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

under 500 bucks what's the best tube amp

Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by menace, Mar 29, 2013.

  1. Frodebro

    Frodebro Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Aug 17, 2012
    I like this response. $500 is kind of the "entry point" into the world of tube amps, but it can get you an awful lot if you look to the "other side". I have about a half dozen tube amps, and I also have a Yamaha THR10 and a Mustang III V2. If I were ampless and on that budget, the Mustang would definitely get the job done for me, and it gives you a bunch of different good effects and amp tones to play with as well.

  2. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    Around here, if you really look around at the local music stores, you can still find a Vox Valvetronix "VT series" amp; not the "ADxxVT series", but the newer VT30 for instance; a "Chromie" that I picked up NOS (new old stock) for 185 out the door, US. You can spot these across the store by the glaring "chrome" speaker grills contrasting against the common cloth speaker grill covers.

    Mine has been a good amp.

    You always take a chance buying an amp. That's why I'd buy a new one with a warranty.

    Any of this highly technical modern electronic equipment can mess up at any unspecified time. There are a lot of sophisticated components inside. Even the modern "all tube" amps have various levels of quality in their printed circuit boards and many of them have digital processing chips on them for reverb or other things.

    Beware the non-version 2 Fender Mustangs are very prone to have the highly undesirable and noncorrectable fault called "the snare drum sizzle"; a sound that rides on the decay of the notes. This is something you do not want. The Version 2 Mustangs have evidently addressed this problem and are way nicer amps. The Vox (+) series has a similar hardware/software defect that causes, often, an unwanted unsympathetic sound. I don't know why Vox doesn't get it together. The valvetronix amps have a lot of potential.

    One of those Roland Cube's, like the XL80 with a twelve inch speaker might be great and they cost under 400 US, if I'm not mistaken.

    I would not get a cheap Bugera so called "all tube" amp. It won't sound like a Fender Blues Junior or Deluxe Reverb, believe me. No offense to those that have them - I have a V22 that I'm figuring out what to do with.

    I'm not sure if a Bugera V22 would be a better choice than a solid state or digital amp like the Roland, but I seriously doubt it. You don't hear a lot of negative stuff about those Roland Cubes.

  3. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    It is initially cheaper, evidently, but then you have to pay duties and something called VAT. Does anyone know what "VAT" is?

    Plus I have heard that some of this stuff can sit around in Customs waiting for paperwork to get processed for longer than the time it takes to get shipped to the "States". I suppose I should call UPS or Thomann.

    Has anyone tried buying from Thomann and having it shipped to the US? The shipping rate is, in general a flat rate of 30 Euros, I believe. Plus duties and VAT, whatever that might amount to.

  4. savofenno

    savofenno Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 16, 2010
    The price of Ampeg GVT52-212 includes VAT, which you pay only if you live in Great Britain. In USA you have to pay 398 Euro plus shipping cost. There probably is some US import duty. I guess all it together can unfortunately bring Thomann`s original low price close to cheapest US prices. I saw some under 800, when i was reading recensions of this amp.
    Recensions and YouTube clips were favourable.

  5. plroad21

    plroad21 Tele-Meister

    Jul 1, 2010
    Charleston, SC
    Pro Junior all day long. Better yet, for $500, TWO used Pro Juniors. :D

  6. TelecasterSam

    TelecasterSam Tele-Holic

    Apr 25, 2003
    Or save just a little longer and get a Deluxe Reverb '65 Reissue......
    Also a good comment above about used amps. I try to buy new ones that haven't been abused. Every used tube amp I've had has had issues and I either put a lot of money into them or sold them at a loss. If I knew how to work on them, maybe it wouldn't have been such a problem.

  7. dnauheim

    dnauheim Tele-Meister

    Aug 5, 2009
    Egnator Tweaker 15 by a long shot.

  8. tele nutt

    tele nutt TDPRI Member

    Jul 1, 2012
    United States
    +1 on the Classic 30

  9. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    A new Classic 30 is 649 dollars at a big US internet place.
    This is a very cool and LOUD amp, stock. A lot of people would be very happy to own one of these. The "tweed" covering is fake; it is not cloth tweed fabric, it is vinyl or something. It looks very convincing though. Too bad it's not real tweed like the Fender's have.
    A Fender lacquered tweed Blues Junior available for 549 dollars from a very big US online retailer. This is real cloth tweed fabric with varnish on it.

  10. savofenno

    savofenno Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 16, 2010
    I got my Ampeg GVT52-212 home last week. As i told, i had to pay only 3455 Swedish krona for it when i bought it from Thomann in Germany to Sweden.
    It is 525 dollar, maybe current strong Swedish Krona makes it this cheap for us.
    Tone? It needs time to play in, but there is all power i ever need, channel 1 is really clean, and channel 2 produces everything from mild overdrive to screaming metal. It has only one built-in effect, reverb, but it is quite good.
    Others say it has it`s own unique tones, but to me channel 1 is Fender like and channel 2 not far from Marshall.:cool:
    Maybe i begin to hear it like others for time being.:D
    It is really an overkill for my modest needs, in volume and weight, it is as heavy as Twin Reverb.:oops:

    Attached Files:

  11. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    It's nice to have a very cool amp like that. I have a couple powerful amps. The new Marshall DSL100H head and the DSL40C combo that I was able to get Marshall to send me, brand new, to replace my Marshall JMD two twelve inch speaker combo that had to be repaired three times in about five or six months. I like the DSL40C very much.

