Help a tube newbie select an amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by davo8411, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    My background: I have played for over 30 years, but never in a band situation. Because I'm a home-player, my most powerful amp is a 15 watt Vox Pathfinder. Since I originally had no plans to play out and didn't need major volume, I've never paid any attention to large wattage tube amps and have next to zero knowledge/opinions about large watt amps. I just recently joined a band and they like to play LOUD. The other guitarist has a 50 watt Fender of some sort (Blues Deluxe?).

    I am seeking any advice as to what brands/models to be on the lookout for on the used market and maybe which to avoid. I believe I'd like/need something in the 30 to 50 watt range. I'd like to keep it under $500, but can stretch that upwards for a great deal.

    Also, currently available in my area are:

    Blackstar HT 40 Club Mach II $400

    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe (PR246) w/ 12" Bugera speaker $450

    Fender Twin Amp, new tubes $700

    Fender Blues DeVille 2 x 12 $550

    Peavey Classic 30 (early 90s) $400

    Fender Blues Deluxe (USA), JJ tubes, little beat up looking $490

    I am not limiting my search to the above models, they just happen to be available in my area.

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    I’d go with Twin out of all of those, just because I think it sounds best (I have tried them all, most at a good healthy volume).

    Also to consider, if you’re anything like me, lugging around a bigger amp in a band may become tiring and annoying after a while. Tubes are awesome in their own right, but I’m a recent Quilter convert and I’d recommend checking them out, especially if you’re just looking for a clean pedal platform anyway. Super lightweight and sound great.
     
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  3. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    You might want to consider the Marshall DSL40CR which is a 40w tubie. I traded my Fender Blues Deluxe in for one and couldn't be happier with it. Basically blew my Fender away in terms of sound and tone. I've jammed with it for over 1.5 years now, it's completely stock, and holding up well. I've thought about upgrading the tubes and speaker just to see what it would sound like, but I like the sound so much now that I'm afraid to touch it LOL! ;) 700 ish is the price range for new, and 500 ish on the used market.
     
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  4. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Friend of Leo's

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    I can't tell you any are better than the others because I just don't know. I can tell you that I really enjoy my hot rod deluxe! They don't get a lot of love around don't here, but to me it's a good amp.
     
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  5. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Afflicted

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    If it's huge cleans you want or a pedal platform, the Twin wins.
     
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  6. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    Whatever you get, if you have two guitarists playing LOUD with > 30watt tube amps I would recommend investing in some good hearing protection. This is from a guy who now has to wear hearing aids...

    Oh - and the Blackstar is a smoking deal. If you replace the Seventy 80 Celestion speaker with a better one these sound very good (to me) and the ISF allows you to get a variety of different 'flavors'.
     
  7. '64 Tele

    '64 Tele Tele-Afflicted

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    What guitar(s) are you using?
    Might make a difference on recommendations.
     
  8. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The Laney IRT30 combo fits the bill perfectly. Pristine cleans to outright filth from one amp and its footswitch for channels.
    The Marshall DSL40 combo of old has many fans. Not as flexible in use as the Laney, and a little bit more powerful. Get the footswitch.
    Jet City JCA50h + 2x12" cab. You do not need more of an amp. There's a JCA100h too. Don't start a loudness war without good reason.
     
  9. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Assuming you're going for a pedal platform, all of those amps are decent and will serve you well. IMO the Twin Reverb is a step above the others, but it weighs a ton and is pretty big. Provided it's in good shape, I'd get that if you have the strength to lug it around.

    The Blackstar should be plenty loud to keep up with the band. I've got a Blackstar HT 20, version 1. It's a great amp. Came with a crappy speaker though (Celestion Rocket); replaced it with a WGS.

    Just an FYI, be prepared to have to fork out another hundred bucks or so in the event it needs to be retubed or if it has a crappy component like the speaker in the Blackstar.

    Loud - always make sure you're not in the beam of someone else's amp and keep people from standing in your beam. That's when people start turning up.
     
