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First Tube Amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by GaryScales, Aug 8, 2015.

  1. Bulldog87

    Bulldog87 Tele-Afflicted

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    Gary, there's a lot of information already provided. I'm curious though. Are you more interested in it being a tube amp? I'd agree that if you're looking for the sound, you might want to consider Fender Mustang. There are some good settings on there! I think the sounds you're hearing are part amp, part processing/pedals, and part player!

    For small tube amps, I've got to say I love my Vox AC4! With a few pedals you can get all kinds of amazing sounds.

    Given the choices you mentioned, they all look pretty decent! Can you test them out anywhere?! Good luck!
     
  2. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Tele-Holic

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    Vht special 6 & a nice reverb pedal. I have the ultra version and run my reverb through the effects loop. Good stuff. It's a great amp for the price and will give you really nice cleans that I've been told are like that of a Fender Champ.
     
  3. studio1087

    studio1087 Telefied Silver Supporter

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    Ibanez!

    I have the 15 watt head and two 1 x 12 cabs. It's a good organic sound.

    I didn't know that the cute 5 watt combo has reverb. Just buy it. The TS9 is worth $89. Good deal. Cool amp.
     
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have a couple of Epi Valve Jrs and a 5F1 Champ clone, each around 5w.
    Got tired of the Epis but still fire up the 5f1 for very quiet playing, or distortion at lower volume than my 18w Marshall clones.

    Any of these 5w amps cranked will have apt bldg neighbors pissed off, but stay clean up to louder than rowdy conversation level.

    If you want a clean sound jamming with other electric instruments, they might fall short on volume unless you turn up to distortion level, or others play at lower volume.

    For your money and home volume needs, a 5w amp makes sense in a lot of ways, even though a good 40w tube amp should sound great at conversation volume.

    There are (or were) ebay sellers who offer 5f1 Champ working chassis for around your budget, if you already have a speaker in cab.

    A 5f1 has made a lot of great classic album recordings, great little amps, and not that expensive because there's almost nothing inside the little chassis.
     
  5. barker

    barker Tele-Meister

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    It's hard to try to get someone else's tone, a lot of it comes from their fingers. I am personally biased towards the Fender Pro Junior. It's cheap, has 2 knobs, pure tube, and has a glorious tone for it's size. It's somewhat noisy and buzzy but I don't care, I've played lots of amps more expensive and keep coming back to this one. Try it out along with the others on your list and let your ears decide! Good Luck!
     
  6. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

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    I agree, Greg is going to sound like Greg no matter what rig he's playing. But here's one tip if you want to get close to his tone in these videos: turn the guitar down. If you look at the close-up of the volume controls, you'll see he's got them set around 3 or 4. That's one of the coolest thing about a tube amp: you can turn the guitar up to push it into overdrive, then turn it down to go back to clean. Amazing. :D CS
     
  7. valiant

    valiant Tele-Holic

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    Obviously over budget but there was a Cornell Romany on EBay a week or so back that went for £350.....great amps of the highest quality.....will switch from 10 watts down to
    2 watts...0.5 watts....0.05 watts and great for home use and studio.
     
  8. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    I'm surprised that it took 25 posts before this obvious (to me) point was made. The sound in those two video clips is superb, but personally I think that the actual amp had far less to do with it than the player's technique and to a lesser extent the effects pedals in use.

    I'd be prepared to put money on it: duplicate as far as possible that player's picking dynamics and other technique and you can achieve precisely that sound or at least a very close approximation thereto through a Roland Cube or indeed any number of other perfectly good amps.

    Nevertheless, if you really must have a valve amp (unnecessary in my experienced opinion) and you can stretch your budget by just a few quid, have a look at this. Reported to be better-sounding than the amp of which it's essentially a clone, it'll do what you want and also serve as a usable gigging amp when and if the time comes. It's also available with a few improvements and upgrades from this source, but at a rather higher price; still great value but beyond your stated budget.
     
  9. greggorypeccary

    greggorypeccary Friend of Leo's

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    Any amp can be too loud if you turn the volume knob too far clockwise. Conversely, any amp can be quiet enough if you don't turn the volume knob too far clockwise.

    If one truly needs whisper quiet they'd be better off with a headphone amp.

    Of course, YMMV and all that, I've always owned amps I can use at gigs and just play them quietly at home.
     
  10. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    OP - Welcome to the forum. If you are playing at home, I think you already have the right amp. As others have suggested, it's in his fingers, and touch, use of the guitar controls, and effects pedals. But mostly in his fingers. He always sounds mostly the same to me, no matter what guitar or amp he's using. That tends to be the case with experienced players. Something about the phrasing and way they touch the guitar trumps the gear used (to a degree).

    Even with 5 watts of tube goodness, it's (really) hard to get a good home tone, unless you can turn up enough that the neighbors can hear you and won't complain (I have a Victoria 5112 - 5w, for home practice, and my neighbor down the block can hear me clearly if I turn the amp up to the sweet spot and bang away).

