Friedman low watt amps vs. Other Lunch boxes

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by guitarnoob87, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. guitarnoob87

    guitarnoob87 Member

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    Hello Gearnerds. Any thoughts on Friedman low watt amps (Runt-20 or the JJ Jr). Am relatively a noob with guitars and I liked what I saw on videos. The fact is I'm no where close to the skill levels of the people demoing these products. Is it worth spending the $ 1700-$2000 (amp + matching cab) versus say an Orange dark terror + matching cab for $ 1000.

    I called in various retailers and it looks like getting a discount of MRP on Friedman is almost impossible. On the other hand, most retailers were willing to do atleast 10% below MRP on Orange products. I'm a huge JC and AIC fan which is why I'm even considering the JJ Jr.

    I guess this is a loaded question, but would you consider the Friedman low watt amps worth the price tag? It is nearly twice as much as other lunch box amps in the market (Dark Terror, MT 15, EVH LBX etc).
     
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  2. mikebat

    mikebat Member

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    A JJ Jr is a JJ Jr.

    That said, you could do just fine with an Orange Terror or EVH and maybe a boost pedal. And then you can sell it later on.

    Buying the JJ Jr right away will not turn you into Cantrell, that takes years. Plus....on most of his most famous work, he was not yet using the JJ, so...you can get there with the Orange or EVH
     
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  3. PBGas

    PBGas Supporting Member

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    I had a JJ Jr. in the summer and it was great!!!!! Mine was modded by Dave with a volume for the JJ channel and I was able to switch all three channels via a Friedman 2 button switch. A fantastic amp that sounded great loud! Plenty of gain and no boost needed!
     
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  4. jimijimmyjeffy

    jimijimmyjeffy Member

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    Yes they are worth the money, but you have to really want the particular mix of qualities of a particular model to enjoy that.

    But for beginning players, a tone obsession makes no sense, as you can get 500% closer to your goals just improving your playing, and having theoretically perfect tone can be depressing when your sound still sucks due to not being able to make the music go how you want and need it to. Having a million dollar race car would suck until you learned to drive skillfully.

    So ideally you focus on usability, simplicity, affordability and playability at first.

    But if you are very clear in your goals, there are exceptions for adults. You may be the exception, if you are aiming to play Cantrell.

    But a great amp can be double edged for inexperienced players. You can get into passively listening to tone, like a tone consumer; which is counter productive.

    Tone can't really be bought IMO. You see the myth and misconception that it can often here on TGP.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  5. Slashaholic Anonymous

    Slashaholic Anonymous Member

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    OP - you’re entitled to buy whatever amp you want regardless of your skill level. That said, I agree with some of the others who have suggested that perhaps buying such an expensive/quality amp isn’t what I would typically recommend to a newer player.

    My honest recommendation to any new player, regardless of age or income, is to get a boss katana. Whichever version you want, doesn’t really matter. Simple to use, good variety of tones available (brown channel will do JC / AIC with ease). Built-in good quality effects and selectable wattage control gives complete volume control.

    Lastly, I noticed that OP is asking about low wattage tube amps. If I had to guess, that would be due to volume constraints. NONE of the tube 15-20 watt tube amps are going to sound their best at anything close to bedroom volumes. Sure, they might sound acceptable, but the demos on YouTube undoubtedly are running the amps at their ideal volume, which is LOUD. Just something to bear in mind.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2020
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  6. Dusty_Dave

    Dusty_Dave Member

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    Everything Slash said. Also, buying the Boss Katana will allow you to experiment with different channels, and different effects without purchasing separate pedals. You will get to understand how boosts work, the different types of reverb etc. And the fact you can attenuate the amp is a wonderful option to have.

    As a person who owns the JJ Jnr, to get the best sound from it you need to crank the amp a little. Once you go past 9 o'clock on the amp, i believe you may have the ability to strip paint off walls. Its a loud amp. The way i get around this is using a Rivera Rockcrusher to help tame the volume without comprising the tone too much. But you are looking at an additional $400 on top for that.
     
