Roland Blues Cube - Is it the amp for me?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Cloodie, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. Cloodie

    Cloodie TDPRI Member

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    Hi

    I've just come back to the guitar after a break of many years and my main focus these days is learning to play the blues. I have a new found love for Albert King, BB King and Buddy Guy.
    Anyway I bought a Katana 50w a few months ago and I like the amp but I just find myself overwhelmed by it all. I know that some people enjoy playing around for hours etc getting a particular tone but as my time is limited I prefer to use it playing or studying. Even though I know I can shun all the effects etc it's just too easy to get caught up in it all so I'm looking for an amp that has a good tone out of the box that I can dabble with. I don't need a huge range of different sounds.
    So given the above I really would've liked something like a Fender Blues Jr or even a Supro Blues King but they aren't possible due to the volumes I'm restircted to. From what I've read and seen online it seems the Blues Cube could be the answer here. Does anyone who has experience of the amp have an opinion on whether this sounds like the solution or are there other possibilites I could consider? There are no guitar shops where I live so I can't pop down to try one. I intend to visit one when Xmas is out of the way and would like to know if there is anything else I should also be trying out while I'm there.

    Thanks in advance for any replies/ advice.
     
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  2. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    It is a very good amp. As you say, it is very versatile. I have tried all three of them. The Artist gets insanely loud. The Stage is very similar but slightly less power and still insanely loud. They are very easy to dial in. The Tone capsules do add flavor, but at additional cost. The smallest one - the Hot - actually still is very loud. They all sound good, and the power scaling and various line outs make it adaptable to almost any circumstance. If you had $500 to spend you could find one used and it would be the only amp you would need for any purpose. Guaranteed you will like it better than the Katana.
     
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  3. Cloodie

    Cloodie TDPRI Member

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    In terms of the power scaling, do they have good tones at low volumes? I'm never going to be good enough or confident enough to gig so it will only be for playing around with at home.
     
  4. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the Katana50, and I gave up using any of the computer based stuff. I found a good reverb and delay setting that i hardly ever adjust. I keep the Katana on the clean channel, and use a couple of pedals for drive. If you can learn to ignore all the features you don't need, the Katana is a great sounding amp at a great price.
     
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  5. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Meister

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    Yes. The 1/2 watt settings provide good, dirtier sounds at very low volumes.
     
  6. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes the low wattage settings sound just like the high wattage. That is one benefit of solid state.
     
  7. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    Man, you sound a lot like me. I just got back into playing about three years ago after a long break and tried the Katana 50 among other modeling amps. My last tube amp had been a Blues Jr and I could play loud then, but really can't now, living in a small condo with my wife and close neighbors. I sort of had fun with the Katana but ultimately just found a nice bluesy Marshall sound and left it there. And then I tried one of the Guitar Center versions of the Blues Cube Hot, which is an old Marshall voicing, and it was all over for the Katana. Sold it, bought the Blues Cube, and haven't looked back. It does SOUND very very good at low volume, but it's not moving a lot of air, so you never get that rumble in your belly you get with a good loud amp. It'll do that on the higher power settings, but not at really low volume. But it sounds wonderful, and it records great. For me, it's the perfect amp. I don't even use the reverb or boost - I use it as a clean platform and use pedals for boost, dirt, reverb and delay. I do a lot with a looper and having all of the effects before the looper lets me play different sounds on rhythm and the backing portion and then get something different to play over it. But the boost and reverb also sound very good and I'd be happy with no pedals in a different application.

    And it's basically the same size as the Blues Jr, so it fits in my man cave really well...

    -Ray
     
  8. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Afflicted

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    My blues king 12 can be tweaked to sound ok at volumes that remind me of how low I had to play my Bugera V5 back when we rented a townhouse.
    They also make a smaller one.

    The Roland's aren't terrible, but other options exist. What volume level are you aiming for?
     
  9. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've had all 3 of the above; I still have my Roland Blues Cube Hot. When it comes to amps, I prefer solid state, WYSIWYG solutions. :)
     
  10. Cloodie

    Cloodie TDPRI Member

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    Pretty damn low
     
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  11. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have a Roland Blues Cube Artist 80-watt 1x12" .
    Sounds good to me, and is lightweight. But not cheap.
     
