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Prime_BASS
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I'm totally out of the loop these days on guitar gear.

Our guitarist is after a new amp, preferably a combo.
He has sounded best when playing through a JCM900 some kind of Marshall cab, he's also liked a fender Twin.

As with all things he doesn't want to spend a huge amount of cash, not really grasping you have to to get something good. Maybe under 300 And he is looking to spend.

He plays a Tele with SD hot rails and usually sets the amp up to a lightiah drive and then sends it screaming with a TS9. EQ usually is bass at 10 o clock, miss at 2 and treble around 2 Sewell.

He isn't really going for a specific tone but is after something with the inherent qualities of the JCM or fender twin. Features galore is not a must and hopefully lightish.

What is out there?

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With that kind of budget an all valve amp is out (at least one with enough power for band). I reckon he'd be well served by giving the Blackstar ID range a look http://www.blackstaramps.com/products/idseries/ he could get the 30w for just under that budget, but for a bit more could get the 60w. Guitarist mag gave the ID range their rare gold award.

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I don't think it's possible to get a single valve amp that sounds like both a Fender and a Marshall without some power tube swapping. Marshalls generally run on EL38/EL34 and Fenders run on 6L6/6V6. But its possible to get modelling pedals these days that make an amp sound closer to either. So maybe go with an amp that sounds like a Fender and then get a pedal that adds Marshall dirt. For weight, Trace Elliot made some highly rated solid state combo amps back in the early 90's and they are dirt cheap now. They also made some great valve combo amps which can be had for around the 300-400 quid mark.

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Can't believe I forgot about these http://www.tech21nyc.com/products/amps/guitar/trademark60.html I've had 2 in my time, wonderful both times. The 30w can be had for about £300.

EDIT: The advantage with both the Blackstar and the Tech21 is that they have a DI so if the lower wattage ones are not beefy enough for gigs you can always put them through the PA and use the amp for monitoring.

Edited by ezbass
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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1385401111' post='2287808']
BassChatter unloading a Marshall DSL 401 for £325 - see [url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/221543-marshall-jcm2000-dsl401-valve-amp-l325/"]here[/url]
40w 1x12, clean and OD channels should do the trick.
[/quote]

Our guitarist has one of these and it sounds amazing. Hi, Skank! :)

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[quote name='skankdelvar' timestamp='1385401111' post='2287808']
BassChatter unloading a Marshall DSL 401 for £325 - see [url="http://basschat.co.uk/topic/221543-marshall-jcm2000-dsl401-valve-amp-l325/"]here[/url]

40w 1x12, clean and OD channels should do the trick.
[/quote]

Great amps.

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I think he has used the blackstar ID as they have them in the school he works at.
About the overall sound. In my mind I think he is just after something that has a natural overdriven tube preamp. I've used some kind of Marshall that has a tube pre and a tranny power amp and it sounded immense.

Will have better look at the blackstar.

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It's interesting you'd say Marshall JCM or Fender Twin, they are pretty different amps IMO.

If budget is limited, I'd suggest looking at a Laney VC30, they are excellent for the money, I'd get the 1x12 and swap out the speaker for something better like a Celestion G12H30 when budget allows.

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As Skank suggested, the DSL is a serious amp. Can get really close to the JCM 800 and JCM 900. I reckon they should be in budget. I'd also recommend a Crate V30 if you can find one. Super amps. Other than that you're looking at Blackstar (HT 40 or similar). They can push out some Fender-like cleans but have a really nice OD (most un-Fender-like).

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As mentioned above, Marshall JCM900 and Fender Twin are two totally different animals. The Fender is prized for its ability to play loud enough to blow the house down but without distorting [i]at all[/i]...! So guitarists that use these often like to create all their effects and distortions with various pedals. Marshalls are prized for their ability to overdrive the valves and produce that classic rock sound just with the amp..

I like the first approach, but as Fender Twins are expensive I ended up (after extensive demoing) buying a second hand Traynor YCV80 for about £375. This is all valve (80watt) built like a tank and like the Fender will remain clean even when playing very loud. A decent pedal in front like a Tubescreamer, or a Suhr Riot (which is a fantastic overdive pedal!) and it sounds great. Even though the valves aren't distorting they make the sound very thick and powerful.

I'm not a fan of solid state amps for guitars, I think valves are where it's at :)

Edited by tedmanzie
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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote name='Prime_BASS' timestamp='1385328009' post='2287035']
He isn't really going for a specific tone but is after something with the inherent qualities of the JCM or fender twin. Features galore is not a must and hopefully lightish.
[/quote]

Those two amps couldn't be much further removed from each other! :D

I'm no expert on guitar amps, but you might want to check out the Peavey Classic 30 (you'd need to go second hand).

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  • 2 weeks later...

[quote name='uncle psychosis' timestamp='1386759112' post='2304039']
Those two amps couldn't be much further removed from each other! :D

I'm no expert on guitar amps, but you might want to check out the Peavey Classic 30 (you'd need to go second hand).
[/quote]

True, they are very different amps with characteristics very far apart. I have had 2 Peavey classic 30's and they have a great (much better than the Marshalls I have played) drive channel if you play roots or classic rock, but the clean channel just didn't sparkle like a fender. I would suggest that one of the modelling amps like the aformentioned Blackstar ID or even the Fender Mustangs would be a good place to start, lots of options that sit well in the mix and pretty cheap second hand. Or do like I did for a while and play a basic Fender solid state with a Modelling pedal... not that great in isolation but very versatile in a band situation if several sounds are needed.

