Let's Talk Portable, Simple Rigs

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Cysquatch, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Holic

    May 2, 2019
    Grovetown, GA
    A coworker and good friend of mine is in the midst of getting ready to downsize his living situation and possibly do some cross-country moving. He and I have been bouncing ideas back and forth for a small simple rig that would be easy to move (both across town or across the country), reliable, and of course sound great. I figured I might as well pick some brains around here and see what you all might think.

    Some info for consideration:
    - He plays just about every style imaginable, so sparkling clean to extreme modern gain is necessary.

    - Mostly plays and records at home, so volume control is important. But, is looking to get back to playing out again.

    - He recently got a used Blues Jr (III, I think) on a steal and seems to have fallen in love with it. I think it may be his first tube amp, but either way, he seems very smitten with it minus the volume.

    Some ideas I've tossed his way:
    - Keeping the Blues Junior and Mooer 5150-ish micro preamp he already has and loves. I suggested he simply add a Torpedo Captor to use as an attenuator between the amp and speaker at home, as well as allow him a great cab/loadbox/DI sim for silent recording or for running out to the PA in venues conducive to it. Total price just $249 and my favorite option should he want to keep the Blues Jr.

    - Using a Two Notes Le Preamp of his choosing (likely the Le Clean or Le Crunch) + the Mooer and something like a Headrush FRFR. This keeps a 2-channel tube preamp in the mix as well as having good direct/cab sim capabilities for home use and direct to PA, but does allow him to absolutely blow doors down should he ever need that power. And it's all just a small pedalboard and a toolbox sized cab. Big question is just how controllable are those 2000 watts in the Headrush? Total price: $500-600 based on which cab he gets.

    - Again, using a Le Preamp, but running into a Bandit clean channel should her prefer a more traditional cab. I think it's a lesser option than either of the above, but Bandits are cheap and bulletproof. Total Cost $400-500 based on the Bandit. Seems like a worse version of either of the first two.

    - Something like a Line 6 HX Stomp into a Headrush. He loses any tube action, but does get a HUGE selection of tones on tap, extreme portability, and less maintenance worry than with tubes. It's a simple, small do everything rig. Total price: $800-900. Ouch.

    We've also discussed some Quilter products, so those have been tossed about nebulously.

    Anyway, I'm just babbling at this point. I'll can it and defer to your knowledge, fellow twangers.
  2. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2017
    Vox Night Train... thats all you need
    Skydog1010 likes this.
  3. JayFreddy

    JayFreddy Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 6, 2006
    Dallas TX USA
    He likes his Blues Junior. That should be fine. They are easy to replace.

    Run an overdrive pedal into the drive channel for higher gain stuff.

    If you want something less likely to break, get a solid state amp.

    Plenty of good choices besides the Peavey, but that's one of them.
    studio1087 likes this.
  4. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    I play 3-7 gigs a week. Plus occasional rehearsals and sessions. Portability, light weight, and the versatility to do any gig anywhere are the things I chased in a single rig for a LONG time.

    The rig I couldn’t live without-

    Amp: DV Mark FGC121 1x12 combo.

    120 watts rms.
    Two full featured channels, no shared eq.
    Extremely well designed and functional master volumes on each channel.
    Sparkly, squeaky clean, to crunch, to classic rock distortion at any volume from bedroom to outdoor festival, all in one amp.

    This amp has been discontinued, and is pretty much impossible to find. But one of their micro heads and one of their neo 1x12 cabs would do the trick easily.


    TC Electronics Nova System. I have mine set up in “manual” mode. So no patches or banks to deal with. Just a single small unit set up like a regular pedal board. Tuner, clean boost, all the gain you could want, delays, chorus, phase, whatever you need. In a unit about the size of an average calzone box.

    I use this rig to cover everything from classic country, to straight blues, to classic rock and pop stuff, you name it. Last night I was with the band I work the islands with. Everything from The Who and the Stones to Adele and Meghan Trainor, to whatever. I used it in my Dead band. I use it for everything. Extremely flexible.

