Page 1 of 3
#1
I'm about to buy my first tube amp this Christmas Season, and I'm not quite sure what to look for. I'm currently using a Fender Frontman 15R, but it's starting to cut out and get a little static-y. I've been playing for a little more than a year, and I'm starting to get a feel for the sound a little better, so I thought I'd go tube, and get a softer warmer sound that everyone's talking about.

The amps I'd been considering were the Fender Vibro Champ XD 15W and the Vox VT-30. I'm much more of a Marshall fan, from what I've heard playing at the store. Can anyone recommend anything for me to look at in the $200-$300ish range?


The music I play is mostly:

Red Hot Chili Peppers (Only Frusciante era stuff, I like his sound on the Californication album)

A little Zeppelin (Just the easy stuff, Stairway, the rhythm section to some songs)

Eagles (I wanna be able to replicate the sound of Cry Like a Lover)

And then just more classic rock in general.


I'd really appreciate any suggestions, and I can answer any questions that help you help me.

The guitar I've been using is a Squier HSS Strat, but I got EJ Strat pickups & electronics and I'm sticking those in the nicest Mexican Strat I can find. I have a Boss DD-20 and DS-1, so I don't need delay built into the amp, and I just need tube drive.

I really want to be able to get the Californication album sound out of this amp, and I'll want Bass, Mid, and Treble control, and a way to turn up the gain without increasing the volume. Basically, it has to have at least the controls my Frontman 15R has.
Last edited by geofurb at Oct 13, 2009,
#2
the vox vt series, isnt a tube amp. it's a modelling amp.

just saying.

do you play with other people, in a band or with a drummer?
Jenneh

Quote by TNfootballfan62
Jenny needs to sow her wild oats with random Gibsons and Taylors she picks up in bars before she settles down with a PRS.


Set up Questions? ...Q & A Thread

Recognised by the Official EG/GG&A/GB&C WTLT Lists 2011
#3
Noooo, no, this is strictly bedroom stuff. Whatever you recommend, I'll probably look for a 5 watt version in the end. Just learning for myself.

The preamp tube won't give it a tube feel even though it's a modeling amp?

The Fender's also a modeling amp.
#4
for 200-300? and you want tube? try out the Epiphone Valve Jr. Simple amp but it's nice.
#5
B-52 AT 112 if u can push the budget

gpowsang
B-52 OWNERZ LINK!!!

GUITAR
Gibson SG Special Faded Brown w/ Duncan Blackouts
AMP
B-52 At-112 60 Wat All Tube Combo
PEDALS
MXR 108 10 Band EQ
ISP Noise Gate
SETUP
SG --> MXR --> ISP --> B-52
#6
Quote by geofurb
Noooo, no, this is strictly bedroom stuff. Whatever you recommend, I'll probably look for a 5 watt version in the end. Just learning for myself.

The preamp tube won't give it a tube feel even though it's a modeling amp?

The Fender's also a modeling amp.


It's sort of a modeling amp but it's got a tube power section which is the most essential part to tube tone and feel. I would definitely recommend it for what you want.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#8
Quote by mmolteratx
It's sort of a modeling amp but it's got a tube power section which is the most essential part to tube tone and feel. I would definitely recommend it for what you want.


Nothing better for the part? I was really hoping someone would just pop up and say "Marshall this-and-that. Definitely." Guess it's more of a play-and-listen, lotsa things fit the bill sorta deal?
#9
Quote by ghiyath
for 200-300? and you want tube? try out the Epiphone Valve Jr. Simple amp but it's nice.


Agreed. It is a great little amp, and is also a good place to start modding your gear if you want to get into that. It is one of those tube amps that can improve along with your abilities.
"Notes are expensive, spend them wisely." - B.B. King
#10
save some more and get a blackstar ht-5 awesome amp
Guitars
Prs Custom 24
Fender Jaguar
Gibson Les paul standard dc
Ibanez as71

Amps
Peavey xxx
Crate v-32h/cab

Effects
Dimebag wah
carbon copy
evh phase
blackstart ht-duel
holy grail plus
electric mistress stereo
dd-20
#11
Quote by geofurb
Nothing better for the part? I was really hoping someone would just pop up and say "Marshall this-and-that. Definitely." Guess it's more of a play-and-listen, lotsa things fit the bill sorta deal?


