#1
The common question once again.. I need help picking an amp! I am gigging often and starting to play larger shows/concerts (not just bars). I enjoy and normally am using gain/overdrive. I am confused with the difference between overdrive, gain, distortion, and fuzz so please mind my misuse of words. Jimi Hendrix, Jimi Herring are two guitarists I admire greatly and sound I absolutely love. Both use gain, but a beautiful difference in sound and technique. If that helps thats where I am at with a sound style, or a reference on where I would like to go towards.

I play in a jam band with a mix of blues, rock, classic rock, funk and metal and new age psychedelic jams. I enjoy psychedelic sounds and unique effects as well, but I have learned pedals are the best route for that. Im thinking a tube amp of either Fender, Marshall, or Vox with pedals for effects would be the best route but there are so many different models and years. I would love some recommendations and help! I am young and little experienced in this, but i am a great guitarist trying to jump in the equipment world the right way and have the best tone/sound possible while playing. I have heard Bad Cat, Reeves, Germino, Friedman, Magic Amps are some good new brands as well, but dont know them well at all. Also a little shakey on knowing the difference between a tube amp and a tube amp head, and which one i should go for. Thanks for any help it is much appreciated.
#3
Do you have any pedals presently?

An amp head is just the tubes/amp electronics. It does not produce sound without a cabinet.

For a 1 grand head and cab budget you could do a used Marshall 1960A (~400) and JCM2000 DSL 100 (~$600).
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Last edited by Maidenheadsteve at May 1, 2016,
#4
Vox amps can be picky about pedals. Just wanted to throw that out there as you like using a lot of pedals for your various tones.
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#5
You might consider getting a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III — they accommodate pedals exceptionally well, and their clean tones are out of this world. You can get a used one for around $500 (I got mine for $450 but I've seen them go for as much as $600 used) and that will leave you ideally another $500 to spend on pedals, which seems to be the path you're partial to.

The only thing about the Fender amp is that the drive channel isn't all that good, to be honest. But the amp has one of the best tones I've heard for its price when it's pushed up beyond 12 o'clock on the normal channel —*very responsive to your guitar and picking attack, where it can be sparkling on the edge of breaking up to an actual power tube OD, which sounds pretty incredible. Get your self a good OD, a fuzz, and something heavier if you think you need it (for metal) and you'll have an amp that will do anything you want it to.
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#6
Quote by Weeping_Demon7
You might consider getting a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III — they accommodate pedals exceptionally well, and their clean tones are out of this world. You can get a used one for around $500 (I got mine for $450 but I've seen them go for as much as $600 used) and that will leave you ideally another $500 to spend on pedals, which seems to be the path you're partial to.

The only thing about the Fender amp is that the drive channel isn't all that good, to be honest. But the amp has one of the best tones I've heard for its price when it's pushed up beyond 12 o'clock on the normal channel —*very responsive to your guitar and picking attack, where it can be sparkling on the edge of breaking up to an actual power tube OD, which sounds pretty incredible. Get your self a good OD, a fuzz, and something heavier if you think you need it (for metal) and you'll have an amp that will do anything you want it to.

I have a Fender HRD, and this is pretty accurate. I have a few OD pedals- Visual Sound Jekyll & Hyde V2, Red Witch Famulus, WMD Geiger Counter, Empress Heavy, and more- and I'm still either going to get a different amp to do metal right. Anything heavier than say...Iron Maiden? The HRD isn't the amp for the job.

Age right now, Fender's new Bassbreaker line has some serious contenders. I haven't had a chance to try one yet- they keep selling out. So I don't know if its cleans are as good as the HRD- some say it's damn close- but its OD channel is noted for beings vast improvement.

You might also want to look at Carvin amps. Their vintage series, which includes the Nomad & Belair- would be similar to the HRD..but better. However, it would still be limited on the metal front.

