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Should I spend more than $1k on an amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by Shinrock, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. Maguchi

    Maguchi Tele-Meister

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    Sure. Why not? Live a little. You can't take it with you. Spend some money on that awesome tube amp you always wanted. There are so many good choices of higher end tube amps. Depends on the sounds you like. But you only go around once, so go for it.
     
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  2. Doctor Blue

    Doctor Blue TDPRI Member

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  3. Abre

    Abre TDPRI Member

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    I think you make a great statement. I was just wondering why custom shop type amps aren't more of a thing. There's plenty of custom shop and signature guitars out there, but the impact they'll make on me is less money in the bank. I'd rather plug my homemade snakehead tele into some sort of James Burton, Scotty Moore, Brian Setzer, fill-in-the-blank amp, than plug a custom made $7000 snakehead tele into my Vox mini super beetle. Now maybe these things already exist and I just embarrassed myself; I don't get out much.
     
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  4. thesushimen

    thesushimen NEW MEMBER!

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    I played mostly small tube amp 15W and some 65 lbs 50W ;(

    You might consider spending 2K$ on a SS board like Helix/Kemper or a sturdy little tube amp you can push into OD with a super clean for a full pedal board. It all comes down to you. After all, you get for what you pay for... just look at some cheaper amp PCB board. A point-to-point amp is so easy to repair! I own several.

    Ten years ago, I came across a 20W Koch Studiotone EL84 that has it all for live or studio performance.

    Very seriously built, pristine clean, OD, OD+, DI, Recording out with Cab/mic simulation, Speaker cancellation, Headphone out... I'm even using it with Jamkazam theses days.

    I don't know about you guys but I prefer to be seen playing a full mojo boutique amp than another new Marshall, Fender et al.

    There is also a 40W Koch Studiotone if you're not deaf yet.

    http://www.koch-amps.com/guitar-combo-studiotone.html
     
  5. bdrhythm

    bdrhythm TDPRI Member

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    Really depends on your own desires of sound on stage. If most of the gigs you're doing are mic'd amps gigs then your own onstage sound needs to be something that makes YOU happy. What the patrons hear out front will be coming from enclosures. If you're doing gigs where you need to turn up to provide all the sound from the stage then that changes the equation--your amp will sound differently because you HAVE TO turn it up. If it were me and you're doing a lot of gigs or going on the road I'd choose the most reliable amp I could get--a work horse that can take a beating and keep on putting it out. Mic'd amp--low watt is fine. Not mic'd amp--got to have a higher wattage amp if you want any clean sound. Lastly, I purchased a Hot Rod Deluxe because they were on a lot of stages when I went on the road--I though they were reliable. Honestly, after buying one a year later I sold it--unreliable with no headroom. I'd rethink that amp, imo. One more thing: You gotta be happy with your sound on stage. That said, I'd spend whatever to get a good sound. Cause if I hate my sound on stage I'm probably not going to be a happy performer and to me that's the bottom line. Best!
     
  6. Pat Teague

    Pat Teague TDPRI Member

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    Yes, sometimes it takes that and especially in your position. I would reccomend the orange Amps they are able to take pedals really well as well as have very nice cleans and can have as much gain as you want on the dirty channel.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Well there are different ways of saying that cheaper prices come at a cost of cheaper parts, cheaper labor, missing features etc, because lowering the price isn't just changing the price tag.

    While we know there are less expensive amps that sound good, that wasn't really the question.
    Seems like the OP has a budget that allows $1000 for an amp that does everything well.

    Two possible answers we can give to the question: "Should I spend $1000 on an amp?".

    Yes you should.
    Why?

    No you shouldn't.
    Why.

    Both answers are fair, and the fact that cheaply made amps sound good doesn't mean the OP should not spend $1000 if he has it to spend on a nice amp.

    I find it odd that so many press buyers to buy cheap gear when they can afford mid priced gear.
    A $1000 30-40w two channel tube combo is a mid priced amp.

    I don't have that budget so I spend between $300 & maybe $800 on an amp.

    Are there more expensive amps I'd love to have but can't afford?
    Oh yeah!

    Are there any cheaper amps as in cheaply made, not screaming deals, that sound as good as the best sounding amps I've owned and played? No, none of the cheap amps I've played sounded as good as the best amps I've played.
    I've shopped for deals on amps a lot, often bringing my own amp in to compare, or buying with a return period to be able to fairly compare. I've returned vintage/ hand wired/ collector grade/ holy grail amps because they didn't sound better than what I already had.

    Can I make a cheaper amp sound better?
    Sure, but not as good as I can make a truly great amp sound.

