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Does your skill come into factor when you look at amps

Squigglefunk

Senior Member
Messages
3,279
I have several excellent amps, of course there's always more amps out there that intrigue me. But I have to say, when I have an amp that gives me 99% of the tone I want and I am not really the greatest guitarist in the world I have a real hard time justifying spending $1000s of dollars on that small something "special" I think I'm hearing with an amp. Especially when I've experience that "special" something then after a week or so I realize I might not be hearing anything that special... and when I hear guys with gear more ordinary than mine that they make sound incredible. So at this point I've decided that I'm really not that good and I don't really need a $2000 amp as any tonal magic I might imagine I'm hear simply isn't worth it to be wasted on my skill level. Sounds kinda depressing reading it back but it's actually a peaceful feeling in a way. I still gas for gear but I seem to have it in check with the above realizations.
 

HEAVENandHELL

Member
Messages
471
My wallet comes into play when I think about new gear. No money = No new gear!

That being said, if you are getting 99% of the tone in your head from your current set up, I would say that last 1% would be better gained through practice than buying new gear then working to pay for that gear rather than playing! Make sense? It does to me, now anyway!

Gregg
 

Zim

Member
Messages
1,973
NO WAY! If that was the case, I"d have a SS Squire amp, LOL.

But for me it is size/TONE/ need/ $$ That is how I work it. Right now, I"m in a smallish apartment and not gigging on guitar, so a Fender Super Champ XD is all I need, LOL.

But I don"t think you need new gear if you are 99% happy with what you got.
 

Mastervolume

Member
Messages
2,094
That is a great question. I think that it should and shouldn't. I think that you need to find an amp that inspires you to play and then not think about it until you get to a point where you are looking for the amp to help you accomplish some other goal.
 

bigjoeblue

Member
Messages
178
What Mastervolume said. That "INSPIRATION" is such a cool factor. That's where I'm at now. Got a good rig, but when I play someone elses rig that inspires me to soar, I get GAS. Just have'nt found the $$$ or the right amp to put me there. Good luck Squiggs!
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
My opinion is if your gear sounds junky, it's going to make you loathe playing and you'll never get better.

That said, you don't have to spend big $$$ on gear to make it sound good. For example, I have an old crate amp that actually sounds pretty good. You know what sounds even better? My little battery powered Fender mini-twin. No kidding...it sounds pretty good.

And my GT-6 sounds phenomenal (the presets are garbage, but the unit itself really does sound very good....maybe I'll post some clips).

But if there's something out there that really gets you going.....heck, go for it! Do most people who buy SUV's take them offroad? Most who buy sport cars can't race worth anything.

If it inspires you to play, it's not "wasted" just because you can't make it sing like EJ or SRV...yet.

It's all about enjoying yourself, right (withing your means, of course).
 

daddyo

Guest
Messages
11,805
First concern: Cost
Second: Can I use the amp? I really like the new Marshall JVM and Germino Monterey but could I use a 100w EL34 amp?

I never think about if I'm good enough for the amp. It's a tool, not a sensei.
 

scottlaned

Member
Messages
654
No.

Just my budget. Fortunately, the utility of Dumble and Trainwreck-esque (and Two Rock, Carol-Ann, Matchless, %13, and 95% of the "boutique" market) tones to me is nonexistant. Give me a good $1500 amp ($700 used, of course) that suits my tone and I'm happy.

Edit: No for amps. Yes for one of my two guitars. I would not spend the money I did on my Artinger if I wasn't going to use it in live setting after getting good at guitar.
 

Carol-AnnAmps

Member
Messages
4,854
No.

Just my budget. Fortunately, the utility of Dumble and Trainwreck-esque (and Two Rock, Carol-Ann, Matchless, %13, and 95% of the "boutique" market) tones to me is nonexistant. Give me a good $1500 amp ($700 used, of course) that suits my tone and I'm happy.

Edit: No for amps. Yes for one of my two guitars. I would not spend the money I did on my Artinger if I wasn't going to use it in live setting after getting good at guitar.
How to write off an entire market in one sweeping statement.....LOL
 

Jarrett

Member
Messages
14,596
OP, that's a great realization. Took me a long time to figure that out, but I've saved thousands of dollars since. And much happier with my music, playing, everything since.
 

pharmx

Member
Messages
215
I have several excellent amps, of course there's always more amps out there that intrigue me. But I have to say, when I have an amp that gives me 99% of the tone I want and I am not really the greatest guitarist in the world I have a real hard time justifying spending $1000s of dollars on that small something "special" I think I'm hearing with an amp. Especially when I've experience that "special" something then after a week or so I realize I might not be hearing anything that special... and when I hear guys with gear more ordinary than mine that they make sound incredible. So at this point I've decided that I'm really not that good and I don't really need a $2000 amp as any tonal magic I might imagine I'm hear simply isn't worth it to be wasted on my skill level. Sounds kinda depressing reading it back but it's actually a peaceful feeling in a way. I still gas for gear but I seem to have it in check with the above realizations.
I think it really depends on what you are hearing. If you are hearing a difference in amps, then it might be worth it to spend the extra money for the slight nuances, depending on how important that is to you and how much it would bother you to know that you could 100% nail that tone you are hearing in your head.

