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DimarzioForum.Com => Gear Closet => Topic started by: wxs3 on June 05, 2018, 11:43:48 AM

Title: Amp choices
Post by: wxs3 on June 05, 2018, 11:43:48 AM
When I started playing guitar I wanted a Marshall amp, nothing else would do, had to Marshall or bust.  I bought a JCM900, 100watt combo and I thought I was in heaven.  I’m new Day in a local music store, I found a silver face deluxe reverb that needed work. I bought it for $100.00.  I started reading articles on how to hotrod them into something completely different, found an amp tech who told me I would fall out of love with my Marshall when he was done.  That little 20 watt fender embarrassed my Marshall and a number of other Marshalls that other players had.  I had that amp for about 2 years when I asked for a custom built pre amp based on my deluxe reverb. Again not disappointed.  Now in my 60’s, I now own a fender Super Sonic, 60 watt. I find myself playing thru the Bassman channel with an Overdrive, Distortion, Delay, and Chorus ( yes I use the spring reverb).  I love the versatility, richness of my sound. How many others have had this revaluation??

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Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: darkbluemurder on June 06, 2018, 03:36:09 AM
I had a similar long journey. I started out with a 50 watt Yamaha solid state bass amp which I later used for guitar with a tube screamer. I then moved to a Rozz (a Mesa Mark I copy), which sounded good but I wanted to switch the inputs. When I got the amp back from the tech it was very noisy so I stopped using it.

I then acquired an Acoustic G 100T which I loved until it broke down after a gig. After a 200 USD repair it still did not sound like before so I traded it for an old 50 watt Marshall which sounded so-so but it held up. It was then in the end of the 80s that I searched for a new amp and was frustrated because I didn't like anything that I tried - maybe I should have practiced more :).

Later I started to modify and build amps myself. At the moment I play mostly through a homebuilt amp which has a Hiwatt style preamp but only one channel, a phase inverter like the Jim Kelley amp, and 2 5881 tubes in the power amp. This amp works great for guitar or bass, and pretty loud even though it is only about 40 watts.

Cheers Stephan
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: buddroyce on June 08, 2018, 03:53:15 PM
You're not alone. I do believe many of us have gone through a similar journey in the endless pursuit of tone. Those who haven't will most likely sooner or later experience it.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: wxs3 on June 12, 2018, 11:25:10 AM
Now I find myself looking at a Hughes and Kettner 40 watt GrandMeister Deluxe.  Everything I’ve read tells me this is the one work horse for recording tube tones direct into my DAW.  Just when you think the journey is complete, there’s another turn in the road.

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Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: buddroyce on June 16, 2018, 09:46:18 PM
Sounds like the we're both eye balling the H&K amps for the same reasons.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: corypheus on June 20, 2018, 06:27:00 PM
My first real amp was an Traynor - was late 70s model, decidedly clean and I was a shredder in my 20s and early 30s, listening to VH and trying to just nail that sound from Eruption, I remember using a nasty sounding distortion box from ibanez from that time with the amp… simply didn't know better. Then I remember the output tranny blowing up, I however don't remember why, the thick wire coils of the tranny just popped out, so I gave the amp (or the surviving parts anyway) to a buddy for free, and bought ADA Mp1, which I thought was THE sound for the time.

I was using superstrats with JBs (Charvels) since my other role model, Steve Stevens, had his loaded with JBs as well. This was beginning of the 90s, and I was one of the few "hair metal" guys around… didn't last a long time, around 94, I was all grunge. As I would usually be "late", I ended up continuing the grunge all the way to the 2000/2001... where I just quit, but luckily didn't sell my gear.

I picked up my act again in early 2008, and traded 3 of my Charvels and an ADA MP1 with the Marshall 100/100 monoblock poweramp, and an old VHT deliverence cab I had, to a local pawn shop - by this time I was out of service in the military, and I decided to stay in Europe with my now-wife, instead of going back to states -- this I state because pawn shops aren't such a big thing on this side of the pond - but I was extremely lucky, to find Lee Jackson moded 2203 head (Metaltronix), with KT88s, smaller Marshall 2x12 cab with V30 speakers instead of stock T75s, and a bog down, simplistic all-mahogany flat Les Paul Special Faded, and some cash. I quickly switched the pickups of the Gibson to DiMarzio, a SuperD and PAF Pro, and was hooked ever since.

