MIA Stand. Tele Looking for Quality Tube Practice Amp

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by EPOCH6, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. EPOCH6

    EPOCH6 TDPRI Member

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    Hey guys, haven't posted in a while so first of all, some context:

    My primary gigging rig is a 2013 American Standard - Ash Body through a MESA Single Rec. / Laney IRT212. I came here late last year for advice on my first Tele and ended up settling with the gorgeous MIA Standard pictured below. I've never been happier with an instrument, from Les Paul Customs to MIA Standard Strats to Jackson V's and Dean Razorbacks, these Teles feel like a privilege to play. Since the purchase it has seen a lot of gigging, writing, and jamming and I love it more every time I pick it up. I really lucked out on the head / cab combination too, massively dynamic thick / warm tone with the MESA Single Rec. dialed back to a nice vintage setting.

    [​IMG]

    But,

    The time has come to start seeking out a practice amp that allows me to enjoy this guitar as much as I do on my primary rig. I keep that rig at the rehearsal space because I live 19 floors up an apartment building in a city 80 km away. I love it to bits but it's obviously a bear to haul around, especially in the cab of an old pickup truck and through a series of locked doors and elevators. And even if I was up for hauling it around constantly I really don't think it would perform well at bedroom levels. My current setup for practicing and writing is a 150 W Line 6 Spider III 2x12 that I still have hanging around from my early teens.

    Playing through that Line 6 almost feels like a joke, especially after spending weekends hammering away on my primary rig with the band. It's nearly impossible to get a satisfying overdrive tone out of it, especially at bedroom levels. These solid state Line 6 amps have very little dynamics / response to playing style and as soon as you dial up any distortion through them you lose all of your clarity, every note collides with every note and just fizzles into a dense indistinguishable fuzz. It's very distracting when you're trying to write and makes playing quite a bummer, especially when you know how much that Tele sings through a decent tube amp.

    So now I'm desperately itching to go out there and track down a great quality tube amp for bedroom / studio volumes. My heart tells me to go straight for something like a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III 40W 1x12 or a Fender Blues Deluxe 1x12 or a Blues Junior or maybe one of Orange's 1x12 combo amps but my brain tells me I'm probably overlooking some fantastic options from other manufacturers. I have no experience with Vox amps, nor do any of my friends in music. I have a nasty persisting peeve against Marshall tones and have yet to feel comfortable playing one. And I'm cautious that Blackstar or Peavey or some other names in that ballpark are geared too much towards metal players. I'm looking for vintage tones, warm thick cleans with enough clarity and shine to compliment the Telecaster's voice and enough bite to occasionally beef things up into a dynamic classic rock overdrive tone with reasonable sustain (think China Grove or Good Times, Bad Times or Life In the Fast Lane). I'm trying to avoid on-board effects but it would be nice to have some reverb control.

    Budget is ~$1000.

    Anyway, sorry for the long winded post but it's pretty important to be extra clear on what you play and what you're looking for when shopping for gear.
     
  2. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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  3. EPOCH6

    EPOCH6 TDPRI Member

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    Thanks.

    Also just realized that I somehow made this thread in the wrong section, sorry, if a mod could move it to Amp Central that'd be great thanks.
     
  4. EPOCH6

    EPOCH6 TDPRI Member

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    The MESA Express 5:25 has piqued my interest and I'm going to try one out today to see if it lives up to its reputation. However, the only one within 100 km of me is a MESA Express Plus 5:25. There is a regular 5:25 for sale on Craigslist for $725 that I'm planning on buying if the amp impresses. But I'm concerned that I'll end up getting to the guy's house, plugging in, and end up massively underwhelmed after playing the MESA Express Plus first. I've heard that the Express Plus has the clean circuit from a Lonestar, and the Lonestar is my ideal amplifier (although out of my price range). Are the cleans on a regular Express 5:25 at least marginally as impressive? I'm aiming for vintage warm cleans similar to classic Fender amps, Reverb Deluxes / Twins etc, but I'm leaning more towards MESA as a brand because I much prefer their overdrive to Fender's and I don't want to have to stack OD pedals in front of my amp. I have yet to read a negative review of the regular MESA Express 5:25 online, it seems like a very impressive amplifier, does anyone have experience, maybe with both the regular and plus models?
     
  5. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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  6. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    None of the amps on your list would be anywhere near a "bedroom" amp. For sure not an apartment bedroom.
    Find a nice Silver face Champ.
     
  7. bparnell57

    bparnell57 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I just got a THD Bivalve today (look for a NAD thread later) and with the built in attenuator, dummy load, line out, effects loop, and other features, as well as its ability to take any typical guitar amp output tube, it rocks as a bedroom amp! I got mine for $550 in the form of $220 cash and a 2007 single pickup Gibson Melody Maker. It honestly is awesome because I have quite a few lonely power tubes around that I don't have matches for.
     
  8. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Maybe a Mesa Studio 22 would do it for you. Nice reverb, gain and master volume to get whatever OD you want at whatever volume you want. You already like the Mesa universe, so getting the controls set up shouldn't be an issue.
     
  9. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Silverface Champ, add a tone stack lift mod.

