Cheap Amp With Potential - Mod Or Sell?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by BigSB, Apr 16, 2016.

  1. BigSB

    BigSB Member

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    I have a terrible habit.

    I have had some nice gear over the years, and have been forced many times to sell it all.

    When I have had the ability to get gear again, I have often settled for mediocre gear that "gets the job done". Of course, that not only limits my ability to sell when I need to, it leaves me with so-so tones to work with.

    I bought a Fender Vaporizer. Got a very good deal on it brand new at one point. It's OK. That's all. Not fantastic with my Epi LP. Just OK.

    I know there are mods that can be done. A speaker change, of course, is the first and best thing to do from what I understand, but I'm in no position to do so.

    Question is, do I try to unload a bunch of mediocre stuff I have and try to afford a better amp, or do I try to get some scratch together in order to start modding this amp bit by bit?

    I'm going to be gigging again soon, and I want gear that will do the job. Of course I can gig with everything as is, but the Craftsman tool is better than the dollar-store tool, right? Better to upgrade when/if you can, no?

    What say you all? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    If you keep putting your money into entry level gear, eventually you can spend more in the long run trying to make a silk purse out a a sow's ear,
    than it would have cost you just to save and go for lasting quality.

    It's cool to dabble and learn and even to build from kits if you have the skills & patience, but a lot of what you put into it may not be appreciated
    when you go to sell it.
     
  3. dwoverdrive

    dwoverdrive Supporting Member

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    I am wholeheartedly against doing mods to amps that people think are "almost there." History has shown it rarely works out. You end up getting a different amp. The emporium is proof of that. The amount of combos with different speakers, caps clipped, mods, and tube swaps is very high.
     
    forgivenman and sugarlou like this.
  4. vintagelove

    vintagelove Member

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    Buy a silverface fender. You'll end up with a real amp for the same price as if you try to "polish a turd" (any mediocre amp, not necessarily your example).
     
    dwoverdrive and redeyedjim like this.
  5. BigSB

    BigSB Member

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    Would love to. Can't. Have rarely ever been able to afford one. Problem is, my situation is such that I can't afford to buy NOR to keep good gear.

    I've got serious disabilities and have been denied disability benefits by my state. I can't work most jobs without accommodation, and the jobs I qualify for either can't allow for accommodation or are low-wage jobs that the employer can fill with any number of hundreds of other applicants.

    i wind up in situations where I'm not in a band, and so gear that's worth money is worth more as cash in hand than it is as a toolbox for gigging.

    If I had any sort of financial cushion where my family wasn't fed hand-to-mouth on my wife's limited salary, I wouldn't have to sell my gear. Too bad the bird in the hand is always as they say.

    I'd love to be in a situation where I didn't have to buy the amp and thus wasn't able/allowed to sell it. One can dream.

    I also can't lift anything heavier than a Princeton. I have several hernias (one of my disabilities).
     
  6. doc

    doc Member

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    If your situation won't be changing, stick with the affordable stuff. If you're pretty sure you'll have to sell even that stuff again, only reversible mods to preserve resale value. You can still sound fine with unmodded cheap gear. Focus more on changing the other circumstances that limit your options.
     
    TimDude88 and merseymale like this.
  7. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    If you want to end up with a cool amp and built it yourself, you might try one of the Allen Amps kits.

    For severely handicapped. The little Chihuahua 10 is ideal.

    Extremely light, versatile, has power control so you can take it down to a whisper, reverb
    and the little amp really has mojo. Great quality.

    My old friend can barely walk even with his cane. He can handle his Chihuahua just fine.
     
  8. redeyedjim

    redeyedjim Silver Supporting Member

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    My 2 cents:

    1. Keep the Vaporizer; even if you ignore the amplifier part of it, it's still a decent 2x10 cab. And you already own it, so there's that.

    2. Sell some gear or save money over time and look at adding a used tube head to use with your existing cab. Check out the GuitarCenter used site, and search for "tube head" with a max price of $200. There are currently almost 40 tube heads on their site that meet this criteria. They range from 1w to 20w+, and include brands like Orange, Blackstar, Vox, VHT, and Fender. There are some decent amps in those search results.
     
  9. ant_riv

    ant_riv Supporting Member

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    If the learning is worth the time and cost, yes. As long as that is the reason and benefit.

    Otherwise, you could spend a lot of time and money chasing the wormhole.

