Need help selecting a tube amp

Rain Maker

Member
Messages
5
Hello everyone,
A newbie here and I’m hoping for some insight. I’ve been playing guitar for almost 2-1/2 years now and the genre that inspires me most is blues, more specific, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the likes. Currently I’m using a Blackstar H5 combo and I want to upgrade. I tried a Fender Deluxe Reverb 65 Reissue. It had a couple issues after only 6 months of light but daily use.
I currently have a Super Reverb 65 Reissue on order but not 100% confident it’s the right choice. I’ve been looking all over the internet and found interest in a Fender Bassman, Hiwatt 20-10 , PRS MT15, Marshal 20 watt, and a few others.
I like the idea of a 4x10 cab so looking into an amp head was favored in my search.
My need is for in home practice as I learn to play and practice.
I’m looking for suggestions on what to select with a budget of $2,000 max.
 

eigentone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,215
Agree that Super Reverb seems like a good fit. You may be able to find one from the 60s or 70s with that budget. Check your local listings because a lot of people don't want to ship amps this large. Old Fenders may need some time with the tech but are quite reliable.

You might also like a Vibro-King. It's a 60W 3x10 Fender that was introduced in the 1990s. I have one which I loaded with Celestion G10 Golds and it's really sweet.

Concert and Bassman are some other older 4x10 Fender models, if you can live without reverb.
 

Tele-Vision

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,369
If you are just starting out, find a used Blues Deville Re-Issue 410.



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t3po

Member
Messages
147
For the cheap route, I'd pick up a handwired Rivera Era Fender like the concert around 600, add a tube screamer and call it a day.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
18,908
Not tube, but the Fender Tonemaster amps sound pretty good with no upkeep, a wattage control, and easier to move around with less weight. I have the Twin Reverb version and it doesn't sound bad to me after 50 years of gigging tube amps...and the Super Reverb version has gotten some great reviews.

With tube amps, you should at least own and know how to use a bias meter & multi-meter so your new set of power tubes don't go into meltdown...and some people just aren't the techie type.

But you like what you like and that's ok too!
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
Messages
4,701
Used Tone king Imperial might be interesting, as well.


If you want to spend up, this is the one probably.

Otherwise, I am not sure what you would gain by looking at something other than the super reverb.

For my money, it's way too loud to give great tone at the volume you can get away with at home. If you have a jam space where you can crank then go for it!!!

Don't bother with the marshall DSL. It's a good amp, but if you are going for blues tones I think you will fight it. It's definitely geared towards rock/metal.


You might be happy with a Champ or something like that. Fender sounds, but smaller and easier to crunch up at home volumes.
 

Rain Maker

Member
Messages
5
Thank you everyone! This has all been great information. I still think the choice of the Super Reverb 65 Reissue is the right one, especially given the deal I got. I have been using a Tube Screamer 808 and a Strymon Flint in my arsenal. Something cool about the Strymon Flint, I can play in stereo, and do not have to rely on the amps reverb. For the foreseeable future, the Blackstar will serve as the second channel.
I have been cursed with the desire for "perfection" and getting the best I can find/afford, within reason. This type A personality charachteristic often times pushes me to over buy. With a background of Hi/Mid-fi home audio, I've always been a fan of more power (watts), separate components, and separate speakers (bookshelf + sub for each), than "all-in-one" solutions. Hence the reason I have been looking into amp heads (the aforementioned brands).
Correct me if I'm wrong but if the amp is reproducing a CLEAN signal, pedals can color the sound to taste? Also, it's my understanding that more speakers will have more "presence" to it than any single speaker can produce. Hence the desire for a 4x10 cabinet configuration. The Super Reverb seems to be a single "all-in-one" solution.
Wouldn't a nice clean single channel amp head paired with a 4x10 cab and the right pedals accomplish the same "tone" allowing me to dial in what I want to hear at various volume levels? I do tend to play at relatively low volume, however as my skills improve, so will my desire to play with higher volume levels. Being limited to a smaller amp like the 5 watt Blackstar HT5 combo, my desire to play any louder cannot be quenched. Hence this effort. I can't be the first or only new player to encounter this dilemma.
Bring on the comments please.......
 

