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Need advice buying first amp!


DB Cooper

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I am absolutely NEW to electric guitars & amplification. I will be purchasing a new Gibson SG Standard within the next few weeks. Of course, I need an amp to play through, but I am not very electronically inclined.

 

Here are my needs/requirements:

 

1) I will be primarily playing at home, so I don't need to fill an arena with sound.

2) But, I do live back in the woods, and wouldn't mind cranking it out on the deck in the summertime!

3) I generally won't transport it, but certainly will on occasion, so portability is a consideration.

4) On this guitar, I would like to play rock, blues, mostly 60s/70s stuff.

5) Lots of different options of effects and whatnot would keep me busy screwing around, and would be fun.

6) I'd like to keep my first amp at or under $200.

7) Any other options I should consider?

 

Here are some models that fit into my price range, but I'm just a bit overwhelmed by their options. I have tried several of these out at GC, but since I really don't know what I'm doing, I doubt I've explored each amp's capabilities fully.

 

Roland Cube Series - Cube40XL - 40W 1x10" Combo - $200

Line 6 Spider IV Series - Spider 4-30 - 30W 1x12" Combo - $200

Marshall MG Series - MG30FX - 30W 1x10" Combo - $200

VOX Valvetronix+ Series - VT40Plus - 40W 1x10" Combo - $250

VOX Valvatronix+ Series - VT20Plus - 20W 1x8" Combo - $170

Fender Mustang2 - 40W 1x12" Combo - $200

 

So, I'm asking for your opinions on the following amps - what is your experience with them? what would you buy in that price range?

 

THANKS!

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Since your getting such a nice guitar...I'd defintley reccomend a tube amp so your guitar's true nature can show...I'd reccomend the Jet City Amplification JCA2112RC...its only 299.00 all-tube amp and everybody I know who has one raves about em.. perfect amp for 60/70's rock and blues[thumbup]

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Since your getting such a nice guitar...I'd defintley reccomend a tube amp so your guitar's true nature can show...I'd reccomend the Jet City Amplification JCA2112RC...its only 299.00 all-tube amp and everybody I know who has one raves about em.. perfect amp for 60/70's rock and blues[thumbup]

 

Are lower-watt tube amps as loud as higher-watt solid state amps? I wouldn't mind cranking it outdoors! Also, I would like some effects options, but would prefer to avoid pedals and whatnot until I know more about what I'm doing!

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Are lower-watt tube amps as loud as higher-watt solid state amps? I wouldn't mind cranking it outdoors! Also, I would like some effects options, but would prefer to avoid pedals and whatnot until I know more about what I'm doing!

I'm with DB Cooper on this one.....Go tube, bump up your budget by 99 bucks and get the Jet City 20 watt combo. Great amp. Gets nice and loud. Not so good for clean, but good enough. If you go with the Jet City, remember it ships with the speaker cord in an 8 omn slot and should be put in the 16 omn spot...There's more you should know, but I won't explain unless you get one...The wattage ratings for tube amps are different than for solid state amps....long story....if you go with the Vox trans tube series, please go with the 50 watt with the 12" speaker; nice amp, nice effects, great beginner amp. Line 6 amps, not as good as the Vox....Gibson SG and the Jet City, you'll be in beginners heaven......only my IMO.....keep us updated......This is the selling season; wait for another online sale / coupon deal, and price match.....etc......

 

When you want pedals, come back here and ask.....There are pedal maniacs here.....smart folks.

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Dude, there are some good amplifiers like line 6, peavey, mesa, etc... but with a gibson i recommend you any marshall... it makes your guitar sounds pretty good...

Doubt he could find a Mesa within that price range, unfortunate because personally I love them.

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If you're really stuck on buying one of the amps listed I would:

* Use your ears and see which one sounds the best to you.

* Play it at high, medium and, low volumes and then see which sound the best overall. Most solid state amps sound like pooh when they are pushing any volume.

* If you're into the integrated FX thing then find a balance between what sounds good to you and overall ease of use to change the FX settings

* Beware of the FX Voodoo Knobs and Mojo Switches as they have the same effect as the Sirens call and can crash your ship into the rocks. In other words you can spend so much time noodling around with the FX that you don't actually play the guitar any.

* If you do decide to buy one of these look on Craigs list, ebay, or even the music store for a used one. You can probably get one for about half of what they a selling for new. If they have one at the music store that is used take the used price, split it in half and add about 25.00 30.00 and offer them that for it.

 

Recommendations - find a decent small all tube amp (not just tube pre-amp). The Jet City that the others were referring to seems to fit the bill pretty well and is around your price point.

