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This is among the worst advice on here

Messages
363
That’s the exact mumbo jumbo I had to show my brother in law a few years ago or so. He was going to by an amp for home playing and thought about an amp with all these capabilities and had to talk some sense into him and convince him that a simple tube amp was all he needed.
 

TheOtherNeill

Member
Messages
39
Started with a modelling amp (a Fender Mustang GT series) and traded it back in for another (a TMDR). I'm an older learner, and though I'm perfectly comfortable with digital gear, I found that the hundreds of options did kind of get in the way, and that I preferred an amp that did a couple of things very well to an amp that was hit or miss on many.

No, the TMDR is not exactly the '68 DRRI. But it is lighter, still sounds great (esp. with the virtual bright cap removed), has no maintenance worries, and the master volume/"attenuator" is really handy for practice at night or when the family is doing other things.
 

David Garner

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
5,848
I disagree in the main, because mainly my experience is the opposite of yours. When I was starting out, I didn't have the touch or phrasing to get the most out of a tube amp. Where I do agree is the modeler can be a crutch -- you always set it on saturated high gain settings that make playing easier. But the upside is because of that, you're playing MORE, and you develop touch and phrasing down the line if you're willing to apply yourself to it.

Tube amps are great, but they are hard to get great tone out of as a beginner. One note is too soft, the next too loud, it's mostly clean, you don't know how to dial it in, you don't yet know how to play the amp versus just playing the notes, etc. Ideally you'd start with one of each, but if you can only have one, I'd recommend the modeler first in most cases. It encourages you to play more.
 

LaXu

Member
Messages
5,844
I disagree with OP. It's sound advice because as a beginner you want to have as wide color palette as you can get and one that works at bedroom volumes or with headphones. Nothing but digital offers a good headphone experience built into an amp.

Digital lets you try your hand at any style you can think of and get pretty authentic sound appropriate for that style. You may also have built-in effects so you don't have to go out and buy a delay or reverb or overdrive etc.

Most digital practice amps are not that complex to work with. The Boss Katana or Yamaha THR10 that are pretty much the most popular units in the beginner amp category are both very versatile but not very hard to use.
 

Yooper

Member
Messages
835
I've been playing over 50 years. I have a Champ, 5E3, Silverface DR, and Mesa DC-5. I love tube amps. I use the tubes mostly when playing with a band.

I also have a Roland 60 and Fender Mustang III v. 2. They are perfect for grab-and-go, and for learning and practicing. I use them a lot.

I suppose I'm still a beginner in many ways. Practicing on a comfortable guitar is how you learn. The amp is the least concern.

One time when John Lennon asked for an amp for recording, the studio guy asked, "What kind?"

"One that plays" was the response.
 

No_Stairway

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,761
"When you're starting out, getting a modeling amp"

I did exactly that about a decade ago - the Mustang I - on similar recommendations. And truly, after having owned a bunch of them, it was a mistake. Up there with starting on a cheap acoustic guitar when an electric is 100x easier to play (getting students NOT TO QUIT is the #1 goal).
Agree with your amp comment, disagree about the acoustic, I went electric first but it was the play anywhere, anytime without the need of an amp that made me a better player / practice more.
 

lspaulsp

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,772
The problem with amps is most are one trick ponies and a Fender won't sound like a Vox and a Vox won't sound like a Marshall. Even a cheap modeler will provide a young player with an idea of what they seek in tone. You go to a concert and there's a wall of Marshalls and you go that's it so you go buy a 100 watter and you can't get it past 1.5 and it sounds lame or, you get combo and it sounds lame too because it's small and you want that wall of sound and now you're frustrated. I grew up before modelers it was the ear bleed era. You could get tone, but it hurt. Whoever bought the Flex II should have bought a Flex III much better amp than the II. Sold my Rivera when I got the III it's a great amp. If the new player wants to drop coin on a tube Vox because it's the sound in his head that's great. But even a POD 2.0 can help you find that tone. Lotta great tone in that 2.0 if you look. I basically tell kids to look up what their favorite player uses and try to replicate it as cheaply as possible and if they stick with playing there will come a time when they can afford an upgrade but, that's just me.
 