    I think you are better served trying the following, mirroring some other suggestions:

    1. Explore your Cube. His tone is mostly clean. Those sounds are in there.
    2. Turn the Cube up, and turn your guitar down. Try guitar volume 6/7 and tone 8/9 for starters.
    3. Lighten up your touch. I think he's playing an amp turned up, guitar turned down a bit and a very light touch overall.
    4. Add a mild OD. The latest DOD Overdrive Preamp 250 with the Drive set low (say 9 o'clock) adds just that hint of tube compression, warmth, harmonics and grit that he gets when he hits the strings harder. A Boss Blues Driver does too. Greg seems to favor Tube Screamer style pedals, but into a big amp with a lot of bass, they will sound more full than into a small combo, which doesn't move as much bass to begin with.

    Honestly, I think these will get you there. And are MORE likely to get you there than a tube amp at home volumes.

    If those don't work and you absolutely want to try tube, then maybe a used Silverface Vibro Champ? I don't know about in your region, but around here you can get them for $300 US in beat up condition. Turn Follow 2 and 3 above. Try the amp on 8, Bass 7/8, treble 4/5 (maybe 6).

    But I think you can get there easier and quicker with your Cube.

    Good luck. I was at my local shop and the guy there (who is a good player) had dialed in the most beautiful, full, "breathing" clean on an amp. I looked over, sure enough - Cube. He was trying to steer a new player on a budget to the Cube (of which they only had one or two) over selling his second guitar to get a much more expensive tube amp for home use. The shop guy (a good player and dude) kept telling him that for his purposes, he'd get more mileage out of the Cube. He was being sincere - and dialed in a tone to prove it (with a little cheat sheet to go home with). If I wasn't already covered with amps (and then some) I'd have one home with a Cube and a copy of that cheat sheet too. :D

    Good luck!
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    About the only absolute truth here is that there is no piece of gear that will get you that sound.
    And a lot of the useful info offered pertains to what each of us listens for in a nice clean sound, and how each of us uses our gear and technique to get the clean sound we want.

    Take "the Hendrix sound", and you will learn all about his Plexi Marshalls and vintage Strats, yet many experienced players can play Hendrix licks on the wrong guitar into the wrong amp and we will all recognize "the Hendrix sound".
    Given that Hendrix got his sound mostly with Marshalls live, yet recorded a lot with Twin Reverbs in the studio, the point becomes even more clear: what you play and how you play it determines most of your sound.

    Of all the suggestions already mentioned in this thread, I would focus closely on MilwMarks suggestion to use a light touch.

    That is a whole lot of the sound you're chasing, along with the very tasteful processing- reverb and delay- plus probably additional stuff we can't identify.

    I love tube amps and use them exclusively, but I think 95% of the You Tube Gregsguitar sound could be gotten by a skilled player straight into a computer.
     
  12. jazzguitar

    jazzguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Tone

    Hello and welcome to the forum!

    That's a tall order.

    You should be aware of this:

    While Greg may not be the most talented guitar player Germany has to offer he is a very accomplished blues player, but sound-wise, I know of very few players who would even compare. Greg is the master when it comes to pure sound, whether clean or with overdrive.

    It takes many years of practise to achieve anything like this. I am pretty sure that you can give Greg any random crappy gear and he will sound just great.

    You still have your parents?

    So my advice is that you try to ask them to help you financially and get a used Princeton Reverb, an original from the 1970's or a used reissue. The more money you invest now the less you will regret your choice later. Be patient and search your classifieds.

    But most important is: listen to many recordings, and practise, practise, practise, practise, practise, practise, practise, practise, practise ... ... ...

    Don't forget to use new strings once the current ones sound old (for me, personally that can be the case after a few days. If money were no objection, I would change strings every week). Strings are the voice of your instrument.

    Hope this helped ...

    best and keep on pickin!
     
  13. GaryScales

    GaryScales TDPRI Member

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    Wow thanks so much everyone i wasnt expecting so many replies so quickly!!!!! :D:D:D

    To those asking I only have the Microcube so even though not requiring more volume i feel i'd quite like to get a new (hopefully better amp) that is hopefully suited perfectly to my desired style/tone.

    I have no kind of overriding desire to go tube amp as i've never even owned one before (just played through my guitar teacher's Peavey Valveking) which sounds killer to me. Does anyone think one of the larger cubes would be something worthwhile to look into? Also i am a bit weary of the mustangs as the fuse modification type stuff i've heard about sounds a bit dauting... :confused:

    The bugera sounds interesting to me but i have no way of testing one and youtube definitely presents very different representations of its tone so im a bit weary with that amp

    I will also have a look into the fender princeton's but unfortunately i fear they are currently way beyond my reach

    And thank you for the advice MilwMarks i will try all those steps to see if it helps :)

    On my worries about volume (idk if anyone can help with this) but on the blackpanel setting on the microcube the loudest i really need is the with the amps gain and volume about 3 o'clock and the master volume about 11 o'clock

    thank you everyone again your help really is top draw and muchly appreciated
     
  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Welcome to TDPRI. It's always this way. Anytime you get bored, come on here and ask how to get world class tone with zero gear. We all fall over each other in the hopeless quest... :lol:

    Anything to talk about gear. The other thing you can use to bait us with is pictures of gear. Mmmm, doesn't even have to be yours... :rolleyes: Just say something like, "now who would put a white pickguard on THIS", and stand back!
     
