which case 40-50 should cover it well)

5) Multiple channels?

6) Gain structure

7) Power supply (tight or loose?)

8) Master volume?

9) Output tubes?

10) Number of speakers?

11) Effects loops?

12) Line out?

 

 

Spend some time listening to some of your favorite players, and find out what amps and other gear they use to get their tone. You'd be wasting your time and money if you were trying to cop a Grissom, Page, or EVH tone with a Hot Rod Deluxe, but that amp MIGHT get you close to someone else's tone. You just have to start by identifying what kind of tone you're looking for.

 

Once you figure that out, and you have an idea of the power you're looking for, you can start to zero in on such things as speaker compliment, type of output tubes, gain structure, power supply stiffness, and various features.

 

This may seem like a lot to sort through "just to buy an amp," but I can tell you from experience that you're eons ahead of the game if you start by answering some of these for yourself. Otherwise, odds are you're just going to be wasting your money on an amp that you'll quickly grow bored with, or worse, you'll spend significant time and money trying to bend into something it's not.

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M-theory,

 

I'll address your post since it covers most of the other replies.

First off, I have been playing on and off for the last 28 years. I think my first amp was a 20 watt Peavy. It came with a broken cab in the box so I took it back. I also discovered I hated the solid state design so I walked out with my cash. Next amp was a '73 Fender Twin I bought used for $250. It needed tubes, mostly power. I bought a matched pair of Groove Tubes and was pretty much in heaven with the sounds I was getting along with an Ibanez Tube Screamer. Think Mark Knofler on Money for Nothing.

 

I've made my own electric guitar using a Carvin neck and a custom body I made from a piece of Maple. I've had some cheap knock off Strats. I've always had an acoustic along the way. The best was a Taylor. Thing is, as nice a guitar as that was, the neck was too thin for me. That led me to Gibsons and the more affordable Epiphones. I figured out what I like from knowing what I don't like. I'm tired of this theme. I want an amp that will satify me today and down the road. I want something to pass on to my kids. I just bought a guitar for my daughter's 11th birthday. Acoustic.

 

I've been in a few bands along the way. I never gigged regularly. I've mostly jammed with friends. I'm settled down now and just want something real nice for me. Just finished putting Phat Cats and new wiring in my Dot. My Valve Standard was somewhat of a mistake. I bought it after purchasing the Valve Jr. and a four speaker cab from Marshall. I returned the Jr. and cab within 24 hours. It was loud, but too one dimensional for me. I thought the VS would be the end all after replaceing tubes and maybe a speaker. Now I see error of my ways so-to-speak.

 

Having said all that,

 

1.Open back cab in a 1x12 combo is my ideal choice. Plywood or poplar, no particle board. I realize the BC is 70lbs and two speakers. It just seems like a real good value. I actually had my finger on the trigger last night. Whew! Visa, it's everywhere!!

2.I don't need reverb.

3.I don't like/need tremelo

4.15 to 20 watts is the output I'm looking for.

5.One channel is fine. I can buy a petal for a different tone.

6.I like headroom. Not too much. I'll be playing at lower levels mostly.

7.Power supply tight or loose? I don't understand that.

8.Master volume? Yes.

9.Output tubes? Probably El34s.

10.One 12 inch speaker. Not sure if I'd go ceramic or alnico.

11.Effects loop? Would be nice, but not necessary

12.Line out? Nah, I'll mike it if necessary.

 

So that's what I'm looking for in an amp as far as I know. Oh, and PTP turret board construction build. Cathode biasing would be a welcome feature as well, but not necessary. I can learn to bias the amp myself. So there you have it as far as I know. Thanks for taking an interest. I am a sponge.

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The only currently built amp that I'm aware of that's an EL34 powered amp in that output range is the 25 watt Hughes and Kettner Puretone. It's available in a single 12 combo, but would probably be close to $3k. The head alone is about $2300.

