Big Headroom Funk/Jazz Amp With Character- HELP!!!


Silver Supporting Member
Hey Good People,

I'm looking for amp suggestions. I play with heavy picks and a crisp/tight right hand, my pickups are also high output. So I need an amp that can play clean and loud despite those facts, and also not get all ice-picky on top.

Here are my requirements:

1. Must be able to play clean and loud- I'm talking about outdoor gigging volumes and still holding it together with clean tone.

2. Must have some kind of character or voice, some kind of vibe. I've heard this with Brunos and Tophats. I don't want a flat sounding amp. I want something that sounds alive and breathing, where you can hear the notes pumping as let them ring out...I don't want cardboard tone.

3. Must take pedals well

4. Must have that clean funk/jazz tone. I don't want midrangey growling rock n' roll clean. I know people have varying definitions of clean, but I mean clean- not kinda cleanish. Spanky.

5. I don't want an amp that when you turn it up it starts to get the midrangey 'rock' voice. Examples of this phenomenon include Bassmans and low power twins.

6. I'm on a budget so I'm focused on pre-owned amps

7. Must be a manageable weight for gigging musician carrying his own gear. I'm not trying to bust my ass every time I got a gig.

Some amps come to mind. Let me tell you my thoughts on some of those (yes I know there are exceptions, of course)

Boogies- yes they have headroom, but often have icepick highs and can be flat sounding on the top end. Blah

Bruno- the clips sounding amazing. I used own a CT22 and it did the thing. It was very smooth and thick on the top end, and it had nice voice and vibe. It was too 'rocky' though because it was 22w. However, there's so much controversy about Bruno. His build quality, parts, service, etc... I'm kinda scared to dump my load into Bruno, but I may do it...Wondering if I'd need a Cowtipper 45 or 90?

Fender- I'm a little leary of vintage stuff. I don't want to worry about cap jobs and reliability. So many of those old amps have been hacked up too. Twins are ridiculous to move- no way. If I found a good one with proper headroom, I'd buy it though.

MeteorII- heard and played one a guitar show and thought it was really bright. Didn't thrill me, didn't like it. Could be worth another run though as I do have a local dealer.

So I think I've done a good job explaining...what do you guys think? Am I waaaay too picky or what?



Silver Supporting Member
Silverface Pro Reverb.
Silverface Vibrolux reverb.
Ampeg V4.
Carr Imperial (if you can find one).
Bogner Shiva.


Silver Supporting Member
I've played an Ambassador 50, it would surely work for me. But they are very rare, especially in a head or 1x12. I can't lug a 2x12 to gigs. If I found one I'd probably snag it.

Vibrolux- I said loud and clean! Any Vibrolux that can do loud and clean is irregular.

Evans- never heard of them. I'll check it out.


Gold Supporting Member
High clean headroom necessitates high power. And high power often = higher wattage and bigger transformers and bigger magnet speakers which in turn = bigger weight...

I was gonna say a Fender Twin Reverb, but load in some sort of Neodymium magnet speaker to take some weight off.

Good idea, bad idea, eh idea?

What about this guy?

Designed for loud clean headroom. One channel. CLEAN. designed to take pedals. built in 9v daisy chain jack. User bias-able. And not TOO expensive. It's not botique, per say, but I've heard from lots of people that this things IS clean and STAYS clean.

Quotes from users:

"It's amazing how you can crank these things without any breakup" "the funk player’s quintessential amp. It has all of the character of a Twin, without the inconsistencies." "Spanky and crystal clean power!" " "Fat, warm and loud, clean, tone".

Sounds pretty much exactly like the dream amp you described...


I use a 74 SF Twin for the exact type of music you're playing. Heavy as hell, but it gets LOUD and still clean. I run mine with the treble control almost all the way down on the amp - no ice pick for me, and it's still not too dark-sounding. I also put a 12AT7 in V1 so it breaks up later than with the 12AX7.
Get a good case with wheels and you'll minimize the amount of heavy lifting. As with any tube amp that is gigged regularly, you'll have some tech diff's to deal with. But IMO these amps are an absolute bargain these days. And you can mod the hell out of these things if you want.

Still lighter than a Rhodes. Hate carrying those things but nothing touches the sound. Especially thru an old Twin!! :-}



Another bad-ass 1x12 combo would be a Hiwatt FL112 which is
essentially a DR103 or[504] in a combo for 100 or 50 watts of
high headroom, firm bass, and spanky cleans with plenty of mids available,
or they can be scooped out.

I have the 50w version and w/ the Master vol. wide-open & an Eminence
Tonker, it works phenomenally well for funk and or jazz .

Add your favorite pedals to taste - Great amp !


Silver Supporting Member
Thanks for the feedback guys. I think I'm gonna hold out for a TopHat Amdbassador. I've played one before and it thrilled me.

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