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what amp?


Nick Sandford
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Hello. I am a guitar player in a band and we are beginning to do small gigs. The problem is I need to buy a good amp for the task. In my price range I can afford a Marshall Valvestate half stack or a proper valve combo amp for the same or less. What should I buy? are valve amps noticably better then valvestate amps (Marshall).Will a combo be load enough for small gigs? If you have any suggestions please reply.

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a 40-60 watt tube amp will do just fine for small to meduim gigs. a combo would be my choice (with 2x12").

there are so many choices out there...the valvestate half stack is too big to lug around, and that single 12ax7 isn't going to do much except sell the amp.

in new amps, look at fender, ampeg, carvin (pretty good deals), in used look for a bandmaster head with a 2x12 bottom as a possibility.

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Most working guitarists prefer an amp with a 12" speaker over smaller sizes. Many use 2-12" speakers.

100W is generally considered to be suitable power for

smaller clubs and venues. Some use 60W amps for smaller

venues. 40W is pushing it and usually comes packaged

with a 10" speaker. You really do want 12. Almost all

guitarists I know (including myself) prefer tubes over

solid state for sound. Tube amps weigh more and this

is one of the trade offs. How's your back? I suggest

going to a store and listening to as many amps as you

can. The Fender DeLuxe Reverb (tube) is considered

a standard from which to compare. I am less familiar

with Marshall, however the valvestate amps don't sound

as good as the all tube models. Good listening.

(One piece of advice, when buying an all tube amp, first get the numbers of the tubes used and check on

availability for the future. Some used amps may have

very hard to find tubes.)

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Most working guitarists prefer an amp with a 12" speaker over smaller sizes. Many use 2-12" speakers.

100W is generally considered to be suitable power for

smaller clubs and venues. Some use 60W amps for smaller

venues. 40W is pushing it and usually comes packaged

with a 10" speaker. You really do want 12. Almost all

guitarists I know (including myself) prefer tubes over

solid state for sound. Tube amps weigh more and this

is one of the trade offs. How's your back? I suggest

going to a store and listening to as many amps as you

can. The Fender DeLuxe Reverb (tube) is considered

a standard from which to compare. I am less familiar

with Marshall, however the valvestate amps don't sound

as good as the all tube models. Good listening.

(One piece of advice, when buying an all tube amp, first get the numbers of the tubes used and check on

availability for the future. Some used amps may have

very hard to find tubes.)

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My good buddy plays a Fender Twin Reverb and it sounds great. 2 X 12" and I think that it is 60W X 2. I have a Fender Deluxe and it sounds great but my volume needs aren't so high. A cheap alternative is to play through a cheaper, though good sounding, amp and mike it up through your PA system (if you have one).

Jam on!

PC

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A 65-watt or 100-watt Marshall Valve (or Valvestate) combo amp should do quite fine for small gigs. The valvestate amps have a tube preamp section and a solid state power amp section, hence the valvestate name. I think valve combo amps are just a shorter name for valvestate combo amps.

A combo amp will be fine, but definitely get at least a 60-watt amp, and preferably a 100-watt amp with one or two 12-inch speakers. Anything less and you won't be able to keep up with the drummer volume-wise, but anything more will be tough to drag around from gig to gig (or rehearsal to rehearsal). Check out other brands too, Mesa Boogie, Fender, and the like; play them, and see which one you like best. Check out stores and listen to amps, then grab a Musician's Friend catalog if you don't have one (www.musiciansfriend.com) and check out their gear as well. Good luck,

Victor

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the 100 watt neccesity just has not been my experience in over 20 years of gigs. think of all those people out there with 40watt vibroverbs, bassmen amps, bandmasters, marshall 50's, vox ac50's...were not talking cream at the royal albert hall, just normal gigs. heck i play swing dances as a bass player in large auditoriums with a 45 watt ampeg portaflex and you can definately hear me over the drummer. very few bands ever used more than 50 watts until large arena playing became the thing. anyone that can stand in front of a 50 or 60 watt 2x12 or 4x10 tube amp at high volume and tell me it's not loud enough is nuts.

mike

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I said 60-watt minimum, not 100; 60 is loud enough. In my experience, you can't get a loud, *clean* sound over the drums under 60 watts, especially with a tube amp. But then again, the drummers I've played with have been so loud as to force me and fellow band members to wear earplugs. I agree with you for, say, a jazz band, but not a metal band. For a long time, my rule has been to never get an amp smaller than 60 watts. I currently play on a 65-watt amp, and it has just enough juice for my needs.

Victor

: the 100 watt neccesity just has not been my experience in over 20 years of gigs. think of all those people out there with 40watt vibroverbs, bassmen amps, bandmasters, marshall 50's, vox ac50's...were not talking cream at the royal albert hall, just normal gigs. heck i play swing dances as a bass player in large auditoriums with a 45 watt ampeg portaflex and you can definately hear me over the drummer. very few bands ever used more than 50 watts until large arena playing became the thing. anyone that can stand in front of a 50 or 60 watt 2x12 or 4x10 tube amp at high volume and tell me it's not loud enough is nuts.

: mike

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: I said 60-watt minimum, not 100; 60 is loud enough. In my experience, you can't get a loud, *clean* sound over the drums under 60 watts, especially with a tube amp. But then again, the drummers I've played with have been so loud as to force me and fellow band members to wear earplugs. I agree with you for, say, a jazz band, but not a metal band. For a long time, my rule has been to never get an amp smaller than 60 watts. I currently play on a 65-watt amp, and it has just enough juice for my needs.

