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Discussion in 'Glowing Bottle Tube Amp Forum' started by theprofessor, May 13, 2019.
Where are you looking? Fender, Vox, Marshall and Mesa offer tons.
I get the small amp thing and why it's attractive to some people. At the end of the day big amps sound different and that's enough for me to still take a Twin over a Princeton.
My first map was a Vibrolux and I still have and love it. I have a couple BF Champs and if my kid didn't use them in his bedroom I probably would have sold them a while ago (I think I paid $100-$200 for them in 93/94).
A 20 watt Marshall is a cool idea, but I guess I'm just old in that I come from the time where having the 50-100 stuff and actually playing a lot was the norm.
I guess with the low wattage stuff you can fit more in a picture for the forums.
It is amazing seeing Blackface Champs selling for $1000+
I see that and I think "I should've bought 5 of them fifteen years ago"....
Good gawd, this is getting ridiculous.
Seriously? Who will lead this backlash? Jonas Brothers?
Some millennial or younger:
"You know what? I'm tired of being spoiled with having the world literally at my fingertips. Those guitarists in the 70s really had it right. They moved air. That's what it's all about. Let's spend thousands on amps we can't play, store, or move. I'll just need to move out of my tiny apartment, buy a house with a basement. Before that I'll need to get a high paying job. Before that I need to pay off my school loans. Before that I'll need to go to school. Can't wait to have those old Marshalls, though. We're gonna rock the world like it was meant to be rocked!! Let's instagram everyone and tell them EDM is dead!"
We're talking about live music at least 40 years ago. It was only about 10 years between Are You Experienced and Van Halen I. In 2019 it's been 10 years since, what, Prince was still alive? Janet Jackson's last superbowl disaster? It's been longer than 10 years since Tool's last album. That's an entire generation of listeners. Anybody else to their level take up the baton during the meantime? GVF? Adam Jones still plays through multiple stacks. He can afford to, and his band can play in places that allow for that. They are an extremely popular, world known entity that 's been around since the early 90s. What younger band is gonna be able to do that? AC/DC?
40 years of technological advancement. It's an anomaly that tube circuitry is even used at all in the audio/music realm. At least we have small, portable tube amps now. Good luck waiting for the world to embrace heavy and bulky outdated gear.
And old heavy analog PA equipment? Seriously? We're mourning the loss of that now? Wow.
Greta Van Fleet is your backlash. You ok with that?
I don't mind change, I just like things the way there were.
There's no harm in owning large amps. What, are they too expensive? Not really. The old car market is still very strong, but there's no reason to own one. They are no less desirable. Vinyl records and old stereo gear are making a long steady comeback due to millennial interest. Vinyl is impractical for many reasons, but their fans will not give them up. Rightfully so. If Twin Reverbs eventually sells for what they are worth I wouldn't be surprised. They can still be enjoyed either way.
Common commodity, uh huh. I bet it wasn’t a few gallons of milk.
I think you miss the point all together. There is no need for a majority of people that have bought one of these types of amps to do so. But tons of people have. This means saturated market in big amp. All because impulse purchases by players who are buying way outside of their needs.
To flip this, are you saying if I went and bought a 2019 Professional Strat it would be a better guitar than a 1956 strat? Because of technological advancements?
Adding more to that, why would that 56 cost me several thousand? Because this is what the market demands due to there not being a lot of them out there.
When a bunch of mediocre guitarist buy professional grade equipment this is what happens.
BTW at 35 I'd be about the oldest a milliennial could be(and I am a milliennial) and I have made my living mainly as a session player. I have shared the stage and studio with acts ranging from Billy Joel to bands like Seether and everything in between and currently I teach post production at CRAS.
I also now think this is why people from the industry stay away from these types of places. I probably will now too.
Just a few days here and im blown away by the amount of experts around. I get everyone has an opinion but to insert it as factually when you've never played a show of more than a couple hundred people is mind numbing to listen to. I wonder how I was ever able to work in this field with such level of competition out there.