Their V3 and V3MC would be solid options, though: they're more capable at delivering metal tones, and still can clean up well enough for jazz.
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#7
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!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 2, 2016,
#8
Thanks for the suggestions and help!
Right now I have a boutique pedal for OD, an oddfellow caveman which i really love, a vox v847-a wah pedal, and a channel select for the effects on my Carvin Combo amp with delay, reverb, and chorus. The amp is an Sx-200. I know I could do much better with the amp, and I plan on getting more pedals over time, but for now the Carvin has worked well for my small gigs. Im really excited to try a nicer tube driven amp! Like I said earlier, I am a hard rocker and predominetly play with overdrive/gain. With that being noted, does the amp need to have a good OD/Gain for the route I want to go down, or can pedals really just do all that?? Like I said I love the Marshall Gain/OD strait out of the tube amps they sound really nice, but I am very under experienced with trying equipment and somewhat new to the whole scene. Thanks again for sticking with the thread
#9
I get the feeling that amp OD/distortion is going to sound better to certain musicians, but most people won't be able to tell. You can go a long way with the right pedals.

Still, even though I have really good pedals, using them with my HRD only goes so far, which is why I still want something like a tube amp from Orange or the like.
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!
#10
Im really digging the nicer fender and marshall amps at the stores I am playing. Today i tried a blues breaker, and a Marshall amp head (forgot which model is was around 900$ at guitar center) and really loved both. Although the stores are normally very limitied. What are the benefits of amp head vs just the amp? I have realized a lot of models make an amp and an amp head as well. I think I am going to go with an amp head seeing its more mobile and I can try different cabinets with it.
Can an amp hook up to a cabinet as well?
#11
i personally prefer head and cab set-ups. that doesn't mean you have a 4x12", smaller cabs can be a great option. with the head cab setup, you can just change cabs if you want a different tone. its also nice because if you go somewhere and they have a cab, all you have to bring is your head. or if you had a practice space, you could just keep a cab there and have a cab at home and just need the one head. i say this because a place i used to gig regularaly would have cabs supplied, but they didn't have heads, so it was easy just to load mine up. another scenario which i have also done dozens of times was to just have one band that night bring cabs, and use your own heads. i used to alternate who brought cabs with another band that we played with and it was nice because you didn't have to haul everything every week.

just some thoughts.
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#12
I'd suggest something like or based off of the JCM Marshall series, like JCM2000 DSL head and 2x12 (or 4x12), or a different head, like a Laney VH100R or a Traynor YCS50 head.

Basically all these have 2 channels and with your effects you'll have enough in between for crunch/grit and then lead boost to get everything you need out of them. They all take very well to effects.
#13
Consider Mesa. Very "Fender Princeton Blackface" clean tone that takes OD pedals well, and world-class Mesa OD channel that just always sounds great. A used 50Cal or F-50 head can be found for around $500 in VG condition. Mk series amps are more $$ along with more varieties of OD tones. Need CRUSHING metal tone? Check out the Dual Rec. Worth a look.

"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

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#14
Quote by Cajundaddy
Consider Mesa. Very "Fender Princeton Blackface" clean tone that takes OD pedals well, and world-class Mesa OD channel that just always sounds great. A used 50Cal or F-50 head can be found for around $500 in VG condition. Mk series amps are more $$ along with more varieties of OD tones. Need CRUSHING metal tone? Check out the Dual Rec. Worth a look.



Very valid suggestions as well. Also the Mesa Express 5:50, I felt that you can't go wrong with that amp.
#15
A peavey bandit 112 is a good gigging amp. I use a silver stripe made in usa model. Its easy to transport and sounds good clean or distorted. It handles effect well and has an effects footswitch. Its loud enough and has an ext speaker out for gigs with no pa, buts it's small enough to take to a gig with a pa. The new ones are made in china but probably sound good anyway.
#16
It's a shame you're not near southeast VA. Someone has a good condition Peavey Valveking head and 412 on Craigslist, $350 for the pair. If guitar was my primary instrument (I'm a bassist), I'd be all over that.
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#17
Thanks for the comments. I'm definitely considering Mesa and Marshall. Wondering what JCM models you guys recommend. And what about the Mesa heartbreaker amp head? Found s good deal for one online. Do you think 100 watts would be to loud for the shows I'm doing now? All the Jcm models are 100 watt. I like the heartbreaker because it has that 100/60watt switch.