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#1
I propse that there is a conspiracy among manufactues and retailes of guitar amplifies. How often do you hear about power tube saturation in guitar stores or here at UG. All theese threads about what tube amp to buy, and what brands are good. Manufacturers and retailers have gotten guitar players all up in a craze about high output amp that are far from practical. Finding an amp under 5 watts is impossible unless you are able find individual builders online. 15 watt Fender Blues Junior are not low power tube amps contrary to popular beleif. A 5 watt Epiphone Valve Junior isn't even lower power enough to crank for proper tube saturation in hom situations. WIth this market, there should be more talk about power attenuators and equalization than the next to nothing that there currently is.
#2
Zvex Nano Head is 1/2W. Sounds good too.

I agree there is a potential market there, but unfortunately its smaller than the market for 500W Marshall MGs and the like.
#3
Yah... Powertube overdrive is really onthing like the "distortion" or "overdrive" now of days... like.. This one guy I saw had a fender Princeton, the old tube one, and it was cranked, and the overdrive was simply amazing, it was clear, and really liquidy, but without much breakup.. but it was loud as ****.
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#5
The companies are realizing this, if you read up on NAMM, you'd see that there are quite a few new under 10 watt tube amps coming on the market late this month. The VJ gave them a wake up call.
#6
It's not a conspiracy. People buy the amps because they want them and think they need them. Amp companies have made the same kinds of amps for decades, so why would they stray from that original formula when it continues to work? I agree that people tend to get amps that are way too big for what they actually need, but here are a few points:
-It's easier to make a loud amp quieter than the other way around.
- More wattage = more headroom. That's a good thing usually, especially with so many good OD pedals out there.
-Bigger amps have bigger transformers- and bigger transformers usually sound better.
- Sometimes you just want to crank it.
#8
it's not really a conspiracy, it's a massive amount of people saying things like "omfugme, i gotz da 1000w marshall 10xPlexi!!1!!!11!!1! It roxx0r your s0xxorz, it's teh s3x!!!1!1!!11!!1!eleven"

Some people want really big amps to compensate for their own shortcomings (whatever they may be). Some are just junkies for the biggest, loudest thing on the market. The rest actually need it to play large gigs.

I have a 0.5w-1.5w (w/ boost) amp, and it's still pretty loud. I even mismatched the impedances by a factor of .75 (6-8 ohms, though the volume output should still be around 97%). Still, I think it sounds pretty nice. I'd say there's still a potential market out there for low wattage (under 5w) tube amps. Though they're generally marked as "practice amps." Which makes sense, since you probably wouldn't gig with them.
#10
Back in the day, PA technology wasn't as advanced as it is today, so rather than running through a PA, a guitarist (aswell as a bassist) would buy a couple mega stacks of death, and turn them up to 10. For example, Hendrix ran his Marshalls with all the knobs on 10. These days with guitarists being miked up at even bars, all that is necessary is for an amp to provide adequate stage volume to hear yourself over the drums and all (30 or so watts will do this). Now guitarists do not like change, so rather than realizing this, they still opt to purchase rigs of doom, when they aren't even necessary in this day and age.

Also, power tube saturation at home levels isn't really necessary, as you're using your amp to practice, and it doesn't really matter how awesome you sound. These amps are more targetted for the studio musician, which is a situation where power amp saturation at reasonable levels would be beneficial.
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#11
But... but...
half stacks are sooo awesome!!!

(really thats a huge mentality thats all too common with guitarists)
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#12
A couple years ago I built a series of one-watt amps. Ya know what I damn near had to eat them all because nobody would believe that a one-watt amp was loud enough to practice with at home. People loved 'em when they heard them. But unless they heard it they'd think it would sound like headphones left on the desk. You can't sell much if you gotta force people to listen first.
#13
So are you saying that companies like Mesa and Marshall are old, past the times, and not needed anymore? Those are the big boys who make the "Rigs of Doom" (sweet name by the way!) Should every guitarist play a 5 watt amp and run through a PA system? Should triple rectifiers be outlawed and put on the black market?

Side note: Can you imagine playing an old Marshall master volume with all the knobs on 10? I will do it before I die! I'll go to 11!
#14
Quote by Ubershall404
Side note: Can you imagine playing an old Marshall master volume with all the knobs on 10? I will do it before I die! I'll go to 11!


