Beginner Could Really Use Some Head Amplifier Advice - Mesa? Orange? Other?

John Clark19

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29
As the title says, I've only been learning to play guitar for about a year. The last nine months with a great guitar instructor, although the heavy viral quarantine in Michigan has cost me the last three months of lessons, until the past ten days.I should probably that, due to many instances of bad timing and unexpected circumstances, I got a bit of a late start on the guitar as I just turned 65. Still, I am bound and determined to learn to play at least acceptably well, and do some rocking, and have the time, since I just retired last year. I did go out and buy a Gibson SG Standard which was the guitar I dreamed of owning back when I was fifteen. I also picked up a nice Strat on a great deal used, at a local store.

Currently I have a small Blackstar amp for practicing, and a Vox AC30. I got the Vox on the advice of a good friend who is a long term talented guitarist,and also based on the fact that I always wanted one, and many of the guitarists I most admire also use them.

I am getting married to my fiance in a year, and will also be selling my house and buying another one within that same period. Suffice it to say, that if I want to buy somewhat expensive, in the musical instrument realm, I need to do it now, rather than later when the cost of living will have risen significantly. At this point, both of my experienced guitarist friends are telling me that I need to buy a good stack with the future in mind.

I've done what research I could at local music stores, and online videos for quite a while. The cabinet peice isn;t that hard for me, but choosing the head is, though I already know I am a tube guy. I think my current choices are narrowing down to a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier 100, an Orange RockerVerb 100, or an Orange AD30HTC. I also really liked two online demos, comparing it to a couple Orange amps, of the Revv Generator 7-40. I just liked the sound of that Revv, though I know virtually nothing about them otherwise. And they never seem to come up for sale at a decent price, used, which is the way I would be buying whatever I decide on.

To help you advise me, my primary musical influences as far as guitarists I particularly admire are Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, The Edge, Steve Howe and Brian May. I grew up with rock music, starting with the Beatles,a and then the Stones, The Who, into Prog with Yes and Elp, and then on to Genesis, Dire Straits, Springsteen, and too many more to name. I need the best head amp that sounds like it will work for me and last a long time. Your expert advise and recommendations are much appreciated. Thahnks.

John
 

RyanEmerson

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7
Hi, John. I just posted for the first time here, too!

Given what your influences are, I would recommend one of the Oranges. The Mesa Boogies are fantastic in their own right, but I wouldn't necessarily associate them with a classic rock tone. Of the Oranges, the AD30HTC is probably more setup for classic rock tones, the RV for a more modern sound.

Another option is the a Rocker 15. The Natural channel is probably my favorite Orange clean channel, and although it has more headroom than most Oranges, it can get hairy when you push it. Especially with your SG. I own one and played an SG with it for a while. It also takes pedals very, very well - and as a newer guitarist, pedals are really fun to mess with, and inspiring! It has more of a Vox-like chimey sound with the highs that's good for classic rock. The dirty channel will let you go anywhere from edge-of-breakup to a ton of gain, depending on how you set the gain and volume.

Cabinet (well, the speakers, specifically) will have a noticeable impact on your tone as well though, so it's nice to pair them with different heads before committing to something.
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
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4,701
Those are all very different sounding amps. You could justify having all of them. My honest advice would be to pick up a used line 6 hd500 for cheap. It doesn't sound amazing but it sounds good enough to help you decide what amp will get you the tones that you want.

Spend a couple of weeks playing the modelled versions then by the real amp you like best and sell the hd500 for what you paid for it.

Since you don't have a lot of experience with these amps this way you can get a little crash course before fully committing to something.
 

Jelle

Member
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255
Going by the amps you list and your preferences, I'd say the AC30 can cover the jangly side of the spectrum already, so the AD30HTC would be in a roughly similar ballpark. I'd opt for the Rockerverb MKIII (why 100 instead of 50?) being more modern and offering something a little different.

Of course there may be amps more suited to your wishes, but posing a question like that usually ends in everybody listing their favourite amps, so I'll not go there ;)
 

LaXu

Member
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10,990
You already have it. The Vox AC30. Apart from weight and volume, that will do well for the type of stuff you play. If you want to upgrade to a more boutique and practical (read: lighter, better master volume, power scaling) version of that, the Victory VC35 + a cab of your choice would be it.

I would instead look at augment your amp with some pedals for different flavors.
 

Axe-Man

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7,692
Going on all your influences and styles I would NOT recommend the Rectifier. They are flexible amps and I’ve got one inbound myself but basically it’s a high gain metal amp if we’re honest about it.

A Rockerverb is also a high gain 4 gain stage amp. It’s dark, fuzzy and angry but a unique voice. I am a fan as well.

Now, an AC30 is not just a jangle machine. It’s also a hard rock amp. Just add the right pedals or attenuation. For lighter stuff, you’re already there. They are super flexible and inspiring amps. I love my AC15HW.

A half stack is a load of fun...but if you get the wrong head you need to run things at volumes that are laughably extreme for dirt. Most better halves are not that impressed with half stack sonic performance IMPE...lol

I’d get a Fender type amp for some of those influences personally (Deluxe Reverb?) and use the Vox or Fender as appropriate with a great pedal board.

