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Author Topic: Amps for an RS-4  (Read 13160 times)
bacchus
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« on: January 05, 2012, 06:48:39 PM »

So now that a Forum V RS-4 may be in my future, I will need an amp.  A real amp.  Well let's qualify this a bit: A real amp that won't break the bank.  I honestly don't even know where to start on this so what do you guys think?  What do you use?  What do you like?  What is your criteria for choosing a good amp?

What are some good amps that would get along with and make sweet music babies with an RS-4?

My main criteria is versatility.  I would love an amp that can do rich beautiful cleans, gritty blues, and even some higher gain stuff.  If I should have to sacrifice any of those I suppose that I could supplement really high gain stuff with pedals and whatnot.


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Cameron

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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2012, 08:26:18 PM »

Depends ... are you going to play mostly at home? Are you going to play out? What styles of music do you like?

There are so many choices out there, even among amps that won't "break the bank" as you say...

A few suggestions (all in the under $1,000 range; many under $500 either new or used):

Peavey Classic 30
Fender Princeton Reverb Reissue
Vox AC15C1
Fender Mustang series
Tech 21 Trademark 60
Peavey Bandit III
Engater
VHT Special 6 or Special 6 Ultra


And lots more ... do a search on Musicians Friend by price ... you'll be reading for hours...
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2012, 08:44:47 PM »

I have played them thru mostley tube amps and since I prefer tube amps I say TUBE AMP.The amps I have played thru so far have been a Silver Face Fender Vibrolux,72 Fender Princeton Reverb,75 Fender Delux Reverb and a Peavey Classic 30.If I was in the market for a humbucking guitar and since I own a 72 Princeton Reverb I'd play it thru that and be very happy as not only is it a great home amp I gig on it too.
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bacchus
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2012, 09:13:06 PM »

Thanks for the input guys,

I am definitely a bedroom player.  I certainly don't need anything more than just enough to annoy my girlfriend and dog.

As far as styles, I could name some bands, though generally I write my own music and it really goes all over the place.  If I had to nail down a couple of bands whose tonal spectrum I may wish to emulate it would be something like Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, any of your classic rock and blues staples, that kind of stuff.  The thing about the two specific bands I listed is that they have a pretty vast range of musical styles.  From bright, spanky and clean to fairly dark and heavy.

Without a doubt I will go with a tube amp.  I have been playing an old Bedrock 600 series that belongs to my father and it was a great amp, though not exactly what I am looking for.  Nonetheless, the difference between that and my current Laney solid state is remarkable.

I have had the Peavey Classic 30, Vox AC15C1, and now Fender Princeton reverb suggested to me by a handful of people so I may start my journey by checking those out.  Lets see if youtube will do me any good.
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Cameron

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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2012, 09:45:10 PM »

I would have to add Blackstar HT-20 to the list.

Love mine, has decent cleans, great distortion and can be played at bedroom levels as well as quite a bit more. 
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2012, 11:31:25 PM »

I totally understand the desire for a good tube amp - and I listed those top three first because they would definitely give you the most bang for the buck (even the Princeton Reverb, but if you could find a nice used one, you'd save a few bucks).

Having said that about tube amps, the Tech 21 Trademark 60 is the nicest sounding SS amp I've ever heard for cleans...it's drive tones are pretty good, but the cleans are amazing. It's also light at 36 lbs., and would be plenty loud for home playing / annoying your housemates!  Only downside is the price - it costs about as much as a comparable tube amp ... you just don't have to mess with tubes (or weight).
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2012, 11:44:57 PM »

Check out Swart amps. They have sound samples and videos on their website. I use the 20 watt AST and the 5 watt 6V6se. The AST has incredible cleans up to moderate distortion. It can be loud if cranked but it sounds great with the RS-4. It may be out of your price range though. The 6V6se is half the price and has more gain. The smaller 6V6 can be considered a bedroom amp but it can get fairly loud also. Just my 2 cents.

This is my first post in a while. I've been checking the new posts regularly just to see how the Forum V RS-4 is progressing. I should be receiving my Bakersfield soon but I'm still interested in the F-V once the details are final. Can't wait to try the Bakersfield 

Randy 

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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2012, 03:31:02 AM »

Another nice small bedroom amp with versitile tone and a tube amp to boot is the Fender Blue's Jr.15 watts and overdrive built in and is small too.
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2012, 03:59:22 AM »

Whatever you do just know that for electric, the amp is the other half of guitar. Not playing electric all that much I've learned lessons. Know how much crunch or overdrive type sound you want and find an amp that delivers that.  Something like a 65 reissue twin reverb will remain clean sounding way beyond any kind of level your ears took take. Others you turn on the overdrive chan and you are in outer space immediatly. I like just a little extra crunch but not too much. So know what you want and try them out.
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2012, 06:22:23 AM »

I play my RS-4 through a Marshall 18 watt tube amp most of the time, but lately have been using the Tubemeister 18 head, and that is one versatile amp that goes from clean to crunch to high gain.  Great price on the head, but you will need to get a cab for it.
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2012, 02:22:23 PM »

As was suggested search for the sound you have in your head, take your Git with you. As for brands many of the brands suggested are as good as any. The Boutiques like Swart or Carr and many others are superb tho far from cheap. You really can't go wrong with a Fender tube tho IMO.