Ask Yngwie Malmsteen or Eric Johnson how it feels.

I read an Eric Johnson interview and he switched to lower wattage and volumes to save his ears
#15
xifr, I disagree with your statement bout power tube saturtion at home levels not being necesary. Thats like saying you you dont need a nice staero becuse your the only one who can hear it. What if your home and playing for a couple friends, or your family, or a pretty little lady is all you have. Hearing beautiful tone makes practicing so much more enjoyable for me, and if I love knowing that with that same amp I can mic and play at my school coffe house or auditorium. Now that many places have installed decent PA's makes low output amps all the more versatile. If Mike McCready can play through a 30 watt amp in the biggest venues in the world, then I can play my 5 watt amp at least in an auditorium with a PA. Thats very cost effeicient, being able to play live with your practice amp, and it is also very convenient being able to practice with the same amp your going to play live with and learning the insides and out of its tones.
#16
If you're amp has seperate channel volume knobs, and a master volume knob... Can't you put the channel volume really high and the master really low and get saturation?

I remember reading that somewhere
#17
Not everyone here is a bedroom player. I myself actually use my half stack to at least some of its potential when I practice.

</argument>

Quote by Untitled001
If you're amp has seperate channel volume knobs, and a master volume knob... Can't you put the channel volume really high and the master really low and get saturation?

I remember reading that somewhere



That's basically just turning the distortion up. To get poweramp saturation you have to have the master volume up.

assuming you have a gain, a channel vol and a master vol you could turn the gain up, channel volume down and master volume up to get the most distortion however it still isn't as effective as turning the amp up all the way because you don't get the speakers working.

and EDIT:

Another fact remains: Not all amps come in low-wattage bedroom practice convenient forms. I can't get my ENGL Powerball, or anything like it, in a 5w practice head. All you get for that is a shitty little head with a volume and a tone control, not a 4 channel multiple master volume monster which is needed for the optimum amounts of ownage.

That being said, I can practice with my half stack at home as well as use it to gig without it being miced. The same cannot be said for a small (15w) combo.
Last edited by xxgenocide98xx at Feb 20, 2007,
#19
I think the small amp market is just getting started. Companies like Frenzel and Torres have been cashing in on the niche for a little while now. Peavey's coming out with a Valveking version and a JSX version. Fender's coming out with a new Champion.

I also think 5W is kinda the minimum with a "proper" power amp tube. As more of these products come out, smaller, better, and hopefully cheaper products will follow.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
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#20
Quote by avalanche930
who makes it? that sounds like a nice size, and what size speaker does it have?

Oh, I actually made it myself using the firefly circuit off ax84. I hotrodded an epiphone studio 10 amplifier (really cheap amps that came packaged with their epi. lp jr's as a combo package). It uses 2 12ax7's for the preamp (one can be bypassed) and a 12au7 for the output tube. It's using the stock speaker (4, 6 or 8", I forget, but it's really small, treble-y and 6ohms). It's also made using really REALLY stock components (I spent a total of maybe... $50-$70 for parts on this amp, and most of it was for the transformers.)

It's pretty fun, I like low wattage amps (although, I can't really crank it, it's still too loud for the apartment where I live).
#21
Where did you find a transformmer. I have been looking, but I havent been able to find anything at a price that dosnt hurt.
#22
I've heard them before and I'm not all impressed with the high gain tone nor am I with most of the others.

If that classic 'crunch' is acceptable then the one on my ENGL is just as good...

The only decent one is the plexi tone... and quite unfortunately the plexi tone doesn't do it for everyone, myself included (but I do like a nice hotrodded plexi)

but yeah, I wouldn't pay a thousand or more for those tones considering my ENGL only cost me 1.5 times as much and it does everything they do and more, not to mention exceeding their volume capability..
#23
Quote by xxgenocide98xx
but yeah, I wouldn't pay a thousand or more for those tones considering my ENGL only cost me 1.5 times as much and it does everything they do and more, not to mention exceeding their volume capability..


A thousand or more is a lot of money, no doubt. But you want those tones at low volumes if you're doing studio work. That is, if you still want to hear what you recorded when you get older.
You Don't Need a halfstack.

You Don't Need 100W.

