I want a small amp. but I don't know how small, or how loud. HELP!!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by re-animator, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I thought I had it figured out... but I realized i got nothing.

    I find myself desperately needing a moderate/small sized amp (no bigger than 1x12). I'm an ac30 player and I love the tone, but its not practical for everything I do. I started a thread a while back and I was thinking I wanted a mesa :)jo). After considering things more carefully, I decided that's probably not the right way to go.

    Basically the Vox is WAY too big and heavy to haul around to every practice/jam/tutoring session. I love the wide array of tones and features that I get from it.... but I need something simpler and more practical for everyday stuff. Not looking to supplant my main gigging amp, just looking for a little variety and convenience.

    Basically I'm a very big hendrix and zeppelin fan. Play only fenders and gibsons (mostly tele and occasionally LP). Also dig Rory Gallagher's sound (there in spades with my vox)... eric johnson, santana, gilmour, jeff beck, etc. Always leaned more towards the British side of the pond (I think its cause my mom was born in london :) ).

    What i'm looking for in this amp is:

    - useable clean tone (doesn't have to stay clean over a drummer, but cleaning up w/ volume knob helps)

    - not overly midrangey in the clean.... less plexi more jtm45

    - lively low/mid gain tones (yardbirds, the who, etc.)

    - not something I'll want to have my pedals plugged into all the time, but should react well to boosts and fuzzes

    - PORTABLE. Under 50 pounds.... 1x12 combo or less.

    - on board reverb or an FX loop is a plus

    - has to get a good crunch tone at reasonable volumes (not bedroom... but maybe garage rehearsal volumes at the loudest)

    - No channel switchers, cascaded gain stages, etc.

    - Prefer combo

    - $400 - $1000. willing to go used/ceriatone/whatever



    now for some reason i don't like tweed champs. For some reason I never got along with them. Always either too thin or too midrangey for me.... also clean headroom was almost non-existent. I've owned BF fenders before and I LOVE their clean sound, and the way they take pedals for lead is pretty decent as well, but I couldn't ever get a good natural mid-gain sound out of them.

    So, that's why I'll have to say no tweed deluxes, princeton reverbs, or DRRIs please.

    amps i'm looking at (and this is where I want suggestions or additional info):

    - Ceriatone/Weber 1974x clone. The 18 watter seems like a natural choice.... just not sure if its gonna do the job with cleans.... is the midrange always too oppressive?

    - Gibson Ga20 or Ga40. I remember playing one at low volumes and absolutely loving it's clean tone. Very warm and organic sounding. The half-power switch is also a cool feature. Sweetwater has the 30 watter for $850 and its PTP, which is sick. The question mark here is the drive tone.... never had the pleasure of cranking one of these, so it remains a question mark.

    - Gibson Ga5. another amp I played at lowish volumes. Liked the simplicity... kind of everything i liked about the tweed champ/deluxe, but without the drawbacks. At 5 watts through an 8" speaker, am i just dreaming on headroom ?? :NUTS

    - Supro/Magnatone/Airline vintage amps. These are sort of a wildcard as i haven't had a chance to play one, but they seem pretty cool for what i'm after. Any suggestions about specific models or years??

    - Fender blues deluxe RI. Another warm sounding amp.... it may just be too damn loud though. Liked the cleans and reverb, but it would be pretty hard to get a crunch sound... a master volume box isn't out of the question though. I'd love to hear how these sound w/ kt66.

    - THD Univalve. Yeah, i'd have to find an Extension cab, but the thought of being able to switch out tubes on a whim and having a line-out for easy recording is pretty appealing. I've heard its a "jack of all trades master of none" type amp, and while it has many different flavors, it pretty much always sound like a univalve.

    - Gries 5. Supposed to go between tweed and blackface... haven't been able to corroborate this though.

    - Reeves custom 6/12/18. almost forgot about this guy. lotsa hype involved, but its supposed to nail both clean and crunch really well.



    well that's my dilemma.... i'd hate to be cliche, but i'm sure others are also scratching their heads about the problem of "grab-n-go" amps.

    anyone wanna throw me a life-preserver??
     
  2. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Have you checked out the Savage Macht 6 or Macht 12?
     
  3. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    heard good things, but i've always been too lazy to e-mail for a quote.

    also edited to include the reeves amps i forgot.
     
  4. Eugene

    Eugene Supporting Member

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    I'd consider a Maz Jr. Great sound all around, 'verb, Master Volume and takles on all pedals and comes in a 1x12 fiormat....

    Eugene
     
  5. meterman

    meterman Member

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    TopHat Club Deluxe or Royale 1x12. Great tweed/Vox/early Marshall tones in a versatile, very toneful single channel amp. Takes boosts and fuzzes great but will also get killer classic crunch tones without them. Loud for 20w, light & portable and top shelf build quality. Could find one used for ~$800 or so.....

    I gig with a 35w or 50w TopHat but for practices & jams my Club Deluxe 1x12 is perfect.
     
  6. JimH

    JimH Member

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  7. ptecat

    ptecat Member

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    Home is where the guitar is!
    Check out the clips of the Gries 5 on their website. Those clips were originally posted on the GP. I have the combo version with the 6L6 option. It is now my main rehearsal amp. Also, the Gries 5 is very pedal friendly. The Eminence Tonker-lite is very efficient and LOUD! (giggable if miked). Overall, it has BF sounds nailed and with the gain and master controls you can dial in overdrive.