That JCM 800 2203 is hands down the best sounding amp I currently have and that I ever tried. And in the meantime, so I can compare, I've bought a few - two other 2203, an 2205, and 2203KK which also has KT88s, but sounds nothing like my Metaltronix does! Also had DSL50 but I sold that off, and Laney VH100R suffered the same fate, couldn't bond with them.

Aside Marshalls, I have a smaller practice tube hybrid Line6 spider valve 40 112 combo, which is great for writing stuff because it has plethora of sounds mimicking other amps and alot of effects, and sounds pretty decent too. I have Roland Jazz Chorus 120, that is my main clean amp, simply best cleans solid state. I have an older Dual Rectifier solo head… and I'm in a GASS and hunt mode for a used ENGL Blackmore siggy, played one at a friend's venue and loved how it sounded.

I also do maintenance of my own amps, and repair amps that I buy for low money, and sometimes also repair amps for friends or local bands. Of the cheap amps that I got that needed repairing; Ashdown Fallen Angel 40 combo, so many cold solder joints, burnt PCB around one of the output EL84, fluctuating bias, nonworking vu-meter… made in england on the back and PCB proudly states "Made in PRC" inside... nightmare of repairing but it's repaired now and sounds decent - great modding platform that I'll probably mod to an 800 clone with EL84s, they're so crunchy!; FBT BR500 M2 an old late 60s Italian vintage copy of the Fender Bassman that needed refurbishing and had to switch to different output tubes from stock El503 to Rus EL500, sounds great for both bass and guitar; and Bugera 6262 a copy of the 5150II that had the molex connector of the OT burnt down and had all of it's fuses eating because of it constantly, simple fix direct soldering proper bias with good quality tubes and the amp sounds pretty good, not exactly like the amp it's supposed to sound like but in the ballpark. I'm probably gonna give that away to a young guy that I know father of, he's into Killswitch Engage a lot, 6262 can get that kind of sound with a good EQ in the loop.

So yeah, got a full wall of amps, but really only regularly use the 800s - I usually do cover band venues, and the Metaltronix stays home, while my other Marshalls work it out live. They rarely need any work, they used to be better made before, all of my are originals, not RI.

You Know what's funny? When I was younger, I used to hate Marshalls and thought I'd never settle on one. But I guess it's true that when you find a good one, it's a lifetime companion.

As for H&K... didn't try GM Deluxe, but did play on TubeMeister 18, and loved how versatile that thing was! So many useful and practical things in a small amp, if I just needed something for studio recording and needed that kind of sounds, TM18 would definitely be it.

Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: Fender Doll on June 27, 2018, 06:39:24 AM
I'm now in the market looking for a new amp for gigging in small to medium venues, but have had my share of players experience to know what I like and don't like.
My first amp was a very small 10 watt Squire transistor amp which was pretty much my first practice amp however that was soon traded in for a 20 watt Solid State Marshall which was my main amp and at first loved it. Used it for a few gigs but realised soon that due to being drowned out but both the other guitarist and drummer I upped the horsepower to a 50 Watt, the cleans I loved but the drive not so much.
That was the last amp I physically bought but my playing continued just using or borrowing other people's gear cheaper but so much more hassle! During that time I played a Randall 100 watt in a 4X12 cab which convinced me I would never go back to using single speaker amps for live or rehearsals! Also a line 6 with two 12 inch speakers which I did like but could never bond with all the controls on it. Had a brief flirtation with a Peavy (forgotten the actual model!) but was an 80 watt monster!
Recently though I was looking at the Hot Rod Devilles and was and still am taken by the Michael Landau model. However practically I don't think a combo of that size word work for my situation. Sonically it would be great but am now back where I started looking at getting a 50 watt Marshall head with a 2X12 cab. This for the reasons being it will be a lot easier to move a separate head and speaker cabinet with the side carry handles rather than one 60 watt 2X12 combo with one little carry handle.
One thing I can say about my experience with Marshall so far is that generally my experience has been good but I've never had to spend a great deal of time getting what I want from them. Even though the Randall thus far has been the best one the amount of headroom was immense and it did take me longer each time to dial in the tone I wanted.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: buddroyce on June 29, 2018, 02:48:43 PM
I've been using the 50W Head + 2x12 cab setup for a long time. It's a hell of a lot easier to work with than a 2x12 combo. Would highly recommend it if you have to lug your own gear around.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: Guitar74 on August 01, 2019, 09:01:23 AM
I downsized from a rack system and 412 to a 212 combo. I quickly installed casters. I am now playing it and a 112 combo in stereo.

