My first Tube amp?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by GonzaU2, May 24, 2015.

  1. GonzaU2

    GonzaU2 Member

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    Well, little by little I'm upgrading my gear. First I bought a Fender Strat MIM (Had an American Tele, but didn't quite like Teles) and I upgraded it with new wires and a set of Fat Shop 50's. Then I sold my HD500 and bough a BCB-60 and 7 pedals, and recently changed the Boss SD-1 with a Ibanez TS-9. So now, my next step is the amplifier. I'm not in a rush, for the moment I have an Orange Crush PiX 35W and it is working perfectly, but I guess somewhen in the near future I'll want to change it.

    First of all: I want this amp for rehearsal (no mic' up the speaker) and for gigs (with mic' up the speaker), so it has to be loud enough for rehearsal with a drummer and a bass player (we play Pop/Rock/Indie so they're not really loud).

    So I've been looking around and I don't really know what to do. Let's say I have a budget of 600-700$ (around 500-600€), and I have a couple of things in mind. I like the Orange Crush CR60, just because I love my Orange 35W, how it looks and how it sounds (great clean tone), but the truth is that I have plenty of power with my current Crush 35W (and I mean it, I have PLENTY of power, the volume is at 4/12 and the gain at 9/12 and I'm louder than the bass player and the drummer), so I don't see the point in buying a new amp just because is bigger (with a 12' inch speaker instead of my current 10' speaker) when my current amp is loud enough.

    Then, the next question is, if I'm not getting a bigger solid-state amp just because my current one is good enough for me, should I get my first tube amp? After 10 years playing, maybe it's time... But they're SO expensive, and I'm worried about the tubes, I've seen the tubes aren't really expensive and I guess it'd be easy to replace them, but how long do they last?

    I've seen two tubes amp that I really like/love, the Fender Blues Junior III and the Vox AC15C1. They both have a 12' speaker and cost almost the same (Vox a 'lil bit more). I'm basically looking for a GREAT CLEAN TONE, only clean tone, and I think Fender is gonna be better for that, it doesn't have a dirty channel, but I'm worried (with both amps) that they're not going to be loud enough and I'm going to endanger the tubes/speaker when rehearsing. So I guess my question is: are 15W with these tubes amp enough for rehearsal?

    Also, the amp that I'll buy needs to have reverb, although most of them include this so I'm not worried about that.

    Sorry for such a long thread and forgive my english, I'm writing from Spain!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  2. DaveKS

    DaveKS Member

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    Vht 12/20 non RT and add a reverb pedal, your current amp is just digital reverb so same as running a reverb pedal anyway.

    If your running SS orange at 4vol. 15-20w of tube amp is plenty. Nice about 12/20 is you can run stock 6v6 at 12w or flip switch, pop in a pair of tad 6l6wgc and you'll be running at 20w with more clean headroom. Amp is designed as a clean pedal platform with a real tube effects loop.
     
  3. scott944

    scott944 Member

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    The only way for you to know what YOU like, it to go to some shops and play some stuff. Take your guitar to eliminate that as a variable. You could even take your Orange and A/B it against any potential replacement.
     
  4. AD1982

    AD1982 Member

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    Easy, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe. $400-500 used. Really good clean pedal platform. Put a Eminence Cannibus Rex in it and own it the rest of your life.
     
  5. garret

    garret Member

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    ^This.

    This type of topic typically gets responses on what other people like. The most important thing is what you like relative to the style of music you like to play.

    Play as many tube amps that you can before you make a purchase.
     
  6. Kestrel

    Kestrel Member

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    Hola GonzaU2. Bienvenidos al foro. Mis padres son españoles (de Canarias).

    Anyway, your English is perfectly fine.

    Now to your question. Let me first say this. If you're happy with the amplifier you have and the tone you're getting, then I see no reason to change.

    Going from a solid state amp to a decent 'tube' amp means you have to be ready for the maintenance associated with tube amps. That's the tradeoff for using technology that most people today consider obsolete.

    Solid state amps do not require valves and for the most part are not as fragile on the road as tube amps, so even though they lack the warmth and character of a tube amp, they do have their advantages.

    Changing tubes is not difficult, but how long they last depends on various factors. Their longevity can depend on how much you are using the amp. It can also depend on the amp itself (some amps burden their tubes more than others), and it can also depend on the luck of the draw with the tubes themselves. That's just the nature of vacuum tubes and is why it's always a good idea to keep spares in case they need to be replaced.

    You mentioned the Fender Blues Jr III and the Vox AC15C1. I have both those amps and I can tell you that a stock Blues Jr III will be the cleaner of the two at practice volumes. The stock AC15 will break up rather quickly as you crank the volume. At 15 watts they are loud enough to rehearse with, but not clean (unless you mic them).

