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Amp Conundrum

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

  1. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    I bought the mini Helix, or whatever it’s called. Traded it in for an Orange head. Better grit than anything I found on the Line 6 board.
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Many players spend years and $$$$$ trying to make an amp do something it wasn't designed to do. This includes speakers and circuit modifications as well as pedals. Same goes for amp tone you dislike: if the tone controls on the amp cannot get you into the happy zone, why keep the thing just because it's "cool?"

    Ditch it and go try as many amps as you can. Do not get the first one that speaks to you. Instead, remember what that one was like (record it if possible) so you have something to compare other amps to.

    There are also plenty of players who enjoy buying and selling amps, pedals, and guitars. That's a hobby unto itself, without even playing much. I know plenty of players that spend more time fiddling around with gear than actually playing guitar.

    Nothing wrong with that at all...but be honest with yourself up front and you'll be a lot happier down the road. And probably have more $$$$$ left over too.
     
  3. SomeGuyNamedRob

    SomeGuyNamedRob Tele-Meister

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    If you've got the money for a head and cab set up, get the Vox AC15CH. The head has a built-in attenuator that goes down to 1/5th of a watt. I have one and it gives me all the cranked Vox tobes at levels that I can jam to with my boy sleeping in the room next to me.

    Honestly Vox should add this feature to their AC15 and AC10 combos.
     
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  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    You play at home. An AC4 has built in half watt attenuation - it doesn't have Top Boost. AC15 is 70lbs and freakin loud. AC10s are actually great little amps and not too much $$_. You can make any guitar work with any amp.

    A Princeton Reverb is probably a good choice a round but still pretty loud.
     
    Marc Morfei likes this.
  5. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think that an all-tube vox amp is a great solution for low volume, at home practicing - I don't think mine sounds very special at those volumes, it needs to be pushed a little to open up. My version of the THR10 is the "C" version which has a very nice AC30 setting that I use more than any others.

    As for the National, I'm sure it's filled with amazing mojo, but it also sounds like you don't like it - so sell it! Your neighbor got rid of it, too.

    So in your shoes, I would either get the THR10C or one of the new gen Yamahas that still has the AC30 emulation (not sure that exists), and then spend the rest of your money on a giggable amp. The 5-10 watt tube amps are great at a certain volume level, but that level seems to always be much too loud for quiet at-home practice, but not enough to comfortable gig with.
     
  6. richiek65

    richiek65 Friend of Leo's

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    I recently sold my AC15C2, was my gigging amp but I've hung up my shoes and it was too hard to tame for home use. As mentioned above, it really does need a certain level of volume to really come alive. Great amp though!

    This leaves me with my THR5, which is great for cleans but not so good for smooth creamy overdrive in my experience.

    I considered an AC10, still may head down that path but now I'm leaning towards a Tone Master DR for its attenuation capabilities.

    I also considered a Helix or similar but I'm not good with menus and patches etc, I just want to plug and play (still got my pedal board). I think this will give me the low volume I mainly need with the ability to occasionally crank up.

    Just clearing a million bills then will see if there's any play money left over for a TMDR
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
    Old Smokey likes this.
  7. Lance Morgan

    Lance Morgan TDPRI Member

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    The Vox AC 15 with 12” speaker is a great amp. Mine takes OCD, clean boost, and EQ and doesn’t need more. I have a Greenback in it, and it’s sweet at low volume.

    Cranked of course is the bomb.

    You can find them for $350-450.

    It’s a great rig with a tele, strat, or LP. Best of luck.
     
  8. northernguitar

    northernguitar Friend of Leo's

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    Admittedly, I don’t use the lower watt settings. I have my amps running to a loadbox and then to a cab sim for IEM/headphones use. They always run at their sweet spot. However, without all this gadgetry, I’d run the Orange at lower output levels and would be quite happy.
     
  9. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I'd personally do two things right away. Have the National serviced by a knowledgeable technician, who will tweak it into its proper glory. Second, get a multi-effects pedal. Multi-effects lets you emulate at both bedroom levels, and also provide the EQ, and compression that your amp can't, at higher levels. You'll need to budget a whole weekend with the multi-effects, to learn the menus, sort thru the options, experiment, select, and tweak the patches you want to save and enjoy.