    I walk in with the amp in one hand. In the other hand is a small bag that holds my Nova System, cables, and mic. Gig bag on my back has a guitar, extra strings and small tool kit, power strip, and mic stand drink holder. I can be set up or torn down anywhere in five minutes or less, and cover any style I need to. I spent 30 years trying to nail down the perfect gig rig. The last twenty months since I found it have been sublime.
    soulman969 likes this.
  5. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

    Apr 20, 2019
    North Carolina
    Grab my Rondo tele in an old cheap gig bag, Fender Mustang 1 v.2 with presets loaded for the occasion, power cord, footswith, bikini Gretsch Strap, pocket full of picks and I'm ready. 1 set of extra strings.
  6. vangoghsear

    vangoghsear Tele-Meister

    Sep 18, 2014
    NE USA
    One of the Boss Katana amps would probably do what he needs. I have the 50 model. It has three power levels, .5, 25 and 50 watts. I play in a church band with a drummer, keyboard and bass and I use the 25 watts setting. For recording it can plugged directly into a computer with a USB cable and has loads of programmable tweakable effects. A latchable two button footswitch can give 4 channels. It even has an acoustic setting, not just for simulating acoustic, but for amplifying an actual acoustic guitar.
    soulman969 likes this.
  7. eichaan

    eichaan Tele-Holic

    Dec 12, 2006
    Richmond, VA
    I use a Katana 50 and find it works great. It's lightweight (important with my back issues) and VERY loud. I play it in practices and performances with my band of 2-3 acoustic guitars, drums, bass and me on electric in rooms ranging from a small practice room to outdoor decks to small pubs to a bowling alley.

    While the amp is capable of much more, I have concluded that the best thing for me to do live is to have one or two base tones:

    • clean(ish)

    • the same, but louder

    and then have a pedal for more volume and/or some distortion if the tune calls for it.

    In keeping with my philosophy of spending as little as possible to sound good, I've put together a custom pedalboard (with a multi-spot power unit, a board, and some velcro). The way it goes is:

    Guitar to Boss Tuner out to Behringer noise reducer. The Noise Reducer has a loop, which goes out to a Caline Orange Burst for my main boost and then into an Electro-Harmonix LBP-1 then back into the Noise Reducer, then out to the Katana 50. I also have a Fender 1-button footswitch to change the presets on the amp.

    I find this to be very versatile, easy to carry, and sounds really good.

    soulman969 likes this.
  8. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    I love mine as well. For portability, and VERY versatile and useable sounds, and plenty loud without being miked, I don't think you can beat it.

    Having said that, I've been drifting back to my old Fender MIII. This is what I've been using for rehearsals lately. With the 2 and the 4 footswitches in tandem, I can get the very best sounds (for me) that I've ever been able to get straight from an amp with no external anything other than simple footswitches to contend with or rely on.

    That's almost not fair to say, since the Mustang is nothing but amp and effects software/interface inside. But it's true. And the MIII isn't really much heavier at all than the DV, and, I can leave any kind of external pedals at home, as long as I bring those very sturdy and reliable footswitches.

    I've not gigged out in awhile, so I've not had the opportunity to use the MIII to see how it compares to the DV, which I've been using live for quite some time
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
    Jakedog likes this.
  9. ricardo1912

    ricardo1912 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 26, 2011
    Kent, UK
    My go to amp is my Mustang GT100. Nice n light, master volume means it sounds good at home or for gig level. I have four nice channels set up and together with a gain pedal that's me sorted.
    The small Laney amps seem ok for weight n volume too - Cub or LC models.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
  10. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    I am about to go out the door to play a festival here in the UK.

    Taking a Marshall DSL40CR.. 4 channels - super clean, to ultra high gain, reverb, fx loop, 1x12, half power switch.

    Pretty perfect modern tube amp for a bit of everything and that can deliver on most stages.

    Substantially lighter than my 50W JMP which almost made it to the rig

    I am really delighted with it.

    If you had to have just one.....
  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    If he likes what he has just stick with that. Pedals can deliver serviceable tones at home. Recording? Just mike the amp. Stick it in a closet to manage volume.
    SolidSteak likes this.
  12. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

    Apr 27, 2016
    IMO I think he should stick with the amp he just got that he has fallen in love with, do the move, and then start looking for more gear after settling in to the new place.
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