Small amp to cover jazz to classic rock...

fretknot

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A 'jazz tone' means a lot of different things to different players.
Can I ask which types of jazz tones do you wish to emulate ? They can range widely, say Pat Metheny vs Larry Carlton vs George Benson vs Julian Lage, etc.
If you're not targeting one certain sound, maybe get something which allows a bit of flexibility to move between a few and adapt / dial-in over time (?)
There are lots of different ways to do that, and most don't really depend on one specific type of amp. A lot tone also comes from the guitar too: setup, controls, technique, etc.
I'm into a cross between Pat Metheny and Johnny Smith for starters...I like George Benson's chops and some of his tones. Ed Bickert is another that comes to mind. Tim Lerch also does some amazing things with a Tele...
 

fretknot

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Good point about mic-ing. And quiet sidemen, too. In addition to price and complexity mentioned in post 2, do you play out?
Haven't played out in a couple of years. I moved to rural area, so not likely to resume. Occasionally I'll pair up with someone for a session or two, though. No clubs.
 
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fretknot

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Price limit?
Single channel or multi-channel? (you said you wanted simple)
Pedal platform or do you want your tubes to provide the overdrive?
Under $1,000.00 used is okay if the amp was not abused. Single channel, hand-wired for any tube amps. I have owned numerous 12-15 watt amps, no modeling for me, so Super Champs are out, Had one and the cleans were nice, but I'm hesitant to have something so complex and I prefer tube rectified, and genuine tube preamp. The Rolands are built like tanks, so they qualify, even though they are PCB/SS. I played a Victoria once and it impressed me, but way pricey. I have my eyes on a used Swart AST Jr., for $850.00, and a boutique-ish 5F2a for $575.00, that I can get it for little less w/o tubes (I have plenty on hand).
 

PhredE

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Interesting, your post spurred me to poke around a bit, and found a few things that might be noteworthy (or not!)

I've seen GB play a few times, and have seen him with a Twin Reverb I think every time -- (he sounded great BTW)

Pat Metheny: Used that Acoustic 134 combo for a long time (into the 1990s). Looks like a Digitech preamp a lot these days (and probably lots of other stuff, but heck, I don't know..)

Ted Bickert: A Standel (SS) early on, Roland Cube, and later an Evans.

Johnny Smith: Had more trouble figuring his amp situation out definitely. Looks like he had a preference for a certain (custom?) model of Ampeg amp, but used others on/off at times.

Yeah, agree on Tim Lerch. A lot of his sound is in the setup and right hand technique -- makes a Tele sound superb on that neck PU. He has been doing promo stuff for Quilter lately and have seen other times using a Fender Princeton, etc. He's posted on occasion here too incidentally.

Go forward, define your own sound with whatever amp you choose -- there is no 'wrong' answer. So, in short, it's a mix of tubes and no tubes, big combos vs small combos, etc. Can't remember who said it in a previous post, (JL_LI?), but I also agree that in most flavors of jazz it is probably more important what you play and not being too focused on 'tone' per se.

Lots of good info about jazz gear and related: https://www.jazzguitar.be/
 
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Mowgli

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Whenever you/we wish to have a signal chain that covers the sounds ranging from George Benson to Scott Henderson to Robben Ford to Eric Clapton to the Beatles to The Rolling Stones, etc. you/we are asking for a guitar or set of guitars, probably with a decent pedalboard, and a multi-channel amp with either a pair of different speakers or a “compromise” speaker that covers a lot of different genres/bases.

So you are looking at (1) a fairly compromised rig (a great or good rock rig that can cover jazz/fusion or vice-versa) or (2) a very versatile rig (Mesa Roadking comes to mind) that does a lot of styles well or (3) a huge rig that does each sound the way you want them.

So define your needs and wants, your budget, what is practical (lugging around 2 or 3 amps, each with its own spkr cabinet and 3 guitars may grow old quickly) and, perhaps most important, establish the compromises with which you can live.

If most of what you play is clean, I’d place more emphasis on an amp and speaker to make the clean tones sound good and find a way to make the less-used distortion sound acceptable… or vice-versa. If it’s around 50:50, then it becomes a matter of what you feel is more important to sound good. The goal, IMO, is to “serve the music” as best as possible.

I wouldn’t bring a Polytone Minibrute and a DS-1 pedal to a Doom Metal gig that plays a few clean tunes… Unless I’m looking for conflict. Then again…
 

MisterZ

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I used to use a Mini Brute II as my only amp...blues-rock, classic rock, heavy prog. With a Cry Baby, Big Muff, and DOD Phasor 201, it worked pretty well.

Nowadays, I'd probably recommend a Katana to OP. Cleans like a Jazz Chorus, onboard effects, decent crunch.
 

straightlbues

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I am fortunate to have a very large amp collection. (clones and vintage stuff bought over 30 years). I have

Polytone,
Fender BF Champ, Princetone, Deluxe and Super Reverb.
Fender Tweed Super, 5E3, and Harvard
Gibson EH 185
Vox Pathfinder
Filmosound
Magnatone and several others.

I will tell you that any of these amps could do what you want. If I were in your position, I would go to a big city and go to pawn shops and music stores and plug into everything until something speaks to you.
 

InstantCoffeeBlue

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I know you said you don't like El84s, but there's more to an amp's sound than the output tubes - the design of the preamp stage has (IMO) as much or more to do with whether or not an amp sounds "Fender" than the type of tube. I would put a Fender Pro Junior on your list. The only changes I've made to mine are a 12AY7 in V1 and an Eminence 'Lil Buddy. It's a surprisingly versitile amp that holds up well in smaller jazz settings. Definitely checks the simplicity box.
 

