Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Rethinking Solid State

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by markesquire, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. Steveareno

    Steveareno Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 10, 2010
    Dogtown So Cal
    +1 on Evans. Have wanted one ever since I saw Redd V gigging with an Evans with the Twangbangers a few years ago. I compromised and ended up with a Poltyone Mega Brute. A little smaller and lighter. Not as expensive, great clean, warm tone. Picked up a super clean used one on CL. Can handle acoustic and elec. equally well. Used to lug around a Fender Concert (Rivera era) with a 12" EV speaker. Must have weighed 80 lbs! After back surgery, none of that jive for me anymore. Plus my amp has to be buzzing, hissing or ambient noise.
    Swang on,

  2. Rxtele

    Rxtele TDPRI Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Very surprised with the good tones that come from a Roland Blues Cube 60-310 that I have had since new.

    Not quite as warm as some tube amps I own, but close. In a jam, who's going to know???

  3. tinman402

    tinman402 Tele-Meister

    I think the amp I regret getting rid of the most so far has been a late 70s Yamaha g100-410. It had it all clean sound, built in effects and effects loop and sounded awesome. But it was all I could take at half the volume. It was LOUD LOUD LOUD. I was playing in my living room and had picked it up for a gig setting that never happened. I payed 100 and traded it for a really nice Tele. I am happy with the trade but man do I miss that amp. Now I could use it...


  4. HillbillySims

    HillbillySims Tele-Meister

    Jun 19, 2006
    Hey! Thats me! Glad you enjoyed it. Its a great sounding amp


  5. Kind of... but not all is lost. I did make around 500,000 amps in all, of various types. Probably could do it again... but I don't wanna spend my life engaged in negative debates about tubes vs trannies - yawn.

    At least 'I' have a very reliable amp that sounds the way I like, especially with my 1964 ES335! It's the smaller amp in the pic below... a heavily modified 'Sessionette' in a bigger cab than usual which I call my 'RetroTone' amp!

    Attached Files:

  6. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

    Jan 21, 2011
    I got a Pathfinder last month, and I must say, I am very impressed with the tone. I'll be living in Tennessee with my aunt and uncle next month, so I'll get to play through his all original '76 Twin Reverb. Maybe I'll like solid state less after that, but for now, they are just fine. All I need them to do is be low noise, have a good clean sound, and have atleast a little range in volume. I shape my tone with my pedals, so I don't have any need to spend the money to get a tube amp.

    I do want one obviously :lol:

  7. jefcon1

    jefcon1 Tele-Meister

    Apr 29, 2009
    Wake Forest, NC
    Peavey Special 130

    Its a Bandit 65 with a shift-able mid and a few more watts.

  8. fauxsuper

    fauxsuper Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 15, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    64 335

    What a cool guitar. I know everyone goes nuts for the dot necks, but I find the early 60's ones like yours to be every bit as nice. When I was a boy, I wanted either one of those or an Epiphone Riviera. I've played a few Gibson Re-issues, but none of them seem to have the same feel in your hands that the "real" ones do. Not sure why this should be the case.

    Half a million amps is a much larger number than I'd assumed were actually constructed. Since your amps are fairly rare on this side of the pond, that's probably where my assumption was made.

    I really should have listened to my grade 3 teacher.

  9. That sparked a quick tale! In 1976 I bought a Twin with JBLs for £375.00. In April this year I sold it on eBay for £1220.00. It was in mint condition and still had it's swing tags and only gigged around 12 times!! Doing the maths... that amp earned me just under 6.5%PA.

    Just goes to show, that if you buy something now new, stash it away... it will earn you a decent return in about 30-35 years. Sadly, I won't be around that long to do it again!! But some of you young guns could!!

    But as for the tonal expectations... I hated that amp! The JBL were far to glassy for me, and not even in a nice way... IMHO! A friend has a 64RI which sounds MUCH better, really.

  10. Yes that is so true. Mine is a second. It has a '2' stamped through the varnish just over the serial number on the headstock back. Some say it was probably sold to a Gibson employee... possible I guess.

    I bought it from a guy called Brinsley Schwarz who had a prominent band here in the seventies... also was the guitarist with Graham Parker and The Rumour, where this 335 was used mainly. It is the best 335 I've ever played and still has its original frets in pretty good condition!

