Vintage versus new versus boutique

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by daphil_1, Jan 10, 2008.


  1. daphil_1

    daphil_1 Member

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    Hello all,

    I have recently ended my illusive search for "my amp" when I found a mint and recently serviced Ampeg VT-22 from 1974. I have had a bunch of amps owned and played a bunch of amps over the last 5 years in varying price brackets (orange, marshall, vox, matchless, traynor, matamp, Fender, victoria, heritage) and none of them have have the overall sound and vibe of the Ampeg - which was a third of the price of the boutiques and half teh price of new and reissues) I realise that there is a lot of personal preference at play and I cant say that its necessarily the result of it being "vintage" - but there is just something about an 35 year old non master amp that sounds like all the other amps are just flapping in the wind trying to emulate what was so right over three decades ago. Features aside - they just seem to sound the way and guitar amp is meant to sound. Am I alone on this?
     
  2. thisfire

    thisfire Member

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    I'm with ya...vintage amps are the real deal. I've never owned one (I've always been iffy on the maintenance/repair issue), but the top three amps I've played through to date have been vintage - the best being a '65 Deluxe Reverb. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that everything is all broken in...I'm pretty convinced that vintage amps weren't just born that way. My friend has had a plain old AC30 for around 10 years now, and I swear it sounds better and better every time I hear it.
     
  3. gregc

    gregc Member

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    Vt-22; great amp, as long as you can lift it! I had one ....a long time ago... easier to lift at age 20 than age 50...:)
     
  4. 67super

    67super Member

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    I play mostly vintage Fenders and I wouldn't sweat the maintenance thing to much. Old Fenders are easy to work on, I do my own work and even if you can't any good tech can get an old amp running smooth. As far as tone goes most of the boutique stuff is trying to sound like the vintage stuff. For the price of boutique you can get a couple vintage amps and pay to have them gone over. All of that said the high end gear being made today is as good as it has ever been. There has never been a better variety of quality guitar amps available.
     
  5. soldano16

    soldano16 Member

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    You bring up the same subject I address in my threads

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=337051

    I think some of it is human/mental also.

    Knowing you have a traditional/vintage/simple amp lets you get down to business. Not a lot of focusing on knobs and master volumes. Just focusing on tone that you know is in there.

    There's a touch of zen to playing vintage amps. It's the worship of the simple.
     
  6. daphil_1

    daphil_1 Member

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    I hear ya...however I have found the eq (all the mid switches etc) to be more sensative in the ampeg than all of my previous amps...less knobs but more sounds by far!
     
  7. rooster

    rooster Member

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    The VT-22 makes a good bass amp as well. A little on the bright side, but you get that Ampeg "grind" that makes the SVT the king of all bass amps.

    Well built unit, I think they are a great value for an awesome sounding, LOUD amp with virtually endless headroom. I've restored a couple in my time.

    rooster.
     
  8. drbob1

    drbob1 Silver Supporting Member

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    I've been preaching the same gospel for years. Why someone would want a copy of a BF Fender when a SF Fender is cheaper, easier to fix and sounds killer???? Plus there's so many flavors of sounds that the usual suspects haven't cloned yet (or can't in the case of the AC30). The only thing that's hard to come by in vintage amps is bass thump. Perhaps Hiwatt, Marshall Major or your Ampeg. Still, if you need chugga, you're probably going to have to go with something newer...
     
  9. DGDGBD

    DGDGBD Supporting Member

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    Thats cause no one is cloning vintage ampegs - which is because they are still affordable (and also because they lack the popularity factor of having been used by lots of famous players). The ampeg v4/VT-22/V9/SVT series is very unique in that its circuitry is not a variation of fender or marshall but something different all together.
     
  10. AL30

    AL30 Member

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    I just got out of the studio. I took a little Ampeg SB-12 to use on a few songs and it sounded so good that I ended up using it on almost everything. Wow did that guy record great.

    I've also got a Gemini 1, a VT-22 (needs fixed), and a V4 (needs fixed) in the "pile".

    Ampeg made some great amps for sure.

    AL
     
  11. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    Exactly.

