Small amp to cover jazz to classic rock...

JL_LI

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Everyone has an opinion and a price range in mind. Personally, I would find a low power amp limiting. I use a Mesa Boogie Express 5:25. I use it at home almost exclusively on the 5 watt setting playing through one of the low gain channels. With clean boost, it can get pretty loud. The 25 watt channel goes from loud to brain bleed loud. A modern amp with power scaling should do the job, tube or solid state.
 

MilwMark

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Apr 29, 2013
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near Arnold's
@schmee - The JC22 is “heavy as a brick”? 26lb for a 2 speaker, 30w (true power) amp? Ok?

The JC77 is my goto live amp for everything. (For those who might think it’s heavy, 42lb with two 10s, spring reverb, casters and 80 huge watts of power.) My JC40 for smaller things, though It’s WAAAYY louder than a Deluxe Reverb to my ear. (A svelte 34 lb with two 10s, but digital reverb, no casters and a mere 50 watts.)

So I’m biased. I think the “middle sized” JC amps can do everything.

But the 22 has no onboard overdrive. And sounds “weird” with OD pedals. Which is odd because the middle sized JCs take OD pedals great (and have superb onboard overdrive).

So if you can get in the 85 db range I’d say JC40. And if you can’t, stock with the MicroCube. It’ll sound better below 85 db than anything mentioned here.
 
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KC

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Missoula, Montana
I'm going to make this easy: just buy the Swart. It's a decent price and a lovely-sounding amp. The reverb on that thing is amazing. If you don't need more than 5 watts -- and that's a big if -- you won't find a better amp.
 

Alex_C

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Nov 8, 2020
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Laney L5S. It has 2 channels. The XLR out will allow playing a high volume with the amp turned down low. I play with little more gain than traditional jazz. The L5S has that sweet breakup at low volumes. If I want a clean louder sound, I plug into a FRFR via the XLR out. The amp is super versatile.
 

Mowgli

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Feb 18, 2021
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Southern Jazzville
For jazz a low wattage amp with one power tube will sound small and hollow. A Princeton Reverb with a 12" speaker will give you so much more.
I agree… up until the point of break up and then it ceases to be a good amp for clean traditional jazz, IMO. But until that point is reached, a Princeton with the right 12” speaker sounds great for jazz! It should work for restaurants and small clubs with a good jazz drummer and bassist +/- pianist +/- horns. The Rivera era Princeton II comes with a 12” and it sounds great.
 

kinkstah

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FWIW, I play mainly blues / jazzy blues and my inexpensive Bjr. (with some of BillM's mods) does the trick for me.
 

barnaclebill

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May 3, 2008
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Auckland
I'm a little surprised that noone has suggested a Blues Cube Stage. With a 3 stage EQ you can sculpt the tone to get what you want. I don't use the crunch channel except for a bit of fun now and then. I sometimes use the sparkle clean tone capsule to brighten up the sound a little and delay the crunch. The reverb is nice. Standard it weighs 13 Kg but with the Celestion neo creamback I am currently using it comes down to 11Kg. Incidentally the neo is the latest after 3 other speakers and is easily the best sounding.
After doing the updates to my TMDR including the neo creamback, the BCS is still my primary amp.
 

Shango66

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Aug 15, 2012
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Australia
I just gigged my quilter superblock us. Into a 1x12 Jensen c12k... It nailed Kenny burrells late 50s tone on the 57 mode. Looking forward to opening it up for some rock n roll surf tones on the 61/65 .
 

ndcaster

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Nov 14, 2013
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Indiana
I have a 50w lithium-battery Nomad, light as a feather


it's not a mid-scooped amp, but I can make it sound exactly like a Fender if I want

and it can itself power a daisy-chained pedalboard

I'm getting to know it and like it a lot
 

Vibroluxer

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Jan 27, 2007
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Pittsburgh
If you dont gig and rarely play with others, I dont see why a 5 watter won't fit the bill. And i don't play jazz. That being said I have a Swart 6v6SE and its a solid, well built and sounding amplifier. One nice thing about the Atomic Jr is you can use either a 6V6 or a 6L6. The reverb on the is really sweet.
 

adjason

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Jan 9, 2010
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virginia
lots of good choices-I had a polytone that nailed the jazz thing with a 175. I was not a big fan of it for other styles. I'd try out some Roland solid state amps and also as has been mentioned a princeton or deluxe reverb. a tonemaster might be the ticket but I have never played through one
 

standup

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Dec 31, 2019
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DC
I have a tweed Princeton clone here, and a Swart Antares. In some ways, the tweed Princeton is more versatile, and I’d say go with that.

the Swart gets this throaty sound that’s cool, and it’s my gigging amp of choice. But if you want Fender cleans, the Princeton does it better, even though it’s a tweed.

sitting around playing in my house, the Princeton, straight in, no pedals, is one of the most satisfying sounds I have available. You can get it nasty pretty quick, but the clean and edgy sounds at low (just playing by myself) volumes are quite lovely.
 




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