Depending on your intended usage I wouldn't be so quick to rule out a SS. I am playing a lot of Jazz right now and my Polytone is getting more use than any of my others that are mostly tube. The Fender G-Dec is another SS and is so much fun, a great learning/practice amp and they are dirt cheap.

Lots of variables and tastes here my friend have fun researching and testing
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2012, 03:13:59 PM »

I like these suggestions so far, thanks everyone.

@ LookingForLarri - Blackstar has also crossed my radar recently.  I saw a concert recently (Opeth, for those who care) and one of them played a blackstar amp with a singlecut PRS.  Man, that sounded super sweet.  This band definitely goes from super clean and soft to hard and heavy.  Though, it was the heavy sound that really got me.

@Mikeymac (and JOYCE) - I am really sold (maybe unreasonably so) on getting a tube amp.  I currently have an ok-ish SS Laney amp, it does what I need, but I dont think I'll be happy with it when I get a nice new guitar.  If I found a good solid state, then I might change my mind, though I feel a little stubborn about this.

@Randmag - Swart would be great.  My brother's father-in-law has a substantial collection of guitars and a sweet Swart amp stack to play through.  At my brother's wedding I sat in his guitar room with a glass of 25 year old scotch, played a ridiculous PRS (like some sort of special edition modern eagle something...) through the Swart.  That, my friend, was heaven.  I suspect that those will probably be out of my price range.

@photomat - Never heard of tubemeister, noted.

@rob, JOYCE, and flatlander - I honestly love the clean sound of a good fender amp, love it.  What is difficult for me about this decision is deciding what end of the spectrum I reside.  I much prefer the clean on fender, but really love the overdrive and transition from clean to crunch on some british tubes, the vox for example.  Granted, I have very little experience with this stuff.

FWIW, I really need to spend some time with some of these amps.  I lack experience on this stuff, and there is only one way to rectify this.  Thus far, all I have is youtube to give me an idea, this is definitely not an optimal way to do this, but it gets me started, I guess.  FWIW, my budget would ideally stay in the 500 - 800ish range, with wiggle room for viable candidates.  

Again, I really appreciate the advice here.
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Cameron

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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2012, 04:59:55 PM »

I'm new to electrics too and went thru this process a few months ago - http://www.thegearpage.net  - forum is a wealth of info and their amp FS section is pretty active.

I ended up going used and picked up a Goodsell 5/17 combo on ebay @ your price limit, tho Goodsell now has gone to simpler black cabinets and his prices now are more accessible new and probably will lower used prices on his amps a bit too, his unibox 10 and older used 5 and 7 watt models would also be in your range used.
His site is here w/ good sound clips:
   http://www.superseventeen.com/goodsell-black-line/unibox-10---black-line.html  
the Unibox 10 demo video is intro'd by Richard Goodsell and demo by Jody Worrell is pretty slick.

and pics of mine and robwms's Goodsell's are here
 http://www.larriveeforum.com/smf/index.php?topic=37678.20.

Lots of good small tube amp builders out there - here's a 22 page thread on "best 5 boutique amps"   http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=237410  to give you some idea of the choices and opinions out there. Goodsell, Swart, Carr, Victoria and Dr Z all pop up there fairly often. Happy shopping  
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2012, 09:10:15 PM »

Good to hear you haven't completely ruled out solid state altogther.  I say you should at least try the Fender Mustang series and the Line 6 Spyder IV series.  You might be surprised at how good these modelling amps sound.  One bonus is less weight and no tubes to replace, of course.  The Fender Superchamp XD is another one to consider.  It's a "hybrid" design with tube pre-amp.  The clean channel on mine is outstanding.  The amp models on the Sumperchamp are pretty nice too, although to me, not as good as the Mustang or Line 6 amp models and effects.  I like the versatility of the SS amps.  Good tube sound can't be beat, I suppose, IF you find the perfect one for your taste.  So you may have a longer quest to find one.  With the best modelling amps, you have a lot more choices and don't have to find another amp should you decide to change your tastes.  As far as reliability and durability, I don't know if one design is better than the other, but at least there are no tubes to wear out with a SS.

