Teach me, oh wise amp leaders!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Moe45673, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Hey guys. I've been a regular at the "effects, pedals, strings, and things" forum for a long time now. after many months and even more money, I now have awesome, versatile array of tones from a sweet pedalboard. I'm the kinda guy (rare I know) who actually can be satisfied with what he's got.

    Anyhow, now I've decided to move back to the basics (in theory, not in practice!). I'm currently using a Les Paul into a marshall AVT275, which is always on clean (I use pedals for distortion/OD). Even after cutting a lot of highs with my EQ pedal and the EQ on the amp, I still find my tone a little too bright (it sounds like a strat!) for my liking. The other guitar player in my band is an acoustic guy (who may use a tele if he ever goes electric), so we have to complement each other very well.

    here's a link to a song I played with my band last week (I'm doin guitar and keyboard duties, forgive my errors on the keyboard!). It may just be the recording, but I still think it's too trebly and bright. please only download the song once, as there are a limited number of downloads allowed. http://s39.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1P0X2RPZU83WS32224ZZ1Y2A7C
    In the outro, that's me playing the lower tones btw. The bassist goes into a lil improv thing high up on the neck.

    I'm a complete noob to amps (been playing for 9 1/2 years, though, so not a noob to the instrument). I'm looking for a really clean amp (no grit, lots of headroom) that can go really loud and has more balls than those dudes who overtook the hijackers on United Airlines flight 93. It's imperative that the amp have TONS of headroom. I can achieve grit or high-gain with some pedals I have, so getting it from an amp is unnecessary. Not to mention that my pedals will sound horrible if the amp starts to OD naturally.

    While the amp has to have a ton of balls, it's gotta still be crystal clear through the mix, so a bit of punch and sparkle is a must. In my limited knowledge of amps, I've been thinking of a Fender Twin Reverb, though I've also heard great things about the Roland JC-120. I'm looking to spend up to about 1700 dollars USD. Also, I'd prefer a combo, though if the sound was good enough I'd go for a half-stack.

    Anyone know of any amps that fit this mould that one could say "this is everything a twin reverb wishes it was and at night it goes home and weeps from the utter hopelessness of it all?"
     
  2. rooster

    rooster Member

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    Ampeg V-4 or VT-22. Be warned, the head weighs about 85 lbs, and there are a LOT of tubes, some kinda hard to find, but Antique carries them all for a very good price. More headroom than a GOOD twin (by "good", I mean AB763 85-watt version).

    rooster.
     
  3. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    JC-120 is a good choice - one of the loudest combos I've ever used and no matter how hard I tried, the one I used I just could NOT get it to overdrive. Good with pedals, too.

    The Groove Tubes Soul-O amps are phenomenal in this respect as well, and I believe they're available as combos.

    --chiba
     
  4. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    thanks for the quick response, rooster! That sounds like a good amp, however it does sound like more grey hairs than it's worth.

    Be aware that I'll probably be completely blown away by a fender twin reverb when I actually get to try one out in a few days. I'm just looking to make an investment so that in a year or two I won't go "crap, I wish I'd known about that amp when I bought the Fender".

    Also, I know almost nothing about tubes. What's the average number of tubes a tube amp has? What kind of tubes should i use to enhance the "ballsiness yet clear" tone I'm looking for? Which tubes have more headroom than a dutch brothel?

    etc etc
     
  5. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Moe -

    Just asking here, but how close are your pickups to your strings? Pickup height matters a ton on some guitars, and not so much on others. My '59 dot neck PAF's are VERY SENSITIVE in the bridge position, and the opposite in the neck position - not sensitive at all. If they're just a little too high in the neck, it sounds harsh and bright, but down like 1/16th on an inch - mellow.

    Worth checking in to, IMO. Pickup height adjustment can really calm the 'whole deal' down, or hype it up. Useful for removing 'icepick' highs, in my experience. Especially if you're after really 'clean' cleans

    Have you tried other insturments through your rig? It's not a bad idea - at least you can isolate the variables with more certainty - that is, figure out if you have a bright guitar or a bright amp.

    Good luck, Dana
     
  6. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Thanks for the practical suggestion, Dana. I'll definitely adjust my pickups.

    umm, can this be done myself? Would it affect intonation? Could I seriously screw up my guitar if I have no clue what I'm doing?

    I can intonate my guitar, but beyond that there's not much I can do myself.
     
  7. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Definitely you can do it yourself - adjusting screws are right where you'd expect - along the 'short' edges of the pickups. Usually I start about 1/8" from top of pole pieces, then go up and down incrementally .while listening with the guitar plugged in to an amp . This is important - ya GOTTA do it plugged in! Closer is (usually) brighter and stronger - hits the front end of the amp harder. My experience tells me somewhere between 1/8 " and 1/4 inch from top of pole piece to bottom of string is 'normal'. Your mileage may vary.

    It shouldn't affect your intonation , except that ... If the p/u's are too close to the strings, THAT will affect the intonation, especially w/ single coils, Strats in particular. If the p/us are so close to the strings that it affects the intonation, they're too close - back 'em out a little.

    It's a very individual thing - many foks 'tip' their Strat and Tele p/u's to be higher on the treble (high strings) side, lower on the bass (low strings) side. HB's are 'usually' flat - same height on low and high strings.

    Salt to taste.

