#1
Hey guys!

I'm looking to upgrade my amplifier to go along with my new guitar (humbucking single cut, very Les Paul-like). I have a budget of about USD $500 at the maximum and don't at all mind buying used. The amp will used for bedroom playing, medium-sized band jazz concerts, and blues rehearsals/small venue performances, so I don't need a butt-ton of wattage but don't want to settle for something that can't cut through a band.

I mainly play blues, jazz, and 70s-80s rock. My favorite guitarists whose tone I like are Jimi, Satriani, SRV, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Chet Atkins, Santana, Clapton, and Mark Knopfler (a very diverse mix, I know). I really like beautiful Fender cleans plus maybe a tube screamer for some drive SRV style, and I don't really need a whole lot of gain, so Marshall and related amps are pretty much out.

So far I'm thinking my best bet might be a Blues Deluxe, Deluxe Reverb, Traynor YBA-1 head + cab, or a Bassman head + cab (for a bit more money). Which of these do you think would be essentially the best overall amp for my budget, or do you have any better suggestions?

Thanks!
#2
Fender and Vox amps in that price range will do you right. You might also consider Carvin's Vintage line- the Belair and Nomad, as I recall.
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!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#4
I love my Fender HRD, but it is flawed in that its drive channel is teh suxxors. As a result, I have been on a quest to get a second amp for higher gain stuff (not that to was going to play high gain on a Fender). The HRD works fine with pedals, however, so you can get plenty dirty enough for most non-metal with judicious use of pedals.

The Vox AC15 is good, the 30 has more oomph. Both are lovely, and both dirty up better than the HRD, IMHO.
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!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#5
Quote by dannyalcatraz
The Vox AC15 is good, the 30 has more oomph. Both are lovely, and both dirty up better than the HRD, IMHO.

How do you think their cleans compare? Are Fender cleans pretty much just always better?
#6
Quote by gabrielmukobi
How do you think their cleans compare? Are Fender cleans pretty much just always better?


I cover many of the same guitarists as you including Jazz, blues, and 70s classic rock.

Vox and Fender both have dreamy clean tone but they are different. I like both but prefer Fender for "my sound". Look around for a good used Mesa like the Studio 22 or F-30. Really good Fender Princeton style clean with world class OD channel to cover Satch and more modern stuff. Depending on where you live, you probably can find one for under $500
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Jan 4, 2016,
#7
Not better, different. To my ear, Fender cleans sparkle a bit more on the high end, but for some people, that sparkle comes across as sterile or brittle. Vox, OTOH, has a bit more warmth.

For me, it was a coin toss between the HRD and the Vox amps when I was shopping.
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!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#8
I'm having this exact same issue man! Confused if I should part with my AC30 for a HRD. The AC30's jazz tones will take some time to get out of it whereas with the HRD you'll probably just be able to get one out of everything at 12 o'clock. However the distortion on the AC30 is far superior and the break up is just beautiful.
Quote by greeny23
i shake the walls of my bedroom. with mah dick.
Quote by Eppicurt
Quote by NakedInTheRain
hey, be nice to the hipster.
I hear they use false bypass switches.

It's, like, so ironic.
#9
As a new vox ac30c2 owner, I'll put my 2c in. As far as classic rock overdrive sounds go, the amp is unbeatable. It's also loud, plenty of volume for small gigs, and on the c2 model, the master volume makes bedroom practice do-able. I don't play much jazz, so I can't really comment there. Considering I found one used for 700AUD, you should be able to find one in your price range.
The best thing to do would be to go play a few. If that isn't an option, at least listen to people playing them on youtube, but remember the recordings could be off. You could also listen to recordings of artists that used the amp.
#11
If you come across a Crate VC60 (VC6212 is the model #) those have everything you described in spades. I just scored one at a Pawn shop for a mere 200 bucks. These are the USA made ones and if you find one that isn't all crackly it most likely means the solder joint issues those had has been fixed. The 1x12 versions are lighter and sound the same.

The clean channel is outstanding and the dirt channel can go from Plexi to insane gain. A quick check shows GC has a couple of them around the 300 dollar range. get the extra warranty for 40 bucks and you are good to go.

Best amp I've ever owned and I've been playing for 30+ years.
Last edited by Monster Zero at Jan 4, 2016,
#12
First thought that came to mind is a used Peavey Classic 30 or it's brother the Delta Blues.

Listen to Cajun though on the Mesa recommendation.

