#1
I am an amateur taking guitar lessons, but fortunately could afford a nice American Strat, which I am
very happy with. I had previously bought a Fender Mustang Mini, since I lived in a small condo,
and figured it would be fine, and it has been. I do not use the presets extensively, but it is fun
to play with them and get at least an electronic version of some classic amp sounds.

My teacher has been encouraging me to get a tube amp, but cost aside, I am not sure why I
need one. The main reason I am hesitant to buy (e.g.) a Fender Blues Jr., is that I would be
giving up my headphones jack as well as the mp3 aux input, both of which I use extensively.

I should also indicate that I have no plans to ever play in public... only my wife is mostly
exposed to my screechings.

Is there any other tube amp that would allow me to keep these features?

Thanks,

Mitch
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#2
I wouldn't get another amp if it meant giving up something I used a lot especially if I was OK with the tone I was getting. If you looking for better tone. Look for something with your requirements. Doesn't have to have tubes to sound decent at bedroom levels.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#3
scott58 Thanks... I like the *idea* of the tube amp, but it might be overkill for me... I will see if others chime in.
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#4
No problem. I'm using a small 5 watt tube amp with a POD. And can use headphones with the POD not sure about mp3 don't think so.
Dean Icon PZ
Line 6 Variax 700
Dean V-Wing
Dean ML 79 SilverBurst
MXR M 108
H2O Chorus/Echo
Valve Junior (V3 Head/Cab and Combo)
VHT Special 6
Phonic 620 Power Pod PA
Wampler Super Plextortion
Line 6 Pod HD
#5
mitchmcconnell1 Tube amps are what have helped shaped the sound of the guitar since the mid 1900's. They are integral to professional sounding guitar tracks, and are inspiring to play on. A proper tube amp will not hold you back, but rather help you along the way. Some Solid-State equipments will hold you back as their sound quality and reaction will be uninspiring. So that is why tube amps are important to the intermediate/professional guitarist.

However, I do not think you have to have one at a beginner/amateur level. Something with a lot of reasonably good sounds to experiment with, with a good user interface, is much more beneficial. As well as tube amps often do not have headphone out/aux in jacks. I would suggest to look into the BOSS Katana amps, VOX AV series, or even a floor board like a POD HD500.

If you have a budget for us, and some music genres, we might could help even further.
#6
Will Lane Thanks for another POV. There is not really a budget issue, but I would rather spend more money on guitars. :-) I will look at the ones you suggested, however.
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#9
while I'm a huge tube fan I can't think of any reason that you really "need" a tube amp. a modeling amp would likely suit you better. if you use more clean type tones then a Fender Mustang series amp would likely do you just fine. yes tube amps have the tone that many players want but modeling amps have been catching up more and more. I doubt your wife could tel the difference (I know mine can't)
#10
I used a Peavey SS 212 and a pedalboard, all through the 90's and into the early 2000's with great success. It wasn't until I started playing a lot more metal and classic rock that I switched tube.

I think we're also forgetting something here, unless I missed something, Who says you can't keep and still use your Mustang along with getting a tube amp? It's not written that you only have to have one amp. I've probably got around 10+ amps kicking around between SS and tubes.

If you're looking for something like the Blues Jr., check out the Jet City Custom 5. It's an excellent amp with some boutique like qualities and sits around the $250 price range new. I really want one, but can't justify it as it doesn't have enough gain for me.
#11
Quote by Xander_X
I used a Peavey SS 212 and a pedalboard, all through the 90's and into the early 2000's with great success. It wasn't until I started playing a lot more metal and classic rock that I switched tube.

I think we're also forgetting something here, unless I missed something, Who says you can't keep and still use your Mustang along with getting a tube amp? It's not written that you only have to have one amp. I've probably got around 10+ amps kicking around between SS and tubes.