    Good luck in your search. Their are al ot of cool amps out there that match your description. I just lucked out with the Gries 5.
     
  8. bosstone

    bosstone Member

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    If you can't find the right amp that does all you want, the next best thing is to get one that does everything except for distortion. Add pedals to taste.
     
  9. bynt

    bynt Member

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    Man that AC15 handwired is a MONSTOR (misspelled on purpose for linguistic effect) but it's a bit over what you're willing to pay.

    The new Supro's smoke, too. I'm thinking you might want to try to find a used Sahara. I will have that amp one day. It (like the Vox) has haunted my dreams ever since I played it.
     
  10. bynt

    bynt Member

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    Oh yeah, (I havne't played it) but my buddy just got the Maz 18 after having pretty much the exact criteria. He searched long and wide (doctor, can afford anything he wants) and narrowed it down between a Bad Cat and the Z. He opted for the Z. Like I said though, I've not played it.
     
  11. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    I don't want to go the ac-15 route since:

    1.) I'm mostly parked on the normal channel of my ac30
    2.) I want to get a little variety in my tones, so if i want to reach back for a different sound in a recording, i can do it.

    the tophat and dr. z are some cool options I hadn't thought about... waiting for a used one to fall in my price range would be kinda annoying though. Also I think they may sound a little too voxy.


    the gries sounds really good, slightly weaker in the OD than I thought.

    Right now I'm leaning a bit towards the gibson combo, a TMB 18 watter, or a reeves custom 6.

    Basically, I'm unsure about the cleans on the 18 watter (never played a TMB one), the distortion of the gibson combo... i think the reeves does them both well, but i'd probably have to for the head version sitting on an avatar 1x12 because I dislike their tiny cabs with neo-speakers.
     
  12. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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  13. bizzwriter

    bizzwriter Member

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    Consider a 1980s-vintage Marshall Studio 15. Great Marshall tones (using 6V6's!) in a grab-and-go package. You should be able to pick one up in good condition for $650-$750.
     
  14. freaksho

    freaksho Member

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    i haven't played one in a while, and only in stores when i did, but I'm gonna agree with the Dr. Z suggestions. simply big tone, no frills. are you near a dealer? you've really gotta hear one some time.
     
  15. Fifthstone

    Fifthstone Member

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    Except for the reverb and effects loop, you are describing the Reeves Custom 12. The combo weighs about 25lbs. Cleans up very well with the guitar volume knob, and I've found it to be the perfect power level for my live playing situation.
     
  16. Bikedude

    Bikedude Gold Supporting Member

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    Get a Roland Cube60. Sixty watts, effects, amp models, 1X12in. speaker, lightweight, industructable, and really it sounds great. Just about any sound you may need at home or at rehearsel is in that little sucker. $300 or ther abouts' Don't laugh, I have some booteek amps, and other high end fender equip, and for a grab and go you can't beat the Cube60.
     
  17. re-animator

    re-animator Senior Member

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    the closest Z dealer is almost 2 hours drive from me....not down for that.


    I like the roland cubes... but not really for this purpose. The name of the game is simplicity for me.... just something I can grab and bring to jams/rehearsals and get a passable clean tone with cool crunch sounds.

    as far as size/useability, i think i may actually be looking at two amps.

    first is the grab-n-go jam amp. Between 5 and 20 watts. Simple controls, no FX, or channel switching or anything.

    I THINK that the reeves, gibson, or 18 watt is gonna fit the bill here.


    the 2nd amp will probably be some sort of el-cheapo solid state "around the house" amp that I can just stick by my desk. Something like a G-dec, vox pathfinder, or roland cube. Something maybe 10-15 watts w/ an 8 or 10" speaker.
     
  18. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    The Reeves Custom 30 in a single 12 combo would give you a blend of Hiwatt/JTM 45 tones and is power scaled.

    The Reeves Custom 18 closer to most of the Marshall 18 watt circuits with a smidge more clean headroom also power scaled.

    For something smaller and highly versatile, I'd consider the Emery Sound Superbaby or Stagebaby.

    The Gries 5 has lots of fans in these parts and is one of the most affordable
    hand wired Class A's available. Black Face and Tweed tones bettered by
    the Scumnico speaker.

    You can also check with MOODS here at TGP to see if he's still offering builds of his Supro reproduction and his " Brit " AC15 interpretation is wonderful.
     
  19. Joseph Hanna

    Joseph Hanna Member

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    I have a Z and Two Roland Cubes. Don't play at home much if at all but what little I do it's always the Cube. I do gig a lot.

    I use the Cubes now for 90% of my gigs. Clearly the Z is more amp on all levels including weight. However that little Cube continues to astound me on every level and at that weight the Black Face Deluxe setting is just plain a gas to run in stereo all at a volume that keeps sound men at bay.

    That said, like them or not, Roland Cubes are the polar opposite....the POLAR opposite of an el-cheapo solid state around the house amp :)
     
  20. trisonic

    trisonic Member

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    Yes I like the C60 too (much to my surprise, I admit).

    Don't go too small - I usually have any amp louder than I need (when playing) and back off the volume(s) and if necessary tone(s) on the guitar - I find that I get a better overall tone that way rather than wacking everything on 10.

    Best, Pete.
     

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