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Switching to solid-state for my main amp: JC-120?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by tmcw, May 24, 2011.

  1. tmcw

    tmcw Member

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    So, I think that the tube amps I've used have run their course: a Peavey Classic 30 was always terrible, a friend built me a Twin clone which is great, but breaks up earlier than it gives good volume (enough volume to compete with drums in a small room). The only tube amp I've really loved is a Princeton non-reverb from 1965 that I got in a blink of good luck - but I'm obviously not toting that to shows or turning it up to 10 every day.

    So, my current amp lust is directed towards a Roland JC-120. My style of playing is occasionally what you'd call complex fingerstyle - rarely do I go for heaps of distortion - and I'm playing with loops, which sound like crud with distortion.

    So, it has to be loud, clean, cheap, and take pedals well. I know it won't have the special magic of tubes, and I can hear that sometimes (like when I play through an AC30), but I'm finding that, with no taste for breakup of any kind, this is the way to go.

    Is there anything better than a JC-120 in that price range? I don't need the focus on chorus built-in, and could probably go for something less enormous.
     
  2. tmcw

    tmcw Member

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    And scanning recent posts - is a ZT Lunchbox of interest?
     
  3. SnorkelMonkey

    SnorkelMonkey Member

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  4. Sandy Cheeks

    Sandy Cheeks Senior Member

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    Heh -- I think that ZT Club pic is life-size! (Edit: no longer true -- pic swapped!)
     
  5. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    I use both often but I find SS amps are the opposite of tube amps....they sound great at low/intermediate volumes and get funky when cranked. This applies to distorted or clean playing (in my opinion of course).

    I believe thats why you see regular SS guitar amps rated as high as 300 watts.....so they never get to the point of seriously pushing the power section. I think the Roland is a great amp but if I wanted loud and clean i'd look for a tube amp with lots of clean headroom in the preamp section.
     
  6. fenderball

    fenderball Supporting Member

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    loud, clean, cheap, and take pedals well


    fender deville, like a 4x10???
     
  7. tmcw

    tmcw Member

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    Hmm, that's interesting: Is it possible to get a tube amp with that much headroom without spending over 1k or more? Checking out my current playing amp more, it's a 5F2A design - a tweed princeton, and over 7 or so on the dial, it's just way too crunchy for me.

    I guess this is an odd corner case, but what tube amp would I go for if I'm going for an essential lack of distortion at all volumes?
     
  8. Ampegasaur

    Ampegasaur Member

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    I can HIGHLY recommend an Ampeg VH140C 2x12 combo. The Chorus IMHO is better than the JC120, and the cleans are warmer. The JC120 can get pretty harsh. If you ever WANT to use the Distortion side, it get pretty insane. They are usually much cheaper as well. The head version costs more, but can be more versatile with different cabs, and is true stereo.
     
  9. Sandy Cheeks

    Sandy Cheeks Senior Member

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    300W isn't a lot for a SS amp. The Acoustic Image Ten2 is 800W -- and that's an amp that's aimed at jazz cats!

    I think the JC-120 is a pretty darn loud amp, but I've heard the Yamaha G100 called a JC-killer. Metheny used one in the '80s.
     
  10. Sandy Cheeks

    Sandy Cheeks Senior Member

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    Princeton non-reverb? It may not have the headroom you're looking for, however.

    And of course a Fender Twin Reverb. If you're pushing until it distorts, the walls will be cracking.
     
  11. mwhy

    mwhy Member

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    I owned a JC-120 for several years -- my first "real" amp -- and I ended up hating it. I've gone tube and haven't looked back ...
     
  12. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Fender Dual Showman?
     
  13. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

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    Well there ya go!!
     
  14. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    jc's are really hissy. i'd recommend evans, transtube bandit or cube 80
     
  15. Lance

    Lance Member

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    I think there may have been something up with the Twin clone your buddy built. You should be able to get plenty of clean headroom with a good Twin, cranked. Well, you didn't divulge if it was MV, or SF NMV type of Twin, so that could be your problem right there. You want the Silver Face 70's made master volume Twin. I guarantee you, you'll love it over a JC-120. The problem I have found with the ZT Club is that it has way too much mow end, and no good midrange. It's very scoop-y in the mids. I have even stuck a parametric eq in front of the Club 12, and quite forcefully shoved a 20db midrange boost at it, which did help. I don't know...I guess I'm just used to my Boogie Mark III having more mids than you can...can...play a trumpet through? LOL!! Something like that. Whatever the hell has tons of midrange! You know what I'm saying. It just doesn't seem to be voiced for guitar, which is bizarre. They are also very unidirectional in nature, with anything above say 300hz. If you are micing it, no problem at all. But, if you are wanting that 200W, 131db filling a small room, it just won't do all that well. Maybe the Lunch box has better dispersion, I don't know? At around 25' away, you get mids and highs that are about 4' wide. Step outside of that axis, and it's all low end. Try a real SF Twin Reverb, dude. They can be had for $500.00 all day long right now. Just like 4 x 12 cabs. There are so many of them for sale these days, you can get killer deals. Wish I had room for one, and felt like hauling it around, because there just is no substitute!
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    zt lunchbox doesn't have nearly enough headroom for a clean amp going through it's default speaker
     
  17. riffmeister

    riffmeister Gold Supporting Member

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    JC120 is a great amp. Need more sustain? Use a compressor pedal.
     
  18. colinesquire

    colinesquire Member

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    I had a jc50 and always thought it was a bit harsh & sterile, but for your needs it or the jc120 might work. Certainly loud & clean. I just prefer tube crunch & sag and have since found love in tweed deluxe land.
     
  19. teemuk

    teemuk Member

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    In all seriousness, "JC-120" is a pretty vague description in its own right. That amp has gone through several revisions since 1975, and although they do look about the same there are at least five revisions of that amp that are very different from another and also have a very different tone.

    One JC-120 from 1979 will sound quite different than another JC-120 from eg. 1985. They will look pretty much identical though.

    And since the days that amp was introduced plenty of improvement has happened. I seriously don't know why folks rave so much about Jazz Chorus when amps like Ampeg SS-140C or VH-140C, Yamaha VR6000 or a Gibson Gold Chorus pretty much murder the JC-series in every regard. Each likely costs less than any JC-120 you'll find from the markets, and also provides much better features, much better tone, much better chorus, and none of the damn hiss.
     
  20. Ampegasaur

    Ampegasaur Member

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    I agree, the Ampegs are much better in every way.
     

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