Buying an amp without playing it first

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by jmysapp3, Nov 4, 2011.

  1. jmysapp3

    jmysapp3 Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio
    I'm curious how many people have bought an amp without playing it first. What was the amp you bought and how much did you pay for it? Were you trying to cop someones tone or was it because of hype?

    The most important question: Were you happy with you purchase or disappointed?
     
  2. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels

    Messages:
    6,720
    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Location:
    Rocky Hill, CT
    Many, many times; in fact, one arrived yesterday off Ebay. 99% of the time, I've been completely satisfied. In every case, I obtained a thorough answer to every one of my questions before pulling the trigger. I don't try to imitate anyone's tone - I have my own sounds in my head.
     
  3. gregc

    gregc Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,921
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2002
    Location:
    Long Island, NY, USA
    Buy used, flip it if you don't like it.
     
  4. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

    Messages:
    1,886
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia
    I have to because I where I live, nobody carries anything but new fenders
     
  5. jmysapp3

    jmysapp3 Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio
    I know what you mean. Although I can get my hands on more than new fenders, it's pretty limited. All the amps I really want to test out aren't available at any stores around me. Closest is a few states over!
     
  6. slowhand66

    slowhand66 Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    New York
    +1. Buy it used, you can probably sell it for close to what you paid, sometimes years later. I've bought many used.
     
  7. RocksOff

    RocksOff Member

    Messages:
    7,461
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    I'd say that I've purchased probably 4 or 5 amps going on pictures alone. The thing is, if you do your research you'll already have a pretty good idea what you're getting.
    Case in point. Marshall Bluesbreaker. I was pretty confident what it was going to sound like... and I was right. Try finding an older one of these at a guitar shop. It's not likely.
    Sometimes you just have to pull the trigger.
     
  8. DGTCrazy

    DGTCrazy Mod Squad Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,872
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    I've only purchased amps without trying first in situations where I either know the rep of the builder/amp ( like vintage Fender) or TGP member. The last one I did it for was my Bogner Goldfinger.......and after about 6 months....I'm still in love.

    But I had already owned a Shiva, and was able to find some great threads on the Goldfinger here on TGP. But I can see how anyone would be hesitant to do so without hearing in first.
     
  9. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

    Messages:
    1,238
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2004
    Location:
    Cincinnati
    Bit me in the butt on two Soldanos (why did I even bother with a second model?) but ended up great on my DIvided by 13
     
  10. shredtrash

    shredtrash Silver Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    9,631
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    I've made almost every amp purchase without playing through them first. I just read the reviews and took a leap of faith. It got me to the two I own now; My Matchless Nighthawk 15 and my Allen Classic 10. No plans to sell or trade what I have now.
     
  11. lord preset

    lord preset Member

    Messages:
    881
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2006
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Several times - different outcomes but none of them bad:

    Bought a Goodsell Super 17 after playing one in an LA store and falling in love with the tone The one I bought on fleabay that was just as nice but I ultimately decided I needed more headroom and flipped it for a Goodsell Custom 33 (also without playing it) which is perfect.

    Ordered a Valvetech Hayseed 30 entirely on the basis of reviews/clips and knowing that I liked AC15/30's in general. I am completely happy with the purchase.

    Bought a Pro Jr for cheap - it needed more tweaking than I bargained for but has turned out to be a keeper.

    Just bought a Musicman amp from a GC back East based only on the picture and salesman's description. I bought it at a price that anticipates having it worked over and recapped - although if my tech gives it the thumbs down I can return it to the local GC for a refund within 30 days. Not a whole lot of risk IMO.

    Unless you live in an area with a really big music market your choices are going to be limited unless you are willing to deal with the interwebs. I don't worry about it. Sure there are transaction costs from shipping, Paypal etc if you don't like something and flip it, but if you buy local you can spend lots of bucks on gas driving all over chasing Craiglist ads.
     
  12. jmysapp3

    jmysapp3 Member

    Messages:
    164
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Location:
    Ohio
    Yeah I guess flipping it if you don't like it is a good way to go about it. I really want a Two-Rock Studio Pro 35, but the closest dealer is in New York City and I'm in Ohio. I have listened to many, many clips of different Two-Rock amps, and they all seem to have this perfect clean tone, as well as a great OD. I'm thinking about getting one when I have the money for it, and when I sell one of my amps. I just hope it's worth the money! There is no way I'm going out of state just to play one.
     
  13. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

    Messages:
    1,886
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia
    two things to consider is weight and how loud and how the volume interacts I have made a couple of purchases where it did not work out the best in those aspects
     
  14. sickboy79

    sickboy79 Member

    Messages:
    12,511
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago
    I've done it quite a few times - all good results. I'm lucky, I guess!
     
  15. HerrRentz

    HerrRentz Member

    Messages:
    2,187
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Location:
    Midwest
    I've done it too since no one carries anything at all this far out.
     
  16. ItJustRocks

    ItJustRocks Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,305
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    I tried buying without hearing a couple times last year. One didn't do it for me and one really did. For me it came down to what type of amp I like the most and which builder had the fewest up for sale used. There was a clear winner and I have multiple of his amps now and love them!
     
  17. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

    Messages:
    22,200
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    I bought two Pearces off eBay, for $500 (combo) and $350 (head). Both had some reverb issues, but I was happy. Oh, and a Mesa V-twin rack pre for $350 or so. No problems there.
     
  18. zwolf

    zwolf Member

    Messages:
    404
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Did so recently with a tungsten crema wheat. Was really nervous about it since I'm far from loaded, but knew from researching the amp that it wouldn't be hard to sell if it didn't work out. Plus I got it for a great price...

    Being so jumpy about doing this, I had some initial doubts the first week or so after it arrived. In retrospect I think most of this was just adjustment, since I'd been playing through the same amp (59 bassman ri) for years. My ears needed to get used to hearing the mid punch of a tweed deluxe vs the deep bass and highs of the bassman. And there's no question that a tweed deluxe has a smaller sound- something I knew I was getting into from the get go - but there were questions for me as to whether this was a good change or not.

    A couple of months later I'm in love. I just love the sounds I'm getting. But the real payoff comes when I throw a 57 in front of it and record our rehearsals. Turns out it's also a glorious recording amp.

    So in the end of the day, + 1 for taking the leap of faith:)
     
  19. phoenix 7

    phoenix 7 Member

    Messages:
    25,747
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    Bought my Germino Club 40 used a couple years ago without playing through one. Listened to plenty of clips and wanted that JTM 50 sound. Killer amp -- my favorite at the moment.
     
  20. FFTT

    FFTT Member

    Messages:
    28,385
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    It helps to have a rough idea of how certain tube circuits sound.

    6L6 6V6, EL34, EL84, KT 66, 88, 6550 on the power supply
    with a gauntlet of choices on the pre amp side.

    Take into account the broad age and experience range of reviewers with equally broad
    perspectives of perfect tone.

    I bought all of my amps unplayed, shipped from all over the country,
    but I did my research, asked the right questions about key details in the build, etc.

    I was tripping over legacy guitar amps in my father's shop from the time
    I was 8 years old.

    I kinda learned what was good and what was utter crap from listening to his
    imaginative commentary while working on them.
     

Share This Page