TonePilot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,148
"When you're starting out, getting a modeling amp"

I did exactly that about a decade ago - the Mustang I - on similar recommendations. And truly, after having owned a bunch of them, it was a mistake. Up there with starting on a cheap acoustic guitar when an electric is 100x easier to play (getting students NOT TO QUIT is the #1 goal).

Why? Because, for me at least, it was tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak. When I played my first simple tube amp it was a revelation. Good sound with no farting around!

What I'd tell a beginner is buy a two channel amp, clean and distorted. Or a one channel amp and literally any distortion or overdrive pedal. Forget delay and chorus all that. Buy an amp with reverb in it for ambience. When you play a gig or learn a song that NEEDS an effect, go buy a pedal, or a simple multi-fx.

You're good for a long time with that setup - and without trying every f'in amp model that exists, as if that has something to do with learning guitar.
I disagree. I'm in my fifties and started not too long ago (4 years). It was an impulse buy of a Roland Cube 20 along with a Squier Bullet than showed me how much fun clean and dirty tones could be and kept my interest going. I then graduated to a GT-001, a GT-100 and now a GT-1000. Loving every minute of it. I might have quit had I not been able to quickly dial in some pretty neat tones on the Cube.
 

prototype

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,589
my first amp was a solid state yamaha with a 6" speaker that came with my pacifica. My next amp was a behringer modelling amp (their copy of the tech21 amps but with digital effects). It was a good amp. 60 watts, 2x10. basic cleans and british crunch sounds were pretty good and there were "recto" style sounds in there as well. It was loud for an SS amp and cut through the mix well so I had my first gigging amp with my first band for $200. You can't do that with a cheap tube amp. Additionally, having models and effects familiarized me with those so I could target which sounds and effects I actually liked. When I bought the amp i was a hard rock and punk guitarist but by the time I was ready for an upgrade I bought a Fender Super Reverb reissue because my tastes matured from all the tweaking and experimenting. I still play a fender amp to this day - i probably would have hated it when i started out.
 

Yer Blues

Member
Messages
8,486
Maybe he meant the Johnson modeling amp?

I started playing around when those things came out. I couldn't afford one. I had a little Yamaha practice amp and then bought a Fender M-80 from one my Dad's friends kids for like $50. Eventually I saved up enough to get a Mesa Boogie MK IIB from the guy I took lessons from. He took me amp shopping one Saturday and we hit all the shops. I'm not even sure how I ended up with the MK IIB after trying all the other amps... but it was my main gigging amp for like 15 years.
 

ebenezer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,109
I started on a Line 6 Vetta. The amount of tweaking I had to do was intense, but I eventually got a good sound from it, and was happy with it. Then I went into a proper studio to do some recording, and was absolutely blown away by how good the "old amps" sounded. I have gone tube from then on, while every once in a while sticking my toe back into the digital world. Just like anything else, you have to learn to use tools. Digital and Tube amps are different tools that are trying to accomplish the same task. They both require that you learn how to use them and both are fundamentally completely different. I wish I would've started on tubes. The digital is nice, in a pinch or for convenience, but tube amps still have a "feeling" and "alive" quality that digital is lacking in my opinion.
 
Messages
4,036
"When you're starting out, getting a modeling amp"

I did exactly that about a decade ago - the Mustang I - on similar recommendations. And truly, after having owned a bunch of them, it was a mistake. Up there with starting on a cheap acoustic guitar when an electric is 100x easier to play (getting students NOT TO QUIT is the #1 goal).

Why? Because, for me at least, it was tweak, tweak, tweak, tweak. When I played my first simple tube amp it was a revelation. Good sound with no farting around!

What I'd tell a beginner is buy a two channel amp, clean and distorted. Or a one channel amp and literally any distortion or overdrive pedal. Forget delay and chorus all that. Buy an amp with reverb in it for ambience. When you play a gig or learn a song that NEEDS an effect, go buy a pedal, or a simple multi-fx.

