#1
So, my band plans on recording a demo in mid to late August of this year and then gigging a tour circuit in our college town asap when the school year starts. We have one outrageous problem, though. Myself and the other Guitarist in the band are both wildly unprepared for a gig in terms of tone quality and volume. We're both running though low-watt solid state practice amps, not to mention we have the worst two amps possible...let's not get into that.

We both would like to have tube amps of decent volume to record and gig with until we have the money for the amps we want. So, to be as stereotypical of most "what amp" threads as possible, what is the cheapest, best sounding amp you can think of for us to use until we can actually upgrade our equipment?

So (prepare for boo's, hisses, and some throwing up) he is currently using a Line 6 Spider III 15 watt and I am using a Marshall MG30DFX. Both of us agree it seemed like a good idea at the time. Don't judge us.

We play Metal, and I prefer a higher gain and brighter tone, whereas he prefers a medium-high gain darker tone. He plays through an Epiphone SG Special with stock pups and I play an Epi Les Paul with Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates (Bridge) and AlNiCo II Pro (Neck). Bands that our sound is somewhat modeled after: Black Label Society, Guns N Roses, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer, Lamb of God, etc.

To give you an idea of what we're looking for in amps, my top two amp choices are: The JCA100HDM and Peavey 6534+ and his are: Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 and Peavey Butcher.

Basically, these amps need to be able to take pedals well if they already can't do metal. I have a DigiTech Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion, and he plans on buying an EHX Metal Muff, so we could just run pedals. We really just need an affordable upgrade from what we already have so that our tone doesn't suck completely.

We're willing to go used, although not from craigslist, and he lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, we go to college in Athens, Ohio, and I live in Newcomerstown, Ohio. As for budget, it just depends on how much money we have by the end of summer. My guess is probably $300 at maximum, but probably closer to $200.

Thanks for any help you can give us, and sorry for being stereotypically poor college kids needing br00tz amps. xD
#2
Your choices are fair enough but he is looking at the totally wrong type of amps for what you guys play. haha
#3
Quote by coolstoryangus
Your choices are fair enough but he is looking at the totally wrong type of amps for what you guys play. haha


Yeah, I don't really like his tone. However, he doesn't question my tone, so I don't question his...lol. The whole band is working on making him heavier...he's actually a blues guitarist that we're trying to convert to metal. I'm not too concerned since the only time his tone is heard playing something other than what I'm playing is during his solos. Any other time (during riffs, during my solos) my sound usually overpowers his anyway, and due to the layering of us playing the same thing, it still sounds really heavy.
#4
Do want to use your pedals or do you want the amps overdrive? Bugera 333xl combo would be dominant but iv no idea what the going rate for them is in the states new or used?
Im also thinking a used peavey valveking combo
Sorry i'm late, but my walk has got terribly silly today
#5
bugera bro, this is exactly what you are looking for, you could get a used bugera 1990, 333xl, 6260, or 6262 in that $300 price range, which will give you really solid tone. not exceptional but definately respectable

valve king with a boost could work as well, you ca find valve kings in the same price range as the bugera's
#6
Is the $200 the total budget for both of your amps, or $200 each?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#7
i'd be on the lookout for peavy ultra plus's and carvin x100b's. the carvin would probably need a boost but it's good with pedals. and the b-52 AT series as well.

those are about the best br00tz heads on a beer budget i can think of.

good luck.

or valve king and od/eq route. could work well enough for the drunken college kids.
Last edited by gregs1020 at May 26, 2011,
#8
Quote by stig354
Do want to use your pedals or do you want the amps overdrive? Bugera 333xl combo would be dominant but iv no idea what the going rate for them is in the states new or used?
Im also thinking a used peavey valveking combo


Honestly, whichever is going to sound better. If the pedal's distortion will sound better, then that, but if the amp's distortion will be better, then that. I'll probably use my TL-2 as a boost, if I need one,and the other guy has a Boss Distortion he could use.


Quote by Offworld92
Is the $200 the total budget for both of your amps, or $200 each?


It's $200 each


Quote by gregs1020
i'd be on the lookout for peavy ultra plus's and carvin x100b's. the carvin would probably need a boost but it's good with pedals. and the b-52 AT series as well.

those are about the best br00tz heads on a beer budget i can think of.

good luck.

or valve king and od/eq route. could work well enough for the drunken college kids.


Thanks!

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions so far! I'm looking into all of these amps, and I'll talk to our other guitarist later and see which ones he likes.

If you can think of any more ideas, please, keep em comin!
Last edited by Blktiger0 at May 26, 2011,
#9
Are you looking for half stacks, or are combos okay?
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#10
Quote by Offworld92
Are you looking for half stacks, or are combos okay?


