#1
My daughter has inherited an electric guitar and we need to buy a starter amp. I've no idea if she'll continue, but I need to give her a chance. She is an accomplished classical violinist and so knows her music. What would you recommend for a starter amp?
#2
1) She doesn't need a lot of power: I'd cap my search at 30w or less. And honestly, 5-20w is plenty.

2) Tube amps sound a bit better to most players, but solid state amps are eating better. I know some veteran players who have gone to SS amps and still sound quite good.

Tube amps still have the tonal edge, though, until you start getting into the higher end SS amps.

SS amps shine in being nearly impossible to kill due to rough treatment, and are generally the go-to foundation for effect modeling. Effect modeling is a surprisingly effective tool for promoting practice- if there is a guitar sound you are trying to emulate, modeling amps let you dial it in without spending thousands on pedals.

For tube amps, I'd look at small Fender, Vox, Peavey, Egnater or Carvin amps.

I don't know small SS amps too well, but I have heard some OK things about the Fender G-Dec amps.

3) That said, there is another path. When I started playing electric after years playing cello and acoustic guitar, I did NOT immediately buy an amp. I bought good headphones and a portable digital amp/effect modeling device called a Korg Px4. There are many of these things on the market. An (incomplete) overview:

Boss Micro-BR 4 track
http://www.guitarcenter.com/-i1169092.gc

Pocket POD
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pocket-POD-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104391875-i1173933.gc

Tascam GT-R1
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-GT-R1-Portable-Guitar-Bass-Recorder-105125306-i1401677.gc
http://www.guitarcenter.com/TASCAM-DR-1-GT-R1-Accessory-Kit-105020473-i1402140.gc

Korg Pandora Mini
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-Mini-PXMINI-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-H70754-i1746466.gc

Korg Px4
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX4D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-103381554-i1124641.gc

Korg Px5
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Korg-Pandora-PX5D-Guitar-Multi-Effects-Processor-104821715-i1387080.gc

Here is a visual comparison of (left to right) Tascam, my PX-5 and one of my Px4s to my old Aiwa cassette player:



With the exception of the Tascam, none of the devices I pointed out has decent acoustic recording capacity. What they DO have are features like tuners, metronomes, drum synthesizers, and digital amp & pedal modeling.

So with decent headphones, you can rock out like you were playing Texas Stadium. And yes, they are all about the size of an old Walkman.

The ones I own: the Tascam has the external mics, a phrase trainer (loop & slow down stuff for practicing), and takes SD cards. Both it and the PX5 can connect directly to your computer via a USB port. The PX4 is discontinued, but it can still be easily found. It is less powerful than the PX5, but, oddly, the PX5 does not have a belt/strap hook.

The ones I don't own: The Line6 PocketPOD is, I believe, the most popular device like this; the Boss might be the most powerful (and priciest); the Pandora Mini is the smallest (its about the size of a stack of business cards), cheapest, and least powerful.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Mar 16, 2013,
#3
Does your daughter know what genre of music she wants to play? I would suggest a modeling amp of some sort, Fender Vibro Champ or Super Champ XD perhaps. I would also look for a Vox Pathfinder 15R.
I SEE A BAD MOON RISING
I SEE TROUBLE ON THE WAY
#4
If it was me, I would just go to a pawn shop and pick up a cheap 10watt SS combo. Theres always tons of them there.

Like you said, you have no idea if she will continue, so instead of paying $100 for a half deacent beginner amp, when she might never really get into it, you can spend like $30 on a cheap amp. Then if she likes it, go and buy a deacent little tube combo.

