#1
Sorry if this is really long winded question, so if it's too long to read, just jump down to the bold parts.


Where I'm at training-wise
I started learning guitar when I was 16, but only had a few lessons before walking away from it due to other interests ( ). Now at 31, I'm back and taking a more serious approach - I have a good teacher and I'm focused on building a good foundation without trying to do too much too soon! Since picking the instrument back up and learning from square one again, I've had 2.5 months of training at 1 session/week.

~~~
My setup

Back when I was first starting, I was lucky to get a screaming deal on my guitar, a Fender 60's reissue Strat (Japanese). The only catch was that the shop owner didn't let me choose an amp - I had to take this used amp that he couldn't get rid of. Heck of a deal at the time, I get a guitar that was way out of my league and a free amp.

So, the ugly duckling amp happens to be a Fender J.A.M. in near mint condition, and I can see why it was offloaded on to me.

First, I never really liked the sound at the practice volume I play. There's no soul to the thing, and it gets worse the more you play with the buttons and knobs.

Second, the volume. To make it sound better, you have to turn it up, and you have to get pretty loud to liven it up. I'm currently in an apartment and might move to the suburbs soon. The volume knob has 20 tick marks. Tick 2 sounds flat (see my first point) but is comfortable for practice. At tick 3 I get people pounding on my door. It has a headphone jack, but I would rather have that NOT be a necessity.

Third, it's big and heavy. I've had more fun from a lunchbox-sized 10w practice amp. In other words, I wouldn't mind the heft if amp justified it, but in this case... it's just big.

Last, I've never cared for the looks of it (grey cloth, red knobs). Isn't a big deal, but it's basically the frosting on this turd.


~~~~
As a result, I'm trying to decide what I should do.

Option A: Stick with the current setup.
At this point, I don't know a whole lot, so it's easy to say my skills don't justify needing a change in gear. I should just keep learning and swap out once I can get beyond the basics. Maybe it sounds bad because it's my fault

Option B: Get something more suited to my usage and something of better quality.
I went to the guitar shop here and they said they take trades at about half cost of the going sale price, so I'm guessing I'd get a McDonald's coupon out of the deal.
Anyway, they pointed me in the direction of a modeling amp, and suggested a Fender Mustang 1. They also have a Peavy (not sure the model), and a Roland. If there's something better that I should be looking at, I'm not averse to internet dealers.

So, what route should I take, o knowers of know-ology?


I'm not sure if it helps, but my listening taste is fairly varied:
-classic rock like Hendrix, CCR, Journey, Guess Who, Mountain
-blues like Taj Mahal, T-Bone Walker, Robert Cray
-more modern rock like (old) Metallica, RATM, RHCP, Soundgarden, Five Finger Death Punch
-older rock/pop like Beach Boys, Buddy Holly, Billy Stewart, Richie Valens
-funk like James Brown, The Budos Band
-other stuff like Santana, Los Lonely Boys, Ten Feet
-some Jazz, but I can't really describe it
Last edited by Mr Mike at Mar 17, 2012,
#2
Get the new amp. They don't cost that much.
Gear:

Gibson 2005 Les Paul Standard
Fender Road Worn Strat w/ Noiseless pickups
Marshall JCM 2000 401C
Marshall Vintage Modern 2266
Marshall 1960A cab (Dave Hill from Slade's old cab)
Ibanez TS9DX
EHX Little Big Muff
Freshman Acoustic
#4
I would go with the Peavey Vypr 30 watt amp. It has a bunch of amp models to choose from. It can do Blues to Modern Metal. It also has a good amount of effects like reverb, delay, chorus.
Peavey Vypyr 30 30W 1x12 Guitar Combo Amp Features:
30 watts
4 channels with 3-band EQ, master volume and pre- and post-gain controls
12" custom-voiced loudspeaker
11 editable rack effects
11 editable stompbox effects
Up to 5 effects SIMULTANEOUSLY
Onboard looper
On-board chromatic tuner
Up to 400 presets with optional Sanpera II footswitch
MIDI In/Out
Tap tempo switch
Studio-quality headphone output
Patented TransTube technology in preamp and power amp
Hope this helps!
#5
I think you should upgrade because it makes it way more fun playing and therefore you will be more inspired to learn and practice. I wouldn't go on a mad spending spree though

