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What TINY amp does 80's Marshall Tone - Theater Pit Gig

1kidc

Member
Messages
1,043
TGP'ers,

I'm doing the musical CHESS this spring and need to nail that big-hair 80's tone at bedroom levels. Squeals, whammy bar stuff and feedback etc. I'm really looking for something easily found used - nothing boutique as I'll sell it right after the run. Maybe a Marshall practice amp or a Peavey???

Modelers aren't an option as I can't trust the sound man to get it right. I can probably cover it w/ my deluxe and a pair of Rats but I'd like something a little more authentic.

Your thoughts?
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
You're presenting kind of a problem here as you're talking about "Bedroom levels" but also a "Sound Man".

A Blackstar HT-5 might cut it for smaller gigs and probably does what you're looking for. You may need particularly hot pickups or a boost though.
 

1kidc

Member
Messages
1,043
Yeah - look at the thread title - it's a theater pit gig. but I can't bleed too much into a live string section's miss...
 

jcground

Member
Messages
1,174
The lead guitarist for the original recordings (and I think the London production too) was Lasse Wellander. He is a big Marshall JCM 900 fan, but according to an interview he also did a lot of session work in the 80s through a Rockman.

It's going to be tough to get feedback and interactive tone at lower volume, but I think trying a Rockman in front of your amp instead of a Rat or two might get you closer to his tone.
 

Luke V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,407
Orange TT is Marshally but still has the Orange sound and can be found preety cheap used. For quite a bit more money a Suhr Badger 18 is still small and sounds great at very low volumes, the low end remains in tact at low volumes. Get the Suhr cab if you get a Badger.
 

1kidc

Member
Messages
1,043
Both good suggestions - A friend on Facebook mentioned the tiny terror. Also - I think I know a buddy who has a rock man lying around. That's pretty much in the ballpark sound wise . I think I'll swing by the Evil Empire tomorrow and check out the tt in comparison to the mg series.. Those are both in the disposable budget range...

Thanks for the historical perspective btw...
 

Rena Rune

Senior Member
Messages
3,218
I know one guy who's particularly famous for doing guitar for musicals(wish I could remember his name) used to use a Korg Pandora PX4D modeler, you may want to reconsider if that's what you're after. Unfortunately you have have to rely on the Soundman in these situations. I nearly really play with a physical amp live as it just wouldn't seem appropriate for what I do, and it may not be for you either.

Your problem here as with anyone looking at a "Real amp" that you want a cranked amp sound at low volumes, but looking at your situation you're probably also going to need some kind of clean tone(I can't imagine for a musical the kinds of songs you're playing will be 100% dirty all the time, if it's 80s style cheese metal there'll be some ballady bits surely?)

The HT-5 might be a good idea but you won't get any decent kind of clean sound at Volume. You may be best getting a stereo rig with a low wattage Marshally tube amp and then something like a ZT Club or Lunchbox for cleans, or for when you need more volume in general.

Tiny Terror would be a good option, and probably a good balance between the two. But it doesn't have amazing cleans. Dark Terror has better cleans, but less headroom, so eh.
 

JohnSS

Member
Messages
932
I'd check out the Peavey Vypyrs. Their amps have tons of gain and quite a few Marshall, Krank and Peavey 6505, XXX and JSX sounds. Also have a nice number of memory banks for programming a number of presets which are especially handy for a theater gig.
 

Steve Ouimette

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
562
Go buy an 80's Marshall Artist 1x12 combo. Cheap and totally perfect for what you want. Quintessential 80's Marshall tone on a budget, and it even comes stock with a Vintage 30! I bought mine for less than $300 recently.
 

Wayne Alexander

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,454
Soldano Atomic 16 is a JCM800 master volume type circuit but with EL84s- it sounds like a JCM800 master volume amp but only has about 16 watts. They're not very expensive used when last I checked - $500-700 range.
 

Crowder

Dang Twangler
Messages
19,073
I think either you use a pedal or a Pod, or even a Macbook with amp sims. But if you MUST have an amp, a Peavey Decade would be a cheap and fun choice.
 

gtrs

Member
Messages
2,769
Modelers aren't an option as I can't trust the sound man to get it right.
In a pit, your relying on the sound man no matter what you use.................
Either a modeler or get some Clearsonic's.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
Would you trust the sound guy with a Tech 21 pedal?

I definitely dug Chess back in the day. Probably listened to it more than any musical ever other than Phantom.
 

GtrWiz

Member
Messages
3,962
Seriously, if you have a deluxe, look into the XTS Atomic Overdrive. It absolutely nails the modded marshal tone that those guys used.
 

lchender

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
237
How about just using a Suhr Riot pedal with your current rig?

Another thought would be a Soldano astroverb head. You can get a believeable 80's sound out of that with a good closed back cab that won't be too loud, but it would defintiely be a pricier option.
 

LPVM

Member
Messages
2,513
Use whatever amp you like that you can get "the tone" from and run it into an attenuator set to load instead of the amp's speaker. Then run the attenuator's line out to a separate power amp which will then feed the first amp's speaker or an extension cab. This lets you reamp the tone of the first amp at any volume from a whisper to a roar.......seriously, musical feedback at conversation level.

I've done it with this...



My MosValve power amp also has a line out that the sound guy can run to the board so I can set my level for stage volume and let the mix happen through the board. A MiniMass runs $115 from Weber, a used power amp is about the same off of CL or Ebay.

As far as amps go, Marshall Class 5, BlackHeart HT5, SF Fender Champ or Vibro Champ, Silvertone 1482...there are a bunch that can get there with a boost if you reamp them through an extension cabinet. If you have one with a 12" speaker you probably don't even need the cab.
 
Last edited:

MartinCliffe

Member
Messages
1,968
Not used an amp (for tone) for a pit gig in some time. Modeller with a small powered monitor is where it's at. I use a Digitech GSP1101 and a TC Helicon VoiceSolo spot monitor.
 




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