    PS - forgot, if you still don't like the National after its seen a tech, time to sell it. Some amps just don't have it, even if we think they are a) vintage, b) cool, c) others think they are great, d) endorsed by magician artists, e) cost a lot.
     
  10. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    My AC15 is better for home playing that my Deluxe Reverb, but as others have said, it really sounds best when you can get the master Volume up past 1 o clock. That being said, I gigged with it for about 5 years and my Tele is one of the few guitars I have that sounds just as good through the Vox as it does through the DR. It really is a great sound. If I were looking for one today, I might check out the AC10 or even that little Vox with the mini tubes that looks like a little Beatles stack.
     
  11. palethorn

    palethorn TDPRI Member

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    Tele and AC10C1 owner writing, this combination is awesome.
     
  12. Captdan61

    Captdan61 TDPRI Member

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    Keep the national! Buy a goldtop les Paul.
     
  13. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    I wouldn't look for pedals to 'tame' your National. I would look for a tube amp that gets great tone at lower volumes.
     
  14. nedorama

    nedorama Tele-Meister

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    Component values drift over time; electrolytic capacitors dry out and can burst, and speakers can wear out.

    Find a competent amp tech in your area and take the amp to them to diagnose. It will be a lot less than $1000 to fix and get a great tone for your amp.

    From one of the pictures, it looks like someone already modded the amp to have a speaker out jack that the current 1x8 is wired to. I'd try hooking the amp up to a 1x12 cab to first see if the speaker's the problem. People are disappointed by Fender Champs all the time, until they hook it up to a larger speaker...

    Do not bother getting pedals. I guarantee the tone you want is in this amp, but for a 61 year old amp they need maintenance. It's worth it.
     
  15. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey Tele-Meister

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    Having a cool amp that you don't love is a bummer. Most people buy those old vintage 5W practice amps so they can crank the hell out of them and do Led Zeppelin or whatever. If that's not your thing, you'd be better off with a more fully featured amp with 12" speaker, higher headroom, EQ, onboard reverb and tremolo, etc.

    Also, since you are playing at home, don't feel any shame in exploring overdrive pedals. There are some very good ones out there that are easy to dial in. Getting great tube amp overdrive tone with guitar straight into amp, playing at home, is a pain in the ass (and the ears). That's why there is a thread about it every week.
     
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  16. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What volumes are you playing?

    Any amp that is "giggable" will have a speaker that is at least 93 db sensitivity. Meaning it produces 93 db of sound when fed only 1w of power. That is motorcycle level in your house.

    So if most of your home playing is at 75w (vacuum cleaner) or less (normal to loud TV volume) any giggable amp or honestly tube amp is going to be hard to optimize at those volumes. Many here will tell you otherwise. But at those volumes, even a live amp with a master volume is just not moving the speaker, the circuit is barely engaged, etc. I am convinced people who say otherwise have never honestly investigated how loud they play at home. I suppose I could be mistaken.

    I don't know which THR you have. But if it's a 10 you already have a top 5 solution for playing at home. Others include: Boss MicroCube, Katana 100 head (internal speaker), Positive Grid Spark. All digital. All with small, inefficient speakers tuned to simulate "air" at low volumes. The THR10 at least has a Vox model and it's pretty darn convincing sound and feel for a breathing AC15/30 live.
     
  17. Old Smokey

    Old Smokey Tele-Meister

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    I thought this was an interesting video, you may find this info useful:

     
  18. shovel80

    shovel80 TDPRI Member

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    If the national is Truly Stock...It probably needs a tune up from an amp tech....replacing capacitors, tubes, checking other components etc.
    Terry
     
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  19. zeke54

    zeke54 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    +1 on the V1 Night Train . One of my favorite 15-20 watt amps .
     
  20. warchol

    warchol TDPRI Member

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    It's 60 years old. Show me a 60 year old anything that couldn't use a checkup.
    That said, if you can find an amp tech that respects old amps, it would be well worth getting it looked at.

    Mr. Valco specializes in these Valco built amps, you can find him here: https://valcoamp.com/

    Aside from that, a reversible mod is to try a modern 8" speaker. Speakers have a huge effect on frequency response. There are many options online. Personally I like Eminence & WeberVST.

    YMMV
     
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