Quote by jj1565
i love you slats.
#24
Quote by slatsmania
A thousand or more is a lot of money, no doubt. But you want those tones at low volumes if you're doing studio work. That is, if you still want to hear what you recorded when you get older.


Ear plugs, isolating headphones, and entirely different rooms for the recorder/recordee should be acceptable. I have a set of earplugs that drops all frequencies to an easily listenable level. I use them during band practice and they help quite a bit.

Like I said, they don't have the functionality or tone to impress me. (To me) they're useless in a practice situation AND in a live situation just because of that.

I'm not saying loud is good (because I'm usually the quietest out of my entire band) but I know I can't find the features and tone that I want out of a small amplifier.

They should start making low wattage poweramps (like what I'm looking for- see my LOW WATTAGE POWERAMP thread) and then you could just plug your preamp into it and voila, instant quiet tone!
#25
Quote by xxgenocide98xx
All you get for that is a shitty little head with a volume and a tone control, not a 4 channel multiple master volume monster which is needed for the optimum amounts of ownage.
I take it you've never tried to build your own amp. If you had any idea just how much tone and gain is being sucked out by that 4 channel, multiple master volume monster, you might be singing a different tune. Not to mention all the crap and noise that relays cause.

I think the problem here is you've been told all this time you need all these options on your amp. Sure, if you're in a cover band you might need a little more versatility, but four channels? That's way overboard.

Most of the really popular vintage Marshalls don't even have a volume control.

Okay, so maybe I'm just an elitist tonal purist, but I really think that your limiting your tone by putting all that unnecessary crap in an amp.
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#26
Quote by andrew7667
I take it you've never tried to build your own amp. If you had any idea just how much tone and gain is being sucked out by that 4 channel, multiple master volume monster, you might be singing a different tune. Not to mention all the crap and noise that relays cause.

I think the problem here is you've been told all this time you need all these options on your amp. Sure, if you're in a cover band you might need a little more versatility, but four channels? That's way overboard.

Most of the really popular vintage Marshalls don't even have a volume control.

Okay, so maybe I'm just an elitist tonal purist, but I really think that your limiting your tone by putting all that unnecessary crap in an amp.


Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot. While I have minor knowlege in electronics (more than most) I don't build my own amps because its simply not allowed within my financial situation.

Second, my amplifier doesn't have a bunch of 'crap noise' and 'gain sucking' going around, because as far as I can tell I'm not getting a bunch of hum, hiss, or feedback and I actually LIKE the sound that is coming out (but thanks again for telling me what I like and what I don't)

Third, I do need at least three of those channels, and the fourth (technically the second) is nice for a mid-gain or light lead tone when I need it. I play lead guitar in a death metal band and its essential I have a separate channel, or at least a boost for my lead. I'd personally rather have a 4th channel that is true to the tone of the amplifier which I enjoy than have a pedal add in its own characteristics.

Fourth, where else am I supposed to get my 'unnecessary crap' at? Stomp boxes? Wait, wouldn't that be the same as having it in my head.. except less portable... more prone to noise hum and feedback (due to patch cables and power adapters) and more prone to failure (being exposed to the elements and stepped on all the time) ?

EDIT:

Not everyone is a chicken-pickin country bumpkin. In the rare instances where I am, my ENGL has a perfectly fine dedicated clean channel for that.
#27
Quote by andrew7667
I take it you've never tried to build your own amp. If you had any idea just how much tone and gain is being sucked out by that 4 channel, multiple master volume monster, you might be singing a different tune. Not to mention all the crap and noise that relays cause.

I think the problem here is you've been told all this time you need all these options on your amp. Sure, if you're in a cover band you might need a little more versatility, but four channels? That's way overboard.

Most of the really popular vintage Marshalls don't even have a volume control.

Okay, so maybe I'm just an elitist tonal purist, but I really think that your limiting your tone by putting all that unnecessary crap in an amp.


Yes! This is exactly why I play a Champ, of which I have bypassed the tone controls; leaving just a volume control: tone! The versatile part of this rig is myself, and the guitar's knobs.
#28
Quote by xxgenocide98xx
Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot. While I have minor knowlege in electronics (more than most) I don't build my own amps because its simply not allowed within my financial situation.


