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Good Vintage Amp? Suggestions?

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Hey guys, yesterday I got a new guitar, the Epiphone SG G-400 and I am very pleased with the high quality sound. #-o Even though Im young, only 13, I am very fond of the vintage noise coming from this guitar.


I have a squire 10w amp that comes with the Fender Starcaster, my beginner guitar (started this Christmas)

and want to change it to have my guitar sound a bit vintager [<-dont think thats a word]


I also have the Fender 18" California Clear Vintage Cable, and sounds pretty nasty :-$


Anyways, any suggestions on the new amp? Add link please :-k

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Hi Norm, and welcome to the forum.

13 huh? That means by the time you are my age you should be as good as Angus Young! #-o


You did not mention what price range you were looking for. That is important to know because the prices can vary a great deal. You also did not say how load you wanted it to be. Are you playing with other people? With drums?

Or is it primarily for your own use for practicing?


Let us know what the answers are to these questions, and then we can help you a lot better.


Until then, check out this amp. It's a a VOX 30VT. They are great amps. It has a lot of different effects, and can get fairly loud as well. It's also a hybrid type amp, in that it contains one real tube.

One of the best things about this amp is that it has a power level control in back. This allows you to turn down the wattage output of your amp. So if the parents are wanting you to turn it down, you can, but still get a good sound out of it. You can also hook headphones up to it so only you can hear it. I have the older AD30VT model. Good little amp. Much better than the one you have. They also have a 15 watt model.


Here's the link ----> http://www.guitarcenter.com/Vox-Valvetronix-VT30-30W-1x10-Guitar-Combo-Amp-105156558-i1428847.gc

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There's really not much in the vintage market that you can have for $500, let alone what you'd spend to have the chassis overhauled and brought up to specs, and what it would cost to replace the dry-rotted original speaker(s). Your budget really limits you to the single-ended amps, particularly the "ugly, red-headed step-son" amps, mostly made by Valco, that sold under any number of different brand names. You can find lots of no-name, single-ended, "champ-like" amps for $200-$300, stick $100 or so into chassis overhaul, another $50-$100 into a new speaker, and you've got a fantastic little, 5-6 watt practice amp. You won't be accused of being "too loud," however.


In order to get into the "loud" range with vintage amps, you really would have to add a considerable amount to your budget, so that you can buy the amp and have enough left over to pay for chassis overhaul and speaker(s). The amp alone would run you around $500, depending on what you found. Whatever you buy, vintage, you should expect to pay $150-$200 for a full chassis overhaul and about $100 per speaker. You don't want to play a vintage amp that hasn't been fully and properly serviced.


That said, you haven't indicated what type of tone you're seeking, so, assuming you can increase your budget to $800-$1200, the sky's the limit, in terms of what you can find. Pretty much any vintage Fender, particularly silverface models, Traynor YBA-1 and 1A are fantastic amps, Silvertone 1484, Airline, Magnatone, Ampeg, Harmony, Supro, Gibson, etc., etc., etc.


If you want "loud," look at something over 20 watts, starting with the Fender Deluxe Reverb at 22 watts. You should be able to find a silverface version for around $500 or so.


From there, you could also consider blackface bassman or bandmaster amps. The former is 50 watts and the latter is 40. Both are outstanding amps that can be bought, with 2x12 closed cabinet, for about $800-$1000 or so.


The Tremolux was a 30 watt blackface amp with a 2x10" closed cabinet, and is also a very nice amp, though you'd probably pay $1200 or so for one these days.


Pro Reverbs are fantastic, nearly unsung amps that push 40 watts through a 2x12 combo. Silverface models quickly got mangled by CBS engineers, and were eventually morphed into 70 watt, ultralinear freaks. If you like loud and CLEAN, they're great buys. Same for the 100w and 135w Twin Reverbs.


There are scores of vintage amps that you could look for roughly $500-$700 or so, that would certainly produce "loud." The important thing to remember when buying vintage is to have it serviced before you start to work it. If filter caps blow while under load, you're liable to blow the output tubes, and very probably the output transformer and possibly even the primary transformer at the same time. That catastrophic failure would turn a routine $100-$200 in service work to $400-$500, literally in a flash.

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Well you can get a used Fender Blues Junior or Hot Rod Deluxe for less than 500$. These are great amps, they are loud, all tube and takes pedals very well. Traynor YCV range is also very good under 500$.


Try them out to see what you like best.

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Loud is subjective. A 100 watt Marshall would be within that volume range, but way too expensive.


Check out the Peavey Vypyr Tube 60 at $449, The Vox VT50 hybrid, or the Roland Cube 60/80 series. All these amps are loud, in your face, and cheap, in the $400 range. I used my Roland Cube 60 last Saturday night to play a Classic Rock gig and only had to crank it to 4. 60 watts is enough unless you want to be wearing a hearing aid when you are 40.


These days sound is so close to tubes on SS amps and especially with the hybrids. You even get a "feel" component in the hybrids that closely mimics all tube feel. These days bands are putting more money into the PA and less into amps. You can always blow the ears out in the audience without killing the guys on stage using DI. And, you can inject some sound into the monitors so your bandmates can hear what you are playing.

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Guys, I really don't think Peavey, Carvin, Roland, Fender hot rod amps, Crate, or anything similar is what Norm had in mind when he said that he's looking for a "vintage" amp. No offense to those making those suggestions, and I'm sure that there are some worthy considerations amongst those makers, but in terms of vintage amp shopping, it's really not what most would consider.


