Why is so much money required to have some decent tone.

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Fowleri

Senior Member
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All the amps under $500 sound horrible. They're ok for practice amps I suppose. If you want some "ok" tone while playing in your room or apartment, what other options you have except going the digital modeling route? Using software like Bias FX on headphones sound "ok" for practicing but it gets tiring after a while and it sounds like crap on studio monitors as it is no cabinet.

You have the lunchbox amps usually 20/5/1 such as Peavey 6505, ENGL Ironball and others. The peavey is the only that is affordable at $600, but I never liked the tone you get from the 6505. I play hard rock, mostly a fan of Steve Vai, Satriani, Gilbert and other shredders, I like some metal here and there, but the tone you get from 6505 is like muddy, fuzzy, is hard to explain I heard it in person and videos

I like the tone of Mesa Boogie Mark 5, but those amp are expensive as hell and have no 1 watt version or even 5 watt.

Even these big amps attenuated to 1 watt may be too loud for bedroom or not

Anything around the $500 sounds like crap and you don't have many options. I can spend $500 and it won't give me the tone I'm looking for. You have amp modelers but those sound even worse.
 

rockon1

Platinum Supporting Member
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13,267
I paid $499 new for my Carvin V3M. Much less for my Jet City 22H and even less for my used Crate VC50H's. All of them can be coaxed into getting great Vai, Satch etc tones. Biggest part of the equation in my quest has been mating the right speaker to amp for the desired tone. After that EQ pedals have been my friend to tweak things a bit more in the desired direction. My son (whos much better than I at the genre) is always impressed with the tone I coax out of my rigs. The downside to these inexpensive amps is durability. Ive gigged them all but don't drop em, whack the pots or yank the jacks too hard.
 

buddaman71

Student of Life
Gold Supporting Member
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12,903
I’ve been playing/gigging/recording and buying and trading guitar gear for almost 40 years. It costs less than ever to have killer guitar tone.

Why is $500 some magic number?
Used Vai Legacy 3 available all day long $800-900. I mean, a beginner saxophone for a 5th grader is $1200+.
 
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Jabby92

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I agree. I've haven't found many tube amps under $1000 that I wanted to keep personally. I could work with them in a gig, but not something I'd want to keep at home or in the studio, etc. I always find $1500-$2500 to be the sweet spot or if you can find an expensive tube head used under $2000 you're 'in the money' for tone then! I'm really fussy though, the problem with gear is once you play something really high end its sort of hard to go back to the cheap stuff from my experience. Some amps are just magic to me, like Friedmans and Mesa Boogies.

For anything cheaper, I always use/recommend solid state these days. Some are amazing! The Quilter IB45 is phenomenal as long as you already have a cab and a couple pedals:

I actually use my Quilter 95% of the time these days, his amps are cheap, super reliable, super loud and super light but still bedroom friendly with no need to slam the power section! So I agree you gotta spend top dollar to get amazing tones but you can still get great tones cheap.. you just gotta know where to look! Also not to mention many pedals are fantastic these days as well.. soo many options.
 

deepcove17

Member
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1,219
All the amps under $500 sound horrible. They're ok for practice amps I suppose. If you want some "ok" tone while playing in your room or apartment, what other options you have except going the digital modeling route? Using software like Bias FX on headphones sound "ok" for practicing but it gets tiring after a while and it sounds like crap on studio monitors as it is no cabinet.

You have the lunchbox amps usually 20/5/1 such as Peavey 6505, ENGL Ironball and others. The peavey is the only that is affordable at $600, but I never liked the tone you get from the 6505. I play hard rock, mostly a fan of Steve Vai, Satriani, Gilbert and other shredders, I like some metal here and there, but the tone you get from 6505 is like muddy, fuzzy, is hard to explain I heard it in person and videos

I like the tone of Mesa Boogie Mark 5, but those amp are expensive as hell and have no 1 watt version or even 5 watt.

Even these big amps attenuated to 1 watt may be too loud for bedroom or not

Anything around the $500 sounds like crap and you don't have many options. I can spend $500 and it won't give me the tone I'm looking for. You have amp modelers but those sound even worse.
Used Orange OR15 pretty much answers all your complaints for under $500.
 

soulman969

Senior Member
Messages
3,647
Anything around the $500 sounds like crap and you don't have many options. I can spend $500 and it won't give me the tone I'm looking for. You have amp modelers but those sound even worse.
To be more accurate it's just that what you're finding in that price range doesn't fit your needs but many of us have gotten great sounds out of amps costing $500 or less.

The players you mentioned aren't playing through $500 amps either so you may have to step a little higher to get what you need. The used market is full of bargains if you shop it.
 