  12. Axis29

    Axis29 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I had a couple of buds who bought them. One had the Stage, the other the Artist. I was very, very impressed with both.

    I own five tube amps. All good amps. And, I was tempted. I'm still tempted.

    The thing that gets me about the Blues Cubes is that they feel like tube amps more than they feel like solid state amps. Oh, and they sound great. The weight is nice, too. I have a couple of smaller amps, a Marshall Origin 20 combo and a Cox Ultimate 5e3, and the Blues cube is lighter than either. Great grab and go solution!

    Nothing to be ashamed of , if you own a Blues Cube!


    As for the complicated digital/solid state solutions? I am so disappointed in a number of them... and frustrated by them as well. I was sucked in by an HX Stomp a couple of years ago and have never mastered it. I haven't been happy with any sounds I've gotten out of it, and I get sucked down rabbit hole after rabbit hole trying to set up just the right patch. I've got a few friends who get awesome sounds out of their Helix stuff, including the HX Stomp. But, not me. I give up on anything that gives me the opportunity to fiddle.

    Wanna buy an HX Stomp?
     
  13. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Small champ, BOSS ME 80,70,50 series multi. Gets you low volume tone and all the fx you would ever want in an individual pedal style platform. No computer like windows....just old school functional goodness.
     
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  14. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Holic

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    Older Cube mini is my (new to me) practice amp. I use the Vox setting the most. It sounds enough like my main rig that I can focus on practice and not knob twiddling. It's fine solo, or playing with a stereo but in no way loud enough for band usage. It sounds good at low volume.
     
  15. Cloodie

    Cloodie TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the advice guys. What are the main differences between the Artist and the Stage?
     
  16. thefruitfarmer

    thefruitfarmer Tele-Meister

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    You could look at an Award Session Blues Baby?

    Very happy with mine, it is a a transistor blues junior, with a good clean to heavy crunch sound. The 45 Watt version is loud enough to play with a loud drummer.

    It is less expensive that Roland Blues Cube, lighweight too at about 15Kg.
     
  17. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I also find amps like the katana more a distraction than a valuable tool.

    It seems worth pointing out that "the blues" doesn't require a lot of overdrive. The cliche is blues=overdrive, but there's a just a huge tradition of blues coming out of jazz and swing that doesn't rely on a lot of distortion. Like for example T-Bone Walker, one of the founders of guitar blues. BB doesn't have a lot of distortion in his tone. Kenny Burrell or grant green. The whole "blues equals stomp this pedal and get "blues tone" thing is kind of missing the point, IMHO.

    I'm just saying if your goal is learning the blues one way to do it would be to just focus on phrasing, feel, time, note choice and not worry about trying to imitate the sound of an overdriven amp in a club. Like learn the Charlie Parker tune below, and you'll know about everything you need to know about blues soloing, and you'll be able to play the blues. But if you spend the same amount of time dicking around trying to sound like SRV in your bedroom you'll be trying not to learn to play blues but just trying to cop a tone. These are just not the same thing.

    Or again the acoustic blues--there's a vast and marvelous tradition of acoustic blues playing that doesn't depend on stomp-box-beer-commercial--blooze-daddy tone.




     
  18. raysachs

    raysachs Friend of Leo's

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    I agree blues doesn't need much OD, although sometimes a little bit of grit is nice. But with full on fuzz, it's something different at that point. But it is for sure all about phrasing and rhythm and just general feel. Don't even need to be able to play fast, which is probably why I can't - or however those chickens and eggs worked that one out. I can't play fast, therefore I play the blues... OR I play the blues, therefore I never worked out how to play fast??? Don't know, don't care...

    And acoustic fingerpicked blues is another whole thing. I'm just learning to do that after 40 years of lacking the patience to really dive into it. But I do it on an all-mahogany 12-fret guitar and damned if it doesn't over-drive some itself. Obviously just a touch, but if you really dig in, it'll bark...

    -Ray
     
  19. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I sure like my Blues Cube Artist.
    It sounds great clean or overdriven.
    Great stuff!
     
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  20. Blrfl

    Blrfl Tele-Holic

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    The Artist adds 20 more watts, tremolo, an effects loop, a presence control, a larger cabinet and the ability to use the GA-FC foot switch. The firmware is the same across all models, so any differences in tone are attributable to the cabinet. There's also a 2x12 version of the Artist available.
     
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