#1
Alright, so to start it off my budget is roughly $350 or so. Maybe $400 but that's a stretch. Let's just say $350 for the sake of it. I know that's a bit on the low side for what I want, but it is what it is.

The genres I play are pretty scattered. That makes it pretty tough to select an amp at this price range, I know. I would say I tend to stick to Punk (Teenage Bottlerocket, Ramones, Minor Threat), Ska (Operation Ivy, The Aquabats), Power Metal (Sonata Arctica, Dark Moor), Thrash Metal (Metallica, Megadeth, ect.), and Classic Rock (Creedence Clearwater Revival, ACDC, ect.), with a smattering of other stuff thrown in.

I know I'm really not going to come near to matching all of those tones, but hey, that's what I'd ideally have. I just would like something versatile. All I really have for pedals right now is a Boss OS-2 and a cheap Digitech RP200 multi-effects. I could probably acquire something decent eventually of course, but I'd at least like to get a decent classic rock tone out of the amp itself if I have to go the pedal route.

The amps I've been kind of thinking about:
  • Peavey Windsor (No cleans, that's not very versatile. Cheap though.)
  • Peavey Triple XXX
  • B52 AT100 (I've heard pretty mixed stuff about this. I tried one out at my local GC. It was pretty okayish. I don't know though.)
  • Peavey Classic 30/50 (These tend to be out of my price range.)
  • Jet City JCA20H/JCA22H (These seem to be well regarded. I've never tried them though, and I don't hear much about cleans.)


It'd be pretty sweet if I could gig with it. I have pretty much open reign with volume where I live, so that's not holding me back at all.

The closest city I live by is Minneapolis. I'd probably prefer to order from Guitar Center's used stuff over Craigslist or something. I'm rather timid about that. Suggestions are always welcome though. I could bring an outgoing friend.

My current gear right now consists of a Spider IV 15 watt I keep in my room for practice (it gets the job done), and a Randall RH200 G2 with an R412 Stereo cab. I rather like my Randall for what it does. Versatility isn't its strongest suit, however. Ideally I would not have to sell that. My main guitar is a PRS SE Custom 24.
#2
I have a bugera 333 combo amp. Its pretty versatile (clean channel can do blues well with a tubescreamer, ska, whatever), crunch can go anywhere from bluesy overdrive to rock to metal, and of course a lead channel that is voiced like the crunch but more gain. All three channels work great with a tubescreamer and any other pedals youd like to throw at it.

Now- bugera is plagued with reliability issues. As a matter of factly, even my 333 broke down a few weeks after i got it (it was the soldering issue people talk about). I took it to a tech who fixed it up for me, and its been great for about 5 years running.

So- if I had a budget that small, but NEEDED a versatile tube amp, id probably look for a used (and working) Bugera 333xl (the regular 333 is okay, but the xl has more options and possibly better voicing). If you can nip the reliability issues in the butt, its a very good long term and inexpensive amp.
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Last edited by Watterboy at Nov 14, 2013,
#3
Quote by Watterboy
I have a bugera 333 combo amp. Its pretty versatile (clean channel can do blues well with a tubescreamer, ska, whatever), crunch can go anywhere from bluesy overdrive to rock to metal, and of course a lead channel that is voiced like the crunch but more gain. All three channels work great with a tubescreamer and any other pedals youd like to throw at it.

Now- bugera is plagued with reliability issues. As a matter of factly, even my 333 broke down a few weeks after i got it (it was the soldering issue people talk about). I took it to a tech who fixed it up for me, and its been great for about 5 years running.

So- if I had a budget that small, but NEEDED a versatile tube amp, id probably look for a used (and working) Bugera 333xl (the regular 333 is okay, but the xl has more options and possibly better voicing). If you can nip the reliability issues in the butt, its a very good long term and inexpensive amp.

Thanks for the suggestion!