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  10. SonicMustang

    SonicMustang Tele-Meister

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    Some may scoff at the idea, but I had a Bugera V55 Infinium back in the day and I loved it. I used it primarily as a pedal platform, but the clean channel was super nice and very Fender-like. 55w tube for $450 brand new. Only reason I got rid of it was because I saw a deal for a 60w 2x12 Hot Rod Deville used for the price of the Bugera I bought. After lugging around the heavy 2x12, I instantly regretted my decision of selling the Bugera.
     
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  11. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Holic

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    Things to consider:

    - How much headroom do you need?
    - Do want a reverb on your amp? Does it have to be spring or will digital do?
    - Tube, solid state, digital?

    A larger digital amp like a Roland Cube 60 or 80 will do a lot for not much money. What kind of sounds do you enjoy on your Pathfinder? All the amps you listed are good options. Obviously the Twin has a lot more headroom than the PV and weighs a lot more too.
     
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  12. OlDefGuy

    OlDefGuy TDPRI Member

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    Do you want the amp to define your sound? Or do you use it as a platform for pedals? I haven’t used a Vox pathfinder but I would assume it creates the “Vox”sound, if it’s what you like you may want to look for a used AC 30. Might be outside of your budget though, I haven’t checked amp prices in quite awhile. I have owned a few of the amps on your list, namely a Twin and the Hot Rod. The Twins are stupidly loud and clean and your chiropractor will thank you for buying it. Good amps but usually overkill in weight and volume. I never bonded with the Hot Rod not a bad amp I just never got that “oh yeah “ connection with it, plus as I recall the pots had a very narrow range of useful adjustment maybe I just got a bad one. Owned some Peavey’s way back but nothing from the Classic line. Currently use a Blackstar HT 20 head and 2x12 cab most of the time. Little brother to the one on your list. Great rock amp, and responsive to pick attack and guitar volume and tone controls. The downside is it’s picky about what dirt pedals you put in front of it. Other than typical tube amp stuff (replacement tubes, rebiasing, etc) all were reliable. Good luck with your new band! Enjoy the hunt!
     
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  13. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Do you do modern or classic rock, country?

    The BlackStar is the best of the sub $500 amps in terms of versatility. It has two channels with varied voices. Not too big or heavy but powerful enough. Reasonably well made, terrible resale.

    I'd steer clear of beat examples and older amps. The Classic 30 can be OK but also lots of trouble. Ditto the Hotrod, Deluxe/Deville and Blues Deluxe. They sometimes don't age well.90s amps need a tech signoff or warranty.

    The Twin would be the best sounding clean and you'll never run out of power. It's big and heavy. It'll give you classic Fender clean dripping with glassy luscious reverb and tremolo. It's the only amp that uses tubes to drive reverb and trem.

    Offer them $600 cash. These amps are hard to .move as 100 watt tube amps are out of fashion. You will need dirt pedals if you need overdrive especially at lowish volumes.

    Coming from a Pathfinder 15R any band would sound loud.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
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  14. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 Tele-Meister

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    Find out the exact model your bandmate has and try an identical one out at band practice if you can. See if you want to sound similar to him or her or whether you want something that contrasts.

    Learning how to EQ your amp in a band situation will go a long way toward being happy with an amp.

    Many (most?) amps are advertised as having more power than they actually produce, but that's a topic for a different rant thread.
     
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  15. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    If you‘re just playing at home with a reasonable volume you don‘t need a tube amp above 5 watts!
     
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  16. Cyberi4n

    Cyberi4n Tele-Meister

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    owned a few Bugeras in my time. Great amps and great tone.
     
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  17. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Gibson Les Paul Studio with humbuckers or Yamaha Revstar with P90s.
     
  18. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    We are playing gigs.
     
  19. davo8411

    davo8411 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    A friend is going to loan me the DSL40C until I find an amp. I have not played it yet.
     
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  20. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    If the Twin has been recently serviced as well as new tubes, it will send your bandmates running. You will never run out of power. The tilt-back legs are nice as well. Super clean and will cut through a room as needed. But it is a BEAST! Consider a mover's dolly or something with 4 wheels to save your back!
     
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