Hi, all. I'm looking to get back into playing after selling off almost all of my equipment last year.

I mostly play at home, but I'd really like to eventually start gigging locally again. I play mostly classic rock to stoner to doom metal. Some of my favorite guitar sounds are bands like Black Sabbath, Boris, Electric Wizard, Windhand and Mastodon.

What I've generally come to realize is that I don't care for much versatility or flexibility in a guitar amp. I'd rather just have something that I can turn on, adjust for volume and get a good sound. Single channel is preferable, maybe a two or three band eq, master volume isn't essential (I can play as loud as I want where I live. I have some good ear protection and no close neighbors).

My budget is about $700-800, but I'm in no great hurry so that's flexible. Used gear preferred.

The main contender right now is the Peavey Windsor, I can easily get one for $200 or less, saving plenty for a nice 4x12 or even two. (need recommendations on that too...best used cabs in this price range? 1960a or just whatever shows up locally?)

I'm also looking at the Vox AC100CPH, which is usually a bit higher, but still really cheap. It's got alot of knobs though, channel switching would be wasted and maybe kind of fizzy sounding.

Then there's the Krank Chadwick, sort of a similar cheapish marshall clone. Probably at least twice as expensive as the Peavey, though, and I doubt I'd be able to try one out locally.

Current gear:
Epiphone G400 w/SD seths, russian big muff, devi ever torns peaker, no amp whatsoever

Thanks for any suggestions and comments
I've never used this and don't know what the used prices are but check out the Randall EOD88 - http://www.randallamplifiers.com/product/eod-88/
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. . .
Quote by metalmingee
I've never used this and don't know what the used prices are but check out the Randall EOD88 - http://www.randallamplifiers.com/product/eod-88/

Its still quite new amp so I doubt there are many used ones around, but it is an amp made specifically for doom and stoner, with built in fuzz circuit and all just for that electric wizard buzzing thing so I think it does tick all the boxes TS needs. The amp just and just overshoots his budget, as far as new goes, but I guess it is something he should keep an eye on, if he can stretch a bit.

ESP LTD F-50 + Tonezone
Cort EVL-Z4 + X2N
Cort EVL-K47B

Marshall Valvestate 8100
Randall RG1503
Bugera 333
Peavey Rockmaster preamp

Line6 Pod X3
That Randall is an interesting option. I would have to replace that front panel though. I think they pulled that design off of an angsty middle-schooler's desk.

The problem is going to be availability though. I don't have many music shops around here, so I doubt I'd even find a new one in stock locally.

I just stopped by Guitar Center and it looks like they carry about 8 different amp models now. Fenders, Voxes and Marshalls. They made plenty of room for t-shirts and posters, though. Good thing they ran the real music stores out of town.
You say you want a single channel amp, but personally, for overdriven and distorted tones I find that an amp circuit, especially tube amp circuit works best. Some of these amps I am suggesting are more than 1 channel, but you can always stay on the clean channel if you don't like the other channels. I think tube saturation coming from amp's channel and maybe pushed a bit with something in front (eq, treble booster, overdrive) usually sounds more pleasant as it saturates better. Probably something to do with the harmonic content of tube saturation, like stated here:

AC100CPH is an interesting option. Haven't had anyone else mention them on this forum, and it is actually one of the amps that I regret not getting while in production as it was cheap for 100 watt and a Vox and I thought sounded really good. I think the reason didn't sell that well was that it didn't have the AC30 "sound" and it sounded more like a slightly darker Marshall, kinda similar to the Valveking sound but a bit more refined from what I remember.

The clean channel on that amp was great and the lead channel sounded really good from what I remember. I was pushing it with a Vox Brit Boost (Treble booster pedal) that I was also interested at the time and I thought the lead channel sounded fantastic with that pedal in front of it. Almost too good to buy, then on my next visit to the store, both had been sold

Incidentally the Valveking is another contender for the cheap tube amp that you should look into. It is 2ch tube amp, slightly hairy clean channel but serviceable clean (better than Windsor), and a 2nd channel that works well with boost in front. I'll pick this over the Windsor, which is actually an amp that I own.

On to the Windsor - it is not a bad amp but I wouldn't call it clean, especially if you want to play with volume, a little buzz and crunch always creeps into the sound. It is OK for some things but I wouldn't use it to run clean sounds out of it. The clean channel on the Vox you mentioned and the VK is better IMO. The Windsor has a sliding switch that goes from A to A/B amplifier mode and dial tones in between, which is interesting in context but in band situation the A mode starts to get lost as you get more power on the A/B mode.