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  • 1 month later...

[quote name='6v6' timestamp='1385476825' post='2288679']
It's interesting you'd say Marshall JCM or Fender Twin, they are pretty different amps IMO.

If budget is limited, I'd suggest looking at a Laney VC30, they are excellent for the money, I'd get the 1x12 and swap out the speaker for something better like a Celestion G12H30 when budget allows.[/quote]

+1 Another vote for Laney.

Something to bear in mind, if you're after a "slightly overdriven" tone, turn the gain down and the volume up, especially if you have an amp with a valve power amp. Front end gain sounds too harsh & brittle, and is a mistake that a lot of players make by simply cranking the gain to get an overdriven sound.

All those classic rock albums from the 60's & 70's, where they have a nice smooth overdriven sound is done by turning the amps volume up and letting the power valves break up naturally. If you went for a lower output amp, like the VC30, then the headroom will be lower and the natural power valve overdrive will happen at a lower level. With bigger amps, it's often wise to use an attenuator to get that sound without deafening everyone.

Edited by Skybone
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  • 2 months later...

That Laney VC30 is pretty good as an affordable valve combo, a previous guitarist had one and it was fine. Just sounded a bit "small" on occasion but that would probably be solved with different speakers...

Valves are subjectively better of course but..........there a few good tranny amps out there still.

[url="http://www.thomann.de/gb/amplifiers_for_electric_guitars.html"]http://www.thomann.de/gb/amplifiers_for_electric_guitars.html[/url]

Distortion is a personal thing but I like the sound of the Orange Crush. I would avoid the MArshal MG's, Line 6, Fender Mustang and pretty much all the affordable modellers, they all sound thin and weedy next a good tranny amp. I am not convinced by the Blackstar ID either, the vids sound weedy to my ear but I would like to hear how peeps find them in practice.

I use a Peavey Bandit for guitar, cost me £80, it is loud enough and built like a tank. I do use a couple of good pedals for a crunch and a distortion. Real spring reverb, which I prefer next to any pedal I have heard. The Bandit's own distortion is brutal and I think puts a lot of people off them. However, if you need to do it on the cheap then that is one of the best ways to do it.

I am looking at getting a good quality transistor amp eventually. It does surprise me that there are not more being made at the moment, for a weekend warrior type player it is just what you need, a workhorse amp. Don't get me wrong, valve amps sound great but sometimes the problems outweigh the benefits when you can get a great sound (never quite valves) with a well voiced transistor amp with analogue distortion circuitry, in pedals or in the amp itself. I mean, Sansamp pedals have been doing this for years...

It does surprise me that there seem to be so few gig worthy transistor amps about, something with a decent distortion on it.

The most promising I have found is this

[url="http://www.award-session.com/bluesbaby.html"]http://www.award-session.com/bluesbaby.html[/url]

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I absolutely recommend an old MusicMan combo; the most important power-stage is valves, they sound like Blackface era Fenders, they take pedals really well and you can pick them up for £300-400.
You can even make them nice and dirty on their own, once you've mastered the various power and gain input options.
They're not true switchable channels; but if you get one of the 2x10 or 2x12 combos, they have two separate channels, with separate EQ and gain.
If you got an ABY switching pedal with option to add boost/gain, you'd have a mean bunch of channel & gain options.

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They're damn loud for what they are, too. The ones I've tried have been a bit noisy but potentially good for modding if someone doesn't have the nerve to do it to a blackface.

I think the Roland JC-60 is a bit of a sleeper - same as the JC-120 but 60w and without the wet dry set up. It'll still be loud enough for pub gigs but very reasonably priced due to being overshadowed by its big brother.

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[quote name='thefruitfarmer' timestamp='1398939241' post='2439153']
..
It does surprise me that there seem to be so few gig worthy transistor amps about, something with a decent distortion on it.

The most promising I have found is this

[url="http://www.award-session.com/bluesbaby.html"]http://www.award-ses.../bluesbaby.html[/url]
[/quote]

Have you actually tried one of these yet?

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[quote name='MoonBassAlpha' timestamp='1399031130' post='2440174']
Have you actually tried one of these yet?
[url="http://www.award-session.com/bluesbaby.html"]http://www.award-ses.../bluesbaby.html[/url]
[/quote]

I wonder what the volume is like on those? I have a Tech 21 Trademark 60 which sounds nice, but isn't very loud. Hopefully things have moved on, and it sounds better than the old Sessionette 75.

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[quote name='Ancient Mariner' timestamp='1399036214' post='2440296']
I wonder what the volume is like on those? I have a Tech 21 Trademark 60 which sounds nice, but isn't very loud. Hopefully things have moved on, and it sounds better than the old Sessionette 75.
[/quote]

I have not tried one, I am hoping to find someone who has. You would have to go to his place in Basingstoke to try one out.

I use the JD-10 guitar preamp so the sound is probably similar enough and that box does everything they said it would, I spoke to them on the phone at the time.

I remember those old Sessionette 75's sounding rough and they are now offering an upgrade to make them sound a bit sweeter....

The blues baby amp they say is equivalent to a Fender Blues Junior and loud enough to use on stage...

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