    As far as the Deville/ deluxe amps and also the Blues Jr, popular well loved mid priced amps, I've never liked them much but I've bought Blues Jr two different times because they seem so handy and fairly priced and sound good in the store.
    Then I play them for a few months next to other amps and realize I'd rather always play amps I love, because they make sounds that are to my ear better than amps that are to my ear just not what i want to hear.

    I also don't like BF Fender amps no matter how they're wired, and I don't like JCM800 dirt.
    We may as a debate discussion, confuse what we like in an amp with what makes an amp a good amp. For whatever reason, not a lot of amps have what i want in an amp, much of which is clear tight bass as opposed to the classic crunch bass that many tube amps seem to deliver. Some amps are dirty at the bottom and clean at the top, which I can't stand. Pro Reverb and Bandmaster Reverb do that when turned up, so do some Marshalls. Other amps manage tighter cleaner bass while fattening up the high range. Those are the amps I like.

    The thing I like the least though is finding an amp i really love the sound of, then buying some other amp i don't like as much, just to save a few hundred bucks.

    Saving a few hundred bucks just isn't one of my goals as a musician!

    We don't even know what amps the OP might drop a grand on!
    I might hate it but if you want to drop a grand on an amp it's nothing crazy, we don't need to warn him of impending doom!
     
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  8. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    @telemnemonics - I take your points.

    But I read the OP as saying he’s fine with those great workhorse amps he lists in the sub-$1000 category. But wondering if the over $1000 is necessarily more better.

    Simple answer is “no”.

    But that doesn’t mean it might not be fun to grab one anyway.
     
  9. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    At one time I might have given an automatic “No” answer, but I recently paid almost that much for a Tone Master Deluxe Blonde.
    Re- thinking what I did, it was foolish of me to lay out that money while my band is not gigging.

    So my more considered answer is, “not right now”.
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I don't see your point really, saying that there is a definitive answer and it is "no".
    Your adding "necessarily" makes "no" a little more accurate since a poorly spent grand won't be better, but such certainty implies that the Hot Rod Deville amps are as good as it gets.

    Unless you're saying you believe the Hot Rod Deville and other popular lower priced amps are "as good as it gets", a better answer would be "maybe" rather than "no"?

    We can't really know for sure that the OP will or will not find an amp he get something "better" out of in the higher price ranges.
    But we do know that you don't personally find anything better in higher priced amps, while I do often find something better in higher priced amps. Certainly plenty of expensive amps I don't like though, and the question doesn't suggest everyone will like every amp that costs more than $1k.

    This is not to say that paying more for the same amp makes it better, or that getting a limited edition whiskey barrel Fender amp with the same guts as the cheaper model is better.

    The strange argument that better build quality cannot possibly result in better sound is a curio!
    How is that calculated?
    I just cannot understand that viewpoint, as it attempts to define everyone's values based on one individuals values.
    And presumes that "as good as it gets" is some predetermined standard.

    I'm trying to limit my price point discussion to the cost of new amps, rather than confuse the issue with screaming deals I've gotten.
    Also I was buying amps that now sell for thousands back when they were only hundreds, which really doesn't count.

    My experience owning and playing hundreds of amps is that better amps are more expensive to build, and amps that are changed for the purpose of cost cutting, may be good but the cost cutting almost always changes the sound.
    Along with my finding that there are expensive amps I simply don't like.

    Of course, some cool guitar sounds are really kinda cheap amp sounds, and for those sounds there is no gain to get a better built amp.
    Punk Rock might actually be made worse if the sort of trashy sounds were replaced by voice of angels sort of sounds.
    If The Sex Pistols had David Lindley playing his Jackson Browne guitar sound, that would have been a bad guitar sound for the music.
    But if those Jackson Browne recordings had Lindley's guitar sound replaced with Lydon's sound, that would have been a bad guitar sound for the music.
    You can approximate Lindley's Browne sound with a Hot Rod Deville, but I don't think it would be even close to correct to say a Hot Rod Deville is as good as it gets for Lindley's sound, or that paying more for an amp when trying to get that Lindley sound won't get you a better amp for that job. The amp Lindley used can be bought for around $2500 in a USA build, or $1000 for an import Ceriatone build.
    Collectors items are not related to build cost of guitar amps.

    If the goal is any of the truly beautiful guitar sounds that are possible with an electric guitar, employing cost cutting measures in amp building, is really pretty much impossible to do without lowering build quality and potential sounds quality.