That said get a new amp if you really truly are going to use it - I have friend who bought a Fender Stratocaster for £700 and a Marshall Valvestate for a similar amount who was thinking along the same lines as you do. He bought them 10 years ago and has hardly played them (probably under 10 times in that period) - what's more he won't lend them to me!!!!
#6
i guess it all depends on your money situation. you could probably get rid of it and go with something along the lines of an orange tiny terry possibly? maybe a fender champ? going all tube may not be your best bet because some times you really will want to crank it to get the tone your looking for.

its tough some times to learn and get better if you hate your tone so much that you just don't feel encouraged to play.

if you want to go super cheap and real versatile check out the fender mustang modelers. pretty sweet stuff, good tone, and you can hook it up to your computer to record, use modeling software, play backing tracks... etc
#7
i say get a new amp as well. if you have an instrument that plays like s**t or an amp that sounds like s**t you will not want to play and/or you will get frustrated and discouraged. get an amp that sounds good so you will be encouraged by the sounds that come out of it, not pissed off.
#8
You should get a new amp, broseph. My little practice amp is a Vox and only cost about $100, it sounds amazing for a practice amp too.
Party on Wayne. Party on Garth.
#9
If you don't know the all of the basics of playing yet, stick with your current setup. You don't need epic tone for "Ode to Joy" or "Old McDonald".
#10
You could do a lot worse than a Fender Champ 600. Later on get a better speaker cab for it, but to just learn on you can get by with the little speaker inside it - or just swap it out for a better one.
Things like the Vyper have all sorts of effects and whatnot but the Champ has a very nice base tone. Stick an OD in front of it to get a bit of grit out of it. Effects shouldn't be a big priority at your stage of development, they'll only be a distraction.
Nice cheap option that will give you decent tone. Sure, they aren't as good as the old ones but they are still acceptable and should keep you happy for quite some time.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#12
Quote by Cathbard
You could do a lot worse than a Fender Champ 600.

No, you couldn't

How the hell do you plan on playing ANY metal? Drummer? Wut?

:p

I didn't read anything.
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#13
Thanks all, those have been some good responses. I appreciate what Ian the Fox has to say (and yeah, I'm not much further than that), but I'm also with groundwire's response.

Right now I'm going to train up more, talk to a few of my local guitar friends as well and the teacher, and spend part of my weekends in the shop's testing booths where I can figure things out. I'm antsy though so we'll see how I do - at least I can't really go wrong!

@megaluisdeth: I played with the Vypyr 15 and I'm not sure what the 30 would really gain me. I know there's more stuff on the 30, but I'm thinking it might just be more than I really need? Already so much packed into it that I don't want to be playing with it more than I'm playing with the guitar!

Quote by DeathByDestroyr
No, you couldn't

How the hell do you plan on playing ANY metal? Drummer? Wut?

:p

I didn't read anything.


even still your point is valid. The Champ 600 from the short videos I saw has a very nice blues sound (which I haven't been able to get from my amp, it's just overly bright and cold, or muddy when I fiddle around trying to fatten it up), but that looks to be the extent of its use. Depends on what I want to do, right?
Last edited by Mr Mike at Mar 17, 2012,
#14
Quote by DeathByDestroyr
No, you couldn't

How the hell do you plan on playing ANY metal? Drummer? Wut?

:p

I didn't read anything.