It’s not that people don’t appreciate big amps, just that they don’t have the need for them.
Vinyl records are a thing. But you know what isn't? Old turntable consoles. That's what compare huge tube amps to. They can be had for pennies on the dollar. The only people interested in them are tube radio and amp guys, and once they fix them up they can't get rid of them. Apart from the rich mid-century modern neighbor, not a lot of milennials listening to vinyl on this. Can't fit in their live-in vans.
The people who want that stuff will be dead by then. Kids these days don’t care. We are like coal miners. Yeah, you still need some, but fewer and fewer all the time.
Yeah, no one is collecting those. Turntables and old Kenwoods, Pioneers, Marantz, McIntosh. There's your market. Vinyl is pretty big here. You might also be surprise to hear the hot housing market is hugely driven by millennials right now. Not too many living in vans.
Not trying to offend anyone. Just injecting some reality. Guitars have not changed dramatically in size, weight, and function. That's not the issue at all. We're talking about amps. Electric guitars need amps to be heard. What they don't need is huge, heavy, and loud amps. Big, loud, and heavy served a purpose. That purpose is becoming obsolete in many ways. They remain used by players who still want that sound, and either have the place to store them and/or play them. The biggest amps are not holding their value, and are getting harder to sell. That's a fact.
Being in a professional environment, as you say, your amount of expertise and experience may be rare, in comparison to the vast amount of guitar players. Apart from a few small practice amps, years ago the only amps available were larger. That was less a problem, because PA systems were inadequate, and live drums and horns were the norm. That is changing. Less guitarists need big amps now. It's not that they aren't desirable. It's that increasingly players are inclined to focus their hard earned cash elsewhere. Why is that so hard to imagine? Seems pretty logical to me.
But I disagree that this is only because non-professional folks have bought up amps they can't use. I think they're the ones not buying them, and the folks that no longer can justify their use are having a tougher time off loading them.
Don't go away. Differences of opinions is what keeps the forum alive.
I find value in your experience and hope that you are willing to continue adding your perspective to a forum that largely consists of bedroom/basement players.
Maybe big amps are hard to sell now not so much because of stage volume limits and changing tastes but because in-person retail has declined and big amps are hard to ship. You have to list them for less knowing it will cost $150 or $200 to get it to a buyer.
The funny thing is that the #1 thing i see mostly newbies pine for over at the TGP page is PLEXI's! The loudest amp around.
Just noting that a Brownface Deluxe or Princeton in comparable condition to its larger siblings - Pro, Concert, Tremolux and even Bassman - will command similar asking prices these days of $2500-3000.
I will add, as an aside, some prices on used boutique gear has not even risen with inflation since about 1998 when it began coming on the used market - a tweed Victoria Twin as just one example would've fetched $1500. That's about the same it goes for now. And that's just one example - American Standard Strats were about $600 used in 1998 - that's about what they are now.
I suspect there are also 100,000 more USA Strats made since then, if not more. 1000 more boutique twins. Supply and demand. But that's crazy not to even go up with inflation. And if you build amps you also know the cost of the parts and the time and skill that goes into them.
I think prices change with things that happen on internet too - no one really wanted a Brown Deluxe in 1998. A $650 amp then. People did want a tweed Deluxe.
But word comes out that ZZ Top recorded with it and that legitimizes it and now they get $3000 for what is a nice amp, but didn't get there because of the way it does or doesn't sound.
I don't think those old consoles are very good comparison to large tube guitar amps, they're ugly (with the exception of actual mid-century modern cabinets which your picture is not) and Lo-Fi (at least by the standards of stereo nerds).
No one thinks the big old tube amps are ugly or bad sounding just that they're inconvenient.
A better comparison would be the component tube stereo equipment that came after those consoles which, as Fender Lover points out, enjoys a pretty strong niche market, because the Hi-Fi geeks think they look and sound good even if they are inconvenient and expensive to maintain.