I've tossed around the idea of a Bugera a bit, but the reliability issues are a little unnerving. I do like the sound judging from the videos I've watched though.
#4
Bugera 333 and 333xl are clones of the Peavey XXX and Peavey JSX, in case you didn't know.
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#5
Quote by tas38
Bugera 333 and 333xl are clones of the Peavey XXX and Peavey JSX, in case you didn't know.

Ah, that's what I was guessing.

Would it probably be better to go with the XXX in this case? The JSX is definitely out of my price range, but the XXX is a little bit possible.
#6
Yup. Look for the used originals first before gambling with Bugera. The price difference may not be that huge.
Also you dont hear much about Jet City cleans because there really is not one. Jca20h is a single crunch channel amp and jca22h has a second high gain channel added on top. The crunch side does clean up with gain turned down at the cost of volume headroom.

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 Nov 14, 2013,
#7
Along with the above Peaveys, search for an Ultra as well.
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#9
I got a used hotrod deluxe for $370 this summer and it is awesome. 40W or pure tube tone and is very versatile. not quite good for metal, but great for rock and anything with a clean tone
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#10
Quote by wat docdude
Would you say that the Ultra Plus is more desireable than a XXX?


I may be mistaken but i think XXX is based on Ultra. Which one is more desireable is up to you.

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
#11
The fact the Ultra needs a footswitch that is no longer around really to switch to the crunch channel is a bit off-putting.

I feel like the XXX would be great for the heavy stuff, but would I be able to pull off Ska and Classic Rock and the like? It seems to be pretty focused on metal. I can't find any good demos of anything but metal and to a lesser extent cleans.

EDIT: There's also the 3120 as a possibility, but that seems to be along the same lines as a XXX.

Guitar Center has a Jet City 100 listed for $400. Soldano isn't spelt right.
Last edited by wat docdude at Nov 15, 2013,
#13
Quote by Dan_5893
Peavey Valveking + a speaker and tube swap? You should be able to achieve all of that for $400


i would rather go XXX if it were me. look for an XXX combo. easy in budget. they are good well rounded amps.

be patient, do a little hunting, get out and play some diffreent amps. bring your guitar and pedals, set up what you have and play for a few hours and see what you like. then try to pick up one used.

if you want better treatment, ask the salesmen if they are on commission (they all are pretty much), and say 'ok i will make an effort to buy from you.' thing. thats what it do (i have had my guy for a year now and my previous guy for three years, when they get to know you and see you buying from them you get some nice discounts and such.

XXX for sure thouogh.

the only way i would get a bugera is if i wanted my studio to burn down. then it would be full of them.
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#14
Thanks for the advice. I haven't found any Triple XXXs to try out. I'd pretty much be going on word and demos on the internet.

Is the 3120 much different? They seem to crop up for about $400.
#15
Quote by wat docdude
Thanks for the advice. I haven't found any Triple XXXs to try out. I'd pretty much be going on word and demos on the internet.

Is the 3120 much different? They seem to crop up for about $400.


Its a rebranded XXX, with different power tubes IIRC but otherwise its the same amp.

*edit* double checked it. Yes its the same thing except for the el34 power tubes which give it more british character but nothing else. Bias it and change them to 6l6 and there is no difference except the lack of truck girl motifs. What a tragic loss...

So go for it.

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 Nov 16, 2013,
#16
I see a Peavey Classic 30 on ebay right now with 1 hour left for a starting bid of $360 and no bidders. With shipping you are probably right at the high end of your range. You said these appear to be out of your price range.

I own one and it is a great classic rock amp (not metal IMO) - well reviewed on many sites. You could buy this one and then swap the tubes out later for a JJ set if you desire. FYI
#17
Quote by wat docdude
Alright, so to start it off my budget is roughly $350 or so. Maybe $400 but that's a stretch. Let's just say $350 for the sake of it. I know that's a bit on the low side for what I want, but it is what it is.


Keep your eyes open for two Carvins that will fall into your price range on the used market.