    As to playing out with what you have, don't worry. Most people won't know or care, as long as the band sounds good.
     
    merseymale likes this.
  10. mysticaxe

    mysticaxe Member

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    If you are in a "hand-to-mouth" situation, then you should probably minimize gear expenditures and only really get anything if it is a screaming deal that you can get out of the equipment for the same amount of money. I wouldn't mod anything significantly (too much money spent for something that won't come out how you expect it) unless you are the one doing the mods. Then you get in a situation where if you want to sell it, then it isn't worth the same as an unmodded one. Maybe find a couple decent pedals if the Vaporizer needs anything specific.
     
  11. merseymale

    merseymale Member

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    I'm inclined to say just go out there with what you've got an do it but that's because, over the years, I've got far too deep into the mod thing and have not done enough playing!

    Y'know, maybe you SHOULD learn how to mod/repair stuff & in time THAT could be a new source of income?
     
    Steppin' Wolfe likes this.
  12. TimDude88

    TimDude88 Member

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    Save money and get great tone?! Its kinda like finding a job that pays a lot for doing very little. One person above said "go used," and I think that is your best bet. I have done the kit building myself, I have a 5E3 Mission/Fender Tweed Deluxe Clone from Bruce Collins. Great amp, but I messed a few things up building it and was out a few dollars for repairs. It works GREAT now! I also have a 5F1 Marsh Amps Fender Champ Clone and that thing is WICKED! But again, it's not SO MUCH cheaper, granted they sound amazing. I have looked into modding other amps, it doesn't end up being any cheaper than buying a kit, which really doesn't end up being much cheaper than buying a slick amp from Guitar Center (or wherever you chose to shop). With modding, you're gonna take your current Vaporizer, put a $200 worth of speakers in it (maybe more) and then everywhere you go to read about modding the actual head is going to point to "modding your output transformer!" Modding your output transformer can do great things. But to get a hot output transformer you're typically talking about a minimum of $100, and they go up quick from there. That is also provided that someone makes a good output transformer for your amp. Right there you are looking at dumping a quick $300 into your amp. Over time, you could do one woofer at a time, and then do the OT, but I would really say work with what you got. And when you get the money, buy something really nice, whether it be a kit from Marsh or MojoTone, or a store bought Fender Twin, Marshall stack, something else that will bring the house down.
     
  13. TimDude88

    TimDude88 Member

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    I also get the sense that you're trying to justify between having one really nice thing, or a bunch of mediocre things. As I mentioned above, I have some nice things and I have some mediocre things. I don't use my mediocre things and I never plan on using them again. As a matter of fact, I don't know why I keep them, I really don't. I have my Champ 5F1 Clone, and that is what I play through 99% of the time because I have nothing else that beats its tone. It gives me what I want. I personally say to stick with what you have for now and save your coin and invest in something you are really going to love. Another person mentioned that no one is really going to care what you are playing through live. I would probably second that notion. Everywhere you go there is going to be some dude who is paid a few pennies to setup the sound for your gig, so you'll be putting a lot of faith in that guy. Second, bars or clubs sometimes suck for sound anyway. Third, if the band plays well, that's 99% of what matters. I play guitar and it is RARE I that I am sitting in a crowd and saying "man, that guitar player's tone sucks."
     
  14. vr6pilot

    vr6pilot Member

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    I have this :D
     
  15. woof*

    woof* Member

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    Stop wasting good money on low rent gear.
    Instead, practice and learn to use what you have.
    Put your pennies aside and save for a decent amp. Even if it takes you a couple years to get one you will be a far better guitarist.
     
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  16. vr6pilot

    vr6pilot Member

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    easy, brah...he sold the amp.
     
  17. Steppin' Wolfe

    Steppin' Wolfe Member

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    I did not see that BigSB has sold this Vaporizer??? +1 with woof*.....play that Vaporizer...mic it up if needed, save pennies if you can, and buy or build a small but better map when you are able, SB.
    IF you ever stumble onto a deal for a Fender Super Champ or for cheaper a boogie Studio .22 Plus, go for it....light, versatile and much higher quality..especially the SC..than anything you can buy new.
    The SC is in essence a hot-rodded Princeton Reverb without the trem function. IF you don't need reverb, look at a Champ II, which is the little brother to the SC in the Rivera line. IT is in essence a 2 x 6V6 AB165 Bassman amp...hot and ready to go.
     
  18. vr6pilot

    vr6pilot Member

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    trust me, he sold it
     

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