If you want a Marshall for $300 you're gonna get a piece of crap unless you find an amazing deal on a used amp. What Marshalls have you played?
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#12
Just a solid-state 15W Marshall. I forget the exact model. I wanna say Marshall MGX15 or something.

Wow, looking into some user reviews & technical details on that Blackstar. The thing sounds beautiful, but it's definitely out of my price range. I really just want an entry-level tube amp that'll give me the right sound.
Last edited by geofurb at Oct 12, 2009,
#13
Quote by Xeron Brigs
Agreed. It is a great little amp, and is also a good place to start modding your gear if you want to get into that. It is one of those tube amps that can improve along with your abilities.


Is the Valve Jr really manageable without Bass, Mid, & Treble controls?
I'd prefer something with drive selection just because I wanna be able to keep it quiet & still get some distortion out of it.
#14
Quote by geofurb
Is the Valve Jr really manageable without Bass, Mid, & Treble controls?
I'd prefer something with drive selection just because I wanna be able to keep it quiet & still get some distortion out of it.


It will really show you what you're guitar's natural tone is like. Just play it at your local guitar center (or any other store I just know GC has them) and see if you like it. You could get the Boss DS-1 or Digitech Bad Monkey for distortion.

But don't just take my word for it, I'm just suggesting something. You should try it out before you pay for it.
#15
Oh absolutely I'm going to try it, I'm just looking for someone who plays Frusciante stuff and can tell me "Yup, this'll do that for you." Already got me a Boss DS-1. Waiting on that WH-10v2 to hit stores, then I'm gonna get me a wha pedal.

I'll keep that in mind when I'm trying guitars out, that's gonna be good to know.
#16
Quote by geofurb
Is the Valve Jr really manageable without Bass, Mid, & Treble controls?
I'd prefer something with drive selection just because I wanna be able to keep it quiet & still get some distortion out of it.


Just straight out with just the volume control, it is a nice amp but can be a bit limiting. One great thing about this amp is that it is very simple, so you can mod the heck out of it.

Here is a mod kit that will add in a tone pot with a pull control for boosted gain, and a three way voicing switch that goes from American, British, and Top Boost. http://thetubestore.com/bmtrio.html

It's a little bit of work, but it's not very hard: the most difficult part is soldering. Plus, you get a pretty good tube amp in the end without going over $300.
"Notes are expensive, spend them wisely." - B.B. King
#17
Xeron, this here's my first tube amp, I don't think I'm gonna be modding anything quite yet.
#18
Quote by geofurb
Xeron, this here's my first tube amp, I don't think I'm gonna be modding anything quite yet.


I got ya, just showing your options.
"Notes are expensive, spend them wisely." - B.B. King
#19
for that price, the only other option I know of is a fender champion
http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-Champion-600-5-Watt-1x6-Combo-Amp?sku=485054

or if you could stretch your budget (or find it used, or haggle a 25% discount) you could go for a fender pro-junior. Found one of these used for my cousin and he loves it.

http://guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Fender-Pro-Junior-Combo-Amp?sku=480511
#20
Quote by geofurb
Just a solid-state 15W Marshall. I forget the exact model. I wanna say Marshall MGX15 or something.

Wow, looking into some user reviews & technical details on that Blackstar. The thing sounds beautiful, but it's definitely out of my price range. I really just want an entry-level tube amp that'll give me the right sound.


That sounds nothing like a real Marshall. While being a decent amp, you can do way better for the price. I still recommend the Vibro Champ XD or Super Champ XD over anything else suggested so far, especially for bedroom playing.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#22
Quote by geofurb
So you people are all saying don't get a modeling amp?


No, not necessarily. You just don't seem to need the versatility that a modeling amp gives and I can't really recommend any modelers in your price range. The amps I recommended will have enouch versatility for you and sound better overall than modeling amps in your price range.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#23
Quote by mmolteratx
No, not necessarily. You just don't seem to need the versatility that a modeling amp gives and I can't really recommend any modelers in your price range. The amps I recommended will have enouch versatility for you and sound better overall than modeling amps in your price range.


Wait, you're the only one who was recommending modeling amps. Both the Vibro Champ XD and the Super Champ XD are modeling amps.
#24
Quote by geofurb
Wait, you're the only one who was recommending modeling amps. Both the Vibro Champ XD and the Super Champ XD are modeling amps.