Combos would be best, as we have no cabs and that's just more shit for us to schlep around. Heads are ok, but you have to factor in the price of a cab as well.

I forgot to mention this in my OP :/
#11
I'd look into Peavey Ultra combos if I were you. They are pretty rare nowadays, but you probably won't find anything better for the money.

There is also Bugera, like stated above, but I know I wouldn't be comfortable gigging with one.

A budget is a budget though.

If you can't find any Ultras, there are also the ValveKings, which are pretty good for what they cost, but they don't come anywhere near the quality of the Ultras. You can definitely get the 112 combos for around $200 though. I've seen them as low as $175.

EDIT: Another option that occured to me is the Peavey Windsor. You can get a Windsor half stack for $300. They'd probably sound pretty good with your distortion pedals running through them. I wouldn't recommend the Metal Muff though. The TL-2 is a better pedal.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
Last edited by Offworld92 at May 26, 2011,
#12
To be honest I wouldn't bother buying anything until you have a decent amount of money to buy a good head that will last and be versatile. If you play 20 odd shows with awful tone and don't know how to get a good sound of your gear then it wont be worth it at all.

Given the stuff you've got you can still get good tones out of them, given it's harder. But it's about sounding good as a band rather than getting a good sound individually. What may sound awesome in your bedroom probably wont cut through live when cymbals and drums / bass are added.

Experiment in band practices getting good tones. It's definitely worth considering that when you turn an amp up to back off the gain and treble to avoid harshness and losing clarity.
#13
Quote by Zanon
To be honest I wouldn't bother buying anything until you have a decent amount of money to buy a good head that will last and be versatile. If you play 20 odd shows with awful tone and don't know how to get a good sound of your gear then it wont be worth it at all.

Given the stuff you've got you can still get good tones out of them, given it's harder. But it's about sounding good as a band rather than getting a good sound individually. What may sound awesome in your bedroom probably wont cut through live when cymbals and drums / bass are added.

Experiment in band practices getting good tones. It's definitely worth considering that when you turn an amp up to back off the gain and treble to avoid harshness and losing clarity.


I have a workable tone for practice. I know how to tweak my EQ, Gain, Volume, and Guitar Tone Volume/Tone knobs to get what I want. The biggest problem is, I need a louder amp and I want something with tube response. I might only use it for a year, but then I have it as a backup amp, because I sure as hell am not using my MG as a backup or gig amp. It doesn't have the volume, response, or tone that I want.

What I'm going to do is buy either a decent combo or head and cab (probably combo) and use it for the Demo we record and for the gigs we do until I can afford the JCA100HDM I want (unless I end up deciding I like the 6534+ more) and a custom Avatar cab with the speaker setup I want (Vintage 30's and GK 12 100's in an X pattern), then I will be using that as my main amp, and I'll have whatever I decide on for this amp as a backup. Not to mention, that gives me a decent amp to keep in my room for practicing and my main amp to keep in our practice room for band practices.
#16
People know when a band are using shitty gear. Trust me.

My mother who isnt musical at all went to a local band night around about here and complained about one of the bands being too loud..,. They werent any louder then the other bands its just the guitarist was using a v-amp 2 into a peavey bandit.
#18
Quote by Tyler.Allain
To a certain extent yes I agree with you but I bet you any money I could take either of these amps with a descent guitar and get an okay tone out of it.


Once again, guys (and girls?) I can get a usable tone out of the amp. It takes my TL-2 like a charm. Hell, My speaker has a hole in it that I duct-taped and it still sounds decent enough. The biggest problem is volume. Neither of these amps will ever be loud enough to even play a bar. Period. I honestly don't give a flying dog turd if the audience knows my tone sucks, I will know my tone sucks and won't be comfortable on stage. With plenty of other bands around with good quality amps and tones, people will be able to tell if we aren't up to snuff, and honestly, I would rather not risk it. You're wasting your time arguing over whether or not I should or should not get a new amp, because the fact of the matter is, I'm getting a new amp. You aren't gonna change my mind. Period. I didn't ask in my OP if I should get a new amp, I told you I AM getting an amp and need advice on what amp. So, if you would please stop arguing over something completely pointless and get back on topic, that would be quite appreciated.



If you want to argue over what would be the best choice of amp, feel free.

So far it looks like the suggestions are: (in no particular order)

Peavey Valveking

Peavey Ultra

Peavey Windsor

Bugera 333xl

Bugera 1990

Bugera 6260

Bugera 6262

Carvin x100b

B-52 AT Series

If anyone has anything to say for or against these amps, please do. Be sure to back your reasons for buying/not buying the amp with the most specific reasons you can.