Thats just my .02
Guitars:
PRS Custom 24
Gibson Les Paul 60's Tribute
85' MIJ Strat
97' Snakepit Les Paul
LP Traditional 1960 Zebra
MIJ Tele
MIA Strat

Amps:
EVH 5150iii
Peavey Ultra 112
Jet City JCA50H
Peavey VTM 60
74' Vibro Champ
66' Bassman
Pink Paisley
#5
I agree not much power needed but some lower powered amps come with ridiculous sized speakers. I'd keep to minimum 10 inch.
Modelling amps can give good value for the buck ranging between $100-200 new. Mustangs, G-DEC, Peavy, VOX, Line 6 all sell something that will give you distortion, reverb, chorus, phaser, etc. right out of the box.
Moving on.....
#7
I agree with dannyalcatraz, especially these days, a decent amp modeller will set you back less and give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Heck, you could get her a line6 UX1 interface and have her play through Podfarm on the computer, get some decent computer speakers for about 50$ and wham, you've spent 200$ and have given your daughter something that not only sounds great and won't be too loud, she can even start recording with it, if she ever wanted to.
#8
Thanks for all the replies, I'll take a look. In the meantime is this any good? Marshall Amplification MS2 - 2 Watt Electric Guitar Mini Amp
#9
Quote by CoreysMonster
I agree with dannyalcatraz, especially these days, a decent amp modeller will set you back less and give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Heck, you could get her a line6 UX1 interface and have her play through Podfarm on the computer, get some decent computer speakers for about 50$ and wham, you've spent 200$ and have given your daughter something that not only sounds great and won't be too loud, she can even start recording with it, if she ever wanted to.


i disagree slightly in that she may pick it up, soar with it and play for the rest of her life but theres also a chance that she will try it for two weeks, then give up and itll sit in her closet for the rest of her life. if you dont want to try the one i posted earlier here are a couple more options that are great amps

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/fender-mini-tone-master-amp

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/amplifiers-effects/fender-frontman-10g-10w-guitar-combo-amp

neither will blow the house down but will be loud enough to hear what shes doing
#10
Quote by ferrad1
Thanks for all the replies, I'll take a look. In the meantime is this any good? Marshall Amplification MS2 - 2 Watt Electric Guitar Mini Amp


yes its awesome, i have a buddy that has one.
he walks around with it on his belt all the time. i should have listed it before its way better than the two fenders i put down
#11
Quote by red.guitar
If it was me, I would just go to a pawn shop and pick up a cheap 10watt SS combo. Theres always tons of them there.

Like you said, you have no idea if she will continue, so instead of paying $100 for a half deacent beginner amp, when she might never really get into it, you can spend like $30 on a cheap amp. Then if she likes it, go and buy a deacent little tube combo.

Thats just my .02

I have to disagree. Because many times beginners want some cool sounds. And if they just get crap sounds out of their amp, it might not motivate them to play.

I would suggest a cheap modeler like Microcube. It was my first amp and I think it sounded pretty good and had lots of useful features.

I remember when I couldn't play the guitar but our cousins had a guitar and I wanted to try it. The amp was some crappy 10 watt practice amp and even then I wasn't pleased with the tone. It could do some distortion but the sound wasn't that great. And the cleans were sterile. Of course I still played all day because it was the first time I had the opportunity to play electric guitar, even though the only song I knew was the intro of Smoke on the Water, lol. But I think I would have got bored with the sound pretty fast.

As a beginner it's cool to have many different sounds to play with. They motivate you to play. If you only get bad sounds, it makes you feel bad and you don't want to play the guitar.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#12
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I have to disagree. Because many times beginners want some cool sounds. And if they just get crap sounds out of their amp, it might not motivate them to play.

I would suggest a cheap modeler like Microcube. It was my first amp and I think it sounded pretty good and had lots of useful features.

I remember when I couldn't play the guitar but our cousins had a guitar and I wanted to try it. The amp was some crappy 10 watt practice amp and even then I wasn't pleased with the tone. It could do some distortion but the sound wasn't that great. And the cleans were sterile. Of course I still played all day because it was the first time I had the opportunity to play electric guitar, even though the only song I knew was the intro of Smoke on the Water, lol. But I think I would have got bored with the sound pretty fast.

As a beginner it's cool to have many different sounds to play with. They motivate you to play. If you only get bad sounds, it makes you feel bad and you don't want to play the guitar.


I can sort of see what your saying, but at the same time, most kids don't even develope their ears to pick up on key parts of the guitars tones until the have play for 1-2 years, sometimes even more.

