J-20 review by Ampeg

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 7 (3 votes)
Ampeg: J-20

Price paid: $ 246

Purchased from: SamAsh

Sound — 10
I use a variety of guitars with different pups. Lace Golds in a strat type Squier, Pearly Gates in a ARC300 and P-90's in a DeArmond M-77t. It suit's my music style very well, I play blues and cleans on it and it excels. I get no noise plugging into this amp, well, at least no unintended noise, lol. I use it at home in the condo, or out jamming with friends and it has enough clean headroom for me to use over my drummer. With a Full Drive 2 in front of it, classic rock/blues/country/pop, this thing can do it all very well. It's relatively a one trick pony, but the tone dial can take you from old school blues to vibroverb/deluxe reverb bright. The clean breaks up nicely at around 6-7 and has nice touch sensitivity to altering pick attack. It has no distortion, but crank it and you will be in classic rock heaven. It's loud as heck cranked, should be noted.

Overall Impression — 9
It's a great match for anyone that plays anything up to metal. Keep in mind it loves pedals and will need an OD to get some Drive at less than 6 on the volume dial. But this is a straight forward quality tube guitar amplifier. Like I said above I do wish it had reverb, but other than that, no complaint here. I also have a Fender '63 Vibroverb RI, 73 Bassman 1, Marshall Studio 15. I would stack this amps tone as "very close" to the Vibroverb. The J-20 has a little less bass than the verb, but I would say the 6v6's are the reason. They just won't produce the low end of a 6L6 tube imo. I would say this is a fair competitor to the Fender Deluxe Reverb, in my frank and honest opinion it is better. It's better built, looks better and more importantly, equals the tone at a fraction of the cost. If you like sparkling cleans, tube tone and Vintage sag, this should be your next amp. Play one, seriously.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Only had it a few days but judging by the build, this thing is solid. I wasn't going to rate it on reliability due to my just getting it recently but UG is making me. I won't give it a bad mark because this thing is built like a tank.

Features — 7
This is a Brand New amp, maybe a 2008 old stock purchased new in the box from Samash Music in Buffalo Grove Il. I play a variety of stuff but use this for cleans and blues stuff. It is a single channel amp with tremolo and a grand total of 4 knobs. Volume, Tone, Speed, Intensity. I do wish it had reverb (thus the 7 on features)but may have it added later or just use a pedal in front. Has a bright and normal input. It's 15 or 20 watts depending on if you use the cathode bias or Switch to fixed. Hand wired, point to point, no pcb board, no effects loop. Gut shot on my profile. Samash put them on fire sale at $299 and I got 20% off of that. This is easily the best amp I could have gotten for the cash I paid. Ampeg wins the tolex award, the blue/silver is just pure secksie.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    It handles some Rock n' Roll nicely, or you need pedals to make it sound a little more dirty?