    I have read about much love for the VT-22 and V-4 here on TGP, but I had both of them purchased new at Manny's during the seventies and was really unhappy with both of them.

    I like BF and SF Fenders as well as the non MV JCM 100 Model 1959, but also like Riveras, VHTs, and even a well tubed Dual Rec or Tremoverb for what it does. From what I've heard, I think I'd also like a Fuchs, Komet, Reinhardt, or Voodoo if I ever had the chance to play through one.

    As you said, it's all a matter of personal preference and there are more choices now then eny other point in history.

    We're some lucky SOBs to be playing now.

    stratzrus
     
  12. BadAssBill

    BadAssBill southofnash.com Silver Supporting Member

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    I've almost bought a SFDR a half dozen times. In the end, they seem just a little under powered and have just a little more speaker breakup than I like. I know I'd probably end up changing the speaker anyway, but I eventually went with a Goodsell. For 17 Watts it's right in the zone for tube OD and volume. I'll still probably break down and buy one someday.
     
  13. bunuel

    bunuel Member

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    The concern over what maintenance on vintage amps might cost is crazy! They cost a fraction of what a modern amp with similar specs costs, even including maintenance, when needed. The most expensive work I've ever had to do ran me about $120 to have the trem. circuit on '64 Ampeg Reverberocket rebuilt. With that cost included, the stellar amp has cost me about a fifth of what a production boutique amp with similar build quality and features would run me. Pretty simple math. As much as I respect modern builders, off-brand vintage is a much better way to go!
     
  14. guitarvc

    guitarvc Member

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    I'll put my Egnater Mod 50 up against any amp new or vintage. As far a I'm concerned, it is the best amp out there! That being said, tone is subjective! I know guys who will only play vintage Fenders and Marshalls, and they sound great on stage. They usually compliment me on my tone, but they stick to what works for them. I don't get the same feeling when I play through their amps and guitars, and the same holds true or them. In my circle of gigging musicians, we often trade gear at open jams, and I sound better when I play through my setup, and they sound better when they play through theirs. When we trade, we all notice that we don't sound quite as good, but still do it as a sign of respect for each other.

    I love playing music, and love buying music gear!
     
  15. 67super

    67super Member

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    To take this a little further I think what was around when you started playing and what equipment was in at the time is a big factor. I'm 48 and Fender and Marshall amps were what was in when I was 10 years old dreaming about playing guitar. I've always played Fenders and now they are vintage. I have played a lot of newer stuff and it's great but I dig the same stuff that I've always used.

    As far as the maintenance issue goes the old stuff is very easy to maintain and taken proper care of is as reliable as new gear.
     
  16. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    The problem with vintage amps for the full time working musician is
    risk of theft or damage and reliability.

    Sure if the amp is staying at home of in your studio, no problem, but
    we have to remember that our favorite touring performers could afford
    several back-ups and traveling amp technicians.

    Nothing like having your vintage 65 BF DR wasted by some drunk in
    a small club where you can't keep your gear isolated from the audience.
     
  17. 67super

    67super Member

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    I gig regularly, not a full time musician but every week in some pretty rough bars sometimes and vintage is not a problem. You can get a old Super Reverb replaced for a lot less money than so many new amps.

    As far as maintenance goes it's much easier to get an old Fender fixed than a $4K boutique amp. I do my own maintenace and it doesn't get easier than a BF Fender. Reliablility isn't a factor if it's well maintained. People routinely fly on airplanes that are over 30 years old and properly maintained they are safe.
     
  18. FFTT

    FFTT Member

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    Are there any bars around here that are not rough? :)

    I think the DC metro region is the nation's capitol of dumps.
     
  19. 67super

    67super Member

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    LOL...

    It's a mixed bag for sure and I don't always use vintage gear. I pick the amp that best suits the situation. If it happens to be an old one then I go with it. I always bring a spare amp no matter what amp I'm using though. New or old you can't fix any amp between songs [​IMG]
     
  20. JWR

    JWR Member

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    I went into the boutique amps for awile, bought the "Flagship" model of a builder named after a US desert. Then bought one of the 50 watt models, the 50 was better, but still "no tamata" for me. I decided to stick with Marshall, Hiwatt, and Fender only.
     

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