Thanks again to everyone for their help
#19
With your budget I think the Valveking is best, unless you happen to run into a Peavey Ultra used combo somewhere. I doubt that will happen however. Bugeras are generally risky picks because their reliability has been questioned. There's the whole 'they start on fire' story that circulates around here. Anyways, the 112 VK combo has a good tone with a fairly adjustable EQ. You can switch between class A and A/B as well. I use my 212 with a boost and it's definitely heavy. Definitely no JCM 800 however, but for $300 (which is what you'll need realistically) you won't complain.
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#20
^ The Class A/AB dial doesn't really switch between them. Rather, it emulates class A, while the amp operates in class AB at all times.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
What the hell is a G&L.



Quote by Flux'D
Gay & Lesbian I think, the box smelled funny
Greg what did you send me??
#21
Oh yea! Well the A/B setting sounds much better IMO for metal.
Gear:

Squier Strat
Epiphone Explorer
Agile AL-3100

No AMP
#22
Quote by coolstoryangus
Your choices are fair enough but he is looking at the totally wrong type of amps for what you guys play. haha

+11,000. The Butcher would be pretty killer with a boost, but just smack him for even mentioning the Express, gross.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#23
Quote by MatrixClaw
+11,000. The Butcher would be pretty killer with a boost, but just smack him for even mentioning the Express, gross.


Really? You don't like the express? Or do you mean it's just bad for metal? I don't know much about Mesa beyond the little I know about recs and Marks. The demo's I watched didn't really impress me, but that can just be the situation of the demo'er. Please, let me know so I can keep him from buying it. I don't care how much he wants it, if it makes the band sound like crap, he can go right to hell. What exactly is bad about it? What is good about it?
#24
IMO an decent amps overdrive will sound better then a pedals but thats just me. if you got the bugera you would not need a pedal. with the valveking id suspect perhaps a boost.
Sorry i'm late, but my walk has got terribly silly today
#25
Quote by Blktiger0
Really? You don't like the express? Or do you mean it's just bad for metal? I don't know much about Mesa beyond the little I know about recs and Marks. The demo's I watched didn't really impress me, but that can just be the situation of the demo'er. Please, let me know so I can keep him from buying it. I don't care how much he wants it, if it makes the band sound like crap, he can go right to hell. What exactly is bad about it? What is good about it?

Can't stand the Express. It is COMPLETELY wrong for the sound you guys are going for. It's good as a low gain/mid gain amp, but you shouldn't be buying a Mesa for those genres, unless you really like the Lonestar
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#26
$300 isn't going to get you very far at all in buying a tube amp. My advice is to just sell your MG and get a job somehow. If those two options aren't possible, don't be afraid of craigslist. You can find a lot better deals through craigslist than at the local Guitar Center Used.
#27
Quote by MatrixClaw
Can't stand the Express. It is COMPLETELY wrong for the sound you guys are going for. It's good as a low gain/mid gain amp, but you shouldn't be buying a Mesa for those genres, unless you really like the Lonestar


I was under the impression that a Mark IV, Roadking, or Triple Rec could do metal...Like I've said though, I'm not the most knowledgeable person in the Mesa category. I'll try to keep him away from it if I can.

Quote by polishedbullet
$300 isn't going to get you very far at all in buying a tube amp. My advice is to just sell your MG and get a job somehow. If those two options aren't possible, don't be afraid of craigslist. You can find a lot better deals through craigslist than at the local Guitar Center Used.


I'll have 2 jobs this summer, unfortunately, College is quite expensive and most of my money is already promised to this "fine learning institution". I'm hoping I have enough by August to buy a decent enough tube amp used. If I can find someone dumb enough to buy my amp (...it's America...I'm SURE I can...) then I'll use that money to go towards a new amp as well. I'm also considering hot rodding some old strat copies I have and selling them for a profit. I have at least 2 I could do that with, and if it goes well enough, I could buy another one or two with the profit and do it again. I'm gonna try to do some odd jobs on the side this summer to make some extra money as well, such as guitar lessons, tech work, etc.