Roccorobb

Member
Messages
1,580
Thank you everyone! This has all been great information. I still think the choice of the Super Reverb 65 Reissue is the right one, especially given the deal I got. I have been using a Tube Screamer 808 and a Strymon Flint in my arsenal. Something cool about the Strymon Flint, I can play in stereo, and do not have to rely on the amps reverb. For the foreseeable future, the Blackstar will serve as the second channel.
I have been cursed with the desire for "perfection" and getting the best I can find/afford, within reason. This type A personality charachteristic often times pushes me to over buy. With a background of Hi/Mid-fi home audio, I've always been a fan of more power (watts), separate components, and separate speakers (bookshelf + sub for each), than "all-in-one" solutions. Hence the reason I have been looking into amp heads (the aforementioned brands).
Correct me if I'm wrong but if the amp is reproducing a CLEAN signal, pedals can color the sound to taste? Also, it's my understanding that more speakers will have more "presence" to it than any single speaker can produce. Hence the desire for a 4x10 cabinet configuration. The Super Reverb seems to be a single "all-in-one" solution.
Wouldn't a nice clean single channel amp head paired with a 4x10 cab and the right pedals accomplish the same "tone" allowing me to dial in what I want to hear at various volume levels? I do tend to play at relatively low volume, however as my skills improve, so will my desire to play with higher volume levels. Being limited to a smaller amp like the 5 watt Blackstar HT5 combo, my desire to play any louder cannot be quenched. Hence this effort. I can't be the first or only new player to encounter this dilemma.
Bring on the comments please.......
To get the srv tone from a super reverb, you will need to crank its volume up to at least 6 or 7. Tube amps are used very differently in the hifi world compared to the guitar world. With guitars (historically, anyway), pushing the amp and speakers beyond their breaking points is what achieves the desired tone. This is especially true for srv tone

You may want to start with a tone master super reverb. It allows you to get the cranked amp sound at much lower volume levels.
 

Dontchaknow

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,488
For your specific wants, I agree with the guys suggesting the Tonemaster Super Reverb. The built in attenuation function/knob can get you that pushed sound at reasonable volume. Plus the weight difference, DI out, etc. Nothing wrong with a Super Reverb RI and some pedals though! Great choices out there. Just pick one and enjoy it, otherwise you can let the obsession of "something better" take some of the fun out of it if you have that type of personality.
 
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Rain Maker

Member
Messages
5
Just pick one and enjoy it, otherwise you can let the obsession of "something better" take some of the fun out of it if you have that type of personality.
Being the neophyte that I am, I tend to overthink things. The obsession sometimes serves me but this time, the lack of experience has got the better of me.
With everything I have read and watched about the SRRI, it's a great amp and should serve me well for many years. It's on order and should arrive to my doorstep by this Friday. If I were to make a change, it has to be today before it ships. Otherwise I'd be faced with returning it.
There are so many cool toys out there and I would love to have them all. at this point, I'll learn to live with this amp and will likely fall in love with it. My dream was to have a stack configuration (head + 4x10). The SRRI is the equivalent and likely as good or better sounding. I just don't want to have to replace it anytime soon.
I'm already considering selling my home audio (Anthem P5, Anthem AVM 60, Paradigm Signature S2's, two REL RS-5's, and a Paradigm Studio 60 center). The surrounds (Paradigm Studio 20's) have recently been sold. Home theater has taken a back seat to learning guitar.

So yes Mr. Donchaknow, you nailed me! lol
 

Rick CD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,130
As mentioned above, to truly get the SRV tones you need to drive the output tubes. But, that being said, the super reverb has GREAT clean tone at any volume, and drive pedals in front of the amp at low volume are still inspiring. Hard to be disappointed with that amp. But the Tonemaster might be a better option for you. Smaller 1x combo won’t sound as rich and full as the 4x10 at any volume.
 

goose1441

Member
Messages
580
Having owned a SRRI, I'd also recommend checking out the tonemaster super reverb, and I'd add a couple others to the list too, depending on your needs. I never really felt like I could open up the super reverb like I wanted to, and while it still sounded good at low volumes, it wasn't at its best. If you're thinking you can run it above 3 consistently in an apartment with neighbors or house with roommates or family, think again. The magic 6-7 range is hearing damage levels in close proximity.

