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What makes a great amp?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by smuc, Dec 5, 2020.

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  1. zeke54

    zeke54 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I agree wholeheartedly with this , it makes you smile and want to play . And yes , different strokes for different folks , but I have also discovered through the years there can be a marriage between a guitar and an amp . Not all marriages work out , but the connection with a certain guitar and certain amp can be magic . Another guitar with that same amp might be GOOD , but not GREAT like that magic connection . As it's been said , a great amp can make a so-so guitar sound great , but not vice-versa .
     
  2. Rob Robson

    Rob Robson TDPRI Member

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    Soundmen have been trying to convince guitarists of this for years! That's why I built a little Class A push-pull tube amp into a "stomplifier" pedal and stuck a DI transformer and a blackface/brownface/Vox tone stack switch in it. Amps are fine for home (if you're able to turn them up), but who wants to pack one around?

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
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  3. fatcat

    fatcat Friend of Leo's

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    What makes a great amp?

    ...a great musician...
     
  4. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Meister

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    I agree with this. A simple note or chord has to sound delicious, surprisingly so. For me, if the sound of a single note through a strat neck pickup draws you on to play a melody, that's a good amp. That's what I try when I get a new one. If that note leads you to fiddle with the amp knob for the next twenty minutes, that's bad news.

    I guess I would only add that the amp has to deliver that experience with a variety of guitars. Some amps can only do this with a narrow range of guitars/pickups. I have a Supro Blues King 12 that sounds great with some guitars, awful with others. Any guitar with pickups above 6k ohms makes it sound like a cheapo buzzbox circa 1967. You can only play "Satisfaction" for so long (30 seconds?) before you lose your everlovin' mind. Easing off the volume doesn't work: all that impedence is still lurking there, I think, draining off the magic (Engineers will hate that sentence.) I ordered a 12at7 and a 12au7 for it. We'll see.
     
  5. arlum

    arlum Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    An amp that produces the tones you hear in your head when you're dreaming / daydreaming about playing. In addition for me, because I can't lug around what I used to ..... a small amp that sounds huge.
     
  6. Lance Morgan

    Lance Morgan TDPRI Member

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    My first “good amp” which I still have is a 1990 Twin Reverb. Clean and loud, good for the White Falcon or one of my Teles in a non-rock situation.
    Then I found a ‘77 4x10 Bassman Combo. Had it reconed, cleaned up, made it darker sounding. It’s got the master volume, gets gritty, and takes a Tube Screamer or Daddyo real well. Needs delay or reverb. I can get what I want out of it. But it’s big, bulky and heavy.
    So I found a Vox 15 cc1. One 12” Wharfedale, I have done nothing to it. I’ve considered the Celestion Blue upgrade, but it just sounds too good now. Maybe down the road. This amp is jangly, bright, and doesn’t like most distortion pedals. I use an MXR clean boost, an EQ, and an OCD. That’s it, and the amp is all I need to play what I prefer, and sound like I prefer to sound.
    What makes a great amp? I don’t know. I’ve played lots of others, some really expensive. And sometimes I like them at the time. For me, and for what I want to play, it is still evolving. Who knows? I might go back to the Twin.
     
  7. imtxn

    imtxn TDPRI Member

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    Hey Rob, did use cathode follower to drive the tone stack?
    Me
     
  8. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    "What makes a great amp?"



    When it says Dumble on it.


     
  9. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    Since tone is subjective, I'll say reliable, easy to fix if it does break. Portability and as light as possible is good too, although that is also a YMMV type of parameter.
     
  10. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of good answers.

    I like the "gives you goosebumps" thing. But an amp that gives one player goosebumps is not going to give another player goosebumps necessarily.

    Musts:
    - Must work for the player who is playing it in the style that player likes with the guitar that player likes and give them goosebumps


    Nice to have:
    - Nice flexible controls, good ranges on controls (e.x. doesn't go from too quiet to deafening when you turn it up from 2 to 3)
    - Nice transition from clean, to clean + compressed, to edge of breakup, through saturated
    - Tone stack is not necessarily interactive with volume (e.x. don't need to dump bass if the volume is turned up, etc.. )
    - Reliable
    - Not too heavy
    - Sounds good at low & high volumes

    But almost everything can be optional if it fulfills that goosebump test.
     
  11. guitar_paul1

    guitar_paul1 TDPRI Member

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    if you can find a reliable one, older Fender Hot Rod DeVille 4x10. My favorite tone. Plenty of low end.
    You can dial in the bias without opening it up and tune it to taste - i.e. set where you want it to break up.
    I gave mine up and got a 65 DRRI because I'm old and it's easier to carry.
    For backup I have a brown Yamaha G50-112ii but most of them need some TLC before taking them out.
    For loud jams I have a Peavey Nashville 1000 and some pedals.
     
  12. barrymclark

    barrymclark Tele-Meister

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    ...anything that makes me not sound worse. lol. That's honestly it. I have found that if the amp doesn't react the way I want it to, no matter how good it sounds, it completely throws my playing off. Sometimes... REALLY bad.
     
  13. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    So many possibilities...
    While I may not have played thru as many amps as many of you have, years ago when I still played out it was a ‘60s BF Twin Reverb while at home it’s either my ‘59 Champ or a tweed Blues Jr. The Champ is so sweet. It makes me smile.



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  14. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    For me, roughly in that order, but very close items :

    1 - the tone (in the broad sense of the term, no matter the technology)
    2 - the ergonomics (facility to adjust the settings instantly to have on the spot the desired-required tone)
    3 - the projection (loudness and/or facility to cut through the mix)
    4 - the weight (yes, I'm not 20 anymore, so now it can count...)

    But it's me, OK ? :D

    -tbln.
     
  15. tubelectron

    tubelectron Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, indeed ! :)

    -tbln.
     
  16. 39martind18

    39martind18 Friend of Leo's

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    My Tone Master Deluxe Reverb ticks off all those boxes and the one that has me say, "Oh, yeah!" tonally!
     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Sounds great
    Versatile (Blackface cleans and cranked-Bassman-to-Marshall drive)
    Portable and lightweight
    Not overpriced
    therefore:
    [​IMG]
    DV Mark FGC121 (with EQ help to get into blackface cleans) :cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2020
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  18. Hpilotman

    Hpilotman Tele-Meister

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    Whatever Amp that YOU Like.
     
  19. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Holic

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    Two words, One model. Super Reverb. I'm more about sound and tone than anything else. The Super Reverb is the only amp I have ever found that I really get along with perfectly. Yes, I need to have pedals to get the versatility of other amps, but you cannot beat the mojo of a Super Reverb. Its just so clean all the way up, and I have noted that it can even hang with a Marshall half-stack once it gets warmed up. But that's my opinion. On the bright side anything smaller than a football stadium does not require a mic. It can also be used in smaller venues right down to a 3'x8' bathroom if you set it right. Portability is not that important to me as I have a big car, access to trucks and vans, and I have a hand cart I picked up free so I can go almost anywhere.
     
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  20. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Afflicted

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    mostly your mind makes the great amp. that's why some would love your great amp and others wouldn't.

    my greatest amp, tough choice, would be 66 deluxe reverb. it just sounds so amazing, in my mind, with any guitar i plug into it. others have said the same tho

    play music!
     
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