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A good cheap tube amp?
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
eve69's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
A good cheap tube amp?

I need a cheap tube amp for under 200 bucks. I have played guitar for only a year and electric for 6 months. I bought an Orange PIX 20LDX for 100 bucks new and after this duration I have decided I hate it. Well not hate it, but there's no chime and ring to the clean and the overdrive is noisy and has a winding circuitous noise which is distracting from good clear tone. I am selling it and I have been looking at Crate Palomino V16 and Vox Pathfinder R. Are there any other choices?
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Do you need to play this amp with a drummer? If yes, get more money and look at a Peavey Classic 30, Ampeg Jet reissue or Orange Tiny Terror (shop used). A Fender Blues Jr. or Pro Jr. might work if you want something clean, though I'd probably get the Peavey first myself.

If no, I'd check out the 5 watt Blackheart head, got mine used for $100 off CL. Do some research on speakers as well, they play a big part in what kind of sound you're getting.
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I wouldn't buy anything until you check out a couple different amps.

Personally I'd look at a new Champ 600, Pro Jr....maybe Vox AC4.

Bells and whistles are neat...but they typically add to the cost, and/or sacrifice the pure playing experience. Don't let an amp with just 2 knobs scare you...they generally sound VERY good paired with the right guitar.
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
Ron is right, you should play a variety of amps but I would suggest going somewhere that has a decent selection of used gear.

I would, however, disagree and say that bells and whistles are not neat at all, they will **** up your sound and make the amp sound worse. Get something simple that sounds good. Ron is right that two knobs are definitely enough!
Old 14th September 2012
  #5
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eve69's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I agree. After the crappy Orange modelling junk and playing with amp sims I am over all that and want simple. I will individual my pedals for odds and ends. I'll check into those amps. Thanks.

No. I just play by and for myself, and the wife sometimes when she is fully awake. Which isn't often

I looked at demos of all the amps above on Youtube and liked the Ampeg, Peavy, and Blackheart the best. But I probably can't afford the first two. Is the Blackheart loud? Tone fine?
Old 14th September 2012
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
while I agree that amps like the PJ, BJ, Excelsior etc are cool straightforward and simple.

Cheap amps have shortcomings, even though simpler is cheaper than more intricate a lot of these current production simple fender tube amps cut a lot of corners hence why there are so many mod your "fill in the blank tube amp" threads online.

I'd stretch your budget if at all possible.

Aside from the amp other factors can inhibit you from getting great tone.
-speaker/cabinet selection (I suggest Eminence or Weber)
-tube selection (most stock tubes in current production amps are CRAP, a simple upgrade to some well selected JJ's or Groove Tubes or a big upgrade to well tested NOS options can make a night and day difference to your tone)
-bad cables (I suggest Lava, Fulltone, or Mogami)
-poorly setup instruments (I suggest that everyone get a professional setup, well cut bone nut, find the right string/gauge for your playing style, the right pick, in some cases upgrade to better pickups that suit your playing style, etc)
-technique

If you are playing alone that helps out to determine your needs.

But I have to ask you some questions
-do you use pedals (if so which ones?)
-do you play primarily clean or dirty (if so what type of timbre do you go for, do you play an amp with a brighter or darker tone, do you play all out grind or do you want something with just a hint of breakup)

there are hundreds of guitar amps out there.

Personally I think the best starting point you can make would be to stretch your budget and really invest in something that you can grow with, rather than something cheap that you'll outgrow.

A great amp for versatility or those that don't know what they want that still sounds great is the Egnater Tweaker 15 (available in a head and a combo). I use the head with a 2x12 cab.

I've swapped out the tubes I use 6CA7 power tubes and I switched to ECC83S preamp tubes. My cab is loaded with 30 watt ceramic Weber Silver Bell and Blue Dog speakers (both have pre-rola dope and were broken in by Weber). This amp can take any 12AX7 style preamp tubes and any octal style power tubes adding to it's tweakability and flexibility.

This amp gets me authentic Tweed and Blackface Fender tones, great Marshall crunch tones or thicker slightly gritty clean tones, and a lot of cool Voxy chimey tones, it can also get some Mesa Rectifier styled sounds. It's also pedal friendly.

