Playing the Tube Amp you have, because you can't afford another $1,000+ amp.

Playing the Tube Amp you have, because you can't afford another $1,000+ amp?

  • I play what I have because money for tube amps is scarce these days.

  • I have the money to keep buying and trying tube amps.

  • I already have great tube amps.


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5150user

Member
Messages
1,503
Please tell me I'm not the only person in this category...

I play a 5150 because it's what I already have, because it's a good American made amp, and because I can't afford anything I'd like better. I've tried several different things in an effort to squeeze every little bit out of it on the cheap.

1. I removed two of the 6L6's and cut the output power in half. This reduced the overall volume some, and let's me run the amp at higher master volume settings without blowing the windows out of the house. 120 watts was ridiculously loud to play around the house. 60 watts is still crazy loud, but a little more workable, and created an instant backup pair of 6L6's.

The Lead Channel was once way too noisy, but I have discovered some ways to minimize that:
1. I made an adjustable Low Pass Filter Pedal, so I can tune out some of the brightness before it hits the input of the amp. Less Bright=Less Noise.
2. I replaced the first 12AX7 with a vintage American 12AT7 to drop the gain and noise down to more reasonable levels. The Lead Channel lost some of the noise, and the Rhythm Channel cleaned up. I can now run the amp at even higher master volume settings without blowing the windows out of my house. The amp sounds killer, but isn't as loud as it was with all 12AX7's in the preamp.

If I had the money, I'd fly to MESA, CA and try them all in person for two or three days straight, tour the factory, and then bring one or two back with me. They make several amp models with selectable output power options. This is a HUGE plus in my opinion. 30 watts is really the maximum output power I need for a high gain amp. (I play out some, and at home almost daily.) I'd also like to have either a 5 or 15 watt option.

I also have an Epiphone Valve Junior Head, and I've stepped it down to VERY low "Everyone else in the house is asleep" volume levels by replacing the 12AX7 with a 12AU7, and throwing pedals at it. I can crank the amp all the way up, and control the volume with the pedals and the guitar. I plan to leave it like this. This is now a true "bedroom" level amp, that I play in my office late at night. I also happen to have 7 vintage RCA 12AU7's on hand. I figure that's a lifetime supply.
 
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PatrickE_FenderADV

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,872
Yep... I want a Dr Z Maz Jr, but I will keep playing my HR Deluxe until I get a huge bonus check through my "day job", which is the one paying ALL the bills! LOL
 

5150user

Member
Messages
1,503
I play the amp I have because it is the perfect amp for me. I have no use for another amp.
I hope that one day I too can say that. I'm not terribly far away, but definitely not there yet either.
 

djw

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,772
I've been lucky to have really great tube amps through the years, and the last three that I bought are long-term keepers for me. I think I'd only acquire more if I suddenly found money I couldn't find any other use for, which probably won't happen anytime soon, for better or worse.
 

Peeb

Member
Messages
4,832
I play a $150 Champion 600 because I have kids to feed, and neighbors who don't want to hear me. :D

Would love a better amp. Someday, maybe.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
29,178
took a while but i gots the goods now - not just getting what i want, but Knowing what you need. for your style, how loud, honestly how heavy, how it takes pedals, plays quiet/loud, and so on.
 

Tuberattler

Member
Messages
2,411
I'm ashamed of myself but I just keep playing these old Marshall and Fenders.. nothing fancy just the real thing.. but I rehearse & sometimes gig with a Vox.. modeler.. yiks!!!
 






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