Not allowed in your financial situation? Building tube amps is MUCH MUCH cheaper than buying them.
#29
xxgenocide98xx, wether you know it or not( you obviously don't), your 4 channels are sucking tone. Do you honestly think that a signal ging through all that crap is going to retain its purity and true possibibilities?
#30
Quote by wonder725
Not allowed in your financial situation? Building tube amps is MUCH MUCH cheaper than buying them.


No, I can't afford to partake in trial and error building tube amp after tube amp to attain the same tone as my ENGL. Sorry, it doesn't happen. I bought the ENGL because it was what I wanted tone-wise and I have no regrets. I NEEDED an amplifier, I had no time to build one, etc. Right now, I have no money to spend on building tube amps until I find perfection, therefore its not allowed financially. I won't be selling my amp that I need (practice, gigs, etc) to build a hypothetical amp thereby leaving me unable to perform when I need to.

Quote by avalanche930
xxgenocide98xx, wether you know it or not( you obviously don't), your 4 channels are sucking tone. Do you honestly think that a signal ging through all that crap is going to retain its purity and true possibibilities?


The signal doesn't go through all the gain stages unless they're active in the channel. So if I'm on clean, the signal isn't processed through all 4 channels and then out the amp. They have the EQ, bass boost and mid function, channel volumes and a switchable master volume. A simple pot isn't going to create an ungodly amount of noise and interference, sorry. These are high-end, world class tube amplifiers, not some department store hunk of junk.

As far as I can tell my 4 channel amplifier is just as clean and pure as a simple amp like a pignose g-40v that I play through or my grandfather's old epiphone tube amp. can you explain to me why that is?

In essence, you're telling me its better to have a bunch of pedals and effects to get the same tone rather than having it on one circuit board in one box with one power supply. I can't understand how this makes any sense. Its more portable, less prone to problems, easier to service and it sounds much better than layering distortion after distortion after distortion, EQ, gain booster, ETC to attain my desired tone.
Last edited by xxgenocide98xx at Feb 20, 2007,
#31
I got my stuff from www.tubesandmore.com
They might not have the best prices, but they had what I needed.
The hammond 125a OT was about $26 and the 269ex was around $31. I had pretty much the rest on-hand/from the amp I was gutting.
#32
Quote by avalanche930
xxgenocide98xx, wether you know it or not( you obviously don't), your 4 channels are sucking tone. Do you honestly think that a signal ging through all that crap is going to retain its purity and true possibibilities?

Like Geno said, the signal isn't necessarily getting passed thru the whole circuit depending on the design of the amp. Circuit layout, quality of components, and parts values are what makes amplifiers unique from eachother, if simple basic circuits always made the best tone, they would never sell any of the feature packed high power amps. Maybe if you are looking for a vintage tone, you would want the simpler amps to try and simulate what was available back then. Truth is though, it doesn't matter what the circuit is, it's the end result you listen to. 4 channels or not, I could care less about the means, it's the end I'm listening for. Sure, I've heard some great small wattage simple recording amps, but they've all been doing cleans - blues to moderate gain crunch stuff. All the best metal and hard rock tones I've heard are derived from a powerful amp driving speakers to breakup, getting good air movement, where you can hear the power section saturating. It's not recording a large poweramp that's the problem either, it's having the space or soundproofing to be able to crank it to that degree. A good mic like an sm57 will handle a cranked amp fine. Volume isn't a problem if you use closed ear headphones and plug into the recording monitor. You hear what's actually getting sent to the tracks that way too.
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Last edited by Erock503 at Feb 20, 2007,
#33
Quote by avalanche930
xifr, I disagree with your statement bout power tube saturtion at home levels not being necesary. Thats like saying you you dont need a nice staero becuse your the only one who can hear it. What if your home and playing for a couple friends, or your family, or a pretty little lady is all you have. Hearing beautiful tone makes practicing so much more enjoyable for me, and if I love knowing that with that same amp I can mic and play at my school coffe house or auditorium. Now that many places have installed decent PA's makes low output amps all the more versatile. If Mike McCready can play through a 30 watt amp in the biggest venues in the world, then I can play my 5 watt amp at least in an auditorium with a PA. Thats very cost effeicient, being able to play live with your practice amp, and it is also very convenient being able to practice with the same amp your going to play live with and learning the insides and out of its tones.