One is the Carvin Belair. This is a 50W EL84-based two-channel 2x12 open-back combo that's usually covered in faux tweed tolex with a brown face and cream chicken-head knobs. Best speaker choices are well-broken in Vintage 30's, followed by Eminence Tonkers and Texas Heats. Gorgeous clean channel, easily the equal of any Fender. The Soak (gain) channel was designed with Allan Holdsworth. Most buyers love it, but I found it a bit too...uh...legato. Luckily, there's a really good mod available for it, designed by Richard L Hassebrock. The mods are the Hasserl Mods and there are free .pdf files that tell you what you need to know. A decent tech can knock them out in a couple of hours for not much money. The result (IMHO) is stellar. I have one of these with his Stage II mods, and it may well be the last tube amp in my stable to be let go. You should be able to find a good Belair in the $350 range on Craigs or EvilBay.



The other is also a Carvin -- the XV112B or XV112E. This is an X100-series amp, also available in a 2x12. The "-B" and "-E" stand for their British voiced 100W speaker and an EV-L, respectively. The 112 is a single-12" combo amp, EL34-based 100W, multi-channel amp. It looks like an '80's MK II Mesa, and there's a reason for that. This amp kicks butt and takes no prisoners. On the older models, the transformers are huge and the reverb is a real spring-loaded tank. It has active controls, which gives you a much greater range of versatility than passives. There's even a five-band graphic (active) EQ that's assignable. If you unplug the internal speaker and plug in a pair of 4x12s, you *will* blow most Marshalls off a stage. The clean channel is stellar, and you have so much headroom it's silly. The older versions are covered in rat fur and are probably the better choice and are usually within your $350 budget, even for one in excellent condition. I'm recommending the 1x12 (open back) combo version because this is already a heavy combo amp, and for me, a 2x12 really didn't add much to the punch it carries.

As mentioned, a lot of them are covered in rat fur, but you'll also find them tolexed and there are a few available in oak with a cane grill (Google a Mesa Mk II to see the resemblance there):

#18
Peavey Ultra is a decent amp that can be had fairly cheap.. as for the footswitch you can substitute a jsx footswitch and it will work (just takes some getting used to). you can also get a new footswitch online (ebay) from a guy that makes them.
#19
You can get a Peavey ultra 1x12 combo for $199 at www.guitarcenter.com/usedgear

The ultra's clean channel is a little better than the XXX

It uses a regular 1/4" jack for the foot switch doesn't it? that means and foot switch will work

Do you have a cab or do you need a combo?
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#20
Quote by Robbgnarly
You can get a Peavey ultra 1x12 combo for $199 at www.guitarcenter.com/usedgear

The ultra's clean channel is a little better than the XXX

It uses a regular 1/4" jack for the foot switch doesn't it? that means and foot switch will work

Do you have a cab or do you need a combo?


nope not 1/4" jack. midi/xlr style.
#21
Quote by monwobobbo
nope not 1/4" jack. midi/xlr style.

OK

You can get a switch from Voodooman switches for $59 and that includes a 20' detachable cable, so you can replace the cable if anything ever happens to it.
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#22
I'm looking more for a 212 or more so a head if possible. Sorry. I should have made that a bit clearer in my original post. I would go with a 112 if it was a great deal, but I rather like my cab, and I'd like to stick with it.

I rather like the idea of the XXX/3120, but I haven't been able to find any around locally to try out.

I also wish the XXX didn't have the trucker girls, but that's cosmetic.
#23
If you're going to look at Jet City, I'd recommend going with the 50watt. I'm able to maintain a pretty good clean tone with my 50H, but I can see how you would struggle with the 22 or 20.

It sounds like the xxx/ultra may be more up you're all tho.

good luck!
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85' MIJ Strat
97' Snakepit Les Paul
LP Traditional 1960 Zebra
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Peavey Ultra 112
Jet City JCA50H
66' Bassman
Pink Paisley Princeton RV
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#24
Another option I've thought about is buying an amp that is more oriented toward a Blues/Ska/Punk/Classic Rock ect. sound, and then maybe getting a pedal for the metal stuff later. The metal pedals I've tried seem to be a bit fuzzy for my tastes though, but I can't say I've tried too many. The one I have the most experience with is my friend's Box of Metal. It's good for a Doomy sound, but not really what I would take for chugging and Power Metal stuff.