You're good for a long time with that setup - and without trying every f'in amp model that exists, as if that has something to do with learning guitar.
Really not sure why people are so hellbent on giving their two cents on something like this as though their individual experience mirrors everyone else's. Modeling amps are a GREAT thing for a beginner because the large variety of tones not only makes playing more exciting/interesting but also helps you develop an understanding for the types of sounds that you use the most, and from that you can make gear decisions down the line if you move away from the modeling thing.

Something like a Fender Mustang is absolutely ideal for beginners, between the onboard tuner, numerous good sounding amp models, etc. If you spent your time as a beginner guitarist "tweaking tweaking tweaking" that has more to do with you individually than any actual issue inherent in modeling gear. I started with a POD and besides downloading a couple of patches I really liked for the type of stuff I wanted to play (which in itself taught me a lot about working with gear) I was off to the races and never touched any of them again. It helped me learn what I use a lot and what I don't, and helped me make smart decisions down the line that have led to me now having what I have and being 100% satisfied with every single part of my setup.
 

Kevy_Metal

Member
Messages
3,325
Recently had co-worker ask me about what kind of amp they should get for their daughter who was wanting to move from acoustic to electric. After asking a few questions, I suggested the 7-Watt Boss Katana: It's compact and a small investment. If she likes it, then they can think about other options.

Also, someone could easily do just as much tweaking with a tube amp and a bunch pedals as they possibly would with a modeling amp. With something like the Katana, someone starting out can get a taste of what's out there and make up their own minds.
 

ColdFrixion

Member
Messages
5,436
Most beginners are going to use recorded tones from their favorite songs as a frame of reference, and miked tones are better suited to modelers because that's what they excel at emulating. Given the variety of amps and IR's, there's a far larger palette of tones available with most modelers than a single amp/cab, so there's plenty of room for a beginner to grow. A modeler doesn't have to be cranked to sound fully saturated, and beginners can practice with headphones.
 
Last edited:

GreenKnight18

Member
Messages
2,190
To me there isn't an obvious answer here, but if I could go back in time, or pretend I was just starting tomorrow I'd totally go with a modelling amp as well. When I first started in the 80s, my dad got me a blackface Fender Vibro Champ. At the time, it was pretty dull. I would have LOVED an amp with some onboard distortion.

When I got to college I quickly traded it for a Peavy Bandit (I'm sure the guy at the music store was pleased). I had the amp for more than a year before I realized that it had a push-pull knob for a distortion channel. So basically, I was an idiot.

In hindsight, I obviously wish I had kept the Vibro Champ or 'worked on my technique' and all that other boring stuff that a certain population of TGP always tells us. Are you a 'set it and forget it player' or a 'settings tweaker?' I think the current generation of entry level modeling amps have some good basic tones that you don't need to dial in.
 
Messages
4,036
You guyyys! Stop discussing things! *ahem* And now for my 2 cents...
Well, you cut out the 2nd part of my sentence which is more than a little bit important in understanding what I was actually saying..."as though their individual experiences mirror someone else's". I'm well aware of the fact that my viewpoint also reflects my experience, but I'm merely responding to something someone else wrote and not starting entire threads aimed at telling others that advice they're giving is wrong :).
 

DonP

Member
Messages
2,353
I guess the OP should have gotten a modelling amp with some good presets to begin with? And played those presets first before buying?

I mostly use tube amps, but I have at least 4 modellers (low end) that I have quick fun with.
 

Jahn

Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
28,502
I’ll have to say, current modeling is really impressive. If a kid asked me where to go on day one, I would do two things. First is to go get a $300 silver tone 1481 off of reverb, grab a strat or Tele that has a hot bridge, and slam away. That gets you the joy.
If someone pointed me that direction instead of to a LP custom and a bassman 100, I’d probably be mainly an electric player, not acoustic. Back when I first started playing, those used silver tone amps cost less than a hundred bucks.

Then for more wonky fiddling, buy a cheapo hookup to your pc or Mac or tablet or phone and get on GarageBand for free or whatever DAW. Check out all the other crazy tones you can get! From that (which shouldn’t cost more than $100 all in) you can craft your next rig to graduate from cheap silver tone land.
 




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