I'm in my early 60's and have wanted to learn guitar for a long time. Family and medical things are settling down enough for me to finally dedicate the time to learn.

Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin currently where there is a Guitar Center, a MusicGoRound store, a few decent small independent guitar shops, and a couple stores that mainly supply the school band music supplies.

My current gear:
Oscar Schmidt OE30 guitar, a hollow or semi-hollow body, needs a nut and adjustments
Ibanez TM71 guitar, semi-hollow body
Ibanez GTA15R amp
Harmony acoustic guitar from 1969

My musical interests are wide and varied.
I really like listening to jazz guitar like Jim Hall and Joe Pass. Yesterday I found a youtube feed playing some smooth jazz and jazz fusion stuff that was good.
But I also sometimes crank up Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Otis Redding, John Fogerty, and other similar stuff from the 60's and 70's.
Blues is good often, along with some delta blues stuff.
Yet I also like some of the current indy stuff.
Along with occasional blue grass.
Heavy Metal, not so much.
Some country music is okay but not a regular diet of it.

Right now I want to get a different amp because I don't really care for the GTA15R. I've been watching youtube reviews and have spent several lunch hours messing with amps at the local used amp store (MusicGoRound). I'm kind of back and forth on a Vox amp. Ultimately I can hopefully see myself mostly playing at home, but might try an open mic night, plus where I live there is a small clamshell amphitheater where I'd like to work up to playing at (plenty of room for a small band on that stage with open grass lawn seating).

With used amp prices being functionally close to new prices, and with a budget of under $300 right now, and with wanting (thinking I want anyway) more than 15 watts, I've narrowed things down to the following two:
Roland Cube 40GX (on sale but dissapearing quickly along with a rebate)
Fender Champion 40

After all is done the Cube 40GX could get down to $140 but factoring in at $180, and the Champion 40 also seems to be at about the $180 level. I was seriously looking at a used MicroCube for $79 thinking the battery aspect would let me practice in the back yard or garage, or in the car during lunch, and I was also thinking I could plug the Micro into the current 15w amp to mess around with effects, but then I figured forget it and just upgrade to something that I'll use for a few years and will cover my wants in one package. I'm also pretty sure that I want to stay with a solid state amp instead of tubes, at least until my playing and my ear develops/advances enough to hear the difference.

Okay, long enough, hopefully I answered the background questions sufficiently, but let me know if I need to answer more stuff.

Realistically I know I should just stay with my current 15w amp, but I'm not content with it for some reason that I don't know enough to explain why that is, just how it is I guess. Maybe the tone or something, but probably just me.

Thanks in advance for any input or suggestions.
Last edited by treebound at Oct 14, 2016,
I'm sure there are some Fenders that will fit the bill - Superchamp X2? The Peavey Classic30 is the first that really comes to mind. It's a tube amp if that matters. You can get them used for $300 or less. Used Carvins would be a good match too - BelAir or something similar.
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

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster 212
Laney IronHeart IRT-Studio
Peavey Vypyr 30
Peavey ReValver Amp Sims
TOOOO many T.C. Electronic Pedals. . .
I'd suggest a used Carvin Nomad (or Belair, if you can find one within your budget).
The Nomad is actually a 50W EL84-based combo amp with a single 12" speaker. The Belair is the same chassis with two 12" speakers.
These are spectacular amps. But if you pick one up, you should know that modifications for these exist, and that quite a few people on the Carvin forums have the opinion that these modifications should be stock. Google Hasserl Mods for more information.
Vox, Carvin and Fender products would seem to be right in the zone you're looking for, if you can find one in your price. Besides eBay, Reverb.com is a good place to look for used ones.
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!
treebound consider the Tech21 TM30 or the bigger TM60, they'll cover all that you need and are fantastic solid state amps.

