#1
I'm going to be selling some gear in the near future in order to buy a new amp. My current amp is a 100-watt Marshall ValveState. It's been a good amp over the years, but I want to step up to a real tube amp now.

First of all, I don't gig, so this is just for home use. The music I play varies from bright clean to warm Texas blues, some AC/DC and GnR-style rock, all the way to full on metal.

I started looking at the Marshall JVM and the Mesa Mark V, but those are out of my price range. After some research I stumbled onto the Blackstar HT Stage line. I really like them - good tone and the price is right. I've also always loved the bluesy sound of a Fender Blues Jr. So I've narrowed down the decision to 2 possible paths...

Option one:
Blackstar HT-100 Stage Head with Blackstar 4x12 cab (total: $1450)

Pros:
-The full sound of a half stack
-A half-stack would look so awesome in the man cave

Concerns:
-Big and heavy - not as portable as a combo
-Can it do bluesy tones as well as the Blues Jr?


Option two:
Blackstar HT-60 Stage 2x12 Combo and a Fender Blues Jr NOS edition (total: $1500)

Pros:
-Portability
-I love both amps
-More variety of tones readily available (I'd have both amps hooked up to an A/B/Y switch so I could bounce back and forth)

Concerns:
-Would I regret buying the combo instead of the half-stack?

So, what would you guys recommend?? I'm open to other suggestions. My budget max is $1500.

Thanks
Current Gear:
2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard
'57 AVRI Fender Stratocaster
MIJ Fender Jaguar Special HH
Marshall JVM410
Vox AC15 C2
#2
the blackstar combo is an amazing amp. don't be fooled by the fact that it is a combo, it really is a great amp, not to mention the fender blues jr. is great as well. what about a Peavey classic 30, it would be much less money and still be a great amp? i have a marshall dsl 2000 and i think that it can easily handle bluesy tunes, then again I playing a fender which helps, but the blackstar reminds me a lot ofa decent tube marshall amp. hope this helps.
Gibson LP traditional and DC standard, PRS S2 Custom 24, Schecter Banshee 7
EVH 5153, Mesa DR Tremoverb combo 2-2x12's
Line 6 M13
#3
Blackstar make awesome amps, but seriously these both have too much power to really be viable as home use amps. 100 watt of valve power is ALOT, you won't be able to get the best out of its distortion with giving yourself serious hearing problems. Even 60 is still pushing it.
Quote by Iain.Peters
Guthrie Govan. 'nuff said.
#4
You will probably want a combo over a stack for home practice. But a head and a 2x12 would be sweet also provided the cab was good. A 4x12 for home practice is retarted IMO.

Have you look for a used Mesa Mark? You could probably find one in your price range if its used. That would probably be the most versetile you can find and would hit everything you want. If you absolutly wanna go new I suppose you could look into the Bugera Magician when it comes out (who knows how long that will be). It also apparently has the ability to go between 1w and 85w which would be super helpful at home. But of course with that budget you could probably do better than a Bugera.

Out of the two options you provided I would definitly do option 2. But I would look around to see if you find another amp to get instead of the HT-60. Look around your local craigslist to see what you can find.
#5
Yeah I see the benefit of having a combo over a stack for home use. And I agree, a stack is totally over the top for what I'm doing. But I can't be the only one who's been drooling over a stack ever since I first started playing the guitar :-) Now that I can finally afford one I have to say I'm tempted. I guess I'm looking for validation from you guys that I'm not missing anything (tone-wise) by staying with combo amps.

Regarding the amp size - I also realize that 100 watts (or even 60 watts) is a lot for just home use. But that 60-watt model is the smallest size in that line that offers 3 channels. I have 3 channels currently in my ValveState and I find that I use all 3 a lot. I'd rather not go down to just two channels if I can help it. If I went with the 100-watt head I'd probably look into getting an attenuator at some point.

I actually did look at the Peavey Classic 30, but I think I prefer the tone of the Blackstar (plus the 3 channels is a benefit for me).

Oh yeah, I'm all about the Mark V. But the best used price I've seen is $1800, which is a little more than I want to spend right now. Although it's probably worth it. I'd have to sell another guitar in order to buy that, but it's not completely out of the question.

If I threw the Mark V Combo into the mix (with the understanding that I'd have to sell a guitar that I wasn't planning on selling) what would you guys recommend?
Current Gear:
2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard
'57 AVRI Fender Stratocaster
MIJ Fender Jaguar Special HH
Marshall JVM410
Vox AC15 C2
#6
Quote by 57Goldtop
Yeah I see the benefit of having a combo over a stack for home use. And I agree, a stack is totally over the top for what I'm doing. But I can't be the only one who's been drooling over a stack ever since I first started playing the guitar :-) Now that I can finally afford one I have to say I'm tempted. I guess I'm looking for validation from you guys that I'm not missing anything (tone-wise) by staying with combo amps.

Regarding the amp size - I also realize that 100 watts (or even 60 watts) is a lot for just home use. But that 60-watt model is the smallest size in that line that offers 3 channels. I have 3 channels currently in my ValveState and I find that I use all 3 a lot. I'd rather not go down to just two channels if I can help it. If I went with the 100-watt head I'd probably look into getting an attenuator at some point.

I actually did look at the Peavey Classic 30, but I think I prefer the tone of the Blackstar (plus the 3 channels is a benefit for me).

Oh yeah, I'm all about the Mark V. But the best used price I've seen is $1800, which is a little more than I want to spend right now. Although it's probably worth it. I'd have to sell another guitar in order to buy that, but it's not completely out of the question.

If I threw the Mark V Combo into the mix (with the understanding that I'd have to sell a guitar that I wasn't planning on selling) what would you guys recommend?


