Anyone seriously consider one of those Tone Masters?

Ringo

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 16, 2003
Posts
8,908
Location
Memphis TN
No I'd never buy one new, overpriced IMHO, others may feel differently I'm sure.
But I would like to play through one, if they hold up I might consider getting a used one down the road, assuming that I liked the sound / volume etc...
 

Ash Telecaster

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Posts
3,909
Location
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Good comments!

Just my musings:

I don't have the $$, room, or gig situation for a TMSR ( but have friends who have vintage Supers, and I love playing through them)

but I'd probably love the Tone
Master for a few reasons:

- love the attraction of a 36 lb. 4X10" amp that sounds like a Fender

- the attenuator power options

- and mainly the approximation to that of a BF/SF Clean toned Fender amp with Reverb and Tremolo

I personally am in the 'close is good enough for me!' camp, because honestly, I think I always used to run my own BF and SF Fenders ( when I owned them) under their real tube-powered potential- preferring to run them at a clean, moderate volume, and using OD pedals.

I feel like even with my tube amps, I never really heard what others hear the nuance of cranked power tubes - enough to notice a difference between a Tone Master and the real deal.
I've never heard a Tone Master in person. Maybe I'd notice a huge difference? ( but don't think so)

Over the Summer, our band did a 'big gig' with backline supplied, and the stage had a Twin Reverb.
I was hoping it was gonna be a TMTR, but it was a tube '65 TRRI- Sounded great but was hoping for the other.
If I hit the Lotto, I'd probably still get the TM Super ( bad back).- and a house for it!

The cleans are where the TMSR really shines. I use an OD pedal with it even though it has the attenuator.

I owned a TR and I tried the TMTR. The TMTR was much more mid range voiced that the TR but that helped it when going for a fat bluesy lead tone. It was a great sounding amp.

Getting the TMSR instead of the TMTR was not a logical decision so much as a psychological one. That said, I am really happy with it.

Regarding the question of price which keeps coming up, I bought mine new for 1g. I think its a lot of amp for the money and a good value.
 

hepular

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Feb 17, 2019
Posts
1,266
Location
abilene, tx
So far I prefer my three tube amps to any digital or analog solid state stuff I've tried, at least when it comes to live shows. And I've tried a fair bit-
Helix, Tonemaster, Quilter, Katana and some earlier generation solid state analog stuff like Roland Blues Cube, JC120, old school Yamaha and Ampeg analog amps. For me I put a lot of them in the
"close but no cigar" category.

That said, the day my local tube amp guy stops working on tube amps will be the day I sell them all and live with a non-tube option. I'm hoping that
by the time that day comes I will actually like the non-tube options just as much as tubes. YMMV and all that, but the tone isn't quite there for me (yet).

buy soldering iron. invest time in learning electronics and circuits, practice soldering = become your own basic tech.
 

tfarny

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Posts
5,857
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
They are kind of appealing to me, well the DR version is. I don't really have a need for one though, and the Quilter Aviator Cub is more portable, cheaper, and to me side by side with the DR, sounded better. I would probably get one of those before a TM. A lighter Super is a cool idea, but it remains a bulky hassle to get up and down my narrow stairs, so I'll pass on that as well.

I'd be more tempted by a TM Ac30 or JTM45, I guess.
 

39martind18

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Posts
3,456
Age
71
Location
Spring TX
Been gigging with a TMDR for a year now and love the portability, tonality and overall flexibility the amp gives. Attenuation down to .1 watt- overdrive it to your heart's content without much fear of volume offending. I play clean in assisted living centers, so volume is a central issue. The TMDR gives me no problems in that area.
 