Alternatively, get a hand wired Vox or Vox style amp with Celestion Blues. They can still be silly loud but cover all the ground you’ll need with pedals.

If you want high gain, there are some absolute bargains around. EVH, 5150/6505, Dual Rectifiers, Jose Marshalls, JCM800s, Plexis etc.

Buy second hand in EC to save a bundle and get more value for your money. Second hand 4x12 cabs are surprisingly cheap and make great amp stands for home. You never have to move them once they are inside though casters make it pretty easy. Celestion Greenback G12M 25w speakers cover all the vintage stuff with aplomb.
 

John Clark19

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29
Appreciate all of your thoughts.Hoping for additional perspectives just to maximize the information I have at hand.

The only reason I had listed the RockerVerb 100 as opposed to the 50, which, I'm sure is all I need, is that the MKIII 50, while having the advantage of being newer, and more flexible, is also pretty highly priced, used. I can get better deals on a 100, at least in the last few months of research.
 

John Clark19

Member
Messages
29
Going on all your influences and styles I would NOT recommend the Rectifier. They are flexible amps and I’ve got one inbound myself but basically it’s a high gain metal amp if we’re honest about it.

A Rockerverb is also a high gain 4 gain stage amp. It’s dark, fuzzy and angry but a unique voice. I am a fan as well.

Now, an AC30 is not just a jangle machine. It’s also a hard rock amp. Just add the right pedals or attenuation. For lighter stuff, you’re already there. They are super flexible and inspiring amps. I love my AC15HW.

A half stack is a load of fun...but if you get the wrong head you need to run things at volumes that are laughably extreme for dirt. Most better halves are not that impressed with half stack sonic performance IMPE...lol

I’d get a Fender type amp for some of those influences personally (Deluxe Reverb?) and use the Vox or Fender as appropriate with a great pedal board.

Alternatively, get a hand wired Vox or Vox style amp with Celestion Blues. They can still be silly loud but cover all the ground you’ll need with pedals.

If you want high gain, there are some absolute bargains around. EVH, 5150/6505, Dual Rectifiers, Jose Marshalls, JCM800s, Plexis etc.

Buy second hand in EC to save a bundle and get more value for your money. Second hand 4x12 cabs are surprisingly cheap and make great amp stands for home. You never have to move them once they are inside though casters make it pretty easy. Celestion Greenback G12M 25w speakers cover all the vintage stuff with aplomb.


Really appreciate the advice on both amps and cabinets. You mention buying second hand in EC. I will absolutely be buying second hand, but have to apologize, but I don't know what "EC" means?

Thanks,

John
 

fiveightandten

Silver Supporting Member
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6,569
The AC-30 you already own is perfect for what you describe. I’m not sure why your friends are suggesting you need a 100W amp and a stack. Like many of us, they’re stuck in the past, from a time where one could actually use that kind of firepower.

I know if I was retired, I’d want my gigs to be fun. Carrying around 100W amps and 4x12s that you don’t even need sounds physically taxing to say the least.

Id enjoy your AC-30. Or if you simply must have a high powered amp and 4x12, get yourself a Marshall 1959 and an appropriately powered 4x12 with speakers of your choice. Out of the amps you listed though, the AD30 is the only one in alignment with your musician interests.
 

jnovac1

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8,111
Really appreciate the advice on both amps and cabinets. You mention buying second hand in EC. I will absolutely be buying second hand, but have to apologize, but I don't know what "EC" means?

Thanks,

John
he means “excellent condition”. also, i have never played one, but a ceriatone yeti could be on your list. sat in with a guy that had one with a 4-12 in a low volume environment,
sounded great, wide range of tones/volumes. he loves his.
 

DeadLazy

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2,142
The AC-30 you already own is perfect for what you describe. I’m not sure why your friends are suggesting you need a 100W amp and a stack. Like many of us, they’re stuck in the past, from a time where one could actually use that kind of firepower.

I know if I was retired, I’d want my gigs to be fun. Carrying around 100W amps and 4x12s that you don’t even need sounds physically taxing to say the least.

Id enjoy your AC-30. Or if you simply must have a high powered amp and 4x12, get yourself a Marshall 1959 and an appropriately powered 4x12 with speakers of your choice. Out of the amps you listed though, the AD30 is the only one in alignment with your musician interests.
I love a good 4x12 and at home I have a lot of space. It’s still just tacky furniture, now; an eccentricity.

You buy and use a 4x12 because you really you want to and that’s the only reason.

**Or for making IR’s, I guess.
 

GCDEF

Silver Supporting Member
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28,891
Is this for home use, gigging or just jamming with friends?

I play a 100 watt Marshall half stack, but I'd be the last person so say you actually need one. I've preached over and over that those big amps can sound good over a wide range of volumes, but they are made for bigger stages. You may want to look at the Marshall DSL-40CR. Very versatile, plenty of power and not too difficult to transport if you need to.
 

