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Amp Conundrum

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by RPtele64, Apr 2, 2021.

  1. RPtele64

    RPtele64 TDPRI Member

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    Background:

    So, I have a 64 AV reissue tele. Love playing it, and mainly like working between the 7th and 17th frets. Don't get me wrong, I can and will use the whole neck and bang out chords, but my playground if you will is lead line and note flavorings in that area.

    So here is the deal. ALL of the playing I am doing right now is at home. Mostly through a little Yamaha THR practice amp. It sounds okay enough, and some of the features and EQ are neat. I really like it because I can bluetooth in backing tracks or my Spotify daily mix (random songs each day) and then play lead guitar over those songs.

    I also have a mid to late 1960s National guitar amp. It is all original tubes and everything. It has three inputs (guitar sounds just a little different in each one) and a volume knob. That. Is. It. I am guessing it is in the 10 watt range, but couldn't tell you for sure. It is a cool and rare amp. When I started my electric guitar journey about a year and a half ago (after playing acoustics off and on for a couple of decades), I bought it from my neighbor across the street. He is the lead guitarist for a famous national band... He has an insane collection of guitars and amps and was in the process of selling this one and I bought it.

    So here is the deal:

    The National Amp just doesn't sound great with my tele plugged straight into it. I have to back the treble from the guitar way back or it gets super harsh and ice picky.... but doing that kind of muddies up the lower notes. It is a crazy response amp and the slightest change in pick attack can really alter the volume and sound of the note.

    I've had new amp fever for awhile and really was wanting a Vox AC15C1. I have watched a million videos on YouTube and like the sound of them with a tele... but now I am wondering if that is too much amp for playing around the house. I have young kids and a lot of the playing I do is early in the morning before they get up or after they go to bed.

    So then I was thinking maybe an AC10 would be better... but then I hear it only has the Top Boost channel and doesn't take pedals well.

    I care about good tone (who doesn't) and would love to get that Vox/Tele tone in something that isn't going to wake the kids and piss off the neighbors, but then could also maybe work for a small bar gig too (if that ever happens).

    Man, I guess my question is this:

    1. Do I buy some pedals and try to "tame" my National amp (like a compressor pedal or something like that, and an overdrive so I can get some grit at lower volumes), or do I buy a new amp? If I buy a new amp, which one should I get? the 10? 15? Something else??????

    And if I buy pedals, what kind should I get? Compressor? Eq?

    Feeling so confused and torn over what to do....

    Any and all advice is appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. RPtele64

    RPtele64 TDPRI Member

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    Pedals I had in mind as a starting place:

    - Strymon Compadre or Wampler Ego compressor pedal
    - Timmy Overdrive
    - Reverb???????????????
     
  3. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    For a while I was using an early ‘60s Ampeg Jet. Volume and tone knob. Similar Tele tone challenges as you described. I was able to make the amp much more useful by adding a MXR eq; a HOF reverb; a Carbon Copy. The amp provided its own overdrive. I think you go for it.
     
  4. RPtele64

    RPtele64 TDPRI Member

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    Go for pedals and taming?
     
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  5. Chupacabra

    Chupacabra Tele-Meister

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    Helix and powercab. Done.

    You're welcome.
     
  6. Bob M

    Bob M Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yup.
     
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  7. no doz

    no doz Tele-Meister

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    Compressor pedal would definitely help squash and even out some of your amps dynamics. An EQ pedal could help you isolate and tame the harsh high end frequencies you're hearing as well. Those two in conjunction with your guitar knobs can probably get you where you're trying to go. This is the most affordable option and if it doesn't work you can always recoup some of the cost and purchase a new amp after. It also helps eliminate some of the concerns around a new amp from the equation for the time being.
     
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  8. swervinbob

    swervinbob Tele-Afflicted

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    I say just keep practicing with the THR and figure out your live rig. The Vox AC15C1 does have a master volume, but like any amp, you won’t know what you’ve got until you crank it some.
     
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  9. CCK1

    CCK1 Tele-Meister

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    Before spending big money, I'd try something like a MXR M108S EQ. Really powerful equalization, just over $100 new, way less used.
     
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  10. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    The Joyo AC Tone seems very popular on here - maybe that would give you that Vox flavour you're missing ?
    [edit] It's a pedal, of course .
     
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  11. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    If you want that vox sound, I would stick with your idea.
    You could even go to AC4 ish.
     
  12. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Buy the Vox AC10. It's a really good amp, good for playing at home, and big enough to jam or play with other people. You can find a used one for $300-350, and keep it forever. Forget that National amp, sell it on Reverb.
     
  13. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'll take a wild guess the OP does not want to spend $2,000....
     
  14. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    Pedals for sure. Good recommendations above. Maybe also have the amp looked over by a good tech? Since it was owned by a pro player, I would assume it's been well-maintained, but original tubes says maybe not.

    No idea what the value of the National would be if you tried to sell it, so no idea if modding it to tame the issues would be a good idea, but maybe worth asking.

    My first amp, in 1963 or 64, was a National, and I wish I still had it.
     
  15. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    Cheap check: Get an EQ pedal. See if you can tame the National. Start there.

    Or just sell it on Reverb. Buy the AC15C1. Gets you a great little amp, reverb, and tremolo. Also gets you a boost channel. Add a boost pedal for more smiles.

    if you keep the National, get a reverb pedal. It will make you smile. Also get an overdrive pedal or two. More smiles. Clones work.
     
  16. ArcticWhite

    ArcticWhite Tele-Afflicted

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  17. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    New amp. Maybe something with attenuation/half-power options. My Orange Rocker 15 Terror can run at 15-7-1-0.5 watts, and it sounds good at all of those settings (since I love it, great at full power). A V1 VOX Night Train is a sweet chime clean tone and thunders up for some good old RAWK.
     
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  18. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    If you want a Vox, get an AC. In general, they aren't known to take pedals well, it's just a thing you have to accept.
    I think the AC15 is a better choice than the 10 simply because it's so close in price (and weight) and is more gig friendly. I understand you're just playing at home, but a cranked 15w amp isn't normally overkill in a residential neighborhood with more than 4' between houses as long as its daylight. And it doesn't have to be dimed to get useful sounds at any rate.

    I'd give a few amps a test run in stores.

    An EQ pedal, or a drive pedal with some eq as part of its thing may help with the National. Nothing wrong with getting the vox and getting the National to be useful as well.
     
  19. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    ALL original? as in original filter caps etc.?

    Before you go jonesing around after this that & the other thing, get that national serviced--it doesn't take too many components drifting to muck up an amp's frequency response.

    my 84 "all original" super-champ was ice-picky with a 2001 prs santana se with the stock pickups; replacing the bypass caps really helped. well, semi all-original, guy i bought it from had retubed it with some sweet nos models, but you get the idea.

    Now . . . there could be other problems/circumstances, like the national's circuit is just designed to let those frequencies through, BUT either check it out or get it checked, is what i'd do.

    OR, you could start playing nothing but Albert Collins

    @Marc Morfei , op took your advice: https://reverb.com/item/39725764-national-unknown-late-1950s-or-early-1960s
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
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  20. standup

    standup TDPRI Member

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    How big is the speaker in the National? If it’s an 8” speaker you might get drastically better tone by dropping a 10” in there if it will fit, or running a 12” in an external cabinet.
     
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