I am a fairly new guitar player although I have owned one for over 30 years. I recently bought a Les Paul (Epiphone) and love playing. I also own a used Crate GM30 amp. Some times it sounds pretty good, other times it sounds bad. I have been thinking about purchasing a new amp and would like to spend $300.00 +-.

I have read a bunch of reviews and looked at a bunch of amps but I am still confused. I think the one feature I would really like to have an input to play with my iPod, but the models that seem to have this feature get panned in their reviews. Add to that the tube vs SS debate and I have developed paralysis by analysis. So can anybody offer some first hand advise?

most amps that allow mp3 input are cheap solid state amps, or something like a floor pod. i usually just start a song on my computer speakers and then jam along with it.

what kind of music do u play? willing to go used? name some bands tones u want to get close to.
Mesa F-30 - 1x12 V30
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yeah what exactly are your needs? size, sound, etc. I have a Roland Micro Cube and you can plug in your iPod and jam no problem...I honestly think the little thing sounds great for just jammin at home
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I'm just an old geezer that plays 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's stuff. I like Zepplin, Who, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, REM. Started working on some blues so I guess I am just all over the place. I will never gig or play for anybody outside of my family (they can't get away) so its not about loud or anything like that. I really just want to sound better and be able to play with the band.
To play with a band I'd say your minimum requirements are about 30 watts solid state, if the drummer is using those pads that quieten the playing, and the bassist is playing at a similar volume to you.

I don't think you'll really need a valve amp to be honest, just a decent solid state, I use a 15 watt valve (I'm only practicing in my bedroom at the moment unfortunately) and I can never take that higher than 2 on the volume if I'm using low gain.

Check these out, they're solid state, but people often praise them a lot higher than some of the better Valve amps out there:
Said to be light, shouldn't take up too much room, and at 100 watts it'll easily do a band (or even a gigging, even though you aren't intending to gig, just in case a small thing does pop up ) situation, but being Solid State it'll sound optimum at bedroom levels also. There is a two speaker model, and a 3 channel model (don't cost too much more) but I'd say they're a bit overkill for what you're looking for.
hey lightman,

its never too late to get back into jamming. Tube vs solid state is a debate that can go on forever. Theyre different with very different dynamics. I have both a SS and tube amp and lve them both for different reasons though.

For 70's style rock... ie the sort of music youre looking at I would recommend a nice little tube amp. There are many around rated at 5W (all you will ever need if you do not lan on gigging).

I would recommend looking at the Blackstar HT5, a real pearl of an amp. The new Marshall 5W is quite nice too, although i prefer the blackstar myself. Then there are epiphone valvejuniors and vox night trains. All quite nice amps. I would say go give them a whirl at a music store and see what makes you have a stupid grin on your face the easiest.

If you would rather a SS, I would recommend something like a Roland cube. They are quite handy for what they are.

But my $ would be on a Blackstar HT5 or similar.

Hope that helps

*Edit, just read something about a band.,,

again its all relative, how loud does the band play? I wouldnt go lower than a 30W for a band environment (SS that is).

30W is 30W but a valve amp always seems that little bit louder than its SS counterpart (again down to the different dynamics).

15W tube is plenty loud and may be enough for a band. 30W SS will suffice unless your drummer is a real beater.
Last edited by guidothepimmp at Nov 20, 2009,