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Am I hanging onto my big amps because they're a security blanket?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by chris m., Nov 30, 2020.

  1. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    About a week ago everyone in my family was away so I did the approximately quarterly project of pulling out all my tube amps, plugging into them, playing them, listening to how wonderful they are, and cranking them all up into their sweet zone. At the moment I have four great amps:

    - Fender Musicmaster Bass amp-- two 6V6, cathode biased, 12" Eminence Red Fang alnico speaker. 12W I think. Great sounding amp, but doesn't get very loud at all....but I've gigged with it plenty.

    - Fender Rivera era SuperChamp-- 18W I think, original OEM EV speaker, lots of great sounds in it but can be a little "boxy" since it's a small enclosure. Sounds huge when I run it through an open back two 12" cabinet I happen to have.

    - Orange AD50-- amazing head, also sounds amazing through 2 12" cab. Handwired goodness, can run in 50W AB mode or 30W Class A. Super loud. My favorite heavy-sounding amp for when I wanna just blast Led Zep, AC/DC and that kind of stuff-- get my yeah yeahs out.

    - '72 Super Reverb, black faced, original CTS alnicos. Amazing sounding amp. Arguably the best sounding amp I've ever owned for the kind of music I like to play. I usually bring it into the studio but last studio time I did I just used the SuperChamp and it was great.

    Here's the thing, though. For most gigs I take the SuperChamp. I can mike it to FOH, and its volume is great for stage monitoring myself. My last big gig was a pretty big festival and I plunked it down on the stage, the sound guy put an SM57 or something in front of it, and I was good to go.

    So why do I even keep the AD50 and SR anymore? Here are some reasons:

    1) I probably would lose money on the sale, or at best break even.

    2) Selling big amps is a bit of a hassle....not that easy to just pop in the mail like a pedal or a guitar.

    3) They really do sound amazing. These are the kinds of amps that I could only dream of having as a kid, and now I own them.

    4) Once in awhile I actually do use them at gigs.

    5) If for some reason I ever needed to replace them it would probably cost me at least double what I originally paid for them. But I probably would never need to replace them....

    6) I'm lazy. The status quo is just easier.

    Here are reasons to let them go:

    1) I barely actually play them.
    2) They are pretty dang loud so only really are viable at larger outdoor situations.
    3) They take up space in my house.
    4) Someone else might actually use them more often than I do.
    5) With the two smaller amps I own, combined with dirt pedals, I can get all the sounds I need.
    6) The two big amps are getting close to the time when they may soon be needing a cap job....if I didn't own them anymore than it wouldn't be my problem or my expense.
    7) Every time I crank them up I'm probably hastening the day when I will need a hearing aid, although I do try to limit my exposure time.
    8) They are pretty heavy, and the resultant increased hassle with load-in/load-out is why they tend to stay at home most of the time when I have a gig to play....even when I'm not worried about stage volume level.

    Am I just another guitar playing Baby Boomer who has no good reason to keep his loud, big tube
    amps, but does it anyway, maybe as some kind of expensive security blanket? I feel like the guy who has a huge F350 that actually gets used once or twice a year and the rest of the time just sits there.
     
  2. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Yep same here.

    I have cut down some but I sold a 4x10 half stack a few years ago that I never gigged with and felt some sort of attachment that if I ever did play a big outdoor concert I would want it.
     
    Cali Dude likes this.
  3. JRapp

    JRapp Tele-Holic

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    I have two big amps--a '72 VT22 and a '69 VT40. I play outdoor festivals on occasion where the backline is usually Blooze Devilles, Blues Jrs, etc., RI Twins, with the usual lousy monitor mix. No thanks. I play with a pretty clean tone and need some bigger iron to get some fidelity. Well, the VT 40 is what I'll be using in future...you need to move some air on an outdoor stage.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2020
  4. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    If you don't need the extra money or space, then they're just as good at your house than anywhere else. I get #4, but it's not like the amp cares if it's being played or not. It's not a living thing.

    Might as well keep it until you actually need to get rid of it.
     
  5. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    For me, it would be status quo and fear. I have some great amps, and I'd be terrified that I would regret letting any of them go so much so that I would be completely miserable. That and laziness. I picked up a non-powered Kemper Profiler a little over a year ago to try out, and I'm somewhat embarrassed to say, I haven't played any of my amps in the time I've had it. It is totally a convenience thing, and also because I can get the sound and feel I want at a conversational level. Although, it feels much better the louder you make it, kind of like a real tube amp.
     
    DannyJustQuit likes this.
  6. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I keep them because they are truly something that I think is worth more than the money you could get for them. For at home playing they are great to have- I never play my super champ but I play a twin or super daily
     
    Fiesta Red likes this.
  7. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

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    Chris m: I know how you feel. I've lost count of how many times this big lump of sonic magnificence has got to within one button push for Ebay. But no, I can't do it, even though I can barely lift the damn thing these days. Burman 100W head. 20200726_102052.jpg
     
  8. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    Here is how I test myself:

    Might I wake up screaming with regret over something I cannot find again? This is why my Martin will be sold by my executor

    if I had the cash in my hand today, and was offered the amp for what I could get for it, would I buy? This test has seen me sell dozens of things over the past few years. I don't throw them away, I list them at a price I wouldn't buy them for. Almost everything I ever listed has gone, apart from my gibson - and that is because I am asking too much
     
    AlbertoMilanese likes this.
  9. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've got three 'stupid loud' amps:
    • highly modified Marshall 2204'ish head
    • ~67 Super Reverb
    • highly modified AB165 Bassman head
    I've got so much time invested in the Marshall head, and it's really mostly just a full custom build at this point, so I'll never get much money for it. It sounds so glorious when cranked up that it's really the only way to use it. I guess I've kind of accepted that it's like the equivalent of a dragster or funny car, so there's simply limited opportunities (e.g. almost zero right now) when I'll actually use it.