I was taught in college KISS - Keep It Stupid Simple...
Guitars:
PRS Custom 24
Gibson Les Paul 60's Tribute
85' MIJ Strat
97' Snakepit Les Paul
LP Traditional 1960 Zebra
MIJ Tele
MIA Strat

Amps:
EVH 5150iii
Peavey Ultra 112
Jet City JCA50H
Peavey VTM 60
74' Vibro Champ
66' Bassman
Pink Paisley
#13
The key is that this young lady is already proficient in another instrument- she will be more attuned to tone than most beginners. Thus, shelling out a little more $$$ for a better quality amp makes more sense.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I have to disagree. Because many times beginners want some cool sounds. And if they just get crap sounds out of their amp, it might not motivate them to play.

I would suggest a cheap modeler like Microcube. It was my first amp and I think it sounded pretty good and had lots of useful features.

I remember when I couldn't play the guitar but our cousins had a guitar and I wanted to try it. The amp was some crappy 10 watt practice amp and even then I wasn't pleased with the tone. It could do some distortion but the sound wasn't that great. And the cleans were sterile. Of course I still played all day because it was the first time I had the opportunity to play electric guitar, even though the only song I knew was the intro of Smoke on the Water, lol. But I think I would have got bored with the sound pretty fast.

As a beginner it's cool to have many different sounds to play with. They motivate you to play. If you only get bad sounds, it makes you feel bad and you don't want to play the guitar.


Dude I play out of a zoom modeling amp is picked up used when I was 15, if I had gotten that when I was 8 it would have just confused the piss out of me lol
#17
wow, I'm a little confused... she is 14 and has studied music in New York and now London, so she knows her stuff musically + plays superb violin. I went to amazon.co.uk and searched for guitar amp and this came up first with good recommendations "Marshall Amplification MS2 - 2 Watt Electric Guitar Mini Amp". As sometimes she has to keep the noise down, she needs to able to plug in headphones but it should play a good sound without the headphones too. It's £22 so pretty cheap and seems to fit the bill. If I'm missing something fundamental that is not offered with this amp (that is with others), please let me know- I don't want to buy something that does 1/2 the job.
#18
What you're missing is that, for all intents and purposes, that amp is a toy. It's too small to hold a speaker and too cheap to house electronics that could deliver a decent tone that would be pleasing to your ears...or the trained ears of your daughter.

And it is the amp that provides the biggest component of delivering a quality sound.

The adage on most guitar boards is that a cheap guitar through a good amp will probably sound better than a good guitar through a cheap amp.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!


alhaq369
It is very impotent to success a business.
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Mar 17, 2013,
#20
If you can find an old solid state Fender amp with red knobs, those are great beginners amps.

Otherwise, Roland Cube is a good option.

And to address the "cool sounds" argument:

The only amp I played for 7 years was a Marshall MG100. Didn't even try other ones out. I was perfectly happy/didn't realize how much it sucked until I played really good amps in my high school years.

Don't get your daughter hooked on good shit until she's committed to the instrument.
Last edited by pinheadslts75 at Mar 17, 2013,
#23
Quote by randywolf244
Dude I play out of a zoom modeling amp is picked up used when I was 15, if I had gotten that when I was 8 it would have just confused the piss out of me lol

Dude, Roland Microcube is almost as simple as a modeling amp (or any amp) can get. The layout of the knobs is just so easy to understand. There's a "sound" knob that gives you different sounds and it also tells what kind of sounds they are. I don't think the meaning of "tone" and "volume" need to be explained. Then there are effect types that are also explained and you learn how they sound by just tweaking them.

It doesn't have any presets or that kind of confusing stuff. And that's what I like about it. You don't have any screens or random knobs like some modeling amps do.

I actually think it's more simple than my Laney VC30 that has two channels and three band EQ. It's more easy to understand what the knobs on a Microcube do than what the knobs on my Laney do.

Roland Microcube is a good investment. You won't regret it. It's not too loud and has a lot of different options and it sounds pretty good. And it's not too expensive. You have to pay money to get quality. $100 for an instrument/amp is very cheap. Most instruments and amps cost five times the price. For example I bet the violin she's using costs much more than that.