I switched from a great sounding Peavy Valveking 112 (tube) to a Line 6 Spyder IV 120W - 210 combo for gigging and band practise simply because it is so much easier to dial in exactly the tones and effects I want and save them for future use.  And this is without any pedals attached which is very important to me.  The only "pedal" I need is the 4-button footswitch/volume pedal.  I can assign preset tones to each of the 4 buttons on the footswitch and use the pedal as a volume control or a wha wha which is great for gigging.

As for the Mustang series, I never heard one until a week ago when I bought the basic Mustang I model that came in a package with an electric guitar at a price I couldn't resist.  I am just blown away by how authentic that little amp sounds.  It is now my bench amp and will remain so for a long long time.  And it's small enough to pack anywhere, yet loud as hell if you want.  I imagine the larger ones must sound great if this little one is any indication.

To me, the choice between tube and SS boils down to convenience VS authentic tube tone, but I feel today's best modelling amps provide tones that are so "authentic" that it's worth the trade-off.

 

(talking about this recent equipment made me realize it's time to update my signature)
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bacchus
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2012, 10:09:22 PM »

It is likely that I will have a bit of time before I get the Forum V in my hands (assuming it all goes through), so I should have lots of time to play around, and I really intend to.

I suppose that I ought not be too dismissive of SS amps.  I just really have this romantic notion, pervasive in the gear hound communities, and internet forums, of having a sweet tube amp with all of it's vintage mojo, warm tones, and unicorn tears.

It's funny that you bring up the Line 6 stuff L07, the first amp I got with my first guitar was a little Line 6 Spider 15 watt.  That thing was a great little amp for me to start on.  I also have a Line 6 POD xt that I still use for amp and effect modeling.  I am now playing that with my hand-me-down Laney 2x12 something or other.

So I now have some amps in mind, including some fenders, the Vox ac15c1, and some of the others listed here.  However, now I can't get some of these boutique amps out of my head. So I went looking and, in general, they are out of my range.  Though one thing I did notice was that there were a few offerings that could be nudged in my direction, but they all seemed to be 5W models.  For example, the Swart ST-6V6se (randmag also mentioned this one).  This sounds good in the clips, though it is a professional player on a professional recording.  What are some thoughts on 5W tube amps?  I don't need a lot, I am really only a bedroom player, but I don't want to be too lacking.  Thanks everyone.  I know I am asking for a lot of info here - hope this helps:     and some potassium  
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2012, 10:29:15 PM »

It is likely that I will have a bit of time before I get the Forum V in my hands (assuming it all goes through), so I should have lots of time to play around, and I really intend to.

 I am now playing that with my hand-me-down Laney 2x12 something or other.

 now I can't get some of these boutique amps out of my head.

What are some thoughts on 5W tube amps?  I don't need a lot, I am really only a bedroom player, but I don't want to be too lacking.

Given the above, OK I will make it easy for you ( well sort of) save your $ use the Laney for awhile save until you can buy the Carr Mini Mercury, its all you will ever need and will surely get the boutique GAS outta your head,

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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2012, 10:49:20 PM »

Given the above, OK I will make it easy for you ( well sort of) save your $ use the Laney for awhile save until you can buy the Carr Mini Mercury, its all you will ever need and will surely get the boutique GAS outta your head,

Cool, I'll check it out.  Thanks.
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Cameron

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« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2012, 11:58:47 PM »

This is a good discussion. I've only been playing a couple of years and I only have experience with the Swart and a Fender Hotrod Deville which I gave to a friend who's in a local punk band. The Fender sounded great to me but it was more than what I needed for playing at home.

I first came to the Larrivee Forum to check out the threads on electric guitars about a year ago and ended up buying my RS-4 Goldtop  drool based on the advise/reviews of the fine people on this forum. I absolutely love that guitar. It works great with the Swart AST but I'm also pretty sure that the amps suggested here by the others would be very good as well. I almost went with Carr when I was first looking but for whatever reason I decided on Swart. I'll bet Carr, Dr. Z and the other boutique amps are awesome.

What interests me about this thread is the suggestion of SS amps. I've been taking lessons from a seasoned local guitarist/teacher (played with The Guess Who in the 80s) who uses one during my lessons. From time to time he'll change what guitar he uses and to me they all sound great through that SS amp. 

Anyway, I hope you find an amp that brings out the best of your RS-4.

Happy searching 

 

 
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« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2012, 03:00:42 AM »

I've been taking lessons from a seasoned local guitarist/teacher (played with The Guess Who in the 80s) who uses one during my lessons. From time to time he'll change what guitar he uses and to me they all sound great through that SS amp. 


um... Are you saying that you take guitar lessons from Randy Bachman? Can anyone join?!
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2012, 04:11:13 AM »

forgive the spam, but i'm actually selling what was my bedroom/home studio amp.  a traynor darkhorse head and cab.  it's a great little combo.  def. soft enough for bedroom use, but you can actually gig it, too.  great platform for pedals, too.  pm me if you're interested or check them out brand new.
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