The tonemaster will get you the drive tone at lower volume and with less weight (maybe not a concern if it's going to stay home). The princeton reverb is also worth checking out, as you can run it hotter at lower volumes than a super. I'd also echo the tone king imperial, and I'll add in the Mesa California Tweed, which has a wide wattage switching range that'll help it sound great at low and high volumes. I'd be careful about how much stock you put into the 4x10 thing. All these combos have generally been matched with speaker configurations that work best for the overall package. There's no one configuration that's objectively better for every amp than another.
 

fingertip

Squier to the Grand Funk
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,023
Bought a barely used PRRI 65 just before covid. I've swapped tubes and speaker for the hell of it and used extension cabinets and a Marshall Power Brake attenuator and run crazy pedals through it just about every single day since I got it home. I love it. I don't see any reason why the Super Reverb you ordered won't be the cat's meow for you. Good luck and happy pickin'. :JAM
 

wrxplayer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,921
If you decide to go head and cab one of these Fargen Blackbird heads might be a good fit.
 

Alan Wolf

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,098
While you “can’t go wrong with a Super” especially as a pedal platform, it is really loud. Big, and relatively heavy too. You’re correct about multiple speakers. For my tastes, 2 x 10 works just fine. As has been mentioned, hi fi and guitar amps are very different. But like hi fi amps, even a 5 watt amp can be very loud, if used with a very efficient speaker. Too loud to really push the tubes and transformers (for power amp saturation) at home, and in most smaller venues at this point. A Super, at around 40 watts, is about twice as loud—until you add in the extra efficiency of those 4 10s, so it will be even more than twice as loud. Frankly, too loud to rely on amp distortion in most jam scenarios. My guess is that the Super will have a lot more clean headroom than your current amp, but that is more from the preamp design.

Since he has recently sold his company, I know there will be a few months delay in getting amps from them, but you might also want to look at Allen amps. I have his Encore in a 2x10, and to me, it’s a solid step up from a Super. Top Hat Club Deluxe and a number of Victorias come to mind also.
 

bman5150us

Member
Messages
996
This might seem a little out of left field, but I can get a killer blues tone not terribly far off of SRV with a strat and my Marshall SC20. Both at low volumes and at gig volumes. I am hitting the front with a ClinchFX EP+ and running a MXR Chorus and TC Electronic HOF reverb pedal in the loop. I would never have guessed SRV’s tone incorporated a Chorus pedal (it probably didn’t) but it sounds really good to my ears with it engaged and set so the effect isn’t too over the top. Or skip the chorus pedal-still a great greasy blues tone and you can certainly use any sort of clean boost as well.

Amp is in the high gain input and gain is set around 6
 

MrTAteMyBalls

Member
Messages
4,701
Being the neophyte that I am, I tend to overthink things. The obsession sometimes serves me but this time, the lack of experience has got the better of me.
With everything I have read and watched about the SRRI, it's a great amp and should serve me well for many years. It's on order and should arrive to my doorstep by this Friday. If I were to make a change, it has to be today before it ships. Otherwise I'd be faced with returning it.
There are so many cool toys out there and I would love to have them all. at this point, I'll learn to live with this amp and will likely fall in love with it. My dream was to have a stack configuration (head + 4x10). The SRRI is the equivalent and likely as good or better sounding. I just don't want to have to replace it anytime soon.
I'm already considering selling my home audio (Anthem P5, Anthem AVM 60, Paradigm Signature S2's, two REL RS-5's, and a Paradigm Studio 60 center). The surrounds (Paradigm Studio 20's) have recently been sold. Home theater has taken a back seat to learning guitar.

So yes Mr. Donchaknow, you nailed me! lol


Don't overthink it. You ordered a nice amp that you will likely really enjoy.

Do yourself a favor and rent a rehearsal room for a couple of hours where you can crank it and you will hear and feel the difference that everyone is talking about. Just for fun.

You can fake some of that with a compressor pedal and a transparent overdrive.

Most of all just enjoy the journey. If the amp ends up being not the right one for you after a few months then sell it used and try something else.
 




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