    Or get a 5F1 or 5F2 clone.


    +1
     
  10. tery

    tery Poster Extraordinaire

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    The view must be awesome from your 19th floor pad .
    I have a Blackstar HT-1R that blows me away .
    There have been a lot of great thing said about the Yamaha THR series ,
    If you want to spend a grand the Fender Eric Clapton 5 W Vibro Champ is the way to go
     
  11. simonsp

    simonsp Friend of Leo's

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    If you're up for spending some coin, then Swart make a few really nice 5w combos, ideal for home use, i.e. the Space Tone Atomic Jr

    http://swartamps.com/amplifiers.htm

    Otherwise there's VHT Special 6, very nice combo, the Ultra model has a 12" speaker.
     
  12. Ted M

    Ted M Tele-Afflicted

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    Check out Phaez amps http://www.phaezamp.com/ampshop/en/

    Randy is a great guy and his amps are well-built and affordable. I have an 8w Corona head (one 6v6) that has a very effective master volume and controls for bright, treble, mid, bass. The bright knob is like a continuously variable bright switch. No reverb or trem, but a good effects loop.

    I use it with a 1x12 cab and it sounds wonderful. I also like the VHT Special 6. I had a Swart Space Tone 6V6se - beautiful amp, but I prefer the sound of the Phaez or the VHT.

    Also muchxs (member here) makes a really great looking small combo based on a tweed Princeton IIRC, which gets a lot of love on TDPRI. You might shoot him a PM.
     
  13. alainvey

    alainvey Tele-Holic

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    I'd be very surprised if you don't like the Mesa Express, lusted after that amp for years now, just too expensive over here in the UK.
     
  14. Tele Jr

    Tele Jr Tele-Holic

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    Prosonic head with VK 2x12 cab. You could get both for one bone if you were lucky.

    Wire the cab to 16 ohms and use the 4 ohm output on the amp for low volume glory.
     
  15. xtrajerry

    xtrajerry Doctor of Teleocity

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    I was on a quest.. All of the low watt arms left me unsatisfied. Probably the best was the Blackstar HT5R, the HT1R isn't horrible but it wasn't working for me.. Among the low watt amps I have a champ, a SF VibroChamp, JetCity Pico, an ampeg.. Just wasn't cutting it.. Finally broke down and bought a 15" Delta Blues with Master Volume and a 68 DRRI. I use the DRRI through a Catlinbread Formula No. 5 most the time but when I know my down stairs neighbor is out I'll use the Delta Blues.. Also have a RI SuperReverb and a JetCity 2 Channel 20 watt head..

    I wish I had just bought the DRRI in the first place or a Blackstar HT40 from the start.
     
  16. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'd be looking for a used deluxe reverb or princeton but I really liked the sound of the 68 deluxe reverb reissue
     
  17. mistermullens

    mistermullens Poster Extraordinaire

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    You could practice with a Blues Jr, and all of the other amps are "huge," IMO. Your post read too me that it was a pain to haul your current rig. So, it sounds to me you want a nice tube amp, that is easy to transport. Grab-n-go, if you will. BJr is the closest from your list, and if you must go tube amp, I'd recommend a Silverface Champ, as others have done, but don't overlook the Vox AC4. I personally like the AC4-TV, but the new CLs, including the CL-12 might get you where you want to be. Hell, I play gigs with my AC4TV. Love the sound.

    I was a bit of a tube amp snob, but about a year ago, I need a small, portable, practice amp I could run vocals through if need be, in addition to guitar. I cam across the Vox Mini5 and it has been one of the best amps I've every owned. I use the amp at quiet band rehearsals, and I occassionally run vocals through it if there are no other options. Vocals sound better than decent. I can also run an acoustic guitar through it, and it sounds pretty darn good. Pretty awesome amps, and more than worth the $150 it cost me new.

    Good luck!
     
  18. DaveKS

    DaveKS Friend of Leo's

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    When I think apartments and bedroom vol I think this. Friend has one setting on a 2x12 open back and uses a few pedals in front of it.
    [​IMG]

    Little on the pricey side but it is a stellar little 1w power amp, set up with a 12ax7, 5751 and a 12ay7 and he just pops in whatever he needs for his practicing and recording, 12ax7, very champ like OD, drop it down to 12ay7 and it's a great little clean power amp for pushing pedals into.

    Nice 2x12 cab gets rid of the small boxy/small amp sound.
     
  19. jwp2

    jwp2 Tele-Holic

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    My 79 Vibro Champ has been my quiet go to tone king for a few decades now and that's what I would recommend.
     
  20. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    "Wire the cab to 16 ohms and use the 4 ohm output on the amp for low volume glory."

    This is abuse of an OT, ime. Yes, you can do this....but the OT will undergo stress, and not all stress on an OT results in total failure but rather can cause a partial deterioration of the OT's usefulness.....it will still 'work'...it just may not be what it once was. Matched impedances are best....one step in either direction might be acceptable in some situations. A 16 ohm load against a 4 ohm winding is not advisable, imho.

    Epoch, if you run into a Super Champ, a Princeton REverb II or a Deluxe Reverb II form '82-'85, go for it. It will do all you want to do...handwired versatility.
     
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