Otisblove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Posts
176
Age
47
Location
Greenfield, Indiana
I have a Tonemaster Twin. I love the sound of it turned up to ten at 1 watt (or whatever the lowest setting is). I played five or six guitars through it yesterday at about 6 on the volume and they all sounded terrific. I didn’t even turn on my Tubescreamer, which is heavenly.
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,188
Location
Santa Barbara, California
buy soldering iron. invest time in learning electronics and circuits, practice soldering = become your own basic tech.
I can do a lot of the basics such as replacing power tubes and rebiasing but I am not interested in spending the time it would take to become a master level tube amp repair guy. Which my guy is. I prefer to spend that time honing my guitar playing.
 

Alter

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Posts
452
Location
Greece
I've tried them. They are good sounding amps, but still a compromise for my ears and hands when compared to a real tube amp.

So if compromising, I can do it with an analog amp (which will feel better than a digital one - and I've tried all digital ones), and there are many that are way way cheaper, more reliable and much lighter/smaller and thus easier to carry.

So no interest from me. Reliability and support is a huge concern also, since Fender has a bad track record with its digital offerings.
 

ataylor

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Posts
474
Location
PNW
I like the Tone Master amps and would get one if they made a Princeton or smaller, but I can’t help but think the ideal solution is a Vox Pathfinder 15R if the OP can find one.
 

Axis29

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Posts
7,173
Location
Beaumont, CA
The TM Super has me very intrigued. I tried one in GC a couple months ago and liked it. But, haven't taken the plunge...

The reason has nothing to do with tube vs. non-tube. It's about eras of amps. LOL. I play tweed amps these days, a Deluxe, a Bassman and a high power Twin. The minute they make a Bassman Reissue, I'll probably break out in a cold sweat and my wallet might start vibrating enough in my back pocket to make me really uncomfortable in public!

I am still quite tempted to pick up a Super and try it at home and at band rehearsal. I just dunno if I can switch back to Blackface type tone.... I'm so used to the thick mids.


I struggle because I keep hoping new technologies will work out for me... I've made a few forays into the digital/solid state world. Early on ti was crappy beginner amps, of course. But, I've had an ElevenRack, couple of different Line6 units (Spider amps, Pod HD500, etc) a Helix Stomp, etc.... I've NEVER gotten a tone I was happy with out of any of them.

It's not them, it's me. I hate menus and digging way down into settings to get what I want. I also have no patience for digital settings when I have a guitar nearby.

But, the idea of the Tonemasters and amps like the Peavey TH series and Roland Blues Cubes? I like the idea of plugging in and getting sound, with simple EQ controls. Pair that with low weight? Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Then, there is the idea of longevity....My oldest amp was originally built in 1958. BUT, I have had to completely rebuild it. Not due to faulty components, but because some asshat in the late 60's decided to add reverb and turn it into a BF Twin. I reused a bunch of original components (transformers, pots, switches, jacks, etc.). Would I be able to do this to one of these amps? I highly doubt it. So, then I need to kinda know how long they'll last.

One thing brought up in this thread has been the cost of a new amp. I've bought one of the amps I own now new (a Marshall Origin 20C). The rest have all come to me, used, for less than what the Tonemaster amps go for. But, do I really care about price when tone and comfort are available? (I'll be honest, I don't really care, if I can afford it, I go for it). I have spent more than that on guitars before... Without even thinking about it.


So, yeah, they come out with a '59 Bassman Tonemaster? I'll figure out a way! But, I'm still contemplating the Super.
 

Ignatius

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 29, 2004
Posts
2,039
I can do a lot of the basics such as replacing power tubes and rebiasing but I am not interested in spending the time it would take to become a master level tube amp repair guy. Which my guy is. I prefer to spend that time honing my guitar playing.

Agree. I think most serious players would rather invest time in becoming better musicians. I’m always kind of puzzled by the posts implying that if you own a tube amp, then you should learn electronics so you can repair it. Amps just don’t break that often either. Some people just like to tinker, and tinkering with this stuff is just part of how they enjoy their guitar hobby. Nothing wrong with that.
 
Last edited:

dcupright

TDPRI Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2018
Posts
66
Age
66
Location
Kentucky
I bought a TM Twin 1 1/2 years ago, I consider it one of the best musical purchases I have ever made. I love this amp, it does everything I need including plugging into a mixer for silent practice
 

chris m.