    The Marshall JMD was a modeling amp with one hundred watts of EL34 power. It sounded great and had excellent effects, but to me, these days, it seems like dependability and repairability are two of my main concerns when I buy an amp.

    Your amp should be both dependable and repairable. It definitely looks like a nice amp, fun to crank now and then and rock the house.

    Good luck with it.

  12. savofenno

    savofenno Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 16, 2010
    Thanks! Luck seems to be in need when you purchase tube amps. GVT52-212 do definitely not sound harsh as brand new, only somewhat stiff. It`s dependability remains to be seen, i`ll keep my fingers crossed.:twisted:

  13. menace

    menace Tele-Meister

    Mar 3, 2012
    bakersfield, ca
    Well I found my tube amp for under 500 bucks got a old 60s silvertone that was missin tubes for 20 bucks bought missin tubes 15 bucks plugged it in ran it through my honer speakers and wahlah amp works and sounds great reverbs janky but shoot I got a badash 60s amp for 35 bucks

  14. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    The West
    I think people are really stretching when they say you can get a Bassman or Band Master head for $400-$500, especially one that doesn't need anyting.

    If I was in your position I'd go for a Blues Jr. or Pro Jr., and you'll even have money left over to throw in a different speaker if you want. Since you're on a budget I would go messing around with an old tube amp or head because unless you know what to look for, you could be getting yourself into a money pit, and at worst have an amp or a head that you can't afford to fix if something goes wrong with it.

    Edit/Disclaimer: I didn't read your last post! Can't go wrong for $35. I bought my '68 Band Master for $50 (yes, $50!!) but it needs a ton of work. Spent $200 already having a tech go through it and making sure it's solid and all original spec. Have to get one of the original C12NA's re-coned and then find a second speaker, then buy misc. hardware, tilt legs and new grill cloth, but all in all should be at around $500-$600 in the hole when it's all said and done.

  15. Il Duce

    Il Duce Tele-Holic

    Nov 11, 2013
    Congratulations! Why can't I ever run into deals like that!!!:D

  16. menace

    menace Tele-Meister

    Mar 3, 2012
    bakersfield, ca
    I really didn't think the amp was goin to work but I figured what's 15 bucks to find out



  17. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

    Oct 21, 2013
    Lot of great amps in this thread, I'll add these.
    Great pedal platform, 12w of super clean 6l6 with a 12" speaker. Put a TT 40/40 speaker in it, just killer a 30lb pedal platform. I run a pair of these in stereo/wet/dry.

    Then my little squank box with 8" hemp cone....

    Only amps I own now. Don't need anything else, want is another story. But amp gas never wins anymore, pedal gas that's doable with champs, they just clone any tone I feed them, little Ric' all it needs is a slapback delay and I'm happy as a pig in slop. Tone controls on my guitar, give me a 1 knob amp any day.

  18. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

    all of my tube amp collection was under 500... some new some used...

    a few small tube heads off fleabay for taking out to jams that don't get a lot of home use... and a Super 210, a mate brought around for sale @450 I grabbed it..

    a large oldish US Fender tube amp..mmkk, cool... should make my fenders sound like fenders..I'll grab it.... no idea what it was worth, seemed like a good price...;)

    I've been playing it in the lounge room for a few years now.. it's a frikken truck, quiet as a mouse, roars when turned up.... an immovable object d'noise..... and sounds sweet as with new caps/tubes..... :)

    I doubt whether I'll ever buy any more amps for me....

  19. teleman55

    teleman55 Tele-Holic

    Jul 9, 2007
    fox lake, il
    Congratulations Menace! Those are killer amps! I used to have one of those amps. Wish I still did some times. They originally came paired with a 2x12 cabinet, open backed. You see those on big time stages sometimes. I've seen Jack White using one, and a guitar player for LeAnn Rimes a few years ago.

  20. Duffy

    Duffy Tele-Holic

    Here is a really good deal on an a$$ kicking all tube, lots of tubes, losts of gain stages, high gain amp for 422 right now on sale at the following big internet place, see link

    This is a super loud, but can be played at low volume, amp with sixty loud tube watts and high gain, separate presence and resonance knobs for each channel and essentially a third channel when you press the "crunch" button on the so-called clean channel. It does not really have a super clean channel and it is capable of very high gain without any pedals. The sale price is really excellent. I have one of these and it is a great high gain amp and works really well with all my guitars, especially certain ones like the LP with a Dimarzio SuperDistortion bridge humbucker.

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