I really like my big amps-- Orange handwired AD50 with 2z12 cab and blackfaced '72 Fender Super Reverb with original CTS alnico speakers. However, I find I mostly take my two small amps to gigs because
of volume issues and easier portability-- Fender MMB with 12" Red Fang and original '82 SuperChamp with OEM 10" EV speaker. I doubt I will sell my big amps anytime soon because I occasionally still gig with them,
and as mentioned they would be hard to sell. I do think that cutting big combo amps down to head plus maybe a single 12" cab makes a lot of sense. Although you'd have to spend money on cabinets (unless you do
cabinet building as a hobby) it might still be cheaper than buying a Princeton Reverb to take something like a Twin Reverb and turn it into a head and then pull out one speaker and make a cabinet with it.
The big amps have such a richer sound and fuller spread...as long as I can turn the volume up above about 2 they still sound really good. But we play these tiny venues with hard surfaces and so I even have trouble
getting my puny little MMB and SuperChamp up into their sweet spots sometimes. Whenever we play outdoors then I can bring the bigger amps and don't have to worry about volume.
I finally sold my beloved Marshall JCM800 1x12 combo because it was a beast and I wasn't really using it too much. But boy what a sound it had. I didn't get nearly the $$ for it I would have liked, but decided to
unload it anyway. Two reasons-- as mentioned price on heavy amps has softened and I had two choices-- either lose a lot to shipping/handling or sell on consignment at local used gear shop. I went for the convenience
of selling on consignment, so the shop took its share. The other reason I sold it was that my Orange gets similar wonderful overdrive tones but even better cleans to my ears so the Marshall was a bit redundant for me.
Might be an age related issue, too. Older players are the ones that buy most of the gear. Young musicians are often broke and play whatever they can get. Declining bodies, less active, and simply unwilling to carry a heavier amp even if it sounds better. Since older players spend the money, their preference drives market value.
I have a couple different regular gigs, presently. One is a high end wedding/corporate event band through a high end PA system through IEM with a modern sound - lots of board compression, board effects. I use a Helix for that and it is a great tool for the job. All the neatly pre-packaged tones are right there, ready for the board. But it's not musically satisfying to play this way.
Fortunately, I also do the house guitar spot for a local legend R&B singer that hosts a jam session, which is my musical outlet. He commands a large following and like to play loud. I use a SF Twin or Bandmaster Reverb in a 2x12 cab as even my Victoria Bassman gets lost. That gig is LOUD. There are still some loud gigs out there, THANK GOD. There is nothing like a cranked tube amp and hearing that bounce through the room, no IEM, the ambiance of a loud club gig, the dynamics. The power of a tone is lost in low volume situations, and missing from the neatly pre-packaged tones have taken their place, via modelers, or small amps with pedals.
I'd never crank my amps this loud at home. So I think some of the posters above who just don't get it probably don't have the pleasure of playing in those situations. Boss Katana is probably great for them.
I also doubt Hendrix would have done most of what he did if not playing in front of a couple of cranked, daisy chained Plexi stacks. I can't say I've ever experienced this but I'm sure that it would be phenomenal, inspiring, and bring out different things in my playing. Sure, I can do that in my Helix, and the recorded product may sound pretty similar, but playing the Helix at controlled volumes is not going to be the same experience, not even close.
Our current gear fads are small tube amps with pedals, and modelers. Big amps are not "in". But eventually things will come around, they always do. It will take the young kids to do it though. And these millenials are so hooked on screens, comfort, and inactivity that they might be no different than the baby boomers when it comes to lugging them around. So maybe it won't ever come around. In that case, the only way you'll be able to play loud is if you are enough of a draw that the venue will allow you to.
Practicality, portability, and "tone" aside.....
There's no way that this:
Will ever be as cool as this:
Rock music is big, loud, and absurd and is served best by equipment that reflects that