 

* Tube amps are much louder than solid state amps

* Tube amps are more responsive to your pick attack - As you play you'll eventually want a tube amp anyway! Might as well get used to how they respond.

* Tube amps will generally hold their value better

* You can really tweak the tone of a tube amp by trying different pre-amp and output tubes. If you really get into it you can learn how to modify them pretty easily. I bet there is already a ton of mods on youtube for these amps you can hear. I bought an epiphone vavlve junior to play around with.

 

My 2 C's I am a Marshall Lover but would stay away from their solid state stuff!

 

 

Hope this helps,

 

Andy

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Okay... <grin> The grouchy old man here.

 

I'd say another potential to look at might well be something rather inexpensive such as the Kustom Acoustic Electric amp that offers a separate channel for a mike. Nothing flamboyant in the guitar side, but you have two separate channels to run mike and guitar. You can always get a multi-effect board for messing with. But for your $200 you can probably get an inexpensive mike, stand and amp.

 

For what it's worth, I have one I got some years ago and it's got enough noise to do a jazz solo gig in a 500 seat auditorium with or without a vocal.

 

In fact, short of something like the old Fender Deluxe Reverb, which this replaces, there's not much I'd care to have, even were somebody to give me one today. The DR also had separate inputs/controls for a solo guitar/mike gig. I swapped the old DR, by the way, for a 120 watt tube combo with similar capabilities. Still have it. It's a nice piece, but it's around 90 pounds. Also, a lotta tube amps don't seem to work well to connect to a USB converter and into a computer.

 

Guess which amp I haul to play out and to record through at home?

 

m

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Okay... <grin> The grouchy old man here.

 

I'd say another potential to look at might well be something rather inexpensive such as the Kustom Acoustic Electric amp that offers a separate channel for a mike. Nothing flamboyant in the guitar side, but you have two separate channels to run mike and guitar. You can always get a multi-effect board for messing with. But for your $200 you can probably get an inexpensive mike, stand and amp.

 

For what it's worth, I have one I got some years ago and it's got enough noise to do a jazz solo gig in a 500 seat auditorium with or without a vocal.

 

In fact, short of something like the old Fender Deluxe Reverb, which this replaces, there's not much I'd care to have, even were somebody to give me one today. The DR also had separate inputs/controls for a solo guitar/mike gig. I swapped the old DR, by the way, for a 120 watt tube combo with similar capabilities. Still have it. It's a nice piece, but it's around 90 pounds. Also, a lotta tube amps don't seem to work well to connect to a USB converter and into a computer.

 

Guess which amp I haul to play out and to record through at home?

 

m

They say the jet city combo is a real pain in the arse to change the tubes,the vox is good for you,at least it has one tube and the amp can get loud if you want and has lots of options it to,I had one.
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I appreciate everybody's input so far. Just kind of taking it all in. The whole tube vs. solid state is something I will have to look at.

 

The way I'm seeing it - this is my plan: get one really good guitar (the Gibby SG Standard) that I really like, then mess around with amps for the rest of my life. I don't see this first amp purchase as the end-all, be-all amp I'm going to use exclusively forever. I've only been playing acoustic guitar for just over two years, so I'm just learning guitar anyway. But I know I want the Gibson SG...always have!

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Hi DB,

 

I too would consider staying away from an amp with a large battery of built-in effects and focus your amp budget on getting a really good sounding tube amp.

 

As you get into electric guitar, you will have plenty to go on with before you need to think about effects, and a good tube amp will offer you a range of colourings anyway.

 

You can purchase the effects you need, and which sound right to you, later. There is never any shortage of second hand effects for sale.

 

RN

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Within your price range (indicated in your listing of amps)...IF it was

me, I'd get the Fender Mustang2, or the Vox VT40! The Champ (tube)

amps are great, as well. When it comes to Marshall amps, I'd opt to spend

a bit more, and get a "tube=valve" version. For your needs...

probably the Class 5, or possibly the 40 watt "Haze" combo.

But, obviously, the best thing to do, is go try a bunch of them out, all

kinds/brands, and see what YOU like.

 

Cheers, and good hunting!

 

CB

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If you're really stuck on buying one of the amps listed I would:

* Use your ears and see which one sounds the best to you.

 

The only way to know for sure.

 

I've played through the Marshall MG series. Its good for a practice amp if you have no effects, but so is the Line 6. People seem to love the Roland cubes....

 

See where this is going?

 

Make a trip out of it and enjoy the hunt!

 

 

Keep the box it comes in, and keep it in good shape to maximize the trade in value when you're ready to move up :)

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