    If you want a decent amount of clean headroom at louder volumes, I suggest going with an amp with higher output. The amp will cost more, but it's better to have more volume and not need it than to need it and not have it. Consider buying used, especially if money is a factor. Brand new is always nice, but you find way better deals buying used.

    As has been suggested in previous post above, check out as many tube amps as you can if possible. Keep your options open and don't limit yourself to one specific brand. But seriously, if you're not prepared to deal with the maintenance required by a tube amp, stay with a solid state amp.

    There are decent solid state amps that are quite usable and loud enough to rehearse and gig with (used Roland JC's, Peavey Bandits, etc).

    You will get a better tone from a good tube amp, which in my opinion is worth the maintenance, but it's really up to you to decide.

    Cheers and good luck.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
  7. forum_crawler

    forum_crawler Member

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    I will be honest with you, right from the start... No. 15W will not be enough to keep up with a loud drummer and bass.
    I honestly suggest that you look into a Mesa Express for your first tube amp. Fenders with pedals always sound like fenders with pedals, which may be your thing...

    If you don't end up getting the VOX, then there are those nifty tech 21 pedals (liverpool) that do a great job at replicating that top boost sound that we all like. Something to think about...

    As a general rule, my suggestion is to always consider getting something that you really like, not something that you feel is "your first" or "an intermediate for now" type of amp. That only means you will spend more money in the long run. Trust me, I have been there myself.
     
  8. Jonny G

    Jonny G Member

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    ^Sound advice. If your drummer is in control of what he's doing, 15Watts is actually fine (i use an Orange AD15 in practice at half volume and we're fine, but that was only after beating it into our drummers head that he didn't need to be competing with Keith Moon). If you have a louder drummer, or move to a band with a louder drummer, you're going to need 25/30 watts clean.

    The other decision you need to make is whether you fall into the US or Brit amp camp - essentially twangy clean (US Fender style) or darker, edge of break-up (Brit). A related point here is whether you prefer a naturally overdriven amp sound vs "Fender with pedals", given that your music style is clearly going to be in overdriven/ crunch territory. Its a personal choice (I personally can't stand Fenders with pedals:D) but if you've been on SS with pedals, you should do yourself a favour and try pushing a tube amp (Vox AC15 would be a perfect choice to do this) and see how you like it. It is a different sound and you may or may not like it, but this is quite fundamental to your "foundition" sound. Any pedals on top are just bells and whistels IMO.

    Forum crawlers Mesa Express suggestion (if you can find a used one in Spain for sensible money - good luck on that. I saw one here for EU850 http://www.guitarristas.info/anuncios/mesa-boogie-express-5-25-combo/399100) is actually the best solution IMO as it actually gives you both sides of the Atlantic (if you tune it in right - Fender clean or Brit edge of break-up) and decent headroom - and an extremly well built amp. And yes, I have an Orange tube amp, Fender Twin and a Mesa Express 5:25 (12"speaker version), so do have some idea of their relative sounds. The other point to remember which isnt always obvious to TGP'ers is the ridiculous price markup on US gear in Europe, which means value for money will generally favour Brit amps (not sure if you get screwed on Brit amp prices as well in Spain, but suspect not)

    In any event, as suggested above, look and play around to see what you actually like (think also about head and cab combos e.g. Orange Dual terror, Vox night train G50 head etc). Buena suerte!
     
  9. GonzaU2

    GonzaU2 Member

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    Wow, guys this help me A LOT!! Thank you so much for your great advices, I've been reading every post carefully and that's helping me to make my mind clear with this topic :)

    I always learn a lot reading this forum! First of all, as you've said, this is not urgent, I'm not in a rush, and that's a good thing because is gonna give me time to see and try different options, and then when I decide to move on to a tube amp I'll have a good amount of money saved and experience with different tube amps

    It isn't that easy to try tube amps here tho, at least in stores. Stores here are horrible, guitars - amps are exposed covered with dust, with some knobs missing, with some strings missing... It's a better option to take a look in the 2nd hand market, but then again, and this is MY problem, I've never bought anything from 2nd hand... And that's just weird because I've sold guitars amps pedals... Everything. But I don't know why, I always prefer to spend more money to have it brand new. And that's a mistake of course!!

    Well again, thanks for all your help!
     
  10. custom53

    custom53 Member

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    Try a Peavey Classic / the Tweed ones.. Classic 20, 30 or 50.. Or you could go full tilt with a Classic 100, like mine.. These amps are under the radar and will do every type of sound you could want..

    [​IMG]
     
  11. GonzaU2

    GonzaU2 Member

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    Well THAT looks amazing... Thank you very much guys for your help! The moment I decide to change my amp I'll return to this thread to read all your great advices :)
     
  12. kwicked

    kwicked Supporting Member

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    Peavey Classic 30 or Hot Rod Deluxe. Buy used and either will keep their value. 15w is not enough and you will be wishing for more quickly.
     

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