Another cheap contender and one that I own is the Ashdown Fallen Angel. I have to 60 watt head which is LOUD. Glassy cleans, takes pedals well, and the lead channel has a boost built in that acts as a built-in overdrive. The lead channel is dark but can be easily modded to sound close to Marshall JCM800. What I especially like in this amp is that it has 2 volume level knobs. So with the pedal you can switch between vole 1 and volume 2, so your lead boost is built in for both channels. I had a tech do 2 very simple mods to it for the gain channel and the amp really opened up and is a steal if you can find one. The lead channel has a dark tonality that nails Black Sabbath out of the box, with the mod it adds a bit more gain and the treble goes up a bit but it is still a darker than usual head.

Other amps - I think there are some Jet CIty amps to consider, Marshall JCM2000 DSL or TSL used heads pop up for around $500-$600 so might be worth looking into.

Vox AOR heads also nail the early Sabbath sound and with a boost it does a lot of cool vintage 70s sounds, but I think they've went up in price. This is another amp that I own and like very much. If you want the Thin Lizzy or early Black Sabbath sounds, this does it and it is a single channel amp.

Sometimes a Peavey XXX might show up for relatively cheap, that one has a good clean channel and it might be worth trying out as well.

Cabs: I'd go with used 1960a, the industry standard, sounds great and you can easily find one used.
Thanks. The AOR sounds like a really good option, although like you said it's less of a bargain than it used to be. I'll keep an eye out for deals.

The thing about single channel versus dual channel amps is that I don't ever find myself wanting a super clean Fender Twin sort of sound, and the drive channels on dual channel amps sometimes seem kind of gainy/fizzy for what I'm wanting. It's not a deal breaker though.

Are all Marshall 1960 cabs of similar quality? All loaded with Celestions of some sort? I don't know anything about Marshalls, but if I avoid the MG/MA/AVT cabs they should all be pretty decent, right?
Yeah, the 1960s should all have either Celestion T75s or V30s in them, but just check before you buy.
Regarding the amp I would add the Laney GH50l and VH100R to the list, both are quite similar to a marshall JCM800.
The Celestion G12T75s are in the standard 1960a I believe, then there is the HW which is greenbacks or something, you should be able to look it all up.
When buying used make sure the seller didn't change the speakers though as that is known to happen.

The JVMC cabs are also really good, those are for the JVM model.

I'll probably catch some flak for this, but I put in an Orange Rockerverb through one of the CODE4 4x12 as that's the only thing Guitar Center had next to the Orange head and it actually sounded really good, so I wonder if the bad rep of the cabs is not based on the shoddy heads.

Personally, I love the G12T75s and that is my go to speaker. I do have some Greenbacks, Eminence and Jensen loaded cabs which serve different purposes but my all time fave for what I do is the G12T75. The Jensen and Eminence speakers seem to be more clear and fuller in the lows, more refined if you're into clear sounds but the G12T75s are a bit more raunchy rock'n'roll which is what I am after.

If you're not averse to 2x12, the 1936 is also a really good cab:

This you can buy locally for probably about $250 if you're patient.

Right now I am using Jet City (Eminence loaded)JCA12S for my Mesa Mini Rectifier and am very happy, paid $125 for it, sounds amazing and so good with the Mesa that I didn't feel like I needed to bring my bigger cabs to practice when I play that amp. So it might be worth looking into their cabs, which I felt were a bargain.

Some other amps I failed to mention:

* Carvin amps - they have some really good designs, X100 I think, V3, etc.
* AC30s - they have head options that are about $600 used, and they are great amps.
* Peavey Classic series - they come in head versions as well.
* Crate Palomino was a really good tube amp which unfortunately failed due to Crate's closing, also the Crate Blue Voodoo could be had really cheap and they had some monster heads, 300 watters or 150 watter that could be had dirt cheap and they're really not that bad, the clean channel is good and the gain channel - it's ok at best but you won't need it.

You could possibly also get a good working setup with a tube power amp instead of a head if you don't care for the amp's preamp circuit.
Going back to the Krank Chadwick, the original series one Chadwicks are hard to find, but they are PERFECT for what you want. Single channel, and absolutely killer. I had one for a while, one of the amps I regret selling most. If you can find one on the web, they usually go for cheap (4-500), which should leave you enough for a good used 1960A or something like a Carvin Legacy cab.

