I dare you - What's the best-sounding amp you've ever played?

DrumSkillz

Member
Messages
7
Well, I'm a drummer who just dabbles around on guitar. But the best sounding amp I've ever heard was a Ceriatone OTS (Dumble clone). We played a gig at this blues club and our guitarist's amp went down (turned out it was a blown fuse). Club owner said "I've got an amp you can use" and hauled out a Ceriatone head with a 4x12 cab. Best sound I have EVER heard that guitarist get...period. Just amazing on clean, dirty and high gain. He dropped the coin on one of his own very shortly thereafter.
 

Steviecaster

Member
Messages
755
IMHO all the "best Sounding amps" I've ever plugged into were low wattage single ended amps like my little 1950's Rickenbacker Electro or else Supros, Magnatones etc. The Tone that comes out of those 5 - 10 watt amps when you turn them up 3/4 of the way and then roll up or down the guitar volume is just exquisite to my ear. Unfortunately none of them are loud enough to gig with so that leaves me with Fender Deluxes and Super Reverbs. To my ear those are the best sounding Push Pull amps for the stage. I've played through and listened to quite a few boutique amps, and while they sound good at lower volume I rarely like the tone when you crank them up. Too much compression in the circuit for me. I am not a big fan of that squeezed down sustain and as far as "cascading preamps" and the like, no thank you. Of course, to each his own. But IMHO Leo Fender had the best ears of any engineer and he knew how to make an amp reflect the guitar which is an extension of the musician.
Damn right he did. Amazing he didn't play guitar, or like Rock music.
 
Messages
1
Redplate Blackverb is simply the best amp I ever played. I have owned dozens of amps and ended up selling them because they did not quite fill my cup. This two channel amp has excellent fender cleans and gain for most any occasion. This is the last amp for me, really.
 
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ebenezer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,153
JMJ- 30: if this is what a vintage AC-30 sounds like, h-o-l-y-c-r-a-p! Everything from clean to mean, and the feel is so nice! Amazing amp.

Down Brownie: The brown deluxe is sooo thick and chewy for rock rhythm. And the added benefit of having a Marshall-voiced second channel and the opportunity to blend them! Tone for days.

Magic 5e3: This amp made me a better player. It taught us me how to use my guitars volume and picking dynamics. Just amazing cleans and everyone knows about the dirt on these things.

I know we said one amp, but I couldn’t help myself.
 

drifterphase

Member
Messages
876
1950s Magnatone Varsity. Similar to a Champ. 5Y3-12AX7-6V6. Gorgeous, complex clean tones, crank it up for drive. Paid $19 for it in a Salvation Army store in 1985. Love it!
 
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Paddyosonic

Member
Messages
2
Well, the two best were both amps I own/owned. I had a Supro Supreme 1600 (1963-ish vintage) that was the classic single-channel, fixed bias, powered by a pair of 6973 tubes. Pretty much a one-trick-pony but what a trick! Totally nailed all the early Page tones and was totally at home with my recently-reformed 70s punk band. Only 22 watts, with a single 10-inch speaker. (Eminence Ragin' Cajun) but had no problem keeping up with a very hard-hitting drummer. Problem was, when you wanted it in that 'sweet spot' where it breaks up nice, it's really friggin' loud at that point. I eventually sold it, looking for something more versatile. Really should've kept it.

Missing the Supro, I found a guy online who said he could build a Supro 1600-style circuit custom for me, from an old, dead single-ended combo amp that I had sitting around. He cleverly was able to re-use the power transformer, which brought the wattage down to a more small-club-friendly volume. Thing is, it was kind of dark sounding, plus Canada Customs had yanked on the power cord when they were inspecting it at the border, so it had loose connections at the PT. I took it to my local amp guy (who had previously restored the Supro 1600) and while he was fixing the power cord damage I spoke with him about it sounding too dark. He asked if I would let him try out something different with the input and tone control section.