Well firstly you're making the assumption that by not having power amp saturation you'll have a crap tone, which is untrue. Secondly, unlike a home stereo system, home practice is not a large market for guitar amps. You'll find more people willing to fork out for something that can give good live or studio tone than something that'll give good bedroom tone. I'm not saying to use the crappest amp available for home, but there are priorities.
"A wise man once said, never discuss philosophy or politics in a disco environment." - Frank Zappa
Quote by Jinskee
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#34
Quote by Erock503
Like Geno said, the signal isn't necessarily getting passed thru the whole circuit depending on the design of the amp. Circuit layout, quality of components, and parts values are what makes amplifiers unique from eachother, if simple basic circuits always made the best tone, they would never sell any of the feature packed high power amps. Maybe if you are looking for a vintage tone, you would want the simpler amps to try and simulate what was available back then. Truth is though, it doesn't matter what the circuit is, it's the end result you listen to. 4 channels or not, I could care less about the means, it's the end I'm listening for. Sure, I've heard some great small wattage simple recording amps, but they've all been doing cleans - blues to moderate gain crunch stuff. All the best metal and hard rock tones I've heard are derived from a powerful amp driving speakers to breakup, getting good air movement, where you can hear the power section saturating. It's not recording a large poweramp that's the problem either, it's having the space or soundproofing to be able to crank it to that degree. A good mic like an sm57 will handle a cranked amp fine. Volume isn't a problem if you use closed ear headphones and plug into the recording monitor. You hear what's actually getting sent to the tracks that way too.


+1/2

but I have to say that the multiple channels do take a way a bit of the punchiness of an amp.
Go take a listen to the ENGL Savage and then the Fireball.. The Fireball is essentially a Savage's channel 4(unlike common misconception that it is based off the Powerball), but typically punchier, because of the simplified signal path.

Even more obvious is the Soldano SLO and Avenger relationship, where the Avenger is, again, punchier than its two channel brother..

its little but it IS there... and even if you can't hear it, when you play the amps, you can feel it.
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#35
Low wattage tube amps have a great tone and some versitility if you know how to fool around with with them. Like the mods you can put on Epi VJ's, or if you can just make your own amp. All of that is great and all, but in the end, there are different amps for different people. For just hobby guitarists, who dont need alot of channel changing, the low watt way is good. But, for the metal gods who need a zillion channels and super hi-gain, and lots of watts for shows, mega bucks is needed. Plus having 3 or 4 channels to mess around with would be great!!! Imagine the sounds that can come from each channel and blending together. Also higher end tube amps do use custom circuting, and usually drive the tubes harder than normal tube amps. So if you save up, you can pick up the low wattage tone in a 100 watt 3 channel head, and still have hi gain.

PLUS, Id like to see sombody try to build a Diezel VH4 Head!
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Quote by LuthierofTexas
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#36
Quote by xxgenocide98xx
Thanks for assuming I'm an idiot. While I have minor knowlege in electronics (more than most) I don't build my own amps because its simply not allowed within my financial situation.
I don't remember assuming you were an idiot. Re-read my post, Mr. Defensive. I assumed you didn't build amps, which, in this case, my assumption was correct, no?
Quote by xxgenocide98xx

Second, my amplifier doesn't have a bunch of 'crap noise' and 'gain sucking' going around, because as far as I can tell I'm not getting a bunch of hum, hiss, or feedback and I actually LIKE the sound that is coming out (but thanks again for telling me what I like and what I don't)
I said you "might" be singing a different tune. I didn't tell you you had to agree with me. Those channel relays, control knobs, etc. suck gain and generate noise. It's the nature of the beast. Now, to make up for the loss of putting all that stuff in there, you have to increase the amount of power in the preamp. That generates noise. Your ENGL may be very good at masking any of the hum or hiss that this generates, but it also is masking a lot of your tone. Carbon comp resistors are probably the noisiest resistors you can put in a guitar amp. Why do people prefer them? Well, they don't mask your tone like the metal film resistors do.
Quote by xxgenocide98xx

Third, I do need at least three of those channels, and the fourth (technically the second) is nice for a mid-gain or light lead tone when I need it. I play lead guitar in a death metal band and its essential I have a separate channel, or at least a boost for my lead. I'd personally rather have a 4th channel that is true to the tone of the amplifier which I enjoy than have a pedal add in its own characteristics.
You might be amazed at what the volume control and your picking attack can do in a well-designed amp. I don't need a bunch of pedals or multiple channels. I need a boost for a lead? I turn my guitar all the way up and pick real aggressive. Since my amp doesn't have a bunch of junk in the way, it actually responds to the changes in my playing. I need a clean section? Turn the volume down and pick lighter. You can do all sorts of variations with this.