I am putting a new rack together as well. That whole ball of yarn cane from me scoring an ADA MP-1 preamp for $75 a few years ago. That preamp is as good as I remember. Great tube tones, programmability, and diversity. Perfect to go through my stereo solid state Peavy setup. Now I need a Quadraverb.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: HarlowTheFish on August 02, 2019, 11:15:05 PM
H&K Grandmeister Deluxe 40 into a DV Mark Neoclassic 2x12. Recently picked up a Nektar Analog Drive to blend some other dirt textures. It's got basically every vibe you'd want with it's own character (it is to a Marshall/Vox as a Supro is to a Fender, kinda broad and big in the midrange with extended lows and highs), has a pretty good basic pallete of effects to toss in, and the entire rig (with the cab) weighs like 45lbs. My old Legacy III weighed almost as much (43lbs IIRC), and the Carvin 2x12 I used with it weighed 60 on its own. Plus pedalboard and effects, it got a little out of hand.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: MW-AB on August 03, 2019, 01:59:14 PM
My journey may not be so exciting as some.
My first amps were various flavours of Fenders.
After a decade or two I began trying other things.
Marshall, Rivera, Boogie, Egnator, in that order.
Now, I feel I have arrived at home where I belong and my two main amps are Fender and Boogie and I don't envision that changing.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: Mew on February 07, 2020, 11:40:30 AM
I don't know why, but I adore H&K old ...... Statesman .... 50W head, with like, Fenderish clean and Marshallish crunch. Egnater Renegade is on similar level. Pretty similar amps. Same philosophy of design.

This two amps I would have if I wanted tour amps.

And in terms of cab, something like this is waaaaay tooo much awesome for me.


If I wanted to gig. I love cabs like this one.


I did want Renegade in past. But it was way overpriced in my country.
So I ended up with some sort of JCM900 copy.
That John Frusciante cleanish funky sound, with Slash Marshall overdrive.
It was almost 50% of price of Egnater at the time.
And at the time, there was no that H&K for sale also. -.-

Lately I want to get 1x8 small combo. xD With few simple pedals.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: Guitar74 on July 15, 2020, 11:26:13 AM
I had the 90s era H&K 412 with vintage 30s and swore that there was no other cabinet. I listened back to those days and still agree. Even though I have scaled the size down due to either smaller venues or me getting older, that 412 H&K cab sounded awesome at large club stage volumes.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: HarlowTheFish on July 15, 2020, 07:17:57 PM
H&K is really killing it with amps these days - stuff that sounds killer and is really practical for gigs. I have a Grandmeister Deluxe 40 and it's got that classic H&K thing (super bright all the time but cuts through a mix like nothing else), 40 watts (switchable to 20, 10, and 1 iirc), a power soak and DI out so you don't even need a cab, 4 channels plus a boost, pretty good reverb, delay, and modulation, and can work with MIDI presets (saved reverb, delay, boost, and modulation settings) or as a little pedalboard-type thing (4 channels on the footswitch plus toggles for the delay, modulation, and boost). 20ish lbs, too, so you can literally fit your amp, footswitch, and cables in a backpack and have a 2x12 in one hand and a guitar in the other (I use a DV Mark Neoclassic 2x12 which weighs in at 27lbs, so my entire rig is like 50lbs plus guitar). The Black Spirit 200 they dropped kinda recently has the same features but is solid state, is both smaller and lighter (the GM is pretty tiny too - a bit smaller than an AC15 head), and sounds killer.

Honestly like, if you gig or record on a more limited budget ($1500ish for the GM40D and $1000ish for the Black Spirit, plus $150 or so for the footswitch brand new - but you can get a GM for like $850 with the footswitch on Reverb) and need a bunch of different sounds, their stuff is kind of a no-brainer if you dig the vibe and response.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: Guitar74 on February 25, 2021, 11:47:19 AM
I am really impressed with H&K. But then again, I always have been. I agree with the brightness. And like you said, it cuts through a mix. Even with the brightness, they still manage to sound full and fat. They really make some impressive stuff.
Title: Re: Amp choices
Post by: darkbluemurder on February 26, 2021, 02:50:08 AM
The one H&K amp that really impressed me was the Puretone. Really great tone but loud as hell.