And don't look at the reviews at Musician's Friend. Most of them have just bought the product and are beginners. And of course they want to put good reviews there because they want to sell the stuff.

If you want better reviews check out the reviews here in UG. Though there are also bad reviews here. I think the best place to get advice is here in UG forums.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 17, 2013,
#25
Why not Microcube? You don't need to upgrade from Microcube in years. And it's not that much more expensive than those.

I mean, if those are anything like the basic starter amps (that I pretty much assume), the distortion will sound terrible and the clean will sound sterile. You need to spend at least $100 on an amp to get decent sounds. Also you could look if you can find a used Microcube. They are much cheaper used, you might get them for half the price of a new one.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 17, 2013,
#26
Roland Micro Cube would be my next choice however it is double the price. Not really a big deal, trouble is I don't know if she's going to continue or not. My reasoning is that I can buy something reasonable, and if she wants to continue, I can upgrade to a really good one $250+.
#27
I agree with people saying not to buy a small POS for first practice amp. Having a poor sound demotivates very effectively where as having a good equipment inspires even if you cant play a damn thing yet. Modelers are even better because they mimic several different amplifiers. If you get bored with one amp model, you can switch to another one.


However you didnt mention (or I didnt see atleast) what your daughter listens to? What kind of music he intents to play? Not all amps are equal but excel in different things. If she likes modern rock and metal, she needs high gain amp and not all amps can do that, there is just not enough preamp distortion available. Smallest Peavey Vypyr is cheap and good starter amp for high gainy stuff.

Browse Thomanns site and check out different combo amps and listen the samples provided to get the idea what they sound like in different kinds of music. For example here is the Vypyr 15 I mentioned.
http://www.thomann.de/gb/peavey_vypyr_15.htm

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
Last edited by MaaZeus at Mar 17, 2013,
#28
I found a used Fender Frontman 15G from Firmbarn Ltd in UK for £30 (as-new through Amazon). Seems to be a good deal for starters. BTW my daughter isn't into rock yet (more pop), but this might swing her!
#29
Unless she's playing more modern Metal, most amps overdrive will be more then enough.
I would as well suggest the Roland Micro Cube.
Or something like a Pocked POD where you can get a whole lot of different tones out of it but would need to use it with headphones or connect it to some descent speakers. That is a little more work then a simple plug and play amp.

Also would check out local pawn shops or craigslist to see if you could find some good deals. There are allot of guitar playing in this world always buying new thing just got have new things. You might be able to find a good deal.
#30
Pick up a 15-30w modelling amp... roland cube, peavey vypyr would be great choices. dont get one of those crappy pocket amps they are impractical as a main amp. Even a line 6 spider is a better choice than a pocket amp.
Ibanez RG1550 Prestige
Schecter C1 Hellraiser
MIJ Ibanez Pro-line 1550
Takamine eg340c
Peavey 6505+ 112 combo
Ibanez Tubescreamer TS- 9
ISP Decimator
MXR M234 Analog Chorus
DeltaLab Digital Delay
Planet Waves Tuner Pedal
POD HD300
#31
please, please don't get the frontman.
roland cube. or a fender mustang would be perfect for pop (it excels at cleans).
Quote by kangaxxter
Tone is in the fingers.

What you really need is a new amp.

(Anything I missed?)



Quote by Robbgnarly
I have been hearing about MG amps lately. I have heard good about them, but only a few times have they been talked about here.

#32
Quote by ferrad1
I found a used Fender Frontman 15G from Firmbarn Ltd in UK for £30 (as-new through Amazon). Seems to be a good deal for starters. BTW my daughter isn't into rock yet (more pop), but this might swing her!


I used to have one of them, they're really not all that great. Not to mention I got it in 2005; modelling amps have come on a long way since then.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
Last edited by eddiehimself at Mar 17, 2013,
#33
ok I'll try cancel the order with amazon on the Frontman. If it goes through I'll get the Roland or Peavey.