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  7. cragginshred

    cragginshred Member

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    I've owned the real JJ and the JR:
    The JR is Not a bedroom amp
    Has very dark mid/gain structure. I liked it t first then could not bond and sold it.

    I have a PRS MT 15 and it is 1/2 the price and nails the AIC tone and has a killer clean ch too.

     
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  8. Dusty_Dave

    Dusty_Dave Member

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    How do Van Halen tones sound through the MT15?

    Great playing....and cute dog! :)
     
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  9. cragginshred

    cragginshred Member

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    @Dusty_Dave thanks not VH but similar genre


    And Randy:
     
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  10. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    I think this is a pretty common thing people mistake about 15-20W, smaller size amps. They see the power rating and compact size and think they will be less loud, but that is not the case! Sounds like the JJ Jr is a lot like many of the other lunchbox amps in the way that they get real loud, real quick.

    If the volume controls work in a gradual fashion then you can just as well use 50-100+ watt tube amps at home if you want but on a lot of amps they just don't work like that which makes them rather awkward to control.
     
  11. marshall2553

    marshall2553 Supporting Member

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    +1 I have a BE100 and Dirty Shirley and just got a JJ Jr. It's actually a little easier to get good low volume tones from the bigger amps. The MV comes on quick on the JJ Jr, though it is still perfectly useable at home volumes. I have also had other lunchboxes like the PT20 that had less touchy MVs, so it just depends on the amp.
     
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  12. Whatnobeer

    Whatnobeer Member

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    I've got the MT15 and play it through a couple of Marshall 1x10's. Looking for a 2x12 to jam it through. Love that thing and would recommend it to anyone. Nice tone by the way @cragginshred
     
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  13. cragginshred

    cragginshred Member

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    @Whatnobeer Thanks and great name by the way, can't ever run out of beer :beer
     
  14. madhermit

    madhermit Member

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    Friedman designs his amps to sound great at low volume. They are excellent low volume amps.
     
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  15. JYD

    JYD Supporting Member

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    This.

    I have to agree that unless it's a 1-5 watt head, the 15-20watt heads that I've played in comparison are harder to get the tones at the lower volumes.

    I had GREAT success with the BE50 and EVH 5153 50w at apartment volumes. Go figure.

    I think the MT15 is a bada$$ amp! But, the one my buddy had and we jam on has a crappy FX loop. Also, the MV on it wasn't as good as the 5153. Still, awesome amp!
     
  16. LaXu

    LaXu Member

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    Based on the couple I have played (Runt and BE-50 Deluxe), they sound good but the volume isn't very controllable in that range as the low volume knob range for what constitutes low volume isn't very broad. It was one of the factors why I preferred the Bogner Goldfinger 45 SL I tried side by side with those, I knew I had no trouble getting the exact volume whether it's at home or at stage.
     
  17. guitarnoob87

    guitarnoob87 Member

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    Thanks everyone. That is very helpful. I'm a relative "noobie" but have a fair bit of playing and gigging experience. I regularly gig and our band is into the 90's grunge alternative scene. Having said that, I repeat that my skill levels are not even close to the youtube reviewers and probably most folks on this forum.

    Some wonderful suggestions here for alternatives. I currently use a Blackstar HT20 with the matching 212 cab. My bandmate uses a EVH 5150 with the matching 212 and it always sounded fuller and much more organic compared to the Blackstar. So was thinking moving the Blackstar onto maybe an Orange Dark Terror or the Friedman.

    I have tried the Katana 100 but never really gelled with it. Volume at home is a concern. One attraction of the JJ Jr was the direct out which allows one to play without hooking up a cab. Orange does not have this capability but I do have Torpedo captor and could always use that as the load and then hook it up to my interface for silent playing. So I would say that the direct out is not a make or break deal for me.

    @cragginshred amazing tone there. I definitely will try out the MT 15. How would you compare the Dark Terror with MT15?
     
  18. ilikeoverdrive

    ilikeoverdrive Member

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    Running an Orange OR15 into a Friedman PT 112 cab, a mighty fine combination!

    So maybe a bit of Orange and a bit of Friedman? Here they are with my 50's strat, played through clean to very high gain. Happy tone hunting!
     

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