Dream amps that turned out to be letdowns

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by naveed211, Nov 7, 2019 at 9:12 AM.

  1. L.A. Mike

    L.A. Mike Tele-Afflicted

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    Ampeg V4 stack with 2 4x12 cabinets.
    I saw the Stones with Mick Taylor and they were using SVT's and V4's.
    Just incredibly good sounding bass and guitar sounds.
    So, I found one for sale and bought it. I thought there was something wrong with it when I got it because the tone was odd for a guitar and it was too clean. It sounded like a solid state amp. I used it at rehearsals and at gigs, fiddled with the controls constantly and couldn't get that great rock crunch like the Stones had.
    I found the phone number for Ampeg and called them. (this was in the early 70's. No internet, not that many amp repair shops.)
    The friendly amp tech they put on the phone told me that the Ampeg V4 has a Baxandall-like tonestack with 3 switchable EQ frequencies: 300, 1000 & 3000 Hz + TMB mid boost knobs which are flat @ 12:00 o'clock, so you can boost clockwise or turn down counterclockwise. Then he added "it's not like a Fender, you can't adjust it like a Fender".
    Ok, but it sounds weird I said. Then he asked how loud I set the volume and I said 3 to 5. "that's your problem" he replied. "Turn it up to 8 or more and you will have the greatest rock amp ever made".

    I turned it up to 9 and let it rip. There it was, the Stones guitar sound.
    Except it was so loud birds fell from the sky, dogs started howling for miles around, all the pictures fell off the walls in my house, planes had to be diverted from my area and the cops and fire department showed up within 15 minutes.
    I decided to sell it and get another one if and when my band started playing arenas.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019 at 12:03 AM
  2. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

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    The other guitar player in the band I played with in the late 70s had one of those. Man, that thing was loud and harsh. It could drown out my 40-watt 2x12 Sunn Solaris. Fortunately, he was an amazing musician who could make anything sound good. But that Acoustic could trigger hemorrhages in the audience if he wasn't careful.
     
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  3. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I started laughing so hard when I read this post, because it's a perfect description of an Ampeg from that era. Everett Hull hated rock music and wanted his amps to be the cleanest on the market. My first amp after a Vibro Champ was a Gemini GV22, 40 watt 212 combo. Kind of the poor man's VT22 (the 212 combo version of a V4). I had to boost it with an MXR Black Finger compressor turned up all the way, with the amp also up all the way to get any distortion, and then it was so loud I had to put it in a closet with the door closed and pillows in front of the speakers and a blanket covering the whole thing, and even then it was really loud. But, it sounded glorious!
     
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  4. NiceTele

    NiceTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I recently bought a BJr tweed as I wanted to try one out more than anything, and it is a surprisingly good amp for gigging- now the go to amp... I mic it through our PA and it sounds huge when required.
     
  5. dreamingtele

    dreamingtele Friend of Leo's

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    Thank you! I was really getting ready to pull the trigger on one of these Champions because of the clean sounds, I have my pedals for my dirty sound!




    I was a Vox Fanboy.. I plugged through a Vox AC30.. This is probably one of the amps, A LOT of my friends, and even my luthier recommended me to try as the Tele and the VOX AC30 seem to be the classic combo... for a long time I dreamed of plugging into one.. and to my ears, IT WAS NOT! too trebly, too fiizzy, breaking up too early.. I had to dime the tone cut to get a useable tone out of it, I suffered two sets of gigs with that amp and I'll never again plug into an AC30.. or an AC15..

    Those Vox Pathfinder 15R's really made me think the AC15 and AC30 are much nicer..

    This is just me of course, YMMV
     
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  6. rolandson

    rolandson Tele-Meister

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    I guess another that qualifies as a letdown/disappointment would be a Matchless 2-12 combo thing that made a brief appearance in the early nineties.

    It was a wonderful sounding AC30 clone-ish. When it worked. Which wasn't easily predictable.

    It got to the point where two amps were necessary for any live work because it wasn't reliable. After it died on stage for the third time inside the same month it got returned...which wasn't an issue because of all of the time it had spent in repair prior to that eventful month.

    I was left thinking that the company spent more effort on the light up logo/nameplate than it did on the real purpose for its existence.
     
  7. oatsoda

    oatsoda Tele-Holic

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    Back can’t remember how many years ago, maybe 8, I scored a hot rod deluxe fudge brownie with the matching extension cabinet. Was love at first sight, followed by a fortnight of blind and fumbling exuberance. That’s about when I realized it was purely a physical relationship and I couldn’t stand the sound of her voice.

    Then there was the AC15 that was awesome with P90s but just didn’t want to play nice with anybody else. It was pretty satisfying for awhile, like bouncing around in a mosh pit, and then it went on fire in the basement and that was the end of the good clean fun.

    Then there was the Traynor YCV20WR. I really tried to like it, and it did do a lovely break up, but the clean was like looking through a hundred year old pane of glass in a desert ghost town, just could never quite focus enough to see that I was the last man standing and every one else in town had gone.
     
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  8. jhundt

    jhundt Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ha ha! In the early 80's I played on a V4 half-stack, and the other guitar player in the group played a VT-22. Yes, those things are LOUD!!
     
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  9. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    18w ... bit thin and screechy cranked. Like a bad vox.

