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Help me find a nice amp at a low price :)

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
This thread is what it sounds like...

Currently I play a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. It is an older one that was made in the US. I like it...great clean tone. The pedals used are in my sig. I go back and forth between using the effects loop, however, having an effects loop is not a make or break. I'm open to amps with or without a drive channel. Honestly, as long as it's a great clean tone I'll be fine. I mostly play at a church so I'm looking for a semi-low wattage, or an amp that still sounds good when it's not cranked. I am probably looking used so I can keep the price down. I found the Hot Rod on Ebay for $280 shipped...great deal! I would say I would like to stay under $500. This is not an easy task...a poor many that's picky about tone :). I really like the "brown sound". I also try to stay inspired by the tone that Joe Perry has. If you are familiar with main stream worship (i.e. Hillsong, Hillsong United, New Life, Desperation, David Crowder, etc), I like some of the tone, but don't really copy it. While I will use a lot of their licks and styles to play the music, I'm into the above mentioned tone.

Here are some amps I've tried and my opinion:
-Hot Rod Deluxe: Nice overall sound. Not always exactly what I'm looking for. Sometimes can be a bit more shrill when overdriven.
-Blues Junior: From what I remember I really liked this....maybe more than the Hot Rod Deluxe (does it sound better or is it a lack of memory?)
-Vox ac 30: loved this :). But I don't think I can afford to spend that much. I would like one at some point, just not now.
-Vox ac 15: I remember thinking "not quite as nice as the ac-30". What are your opinions. For a great clean tone with a decent amount of head room??????
-Fender Twin Reverb: This, like most of the reissued Fender tube amps have a great clean tone...just not in the right price range.
-Epiphone valve jr: Great classic tone. Has a tendency to sound a bit boxey (the combo and half stack). Not a lot of clean head room. If you try and keep it at a bedroom volume it doesn't sound near as good. Once you get it to a level that I can even turn it to at church it starts to break up.
-B-52 at212: nice sound. Nice drive. Not really my thing. I just can't get into it...don't know why...

I have tried others, but this will hopefully give you an idea. And if you are still reading this, please help. Give me advice, thoughts, anything. I'm either going to sell the hot rod deluxe (or trade), or keep both so I can keep one at home and the other at church.

gimme your thoughts ;)
 

hector

Member
Messages
1,077
The Hot Rod is tuff to beat, especially in the low price range. Try installing a 5751 preamp tube in V1. That'll clean it up a bit. Also, try a different speaker. I like the Eminence Swamp Thang. Less shrill than stock. So, for under $100, you can really fix up that Hot Rod.
 

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
The Hot Rod is tuff to beat, especially in the low price range. Try installing a 5751 preamp tube in V1. That'll clean it up a bit. Also, try a different speaker. I like the Eminence Swamp Thang. Less shrill than stock. So, for under $100, you can really fix up that Hot Rod.

what does "in V1" mean? Also, where is a great place to find competitive prices on speakers and tubes? We don't have a good local music shop :(
 

Creamy

Member
Messages
541
V1 is usually the preamp tube that's closest to the guitar input jack. Looking at the back of the amp it is also the farthest from the (larger) power tubes.
 

Structo

Member
Messages
9,556
Do you need a combo or will a head do?

How about the Egnater Rebel?
That has been getting pretty high marks for good tone at low volumes.
But I think the head is $600.
$850 for the half stack.
 

bobcs71

Member
Messages
4,878
You might get more out of a good speaker. I've used Weber stuff that has made amps come alive (especially clean). My most used cab has an Eminence Wizard that is a great all around speaker.
 

jpage

Senior Member
Messages
9,249
IMO, until you have a grand or more to spend, keep your current amp. Unless you are playing metal or something.
 

vicdeluca71

Member
Messages
1,503
A speaker swap can make a profound difference.You might have the right amp with the wrong speaker,i'ts happend to me a few times....I'ts all about the right match
 

bynt

Member
Messages
2,130
You might look at a Peavy Classic 30 or 50 if you can find one used but honestly, I don't know that you would like them that much better than what you already have. I would suggest as well maybe a speaker swap, that would be your cheapest route. Even if you still got something else, there's way worse things in the world than having an extra speaker lying around!!! Good luck.

Oh, You might try the Blackhearts, they get rave reviews, but I've not owned one myself so I can't speak from a long term ownership perspective.
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
hot rod is hard to beat, replacing the speaker will help it alot, mine came with Vintage 30, which is a 60 watt speaker, and really like that, the hot rods are pretty easy to upgrade, omega mods are pretty popular

http://www.omegaamps.com/mods2.html

and very reasonable,

I have the jjs 6v6 tubes in my HRDx, a very cheap way to get that in your amp,

http://www.eurotubes.com/index.htm

personally I don't see anything on your list that would be an improvement over your Hot rod. The omega mods are much cheaper than any of the amps your looking at and the folks that have had them done seem to really love them, you can search the site for the threads.
 

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
thanks for all the replies. looks like I'll experiment with speakers and tubes. It's kind of funny, at practice last night I loved how it sounded...just seemed perfect, even FOH and in my IEM. The week before that I was frustrated...I'm sure most of you know the feeling. Sounds like most mods effect the drive channel, is that true? Where do you recommend getting a good price on good speakers?
 

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
I was thinking of trying a B-52 60watt 112, what didn't you like about the 212?
it's hard for me to put my finger on it. I just couldn't dial in a tone I was happy with. The drive is okay, but once again, not anything I was really digging. And with it being so big and 100 watts, it was just too much of a beast for me to consider to be worth dragging around in a setting where I can't let it roar.
 

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
Do you need a combo or will a head do?

How about the Egnater Rebel?
That has been getting pretty high marks for good tone at low volumes.
But I think the head is $600.
$850 for the half stack.

this has definitely been a consideration. I don't have a cab, but I had thought about getting a head (like the rebel), buying a nice cab to keep at church, and a cheaper cab to keep at home and just take the head back and forth. I've been listening to clips on youtube of the rebel. it sounds great and sounds like you can get a nice variety of tone out of it. maybe I'll try and pick that up and do a speaker swap in the HRD :)
 

hector

Member
Messages
1,077
I have the Rebel head and cab, blackheart handsome devil, and two hot rod deluxes. If I had to choose one, it would be the Hot Rod. Rebel has good cleans at low volume, but the 6L6 tubes in the HRDx keep it cleaner at mid-volumes, plus it has spring reverb. I don't know how anyone could knock the HRDx. Give it some love (better tubes, speaker) and it'll love ya' back! Changing the preamp tubes is very easy. The speaker swap requires a little more effort, but it's worth the trouble. I recommend the Eminence Swamp Thang or the Texas Heat. It's a very versatile and reliable amp. My first one is almost ten years old, and I gigged pretty regularly with it over the years. It never let me down (knocking on wood right now).
 

hector

Member
Messages
1,077
Here's two more cents: two of the guys I play in bands with had HRDx amps, but gave me thumbs up for the tone of my HRDx. Their Deluxes were completely stock.
 

Ronsonic

Member
Messages
3,305
Check out the smaller tubed Ampegs, Reverbowhatevers. Mostly nice amps. Better built than recent Fenders and sound good for the price.
 

shawnshack

Member
Messages
2,748
okay...so I've been checking out different speakers and tubes. Before I go through with that, what are your opinions on switching over to an AC15. i was listening to some clips of it with an OCD on youtube and it sounded great. What are your thoughts?
 




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