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Are new players scared to play big, loud valve amps?

5F6-A

Member
Messages
3,141
I have a JTM45 style amp head with a 2x12" cab with Greenbacks. It's heavy, it's loud, it's clear, it's not forgiving. What I mean by that is that it sounds glorious but only when a good player plays through it confidently. I have found that many younger players have grown up playing modern amps or digital profiling machines (e.g. Kemper, etc) that are far more sensible and forgiving. Loud and not a lot of gain is particularly challenging. When they eventually have the chance of playing an old AC30, Plexi, Hiwatt, Twin Reverb, etc... they often find them intimidating and unappealing. Probably, they think they are going to like them but when they do try them, they often find that they don't. You have to work hard to make them sound good... what do you think?
 
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guitargeek6298

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,168
I'm not sure exactly, but I bought my 9 year old son his first (electric) guitar for Christmas and have been giving him lessons for a few months. He's using one of my amps, a modded Valve Junior through a 2x12.

He definitely isn't afraid to crank it up :facepalm

If you've never heard Brown Eyed Girl at 60bpm and 100db, you don't know what you're missing.
 

JK1965

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,326
I have no modeling amp experience so there’s that. I do however find that I need to adjust my pick attack accordingly based on the amp being played. Getting totally used to one type of amp can be a rude awakening when you have to play through something different. It can be quite humbling. I always found though that it’s not that the suckage is as bad as it seems once one gets in tune with the amp and what it can do while adjusting what I can do with it.
 

ronmail65

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,440
I agree. As a new player in the late 70's / 80's I only had solid state amps and used reverb. Then I got a Marshall JCM800 and WOW - when you take away the compression and wetness of an amp - you are really OUT THERE. Especially with the higher touch sensitivity of most tube amps.

I'll tell you what -- it made me a better player. It forced me to become very clean and very deliberate in my technique. Then, as you get used it, you learn how to use it to your advantage by leveraging those dynamics through pick attach and using your fingers.
 

Teleking

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,023
No, they're scared to get constantly yelled out by the sound man to turn down.

Everyone wants to play the big iron amps. It's just not practical in most live situations anymore.

That's the reason people don't play them. New players, older players, most players.
 

ronmail65

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,440
No, they're scared to get constantly yelled out by the sound man to turn down.

Everyone wants to play the big iron amps. It's just not practical in most live situations anymore.

That's the reason people don't play them. New players, older players, most players.
I've gone from 100W and 120W amps to 20W running at half power or less - and still not getting past 11 o'clock on volume!
 

mule73

Member
Messages
248
Being able to tame a loud tube amp, screaming and glorious, is a skill, like any other we practice. Unfortunately one that is seldom practiced these days. I played big Marshalls pretty much the whole time I was gigging, and standing in front of my bandmate’s new (to him) 73 Superlead dimed, with 8 Greenbacks flapping your pantlegs changed how I think about guitar tone. It’s an experience that very few newer players will get to have, unfortunately. I’ve heard great tones from modelers, small tube amps, and big amps choked down with attenuation. Great, but absolutely not the same. There’s “sounds good”, and then there’s “timeless”. There’s no replacement for displacement, and once you’ve played that way, nothing will do it like that. Just the opinion of a deaf and humble boomer.
 

BigBadOrange

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
981
To me, MY amp is like my comfy sneakers dialed in to do EXACTLY what I want it to do. Getting on anyones amp that isn't mine is pretty much the same experience that you describe. Heck, simply changing guitars on my comfy amp can be pretty surprising. As a high gain thrasher, blasting me through your JTM45 with no OD will probably be pretty awkward. Let me bring my OD, dial her in, and then I can show you what it is SUPPOSED to sound like. ;)
 

BobbyRay

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,236
No, they're scared to get constantly yelled out by the sound man to turn down.

Everyone wants to play the big iron amps. It's just not practical in most live situations anymore.

That's the reason people don't play them. New players, older players, most players.
You are correct. 100% about the sound man.

Problem that I see time and time again is the sound man never gets the mix right once said guitar is turned down to his expectation, and you end up with an almost guitarless mix.

Sound people are the death of guitar rock.
 
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yakyak

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,448
I have to say I love a cranked 50 or 100 watt Marshall! No better sound in my opinion. Now, being much, much older, I wish I hadn't liked it so much. Hearing protection killed the high end! Loud amps and drummers crash cymbals killed my hearing. One day that ringing sound in my ears from being around cranked amps never went away the next day.
 

dwoverdrive

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,031
Having a powerful amp with a good master volume has become a much better solution. Its nice to be able to play an amp loud if you really want to but having one that is just super loud with no master and not a lot of gain on tap is just not very practical with all the options that are out there. It can be hard for a younger player to appreciate a loud amp that you have to fight with to get a couple good sounds out of, and I love a nice JTM 45 as much as the next guy.
 

Harald

Member
Messages
239
I have a JTM45 style amp head with a 2x12" cab with Greenbacks. It's heavy, it's loud, it's clear, it's not forgiving. What I mean by that is that it sounds glorious but only when a good player plays through it confidently. I have found that many younger players have grown up playing modern amps or digital profiling machines (e.g. Kemper, etc) that are far more sensible and forgiving. Loud and not a lot of gain is particularly challenging. When they eventually have the chance of playing an old AC30, Plexi, Hiwatt, Twin Reverb, etc... they often find them intimidating and unappealing. Probably, they think they are going to like them but when they do try them, they often find that they don't. You have to work hard to make them sound good... what do you think?
Eh? There is nothing inherently forgiving about modeling. Where did you get that idea?

As for sounding good, that is always a lot of work.

But perhaps you just meant loud?
 

Tomo El Gato

Member
Messages
1,894
No, they're scared to get constantly yelled out by the sound man to turn down.

Everyone wants to play the big iron amps. It's just not practical in most live situations anymore.

That's the reason people don't play them. New players, older players, most players.
That's not true.
And that sound guy sounds like a jerk. It's not his show.
 

strumminsix

Member
Messages
4,161
Very few places to playing 50+ watts at good volume anymore. So I rarely play that loud anymore.

I also used to play Twins cranked with JBLS and rack gear with 200W with 2 cabs cranked.

Now, it's not practical anymore... And I'm wondering if others aren't experiencing it too.
 

homeunit

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,494
All I've ever gigged with is 100 watt amps. There are a lot of ways to get great tones without being on 10. We either brought our own sound guy, or paid the house guy a bit extra to work with us, not against us.

I tend to agree with the idea that playing a tube amp at a good volume is a skill. There's a life of dynamics and 3 dimensionalness and give and take that a modeler doesn't do.
 




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