The fun of buying used is what you can find at the price and timeframe you want.
Guitars:
Ibanez RG1570 Prestige
Jackson Kelly KE3 - MIJ (Distortion/Jazz)
Jackson DKMGT Dinky (EMG 81/85)
ESP E-II Eclipse Custom (JB/'59)
ESP LTD EC-1001FR (EMG 81/60)
Fender MIM Strat

Amps:
Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
#14
i'll give another vote for the classic 30 or even a Valveking. you can find a used VK and replace the speaker for way under your budget. the clean channel is excellent (some like it better than the C30) and the drive channel is very usable for much classic rock. toss an overdrive in front and you can get most classic rock sounds within reason.
#16
Quote by Monster Zero
Classic 30 for Jazz cleans?


Sure. The Classic 30 is just an AC30 knockoff and John Scofield uses the Vox AC30 as his goto amp for Jazz. It has a nice clean tone with definitely a British voice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTtilMeCnPQ
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#17
I think a better representation of an AC30 in a relatively clean setting with scofield is in this video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bLUL822Nfs
Quote by greeny23
i shake the walls of my bedroom. with mah dick.
Quote by Eppicurt
Quote by NakedInTheRain
hey, be nice to the hipster.
I hear they use false bypass switches.

It's, like, so ironic.
#21
carvin v3m will do what very well and then some.
Carvin CT624
Walden G630ce Acoustic
Carvin V3M, Avatar 2x12 WGS Reaper, vet 30
(crybaby, Fairfield circuitry Comp, GFS tuner, Vick Audio 73 Ram's Head, Xotic AC booster, lovepedal trem, TC Flashback, PGS Trinity Reverb, Walrus Audio Aetos power)
#22
Quote by gregs1020
a used YCV50Blue would work as well.

This is what I was thinking. I loved mine for that type of stuff
Gibson SG Standard
Gibson Les Paul Traditional
Cort Explorer
Squire Standard Strat rebuilt with Fender USA parts
Squire Tele
Krank 1980
Orange Tiny Terror
Traynor YCV 50 Blue
Peavey Vypyr 75

Will fly for food. Call me Dylan
#23
Gabriel, for the varied music styles you enjoy, if you are technically inclined and do not mind the learning curve, check out a Fender Mustang III (1x12) or Mustang IV (2x12). These are incredibly versatile and soung great once properly configured! They provide 17 Basic Amp models, 44 onboard FX (in 4 FX banks: Stomp, Modulation, Delay, Reverb) and have a total of 100 Preset memory slots and include an onboard tuner and feature rich 4btn fsw.

Out of the box, they do not sound particularly impressive, particularly as they always power up to Preset Memory #00 which (until customized) is a heavily FX ridden Preset and typically the first thing most users hear.

The Mustang's 17 Basic Amp models (free from any FX) are found in Preset Memories 83-99! These range from a Basic Studio PreAmp to various Fender Clean amps to various High Gain amps, each by default configured to different inherent Gain and Volume levels. Thus at first impression they sound very different when quickly switchkng amongst these 17 Amp Presets. Only when/if you adjust the overall volume level of each to approximate another will theynbe of similar room volume level. This is where the learning curve and custom tweaking comes in. Each ofmthese alsomhas an Advanced Amp set of parameters and this is where the magic is! These Advanced Amp parameters allow customization of Sag, Bias, Noise Gate, Cabinet Simulation, and more for each of 17 amps, and any configuration may then be saved to any of the 100 Preset Memories on the Mustang. Preset memory slots 00-82 are various factory rovided examples of any one of the 17 amps combined with a variety of FX. Most find the majority of these default 83 presets way over done. They are easily changed, customized, overwritten, and replaced with what you prefer directly via the on amp control panel LCD, Data Wheel, etc., or using the Free included Fender FUSE software on a PC or Mac. There are also thousands of existing Presets available for free download to the Amp from the Fendet FUSE online community. For Android smartphones and Tablets there is the REMUDA App avail from the Google Play store in a Free Lite version or the Full version for about the price of a set of strings.

If you are looking for a simple plug and play amp, the Mustang is not for you! If you are open to the lesrning curve, you willing to reap the benefits of the Mustang's true capabilities! The Fender Forums and the Mustang Wiki are great resources. To get the best out of the Mustangs does not require an Audio Engineering degree.
Mustang v2 III/IV●EXP-1●FUSE●REMUDA●Yamaha THR10C
Epi LP Florentine Pro●LP Cstm Pros●LP PlusTop Pro●Sheraton-II Pro
Cstm Strat Vntg Noiseless●Guild D-55
So Creek Cables●BOSS RC-1●RS7500
D'Addario Strings●Vari-Grip●Planet Lock Straps