Lab Series L5 at local GC for $300. How does or compare to...

Eliellasdad

Member
Messages
25
My local GC has a Lab Series L5 Amp for $300. Sounded great but I fear it's too big for a bedroom player such as myself. The L3 would likely be preferable;however I do not see any listed for sale. I was also looking for a vintage Roland Jazz Chorus and see their just released the JC22. The JC22 is about the right size and how do the two compare? If I am looking at the Roland should I also consider the Boss Kantana.
 
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NewLeaf09

Silver Supporting Member
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2,609
I've got an L5 and with the master volume you can play it at low levels with no problems. It is big and heavy, I think somewhere around 70lbs - mine has casters and I use them whenever possible. It's a beast but as long as it keeps working it's one heck of a bang for the buck. I came across another one in a store in like new condition with the manual still in it and bought it on the spot. I got it home, plugged it in, heard a nasty pop, then nothing. The store owner who sold it to me took it back with no problems and said he'd have his tech fix it and when it was fixed he would give me a call. The call never came and the last time I went by the shop it was sitting in the back still fried.

On price, the like new was $400. I had an L9? with a 15" speaker I bought for $300 then exchanged for lessons, and the one I have now looks a bit rough but I got it for $250. I've paid more for pedals.
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
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11,207
Alto Music in Middletown NY has an L3 (with a really heavy EV speaker in it) for sale. Or did have one as of about 10 days ago. I'd grab that one and sell the speaker. I like the L5 too, great amp. But the L3 is small and light, a more or less perfect amp for the music room.
MD
 

Al Varez

Member
Messages
518
Is $300 a good price? Will GC allow you to haggle on used gear?

No. C'mon guys, get real. These older analog SS were good for their time, the 80's-90's when digital modeling wasn't around or in it's infancy. Some people are blinded by nostalgia I guess. I owned an Ampeg VH140c years ago and it was good but any of the modern modeling amps destroy it in every way. Pass on it.
 

mcuguitar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,227
Ridiculously heavy and crappy sounding amp. Back in the day, I remember my teachers at GIT avoiding the L5 amps at the school. Buy a used Roland Cube 80 instead for $250.00, and your back and ears will thank me later.
 

BlueRiff

Senior Member
Messages
7,745
$300 is fair nowadays, assuming everything works. You could offer $250 but I would spend $300 on one if something happened to mine.
Is $300 a good price? Will GC allow you to haggle on used gear?
It's not up to GC to let you haggle - you just haggle and everything in the store is negotiable. If they say no at least you tried. Just figure out ahead of time what you want to pay and offer it. I've heard the L5 in person and liked it - have not played it though. BB King used them if you like his tone. He actually ran them hard to point of clean channel breakup - but it somehow sounded great through an L5 SS amp. Similar to how Benson used to slightly overdrive his Polytones. So what if its heavy if you'll be using it in the bedroom? I'd vote for a buy on this rig.
 

fenderjapan

World Heavyweight Champion
Silver Supporting Member
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5,872
I've owned a bunch of Lab Series amps and a Jazz Chorus and they really don't sound too similar. The Lab Series is capable of a lot more variety and is a lot more flexible, while the Jazz Chorus is great at sounding like a Jazz Chorus (clean, pristine).

The L5 will sound great with just about any pedal you throw at it. It has a preamp that you can set up slightly dirty like BB King did (and combine it with your OD pedals if you like) or set it totally clean.

The reverb is nice, warm, but not really washed out like the Fender reverb... it doesn't do the Dick Dale type reverb. Which is okay by me, but some people like more reverb.

I would leave the compressor off.

My favorite speakers for the L5 are EVM 12Ls but they sound great with a lot of different speaker varieties, I've used Weber speakers in them (the Twin replacements) and even EHX speakers.

The Joe Bonamassa association drove up prices a little bit on these amps, I'd say $300 for a clean one is a fair price.
 
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Ken Whisler

Member
Messages
600
I gigged regularly in the late 70's - early 80's with a full L11 stack and later a couple of L5's. This was in prog bands that did originals, so I had no specific tone to "copy". When it came time to make a living in cover bands, something was seriously missing. So I got a Boogie knock off made by Acoustic, and all was well. One gig, I left the Acoustic at home and brought out the L5, and halfway through the first set the bandleader said he'd fire me on the spot if I ever did that again.

The stock speakers are crap. A well respected jazz guy in my town has an L5 that he loaded with EV's with great results. Another rocker in my town got great sounds out of his L5 by bypassing the stock speakers and going into a Marshall cab. Ironically, that same rocker was from Springfield and rubbed elbows with Ty in his early days. Ty's L5 was gutted and rehoused in a metal rack casing and went straight into Marshall cabs. In this digital age, photos are easy to find to verify this.
 

swiveltung

Member
Messages
14,483
The Lab Series is the best SS amp I've ever had, as it sounded less SS than the others I've had.. Heavy and heavy duty. The output transistors on mine were huge. Lots of controls and bedroom levels should be fine.
You should be able to dicker with Guitar Center.
The last one I had was $300 for the 4 x 10 Lab Series. I took the 10's out and put in one 15" to make it lighter.
 

MURFF

(formerly zzzzzzz)
Gold Supporting Member
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946
Saw the Lab Series 4x10 combo locally for a nice price. Does anyone know if the baffles on these amps are easily removed? If I like the amp then I'd want to replace the 10's with a single 15" or 12" speaker to lighten it up.

And does anyone know if the cabinets are birch ply, mdf, or a combination of those two?
 

candid_x

Member
Messages
9,667
Ime, upside of the L5 solid state: volume doesn't affect tone as much. I played mine at home all the time at lower volumes.

I remember it being a big combo cab, but not at all heavy. I also found the compressor handy.

My fav s.s. amp. Jazz Chorus a second.
 

mc5nrg

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,189
Note the input padding on Lab Series amps are opposite of what you would normally expect. They were made by Moog in New York State back when Norlin or whatever the parent company was caled owned Moog and Gibson.
 

Jr Deluxe

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3,901
BB King is known to have used them. I never found them to be special. If you tried one and liked it, $300 seems ok.
 

musicman1

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Messages
5,331
I'm on the side that says really heavy and "ok" sounding at best. For their time they were comparable with Fender Twins which weren't all that great then either. I remember when they first came out. Fair reliability until something fries out then usually its a goner. They were designed by Moog. I agree with another poster here that says look for something more appropriate such as a Katana, Cube, Fender Mustang, PV Viper or the like. A JC22 would be nice for home use. A JC40 is probably better suited for small to medium gigs. A JC120 also is just too big. loud and heavy for a bedroom player...
 

A3-21

Member
Messages
91
$300 is fine, $250 would be better. I prefer the L5 over a JC, Katana or digital modeling stuff any day.
 




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