Amps Which Aren't Fools Gold

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by patriotplayer90, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. patriotplayer90

    patriotplayer90 TDPRI Member

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    So I've seen plenty suggestions for amps which are advertised to punch far above their weight, as far as value is concerned. I'm sure that we've all been burned by this. But there can definitely be exceptions to the, "if it sounds too good to be true" rule. Some amps see their value on the used market decline for obvious reasons. Others are not so obvious.

    The first amp that I'm going with is the Genz Benz Black Pearl 30. For less than $600, I purchased a nice-looking, solidly built amp with 2 Alnico Red Fang speakers and tube-driven reverb. Already some value to be had there. The thing is, it sounds really nice and very professional at stage volumes. And it is quite useful. The cleans are gorgeous, as you'd expect from a "Vox" type amp with alnico speakers. But the quality of the tone really shines no matter where the gain is set. It's always clear and defined, extremely responsive, and can cover a lot of ground. I play many live shows, and I get a good sense of how other guitarists sound. But I am always impressed with how clear and genuine my tone is while listening to recordings of our performances. And how dynamic. Just by changing guitars, I went from a jangly sparkling Tele tone to a spot-on Free Bird solo tone. It really picks up the subtleties in your playing more than you would expect from an amp at this cost. I've actually had some inappropriate comments made to me about my tone by drunk women at bar while I've played this amp.

    The next is an Orange Rocker 30. Not cheap by any means, but I recall these going for around $700 many years ago and not kicking myself for picking one up before what I perceived to be a market increase for all used equipment (JCM 800s come to mind). Come to find out, they are around the same cost on the used market at that time, and often cheaper. I fell in love while recording with one at a studio. We know Orange's reputation, and the JCM 800 comps. But when the gain is set low, this amp sounds wonderful. A 3 dimensional, harmonic tone with sustain and string to string clarity that you don't find in most amps in this range. Another really dynamic amp which can clearly cover a lot of ground.

    The next amp actually is cheap. The Peavey VTM 120 Watt, which I acquired in the $300 range. I loved my JCM 800, but found it to be a bit overbearing and not bedroom or stage friendly enough for my purposes. But with the bridge pickup on my LP and a boost, life didn't get any better. I tried the Laney AOR as my first venture into JCM clones. It's a fun amp, and was similar in feel and spirit. But it was clearly inferior, and the durability concerns led me to selling it. The VTM doesn't have the woody, organic tone that the JCM does. But it can get a ton of gain and attitude while being in the spirit of a JCM, and honestly presents an articulate, tight punchy high gain sound that I wish more modern amps had. A lot of fun to play if you love gain but aren't exactly a Mesa guy. Definitely more than satisfied with the lower gain tones as well.

    Which amps have exceeded your expectations or their relative prices points?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
    Shuster likes this.
  2. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I bought an '80's Peavey Backstage Plus for $20.00 + shipping from an antique store on ebay. I bought it as a living room practice amp. Since I got it I think I've probably gigged it more then any other amp I own. Size and weight is a factor, but it really sounds good. I've had people check out my rig trying to figure out how I made that "cheap Peavey" sound so good. Usually they think it's a pedal or something. Gee, maybe I just know how to dial in my gear? Give me a little credit here! ;)

    I also have a '68 Bandmaster Reverb that I got in a pawn shop for $300 and after taking it to a tech who fixed the reverb, re-capped it and revoiced one of the channels to be "tweedier" it's become a favorite amp. It does the classic Fender clean tone, but it's got that nice compression as it warms up similar to a Vox amp. I usually run it into an EVM 12L Speaker. I get lost for hours playing through that amp.
     
  3. Keefsdad

    Keefsdad Tele-Holic

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    My Monoprice 15 watt and the Vox Pathfinder i recently picked up for $70 both sound great for the price. the pathfinder sounds so much better than my siverface Champ I'm thinking about selling it.
     
    SweetClyde99 and nojazzhere like this.
  4. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I guess I'm way behind the curve here, but...I plugged into a Reissue Blackface Deluxe in a festival backline, yesterday and it sounded freakin' killer.
    Like we saw silverface amps back in the 70s as sort of ham-and-cheese and didn't realize how lucky we were; I think this is the case with the BF Deluxe RI.
    I was playing my Lester with a P90 by the bridge and a Dyna by the neck...beautiful.
     
  5. Uncle Daddy

    Uncle Daddy Tele-Holic

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    Interesting pickup combo. The reverse Eddie.
     