    I wanted a SR for years and years, so when I had the chance to get one, about 7 or so years ago, I wasn't going to pass on it. I found a clean one, but w/o speakers or tubes. I've got decent tubes in it, but the speakers part remains a work in progress. Even w/o the right speakers, it's just a great amp. Even if I could get good money for it (which I doubt I could), I don't think I'd sell it. Maybe if another decade goes by and I still don't have the right speakers in it, only then I might think of selling it.

    My Bassman head is beat to crap, but I've put a lot of TLC into it over the past 3 or 4 years that I've had it. Through a 2X12 cab with WGS ET65s, it's simply pure rock n roll. It's one of the best sounding amps I've ever had, despite having no 'verb or trem. And even with just a pair of (RI) Tung-Sol 5881s, it's capable of getting really loud. It just sounds too good for me to even think about letting it go.

    Long story short for me - I don't think anyone other than me is going to find as much value in those three amps, so even though they mostly sit, it just wouldn't make sense to sell them. As far as them taking up space that could be used for something else, I always tend to get other gear, so they're actually preventing me from doing that!
     
  10. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    If I were to sell the two bigger amps, for bigger outdoor gigs where I wanted to push some more air I could just bring the two 12" cab and plug the SuperChamp into that. It really does sound big that way. I've also heard it through a 4 x 12" Marshall Cab and that sounds epic, too. It's kind of like an early Boogie-- like a Princeton on steroids in a lot of ways, I guess. The only thing that holds it back from sounding loud and proud like a true "big amp" is its little combo cabinet, really.....but through the two 12" cab I can very easily get it so loud that I fear damaging my hearing even for short durations.....
     
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
  11. Shango66

    Shango66 Friend of Leo's

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    I like to take my big tubes to rehearsal.
    Smaller tubes or Solid state to gigs.
    Keeps most in rotation.
     
  12. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe.

    I’ve pretty much kept all the amps I ever bought.

    I bought them for a reason. When I have a gig (God, let there be gigs) I have a choice. It is wonderful and what I always wanted.
     
  13. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I know there may come a day when I start weeding out the real big amps and keep the smaller SS amps for an occasional gig. But that day hasn't happened yet. So for now, I would rather live happy owning these amps rather than die sad regretting the day I sold them.
     
  14. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    11 Gauge, we sound like two brothers from different mothers.....I feel you, my friend.
     
  15. Twang Deluxe

    Twang Deluxe Tele-Holic

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    IMHO I would sell the big amps. I once had a 1977 SuperTwin Reverb. It was heavy and too loud for 99% of my gigs. At home it was even more useless. It was also hissy and noisy and it would have cost hundreds of € to fix it.

    In the next years many great amp techs from the baby boomer generation will retire and in future it will become difficult to find someone who will fix a tube amp at reasonable price.

    My Vox Pathfinder 15R and my TMDR are all I need
     
  16. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Got a JMP 50W half stack next to me a Mesa MKIIb behind me. Better watch what say... keep it down... but I love those amps....
     
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  17. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    The only reason I don't hang on to every guitar and amp I ever bought is because I trade them toward the new things.
     
    Twelvefrets likes this.
  18. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    I still have the 68 Dual Showman Reverb and 65 Super Reverb because I don't want to give them away. I also still have a 71 Pro Reverb and a 66 Super Reverb in a 2x10 cabinet. All of these are too big for pretty much every gig I play either in size or volume.
     
  19. FenderLover

    FenderLover Poster Extraordinaire

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    Honestly, all of my 20W amps are also "too loud" for what I need any more, so it's just the fact that the bigger ones still make me happy and I can still play them any time I want, even if that ain't much.
     
  20. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Maybe Wally or someone knows the answer to this....I heard somewhere that vintage tube amps do need to be played periodically or that the caps will fail sooner. Is that true?

    This article isn't quite clear on the topic, but it seems that it might be saying that caps that sit are going to fail sooner than caps that are regularly used.

    https://www.premierguitar.com/artic...in the,interaction through the power supplies.

    The other reason I drag them out besides just enjoying playing through them is that for some reason there is mildew in my gear storage closet. They sit in there for a few months and when I pull them out they will have some little white spots growing on the Tolex. I get a mild detergent solution and wipe that gunk off. I live in dry southern California but for whatever reason this stuff tends to grow on Tolex and gig bag material when it sits in the dark for a few months. I figure the original source of the mildew was one of the vintage amps when I bought it in the first place, but for whatever reason it always crops up over time. Easy to control with a periodic wipe down, though. To kill it I should probably install UV lights in there or something.
     
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