#1
I have two sons playing guitar. They play Squier Mini's (like mini strats). The boys are going to be like 10 and 11, and small for their age so they're going to stick with the Squier Mini's for a few years still.

Right now they're sharing a Mustang 1 v.2 with a mixer, but it's bad not having your own tone and your own amp closer to yourself so you can hear yourself. I'm looking for another amp for them. I'll get two, possibly the same or different when I find one or two that work.

I was trying to get a good deal on a Peavey Classic 30 on ebay, but the boys started playing CCM at a house church. They love it because their friends are there. It's half kids. The Classic 30 would be great for the music, but they have to turn the amp down so they can play softly enough that an acoustic guitar with no amp and voices with no mic can be heard. The Mustang does ok, although the tone sounds a little thin at low volume. I'm concerned the Classic 30 won't even get quiet enough (I haven't tried it).

I could use a volume pedal or an EQ pedal with volume knob on the effects loop, or I could use an attenuator, but either way that adds considerable expense. I'd rather spend the money on a better suited amp if there is one. I'm not sure what to look at. I don't really want another practice amp. I'd like to find something that has fat tones at really low volume, that can be cranked up to play small gigs with drums (they both play drums and alternate).

I setup of bunch of usable presets with effects on the Mustang, besides the ones that are already there. They don't really play with those much. They've been playing for a year, jamming at the music shop, family concerts, lessons and the house church. They told me they just need two settings, clean and distortion. To be a little more specific I would say clean, overdrive, and reverb.

Budget isn't really an issue, I only want to avoid spending foolishly. I'm pretty sure I can get what I need used for less than $500 per amp, but if there's some compelling reason to spend more I would consider it.
Last edited by pinenut at Feb 1, 2017,
#4
My 2 main suggestions would be a Carvin V3M head or combo (all tube), or a Quilter 101 Mini (solid state). Neither is a modeler. Both have plenty of power, nice clean tones, and take pedals. Both are amps that your kids could be fine playing for decades.

The V3M's cost $550-699 new, and are feature rich:
http://carvinaudio.com/collections/v3m-series/products/v3m
http://carvinaudio.com/collections/v3m-series/products/v3mc
https://reverb.com/marketplace/amps?query=carvin%20v3m&sort=price%7Casc&page=


The Quilter 101 Mini head is a solid state amp with decent power, good sound, a headphone jack and can take pedals. They have a few different voicings- not actual emulations- and 2 different power levels. Used, they're as low as $225.
http://www.quilterlabs.com/index.php/productpage/101-mini-head
https://reverb.com/marketplace/amps?query=quilter%20mini&sort=price%7Casc&page=

If you go for one of those above in head form, a Panama 112 or 210 cab can be had for as little as $180.
https://reverb.com/marketplace/amps/guitar-cabinets?query=panama%20guitars&sort=price%7Casc

I would also recommend any of the Carvin Vintage series, a Peavey Delta Blues 115, a small tube Vox or Fender, any of which might be available in your price range...but again, won't be a modeler. There is nothing wrong with modelers, but I figure I can get pedals or even an MFX unit to put in front of a good sounding amp and be ahead of the game because most modeling amps don't sound good with overdrive, fuzz or distortion pedals, and sometimes others besides. So if I have a modeling amp, I'm sort of stuck with how IT models an effect, and if I don't like it- if I find I like a pedal that does it better- there may not be anything I can do about it short of buying a new amp.
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
Peavey ValveKing (typically even less than the Classic 30) and a Mesa F-30 (more than the Classic 30) would be good options, both used.
Guitars:
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. . .
#7
Quote by Will Lane
For them only playing a year, I would not want to throw $1k in it just yet. I'd say just get another Mustang for the time being. Bump up the bass and midrange for low-volume applications.


yeah this really is perhaps a better idea. keep in mind that those squier mini's don't have great pickups and are a shorter scale. if your kids are to small to play a regular sized guitar then I'd wait for a "better" amp. you should be albe to get decent clean sounds from your current amp. it's actually one of the things it does better
#8
I realize I may be trying to get tone that the Mini's won't ever make. At GC there's a rack of Mini's, so I've tried a few amps with one that didn't sound like everything I'd expect. But I couldn't try them at low volume. The dude the next aisle over wouldn't stop shredding. Apparently, he was there just to play metal for two hours, or I don't know, maybe all day since he was there before me and still there when I left.

I'm not sure I understand what I'm looking for. Do I need a solid state amp? or should I get a small tube amp like the 4W Vox, or can I even get a bigger tube amp with a master volume?
#9
Quote by pinenut
I realize I may be trying to get tone that the Mini's won't ever make. At GC there's a rack of Mini's, so I've tried a few amps with one that didn't sound like everything I'd expect. But I couldn't try them at low volume. The dude the next aisle over wouldn't stop shredding. Apparently, he was there just to play metal for two hours, or I don't know, maybe all day since he was there before me and still there when I left.

