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Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by DougF, Dec 5, 2018.
They get a lot of love on the jazz forums (steel guitar forums, too, I assume).
Fender Deluxe Reverb or if you want to spend some real cash, a hand-wired boutique amp like a ZLux or Two Rock Studio Pro 35
As noted, the answer depends a lot on what exactly you are after. If you want light, inexpensive, and with decent headroom, a Katana 50 or 100 is a great choice. If your budget is larger, an Allen Sweet Spot or Accomplice. Somewhere in the middle, a Deluxe Reverb reissue.
Fender Mustang III V2 with an Eminence Swamp Thang speaker on the 65 Deluxe reverb preset.
Super good cleans from Carvin tube amps. They are discontinued, sadly, but you can nab one pretty cheap on reverb. The Bel Air or VIntage 16 or X100B.
Gotta agree on the Deluxe Reverb..
There are plenty of great sounding clean amps, but the Deluxe rules them all.
DRRI or if you want ss a fender champion.
Ironically these days, you can likely find bigger Fenders used for about the same price as a new DRRI.
My answer would be my DV Mark FGC121. It’s discontinued, but totally amazing if you can find one.
SFTR UL 135 WATTS. The cleanest amp Fender ever made...IMOOC. and, because these have been so wrongly misaligned over the years, they can still be had pretty cheaply.
Absolutely true - but had to put $200 into the head to re-build the power section after 2 years and the bass pot just crapped-out last week so here we go again.
Cheap Asian junk and useless with a loud drummer - has no balls for stage use with a medium volume band and too much treble. Celestion 70/80 speaker is tinny sounding also too much top end so changed that to a WGS ET65...huge improvement.
Already have an original sf twin from 68 that I bought for approx $425 that year, wanted lower volume, less weight. Should have bought a Blues Jr instead of the junker Ibanez - my mistake, be forewarned.
Peavey Bandit. I’ve had a bandit, studio pro and now an envoy and all of them have fantastic cleans.
I would also vote for the Orange Crush 60. Different voice, kind of woody, but dry clean.
If you can relax the 1x12 requirement, the Roland jc-40 gives the iconic JC clean in a smaller package.
It really is. Excellent amp.
The Humboldt Hot Rod Blues Jr IV from MF is also very clean.
Peavey Bandit. Any of them. Some are different than others though...
I agree with all of that, and expanding on those thoughts:
I like the cleans on my Peavey Special 150, which is just a Bandit 75 (the next version after LGOberean's Bandit 65...'87-'88ish) with double the power.
Peavey made some EQ changes between the Bandit 65/Special 130 years and the Bandit 75/Special 150 years. The semi-parametric mids went away, leaving the 75/150 amps with standard passive bass/middle/treble controls and an active presence control that can boost or cut 5 kHz by 15 dB. I haven't played the earlier 65/130 amps, but on the 75/150 clean channel that active presence interacts with the passive mid and treble controls, and the bright switch (which boosts 6 dB at 2 kHz).
I find I can tweak a pretty nice bright tone but roll it off before the tooth-shattering frequencies come in by working the treble and presence against each other. Varying combinations of bright on/off, treble and presence can give me a pleasing, lively sound with humbuckers or single coils.
My main axe is a one-humbucker hardtail Squier strat...not anyone's idea of an ideal "clean machine," but the Special 150's eq allows me to dial in a bright, cutting-but-not-harsh clean that works well on hybrid picking, Tele-style pedal-steel-emulating bendy licks, strummed chords...and when I play a guitar with a neck humbucker and roll the tone off a bit I can get a "smoky jazz tone" too.
The amp's reverb is a little on the dark side, with a long decay, which may be good or bad. I almost always play dry (but the long/dark Peavey reverb sounds great with my lap steel).
With my guitar's bridge humbucker (adjusted pretty low to drop the output a bit and soften its character a little) into the amp's low-gain input, the clean sound begins to break up above 5 on the clean volume knob. You can detect a little bit of grit and snarl at 4 when you really whack it. But at this point it is LOUD. I've run the clean channel up to 7-8 before and at that point it gets pretty crunchy, and cleans up well when you back off, but the crunch is pretty harsh and it's so loud at that point that I have yet to mess with the EQ and try to optimize it. I can't imagine needing to be that loud.
The downside of the 75/150 era of Bandits/Specials is that on the distortion channel, the amp uses a preset "thick" eq, leaving only the presence control adjustable. Just as the Scholz Rockman turned every riff into a Boston riff, the 75/150 amps turn every distortion channel riff into Zakk Wylde on Ozzy's "No More Tears."
But that doesn't matter if you only use the clean channel. It's a powerful, no-frills amp that can blow your pants across the room with a useful clean sound. Specials aren't as common as Bandits, but Bandits get plenty loud as well and they show up used at pawnshops and on CL all the time. I've seen dusty, dirty cosmetically challenged Bandit 75s priced at about a dollar per watt plenty of times. Well worth considering. My Special came in at about $0.50 per watt and an epoxy repair to the baffle board...an easy fix for a lot of amp.
Final thought...goosing a Bandit/Special clean channel with a conservatively set compressor pedal is awesome fun. All the beef and even more singing sustain.
Another amp I liked the cleans on a lot was an old Yamaha G50-112 combo...the first version, with the kind of stripey grille cloth and the weird thin fuzzy distortion circuit. The thin fuzz was kind of fun, but the cleans were serious.
Also, my buddy's "cyclops era" Peavey Classic 30 has a really nice-sounding clean channel, which turns into the classic rock crunch channel when you turn it up. But it gets quite loud while still staying clean. Too bad about that goiter-looking logo/cyclops eye thing. But the odd visuals don't affect the sound.
Blues Jr. IV. Clean at any volume
Fender twin. 6L6 valves- you have to set it a certain way for itto distort and plenty of power for gigs.
Many good choices. I've been greatly enjoying old polytone minibrute SS amps for this lately. A MB II with 12" speaker, a MB IV with 15" speaker. They sound very good at low volumes too.