John Clark19

Member
Messages
29
One additional thing. No one mentioned anything about the Revv Generator 7-40. Is that something not worth bothering with, either because its not a proven product, or it won't meet the needs I've described? Again, the comparison demo that I heard online impressed me, and vs Orange amps, even up to the top of the line. But, that's a pretty small sample size, I realize, and there are very few reviews of it, in general.
 

John Clark19

Member
Messages
29
he means “excellent condition”. also, i have never played one, but a ceriatone yeti could be on your list. sat in with a guy that had one with a 4-12 in a low volume environment,
sounded great, wide range of tones/volumes. he loves his.

Oh, duh, EC means "excellent condition" I clearly over thought that one! Thanks for the suggestion, Ceriatone and the Yeti are new to me.
 

Hefalump

Member
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10,467
I would buy a Fender 68 Custom Reverb and a Marshall head and 412.

Why? Well the 68 custom is awesome, and everyone needs to own atleast one Marshall half stack......look out for used 2555x silver jubilee
 

saltydogg

Rock & Roll Enthusiast
Platinum Supporting Member
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7,391
Welcome aboard John.

Well For reference, I’ve got both a Vox AC15HW and a Rockerverb 50W MkIII.

Unless you’re going to get the most out of a 100W Rockerverb, I’d really consider the 50W. I use mine at home, and gig it in a grunge-ish band. Plenty of volume. I think part of the “tube amp magic” is getting those tubes hot enough to make a difference in how your amps feels and responds.

Like Axe-Man (what’s up my Vox-lovin buddy) mentioned above, the RV has four gain stages which means that’s a lot of range-of-gain. I like the RV MkIIIs gain from 9:00 (low-gain) to 2:00 (sizzle) and after that it’s too much gain for me, but there lots of shades between 9:00-2:00 on the gain-dial. But wait, there’s more...

It also has *very* nice clean channel, that has a hint of Vox in it. Maybe the AD30 is even more Voxey using 4xEL84s? Because of the attenuator, it’s possible to run the clean volume high, and reign it in with the attenuator, for some killer clean-low-mid-gain crunch tones.

Reverb (roomish) is solid, as is the effects-loop.

Like any amp, Orange isn’t for everyone, but I’ve had a few Mesa’s and while they are excellent amps, I don’t find them very vintagey compared to others.
 
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John Clark19

Member
Messages
29
Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and recommendations on this. Getting input from people with your experience with the various amps is invaluable, and is a major help in my decision making.

To answer the one question posed above, for the moment, this would be for home use, and jamming with friends, although, being optimistic, a little gigging down the road would be my dream.

And also, both of my local, guitarist friends are advocating that I go with a good 2x12 cabinet, saying thats more than enough these days, and why drag around more?
 

saltydogg

Rock & Roll Enthusiast
Platinum Supporting Member
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7,391
And also, both of my local, guitarist friends are advocating that I go with a good 2x12 cabinet, saying thats more than enough these days, and why drag around more?

I think your friends are correct about the 2x12, and if you go with an Orange amp, the PPC212V is excellent, and not terribly heavy with Celestion neo-mags.

fUR7Rwy.jpg
 

dB

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,487
I think you need a blackface amp and a Marshall. If it were me, I’d get a Super Reverb and a JTM45. Between those and the AC30, you’d have it all covered. Maybe add a good tweed sounding pedal and a zen drive.
 

Axe-Man

Member
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7,692
Hey @saltydogg! They are very solid amps aren’t they.

The Rockerverb has an excellent MV and will handle a variety of tones really well. I loved mine (Mk II) with a boost in front and a PPC412 cab. Sounded huge! The Orange 2x12 cabs are excellent too. I keep scouring the classifieds for a Mk III 50.

The Vox clean and verb is unexpected and a really nice touch isn’t it.

From what I gather Revv amps are excellent. Never encountered one but they seem cool.

I happen to own a Ceriatone Yetii 100 too. It’s my longest owned amp at nearly 10 years. It’s a lot of amp and extremely well made. Out of all the amps I’ve owned it’s been the amp that gets the best sounds with just a guitar into the amp. No boost or OD like with say a Dual Rec or even a 5150 etc. It sounds particularly good with 6L6GC tubes surprisingly. Mine is not a quiet amp though. It ‘will’ play super low in volume in the higher gain modes and does sound good in isolation but there is a serious abundance of focused midrange and the bottom end takes a bit to come in like a JCM800. Then...it’s huge and sounds amazing. It’s a big 100w amp so it is what it is. I’ve owned it nearly for a decade for good reason I guess. It also loves H75CB’s and a V30/GB mix. The classic AC/DC tone is loud (LOUD) but it sounds killer. Iron Maiden/classic metal etc works great too. Lovely clean though mine has been tweaked slightly for cleans. It’s not just a JCM800 + boost.

Saying all that, my little AC15 is silly loud. With a high gain tube preamp pedal and an OD I can create even modern metal tones at pretty surprising volume levels (it’s loud and tight). Maybe look at a pedal like a Friedman BE-OD Deluxe? That should bring the gain and you have all the classic tones at your fingertips already. A uber delay will do the U2 Edge stuff and a Treble Booster Brian May. Just add volume for Brian May...LOADS of it. Lol
 




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