Hi guys, this is my first ever thread so sorry if I do anything wrong! Basically, I need some advice from some more experienced guitarists about heads, or more specifically, second-hand heads.

I'm currently in the process of upgrading to a half-stack from a combo, now I am gigging in larger venues etc. I've already got a 4x12 cab which is compatible with nearly any head which is great, now I just need to buy the head. I know it's a stupid order to do things but I'm a student and low on money so I tend to buy things for cheap as soon as I see them.

Anyway, I'm in a metal band and I need a cheap(ish) all-tube head with a lot of gain and a heavy sound (similar to that of a Peavey 6505). BUT the first problem I have before I buy one is: should I buy a brand new head or a second hand one? Cheap second hand ones are quite common online, but will it be worth it if I need to replace the tubes almost immediately?

For example, I really like the Bugera heads, I think they look and sound great and are a great price for people like me who can't afford to spend a grand on a Peavey or ENGL etc. I know there's been some quality problems with them etc but I'm willing to take the risk. I've recently been offered a Bugera 6202 (a peavey 6505 clone) for £200, in perfect condition. Brand new they're about £380, so I'm getting it for almost half price, BUT I don't think the tubes have been replaced recently. How much would a full re-tubingand biasing of the amp be (approximately)? Would buying it second hand be worth the money, even though i may have to spend money on tubes and will be forfeiting any warranty i would get if i bought it new?

Alternatively, I could get the Bugera 333 infinium model, which i would be buying brand new for £350, but has the infinium technology which helps the tubes last longer and means they won't need re-biasing when i eventually do replace them.

What do you guys think? Sorry this post is really long, I just need a lot of guidance in this subject. ANY help would be appreciated!

i yhink you should try the head if you can and see if it is worth the money or if it does need retubing, tubes can last a lot depending on the use, so, you have to test the amp to check how are the tubes...
why do you think you have to replace the tubes again?
:: Peavey JSX | XXX ::
:: LTD V | Viper | AX [EMG85] ::
:: Vader 2x12 | Krankenstein 4x12 ::
:: G50 | DecimatorG-String | 95Q ::
:: Polytune | Ditto | CarbonCopy ::
I might do that tntero, although it's a private sale and the guy lives quite far away so I'm paying him for delivery. I'm not sure I'd be able to decline it when he's come all the way and delivered it haha.

And crabstampede - I don't know, i'm not sure if they need replacing, but i'm also not sure if they've ever been replaced and if so, when. How often do you generally NEED to replace tubes? I know some people replace them every 6 months but I can't afford that and I'm not sure it's worth because it's such a cheap amp.
A 333 is a Peavey Triple XXX. You can get a used XXX for 350-400 USD. Same with the Ultra(pretty much the same amp.

That comes out to about 275-315 euros. I would get the real Peavey. If you want the 333xl, that gets more expensive. That is a copy of the JSX which goes for 500USD/400euro.
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1) Bugera may be a cheap option, but a LOT of people have problems with them. Apparently they don't catch on fire anymore, which is a plus. Now it seems that they just fail at random, or red-plate the tubes. Seriously. Do a search on just this forum, and you'll find probably a dozen dead bugera threads within the last month or two.

2) Changing tubes right away isn't necessary. Most amps come with the cheapest stock tubes available, so changing them will almost always make it sound better, but it is not necessary.

EDIT: I typically only change tubes when one dies, or the amp starts sounding a bit off. You'll know when it happens. Keep spares on hand so you're not without your amp while you wait to get your new tubes when one dies. I've only had to re-tube my current amp once in two years. Had a power tube short out soon after buying it (used, they were 6 year old stock tubes).

3) What is your actual budget? Unless I missed it, you only posted the prices of amps you could get.

4) How important are cleans? There are a shit-ton of amps with great drive channels and mediocre cleans. If you need great cleans, it will make the pool of suggestions much smaller.
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Last edited by jpatan at Sep 7, 2012,
Thanks for all the replies guys! I've been looking at a lot of Peaveys, mainly the VK100 and the Triple XXX, but they're hard to come by second hand and brand new they're £400-£500. You can get a used 6505 for just over £500!

Basically, my budget is about £300 (don''t know how much that is in USD). I COULD save a bit more but there's other stuff I need to buy, and I'd like to upgrade sooner rather than later, as I have gigs coming up and I'm currently using a shitty line 6 spider haha.

Cleans to me aren't really important at all. I don't have any clean guitar in any of my bands songs yet, and I doubt we will. If we ever do i'm likely to have some kind of effect on it anyway, and I won't be recording with it so clarity doesn't matter TOO much. So yeah, forget about cleans. Something with a lot of gain, good for modern metal!

This is the amp I've been offered for £200, it's nearly £400 new. I know it's a Bugera but surely not EVERYONE has problems with them. But then again, they do seem quite common. GIVE ME YOUR GUIDANCE!

I have found that you generally get what you pay for when it comes to gear. There are deals out there, mind you, but I don't see "no more fires" as a huge selling point.
:: Peavey JSX | XXX ::
:: LTD V | Viper | AX [EMG85] ::
:: Vader 2x12 | Krankenstein 4x12 ::
:: G50 | DecimatorG-String | 95Q ::
:: Polytune | Ditto | CarbonCopy ::
Quote by crabstampede
why do you think you have to replace the tubes again?

cuz it is like the first advice this forum gives anyone when dealing with bugera's.

@TS: i wouldn't change the tubes unless they need it if i was budget conscious.

if i was young and poor again, a bugera would most likely be on my map. you know what i got for 250 usd when i was in high school? a marshall valvestate... bugera has it all over that.
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Sep 7, 2012,
Thanks again for the replies guys. I know the potential problems with the Bugera's and I accept the fact that I may eventually face them, but I think I'll still consider getting one. Although I may have a think about it and wait until I can afford something else. I'll see! Either way i think anything's a HUGE step up from my current Line 6 Spider head haha. Cheers for the advice everyone