 

There are lots of 6v6 and EL84 powered amps in that power range, and many in that general price range, but just not many EL34 at all, because most EL34 amps are class a/b, and that's gonna yield 35-50 watts of power. For whatever reason, nobody's really made any real marketing efforts for a class A EL34 amp. Even in the lowly single ended world, I think there are only 2 or 3 boutique builders that have them.

 

Sorry I can't be of much more help than that, but you've sorta got my hands tied here! If you said "budget of $3k" or "output tubes don't matter, just power and price," I've got ideas, but I honestly cannot think of a single 15-20 watt EL34 offering anyway, and the closest thing I know of is very likely 4 times what you want to spend.

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most of your wishes will be complied by the Blackheart HD

That's not EL34 powered. That's a pretty important thing for someone that's specific enough to mention it as a desire.

 

That said, it wouldn't hurt for him to try that, the tiny terror combo, a couple of the Fender offerings, and anything else in the $700 price range that is a combo, if all that matters is the price and that it's a combo.

 

7.Power supply tight or loose? I don't understand that.

I just realized that I forgot to address this. I'm referring to how "squishy" the power supply gets when the amp is pushed hard. Tube rectified amps will produce more "sag" under load than diode rectified. Also, the power transformer and filtering will have an effect on the overall feel of the pushed amp.

 

A saggy amp will be somewhat akin to bouncing a ball sometimes. As you push it hard, you'll feel a bit of compression and a sort of "delay" from the power section, as it fights to provide ample power to meet your demands. A tight amp will be "in your face," no matter how hard you hit it.

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Hi Kirk' date='

 

most of your wishes will be complied by the Blackheart HD

http://www.blackhearteng.com/bh15112.html

...and they are really built like tanks!

there are many clips on you-tube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcvtxIeOO_Y

 

Peter[/quote']

 

Hi Peter,

I've seen and heard those amps on YouTube. They're designed by one of two guys that designed the Epi BC. They're getting much attention lately.

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Well then, that's very different. There are MANY el84 and 6v6 powered amps that'll get you into that power range, and probably several that would fall into your budget.

 

The one that I'd be looking for, if it were me looking, would be a used Dr. Z Carmen Ghia. You'll have to search for a while, because that amp, in combo form, is probably fairly rare. But, it would be an utterly fantastic amp bargain.

 

Then again, you can buy a brand new 1x12 Carmen Ghia for $1299, and that's one of the best new amp bargains going, imo. These amps are handwired (very few amps are actually PTP wired, btw...almost all handwired amps are turret or eyelet board built) to impecible boutique standards, yet don't cost much more than a mass produced, PCB built amp.

 

Also, consider a silvefaced Fender Princeton or Deluxe Reverb. You should be able to find either for $500 or less, depending on how patient you are. Figure a couple hundred to add to that for chassis overhaul and possibly a speaker replacement, and you're right in your price range with a completely overhauled vintage handwired amp. Princton Reverb is 12 watts, Deluxe Reverb is 22.

 

On that same realm, also look at some of the more oddball vintage amps, in particular Silvertone. They had a model (can't recall offhand) that was very similar to a Princeton Reverb. You could probably find one of those for under $300.

 

If you could scrape together just a little more dough you could get this:

 

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product?sku=480505X

 

That's a teensy bit over 15-20 watts!

 

My all tube Fender Pro Reverb is the only amp I still have 35 years later...

You would have to mention that, right when I'm considering selling my '66 that I've had for about 20 years!

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Also' date=' consider a silvefaced Fender Princeton or Deluxe Reverb. You should be able to find either for $500 or less, depending on how patient you are. Figure a couple hundred to add to that for chassis overhaul and possibly a speaker replacement, and you're right in your price range with a completely overhauled vintage handwired amp. Princton Reverb is 12 watts, Deluxe Reverb is 22.[/quote']

 

+1!!!

 

You would have to mention that' date=' right when I'm considering selling my '66 that I've had for about 20 years! [/quote']

 

Sell it to me!!!

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Allow me to elaborate on my old '73 Fender Twin. I first saw her on stage with a guitar player and a soloist. The woman had the voice of a bird. The amp had the voice of a reverbed angel.