  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Here's something to try; you may be able to get closer by adjusting your Micro Cubes three volume controls.
    (maybe you already know this)

    You wrote here that you run gain and volume higher, and master lower, but for clean sounds you need to do the opposite.

    In general for a clean sound you would put the gain at barely above zero- or around 8 o'clock, and turn up the volume and master all the way. Then bring up the gain until your desired overall volume is reached.
    If this is too clean, you can turn the volume down a bit and turn the gain up a bit, but gain at 3 o'clock will not be a clean sound on most amps.

    Conversely, maximum distortion would be with the gain up all the way and the volume and master turned down.

    Gain and volume adjust your sound, and master just changes the loudness of the sound you set with gain and volume, so when you turn up or down you don't have to adjust two knobs to keep the sound you set up.

    Another aspect of the clean singing sound is probably keeping the overall volume of the amp a bit higher than needed, and using a light touch with the pick, to keep the volume down, so the amp is doing most of the work and you are holding it back from being as loud as it's trying to be.
    That way the amp will sing out with the lightest touch of the pick, instead of you driving the strings harder with the amp turned down, creating harsh attack and quick decay- no singing.
     
  16. Grandma's Tele

    Grandma's Tele Tele-Meister

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    + 1

    If you absolutely want to get a new amp, maybe you could try a - small and not verry, very expensive - stereo amp like a Yamaha THR-10 or a Blackstar Core ID 10 or 20. You will still want a nice tube amp if you get that but you will also always consider that a little stereo amp is useful to practice at bedroom volume!

    I also like the Fender Champion 40 but it's not a stereo amp!

    There are so many amps, you need to try them before you make a decision!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2015
  17. Jim Dep

    Jim Dep Friend of Leo's

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    I'm just asking in a friendly, sincere way;

    If you hear a guitar tone on YT and manage to capture it in a way that sounds good to your ear, it seems to me that this would be an accomplishment, wouldn't it?

    Going back to my teen years in the 70's, my musician buds and I could cop tones the best we could using records played on turntables and try them out at the next band rehearsal. Going back a decade or more before that, players used to copy tones from guys like Chuck Berry, BB King, Scotty Moore , James Burton, just to name a few. Really, the only way you could do it was from records, usually played on crummy speakers.

    With the versatile gear and high fidelity sound we have these days, it's a lot easier with YT. I enjoy it now more than years ago, especially in cover band situations, having to do it quickly, under time pressure and with far less sophisticated equipment.

    Help me out if I'm missing the point :)
     
  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think his point was that a mediocre sound can be post production processed to sound pretty good on You Tube, even though the original sound was not really the same as the finished production.

    Copping sounds off records in the '70s, there was no digital processing in between the classic gear sound and the classic analog recording you heard on the record.

    The point could be that buying the gear being demo'd on You Tube might not even get you close the the YT sound you liked coming out of your computer speakers.
     
  19. vangoghsear

    vangoghsear Tele-Meister

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    You mentioned one that should be on your radar, the Peavey VK112. New it's out of your budget, but you can find them used for around $250 US. It's not going to give as nice a clean tone as Greg's amp, but it's got spring reverb, and a 12" speaker and lots of clean headroom.

    Another one that you might run across that may be in your budget is a Behringer AC112. It's a hybrid amp with a tube in the preamp stage. It comes with a 12" Jensen Speaker, tons of digital effects and you can coax some very sweet cleans out of it. Lots of people don't care for this company (Behringer), but they make Bugera amps and I've seen many people in local bands play the AC112 on stage. I would set my AC112 volume on 2 and play late at night, very musical tone and at 60 watts you could gig it with a drummer (same with the VK112 at 50 watts).
     
  20. Tony474

    Tony474 Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Not by any means to denigrate anyone's suggestions for another amp, but my view is still that to a highly significant extent the tone you seek, as exemplified in those YouTube clips, is a function of playing style and technique rather than electronic hardware. Our friend MilwMark seems to agree.

    However, all this is just words, so I conducted a little experiment this afternoon by plugging a guitar with P90s into my Micro Cube (mine's an earlier one without a master volume control) and seeing what I could come up with. Now, I've been playing for 60 years, but my fingers are mine, not Greg's. All the same, by varying phrasing, pick attack and other bits of technique I managed to get close enough at least to satisfy my own curiosity. The little Cube works fine.

    Therefore I believe that you can get those sounds out of your Cube for low-volume home use, but you need to train yourself to put them in there to begin with. Keep your two hundred quid for now and add to them as time goes by; in that way when you're ready for a bigger amp you'll have saved enough to buy the one you want rather than compromise due to budget limitations.
     
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