    So to me the simple answer is that cost cutting lowers build quality, and build quality is related to sound quality.
    Whether the individual player wants sounds that are beautiful, or sounds that are adversely effected by cost cutting in manufacture, we can't really know.
    For info on how cost cutting measures might adversely effect the sounds an amp can make, that would be a whole 'nother discussion.

    So might be info on how to cut costs when building virtually anything, without adversely effecting the qualities of use it delivers.
    Looking at consumer habits in 2020, it does seem to be shifting toward a disposable/ quality doesn't matter mentality.
     
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  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    @telemnemonics - for me it's real simple, I guess. I mean it when I say "no".

    Pushing above a grand might get more features. But it won't get "better" sound.

    The OP's question (which I take as sincere) is:

    "Having said all that, many highly-regarded and readily-available amps fall under the $1,000 (U.S.) price tag (either new or used): Vox AC30, Hot Rod Deluxe or DRRI, Marshall DSL40, Blackstar HT40, Orange TH30, etc. Knowing my amp will have to remain reliable under standard gig abuse, is there really a reason to spend for me to spend more than a grand on an amp?"

    The simple answer to that is "no". Assuming the question (as framed) relates to sound quality and reliability. I don't believe (nor does my experience support) that you get "more" of either for the extra money.

    You might get other things. Options. Channels. Flexibility. Hand-wiring. Boutique. Name cache. I could go on and on.

    But the sound, feel and durability are all there in that sub-$1000 category and we could add many to that list. Marshall Origin being one.

    Put another way - you can hand anyone David Lindley's Dumble set exactly as he prefers and they ain't gonna sound like David Lindley. The amp is not the impediment.

    Anyway, that's my sincere belief and experience. And I've heavily explored the way-too-expensive amp category only to come back to being fine with amps in the category OP mentioned, without any compromise in tone or reliability.

    YMMV of course.
     
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  12. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Speak to your financial advisor, and if you play it correctly you may save 15% on your car insurance.
     
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  13. Terrygh1949

    Terrygh1949 Tele-Meister

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    Never, why? There are tons of Great amps tube, solid state, and, many others that will give you what you want for way less than a grand. Shop around.
     
  14. ifallalot

    ifallalot Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I bought a Mesa Boogie TC-50

    Worth every penny and I’ll never need another amp again

    it simply does everything
     
  15. ayjaydee

    ayjaydee TDPRI Member

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    At the risk of being shouted at I suggest a Helix with a good powered speaker, that way you get a whole raft of excellent amps to choose from. The Princeton that has just been added with the latest firmware is great. And you get a slew of great pedals too, including the King of Tone.
     
  16. moapys

    moapys TDPRI Member

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    I used to tell students; "figure a dollar for every hour/year you practice":
    If you're seriously playing+studying 3+hours every day, SURE you've earned a thousand dollar amp. If you're closer to the hour-per-day casual player, there are plenty of $350 options out there.
    It wasn't scientific, but held up to years of vetting!
     
  17. Spooky88

    Spooky88 TDPRI Member

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    If it’s the right amp, sure. There’s not one guy on this forum that knows the groups you play in better than you. Nor do they really know the sound(s) you need. While I realize most questions on this forum are rhetorical, it’s simply worth stating.
     
  18. voodoogreg

    voodoogreg TDPRI Member

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    Though retired now from Union session sideman, I went with hand-wired amps, for the reliability and the ease of repair Factor. You can find a used dr. Z, bad cat, even a matchless for around a thousand. I also have, now that I play on weekends, and some sessions, some circuit board amps, have worked great. It's always better to have a little bit better an amp.
     
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  19. markleehunter

    markleehunter TDPRI Member

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    Joe Naylor (Reverend) once said the Bandit 65 is one of the best SS amps ever made. I bought a used 75 on that basis. Incredible. Changed the speaker to a Jensen and it sounded EXACTLY like a Bassman 100. I ended up selling it because of the weight, but I do miss it sometimes.
     
  20. billboyd

    billboyd TDPRI Member

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    I just have to pipe in with the Supro Blues King 12, it's a 15 watt all tube 1-12 combo amp. The tubes are a 12ax7 and just one 6L6 for 15 watts of single ended class A bliss. The single 6L6 gives it headroom for days. This IS THE Blues Jr. killer, this dances circles around my 15 watt Blues Jr. , and the Blues Jr is one of the best amps Fender has come out with in the last 30 years. Anyways the Supro is made in USA, sells for $599 plus $50 for the Supro made Blues King footswitch, and it has a very cool retro style appearance similar early 50's era Fender Champs etc. All in all it is definitely worth checking out.....
     
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