I'll consider craigslist if I have to, but I'm not a big fan. I prefer Ebay, GC Used, and sometimes even Amazon. The reason there is, if I find something I don't like a week after i've had the amp, I can bitch to the company about it and they'll figure something out. With Craigslist, you're pretty much ****ed.
#29
you definitely need a blackstar.
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
PRS Hollowbody II / BKP Warpigs
Strandberg OS6T / BKP Aftermath
Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
Skervesen Raptor 7FF / BKP Warpigs
Skervesen Raptor 6 NTB / BKP Juggernauts
Hapas Sludge 7 FF / Hapas Leviathan
Anderson Baritom / Motorcity Nuke BKP Sinner Anderson H2+
Warmoth Baritone / BKP Piledriver
Ibanez Rg2120x / BKP Nailbomb

Blackstar ID:Core Beam
#30
Quote by Blktiger0
I was under the impression that a Mark IV, Roadking, or Triple Rec could do metal...Like I've said though, I'm not the most knowledgeable person in the Mesa category. I'll try to keep him away from it if I can.


They can. Most Mesa amps are more than capable of doing metal and doing it well.

I'm not sure I agree that a Mesa can't do low-mid gain either, every Mark, Lonestar, and Recto do a very good job of it, and the new TransAtlantic series specializes in low-mid gain. It's just the Express series isn't their best work.
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
What the hell is a G&L.



Quote by Flux'D
Gay & Lesbian I think, the box smelled funny
Greg what did you send me??
#31
Quote by schecter ftw
Are you recording the demo in a legit studio or just someones basement? Usually a studio will have some forms of guitar amps, you could always use those for the recordings...


Both. Oddly enough, our Drummer's Dad used to be in a band that was somewhat famous in the Cincinnati area in his day and he has a studio in his basement. The problem with his equipment is that he has a Fender Princeton Recording, a '69 Fender Princeton that has been "Blackfaced", and a '73 Fender Vibro Champ, none of which are going to be very helpful in producing a tone similar to what we want. Needless to say, he was in a very blues-based classic rock band.


Quote by AcousticMirror
you definitely need a SLO.


Fixed.

Now, where is the real AcousticMirror and what have you done with him?

Really, though, before I knew about the Jet Cities (probably thanks to you) I wanted an HT-40. If I had the money, I would probably buy a Series 1 200, but that is QUITE out of my budget. I like the HT series, but dislike their solid-state components. They still sound pretty good, but for the price, I can probably get something just as good that's all tube.

EDIT: The "probably thanks to you" part was to knowing about Jet Cities and realizing how awesome they are.
Last edited by Blktiger0 at May 27, 2011,
#32
Quote by Blktiger0
I was under the impression that a Mark IV, Roadking, or Triple Rec could do metal...Like I've said though, I'm not the most knowledgeable person in the Mesa category. I'll try to keep him away from it if I can.

I didn't say Mesa can't do metal (in fact, that's what most of their amps excel at), I said that the Express series was a low to mid gain amp that shouldn't be used for metal.


Quote by Raijouta
They can. Most Mesa amps are more than capable of doing metal and doing it well.

I'm not sure I agree that a Mesa can't do low-mid gain either, every Mark, Lonestar, and Recto do a very good job of it, and the new TransAtlantic series specializes in low-mid gain. It's just the Express series isn't their best work.

They will do ok at it. The Mark V does some pretty good cleans and crunchy tones and so does the Lonestar if you're into its tone, not sure I'd use a Recto for those tones though...

There are some Mesas that can definitely do the low/mid gain tones well, but there are also other brands that will do it much better, often for cheaper IMO
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#33
Quote by MatrixClaw
I didn't say Mesa can't do metal (in fact, that's what most of their amps excel at), I said that the Express series was a low to mid gain amp that shouldn't be used for metal.


Quote by MatrixClaw
Can't stand the Express. It is COMPLETELY wrong for the sound you guys are going for. It's good as a low gain/mid gain amp, but you shouldn't be buying a Mesa for those genres, unless you really like the Lonestar


Sorry, I got that part confused. I thought you meant I shouldn't be buying a Mesa for the genres I listed in my OP, but you meant for low gain/mid gain. After re-reading that I understood it. It also confused me since you said "unless you really like the Lonestar" because with a name like that, I was assuming it was aimed at a SRV/ZZ Top kind of sound, but you were recommending it for metal.

Next time, I think I'll read the post again when what someone says doesn't make any sense

Anyway, the poor guy (The other guitarist in the band) has no clue what he's talking about when it comes to amps...he at least has down the "tube is USUALLY better" aspect, but I think he's still under the impression that "t00bz = amazzzing" when that's not necessarily the case. I'm doing my best to turn him on to the Butcher, Jet Cities, Blackstar, or even a Dual Rec if he really wants to stick with Mesa that bad. The only other amps that he's mentioned are all Fenders (Hot Rod Deville, Band Master, Vibro Champ, Princeton).

