Are boutique amps really $1500 better than the Standards?

GearFlipper

Senior Member
Messages
595
One of the main factors for me is that I am fairly sure that the inebriated folks in the audience do not notice the difference between the '67 Fender Bassman (got it for $300) and the Matchless Clubman.

In addition, I am not exactly sure that I hear the massive difference. I hear some difference for some things, but not enough to warrant $1000 of hard earned cash for the amount that I play out.

I can understand the pros making sure they have that top edge, but 1000 boutique builders are not in business supplying amps to the pros.

A great many of these go to home players who play (like me much of the time) for the spiders in the basement.

67 Bassman Vs. Matchless Clubman ???

You couldn't have picked 2 more dissimilar amps to compare, IMHO. The Clubman is a plexi vibe, lots of gain, tight and fast attack. The Bassman is spongy, soft and not nearly as aggressive.
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,367
bwahahahaha... Tone is in the ability to acquire. :)

IN other words, in the wallett? LOL

67 Bassman Vs. Matchless Clubman ???

You couldn't have picked 2 more dissimilar amps to compare, IMHO. The Clubman is a plexi vibe, lots of gain, tight and fast attack. The Bassman is spongy, soft and not nearly as aggressive.

Actually it's a good analogy.

90% of anyone coming to see you play have no clue, and wouldn't/couldn't tell teh difference as long as you are playing well and getting a good tone.
 

Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,095
My bandmates love the way I sound at rehearsals with a ZT Lunchbox and pedals and keep telling me I should use it at gigs but it just doesn't sound and feel as good to ME. It's a tool that works and does the job for which it was purchased. But, for me, there's a whole dimension missing which detracts from the experience. I can dial anything in to sound as good as it's capable of sounding but what's the point if I'm not having as much fun? That's where a lot of the "boutique" stuff comes in. It takes the experience - for ME - to the next level. You have to experience it to understand it.

EDIT: BTW, that's not to say you can't get that from a mass-produced product. There's some great cheap stuff out there! I just find that if I take one given style of amp and compare the mass-produced version to a good "boutique" version, I typically find the boutique version to be preferable. Great example is the Fender DRRI vs. the Allen Accomplice.
 
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earthlydescent

Senior Member
Messages
980
If you're a Crap player you're going to sound like crap weather you are playing a $$$$$$ Bootique or a prod line amp.

Lynyrd Skynyd have done pretty well with their Peavey Mace's over the years.
Jeff Beck sounds pretty good with his standard Marshall or Fender Pro Jnr's
Carvins Vintage Series are a very decent tube amp.

Gary Moore sounds Kick Ass with this simple Tiny Terror & 1 x 12 Cab
[URL]http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzEyNjUzMDg4.html[/URL]

That Gary Moore clip is awesome! That's like the 20th time I've watched it.
 

UncleLarry

Member
Messages
2,245
Tone wise i don't think it will matter that much.
What i find interesting in PTP amps is that when something breaks in the amp, a decent tech can solve it in less time, for less money.
When a "pcb amp" breaks down often they have to dismantle the whole thing with the risk of causing even more damage to the amp. With PTP if they find out what is wrong they can easily replace the part.
It's just a matter of how much you want to pay to have less trouble later when (if) something breaks.

This is not always true. A well designed PCB amp can be easier to repair than a PTP. Most of the old PTP amps I've worked on were not built with neatness in mind. It can also take quite a bit longer to desolder, unwrap component leads from a terminal strip and clean it up than it does to simply lift a component from a PC board.

Also, amps built to military-type standards, such as Matchless, look like artwork inside and require careful component layout and solder connection standards to repair correctly.
 

Marc Roy

Member
Messages
15,176
It depends on the brand. My boutique amp was priced maybe $300-$500 more than what a Mesa Dual Recitifier or Marshall DSL goes for at our local shop. In my case, it was certainly worth the money.
 