  6. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Tele-Holic

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    The only thing I have to add here is that The Stone Roses' Fools Gold was playing when I read the thread title (& still is). :)
     
    Tommy Biggs and Telecaster88 like this.
  7. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    You can buy a mid-60s Ampeg Gemini II for $500. Spend $150 to get it perfect, and maybe another $150 for some tubes.

    And some ways I would dare you to find something new for under $2k that approaches it.
     
  8. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister

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    Princeton 65RI. I have no idea how they compare to the originals, but every guitar, every pickup and pedal I've run thru this thing sounds great. I bought the one that comes with the Jensen Alnico speaker stock...brown tolex instead of black.
    It's become my living room amp.
     
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  9. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    73 fender pro reverb $625 after tech mod & 2 Weber f150. these 2 Silver's normal chan made aggressive -trem left stock
    74 fender Super Reverb $895 after tech & 4 Jupiter sc10's & MV removed

    fender Super Reverb RI $600 as is..tech checked everything..needed nothing..love the Jensen's..records incredible

    Jmp50 2204 $600
    JTm50 el34 SS/tube rec $895
    jtm45 fender power 6l6 $825
    all the M's are gone over & Trainwreck 3 PPIMV added..tech tweaked circuits to how i play based on some value notations over the years..so lucky to have 1 friend who is 35+year Authorized marshall tech & 1 who has been building Fenders since the 70's..priceless info & love for these amps from these guys..

    give me a semi functioning great amp to begin wit & they will become custom lifetime amps..able to mod any which way the music needs demand
     
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  10. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Afflicted

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    I’m going to throw the Peavey Delta blues in there. Good tubes and a speaker swap and they sound as good as as any Vox. I just scored a 210 for 200 bucks. I think it’s sounds best with a one 12. Might make a new baffle for it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2019
  11. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Holic

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    "I bought an '80's Peavey Backstage Plus for $20.00 + shipping from an antique store on ebay. I bought it as a living room practice amp. Since I got it I think I've probably gigged it more then any other amp I own. Size and weight is a factor, but it really sounds good. I've had people check out my rig trying to figure out how I made that "cheap Peavey" sound so good. Usually they think it's a pedal or something. Gee, maybe I just know how to dial in my gear? Give me a little credit here!" ;)

    I agree with you, Paul In Colorado. You really have to learn how to properly dial in a Peavey amp. My pedal steel band mate bought a Session 400 years back and was so frustrated with it for several weeks. I told him he needed to be smarter than the amp and forget everything he thought he had learned in previous years with his old Fender Twin Reverb. One night the little light came on inside his head and he finally got it. Now, he wouldn't give up the old Session 400 for anything and he gets the most beautiful tones out of that amp. He presently own several Peavey amps and plays thru one of them exclusively on each and every gig.
     
  12. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Traynor YBA-1 (or any old Traynor, really). You can get these for $500 all day long, and once you make a few simple tweaks they'll totally hang with your favorite vintage amps.
     
  13. gridlock

    gridlock Friend of Leo's

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    An ‘80’s SS Marshall. Thirty (30) watts, a Celestion G12M-70, and sounds good. $150-$200 and up.

    B199F473-C711-42E3-AD90-E0BA1FE841C1.jpeg
     
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  14. Shuster

    Shuster Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I don't know that it fools gold, but I have this Peavey Renown amp I traded for pair of pickups. It sounds great, once you figure out how to dial her in!
     
  15. Torren61

    Torren61 Friend of Leo's

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    Dude... what are you doing? Don't spread this around. *Ahem* ...Traynor YBA-1 amps are junk. Made in Canada. Hendrix never played a Traynor. $500 is WAAAAAY too much for them. Don't Google them or try one.
     
  16. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Meister

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    Picked up a Kustom 72 Coupe 212 awhile back for under $500. One of my favorite amps. Wouldn't sell it for twice the price.
     
    Les H and Torren61 like this.
  17. Les H

    Les H Tele-Holic

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    I have a Carvin Belair that has been my number 1 for the last 5 years.

    Like above my Kustom Coupe 72 is everything I wanted my Twin Reverb Reissue to be.
     
  18. powerwagonjohn

    powerwagonjohn Tele-Meister

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    Your killing me here. There is a Traynor YBA-1 on my local C/L for $375 with new F&T caps, a bias pot, some new jacks and a few minor mods. I am running out of room around here.
    Thanks John
     
  19. patriotplayer90

    patriotplayer90 TDPRI Member

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    I check it out on YouTube, and I'm definitely feeling it. Can I borrow $500?
     
  20. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    clips?
     
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