#1
So after sitting down to think about what I want out of my tone, I have decided that I want to develop my own sound by starting out with a high-quality clean sounding amp and adding effects pedals to really dial in the sound I want. I plan to go out and actually play some amps and see what I like firsthand, but I was hoping to get some suggestions from you fine folks about where to start. I've looked at some VOX amps, which I really dig from what I've heard. But I've also heard great things about Fender, and I am sure there are tons of others out there.

So, I guess my question is really two questions:
1. Is the idea of getting a high quality clean amp and adding effects pedals a good idea? If not, what would you suggest?

2. What are some good amps that have a good clean sound that take effects pedals well that I should look into?

Additional info:
Budget: I'm willing to spend a little more if it makes a significant difference, but I'm hoping to get away with spending a max of $700

Genres: Mostly alternative rock, but I do occasionally dip into playing blues, metal, and some jazz.

New or Used?: I'd prefer new, but I'm definitely okay with saving some money by going used.

Home or Gig?: 90% of the time I play at home either jamming around with some friends or doing recording in my home studio, though something capable of being used at small gigs would be welcome.

Closest City: Johnson City, TN

Current Gear: The guitar I'll be using is a Fender American Standard Stratocaster HSS Shawbucker with a maple neck and fretboard.

If it's helpful, in terms of specific effects, I'd probably primarily use a distortion pedal for some light distortion, delay, chorus, and flange. Though I'm an effects *****, so I'm the kind of guy who could potentially do a lot more.

Thanks for any advice you guys might have.
#3
Quote by flexiblemile
1. Yes unless you are going to play only on distortion or you want a specific distorted sound from a specific amp

2. I have a VOX AC30 and love it, I do pretty much exactly what you do


get this:
http://asheville.craigslist.org/msg/5063237627.html

and then get pedals every once in a while



That AC30 tone...delicious. Thanks for the link. Quick question: I played through an AC30 a few years ago, and (at least with the one I played, it was older and probably needed new tubes) it seemed like you really had to crank the volume a bit to get that tone going. Has that been your experience or will an AC30 at an acceptable volume that doesn't end up with my neighbors calling the police not really be worth the price?
#4
Quote by gabehwkns1
That AC30 tone...delicious. Thanks for the link. Quick question: I played through an AC30 a few years ago, and (at least with the one I played, it was older and probably needed new tubes) it seemed like you really had to crank the volume a bit to get that tone going. Has that been your experience or will an AC30 at an acceptable volume that doesn't end up with my neighbors calling the police not really be worth the price?

Then try an AC15

But a Marshall JCM2000 DSL401 would fit the bill very nice and it has nice gain channels, maybe something else to look at.
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Last edited by Robbgnarly at Jul 9, 2015,
#6
what do you mean by alternative rock? (list some bands, I mean, because I'm not too well up on alternative rock )

it's up to you really, regarding the clean amp thing. a lot of people (me included) would caution that a distortion-orientated amp might make more sense if you mainly are going to play distorted... but at the same time, some genres of music (and alternative rock is probably one of them) use distortion and fuzz pedals a lot to generate a lot of the distortion, so if you know that's the type of tone you want it might make perfect sense.

depending on the tone you want, a higher wattage/higher headroom amp might make more sense if you're planning on using distortion pedals a lot.

EDIT: The other thing is, it's not necessarily an either/or thing as well. Those voxes you're looking at have pretty good cleans and distortion, so can kind of be used both ways.

you also need to watch with the very clean-orientated amps, they often have speakers which can make dirt pedals sound tinny (and/or have bright caps on the clean channel which make dirt pedals sound tinny).

granted, speakers can normally be changed without too much bother or expense. but still worth bearing in mind. especially if the speaker is one of the reasons for the great cleans.

it gets complicated pretty quickly
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Jul 9, 2015,
#7
yeah the AC15 would probably be better for you but isn't the price of a new one the same as the used ac30 I linked you?

I'm not convinced that the difference in actual DB is enough to warrant paying the same price for a smaller amp, especially if you're using a dirt pedal as opposed to cranking it.

Those custom classics aren't too different from the C2s they have now so go to a store and try it out.

Are you in a house or an appartment?
#8
check out a Peavey Classic 30. really good cleans and will do light to medium distortion on the drive channel. add an overdrive and you get into metal territory (not modern metal like A7x though). look for a 2 channel amp that has good cleans and can do distortion as well. i'd avoid an actual distortion pedal if you can and stick with an overdrive pedal.
#9
If you want to buy used gear check out the Fender Deluxe Reverb/Supersonic. Since you're in TN you should have no problem finding lightly used Fender amps.

If you're buying new check out the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe/Blues Deluxe.