Do realize, though, that he is pretty much a straight blues and classic rock guitarist that we're attempting to turn metal. He meshes really well personality wise with the rest of the guys and is a pretty good guitarist overall or we wouldn't have asked him to join. We're a pretty "diverse" group musically anyway. I mean, I like literally any form of "rock" for the most part. My favorite bands are: Guns N Roses, Black Label Society, Dream Theater, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lamb of God, Motorhead, Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, Black Stone Cherry, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against The Machine, Slipknot, The White Stripes, The Black Keys, Dethklok, Bullet For My Valentine, and Iron Maiden. The Singer likes bands like: A Day to Remember, August Burns Red, Iron Maiden, Lamb of God, Pantera, All That Remains, and Hollywood Undead. Our Drummer likes bands like: Iron Maiden, Rush, Judas Priest, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Led Zeppelin, Dio, and Black Sabbath. The Bassist likes: Tool, Porcupine Tree, Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Primus, Slipknot, and Rush. Then, the other Guitarist likes: ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Boston, Eric Clapton, Wolfmother, and The Black Keys. Note that those are bands that we model our preforming/writing style after, not just bands we like. I don't have time to type out that list

Anyway, you can see that he has a moderate to low gain style, so the amp WOULD fit his personal style, but not the band's style. I mean, we have a Progressive Bassist, a Thrash/Heavy Metal Drummer, a Death Metal/Groove Metal/Metalcore Singer, a Blues Guitarist, and then a Jack of all Trades Guitarist. Good luck typing that list.
#34
I feel like if you try hard enough you could find a jca50 for cheaps.

I mean people are talking about mesas and stuff but you've got what like 300 bucks to spend?
Jumping on dat gear sig train.
PRS Hollowbody II / BKP Warpigs
Strandberg OS6T / BKP Aftermath
Strandberg OS7 / Lace Poopsticks
Skervesen Raptor 7FF / BKP Warpigs
Skervesen Raptor 6 NTB / BKP Juggernauts
Hapas Sludge 7 FF / Hapas Leviathan
Anderson Baritom / Motorcity Nuke BKP Sinner Anderson H2+
Warmoth Baritone / BKP Piledriver
Ibanez Rg2120x / BKP Nailbomb

Blackstar ID:Core Beam
#35
I've never played a Jet City amp, so I can't say anything about them, or how good they might be.

But of what I am familiar with, I want to recommend a ValveKing to your friend. It's really good at cleans and blues. Those are it's strongest points, IMO. Turn up the gain though, and you get a pretty good (for the price) 80's-90's metal tone, and with a boost, it can do 2000+ modern metal.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#36
Quote by AcousticMirror
I feel like if you try hard enough you could find a jca50 for cheaps.

I mean people are talking about mesas and stuff but you've got what like 300 bucks to spend?


If I'm going Jet City, I want to just get the JCA100HDM. To have their logo on my amp, but it not be the amp that I want form them will just be constant torture.

Yeah, but those aren't the amps we want to use forever. The Mesas and whatnot are all the amps we're looking at buying after the $300ish amps. We just need a quick fix for our no-budget situation, but we also need to fix his next amp choice.


Quote by Offworld92
I've never played a Jet City amp, so I can't say anything about them, or how good they might be.

But of what I am familiar with, I want to recommend a ValveKing to your friend. It's really good at cleans and blues. Those are it's strongest points, IMO. Turn up the gain though, and you get a pretty good (for the price) 80's-90's metal tone, and with a boost, it can do 2000+ modern metal.


I'll see if I can turn him on to it. From what I understand, after a few mods, those amps are actually really good amps period.
#37
The B-52 AT series is great. I've had one and it did the job for my first tube amp really really well. I prefer it over the valveking personally, but I'd consider them peers. I've gigged with both.

Jetcity and Blackface seem to make some stuff people really like, though I've never gotten to check them out for myself, but I'd definitely tell you to look for a B-52 AT combo. It's very versatile and about the best bang for the buck I've ever seen.
Quote by Strato-Massacre
yeah you shouldnt have told the pit to rape your mom.

Quote by Kensai
It's not sexist, girls are just too stupid and weak to hold up doors and stuff for themselves.
#38
Quote by vincelombard
bugera bro, this is exactly what you are looking for, you could get a used bugera 1990, 333xl, 6260, or 6262 in that $300 price range, which will give you really solid tone. not exceptional but definately respectable
CUZ IT WORKED FOR DESIGN THE SKYLINE!

They're awesome, hip, and totally not so ass-rapingly fail that I almost killed myself in the middle of their video.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Feel free to express yours so I can make an informed judgement about how stupid you are.