Doctor of Teleocity
Joined
Mar 25, 2003
Posts
10,188
Location
Santa Barbara, California
The TM Super has me very intrigued. I tried one in GC a couple months ago and liked it. But, haven't taken the plunge...

The reason has nothing to do with tube vs. non-tube. It's about eras of amps. LOL. I play tweed amps these days, a Deluxe, a Bassman and a high power Twin. The minute they make a Bassman Reissue, I'll probably break out in a cold sweat and my wallet might start vibrating enough in my back pocket to make me really uncomfortable in public!

I am still quite tempted to pick up a Super and try it at home and at band rehearsal. I just dunno if I can switch back to Blackface type tone.... I'm so used to the thick mids.


I struggle because I keep hoping new technologies will work out for me... I've made a few forays into the digital/solid state world. Early on ti was crappy beginner amps, of course. But, I've had an ElevenRack, couple of different Line6 units (Spider amps, Pod HD500, etc) a Helix Stomp, etc.... I've NEVER gotten a tone I was happy with out of any of them.

It's not them, it's me. I hate menus and digging way down into settings to get what I want. I also have no patience for digital settings when I have a guitar nearby.

But, the idea of the Tonemasters and amps like the Peavey TH series and Roland Blues Cubes? I like the idea of plugging in and getting sound, with simple EQ controls. Pair that with low weight? Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Then, there is the idea of longevity....My oldest amp was originally built in 1958. BUT, I have had to completely rebuild it. Not due to faulty components, but because some asshat in the late 60's decided to add reverb and turn it into a BF Twin. I reused a bunch of original components (transformers, pots, switches, jacks, etc.). Would I be able to do this to one of these amps? I highly doubt it. So, then I need to kinda know how long they'll last.

One thing brought up in this thread has been the cost of a new amp. I've bought one of the amps I own now new (a Marshall Origin 20C). The rest have all come to me, used, for less than what the Tonemaster amps go for. But, do I really care about price when tone and comfort are available? (I'll be honest, I don't really care, if I can afford it, I go for it). I have spent more than that on guitars before... Without even thinking about it.


So, yeah, they come out with a '59 Bassman Tonemaster? I'll figure out a way! But, I'm still contemplating the Super.


One thing I really, really like about my Rivera Fender SuperChamp is that it has a mid-boost circuit that you engage by pulling out the treble tone pot. With the tone pot pushed in, the tone is pure silver/black face-- mid scooped and bright. With the pot pulled out, the tone becomes much thicker, more tweedy. It would be pretty cool if the Tonemaster line included a feature like that.

If for some reason you just had to play through a silver face sounding amp, such as using a back line, one option is to use something like a TubeScreamer or SD1 (mid-hump overdrive) to push the mids and deliver that thicker sound.

My main thought here is stick with the amp you have, at least for now, since it delivers the tone you like. How often do you have to haul it and deal with the weight? You can always get some kind of light weight hand truck to make moving it easier. A portage solution is way cheaper than buying another amp.
 

Mike M

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Posts
1,514
Location
07040
I've said this before, but I'm a sucker for these.

I've always wanted to collect classic Fender amps as I have gotten older, but don't need the volume or weight, or maintenance that comes with the tube versions.

In my 40 years of playing, I have owned classic black face Deluxe, Twins, and Supers.

Are these 100% like those? Absolutely not, but put a Jackson Audio Prism in front of one, and you're 90-95% there.

For mostly a home player, that's good enough for me in my middle age. I love the attenuation factor, and the XLR out (when combined with a 1/8th jack) makes them great headphone amps.

I don't need them to model 100 different amps. A good Deluxe, Twin, or Super is good enough for me, and I love the familiarity that they are almost identical to the classic ones I had in my youth.

I have a small Vibro Champ, when I want that extra tube mojo, so I'm all set.

What I would love, is for VOX to do something similar with a AC30
 




Top