The Blackheart Hothead seems to be pretty nice, and I rather like the amount features on it. Would it maybe be a better option to go with this and then use an OD/Metal oriented pedal?

I don't know of any guitar shops nearby me that carry one of those bad boys either. The demos I've heard online are what I desire for non-metal sounds though.
#25
JCA 50 for the win.

Sounds like its right up the OP's alley.

If you cant afford the JCA 50.

Look into a used Egnater Tweaker combo also, you need something versatile that could do alot and the Tweaker definately is a jack of all trades when it comes to amplification.

If you are on a budget the Egnater Tweaker is a solid option and you will definately dig that amplifier based on what you are looking for out of one.
Last edited by Dunning~Kruger at Nov 17, 2013,
#26
I'm not sure I'd be able to get a JCA50 with my budget.

I have tried the Tweaker. One of my buddies used to have the 15 watt version. I think he got rid of it just for the sake of having more headroom. I think they're a pretty nice head. I'm not sure they'd go into the territory of high gain without a pedal, but the more vintagey stuff would be nailed I reckon.

I feel like it's either a good rock tone for the price, or a good metal tone for the price, but not both at the same time with my budget.
#27
There is a JCA100 at GC used site for $399

Another amp to look at is the Krank 1980 Jr. I have a 20 watt version and it is loud as hell has a really nice clean channel, great HR Marshall tone on the dirty channel and an FX loop. The channels are foot switchable with any 1/4" jack pedal. The clean channel stays clean even at above normal giging volumes (for most people). I put a boost in front and I play Prog-metal just fine. $375 used at www.guitarcenter.com/usedgear.

There is also a 20 watt Rev Jr pro for $399 this has the same features as the 1980 Jr but has a more modern voicing and can do Metal without a boost
2002 PRS CE22
2013 G&L ASAT Deluxe
2009 Epiphone G-400 (SH-4)
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100
Krank 1980 Jr 20watt
Krank Rev 4x12 (eminence V12)
GFS Greenie/Digitech Bad Monkey
Morley Bad Horsie 2
MXR Smart Gate
#28
Quote by wat docdude
I'm not sure I'd be able to get a JCA50 with my budget.

I have tried the Tweaker. One of my buddies used to have the 15 watt version. I think he got rid of it just for the sake of having more headroom. I think they're a pretty nice head. I'm not sure they'd go into the territory of high gain without a pedal, but the more vintagey stuff would be nailed I reckon.

I feel like it's either a good rock tone for the price, or a good metal tone for the price, but not both at the same time with my budget.


Honestly then man you were right on the spot with your initial suggestion of the XXX peavey.

Cant go wrong with that one

That amp is beast and its probly going to be the one out of the bunch to put a smile on your face.
#29
People here keep recommending me a Peavey Vypyr (a decent but inexpensive modeling amp with built in effects) earlier. I've heard they are versatile and sound a lot like a tube amp. However I don't care for Multi-effect units but for what you want, get it.

If you're into Extreme Metal (particularly Black Metal or its sub-genres) or Gothic Rock, I'd recommend a Crate Amp (you can get them cheap at pawnshops and stuff). However Peavey Vypyr is your best bet as far as versatility goes. I just want to help but chose what you want.
#30
I tried a JCA100. It was really nice for what I'm looking for. Apparently it needs a footswitch to change channels. I hate that.

I also tried a Tweaker 40. It was a solid amp. It didn't really get into too much of the high gain, but it was somewhat versatile. The switches didn't really seem to do much for me.

I also played a Tiny Terror and a Dark Terror. They were pretty cool, but may be a bit lacking in headroom. I liked them a lot for Doomy tones.

I really wish I could find a XXX to try out. I'm really interested in it. I don't know if I could pull the trigger on one without trying though.