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Modeler is smarter than me - thinking of going back to tubes - but what?


Silver Supporting Member
I have an HD500 - it's cool, does lots of stuff, but at the end of the day, most of what it can do is above my knowledge of amps and effects. AND, it's just not an amp in the room.

At this point in my life, I don't gig, rarely jam, so I thought headphones in the modeler would suffice, but I'm left wanting.

What I'm looking for is:

Probably something with big bottles (6L6): I'm a 60's - 80's classic rock guy, throw in a little 50's or 90's for flavor. Never had much success finding my sound with Marshall or Vox, had better luck with Fender/Mesa Mk series.

pedal or rack effect friendly: It will take time, but I'd like to replace the pedals I used to have that I really liked: Skreddy Screwdriver, Timmy, Phase 90 script, Nova Delay. Probably add a chorus or flanger (had Choraleflange), a fuzz and something to mimic a M/B Recto WAY down the road. I might even take a short cut and go with something like a used G Major to get started quick.

not a boat anchor: had a Mesa MkIII, wish I still had it, but wish I still had the young back that could pick the damn thing up. Head/cab would be awesome.

Clean at volume: For the occasional jams with friends, the drummer is LOUD! While 18 watts should be loud enough, my old TopHat Club Royale was pushed really hard, and clean headroom was totally gone. I think a Deluxe Reverb would also not hold up for the cleans. Puts me in at 30 watts? If I need dirt/gain, I'll use pedals.

And finally, I'm looking to spend around $750 (used). I'll need to sell my HD500 and QSC K12 to cover this move.

What are some recommendations? Thanks.


The Fender Hot Rod Deluxe is a pretty good pedal platform. Cleans are pretty good and it takes pedals well also. The 40 watt version is a good compromise of weight and volume. I'm currently gigging with a Fender Prosonic and like it. Its a 60 watt, 2x10 combo. It has good cleans and takes pedals well. Its loud and easy to carry in and out. I recommend them if you can find a used one. Lots of good Fender tube combos out now, depends on your budget.


I was you...three years ago. I was a huge POD guy since XTL and went through all of them, including the HD500. Played the PODs heavily in a P&W setting. Then along came the cover band gig, and I spent some time playing the HD500 through the power section of a 1994 Peavey Classic 50 410. Nice amp to gig with, played over 100 shows with the thing, crazy reliable, ton of clean headroom.

Built a stompbox based rig again thinking it would be something fun to fool with, but not a replacement for my modelers. WRONG. Ended up building a nice rig that sent my HD500 to the sidelines. I could get *more* sounds with the HD500, no doubt, tons of effects, good sounding models (Dr. Z, and Marshall mainly) but the tube amp with stompboxes could get fewer but *better* tones with more special sauce.

Carting around "the beast" C50 410 began to be a real drag, so I bought an Egnater Tweaker 40 head and had a custom oversized 112 built for me, ported, with an Eminence Texas Heat loaded...150W@8 ohms. The Tweaker 40 gives me ample clean headroom, two channels, and for the geek that was drawn to modeling and PODs, SWITCHES. Different voicings and tone stack options to get Fender, VOX, and Marshall tones and all kinds of in between things.

Now I'm looking at selling the C50 410 and getting another smallish tube head...either a Orange TT or Dual Terror, or Mesa Mini Rec, etc., just to have another lightweight tube option that will run at 15W or 7W to complement the Tweaker 40, and possibly run a dual amp wet/dry rig.

So...I say ALL of that to say this...GO FOR IT. You'll have a blast, you'll spend some cash, and you'll find great tones. And if you want, you can hang onto a HD500 or drop a few hundred later on to pick one up on the used market.

Good Luck in your tone journey...and rock on!


Traynor YCV40 (45lbs) sounds about right as well as Tweaker 40 previously mentioned.


I'm starting to sound like a broken record I know,...But I agree when it comes to the newest version of the HR series Fender amp.'s. I think (especially for a pedal guy, as they take pedals like a Duck to water), EITHER a Blues Jr. III, or a HRD III would be the way to go.

With the financial budget you gave yourself, I don't think you could go wrong with either of these. I have a C-Rex in my Blues Jr. III, and it improved upon a amp. that I thought was already vastly improved from the first two versions of these.

I also have a DRRI., and a '72 Vibro-Champ,...and while I really like the DRRI, I LOVE my HRD III (the SFVC STAYS...period). I bought a G-DEC3 when I was coming out from a illness, so I understand just what you mean with modelers,...I don't think I have 2 hours on the Damn thing,...I never programmed it,...Because it gave me a headache trying to figure it out (don't know why it's still in my room, it's OK with the headphones...past that, I'm lost...LOL).

Hope this helps, or at least gives you something to add to your list of possibilities. Tom


Allow me to take a somewhat different approach here -- Carvin V3M. 50/22/7W switchable, 19 lbs in head form or 36 lbs in 1x12.


I once went the modeler route. Had a Peavey Vypyr 75 watt for a year. It's a nice amp, but way too much going on there, mainly for live performance. Lots of good sounds, but comes up short of the tube amp with pedals. Too complicated and temperamental for doing gigs.

I play 60's and 70's R&R plus a little Country and some Blues; highly recommend the Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue from the Hot Rod series of amps. Works well with pedals and suits these types of music well. Give one a test drive and see if you don't agree. You can get a new one for around $750 or a used one for around $500.

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