TonePilot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,991
All the amps under $500 sound horrible. They're ok for practice amps I suppose. If you want some "ok" tone while playing in your room or apartment, what other options you have except going the digital modeling route? Using software like Bias FX on headphones sound "ok" for practicing but it gets tiring after a while and it sounds like crap on studio monitors as it is no cabinet.

You have the lunchbox amps usually 20/5/1 such as Peavey 6505, ENGL Ironball and others. The peavey is the only that is affordable at $600, but I never liked the tone you get from the 6505. I play hard rock, mostly a fan of Steve Vai, Satriani, Gilbert and other shredders, I like some metal here and there, but the tone you get from 6505 is like muddy, fuzzy, is hard to explain I heard it in person and videos

I like the tone of Mesa Boogie Mark 5, but those amp are expensive as hell and have no 1 watt version or even 5 watt.

Even these big amps attenuated to 1 watt may be too loud for bedroom or not

Anything around the $500 sounds like crap and you don't have many options. I can spend $500 and it won't give me the tone I'm looking for. You have amp modelers but those sound even worse.
Thousands of Katana owners would disagree.
 

Fowleri

Senior Member
Messages
488
I agree. I've haven't found many tube amps under $1000 that I wanted to keep personally. I could work with them in a gig, but not something I'd want to keep at home or in the studio, etc. I always find $1500-$2500 to be the sweet spot or if you can find an expensive tube head used under $2000 you're 'in the money' for tone then! I'm really fussy though, the problem with gear is once you play something really high end its sort of hard to go back to the cheap stuff from my experience. Some amps are just magic to me, like Friedmans and Mesa Boogies.

For anything cheaper, I always use/recommend solid state these days. Some are amazing! The Quilter IB45 is phenomenal as long as you already have a cab and a couple pedals:

I actually use my Quilter 95% of the time these days, his amps are cheap, super reliable, super loud and super light but still bedroom friendly with no need to slam the power section! So I agree you gotta spend top dollar to get amazing tones but you can still get great tones cheap.. you just gotta know where to look! Also not to mention many pedals are fantastic these days as well.. soo many options.
I always wanted Mesa Boogie Mark 5, I really like the tone and I'm a fan of Santana, and he uses this amp as well. They have a mini mark 5 which goes down to 10 watt, but I don't know how loud that would be for bedroom playing. You could always use an attenuator. It costs $1600. Is it worth spending all that much just to play at home? Its hard to justify lol I don't understand why Mesa Boggie has never come out with a lunchbox amp such as 20/5/1 as they're popular in other brands.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...mark-five25-25-10-watt-tube-head-black-taurus
 

Fowleri

Senior Member
Messages
488
I have to disagree as well, user error, A good player can coax good tone out of just about anything
People need to stop posting this video on the internet as some sort of "proof" that gear doesn't matter and is all about your fingers and "feelings"

Yeah he plays it tight as hell and people like him will always make the best out of every instrument but the tone itself here is awful, sharp and cheap. It sounds like "him" because he is using his nuances and subtleties, but the tone itself sounds nothing like you hear from his rig. He is milking that thing as much as he can and it still sounds bad.
 

Guitarfool

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,715
Your waaaay off base IMO - I saw a band last night playing 80s rock and the guy had a Line 6 Flextone Head (remember those) yes a Line 6 Flextone head :eeks and his tone was fcking killer. He played through a bogner and mesa cabinet and it sounded great and cut through with no problem


Boss Katana sounds AMAZING (and plays great under the fingers) with a good cabinet
Marshall DSL is a staple of bands both pro and garage type bands
Orange OR 15 is a killer little amp
the little Peavey Bravo (through extenstion cab) sounds GREAT!
etc
etc


There a bunch more im forgetting that others have mentioned before in another thread - using a self imposed random $$ price doesnt make much sense, want to spend more? go for it - but dont say you cant get good guitar tone at a fair price, thats absolutely not accurate.


I still believe MANY people listen to tone with there "eyes and not ears", (myself included, im guilty at times) but its a real thing with players - more tone in HANDS than anything else


:nono
 

sundog964

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,428
I always wanted Mesa Boogie Mark 5, I really like the tone and I'm a fan of Santana, and he uses this amp as well. They have a mini mark 5 which goes down to 10 watt, but I don't know how loud that would be for bedroom playing. You could always use an attenuator. It costs $1600. Is it worth spending all that much just to play at home? Its hard to justify lol I don't understand why Mesa Boggie has never come out with a lunchbox amp such as 20/5/1 as they're popular in other brands.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/de...mark-five25-25-10-watt-tube-head-black-taurus
the Mesa is worth the cost, IMHO. However, for another option, the mono price amp has good tone as well, for $250.

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=611815
 
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