Tim S

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I know you said you don't like El84s, but there's more to an amp's sound than the output tubes - the design of the preamp stage has (IMO) as much or more to do with whether or not an amp sounds "Fender" than the type of tube. I would put a Fender Pro Junior on your list. The only changes I've made to mine are a 12AY7 in V1 and an Eminence 'Lil Buddy. It's a surprisingly versitile amp that holds up well in smaller jazz settings. Definitely checks the simplicity box.
I like your reasoning & outside the box thinking here. My only concern with a Pro Junior is headroom. I don’t own one, but I suspect it would require miking more often than other choices.

As for EL84s coloring sounds, I just can’t hear it. People tend to think they have “chime” because Vox decided to use them early on. My Blues Junior & Mark V:25 will never be confused with a Vox exhibiting “chime”. Mesa uses them in several of their low powered amps because they are cheap and fairly colorless when you make your overdrive from the preamp.
 

KeithDavies 100

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Can't comment on the Roland or Swart, so I'll just say a word about the 5F2a. I assume you're looking to buy? Only double-checking cuz most I see here are DIY -- they're one of the best easy builds.

A 5F2a could be nice for jazz comping. It could, set up with skill, play jazz lead in small venues too -- check out Julian Lage on his even-smaller 5F1 Champ. Set up and played with just the right touch, you *might* even get a baby version of Larry Carlton on his much bigger 5E3; listen when Julian digs in just after 3:00....



If you wanted the same simplicity with a slightly more modern clean and dirt, the *very* similar Gibson GA-5 'Skylark' circuit does that well.

Wow, that's nice. Maybe I need to send my guitars back - they don't sound like that when I play them!
 

Alter

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A fender pro junior iv is a great amp for that. 5 wattage ones can't really jam with a drummer clean. The pro junior can do it all, home playing, rehearsals, gigs.

Here's mine playing blues


And playing jazz, without a guitar PA
 
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InstantCoffeeBlue

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A fender pro junior iv is a great amp for that. 5 wattage ones can't really jam with a drummer clean. The pro junior can do it all, home playing, rehearsals, gigs.

Here's mine playing blues


And playing jazz, without a guitar PA


Yup. I've used mine for B-3 trio gigs and am always surprised how well mine can hang in these kinds of settings.
 

ReverendRevolver

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Price range under a grand I assume, I reccomend buying 2 amps;
For rock, etc:
Marshall Origin 10(or15), OR BluesJr, ProJr, or Supro BK12, OR just aim at the Swart if you can swing it.

For jazz, the JC or a Peavey Bandit (or one of several other SS peaveys you can get fir under $200 such as Session, classic chorus, or Renown), or a fender M80.

I getbthe allure of Jazz, but I can't play that many wrong notes the right way and opted out. But, alot of what makes an amp great for blues, rock, etc makes it have too much extra characteristic to the base sound to be ideal for jazz, so a sculptable and predictable clean channel is the target. I've not tried dialing a Tone master anything in to sound like anything other than a tube amp (that's its bag, and ots sounds good but handles too different for my money) but it might be able to do both?
 

telemnemonics

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Apologies for not reading all comments before posting.

I vote no on the 5f2a for venturing into Jazz with an archtop.
Breaks up too early too much and cannot really deliver clear bass above very low volume.

Cases where a known artist makes it work are more about the artist, the rest of the band, and the venue or studio.
Not an indication that the SE 5w amp us good for Jazz guitar.
 

stormsedge

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DV Mark has several "jazz" offerings. I have the Micro 60 Jazz head driving two DV Mark cabs (a 1x12 and a 2x8). Mega cleans and the added benefit is it takes pedals well, so it really knows no boundaries. ((Similarly, my Quilter 201 does great cleans)). Happy Hunting.
 

BlueTele

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I'm moving into new territory musically, and along with a Tele and a Duo-sonic, I picked up a Epiphone Emperor Regent, with a Johnny Smith pickup, to explore some silkier genres and jazz/fusion. Typically I've played Blues and Classic Rock, but now I'm older and want to expand into some new sounds.

I'm considering a couple small amps to cover the wide range I'm looking for. A few options I considered are; Tweed 5F2a, Roland JC 22, and Swart AST Jr.

I'm thinking 5W max for tube, and 20-30W if solid state. Looking for a simple circuit if going with tubes. I've only considered the Roland JC, because I am so impressed with the Micro Cube, but it still lacks some of the warmth for jazzier tones.

Currently I have an Epiphone Valve Junior, V3 that I modded the resistors on and re-tubed with NOS glass, and a Micro Cube brain that I installed in a larger cabinet with a Jensen P10r, and an extension cab with another P10r, to create a 2X10, 4 ohm load and wider spread. I'm keeping the MC, but still need a little more power for jamming. I'm not enjoying the EL84 characteristics of the Valve Junior. I have been a lifelong Fender guy, until I stopped playing out. The 6V6 sound works for me for its warmth and tonal spectrum.

The Valve Junior is going up for sale as soon as I sort this out. I'm leaning toward the Swart, because of the onboard reverb, but it's double the cost of the other contenders.

Any thoughts/experiences to share?
I instantly thought of none other than Julian Lage...the gifted savant of guitar who plays jazz, rock and everything in-between. He uses a Magic Amplification Vibro Deluxe, which is builder Mike Moody's "perfection version" of a Fender Deluxe Reverb. So, whether a Vibro Deluxe or a Fender Deluxe Reverb or a Louis Electric Deltone (also a world class Deluxe Reverb WITH a "Middle" control!!!), you can't go wrong. They are all 1 x 12" combo's of course with Reverb, Speed, and Intensity. All "new" in the mid-to-upper $2,000 range depending on a few choices you can make if you do a new build. Any pre-owned version will be an excellent choice as well. Good luck!
 




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