I am currently in gigging band and use a Marshall JCM 900, 100w, with reverb and a Marshall 1960TV cab.

I play mostly small bars and clubs that do not always mic the cabs. Although sometimes I am mic'd, I can't always count on having a mic'd rig.

My main guitar is a Gibson LP Classic with the stock pick-ups, Gibson 496R and 500T (quite high output).

The band I am in plays old-school, west coast style punk with a bit of a surfy sound, hence the reverb. A bit like Agent Orange or the Circle Jerks.

I am looking for suggestions of any amp rig that isn't such a pain in the ass to move that could have a similar sound. Sometimes I'd like to have a smaller combo or single speaker cab/head that can be loud enough to play un micced with a loud-as-hell drummer and not break my back every time I want to move it. Any ideas? Built-in reverb is a plus because I generally like to go straight in. Are there solid state options that sound OK? I know they are a lot lighter. I am pretty open to any idea and my budget is around $1000 US.

Thoughts? I'd love to get some feedback on things to look at.
The obvious answer would probably be a Marshall combo. 50 watts would probably do the trick, I've played through plenty 50 watters, currently using a 45 watt Fender Super Reverb. It handles loud live drummers quite well, especially through the Normal channel.

The Peavey Classic 50 is worth looking into, I've heard quite a few and they sound good but I've never played one. Have a good friend who swears by the Mesa triple rectifier, some of their other small combo amps should do well too.

Since you've been playing tubes for a while, you probably wouldn't be happy with solid state. I've been playing tubes since the mid 80's, every time I have to use solid state for some reason, like sit ins, I'm never happy with it. Bass won't punch through the mix like a tube amp will and of course they sound like crap if you get into high volume mode where the tube power amp distortion works so well. All the ones I've played, if I get the bass high enough to handle the mix, they get muddy.

I'm 90% sure you'll want to stick with tubes, and for what you do there are probably several combo amps in the 50 - 60 watt range that would do the job, a little heavey still, but not as much as lugging a half stack around...Peavey, Mesa, Vox, Orange, Marshall, Fender and others all make some excellent combo amps, both 1x12 and 2x12. I'm really partial to 2x12...
They aren't that heavy. My JCM900 4102 is my little gigging amp which is heavier than your head. Carrying them any distance, they get a bit onerous but they aren't that heavy if you are merely loading them in and out of the van/car/truck. You just need something for the long haul from vehicle to stage and for that, there are these:

No need to buy a whole new amp, you just need the right kit to move it around.

Edit: Same with the 1960. Just load it all up onto the trolley, tie it down and off ya go.
Last edited by Cathbard at Oct 29, 2014,
Vox AC30, Mesa 50 Cal/F-50, Orange TH30. All of these will give you big crunch and portability. They all run with a loud drummer just fine as well.
Just an update on this. I got a used Mesa Boogie Lone Star (classic model, not the Special). 50/100w. Stock it came with 6L6's. I threw a set of EL 34's it it and it absolutely nails the Marshall JCM 900 sound as well as the older Vintage sound of a Marshall 1987 (I own one of those too).

On top of that it gets many other beautiful tones. With a switchable tube or SS rectifier and selectable input voltage to get the old Fender bassman sounds (more so with the 6l6s).

Built in tube and spring reverb with a choice between a fenderish sparkly circuit and a more mellow even sounding reverb.

A very versatile and sweet sounding amp. Thanks for your input guys. It does weigh more than I had hoped for, but it is still a lot easier to move than a Marshall halfstack.
Last edited by Chetbango at Nov 6, 2014,
LOL, honestly I haven't even checked the cleans yet! Just got the EL 34s and put it through the paces from slightly dirty to that sweet British overdrive.

I'll check out the cleans tomorrow.