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Stupid questions, but please answer..........


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I'm not a huge veteran of guitar amps so I need you guys. I'm looking for a guitar amp that won't break the bank and is loud enough for medium gigs (like 200-300 people) but still suggest ones that are for small gigs (100 people less). If possible, list tube amps that are under $1000. Also, does it matter what the watt of an amp head is? Or can I just get multiple cabs and set them up to get big power with a small watt head? Also suggest amp heads and cabs. Also suggest bass amps (preferably not tube). I'm going to be using a Les Paul Classic and SG standard and a Fender 70s jazz bass.

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There are too many amps to mention. Why don't you just go to a website like guitarcenter.com and look at all the tube amps within your price range? You can also google things like "best tube amp $1,000" and get suggestions. Best things is to just spend some time in a music store trying them out.

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Yeah, what R9 said...


But, you might look at:


Vox AC-30 (several varieties, in your price range)

Fender Hot Rod Series...Blues Jr.(15 watts), Deluxe (40 Watt), and DeVilles (60 watt).

Fender Deluxe Reverb (22 watt), and Deluxe VM (40 Watt)

Marshall "Haze" (40 watt)


Among others...



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There are too many amps to mention. Why don't you just go to a website like guitarcenter.com and look at all the tube amps within your price range? You can also google things like "best tube amp $1,000" and get suggestions. Best things is to just spend some time in a music store trying them out.

Well I've spent hours doing that but can't try out those amps and need to know what they sound like. I've already been online.

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So can you answer that?

The answer there is yes and no. (Doh!). Let me expand on that.


The size of gigs you're talking about, it would be most common that the amp will also be mic'd. If it is, you'll get some of the sound presumably from stage monitors, and the audience will from the PA. Still you want to be able to hear your amp itself on stage in most cases, it can certainly effect the dynamics of play (which brings us to some other HUGE factors in your quest- what style of music are we talking? If it is metal/power rock, you'll obviously need lots more sound than if it's jazz/big band or something else more in line with these).



Now, a couple of things on the power. Rule of thumb (all things being equal) is that to double the actual volume, multiply the power by 10. So in theory, a 5 watt amp is half as loud as a 50 watt amp. But there are again many variables. Number of speakers and design of the enclosure, efficiency of the speakers are some of the chief variables there. That plus some amp makers are notorious for under/over rating the power output. EG, Marshall amps have always been loud AFAIC remember. I have a Class 5 5 watt Marshall, and let me tell you, it is LOUD for a five watt amp. I also have the 5 watt Fender Champion 600, and while it is a good level for a 5 watt amp, I am told it gets WAY louder if you add an extension cabinet through the auxiliary jack.


Again, we don't even know the size of band you're playing with. Will there be the standard drummer/base/maybe a keyboard or other guitar? Is there a horn section and strings? (Okay, not likely, but you never know unless you ask) Does your band play LOUD, or at more "comfortable" (can still be fairly loud!) levels? All these are things we don't know that may affect the answer.


Bottom line, with $1000 to spend, your choices cover a HUGE number of amplifiers that would be suitable for the venue's you mention or even larger. Fender Twin Reverbs are too loud for many, who play in medium to small venues. Often, a Deluxe Reverb will be the choice instead for smaller rooms (these are 22 watts and still crank nicely for a smaller venue). I know one guy who plays a 5 watt Black Heart mic'd in a room that has a capacity of 200. Says it's all he needs. I've seen 100 watt Marshall half stacks in the same room (as well as Twin Reverbs, Deluxe Reverbs, Blues Deluxes, Vox AC 30's, and a host of other "staples" of the amplifier world).


With a grand, the world is your oyster. And it's not just about power or volume, but also about what sound you are going for. And don't forget to consider that you (or someone) will be lugging this around. Will you be leaving it somewhere for a steady gig, or hauling it around every day/weekend? Or will someone else be dealing with that (if you were to a point where you had roadies, I doubt you'd be here asking this question).


Shop, shop and shop, talk to some more guitarists (what you are doing here I presume) and shop, shop and shop. Find what works for your sound, then see if you can make it work for the venues you are in.

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Well just like T Bone said, basically the choices are endless!

Your Style, the type of band you play in, whether its your PA or the house system?

The variables are endless.


But I'll break it down to more simple choices based on my experience.

First my rule of thumb is..... Gibson LP + Marshall = Tone Heaven!

I'm Not saying Heaven can't be found other ways, but this is the tried and true formula.

Certainly not every Gibson and Marshall fit this formula, but hopefully you get my drift.

With $1,000 to spend were not talking about low end Marshalls!


I'd also recommend something between 30 & 60 watts all tube!

There are smaller and larger amps but generally this range will suit all your amplifier needs.

I have a JCM 800 4210 which is a 50 watt 1x12 combo.

Its great for any sized gig. Sweet tone at any volume, and it can get really REALLY loud if needed!

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I'm going to have to agree with the Gibson + Marshall = Perfect Equation. Particularly SGs. Ever heard of this little band from across the water called ACDC? Yeah.

When I was amp shopping I was on a pretty tight budget, so I ended up with a Crate Blue Voodoo 120watt half stack. It's all tube and sounds pretty good if you get an EQ, and really cheap to boot. Although I definitely would never suggest any other Crate amplification this works out pretty good for me. But I also like to play pretty freakin loud.

If you like the tube sound the first thing I would suggest looking at is a 50watt Marshall half stack. JCMs are the way to go. Or you could even go with a TSL 100watt- remember- no matter how big the amp is, you can always turn it down. But the inverse is not true. Another thing to keep in mind though is that the whole purpose of buying tube is so you can crank it to "11" and get that creamy super-saturated growl. So like everyone up top has aid, it really depends on the music you play, how hard your drummer hits, the PA available, etc. etc.

Although for reference when I was growing up I played in a punk band and we would pack anywhere from 20 up 600 people in VFW halls- and I found that unless you have your own PA you're going to have to depend on house PAs or even sometimes having your singer sing through somebody's guitar amp in some instances. Once you get above 40-50 people you're going to want 100 watts. Unless you're playing light Jazz in a dinner club, background music or otherwise some form of elevator music- then 30 watts should do. But if you want to grab the audiences attention you're best off with 100 watts of tube-age.

But that's just my experience.

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