A Krank Nineteen80 might could scratch the itch, though that one is a bit more modern sounding.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
in the earlier post i think diabolical meant Laney AOR, and not Vox AOR.

but a $700 - $800 copy of a windsor is kind of funny because if you look long enough and stretch the bucks a bit you may be able to snag an 800 which is what the windsor is a copy of.
Watch out for dodgey tube sockets in the AOR. Punch the amp firmly on the top, if you hear a static or popping sound, walk away.
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
Quote by gregs1020
in the earlier post i think diabolical meant Laney AOR, and not Vox AOR.

but a $700 - $800 copy of a windsor is kind of funny because if you look long enough and stretch the bucks a bit you may be able to snag an 800 which is what the windsor is a copy of.

Right, I certainly wouldn't pass up a great deal on a JCM800. Part of the appeal of the Windsor, though, is that I can pick one of those up along with 2 or 3 Marshall cabs for the price of the JCM800.

I see a few Chadwicks on Guitar Center's used gear page for around $400. Is there much of a difference between series I and series II? How do you tell them apart?
Series I was one channel. Series II was two channels. In terms of sound, Series II was a little more compressed (from my experience with them), and obviously with two channels there a dedicated clean (which was pretty good).
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
The Carvin X100B, particularly the older version (they were discontinued and then reissued about 10 years ago), is available for around $350 on eBay and some Craigs. 100W, EL34, active controls, 5-band EQ. Think early Mesa in terms of controls and a wide range of options in terms of sound. Once you've got it set the way you like it, you'll find that it's extremely powerful and (depending on your cabinets/speakers) seriously loud. The transformers on the older model are bigger (better) and the reverb unit is a spring unit. The newer versions have smaller transformers (meh) and a digital reverb unit (actually probably better than the older spring units). Highly recommended.

Marshall cabinets are nothing special and, I'm afraid to say, overpriced unless you like the visuals of the brand. I'm no longer a fan of 4x12s (five of mine live in storage), but if I were buying today I'd probably buy Carvin or Avatar. Both are very well constructed of solid materials. Carvin is the serious bargain (especially if you're buying used) here; a used Avatar with the same speakers will cost you more, and not because it's better in any way. Most 4x12s have nearly identical design and construction (stay away from the MDF cabinets if you're gigging), so what the differences are sonically come down to the speakers installed. Most everyone has Vintage 30's available,and those have been my preference. They sound a bit harsh until you break them in. Avatar sells a re-stickered V30 as a Hellatone 60, and it's been put through a "breaking in" process already.

Open the back on ANY 4x12 that you buy used. Or pull the front grill cloth and one speaker and peer inside (if it's that kind of construction). Check the speakers, make sure that you have the speakers you've been told are inside (and that they're the proper impedance), make sure that it still has factory wiring, and check the corners for bugs or water stains. We dragged a 4x12 home for a friend of mine, hauled it down to his basement, pulled the back and found several million cockroaches in a massive condo development. Took him months... Water stains can indicate water damage, and be especially careful of this if the tolex looks suspiciously new. Factory wiring is best -- we had one goof who wired the speakers out of phase, so that one pair pulled in when the other pair pushed out. Very tough on your volume and your sound, that.

I'm not a fan of having "Marshall" or "Engl" or whatever brand on a cabinet; it means nothing to me, makes it theft bait for others, and doesn't affect the sound. If you prefer to have it, bear in mind that you're paying for it, sometimes double and beyond what the same cabinet would be without it.
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 27, 2017,
Dspellman makes good points. The only reason I tend to recommend Marshall 1960As is because there are a TON of them, and they tend to be on the cheaper end of things. As mentioned, Carvin is a good buy, as is Avatar, though in my area Avatar cabs fetch a hefty sum.
I'm just a kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer.
I'll look for Carvin and Avatar cabs too, then. With the 1960 cabs I might be paying a premium for the logo, but the market is so flooded with them that I think that almost makes up for it. I regularly see them sitting on Craigslist under $400, and when there are several up for sale locally it makes haggling much easier.
Quote by RtHonBaronTodd
I'll look for Carvin and Avatar cabs too, then. With the 1960 cabs I might be paying a premium for the logo, but the market is so flooded with them that I think that almost makes up for it. I regularly see them sitting on Craigslist under $400, and when there are several up for sale locally it makes haggling much easier.

You're welcome to pay $400 each for them, but I've got two Carvins on the local Craigs (El Lay) in excellent condition with Celestion and Eminence speakers in them for $175 (haggling is still available) each. One is a Legacy cabinet, the other is something else. In both cases, we're talking 3/4" birch ply and some pretty decent made-in-USA construction (the one with "british voice" -- likely Eminence Legends -- speakers weighs in at 93 lbs).
Last edited by dspellman at Jan 28, 2017,