Official site (sound samples on there):

Besides that one, if you're not opposed to tubes, look up the Laney LC15 (great reverb! I own it), Fender Blues Jr.
Last edited by diabolical at Oct 14, 2016,
i would look into a peavey valveking combo. you can find them for under $200 all day. there was a long time that i was put off by VK's after owning one, but one came into my hands very cheaply and i am actually surprised the tone i got out of it. i did a quick demo of it the other day and posted it up if you want to PM me i will link it to you.

or the peavey classic 30, they may be a few more dollars, but they are pretty nice.
Having a little analysis paralysis.

I looked at a Vox VT80+ today while checking on a pick guard, didn't have time to listen to it. Thinking it might be too much amp for me and might require too much effort getting it dialed in, but might be something that I could grow into.

But I keep having my thoughts roll back to a new Cube 40GX.

Then reality sets in and I think I should just stay with my 15watter until it starts to feel like I've developed enough to know what I'll be looking for.

Oh well, contemplation time....
The Cube is a good amp. I would suggest at least moving to a decent modeling amp, because it's going to help you develop and understand your own tastes. When the time comes to upgrade from that amp, you'll know what style of amps and effects you prefer based on the models.

There are lots of good modeling amps out there, it's hard to go wrong with any of the most recent Cube, Valvetronix, Vypyr, Fender Mustang type modelers.
I'd go with a Fender Mustang series for what you play. they do good jazz tones and can get the Classic Rock ones as well.
I have a Fender G-DEC amp (not the 30, the original one) but just purchased a CUBE 40GX. Of course it sounds better but what I like the most is the ease of dialing up tones. The G-DEC was a nightmare of twirling knobs and button pushes and I spent too much practice time just fiddling with the amp. Sweetwater still has the CUBE GX40 for $139 after rebate.

Well, had the car keys in my hand and was about to go buy a used Vox VT20+, but then I sat down and placed the order for the Cube 40GX.
Somewhere deep inside my mind I guess I figured that if I was going to go tubed that I would want more than one tube, so went tubeless solid state instead.

I think it will work well for me for quite awhile, then when I'm ready I'll go get something else to supplement or replace it, but I suspect I'll be keeping the Cube for a long time.

I'll post a follow-up once it gets here and I get it home and try it out a bit.

Thank you everyone for all the input.

Well, I'm liking the amp. Got sidetracked getting one guitar tuned and set up (replaced one bridge saddle screw, now adjusting the rest slowly). Now it is time to practice and learn. Currently have it sitting in the bedroom out of normal vicinity of visiting grandkids, and I've got a set of headphones nearby as well. Once I can play at least one song then I'll bring the amp out into the backyard and see how it sounds with a little volume applied.
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!
A little volume applied? Dude, it's a 40 watt amp, dime that sucker.
Parker PDF30
Vox VT40+
Not indoors, if one of my wife's breakables vibrates off a shelf and breaks, I'll be spending my practice time in the detached unheated garage.

A relative came by today to take their kids for a few holloween laps around town and I let him try it out. We might have got it up to 5 or 6 on one of the distorted amp settings for a few minutes. Grandkids downstairs were making enough distraction to cover the guitar.
I'd go for Fender Mustang V2.. I own one and I'm not regretting it..

For 'bedroom use' and study it is damn good giving you a good spectrum of tones and basic effects..

it is a digital amps.

about simulations:
pros: vox / all fenders / orange / marshall 70s / delays / reverbs / vibratones
cons: pitsh shifters / phasers / amps not listed above

hope this would help
I'm sure I would have been happy with the Mustang and I appreciate your input, but I went with the Cube 40GX and so far I'm very happy with it as well.
Just a little side note, my wife has been talking for a few years now about going from android to iphones, so I sort of was thinking it'd be fun to play with the Cube app to control the amp. Now I realized the iphone7 not having the 3.5mm jack requires using a dongle of some sort. No real big deal, just something else to figure out.

Life goes on, back to learning how to play and read music. The iphone angle is the least of my issues.
Last edited by treebound at Nov 21, 2016,
Vox AC15.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band