 

When I went to see the amp for sale about 2 weeks later, I'd already bought it, in my head. I mean, come on. Two hundred and fifty bucks? The house was empty of furniture as far as I could see. As me and my buddy approached, we could here the sounds of SRV coming from inside. We entered the house. "Hello?" The guy was playing in the other room. A bedroom. The front room was all wood floor. If there was ever any carpeting it was long gone. The Twin was sitting in the middle of the room. We were expected. We had an appointment. Our voice was heard and the guitar slinger swaggered into the room . He made apologies for not hearing us. He acted as if the amp was on life support. It needed power tubes. They're expensive, he said. All he wanted was two fifty. I wheeled the thing out on it's casters. What a day.

 

My point is, romance does play a part. I'm seeking bliss. I want my amp to be one with my guitar and me. If this sounds a bit corny, well. So be it. The quest for tone is a noble one.

 

-Kirk

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Spend some time listening to some of your favorite players' date=' and find out what amps and other gear they use to get their tone. [/quote']

 

I used to work for Ernie Ball and went to a yearly show they put on where Steve Morse, Spalding Ball and the legendary Alvin Lee played five feet before my very eyes. I actually met Morse just by walking up and shaking his hand before the show. It was a private party and nobody seemed fazed at the celebrity on hand, but me!

 

Morse is a monster on guitar. One of my all time favs is Phil Keaggy, Another monster on guitar. Peter Frampton is high on my list nowadays, though he plays thought Marshalls exclusively. He was a god when I was young. Dooo you, feel like I dooo.

 

BTW, I was the sole producer for bass pickups at EB. Shame I left that job. Women...](*,)

 

 

 

Edit: Not Kerry Livgren, Steve Morse. Duh.

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Peter Frampton is high on my list nowadays' date=' though he plays thought Marshalls exclusively. He was a god when I was young. Dooo you, feel like I dooo.

 

[/quote']

 

A friend of mine's son plays in a locally popular band. He dates a girl from Atlanta who's parents are socialites. They throw dinner parties periodically that include a lot of big name athletes, business people, and music icons. He was at one of those parties a couple of months back and was introduced to Peter Frampton! He sat and talked with Peter for a long time and Peter invited him over to jam. They played all afternoon. He's been on cloud nine since.

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silverface fenders ! deluxe reverb, bassman head . a local blues guitar hero, chuck hall, after his vibroverb dissapeared, cathode biased a silver deluxe reverb, and that thing just sings. cuts through the band. so my friend cathode biased his dr, and man, what an amp.the bassman can have the phase circuit modded , ( the torres book mod ) , which i did on by bassman, and that thing really sounded sweet !

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If I had $700..., I'd save up about three hundred more and then buy/build a hand-wired Marshall plexi head kit.

 

BTW Frampton & Fogerty are two perfect examples of why capitalism should be buried forever.

 

Those two pure young talents that their producers/labels were allowed to snuff out when in their prime (all in the name of a contract) was absolutely criminal and a loss to music that will never be recovered.

 

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

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buy a valve jr. and do this

http://www.mercurymagnetics.com/pages/catalog/kits/valvejr/GearScore/GearScore01.htm

 

mercury magnetics may be going overboard, but if i could spend $700 on an amp...

 

now what i REALLY want is to buy a siegmunt midnight blues head

http://www.siegmundguitars.com/MB.html

or a swart atomic space tone head

http://swartamps.com/swart_super_spacetone_30_order.htm

and a motion sound srv 212 cab or two

http://www.motion-sound.com/product?name=srv-212

OR a leslie g27 or two... (the extension cab version of the g37)

http://hammondorganco.com/G37_27.htm

 

but that would be WAY over $700...

way over $2000...

and i spent my last $28 on an ID card so i could vote for a guy that just lost his race for mayor by 15 votes :|

 

EDIT:

i think i'd want to build a bassman amp with this kit

http://www.torresengineering.com/4intweedbask1.html

but again, way too expensive...

 

i've got enough GAS to last to retirement and beyond! (if by the time i would normally have retired the government hasn't made that impossible... better start investing in some stuff now...)

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