    Tonally, it's very close to a Les Paul Standard, but with a subtle hollowness to it. You can here it here alongstide my 1972 LP Deluxe:

    First half of the tune, then the lead swaps to the LP Deluxe (SS Sessionette amp - same settings for both guitars - and direct recorded to hard disk! All the things you aint meant to have or do... hehehe!)

    That's a fair assumption. After visiting our huge exhibition stand in February 1985, Hartly Peavey registered the name SESSION in USA later in June and stuck it on the Session 500 pedal steel amp. Obviously to keep us out of the US. We shipped a few hundred then under the STEWARD brand into USA.

    We really hurt Peavey, Fender and Marshal in Europe and the '75' suffix became the hot number to have on your amp back then. Reverb 75 (Marshall), Bandit 75 (Peavey) and even Fender had a Something '75'... along with many others.

    I was receiving invitations from the far east to sell amps with '75' on them that bore a strong resemblance to my own amps! Did they not bother to check who they were sending their invites to... clearly not! But you have to laugh about it now!!
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2011

  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    Were the speakers even broken in?

  12. Well, the JBL speakers had cloth cambric edges to the cone suspension... so I don't think breaking in made any difference to these kind of speakers, frankly!

  13. telecaster1

    telecaster1 TDPRI Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    The new fender frontman 212 has a great clean channel and is great with pedals as well,if you boost the mids to 8-10 with a tele you will be shocked at the great tone.Thats the frontman 212 not the fm212 they are not the same thing.The fm212 sounded really bad to me but the frontman 212 is a killer amp and no tube worries.Plenty of clean headroom as well as great country tones.

  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I just saw the RED FSR version on the Musician's Friend web site.


  15. The 'big tone' of, say, a Fender Twin is what many 'traditionalists' go for. However, the reason those amps sound that way is actually nothing to do with the fact that it's a valve amp... they just happen to be valve amps in a very big cabinet, which, as we all should know, produces a lot of bass output.

    The cause of this 'big tone' is actually to do with the high impedance of the output transformer (OPTX) secondary winding and how it interacts with the speaker(s). It could just as well have transistors driving the OPTX and the tonal effects would be identical. If fact, early tranny amps did have OPTXs and did sound like their valve cousins in this respect. But where they suffered was with the trannies not being able to present the guitar with a nice high input impedance at the input sockets. This caused undesirable effects to the guitar's tone and brought about bad publicity for the early tranny amps. In short, the technology was not ready for guitar amp use.

    Having read some of Wally's posts, I can identify with what he's saying... most of the time. But things have definately moved on in the tranny world over the last fifteen years or so, since the introduction of 'current feedback' in tranny power amps. Current Feedback enables a tranny power amp to replicate the tonal benefits of 'a valve amp equipped with an OPTX.' Note I did not say 'a valve' amp, because that would have been a misleading statement.

    Here is the recipe for designing a tranny amp to sound like a Twin Reverb:
    1. You need an unbiased designer who can work with valves or transistors.
    2. The designer needs to understand how a valve amp 'actually' achieves it's tone and how the 'important' components (not Rs & Cs) contribute to this end.
    3. The 'topology' of the circuitry must be exactly as a Twin Reverb.
    4. The 'bridged T' EQ networks (or tone stacks as musicians call them) should be faithful to the Twin Reverb design (and most other Fender amps for that matter.)
    5. The physical design of the cabinet should be exactly like a Twin Reverb.
    6. The speakers should be identical too.
    So, you can see that we are comparing like for like. Sadly, musicians rarely do this. They audition two amps and if the one they don't like is tranny, then that's the reason. Not the fact that they are different designs tonally and have different speakers and cabinet sizes!

    Also, most tranny amps, because of public expectations, are designed cheaply for a younger 'metal' type player who's on a very limited budget. Not us 'old crocks' who want a more mellow but 'spanky' tonality. Mostly, those youngsters would hate what we like!!

    My tranny designs are designed to please 'old crocks!!!' That's where I differ from most makers. Same for Pritchard. But I don't believe they should be that expensive. To design a great 'traditional' sounding tranny amp, frankly, is not any more expensive.