Throw a nice delay and/or overdrive in front of it and you'll be rocking'... alternatively of coarse. c:
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#10
I haven't had to crank my AC30 to get good tones out of it. In fact I play it fairly quiet (enough for a mic to pick it up clearly).

I'd be very careful about buying a used AC30 for $700. I'm sure you can find them, just be sure to try to play them first and do some inspection on it. I would say the AC15 would be a better bet, but I really suggest having the effects loop and the higher headroom of the 30.
#11
I also suggest getting an amp that will handle the cleans AND most/some of the dirt sounds you want.

You'll probably pay the same for the amp where you can use 2 channels as the super clean amp where you would only be using 1 channel so you'll save money on at least one of the dirt/fuzz pedals.

With all of the effects, you'll want an amp with a loop - put the delay, reverb, etc. there.

Also get an amp with a master volume knob. You'll want something with decent headroom (wattage) to keep the cleans clean at gig volume anyway. That's when you use the volume knob at the house.

Really for what you want I'd look at amps that have a great clean channel and can get you most of the way there on the dirt/fuzz and do them both well.

So, used Peavey JSX combo, the Marshalls mentioned, I don't know anything about VOX, Mesa Lonestar or F series would work well here, maybe a Jet City. You can get any of these for the $700 budget. It's worth it to spend a little more on the amp and then nickel and dime yourself on the pedals.

If you really want to stretch your budget up to $1100 - $1400 then a Mesa Roadster would be awesome. It can cover about everything you mentioned and do them all very, very well. It's 4 channels with the cleans from a Lonestar/Mark I (Clean, Fat, Tweed and Brit modes) and then the 2 gain channels from a Dual Rec.
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Amps:
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Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
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Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
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#12
Quote by metalmingee
I also suggest getting an amp that will handle the cleans AND most/some of the dirt sounds you want.

You'll probably pay the same for the amp where you can use 2 channels as the super clean amp where you would only be using 1 channel so you'll save money on at least one of the dirt/fuzz pedals.

With all of the effects, you'll want an amp with a loop - put the delay, reverb, etc. there.

Also get an amp with a master volume knob. You'll want something with decent headroom (wattage) to keep the cleans clean at gig volume anyway. That's when you use the volume knob at the house.

Really for what you want I'd look at amps that have a great clean channel and can get you most of the way there on the dirt/fuzz and do them both well.

So, used Peavey JSX combo, the Marshalls mentioned, I don't know anything about VOX, Mesa Lonestar or F series would work well here, maybe a Jet City. You can get any of these for the $700 budget. It's worth it to spend a little more on the amp and then nickel and dime yourself on the pedals.

If you really want to stretch your budget up to $1100 - $1400 then a Mesa Roadster would be awesome. It can cover about everything you mentioned and do them all very, very well. It's 4 channels with the cleans from a Lonestar/Mark I (Clean, Fat, Tweed and Brit modes) and then the 2 gain channels from a Dual Rec.



The OP mentionned that he wants an amp with a very high quality clean in his very first sentence. No offense but the amps you mentionned that are in his budget aren't clean oriented. They have a decent clean sound sure but NOT high quality. He mentionned he wants to get the dirt and other effects from pedals
#13
Quote by flexiblemile
The OP mentionned that he wants an amp with a very high quality clean in his very first sentence. No offense but the amps you mentionned that are in his budget aren't clean oriented. They have a decent clean sound sure but NOT high quality. He mentionned he wants to get the dirt and other effects from pedals

The JSX has a great clean channel

The Mesa Lonestar is an awesome clean amp

The Mesa F series has a good clean also
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#14
+1
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
do you mean the mesa lonestar that is twice the budget of the OP or is there some other mesa boogie lonestar that I'm not familiar with.

Agree to disagree about the other ones, I guess. I'm not familiar with the F series but I really wasn't impressed with the JSX cleans. It's a good amp to be sure, but if you're looking for a clean platform, I wouldn't want it, far from it.
#16
Quote by flexiblemile
do you mean the mesa lonestar that is twice the budget of the OP or is there some other mesa boogie lonestar that I'm not familiar with.

Agree to disagree about the other ones, I guess. I'm not familiar with the F series but I really wasn't impressed with the JSX cleans. It's a good amp to be sure, but if you're looking for a clean platform, I wouldn't want it, far from it.

You can find the old Lonestar mkI for $700 if you look well. Hell you can find a Mark I/II/III for that budget also
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
#17
Mate - I see lots of interesting stuff on your craigslist.

In addition to that Vox AC30 combo I also see a: Vox AC30 head, Fender Twin, Fender Super Reverb, Fender SuperSonic, Fender Silverface Bassman, Mesa Mark III, Mesa .50 Cal, Mesa DC30, MusicMan, Peavey Valveking, a couple of Gibson amps, Bogner Alchemist, but mainly.....

I just came here to tell the TS that I love his OP