Yeah, it's a bit of a one trick pony but you can always add pedals later.
A better option really would be a little Laney Cub. I think those cost a bit more though. If you can afford a Cub, I'd get one if I were you. Fine amp to learn on.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#15
Definitely don't keep the amp if you hate it. I'd suggest taking it into Guitar Center and see if you can trade it in for anything. even if you only get $5 thats still a profit right? and then put what they offer you towards a new amp.
[img]http://cdn.gs.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/v.gif[/img]
#16
Quote by JAHellraiser
Definitely don't keep the amp if you hate it. I'd suggest taking it into Guitar Center and see if you can trade it in for anything. even if you only get $5 thats still a profit right? and then put what they offer you towards a new amp.


Heh, as I said, even a McDonald's coupon would be a profit - it was a condition on being able to get the deal on the guitar.


I just depleted my toy fund this month, though, so I need to wait.
#17
Gonna go against the grain a little, but maybe get a multifx pedal. Here's why:

You are new back into guitar. You listed a huge range of musical influences and styles. A new amp, unless it's a good modeller, might have trouble giving all your desired sounds. A multifx would give you lots of modelled amps, plus a variety of effects that you could experiment with. At that point you have sampled all the foods from the buffet, and would be in a better position to decide how to spend your gear $$$'s to get your dream rig. For the next year or so your tastes will change greatly.

Me? Years ago I went out and bought a head unit when I thought my entire world was made of buzzsaw metal in drop tunings. Now I rarely play that style or that amp.

And since you are now in your 30's, bugging the crap out of the wife/kids with a big amp can be a little dicey for domestic relations.
#18
Quote by Mr Mike

@megaluisdeth: I played with the Vypyr 15 and I'm not sure what the 30 would really gain me. I know there's more stuff on the 30, but I'm thinking it might just be more than I really need? Already so much packed into it that I don't want to be playing with it more than I'm playing with the guitar!


The important difference between the 30 and the 15 is the speaker size. The 15 only has an 8" speaker - it's basically a toy. The 30 has a 12" speaker, and sounds much, much better, especially as you turn it up.
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
#19
Quote by cheapr2keepr
Gonna go against the grain a little, but maybe get a multifx pedal.


Well this really changes a lot of my thinking.

At this point in my playing, I really have no use beyond a good clean channel, a nice warm buttery channel, and maybe a bit of overdrive for fun as I practice some blues and Chuck Berry basics.

I could be wrong, but if my complaint is that the cleaner/fuller sounds aren't there, I don't think adding a pedal is the answer. If this is anything like home audio, you are only as good as your worst component.

So, I guess now there's more of an option to start with a modeling amp, or go with a good basic clean amp and add a multi pedal... isn't the whole point of a modeling amp to get rid of this latter situation? Or do I 'build it' for best results?
#21
Quote by Mr Mike
Well this really changes a lot of my thinking.

At this point in my playing, I really have no use beyond a good clean channel, a nice warm buttery channel, and maybe a bit of overdrive for fun as I practice some blues and Chuck Berry basics.

I could be wrong, but if my complaint is that the cleaner/fuller sounds aren't there, I don't think adding a pedal is the answer. If this is anything like home audio, you are only as good as your worst component.

So, I guess now there's more of an option to start with a modeling amp, or go with a good basic clean amp and add a multi pedal... isn't the whole point of a modeling amp to get rid of this latter situation? Or do I 'build it' for best results?


Many of the multifx pedals can also function as a pedal board as you desire to add delay, reverb, wah, etc. and are an alternative.

I have a Digitech RP500. It allowed me to sample various emulations of Marshall's (800,900,2000), Mesa's, Soldano's, Orange, etc. These are amps that I would most likely never have a chance to test out. I also have a huge array of fx at my disposal, many of which I'd never have the opportunity to sample or afford to purchase individually.

I plug into either a PA or an amp on a clean channel as needed. For my own individual practice, I use headphones so I don't bother anyone. When my band plays, I run it into an amp with 4x12.

Yes, there is nothing quite like a sweet amp and to feel the thump in your chest and the ringing in your ears. I'm just saying multifx might be a more versatile option at this early stage until you have clearly defined what sound you want. If you have that already figured out, then the multifx option would only serve usefully as an fx pedalboard.