    To finish off, the 'big tone' is created by the speaker's 'free air resonance'. Most guitar speakers resonate at around 80Hz - open E - and the OPTX enhances it's effect. In short, at this frequency, the speaker requires very little power to output huge amounts of acoustic energy. In an 'old design' tranny amp, without current feedback, this simply does not happen. It sounds flat and 'cold' as some call it. Switch in the current feedback and 'hey presto' all has changed. You have all the bright 'spanky' tone with a big bottom end just like 'a valve amp with an OPTX'.

    With this inclusion, providing you get the rest of the amp's 'voicing' design right, there's no reason why your tranny 'Twin' amp cannot sound as good as a valve version! Which is probably where Fender are just about learning to do with the Frontman 212!! Risky, as it could damage the sales of their more expensive valve amps. :-/

    My case rests. :D

  16. telecaster1

    telecaster1 TDPRI Member

    Nov 15, 2008
    yeh but the frontman 212 is a great poor boys twin.

  17. It doesn't matter what it is... or what's in it... or what it costs... or who uses them! If you like it then it's the dogs doolies!

    Nothing stands still. Progress happens due to changing demands/needs and even legislation. There will come a time when valves will not be available, so Fender, et al, need to position their SS amps at a much more serious level in readiness! The love affair with modelling at any serious level just did not sustain. So that leaves SS to take up the slack for nice simple amps with great tone!

  18. GrantR

    GrantR Tele-Meister

    May 29, 2011
    New Zealand
    Excellent comments and insight into amps Stewart. Obviously you can speak with a lot of knowledge and experience in designing and building, so do know what you are talking about.

    I think a lot of us are actually brainwashed by 'hype', i.e. if it's not a 'valve amp', its just not going to sound right (whatever sound right might mean ??).
    We develop as amp 'snobs', believing we HAVE to have a valve amp to have any credibility as guitarists, to achieve the holy grail of tone supremacy.

    I have a valve amp at present - which has some clever transistor tone shaping technology in it - as far as I know. It's a Blackstar HT40 Club. It's not a modeling amp, but does have a bit of variety in tone.
    I actually like this amp for its clean channel. I like the 'Fenderish' clean I can get. I just like the sound of it.
    I've owned many many amps over my 47 years of playing guitar, both transistor and valve amps. I must admit in the past, to having been driven to a certain extent on what music media have said was the amp to have - which has usually been some form of valve amp. If 'so and so' plays a XYZ amp, then that is what you need to have . . . kind of belief.

    As you rightly point out, technology has moved on. Later model transistor amps do deliver fantastic tone - not all, but most do an excellent job, and I think blind testing, a lot of guitar players would be hard pressed to pick between solid state and valve tone. As long as the 'feel' or feedback to the player is present, I wouldn't be able to reliably tell which was solid state versus valve. They either sound right to you - or they don't. Simple.

    I've played through a Frontman 212, and thought it was a brilliant amp. It delivers Fender clean tone. Thats what it's good at. It's not a Metal players amp IMHO. It is for old crocks like you and me perhaps, but they are certainly great amps, and many are played in pubs and clubs around the world by working musicians, and they don't break !! Solid state is reliable.

    I'm still a bit tempted by the Fender Mustang series of amps - just for their very credible replication of old Fender design amps - for clean to warm overdrive sounds. They are great value IMHO. All totally solid state. I have no idea about HOW they achieve what they do tone wise, but they seem to have got 'copying' of the old favourite Fender amps sorted to my aging ears.
    All power to solid state designers and engineers. It is the way of the future.

  19. Boblets

    Boblets Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2008
    Brisbane Australia
    As a fellow old crock I have to say that my Made in Japan Fender Stage Lead 2x12 SS amp has been a great amp since I bought it new in 1988. I have a Laney LC30 valve amp which is pretty good and the Fender amp sounds good as well.

    As I rarely use distortion I am very happy with the clean sound of my trusty old Fender amp. The speakers are starting to buzz a bit with age so may need replacing but I think the amp is worth buying some new speakers.

  20. lostpick

    lostpick Tele-Afflicted

    That is why some high end audio systems use
    Solid state to drive the low end and tubes for
    Mids and treble...

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