If you're looking for something like the Blues Jr., check out the Jet City Custom 5. It's an excellent amp with some boutique like qualities and sits around the $250 price range new. I really want one, but can't justify it as it doesn't have enough gain for me.


good point
#14
Quote by mitchmcconnell1
monwobobboI will look at the one you mentioned. I may end up with two, as well. :-)


nothing wrong with more than one. I have 3 amps plus my POD and an older multi-fx unit that I use for various purposes. I see you have a mini mustang so you might want to look at one of the bigger ones that have more features. don't feel that you "must" have a tube amp but if you want one then certainly go for it. keep in mind that most have a master volume control so you can keep it low and still sound fairly decent. I live in a townhouse and haven't pissed my neighbors off yet with my 50 and 60 watt tube amps.
#15
monwobobbo Same. Live in a townhouse, granted, mine have concrete in the walls which makes it so I never hear a peep from my neighbors, but I've haven't had a complaint with one of my 100+ watt'rs. I usually play my 6505+ head around 1 in the house. Doesn't sound like a lot to those who've never owned or played through one, but that's about as loud as my ears can handle sitting / standing 10 feet from the cab.
Last edited by Xander_X at Feb 13, 2017,
#16
I don't feel like a tube amp is such a requirement as it used to be.

The Mustang you have is a good example of what you can do with a modeling amp today. I understand that the Fuse software opens up a whole other world for that amp as well.

Amp simulations on the computer have come a long, long way. For quiet practice using a combination of a tube amp (Laney IRT-Studio) and a computer (running Peavey ReValver for the speaker impulses) sounds really good.

And now there is a new wave of home use / recording based mini amplifiers. Amp makers finally got the idea people like using tube amps but quieter volume (but still sound like higher volume with breakup) and silent options such as headphone out that sound good with Aux inputs will sell in the market. Add on features like automatic dummy loads so if you don't have a speaker hooked up the amp doesn't self-destruct so you can reroute the output signal to a computer or headphones but still have tube preamp and power flavoring and you have some really cool products for at home / studio and small gig (or mic'ed) usage.

For an actual tube amp for your situation I'd look into the Peavey Classic 20 MH and the ValveKing MH - 2x EL84 power tubes but with some of those great headphone/silent options.

But really, if you are happy with your Mustang just keep using that.
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. . .
#17
There's a few tube amps that do have head phone jacks and support mp3, The Blackstar HT 1 would be a good example. And actually a pretty decent little bedroom practice amp.
Me? I use and have both, and like both equally well, But then I'm an OG and perhaps this whole SS techno geek gismo thing is just a phase I'm going through,
Back in the day if you didn't like the sound of your gear you horse traded it or sold it and bought something different, Hell I remember when they had a tube testing machine at the local hardware store, Anyone else remember those things?
Today if you don't like your gear you just turn a knob, push a button or click on some computer generated simulator, Yet granted wont get you an exact tube tone and response its pretty damn close. or at least close enough for bedroom practice,
One thing to remember is, there is and will always be cork sniffers, tube sniffers, butt sniffers and all kinds of sniffers. Don't pay any attention to them and do what you want,
#18
Quote by nastytroll
There's a few tube amps that do have head phone jacks and support mp3, The Blackstar HT 1 would be a good example. And actually a pretty decent little bedroom practice amp.
Me? I use and have both, and like both equally well, But then I'm an OG and perhaps this whole SS techno geek gismo thing is just a phase I'm going through,
Back in the day if you didn't like the sound of your gear you horse traded it or sold it and bought something different, Hell I remember when they had a tube testing machine at the local hardware store, Anyone else remember those things?
Today if you don't like your gear you just turn a knob, push a button or click on some computer generated simulator, Yet granted wont get you an exact tube tone and response its pretty damn close. or at least close enough for bedroom practice,
One thing to remember is, there is and will always be cork sniffers, tube sniffers, butt sniffers and all kinds of sniffers. Don't pay any attention to them and do what you want,


oh yeah I remember tube testers very well. I can also remember having things around the house that used tubes. my dad still has his Hammond Organ that uses tubes.
#19
mitchmcconnell1 I guess you wouldn't really know what you're missing until you've tried a few tube amps. That'd be the best advice in this situation as it seems to me that your teacher is trying to get you in a direction that you might not necessarily need.

I think some of the H&K and Laney Ironheart amps have headphone outs that can defeat the speaker:
http://www.laney.co.uk/products/?instrument=Guitar&family=IRONHEART

For your style of music Fender Blues Jr or Laney LC15 would be great.
#20
diabolicalIt is true that I am mostly interested in blues, with classic rock and jazz close behind... I can afford a Blues Jr... maybe I will end up with one.. but as others have pointed out, I need to try some first.

Thanks again to all who responded.
Fender American Strat
1978 Alvarez Yairi DY57
#21
I have Laney LC15 - wonderful lush blues tones with great built in reverb.