Dave_C

Member
Messages
14,095
Everything is subjective. Different Amps will sound better for different people. Get what sounds good to you ! Don't buy something blind though and haven't played through. Thats a good way to lose your money. Get what sounds good to you. Good Luck.

Every one of the 6 "boutique" amps I currently own and love were purchased blind. I wouldn't own any of them had I insisted on playing one live first! I think it's pretty rare these days in most areas to be able to play the best boutiques before buying.
 

Billion81

It'd be a whole lot cooler if you did.
Messages
2,891
I paid $1,200.00 for a Fuchs ODS modded Bassman 50 and slightly more for a 100 watt, Fuchs modded Music Man..Kick ass amps..Still have the Fuchs ODS 50 modded bassman. Meanwhile the Fender Deville that our Rhythm guy uses at a cost of $900.00 (approx) and replaced the Speaker, tubes, and 3+ trips to the our tech..hmm? I think this is some faulty logic or that is to say presumptive costs on big box (Fender) vs. boutique (Fuchs).

Also- Not all Fender amps are mass produced. Comparatively, Not all boutique amps are $2000.00+

So- In this case I see an inverse of the OP cost argument..Certainly those amps weren't free even way back in the stone ages of the 1970s..

consider all the costs please OP.
 

mesa/boogieman

Senior Member
Messages
1,854
Is it really worth it to spend $2500 and over for something boutique when amps like Fender, Vox, Marshall, Traynor, Blackstar, Orange, and others are upping their game as much as they are these days?

Are they really $1500 or $2000 better?

No they're not
 
Messages
12,133
I think I like boutique amps better.

Don't think much of the new price (versus used).

I buy mostly used.

I think you generally get what you pay for.

YMMV.;)
 

hank57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,525
My Goodsell is better than a lot of amps and it cost less than some bigger companies.
 

Rambergwest

Member
Messages
914
Asking for a conclusive answer to a subjective question is mostly pointless, especially on a site like this with such a broad range of members. If you have the money I am sure you would like an expensive brand, if you don't I wouldn't feel like you can't get a good tone without one. It has been pretty well documented that a good player is a good player regardless of hardware
 

big mike

Cathode biased
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
14,367
I think I like boutique amps better.

Don't think much of the new price (versus used).

I buy mostly used.

I think you generally get what you pay for.

YMMV.;)

Yep.

I can make anything work, but I have my preferences.
One is knowing I can get the guy that built it on the phone. :)
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,921
I've come down on both sides of this question, but I think it's actually a straw man argument. The world is so much more complex with so much more overlap. For example, a new Marshall JCM800 reissue is going to cost you more than $2k. A real 1982 JCM800 will be slightly less than that. A Germino will also be slightly less than that but a Splawn will probably be a bit more. Which is a better value? For my money, the 1982 (and in fact, if you can live with the small box from 1985 you can score a 50w JCM800 for less than $700!).

How about BF Fender tone? Well, an early SF Princeton will be right around $1k. A SF Deluxe more like $1500. The PR and DR reissues around $1k new. A boutique 22 watt probably over $2k new, but apples to apples, used it'll be just a few hundred more than the SF and quite a bit less than a BF. Which would I buy? The vintage amp if I could get a good deal, a modern reissue cheap if I had to, and the boutique last. But it's more about value than money...
 

JoeB63

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
14,306
Start with a needs assessment: Define your requirements. What tone(s) do you need/want? What features? What form factor? What (expected) reliability? Then start by checking out the cheapest amp that appears to meet those needs. Then work your way upward on price if need be.

The problem on TGP (if there is a problem), is that many guys start at the top, assuming that the most expensive amp must be the best (or only) one for them, without checking out what else is out there.

I know that (absent a specific need) when Fender or any other major vendor introduces a new sub-$1K or sub-$1,500 amp, I'm sure to check it out, hoping that magic will strike, and if I'm lucky will enable me to sell a more expensive that I might already own. Why not?
 




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