If however you are hearing a difference in ability/skill then it would be pointless to spend money on more expensive gear. You mentioned that you've heard guys play "more ordinary" gear than yours and it sounds incredible to you. If you play through the exact same rig as theirs, and you don't feel satisfied, that should tell you something right there.
 

oldschoolguy

Member
Messages
2,253
Interestingly enough I came to the exact same conclusion myself just this week. Stumbled upon your thread just now. I know we've come by the conclusion differently but have arrived in the same place; I'm not gassing either as i was before. Uh, I'm not gassing to have the "newest/gotta have gear anymore (I've been fortunate in that I've been able to acquire practically anything. The real problem is learning about what to have in the first place.) Lately, i'm thinking that I don't need to play virtuoso-like to be successful on the guitar. I don't even feel the need to sound like anybody else anymore. And that's cool.
I was very fortunate with my local music shop owner when i went to buy my first guitar just starting out much older than most. He advised me to buy a quality guitar as a first guitar. He advised that a hard to play, poor sounding instrument would not be inspiring enough and would end up under the bed collecting dust and that I wouldn't learn to play. I really took his advice to heart when he said that he did not have such an instrument for sale in his shop, altho there were plenty of guitars hanging from his wall. Within three years I had bought two guitars, an American made Strat Deluxe and an LP. I now have a Parker Classic and I've more or less stopped looking at guitars (well OK McNaught and Driscoll but those are for my daughter I tell myself). Same with amps; I bought a Cybertwin and recently the perfect amp for me which is the Genz Benz Black Pearl coupled with a Maven Peal Howler. There really isn't a bad or wrong sound in my setup and the sounds I can achieve are really only limited by my abilities on the instruments.
 
Messages
2,931
Yes, it should.

But as guitarists, MANY of us cannot look objectively at thier playing and say 'You know, I don't really need/deserve a $5000 amp'. I can NOW, but a few years ago? Nope. I'm a very good MUSICIAN, but not necessarily a great guitarist...probably about average for your career bar player.

It's part of the reason I went with the Modeling amp (which is arguably very close to a decent tube amp...no debate in this thread please!) I get the tones, and very good dynamics, all of which match my level. Can I get a better SINGLE tone with a high end tube amp? You betcha! I'll be in heaven for about 3 months, then start looking around the Emporium for the next kill.

I'm off that train.

EP
 

teleamp

Senior Member
Messages
3,481
Yes, I like to use amps that enhance my styles of playing. Luckily, I don't do the searing, singing leads, so I don't have to worry about the unobtainable stuff. At my skill level there are a lot of good options at a lot of price points.

But I do like a nice guitar.
 

scottlaned

Member
Messages
654
How to write off an entire market in one sweeping statement.....LOL
Hahaha, but fortunately for that market, my opinion is and should not be diluted into the minds of many guitar players, as I love hearing, as opposed to playing, most of those amps.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,493
If cost was no object, it would still have to do with utility. If you live in a small condo in the city and never play out, having wall to wall stacks just doesn't make sense. It took me a while to whittle it down to what's right for me, but for right now it's a small combo amp downstairs, and a small combo amp upstairs, and since they both give me different things (tweedy squash versus clean warm tone) it's not a pain to take one upstairs or one downstairs as the mood strikes. Together, they pretty much cover anything I can think of to play through an amp, and what they don't...hey, that's why they make pedals!
 

pickslide

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,884
I actually just posted something in the lounge about how I think that tone is a huge factor in playing. You got to practice and be good, no question, but I really think that a single note played with the right tone is just as good as a highly technical run up and down the neck...especailly if that run is played through an amp that sounds like crap.

Just my opinion, but I say you don't need to justify any kind of amp purchase. You can be the worst player in the world and have great gear. If you can afford it I say go for it.
 

edward

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,435
I have another addiction: weekend racer. There are those guys that think pouring $$$ into their cars will get them better laptimes ...which is does, to a point. Then there are those guys with old, unassuming (read: beat up) track cars with maybe 1/2-2/3 the HP who absolutely dominate the track.

Sure, I get caught up in music gear and go-fast goodies. But one must maintain the dollar/HP quotient: how much faster will that mod get me? That usually decides it for me. Of course, one has to have a good foundation on which to build: a straight chassis, taut suspension, and healthy engine, even if stock; likewise, a sound guitar that you've bonded with and an amp whose tone makes you *want* to play.

That said, I've basically stopped buying all music gear and focused on refining my tone through playing, technique, and subtle tonal mods like tubes or an occasional speaker swap. But no big changes like swapping amps. The answer here is imbedded in the orig post: how much "better" will "that gear" make me, and is that cost worth that extra increment? That answer dictates my purchase. And like the orig post, there is immense freedom in recognizing this, and now I no longer feel like I am chasing after the holy grail; I can relax and just enjoy doing my thing.
...Great thread, kudos!
:BEER

Edward
 

waxnsteel

Member
Messages
3,128
How to write off an entire market in one sweeping statement.....LOL
Hey, as long as he did so for himself, and not for everone else! :BEER

For me, it doesnt matter. I play how I play, my only gigs are acoustic, and I have a butt-ton of electric gear. If I can make an amp make sounds I like, it's different enough from the amps I already have, and I have some money burning a hole in my pocket, I go for it. Unfortunately, right now, room is also a factor. I don't have room for any more gear.
 




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