Hey all,

I started playing guitar about 5 months ago, and while I still suck, I suck a whole lot less than I used to. Basically, I am now beginning to notice that my music does not sound bad just because I play badly, but because my amp is not all that great.

It is a little fender 15 watt amp that came with my guitar starter kit. My main problem with it right now is that it sucks for low notes. Even on the clean channel the open low E string (and open low A) will vibrate strangely. It really messes with songs that are fairly low. It is bad enough that I prefer to unplug when playing Metallica riffs, as the amp just sounds too crappy.

So I know absolutely nothing about amps. I want a good one, that sounds smooth and clean across the entire fretboard and also has decent distortion. I mainly play classic rock, or slightly heavier stuff, but I would like an amp versatile enough that I can play whatever. I would also like something with a decent amount of volume. I don't plan to play any big gigs, but I would like it to be loud enough to use at my church, so it needs to be able to compete with a drummer.

My budget is $150-$250. Cheaper is better, but I'm willing to spend more in order to get an amp I'll be happy with.
Last edited by Morag2 at Sep 7, 2008,
Well... What type of music do you play?

If you up your budget a bit you can get some good amps.

EDIT: The wierd vibration on your low E string might be the guitar. Does it vibreate like tha when you play unplugged? Try picking a bit softer.

EDIT2: I just posted this in another thread

"For a classic rock tone i think a Blackheart 15 watt amp or an Epiphone Valve jr would be an excellent choice. don't make the same mistakes i did and choose an amp because its 100 watts. Not only was the amp i ended up with a piece of crap, it was also a very loud piece of crap. Im upgrading to a Blackheart 15 watt amp soon. Maybe for Christmas. Stick an Overdrive pedal in there and your set. A tube screamer would be a good overdrive pedal."

Im not sure on how much these amps cost were you live but either one will do classic rock very nicely. The overdrive pedal will get you that slightly heavier stuff but i dont know if it will get you metallica tones.

Just remember these amps are tube. Crank it for the best tone and use the volume knob on your guitar to control the distortion.
Last edited by Final !mpact at Sep 7, 2008,

what is your definition of 'heavier stuff' Be honest. We need to know.

Final Impact has some great points

what is you total budget? $250 or are you "willing to spend more"?

do you play with yourself in the bedroom or do you play with a drummer or gig?

you may need your guitar set up?

Like stated before, a blackheart or epi valve jr sound good for you (with an od of course)

but honestly wait until your playing is better and you have a more refined ear for the tone your looking for. then start thinking about looking for a new amp
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Quote by 311ZOSOVHJH

what is your definition of 'heavier stuff' Be honest. We need to know.

Final Impact has some great points

what is you total budget? $250 or are you "willing to spend more"?

do you play with yourself in the bedroom or do you play with a drummer or gig?

you may need your guitar set up?


He said Metallica... Some i guessing a bit of thrash? Well an Epi Valve jr wont do that very well. However a tube change and a cranked up OD might get close if you turn your amp up to 11 but that would probably blow your ears out with feedback.

Hmmm... *strokes beard*
I'm a big Metallica fan, but I also listen to some screamo, which is what I mean by heavier stuff. I listen to a few bands that play in Drop B, and would like to play their stuff, so good handling of lower notes is essential. I'm not sure exactly what genre it would fall under... probably power metal or progressive metal. (Listen to Not Ready to Die by Demon Hunter if you need an example)

I mainly play alone in my room, but I don't want to be completely useless playing next to a drummer either.

Also, the wierd vibration on my low E string sounds fine when I play unplugged. It's definatly the amp (my guitar is a Squire Strat... so it's not great but it's not complete garbage).

I'm getting the idea that I'd be best off heading over to a music store and just browsing the amps a bit. So this topic has a new direction, how do I avoid getting ripped off by sleezy music salesmen?

Are in-amp effects/overdrive any good (like my current amp)? Or should I look for a cheaper amp + a pedal of some sort? My budget is $250 MAX... I need to pay tuition, going higher would make me feel guilty.

Picture of my current amp: http://cachepe.samedaymusic.com/media/quality,85/brand,sameday/2367700_xl-5839d7619d4331664f67223984b16419.jpg
Last edited by Morag2 at Sep 8, 2008,
So $250 Max? I guess you cant really go with a tube amp. Try out some amps at the store. We can only give you suggestions, You have to choose the amp.

I would say check out the 15 watt like 6 spider.

To the flamers: I know spiders are digital sounding and everything but cmon. They are great practice amps You can nail a lot of tones. Obviously its not going to sound like a Marshall full stack but it WOULD be an improvement.

Not everyone can afford full tube combo amps when they are just starting out.
Quote by acdcrocks0323
A used Line 6 Flextone would be PERFECT!

Indeed it would! Try looking for it, must be available for around 250.
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Okay, I'm going to take a look at the Line 6 Flextone, the Crate V series, and whatever else the salespeople tell me is good.
you were on track until that second part of your sentance...your best source of info is right here and harmony central dot com.

where are you going to buy this amp and can you check their inventory before you go?

also, you may have said, but can you look at used gear too? Like Craigslist.com?
Quote by Morag2
whatever else the salespeople tell me is good.

For the love of god no... They will escort you to a pile of MG so fast...
Seriously, you can do ok for $150-250 if you look used. 311 is right, ever search craigslist? I'm thinking crate V18 new with a bad monkey or used VK, Cube 30, etc. But, your probably on your way to GC...
the buzzing on your low E could be fret buzz because the action (height of strings off the fretboard) could be set too low. especially if youre dropping down to B.
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I assume you want a very versatile amp.

An all tube amp in your price range will not give you versatile. It will do 2-3 things very well, but fall short when you try to do other stuff with it.

In that range, you can get a used AD50VT or a smaller Vox.
I'm really not interested in used, unless it's from a friend of mine (and I will ask around among my musician friends). The store I'm going to is a family owned store, so the salespeople are somewhat less scummy than most.
Quote by Final !mpact
**** what i said about Spiders

Crate V series.

This, as you can see in my sig, i did the same...just gotta wait for it to get here now
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