Hi all,

I just got my Ampeg J-20 Jet today and I've had a chance to play with it some as well as with the Holy Stain.

First the amp: When I saw the box it cam in, I knew it was bigger than I imagined it. It really looks smaller in pictures and I didn't have the luxury of playing it before deciding to buy it. I admit it was somewhat of an impulse buy, not in the sense that I have loads of cash to throw around, but that I was buying an amp anyway but the one I originally wanted was put on back order for a really long time. I'm lucky enough to get great pricing direct from the parent company of Ampeg and I found out the Jet was available and sprung for it.

It's an impressive looking amp. The blue ckecked vinyl is really killer looking, a darker blue that it appears in pics on the web. The blue vinyl case is angular yet classy. Its got a simple flat chrome panel with stove knobs for volume, tone and tremolo controls speed and intensity. Normal and bright inputs. On/Off and On/Standby switches. It comes with a footswitch for turning on/off the tremolo circuit. It's kinda cheap but does its job.

It arrived at my workplace and I had a chance to play a bit through it there. It's wonderfully touch responsive and dynamic with plenty low end punch as you'd expect from an amp voiced for classic American tones. I read the one user review I was able to find and the guy said it seemed to have one Fender amp's sound in the early part of the volume sweep, sounded like a different Fender amp in the middle volume range and finished up sounding like a cranked Vox AC15CC. I can say that it sounds quite Fender-ish, fat and chimey with lots of harmonic overtone. I don't know what a Vox AC15CC sounds like, but I can say that when I got a chance to crank it, this thing overdrives and breaks up like a beast with balls of caged thunder.

The tremolo is driven by one of the preamp tubes and sounds superb. I got the Holy Stain mostly for the reverb but also for the overdrive and tremolo. I didn't know I'd be getting an amp with a killer tremolo built in.

This amp doesn't have a master volume so, if you live in an apartment like me, you won't get to take the volume past 3, maybe 4, most days and not have your neighbors grab torches and pitchforks. I can goof around quietly with the volume barely past 1. It still sounds very good that low level. Yay tubes!

The bright input is noticeably brighter, go figure. At the lower volumes for my apartment, the difference is way more apparent with the Holy Stain's overdrive or fuzz. More gain, more brightness. The amp's tone control is in some ways like a drive in the way that, as you turn the tone up toward treble, the signal gets a bit hotter or edgier and harder.

I first plugged my guitar into the Holy Stain --> DS-1 and it sounded like absolute crap. Distorting the reverb is horrible, so I switched them and everything was fine. Note to self: reverb after distortion. Ok, the DS-1 doesn't sound great but it sounds better than I expected it to. Bonus until I hear a better disto pedal or get mine modded. The holy stain's fuzz sounds a lot better through my amp than it does in the online demos. The overdrive is really thick but a little fizzy. The three settings - clean, fuzz and OD have set gain levels, so it would be nice to have an adjustable overdrive. I guess that's a downside to the Stain. I like the ability to mix the analog drive and one of the four digital effects.

If any of you UGers have considered getting or wondered about the Ampeg J-20 Jet or Holy Stain pedal, I hope this info has been helpful. If you have any questions that aren't addressed here, please reply.
Last edited by carpepax at Apr 1, 2008,
Quote by carpepax
The tremolo is driven by one of the preamp tubes and sounds superb. I got the Holy Stain mostly for the reverb but also for the overdrive and tremolo. I didn't know I'd be getting an amp with a killer tremolo built in.

Tube driven tremolo kicks the living sh!t out of pedal tremolo!

Congrats on the amp. It's just about boutique quality. I suspect your pedals make it sad, though. Especially the DS-1. You should look into a quality OD and a high end fuzz. That amps deserves it.

I've heard the Stain is kinda noisey, which you seem to be clued into already. Maybe a Holy Grail would be better... ?

Anyway, congrats and good luck!
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