If you're just jamming at home and at headphones, some of the Amplitube Fender plugins might actually do the trick.
http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/fender/

You can do the trial and buy them either all together or only the ones you like.
#22
Quote by monwobobbo
oh yeah I remember tube testers very well. I can also remember having things around the house that used tubes. my dad still has his Hammond Organ that uses tubes.


Yea that's what I'm talking about, Ya old fart. Back then we had these cheap ass Supro and junk Harmony's and such but did we really care? No we thought they were great, Or at least when we first got them, then after the natural evolution process we discover we want bigger and better so to say. Now we see a trend that the old is new again, old circuits like the 5e3 are all the rage again, 5/10 years ago you'd be labeled a dinosaur for using that stuff, Today your hip and retro, Between me and you bro I'm kinda scratching my head here , I'm just kinda pissed I sold that crap gear years ago for dirt cheap and today its worth 10 times what I paid for it back then , Someday maybe I tell you the story about the 58 Byrdland
#23
nastytroll

. bought a Supro dualtone at a flea market back in the day for $20 that I could easily get 2 grand for now. silvertone with amp in guitar case, yup paid $12 for that used. sold my script faced MXR Phase 100 for $125 a few years back so I didn't totally lose out. could have bought a 59 Les Paul for $5000, damn it I should have sold everything and scored that. could be sitting on easy street now.
#24
As pointed out, there's nobody here saying you have to get rid of your Mustang. (Your wife may have other ideas, of course.) I don't care tube vs SS- if it sounds good, it sounds good. I currently have a Fender HRD combo and an Orange TH30 head (no cab yet). I plan on buying more heads, too.

If you really must have a headphone jack to practice try getting a portable digital modeler (Korg Pandora, Boss Micro-BR, Line 6 POD) or a MFX pedal with a jack (most of them). Besides using them as a standalone practice device, you can use them with any amp just fine.

For a smallish tube amp, I'd look at Carvin's Vintage series, most of which come as combos or heads. Fender's Bassbreaker family would be a good option.

I'd also recommend looking at Quilter SS amps. This means the heads are tiny- one is just slightly larger than a stompbox. Some of them have headphone jacks*, and they're all really good at the genres you say you want to play. And they take pedals pretty well. I'm actually considering their Aviator Gold as a replacement for my HRD.


* EDIT: this is the Quilter head that has a headphone jack:
http://www.quilterlabs.com/index.php/products/mini-head-amps/101-mini-head
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!
#25
Times have changed. Tube amp not required. No matter what your instructor says.
#26
I like tube amps for gigging but they are certainly not necessary. A good DMFX pedal or ipad plugin voice suits me fine around the house.
"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
#27
Why? Why does he think you need a tube amp?

Because he sells them?
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#28
mitchmcconnell1 A tube amp my friend you play. But a fender mustang you play through. A tube has a great full sound(good for single coils i think) and dynamics so you play your guitar different threw a tube then you do a digital. I really like the Peavey VYPYR pro its a hundred watt digital amp but a 12 inch speaker transube technology ive always liked for a full sound in your living environment. I suggested that because you take that and put in a room with a sound system youll have a nice sound but you'll also have the mp3 input as well and you can get a pedal switcher. Money isnt an option the EVH 5150 III 1x12 combos are amazing and made Fender as well great great great amp but no mp3 or headphones. I hope this helps!
Last edited by mknight1096 at Feb 14, 2017,
#31
I just upgraded from the small Fender Mustang to a 30W tube amp. I would say the upgrade was major, but I wouldn't attribute it all or even mostly to the tubes. Going from a 8" speaker to a 12" is almost certainly more important than going from solid state to tubes. Also, having a larger cabinet makes a big difference (the Blues Jr. is probably too small). This is not about volume or loudness, but acoustics. Of course none of that makes much of a difference if you use headphones.

You should try a tube amp, not just at the store or someone's house but at your home. Ask to borrow one from your instructor for a week. If there's no way to borrow one (because those guys with 10 actually need to play all 10), consider buying a used one that you can resell for about the same you buy it for. After you've played with it for a week or a month, then decide if you want to go back to headphones. At least you will have an idea of what you're missing and you won't always wonder.

If you primarily use headphones, the small Mustang isn't bad at all. It's greatest shortcomings are the small speaker and cabinet. But if you want to play through a speaker, get a large 1x12 combo at least, whether it's tube or solid state.
Last edited by pinenut at Feb 16, 2017,