Why must it be a Mark V? You can get an earlier version cheaper. And any Mark will have more htan enough versetility. You wont need anohter amp.

If you want two amps and you decide to get the Fender dont worry about versetlity on the second amp. You wont be needing cleans on any other amp with a Fender sitting around. The fender should be able to be boosted and provide good rock tones too. Make sure the second amp has great distortion that the Fender cant hit.
#7
Quote by guitarpatrick66
Why must it be a Mark V? You can get an earlier version cheaper. And any Mark will have more htan enough versetility. You wont need anohter amp.

If you want two amps and you decide to get the Fender dont worry about versetlity on the second amp. You wont be needing cleans on any other amp with a Fender sitting around. The fender should be able to be boosted and provide good rock tones too. Make sure the second amp has great distortion that the Fender cant hit.

Yeah, I guess it wouldn't have to be the Mark V specifically. I just don't know a lot about the differences between the other Mark versions, so I wouldn't know which one to look for. But I do know the Mark V offers tones from other mark models, so it would be a good way to get a huge variety of tonal options. (but there's a price tag with that, of course).

You're exactly right on the distortion capabilities of the two amps. I was basically thinking of it like this:

Amp 1 (Blues Jr): Cleans, dirty blues, classic rock (think - SRV, Clapton, Rolling Stones)

Amp 2 (????): Rock and metal (think - AC/DC, G 'n R, Metallica's black album)

OR, if I can find an amp that can do all of that then I'd be interested in that (no modeling amps though).
Current Gear:
2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard
'57 AVRI Fender Stratocaster
MIJ Fender Jaguar Special HH
Marshall JVM410
Vox AC15 C2
#8
Man I have the HT 40 and it is way too loud for home use, it's used for rehearsal and small gigs. I really can't use it at home because of the complaints.

It does only have 2 channels but on each channel there are 2 "voicings" .
#9
Quote by crevs1972
Man I have the HT 40 and it is way too loud for home use, it's used for rehearsal and small gigs. I really can't use it at home because of the complaints.

It does only have 2 channels but on each channel there are 2 "voicings" .

Yeah, that's a good point. But I like to have two different overdrives at my "footswitchable" disposal - one with a nice classic crunch and one with a heavier metal sound. Although if I'm thinking about running two different amps anyway, I guess that wouldn't be a big deal.

Anybody have any experience with the 20-watt HT?
Current Gear:
2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard
'57 AVRI Fender Stratocaster
MIJ Fender Jaguar Special HH
Marshall JVM410
Vox AC15 C2
#10
Quote by 57Goldtop
Yeah, I guess it wouldn't have to be the Mark V specifically. I just don't know a lot about the differences between the other Mark versions, so I wouldn't know which one to look for. But I do know the Mark V offers tones from other mark models, so it would be a good way to get a huge variety of tonal options. (but there's a price tag with that, of course).

You're exactly right on the distortion capabilities of the two amps. I was basically thinking of it like this:

Amp 1 (Blues Jr): Cleans, dirty blues, classic rock (think - SRV, Clapton, Rolling Stones)

Amp 2 (????): Rock and metal (think - AC/DC, G 'n R, Metallica's black album)

OR, if I can find an amp that can do all of that then I'd be interested in that (no modeling amps though).


If the Jet City jca22h is as badass as im hoping its going to turn out you may wanna wait for that one to come out. There are a few demos on youtube I saw and it sounded pretty good.
#11
Quote by 57Goldtop
Yeah, that's a good point. But I like to have two different overdrives at my "footswitchable" disposal - one with a nice classic crunch and one with a heavier metal sound. Although if I'm thinking about running two different amps anyway, I guess that wouldn't be a big deal.

Anybody have any experience with the 20-watt HT?


I think a tubescreamer type of pedal would be perfect for you.
#12
Quote by 57Goldtop
Yeah, that's a good point. But I like to have two different overdrives at my "footswitchable" disposal - one with a nice classic crunch and one with a heavier metal sound. Although if I'm thinking about running two different amps anyway, I guess that wouldn't be a big deal.

Anybody have any experience with the 20-watt HT?


You can switch between clean and OD with the foot switch but not the voicings, for that the bottons are on the amp. You can get a lovely ACDC crunch on the clean channel and the OD is breathtaking.
#13
Quote by crevs1972
You can switch between clean and OD with the foot switch but not the voicings, for that the bottons are on the amp. You can get a lovely ACDC crunch on the clean channel and the OD is breathtaking.

Hmm... ok. I think that would work then.

I probably should have mentioned - I have an OCD and a Maxon 808 on my pedalboard. I feel stupid saying this, but I'm not entirely sure how to use them on a tube amp. My current amp is a hybrid, so those pedals don't really work the same way as they do on a real tube amp. Currently I use them as distortion pedals to get some alternative crunchy tones. But i can only use them on the clean channel of my amp. If I use them on the OD channels it just sounds like garbled mush.
Current Gear:
2002 Gibson Les Paul Standard
'57 AVRI Fender Stratocaster
MIJ Fender Jaguar Special HH
Marshall JVM410
Vox AC15 C2
#14
Quote by 57Goldtop
Hmm... ok. I think that would work then.

I probably should have mentioned - I have an OCD and a Maxon 808 on my pedalboard. I feel stupid saying this, but I'm not entirely sure how to use them on a tube amp. My current amp is a hybrid, so those pedals don't really work the same way as they do on a real tube amp. Currently I use them as distortion pedals to get some alternative crunchy tones. But i can only use them on the clean channel of my amp. If I use them on the OD channels it just sounds like garbled mush.


Just throw it in front of the amp and it should work just fine. You will love it with the Fender.