: Victor

:

: : the 100 watt neccesity just has not been my experience in over 20 years of gigs. think of all those people out there with 40watt vibroverbs, bassmen amps, bandmasters, marshall 50's, vox ac50's...were not talking cream at the royal albert hall, just normal gigs. heck i play swing dances as a bass player in large auditoriums with a 45 watt ampeg portaflex and you can definately hear me over the drummer. very few bands ever used more than 50 watts until large arena playing became the thing. anyone that can stand in front of a 50 or 60 watt 2x12 or 4x10 tube amp at high volume and tell me it's not loud enough is nuts.

: : mike

Hello you guys,

Are you both deaf???? Ouch!! My son't 25 watt Fender Bass amp (BXR 25) is plenty loud.

AB

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: : I said 60-watt minimum, not 100; 60 is loud enough. In my experience, you can't get a loud, *clean* sound over the drums under 60 watts, especially with a tube amp. But then again, the drummers I've played with have been so loud as to force me and fellow band members to wear earplugs. I agree with you for, say, a jazz band, but not a metal band. For a long time, my rule has been to never get an amp smaller than 60 watts. I currently play on a 65-watt amp, and it has just enough juice for my needs.

: : Victor

: :

: : : the 100 watt neccesity just has not been my experience in over 20 years of gigs. think of all those people out there with 40watt vibroverbs, bassmen amps, bandmasters, marshall 50's, vox ac50's...were not talking cream at the royal albert hall, just normal gigs. heck i play swing dances as a bass player in large auditoriums with a 45 watt ampeg portaflex and you can definately hear me over the drummer. very few bands ever used more than 50 watts until large arena playing became the thing. anyone that can stand in front of a 50 or 60 watt 2x12 or 4x10 tube amp at high volume and tell me it's not loud enough is nuts.

: : : mike

: Hello you guys,

: Are you both deaf???? Ouch!! My son't 25 watt Fender Bass amp (BXR 25) is plenty loud.

: AB

25 watts will bust out your eardrums in a room in a house but you'd sound lost gigging with it.

I'd go with both Victor and Mike on this one, my buddy with the Twin used to use a Deluxe (like mine). He plays in a really popular local Honky Tonk band and you could hear him fine with the Deluxe but the Twin cuts through much better and it does have this "cleaner" sound. The Deluxe is fine if you are playing for smaller crowds where the volume level isn't so important, but if you're playing for a big crowd where Loud is King I'd go with the Twin.

PC

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There is a difference in the required power an amplifier must deliver for a violin and a guitar. A

guitar requires more than a violin because of the way

in which our ears perceives loudness (equal loudness

curves - Fletcher and Munson). I have performed in

amplified bands routinely since 1962 (some years full

time) and continue to do so. I mostly play small group

jazz in small venues and have a Fender DeLuxe Reverb

tube amp that puts out 22W. I'm more interested in tone

than amplification pursae,as I come up under an acoustic bass player with "just enough" to balance the

sound.

In my experience of talking about amps with full

time working guitarists that play a wide variety of

styles of music in many sizes of venues, most would

say to get a 100W with a 12 speaker and that 60 can

get you through a lot of the smaller clubs.

I should mention that when I've played gigs where

there was a Hammond B3 organ with Leslie speakers, drums, and guitar, I have needed 100W to balance with

the fullness of those wonderful sounding Leslies!

(Yes, I own several amps)....for fiddling with amplification, I use a small 40W amp with a built in

reverb. More than enough! It is a very subjective area

to be sure. I would go for tone first, then figure the

volume needs. You want a great sounding amp.

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I got a little sidetracked after reading all the responses...just want to say, most importantly, get an

amp and start playing with your band...eventually, you

will notice how other amps sound different from whatever you decide on and then begins the lifelong

pursuit of the "perfect amp"..have FUN! One thing,it

is often the case that groups starting out only play

at "full volume"...IF there is an acoustic instrument

in the group (drums?)..make sure that the amps leave

room for the drummer to have a full dynamic range that

can be heard. Go for balance!

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i still think 50 watts is enough (or sixty-basically were talking about two output tubes here), and i'm in pretty good company here in the professional world as long as were not talking about a metal band, but lets consider the fact that 4-6 output tubes not only increases reliability problems, but means doubling the cost of tubes (6l6,el34, 6550, kt88,...). you are looking at an increase of anywhere from $30-75 more for a retube, plus bigger amps also often have more tubes in the driver/pregain stages that could add even more complexity and cost. stick with a tried and true good quality 2 output tube head or combo and you will be fine.

mike

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having a solid-state power amp means you don't have to worry about replacing expensive EL34s (as much as i may like them, they are a bit pricey), just 12AX7s for the preamp. and i do agree that 60 watts is enough for small gigs, even for metal bands!

-v

: i still think 50 watts is enough (or sixty-basically were talking about two output tubes here), and i'm in pretty good company here in the professional world as long as were not talking about a metal band, but lets consider the fact that 4-6 output tubes not only increases reliability problems, but means doubling the cost of tubes (6l6,el34, 6550, kt88,...). you are looking at an increase of anywhere from $30-75 more for a retube, plus bigger amps also often have more tubes in the driver/pregain stages that could add even more complexity and cost. stick with a tried and true good quality 2 output tube head or combo and you will be fine.

: mike

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by the way, it is my understanding that bass amps are more efficient than guitar amps, so comparing wattages between guitar amps and bass amps doesn't work well.

-v

: Hello you guys,

: Are you both deaf???? Ouch!! My son't 25 watt Fender Bass amp (BXR 25) is plenty loud.

: AB

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low frequencies take more power to amplify, hence the old saying about having a bass amp rated twice the output of your guitarists' amp; also in hi-fi subwoofers are often powered by amps with outputs up to 1000 watts while the main monitors are using a fraction of that.

m

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