I'm not sure I understand what I'm looking for. Do I need a solid state amp? or should I get a small tube amp like the 4W Vox, or can I even get a bigger tube amp with a master volume?


what you need is realistic expectations. as I mentioned the pickups on those guitars are dirt cheap and probably rather thin sounding to begin with. on top of that they have to play at a pretty low volume. fat sound is often a result of volume. I'd spend some time playing with the eq on your current amp (which should be more than up to the task you have) I'd also try different pickup combinations like maybe the 2 or 4 positions on your selector switch) and see what works best.

what amp model are you using on the Mustang?
#10
Mostly the '65 Twin Reverb. When we first got it, we tried the factory presets and the ones based on the '65 Twin were the ones we'd go to most. I added a bunch of usable presets through FUSE. I overwrote a bunch of the metal and heavy effects presets we weren't really using. I tried to use the AC30 model because I thought it would sound good, but they don't use it much. Still mostly the Deluxe Reverb model with a small amount of chorus and reverb, or the Twin Reverb with more spring reverb. They play with overdrive distortion less often, but it's still important when you need it. In that case they'll turn to one of the presets I configured with either an AC30 or Marshall amp model and some modeled add-ons (compressor, tubescreamer, delay, reverb). They play some stuff from Beatles, Green Day, Joe Cocker, Ozzy, Wheezer, the Stones where you need more than just a clean tone, but they don't really care what the distortion sounds like. Good clean tones will go a lot farther. Sometimes we even use the Studio Pre-amp model. They play surf rock, CCM, and stuff they make up themselves. They just make up chord progressions and improvise off scales they learned. One plays rhythm and the other lead.
#11
get them some real guitars, then worry about amps.

as far as amps go, classic 30's sound fine quiet.

an orange tiny terror would be a good option, with a little bit of bite and gain on cleans, but not pristine.

musicman amps are great clean amps, extremely loud if needed, and can be had cheap. i have a HD212-130 and a 100RD. quiet sounds nice too. very fendery voiced.
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alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
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youre just being a jerk man.



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#12
Quote by pinenut
Mostly the '65 Twin Reverb. When we first got it, we tried the factory presets and the ones based on the '65 Twin were the ones we'd go to most. I added a bunch of usable presets through FUSE. I overwrote a bunch of the metal and heavy effects presets we weren't really using. I tried to use the AC30 model because I thought it would sound good, but they don't use it much. Still mostly the Deluxe Reverb model with a small amount of chorus and reverb, or the Twin Reverb with more spring reverb. They play with overdrive distortion less often, but it's still important when you need it. In that case they'll turn to one of the presets I configured with either an AC30 or Marshall amp model and some modeled add-ons (compressor, tubescreamer, delay, reverb). They play some stuff from Beatles, Green Day, Joe Cocker, Ozzy, Wheezer, the Stones where you need more than just a clean tone, but they don't really care what the distortion sounds like. Good clean tones will go a lot farther. Sometimes we even use the Studio Pre-amp model. They play surf rock, CCM, and stuff they make up themselves. They just make up chord progressions and improvise off scales they learned. One plays rhythm and the other lead.


skip the presets and start from scratch. Twin amp is a good idea for clean sounds. I'd try playing with the eq and fx to see what works. I'm sure there is an overdrive pedal in the fx that you can kick on for some dirt (just like in real life) that would work fine for beatles and stones tunes. I'd also try some other types of amps that aren't necessarily Fender based to see how they work for what you want.

presets rarely give you what you actually want in my experience. I have a multi-fx pedal that has some presets for various guitar hero types and rarely do they actually sound like who they claim to be imitating. you and your boys will learn way more about getting tones by doing it yourself. I use a Line 6 POD for recording and can spend 2-3 hours just tinkering with my guitar tone before I even begin recording (see link in profile for examples).
#13
Yeah what I was explaining was that I was making my own presets, not just using the factory ones. The Twin amp model is the basis of most of the ones we use, and I added what I described. For more overdrive and distortion, I used the Marshall model as the base. I think we have some pretty good custom presets. I worked on them again today to fix the EQ so they'd sound better at low volumes.

I don't know that much about electric guitars. Most guitarists that have played their Squier Mini's think they're pretty awesome, but that is perhaps a conditional opinion (awesome for a 3/4 size). Their mini's have been setup so the action is about as good as they're going to get. The intonation isn't bad, but there is a compromise on the smaller scale. But the pickups are what they are. It's a $99 guitar.

I would consider getting them something better, but it's a compromise either way. They've played full size guitars at the store. They don't really fit well. We'll be at the store again tomorrow or Friday. I can have them try a full size strat. Maybe I'll buy one for myself and they can use it if it works for them. There's a neat Thinline Tele there, and a Les Paul Recording model. Right now I just have full size acoustics that are huge to hold.
Last edited by pinenut at Feb 2, 2017,
#14
If you think that your sons are likely to stick with the guitar, I don't see a problem with buying a decent amp now, and buying full-sized guitars (with better pickups) when they're older and bigger.
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!
#15
I managed to get a Classic 30 on eBay, so we'll see how it goes. I figure it'll either be a great amp that nails it, or if it doesn't fit us perfectly, I'll have a better idea what we need after we've played it for a few months.
#16
Quote by pinenut
I managed to get a Classic 30 on eBay, so we'll see how it goes. I figure it'll either be a great amp that nails it, or if it doesn't fit us perfectly, I'll have a better idea what we need after we've played it for a few months.


you will love it.

but yeah, get them real guitars.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#17
This:

Quote by trashedlostfdup
but yeah, get them real guitars.
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#18
i know you already found something but id still recommend a VHT special 6.
its got a hi and low power mode with a wattage adjustment pot.
not to mention its a warm clean amp that is easy to use.
VHT Special 6 ultra
TC HOF Reverb
Line 6 DL4
EHX OD Glove
Fender standard Tele
Ibanez Rga121
Taylor GA 214E
#20
for what he wants, blackstar won't do it.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/