I plan on getting a Jet City amp someday, probably the JCA22H since it has 2 channels and an fx loop. The Soldano stuff gives me goosebumps.

Best of luck.
#22
Quote by Cathbard
Seriously dude:
http://www.laney.co.uk/show_prod.php?prod=cub10

You won't regret it. It's exactly what you are looking for.



+1 on this. I have the Cub 10, the drive on this isn't the best, but add an overdrive pedal & it sounds very good for the money. I run a standard BOSS DS1 through mine, which I thought was a useless pedal before, with the amp volume on 6-7 then adjust the gain for how loud i want it. The clean sound is nice and the DS1 sounds good too. Also, being as it's a valve/tube amp (delete as applicable), it can get loud enough to cope with a sensible drummer no problem
#23
The Epiphone Valve Senior might be a good bet too. I haven't playi9ng with one yet though.
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#24
I don't think I'm going to find a Laney in the US Pacific NW.
Valve Seniors are discontinued
Most local stuff is going to be Fender, Roland, Vox, Marshall, Behringer, Peavey. A 30 minute drive can get me access to a Guitar Center.

lol I have a Boss DS-1. At the time I bought it, I really wanted to play Nirvana and had this silly notion it would let me get a bunch of feedback without deafening Mom & Dad - "Are you playing Nerd-vana again??"

I've got a friend here at work who's got 24 years of guitar knowledge, I'm going to share discussion with him.
#25
Alright, talked to my coworker. He politely said "ew" after trying my amp.

His suggestion was a Rocktron V50D, but I'm thinking his taste in music is very different from mine - everything for him is lightning speed and relaxes to classical symphonies. I'm finding it hard to convince people the first button/switch/knob they reach isn't the screaming metal. Metallica gets its turn, but I equally want to have Rolling Stones crunch it up, get BB King to bleed a little, and end the night chillin' with Joe Pass. It's high hopes from someone who's practicing blues turnarounds no doubt!

youtube I'm sure is a poor example to the real thing of course, but I'm really digging the idea of a Champion 600 and adding some pedals as the time comes. I already have the Boss DS-1 as I mentioned.


Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to do a big test!
Last edited by Mr Mike at Mar 20, 2012,
#26
If you get a Champ 600, get one of those little 6" Jensen speakers too. They're ridiculously cheap!
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."
#27
Long time no post, but I thought I'd update everyone on my story.

Went to a pretty sizeable store to check things out on the Saturday before Easter.
Spent a long time demoing all of the amps. A LONG time.
Mustang II was my baseline.
I couldn't remember, but I thought I heard the Frontmans were kind of crap, so I just avoided it... though it sounded not bad.
The Champ had some FX button that seemed useless. After my old amp, I'm tired of useless buttons.
Vox just sounds bad to me.
They had a used Pro Jr which sounded really nice
I had total lust for the Blues Junior, but was about double what I wanted to pay.

I suggested that we see how much my trade-in amp is worth to decide what I could do. They say they've never seen one of these (no surprise), so they had to get the manager. They did a lot of talking while I went to play with the amps. I was thinking I'd get $25 on a good day (guitar center said it wasn't worth anything, lol). Guy comes back and says, "We can do $65"

There was no way I was going to get this opportunity again, so this was where I was buying.
I decided that the Mustang was too much like a computer - going to get outdated. Also, way too much to play with instead of focusing on actually playing.
Pro Junior came really close, but I had to do the Blues Jr. It sounded so awesome, and the price was kind of my second big deal:

MSRP $730
Easter Sale $500
Floor Model $400 (who cares about floor model, still has the 5 year warranty)
Minus Trade $334

Hell I wasn't going to get that to happen again, so decided to 'make it happen' (one of the great powers and curses of single marital status).

Went to see what Guitar Center wanted - $550 on sale

This thing just sounds so alive compared to that dead fish I had.
#28
Grats dude, awesome amp. Just wait until your in a position that you can really open it up: killer

You got pictures?
"If you're looking for me,
you better check under the sea,
because that's where you'll find me..."