No no what he means is, nobody is telling you to rule out modeling amps, including me. I happen to like some modeling amps, but I've never found one I like for 200-300 dollars. If you can find a used Line 6 flextone, I'd suggest to look at that, although it's not tube. The only reason I haven't suggested a modeler is because you want a tube amp and I assumed you meant "all tube" amp.

I don't have much experience with those tube/modeler hybrids like the vox vt and the fender super champ so I can't give an honest opinion.
#25
^Basically that. Also, the Super Champ and Vibro Champ aren't really modellers as they aren't meant to capture specific amp's tones. They just have different voicings to be more versatile.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#26
Ahh, gotcha. I just want a tube feel, anything that'll give me that works. Do the digital "voicings" really kill the tube feel?
#27
Quote by geofurb
Ahh, gotcha. I just want a tube feel, anything that'll give me that works. Do the digital "voicings" really kill the tube feel?


No, not at all. The tube poweramp is what gives an amp that tube feel and sound, for the most part atleast. Any amp with a tube preamp and ss poweramp is basically a gimmick. With a tube poweramp, you'll still be able to crank it and get that classic tube saturation. And I believe only the effects are digital. I think the voicings are analog but don't quote me on that.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#28
So the VT30 would sound like a solid state amp as soon as you cranked the volume a little?
#29
Quote by geofurb
So the VT30 would sound like a solid state amp as soon as you cranked the volume a little?


Yes, one preamp tube does not give an amp a tube sound and feel. It will still sound like an SS amp. To get a Frusciante type sound, I'd get an amp with a tube poweramp. IMO, that's a big part of his tone, same with Zep and the Eagles.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#30
Thanks. He uses a two Marshalls for most of his stuff from what I can find online, and that seems to be the general feel for all the british stuff. Eagles aside, Marshall seemed like the way to go. Would I be able to get that kind of voicing out of the Fender? What would it be called(?), so I know what to try in the store.
#31
you could play the vox ac4tv.

its an all tube 4 watt amp. ive played them a couple of times at various stores and they sounded really really great, despite the low price. there are some pretty good demos on youtube if you wanna check it out.
#33
Quote by marcus1019
you could play the vox ac4tv.

its an all tube 4 watt amp. ive played them a couple of times at various stores and they sounded really really great, despite the low price. there are some pretty good demos on youtube if you wanna check it out.


this...the vox ac4 is awesome.

also look at the bugera v5 if you can find one. They run $149 and have more controls than a valve junior

PRS SE Custom w/ Duncans
Classic Vibe 50's Strat
Egnater Rebel 20
Egnater Rebel 112x Cab
Crate v18-112 w/ Eminence Private Jack


USSR Big Muff Pi
Line 6 Echo Park
Boss BD-2
Vox Wah
Guitar Rig 3



DO NØT CLICK THÏS LINK


Hook 'em
#34
Please explain this to me. The Super Champ has 2 power tubes, the only thing the AC4 seems to have on the Super champ is the speaker.

The bugera looks nice, but it's only got one tone control, and no headphone output.
#35
personally, i thought the ac4tv sounded better than the fender when i played it. the fender didnt sound bad, its just personal preferance.

also, i think for just bedroom playing, 15 watts will be to much power and you wont be able to crank it and get the natural distortion like you could on the vox, which i thought sounded very nice.

i suggest you go sit down with both amps at a store and decide which fits you better.
#36
Can't you crank the tube power without increasing the volume on the amp? Or was that just the VT30 because it's actually a solid-state amp?

The Super-Champ has a gain knob.
Last edited by geofurb at Oct 12, 2009,
#37
it's like saying "how come a vox ac30 is more expensive than a bugera when bugera has more features?" more isn't always better. the quality of those features may be questionable.

you can't choose an amp solely on visible specs and price. you have to go try them. some companies cheap out on certain parts (tubes, speakers, etc...) in order to make amps more affordable. also brand names go a long way in pricing.
#38
Yeah, I'm just worried I won't be able to hear the difference in a day, but maybe my ear will catch on after about a month.
#39
I'd recommend a Fender Blues Jr. I've seen 'em on Craigslist for around $300.
"There is only one thing more beautiful than one guitar - Two guitars" Frederic Chopin
#40
A Super Champ XD or VT30 would do you well, they can get the tones you're after pretty easily. And can get reaaaly quiet. TBH I don't think they sound digital at all. They have a great emulation of the tube tone people want.
Page 1 of 3