When I brought it home and turned it on, it was like a completely different amp! Well, actually, it was like a few different amps. Now the two inputs sound fairly different. Playing through the 'normal' input, you get something like a Fender tweed sort of tone and breakup. That's if the tone control is set dead in the middle. Turn it up high and it gets super bright. Not ice-picky like a Fender silverface and not nasally like a Vox. It's something completely different. As for the 'bright' input, well, it's really bright. Like it could make a Les Paul sound like a vintage Ricky, it's that bright. My main guitar has these GFS NY-II pickups that I was going to get rid of. (again, way to dark sounding) When I played them through this amp, they started to sound pretty nice.

This amp can still do the Supro snarly sound if you crank it up full, but I'm surprised at the headroom this little thing has. Seriously, with only 2 inputs, one channel, one volume and one tone control, this thing can do quite a variety of tones. And this is just through one 10-inch speaker. This is really the greatest sounding amp I've ever played through. I can't wait to try it through an external cabinet.
 

Pete Dabell

Member
Messages
148
1970`s Park 50 watt blue fronted 2 x 12 combo, which I`ve owned for nearly 40 years, Aluminium chassis with lay down transformer. The tremolo circuit has never worked since I got it and one of the Celestion greenbacks was replaced with one of the Heavy duty types, Celestion G12H . Seen plenty of Park valve heads but it`s the only Park combo I`ve ever seen with the Blue front grill cloth? sounds utterly brilliant and has been extremely reliable!
 

countandduke

Member
Messages
1,268
3 amps in no particular order.

1) Gjika Shawn Lane preamp and stereo power amp.

2) Custom Audio OD100 SH/SE

3) Bogner XTC

I think we live in a pretty cool time with amp makers producing KILLER sounding amps and the modeling amps available too. I grew up in the 80’s so I’ve seen the changes that have happened. It’s been an interesting road for sure.

I’ve also discovered that my ears have grown as well, meaning that they have “matured” and been able to distinguish subtleties that my younger ears probably missed. Hope that makes sense.

Best,
Chris
 
Messages
1,453
My bf Pro Reverb 2x12. It's all I want it to be: big, full, perfect řeverb and trem, roaring break up, and louder than useful. When I take it to jams it always gets more playing time than anyone else's.
 

RhinoV

Member
Messages
15
well....I will go so far as to say that honestly the BEST sounding amp I ever owned was an all original 1960 Tweed 4x10 Fender Bassman...but I was so hesitant to ever gig with it regularly because I was afraid It would get stolen or damaged so that it would have to be repaired/modified and lose its "original" value...so I ended up selling it for a small fortune to a collector...which I am NOT. I cannot justify "collecting" stuff that costs HUGE $, and then doesn't get used for fear of reducing its value! instruments/amps are TOOLS and should be tossed around in the back of trucks, in dingy dives, attacked with passion and reckless abandon, and NEVER pampered or stroked gently with reservation. why else would someone want to attach extra value to a "relic-ed" piece of gear? sure you can beat it up, but if that happens over 40 years of constant loving use...that's "mojo". the second best amp ever was a Traynor BassMate through a '60's era Marshall 4x12 loaded with (upgraded) G12M65 speakers, front end driven with a Furman PQ3 preamp/eq. Best amp I ever used...for many years through the 80's into the '90's.
 

Lagarto

Member
Messages
7
Emery Super Baby head. It's a single ended amp that will take any 6L6, EL34 or 6550 tube and puts out 8 - 12 watts, depending on the tube used. Being a mad scientist, I enjoy experimenting with various tubes. It is surprisingly loud and is more than adequate for playing around the house. It has only a volume and tone control, allowing you to get beautiful power tube distortion at home volume.




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oneblackened

Member
Messages
1,218
That I've ever played? Man... That's hard. Might be an SLO. Might be my KSR. Might be an Uberschall Twin Jet. But, it also might be a vintage Vibrolux Reverb or a 6G7A Bandmaster.
 




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