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Head Suggestions Wanted!

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Hello Fellow 'Chatters
 

Posting this for our guitarist, who is considering options for a new head......
Current rig is a Laney Linebacker 100 Solid State into a Marshall cab (4x12, not sure on the actual speakers.....)
Whilst it is a reliable and good sounding amp, he has become a bit frustrated with it's lack of 'character' so is looking for something valve driven.....
He is looking for 2-3 channels and around 100W, and is veering towards Marshall (if so, which ones?).....plus want to put a few other suggestions his way.....
We currently play a mix of classic rock covers, with a smattering of punk and metal (Bad Co. ZZTop, Rainbow, Sabbath, Judas Priest, GreenDay, Lenny Kravitz to name a few)

Cheers 
Sam

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It's already been said on another thread not a million miles from here, but...

Is he sure he needs 100W? Valve amps are generally a lot louder than solid state amps of equal wattage. In particular, a 100W Marshall valve amp will go loud enough to make your ears bleed, and permanent hearing damage will be along quite soon afterwards.

The reason this is relevant is that valve amps tend to give of their best when the output side is being driven a bit, with Marshalls being a good case in point. It sounds fabulous, but with a 100W you'll never be able to access it in a live situation, especially with a 4x12. Looks dead cool on stage, but what's the point if you can't actually use it for it's intended purpose?

If nothing else will do then fine, knock yourself out; your (or rather, his) money and all that, but given the kind of gigs you seem to be doing this smacks of fairly serious overkill. Just so he knows, I earned my daily bread as a guitarist for around 20 years, and as far as big valve amps go I've been there done that got the hearing damage and the bad back.

My advice? Tell your guitarist to save his bank balance, his (and your) ears and his back and get something smaller. Even 50W would need to be used with care; 30 or 40 will probably be plenty.

Edit To Add: if he's after the Marshall character, turning it down and using pedals would be a solution, but then again he'd lose a big chunk of that character that he'll have paid quite a lot for...

Edited by leftybassman392

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Cheers for that!

I knew about the 'less is more' situation when it comes to getting a good sound out of a valve amp.....so will try and quietly nudge him in that direction......and point out the ears/back situation........so ignoring the wattage....what would people suggest was a good place to start......brand wise....?

Sam

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Have a look at anything by Hughes and Kettner with valves in it.

And to confirm what overs have said about output levels, I have a (now discontinued) Hughes & Kettner Tube 50 combo (50W) and have never used it without running into a Marshall PowerBrake on less than half volume. If I was looking at another all-valve guitar amp I probably wouldn't consider anything over 30W.

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the carvin v3m is a superb amp and one of the most versatile having a separate eq for each of the 3 channels and an addition global lead boost.

tonally it will do everything you want comfortably and a/b next to similar equivalents (Hughes and kettner, laney, marshall) it was a clear winner in my opinion with a smoother tone and plenty of body

plus it lights up with a choice of blue or red depending on your mood lol

carvin-v3m-amp-head-317418.jpg

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With the music quoted, and the fact he already has a Marshall 412 and is veering towards Marshall, for me it would have to be a JCM 900. They are imo Marshalls last great amp, and they don`t have to be daft-loud to sound good either. Our guitarist uses one and we only play to the volume of the drums, yet out front that amp sings. Valve amps do come with volume controls, yes they can go stoopidly loud, but they don`t have to. And you can pick them up for £300 - £400 used.

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31 minutes ago, pete.young said:

GAK have a good deal on Laney VC30-212 - I worked with a guitarist who had one of these and it was unbelievably loud for its size. https://www.gak.co.uk/en/laney-vc30-212/3821?gclid=Cj0KCQiAw9nUBRCTARIsAG11eidc2F1-BUa2V89bTSSybU6dT1KqnY9m3r621aWXk1zpnyoYvjmPHI4aAqTrEALw_wcB

 

 

Looks like a good deal at that price. Has to be worth a try I'd have thought. I remember the old LC15 with great affection though so I could be biased...

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3 hours ago, Lozz196 said:

With the music quoted, and the fact he already has a Marshall 412 and is veering towards Marshall, for me it would have to be a JCM 900. They are imo Marshalls last great amp, and they don`t have to be daft-loud to sound good either. Our guitarist uses one and we only play to the volume of the drums, yet out front that amp sings. Valve amps do come with volume controls, yes they can go stoopidly loud, but they don`t have to. And you can pick them up for £300 - £400 used.

I had a Dual Reverb 50w combo as my main gigging amp for years doing pub and club gigs. Nice gear for sure, but I could never get it loud enough to really make the power valves work properly without annoying my bandmates and offending the management at most venues. Worth trying out though I'd have thought.

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Over the years w seem to have gone full circle. When I first got interested in guitar in the early 60s, if you had a decent amp it was probably a 15 watt valve amp such as a Watkins dominator 17W. A Vox AC 30 seemed immensely  powerfull, but we followed the fashion. maybe got an AC 30 or went on to a 50w Marshall and a 4x12, [I had a bluesbraker 4x10] later upgrading to 100 and 200 watt amps which as others have said, were difficult to get to overdrive nicely.

In the pub and club gigs in my area now, many people seem to be using Fender Blues Juniors or similar, 17 watts and they are loud. My best mate uses a deluxe reverb 22 watts, and he can be uncomfortably loud. Last night I played with a guitarist using a fender princeton reverb, which is 12W, and the drummer complained he was too loud.

Go and see what  other bands are using in your area, who are playing the venues you play at, and similar styles. Are you micing up? if so you only need enough to hear yourself on stage. If you narrow down the possibilities, can you borrow or hire an amp for a gig.

Good luck

 

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If he's handy with a soldering iron, Ampmaker's P1800 is an excellent choice.  18W point to point valve amp, nails the Marshall/WEM sound and is plenty loud enough for any gig.  And you can built it into any cabinet you like and maintain the look/style that suits you.

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I've been recently experimenting with virtual amps and the best sounding amps were Messa dual rectifier and ENGL powerball.

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Mark Tremonti's new 15W signature head from PRS looks like a stunner - should be out shortly.  He recorded the latest Alter Bridge album on the prototype.

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Guitarists in my band have been through dozens of amps ( Marshall, Fender, Mesa Boogie etc) since they love trying stuff out and, in my opinion, one of the best for rock/blues is the Blackstar HT100.

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On 05/03/2018 at 18:35, DorsetBlue said:

Mark Tremonti's new 15W signature head from PRS looks like a stunner - should be out shortly.  He recorded the latest Alter Bridge album on the prototype.

PRS seem to be hitting the nail on the head as far as knowing what players want.  Their Sonera combo is cracking value, even new!

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