    Dana
    ps - I should probably say here that you should ALWAYS adjust intonation with new wire - adjusting it with old strings is a waste of time and doesn't work.
     
  8. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Average? Heh. There's some common configurations, but coming up with an average would be tough.

    In general, most tube amps have 1-2 preamp tubes per channel. Throw in a phase inverter, possibly a tube to drive the reverb, and you're looking at 4-6 preamp tubes in a 2-channel amp.

    In the power section things can get crowded quick. I've had amps with single power tubes before, but it's not common amongst the major (i.e. large) manufacturers. Most tube amps out there that are mass produced will have two or four power tubes for varying ranges of output, from 20W for a pair of EL-84 tubes to over 100W for a quad of EL-34 or 6L6.

    Additionally, some amps use tube rectifiers, so that could add another tube or 2 to the mix.

    Check out the Mesa/Boogie 'Road King' amp to see a mess o' tubes - it's amps like this that skew the 'average'. Compared to my little Marshall 20-watter (2 pre tubes, 2 power tubes), it's a beast!! I have two other tube amps; one has 6 (3 pre, 2 power, 1 rectifier) and the other has 6 as well (but 4 pre, 2 power).

    Figuring out headroom for a specific tube can be tough, because any kind of tube can be manufactured to have more or less headroom. Your best bet there is to find some websites that have tube gurus writing on them and simply research. There's a LOT of info out there about tubes & tube amps - start with Google and run from there.

    Have fun!

    --chiba
     
  9. fakeox

    fakeox Member

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    Traynor Mark III. Twin killer for sure.
     
  10. Swarty

    Swarty Member

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    Get a '70s Twin Reverb, have it recapped and it will outlive you.
     
  11. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Moe -

    Chiba wrote a clear, smart response to you about tubes - lots of good research out there, and easy to find.

    Having said that, clean sounds ( all sounds, actually) are maybe more about design than what type of tube - you select the tube type for the type of design, taking into account the tonal 'goals' of that design.

    Having said all that, +1 to what Swarty said: Get a Silver Face Twin, have it Blackfaced and re-capped by a good tech, and it will indeed outlive you.

    Probably $500 for the amp, and $250 for the work. If you want clean, it's the last amp you'll ever buy.

    Dana
     
  12. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    If you do a search on "best clean amp" I think you'll find quite a few opinions! All the amps mentioned so far are killer choices, however, if you want clean sound that makes other amps whimper, you really come down to just a few:

    The V4-runs about 120, hard hitting watts, reverb and great EQ

    The Ultralinear Twin/Super-6/Quad Reverb-all about 140w, reverb and tremelo

    Sunn 2000s 150+w, no reverb

    Marshall Major/Sunn City PA-200w from 4 KT88s, no reverb

    Ampeg SVT-350w from 8 6550s IIRC, loud enough to collapse most buildings.

    All that said, the easiest to find and service would be the V4 and the Twin.
     
  13. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    They do not sound the same, so choose carefully.
     
  14. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    Have you thought about an old Hiwatt 2 x 12 combo or half stack? They are very clean, extremely punchy, and work incredibly well with pedals. That's what David Gilmore and Tommy Bolin did to get their tone, pedals for the grind, into Hiwatts.
     
  15. Gretschman

    Gretschman Member

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    The cleanest Amp I own is a Fender Custom Shop Duel Professional . It's so clean that when I look at it , It makes me wanna grab a Tele !
    Its a 100 Watts of pure clean tube power combo through Vintage 30's . You can pick one up for about $1200 and boy is it loud !

    Next would be a Blueverb {bluesamps.com} It's more versatile than the Duel Pro and costs more, but it has very nice clean and you have the option of dialing in every Fender tone possable .

    The Fender Twin is also very clean .
     
  16. Loves_LPs

    Loves_LPs Member

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    You complained about your AVT being too bright... just as an FYI: a lot of people find Fender Twins to be pretty darn bright. They certainly can claim to be the King of Clean, but I would try before you buy if at all possible. They are also ungodly loud! That said, I'd love to own one!
     
  17. Moe45673

    Moe45673 Member

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    Wow, I love gearwhores. So helpful.

    Now, I only mentioned a Fender Twin because I know they're clean and damn near impossible to distort without collapsing Los Angeles in a massive shockwave of death. If they're bright, well, that doesn't help me then, does it?

    Bright is relative, though. I mean, what's bright for a tube amp is leagues away from bright for a solidstate/hybrid amp like the AVT, so maybe I'll be merrily overjoyed when I try out a twin.

    The blackface that dana and swarty mentioned has pricked my interest....

    I don't need versatility. All I need is one sound, an awesome fat clean with sustain that works well with low gain OD and a tonebone hot british distortion,. If I activate my boost, a little grit is allowed to get through, but that's an extreme.

    However, keep the suggestions coming! I'll try to check out as many as I can at the local guitar store (it's a big national chain up here in Canada).

    What are y'alls opinions on the fender bassman? Is it a clean amp as well?
     
  18. hemlock

    hemlock Guest

    If you run across a Carr Imperial, check that out, too. Very, very sweet cleanness.
     
  19. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    I love the Bassman, but it's not what you are describing you want, a Showman would be closer. The Bassman sounds beautiful, but it's because when it breaks up it has a glorious moderate distortion, I refer you to the current thread here called "I've done the unspeakable", great clips of a cranked up Bassman head.
     
  20. theHoss

    theHoss Member

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