Loud is subjective. A 100 watt Marshall would be within that volume range, but way too expensive.

Cost is subjective as well, but really shouldn't be the ultimate barrier to tone. If your dream tone is a '67 plexi, you'll find a way to make it happen. And, if that magic amp is what launches a brilliant, lifelong career in music, or even if it just gives immeasurable pleasure to one's soul, isn't that worth the cost? I think we often get too hung up on the price of entry, and I'd guess that a lot of musical careers probably get short-circuited by cheap, subpar tools, as a result.

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You might be able to find a silver face Princeton or Deluxe in that price range-

But you said you wanted loud- well, a lot of vintage amps aren't all that loud, they are more about tone.

but my Princeton, with a speaker change, can hang pretty well live-

As mentioned before, the Fender Hot Rod series might be a good place to start. You can pick up some of the old Crate, all tube VC series amps pretty cheap.

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We have to remember that the original poster of this thread is

only 13. His tastes in music are going to change a lot over the next

20-30 years. As he grows and changes, he will be able to buy his own amps,

to accomodate his tastes.

What he needs now is something that:


1. Won't break the bank. [dad]

2. Has a number of different effects built in. [saves buying a bunch of pedals]

3. Is powerful enough to play on a small stage live. [just louder that the drummer]

4. Is small enough that he does not need a truck to haul it. [could be Mom helping]

5. Has a nice clean channel, and gets dirty easily. [at 13 probably wants dirty]

6. Is fairly rugged, as he will be hauling it to his buddy's garage and all over the place.


I would say that a "Vintage Amp" is probably not what he needs right now.

One of the amps in the posts above should be fine for him.


Vox AD30 - AD15

Roland Cube 30-60



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The Tremolux was a 30 watt blackface amp with a 2x10" closed cabinet' date=' and is also a very nice amp, though you'd probably pay $1200 or so for one these days.


Pro Reverbs are fantastic, nearly unsung amps that push 40 watts through a 2x12 combo. Silverface models quickly got mangled by CBS engineers, and were eventually morphed into 70 watt, ultralinear freaks. If you like loud and CLEAN, they're great buys. Same for the 100w and 135w Twin Reverbs. [/quote']

I'm with M on this, I've had my Blackface Pro Reverb since I was 16 (almost 40 years now) and it's seen me through jazz, rock, alternative, and many other types of gigs. Strangley, I got a beat up old Tremolux head and a 2 x 12 Fender cab a year or so ago, and they're phenominal.


No gizmos, no DSP, no nuthin' - but realiable as hell and sounds great with any guitar and pedals and in almost any venue. There's just nothing like a used blackface or early silver Fender for the bucks.


There's two Super Reverbs around here on Craigslist right now - a '73 Silverface for $1,000 and a '68 Blackface for $1,500. If I wasn't saving up for something else one or both would already be in the man cave now....

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  • 2 months later...

If your looking for a vintage tone, you can get there without a vintage amp. The suggestions for a nice Blues Jr or similar are great ones. You will notice a HUGE difference between that and your small solid state practice amp. I would also add a Peavey Delta Blues 1 x 15; Peavey Classic 30 and the Crate Vintage Club series amps to the Blues Jr as super alternatives for that "Classic Rock" and Blues tones. You won't get into shredding territory with any of those amps so if your looking for that, then everything I am saying is WAY off base. You would need a Vintage Peavey 5150 or Mesa Boogie type amps for that.


On the other hand, certain vintage amps can get "Rock Star" status just because someone who knows how to work them plays one on youtube....


Check this out.....



Those old Magnatone Tonemaster (and all of the other "branded" names that were made by Estey of Torrence, CA with the Magnatone amp chassis) are all of a sudden seeing prices 3-4 times above what they were prior to Phil X playing one on these Fretted America ads. They have become so popular that the last two or three I saw sell on Ebay ranged from $950 to over $1400! Tons of bidders on each one as well. They used to cost about $300-400 used. [confused]

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I'd go for the Marshall MG combos.


They have that vintage look, therefore they must have that vintage sound. It will do everything you are looking for which is


a) have the marshall logo on the front allowing you to exclaim "I've got a Marshall"

be) cost more than a much better sounding VOX AC4 or Valvetronix combo

c) get loud

d) have clean and distortion channels

e) have master volume, headphone out, and shoddy digital effects



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  • 1 month later...

Suggest a good does-everything amp.

The amp that immediately springs to mind is the Vox Valvetronix range. They are good enough to gig and do it well, my AD30VT does gig.

Next down from the Vox, the Roland CubeNNX and Orange, others are also-ran.

Small and cheap maybe but a quantum leap up from the kiddies bedroom blaster.


If it must be valves then a push-pull pair of 15-20 watts will gig nicely because valves are much louder than solid state for the same power (there are reasons for this). Single end 5 watts generally too small. Some 15 watts of valves will match 30-40 watts solid state. "Vintage" sound and you're talking Fender, Vox and WEM/Marshall.


BTW the Epi BC30 is immensely loud and therefore probably not a beginners amp. The BC30/So-Cal50 is a sort-of hot-rodded Bassman clone. The Marshall JTM45 is a Bassman clone. The ancient and modern Marshall 18W is a dead-on knock-off of ye olde 17W WEM Dominator. The Vox AC15 is based on a 50s record player. The Valvetronix do Fender, Vox, Marshall, HiWatt, Mesa, ... , Dumble.

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