#1
Hello everyone, This is my first post here. I've been playing for about a year and am looking to upgrade some of my gear so would very much appreciate your help.

I picked up a PRS SE245 and a Fender Mustang 1 from Guitar Center to get me going. Whilst I really like the PRS, I really can't bear the Mustang. I find it ridiculously fiddly and I struggle to get the tone I want with it, so I'm in the market for a new practice amp. Can you help? I am going out of my mind, having looked at bazillion reviews and still not made up my mind.

The requirements are as follows:

- I only play at home and live in an apartment, so can only play quietly. So good tone at very low volume is a must. I would probably prefer a small tube amp, but for this reason I'm wondering if SS would be a better bet?

- Again due to the above, a headphone socket would be a distinct advantage

- I'm primarily interested in getting bluesy tones. I aspire to play like B B King and am concentrating on playing the blues primarily. But from time to time I'll want to rock out too - but if this means putting a pedal in front of it to get distortion, then thats fine too

- My experience with modelling amps so far has NOT been good. I would much rather twist knobs than plug it into a computer or try and remember what the orange light on position 16 means. I'm more of an analog guy..

- I am very shallow :-) It needs to be pretty. I love the Fender look, but can't stand the Line 6 or Roland looks for example. Basically I like retro I guess

- Spring reverb would be great

- Mids control would be great

- Budget is around 300 USD. I could go more if it was perfect. I'd rather spend a lot less :-)

So - I'm quite fussy as you can tell, so would really appreciate any help and advice you could give - many thanks in advance.
#2
exactly how quietly do you have to play? i'm guessing pretty quietly if you're in an apartment

personally i find tube ok for home use, but i don't share any walls with neighbours. it's kind of a personal judgement call as to exactly how quietly you have to play before it sort of defeats the purpose of tubes, unfortunately...
#3
Thanks for the reply. Yes, pretty quietly I'm afraid. Put it this way, my Mustang 1 never gets above about 2 , maybe 3...
#4
buy a Fender champion 600. put a wah in front of your amp use like a notch filter .
#5
Mercury magnetics makes a great mod for that amp as well to give it some more balls. Great little amp to record with too.
#6
Play through a Super Champ XD/X2 and see if it works for you. This is my goto practice amp and I can even play smallish gigs with it. Looks good, real Fender tube tone on chl 1, useful voices on chl 2, and a handful of useful effects that you can dial in by turning the knobs. As long as you don't need massive shred gain this is a sweetie. I'm an old blues hound and this thing still gives me giggles, even at very low volumes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwiqVIDB9E4
#7
Go used.

Look for a Fender Blues Jr. for a good price, then do the Billm TwinStack mod (easy to do) and swap the speaker for an Eminence Swamp Thang.
An Ampeg GVT15-112 could also be a nice option.
#8
I have a Vox 4 watt all tube amp with retro-stylng that I like. Model AC4C1. Not much to fiddle with, in terms of knobs / bells and whistles, more of a plug & play. It can get loud if you crank it -- too loud for apartment -- but should be okay at lower volumes. I bought it so I could get real tube tone at lower volume.

For solid state, I like the Yamaha THR-10 or others in that series, good bang for the buck. But I have not used mine for blues; however, I expect it can be dialed in for that.

Ken
#9
can be controversial suggestion in some places, but worth looking at the Blackstar HT:1R if you want a really simple (almost) tube amp with a reverb chip. 2 channels and a master volume, should work fine for low volume practicing
#10
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I think I have come to the realization that a headphone socket is essential (I was thrashing around last night playing some Nirvana and Blur's Song 2!!) so unfortunately, while I would love a Super Champ or Blues Junior, they don't have headphone out.

In the end, the Fender Champion 40 seemed to have the right combination of "manual controls", great looks, headphone, 2 channels - and great price. So I pulled the trigger! Hopefully it arrives today, so we'll see if it was the right decision.

Thanks for your guidance - appreciated.
#11
I also like the blues junior, but i never really liked eminence speakers. new costs double your budget.

with that budget and those requirements i doubt you can find anything new.
#12
look for a peavey classic 30. they are tweed, look pretty. new they are out of budget, but if you were willing to go used and find one, i think it would be a good fit. BJ's are great
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