    Maybe I just don’t like pushed EL84s
     
  10. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Holic

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    No problem I foolishly didn’t try any pedals at the store and just asked an employee and they told me it should be okay with pedals
    Which it does not take pedals well at all at least the one I have the 100 doesn’t

    And with the eq being funny it’s just not a good platform

    It’s okay as a plug and play amp and decent for the price but I would recommend spending a couple more dollars and getting the new mustang gt’s or going for a tube amp like the blues jr
     
  11. FenderLover

    FenderLover Friend of Leo's

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    Hmmm.... That's odd. Not my experience. One of my favorites. Loud, yes, but with a functional master. I can see where pedals might be problematic with the passive FX loop, as the signal is usually too hot with no level control in a passive loop. Out front though, FX have worked fine for me.

    I've played some bad sounding amps, but the OP specified "Dream amps" so I can't really dis anything that I have tried.
     
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  12. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    After wanting a Marshall tube amp for some years, I got a chance to buy a 50-watt Marshall JCM800 channel switching head. I had to “curate” it for two or three weeks while a friend was moving, and tried it through a few different cabs and at varying levels. I could get sounds I liked at home, kind of, but...

    ...I took it to band practice twice after playing around with it beforehand. Each time I concluded that it didn’t sit in the mix as well as what I was getting from my preamp/power amp/4 x 12 rig, and I couldn’t seem to tweak it to where I wanted it.

    It looked cool and I started off all excited about this chance to pick up a $300 JCM800 head and have a real live Marshall tube head...but my ears told me it wasn’t the right sound for me.

    I was not yet comfortable with the discrepancy between what my ears and eyes were telling me, and walking away from that Marshall kind of hurt.
     
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  13. USian Pie

    USian Pie Tele-Meister

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    I've talked about it before but... Mesa Boogie DC-3 head.

    EL84s in a Mesa Boogie -- it had to be the perfect amp for me!

    Except EL84s in that particular model of Mesa Boogie had the life expectancy of a fruit fly.
     
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  14. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

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    Another related story, same friend: the guy also had a Legend Rock-n-Roll 50 head, with the finger jointed oak shell and hybrid circuit. I loved that amp; thought it was punchy and had a nice snarly crunch and sounded good through my 4 x 12. He sold that to someone else though. Not long after I read a solid state amp roundup in Guitar Player where Art Thompson really hated on a Legend Rock-n-Roll 50. Weird.
     
  15. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I had Mesa boogie once. Great amp, however, with all the knobbies
    I kept gettin goofed up , forgetting settings, trying to get there
    again over and over. Eventually, I gave up on it and sold it.
     
  16. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Meister

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    Agreed. Anything where keeping and referencing the manual to dial in tones has been a requirement I haven’t kept. There are good sounds to be had, but all the tweaking and then hoping a knob or slider doesn’t get moved by accident isn’t for me.

    Most of my favorite amps have had between one and six knobs.
     
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  17. JIMMY JAZZMAN

    JIMMY JAZZMAN Tele-Meister

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    Great story.....
     
  18. King Fan

    King Fan Friend of Leo's

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    After five pages and counting, for sure I can't add much in the way of individual-amp experience. But I do see clear themes here.

    So many big amps. People want big cuz they see them on MTV (or heck, in 'Monterey Pop'). Those amps on MTV may be stage props, and in any case you're not playing Monterey or Wembley...

    So many reissues. No beef with the concept of reissues, but the *execution*, slightly in the cabs, a *ton* in the speakers, and variably (often a lot) in 'modern voicing', means you often won't hear what the amps are famous for. Which brings us to...

    Amps tried in stores. Also, amps not tried at all. Say no more...

    So many famous amps. *So* many posts. TR, Vox, Dr. Z, Mesa, Soldano, etc, etc. Are these likely to be bad amps? No. But disappointment can happen when you see your super-model dream date at the 7-11 shopping for coffee without her makeup, hairdresser, and airbrush guy. Which brings us to...

    Your hero's amp. EVH, SRV, Eric, Carlos, etc. aren't you. They could probably play your BJ (OK, if they're still alive) and make it kill. Tone is in the fingers. You can't buy it in a box. Which brings us to...

    Amp character, or lack of it. 'Neutral' amps, from the BJ to the TR, attract working musicians and pro players because they can put their own tone stamp on the sound. 'Character' amps, like the PR or 5E3 or (for all I know) Trainwrecks and Soldanos, can be tuned and played to get great flavor. We mortals can't always get a neutral amp to sing, and we may not get a character amp to make flavors we like...

    Finally, taste is personal. You see it here all the time. Some people worship the tweed Deluxe, others hate it. The '68 CPR gets extreme love and intense dislike. The TR? The famous amps? The quirky amps? Modern remakes or name-adopting amps? TDPRI without our diversity of tastes would be a dry desert of tonewood density lists and tube character response curves.
     
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  19. schenkadere

    schenkadere Friend of Leo's

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    Not exactly my "dream" amp, but one I wanted for a long time...Peavey Delta Blues 2x10. Not a decent dirt tone in there...preferred Peavey SS cleans to this. Went packing quickly.
     
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  20. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Meister

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    You summed it up nicely. I think my OP was more based off emotional response. I held boutique amps in such reverence at that age and hadn’t yet tried any. I truly felt Bogner would be a be-all-end-all godlike amp, and after playing multiple examples, have been letdown. Not the case with every boutique amp, some far exceeded expectations (Matchless DC30 comes to mind, Friedman JJ-100 for what it is, etc.)

    The thread turned more into a preference thread. Over the years I’ve become more reasonable and I know what I like. In the case with Bogner, my childlike wonderment was shattered!
     
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