The most you need is a passive volume control foot pedal to do this.

You might be thinking "won't turning the volume of your guitar down to a clean range kill your volume output?" Not necessarily. Once a tube starts to clip, it shouldn't get any louder. If it does, it's perceived volume and not actual volume. This is why you measure an amp's wattage right when it begins to break-up.
Quote by xxgenocide98xx

Fourth, where else am I supposed to get my 'unnecessary crap' at? Stomp boxes? Wait, wouldn't that be the same as having it in my head.. except less portable... more prone to noise hum and feedback (due to patch cables and power adapters) and more prone to failure (being exposed to the elements and stepped on all the time) ?

I already covered this. Picking attack and guitar volume can do wonders.
Quote by xxgenocide98xx

EDIT:

Not everyone is a chicken-pickin country bumpkin. In the rare instances where I am, my ENGL has a perfectly fine dedicated clean channel for that.
I don't play country, never have.
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#37
Quote by xxgenocide98xx
The signal doesn't go through all the gain stages unless they're active in the channel. So if I'm on clean, the signal isn't processed through all 4 channels and then out the amp. They have the EQ, bass boost and mid function, channel volumes and a switchable master volume. A simple pot isn't going to create an ungodly amount of noise and interference, sorry. These are high-end, world class tube amplifiers, not some department store hunk of junk.

Even a one pot tone stack will suck tone. Don't believe me? Well...my Valve Jr. is modded with a Moonlight tone stack. It's a one knob tone stack that is about as low loss as you can get. There is a considerable loss in both volume and tone when I have it in. That's why I put it on a push-pull pot.

Now...if one pot does that much in a simple circuit, imagine what the EQ, bass boost and mid function, channel volumes, and a switchable master volume do.

There's also another reason I prefer my own amps as opposed to the mass-produced ones we have now. The solder joints on PCB's fail. Point-to-point is harder to mass-produce, but you end up with a much sturdier amp. That's why most boutique and high-end amps produce point-to-point amps. I'm not sure what your ENGL is, but that's something else to think about.

To whomever said you can't get metal tones without having 4 channels and ultra-high gain, give me a break. All those channels and knobs SUCK gain. You'd be better off not having them in there if you wanted ultra-high gain.

Here's a Valve Jr. (all credit goes to Kerry) that gets close to metal tones with only a few mods. http://aronnelson.com/gallery/albums/album111/Metal_Demo.mpg

Opinions aside, Genocide, I applaud you for your ability to at least write coherently. Some of the wall o' text responses here give me a head ache.
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#39
Geez, Satriani's live rig has like half a billion pedals and junk in front of the amp, and then the amp itself isn't really 'simple' either, dare you say his tone sucks? Of course it's all about preference, but imo the possibilities you can get from a well built rig are well worth the supposed 'tone loss' generated by some extra circuitry. Not everyone wants to sound like Jimi Hendrix, either.

As for whomever was talking about varying the pick attack and volume on guitar, well... I do partially agree with this, guitar controls/pick attack seem to be very underrated by many, but this places a lot of constraints on the player. Can you honestly pick a 12 nps passage 'super hard' while keeping all the notes even and smooth? I know I couldn't. And I don't mind some 'tone loss' coming from a compressor I have in my rig that I flick on in certain spots. Same goes for every other part of my set up.

And either way... at least as far as recording goes ... if you don't mind your 'brilliant' tone chewed up by mics, raped by a mixer, and then further owned by any and all post processing procedures, not to mention the fact that it's going to be burned on a CD or whatever causing even more 'loss', surely another knob or switch in your amp isn't going to make THAT much of a difference. Meh.
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#40
SO I could gig with a blues Jr. instead of a hot rod?

Well I know what i'm getting.
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