My pedalboard features a diverse collection:
Fulltone Mini Dejavibe 2
Dunlop Joe Bonomassa Crybaby
Dunlop Volume
Wampler Ego Compressor
VFE Fuzz Duo (which is a switchable silicon/germanium/hybrid fuzz face)
DMB Pedals Dual Overdrive (this was custom built for me it's a four knob stellar drive into a four knob lexi drive)
Earthquaker Devices Organizer
Earthquaker Devices Rainbow Machine
Electro Harmonix Ravish Sitar
TC Electronic Nova Modulator
TC Electronic Nova Delay
DMB Pedals Lunar Echo
Wampler Faux Spring Reverb
Digitech Jam Man Solo looper

I use a variety of electric guitars/pickups (all bone nuts and professionally setup):
Spitfire Nashville Tele (chambered swamp ash body with a dark blue stain finished kinda rustic using beeswax and orange oil, maple neck/fingerboard, joe barden bridge, fralin 2% overwound tele neck, fralin vintage hot strat middle, fralin blues special tele bridge for pickups, custom wiring)
St Blues T-style (lollar tweed strat neck and middle, lollar el rayo bridge)
PRS Santana SE (lollar single coil for humbucker set)
Spitfire Union Jack 335-style (lollar low wind imperial set)
Xaviere XV550 (fralin pure paf set, custom wiring, etc)
Italia Rimini 12 string aka Janglecaster (this features rickenbacker style stringing, lollar firebird style mini humbuckers, 3 way switch, vol, tone)

Altogether I have about a dozen guitars (between my acoustics and electrics)

For another great all rounder tube amp I'd look at the Vox AC15 and the Fender Super Sonic 22. The amp, the instrument, and the player are the key to great tones. You don't have to spend a fortune on gear but cheap gear will limit you. The problem with the smaller 5 watt and under amps for me has always been clean headroom. It's much harder to get good clean tones from those amps I find that if you like using pedals or play some styles it's very important to have great clean sounds.

I should mention that I play all styles of music classical, jazz, funk, motown, soul, indie, folk, blues, rnb, classic rock, progressive rock, surf, country, rockabilly, etc. Hence my variety in gear.
Old 14th September 2012
  #7
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litepipe's Avatar
To say one amp authentically does tweed, blackface and British is unrealistic. They are very different circuits and can only truly be authentic if it's the actual circuit.
Old 14th September 2012
  #8
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eve69's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Great replies and great room for me to start. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. As for sound, I am still working on it, but I do want a chimey clean and an American overdriven. I only have four pedals, Boss MT2, CE5 and NS2 and Behringer VP1. Epiphone LPSG

What about Marshall Class 5?
Old 14th September 2012
  #9
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Look at the Epiphone Valve Junor and the Smaller Black Star Amps, very popular
for learning Class A touch sensitivity and there's a slew of upgrade mods you can do
once your budget allows.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by eve69 ➑️
Great replies and great room for me to start. I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks. As for sound, I am still working on it, but I do want a chimey clean and an American overdriven. I only have four pedals, Boss MT2, CE5 and NS2 and Behringer VP1. Epiphone LPSG

What about Marshall Class 5?
It's ...meh...ok. It does the over the top distorted thing well...almost chimey when it's clean...but it's never 100% clean; always some dirt in there.
It's also SUPER f'n loud...sounds more like 15-20 watts at full tilt. Kind of a one trick pony amp.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by litepipe ➑️
To say one amp authentically does tweed, blackface and British is unrealistic. They are very different circuits and can only truly be authentic if it's the actual circuit.
yes and no because if you look at modern circuits vs vintage circuits for many popular amps you will see total variances over the years.

I didn't mention specific amps in my comments either.

And perhaps you should try a Tweaker for yourself before jumping to conclusions.

A lot can vary depending on the cabinet, speakers, tubes, etc.
Old 14th September 2012
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
I didn't care for the class five I found it to be kinda muddy, to my ear it just did a decent job of capturing the marshall sound I'd have to swap speakers and tubes for sure if not mod the circuit in some way.

I also didn't find that it had enough headroom to handle any clean tone whatsoever.
Old 15th September 2012
  #13
Lives for gear
 
eve69's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Guys and Gals, I bought a Bugera V55. It was only 400 bucks new from Ebay delivered. It's all tube and the Youtube vids of it kicked screeching a$$. From vids I watched I really liked the Ampeg Jet Reissue and the Peavy Classic 30 as well as Egnater Rebel, Vox AC15c, Marshall Class 5, and then for lower range theres a 100 dollar Bugera 5 wt and the Vox Pathfinder 15r. But both the later have 8 inch drivers and that's a bit underwhelming.

The Bugera V55 has triode and pentode modes and 55 in yer face watts. How could I refuse? (I begged my wife!!!) thanks for all the suggestions. They helped me more than I can say. The Ampeg and Peavy are great amps but about two hundred bucks beyind my limit.

Party on Dudes.
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #14
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Ron Vogel's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by indie folk guy ➑️
I didn't care for the class five I found it to be kinda muddy, to my ear it just did a decent job of capturing the marshall sound I'd have to swap speakers and tubes for sure if not mod the circuit in some way.

I also didn't find that it had enough headroom to handle any clean tone whatsoever.
Yes, yes, and yes...

Read this:
I have modded my Marshall Class 5!!!
Old 15th September 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
baskervils's Avatar
Guitar Research 60 watt w/tube pre + verb. Sounds like a Fender, lighter (I have combo) way under $200 used. Y fender sits in a closet!
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