Check out the Swart amplifer company. I have one of their amps and they are great. I tested many before I settled on this one. Sounds great with Gibson and Fenders.
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I don't know if I'd classify myself a guitarist as I've only been playing a year, (I do love it by the way), and I'm not even remotely good, but I have a Fender Telecaster into a Swart AST-R, (5W tube amp and LOUD), and a Reason Bambino, (switchable tube amp between 2W and 8W with 2 channels and a cool "stacked" feature allowing you to run both channels at the same time for some great tones).
The Reason amp is awesome for getting breakup before going deaf. With the Swart, I had to add a Tubless el34 pedal because I think it would have killed me before I could get it to break up.
Cables are Vovox.
Yep. Since I'm not a pro, I'm down to just one guitar (Washburn N4) but I've had at one point Les Paul Standard, Les Paul Custom, Gibson 335, and HM strat. Two amps, a Mesa Boogie Nomad and a 50 watt Crate combo (actually a very good amp). I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but have you seen Milbert's GAGA amp based on David Berning's Zotl circuit? 50 watts, lots of features, supposed to be out this summer.
I play one of five guitars I have at the time. There are two USA Hamers, a T-51 & a Daytona, Robin Avalon, Tokai TST-56, & a Larrivee Pete Anderson Signature. I mainly use a Allen Class Act for my amp. It's a cool little amp that uses any number of power tubes; 6v6, EL34, 6L6, and others. Power ranges from 4 to 7 watts and it's loud as hell in my largish living room. No onboard reverb or effects, so I usually use an outboard reverb.
I have ~15 guitars and 5 amps (that matter) plus several amps I've built or am building. The primary amps are Fender Concert Reverb, Super 112, Hot Rod Deluxe, Crate VFX5112, and Peavey Special 130. I have a little Silvertone Organ amp that I converted to guitar - it's a single ended 6AQ5 tube driven by a 12ax7. That amp has great tone, though it's very basic so you need pedals if you want anything but pure tube crunch.
I have an Emery Sound Microbaby guitar amp which is great to play around the house or could be used for recording. It is single ended and puts out 1-2 watts depending on the tube combination that you use. It is designed to use various output tubes (6g6,6Y6,6V6,EL84,etc) and can be mixed with various driver tubes (12Xa7,12ua7,12at7 etc.) It allows you to get many different sounds out of the same amp. Kind of like a modeling amp but just using different tubes. Has incredible tone and is lots of fun to play around with. I use it with a custom shop Strat, a vintage ES335 and a vintage Epiphone Olympic.
I've been playing for over 30 years..oops that kind of dates me.
I love my Fender natural ash American Tele, Eric Clapton Blackie Strat with noiseless pup's and my Taylor 810.
I use a Mesa Boogie Tremoverb with 2 12" Celestion Vintage's running Svetlana el34's and NOS JAN 12ax7's or JJ 12ax7's.
Also use a Rowland Microcube... VERY loud!
Monster Cable 500's throughout and numerous pedals/modellers etc.
The Taylor usually blows away all a'phile friends who think they can produce the sound of a live guitar on their systems.
VOX makes the "Nightrain" head which has a triode mode and a pentode mode - basically cuts the power output from 15 to 7 watts. Sounds a little different in the triode mode, but sounds like a VOX amp either way. You mentioned power. If you aren't gigging you don't want a lot of power. The issue of power in a guitar amp is really the headroom - the point until you start to berak up. Of course there is really no point in having a tube amp unless you want the amp to break up (drive the tube into distortion). All tube amps will be loud. Tube amps also have very distinctive flavors - which makes sense since you are trying to distort the signal. A lot of people mentioned Mesa Boogie - fantastic amps. But you get a different sound from VOX, Fender, Marshall. There are also some nice boutique amps out there. You really need to listen to guitar amps to find what you like. A lot more variation between manufacturer's than what you find in audiophile equipment. The differences are far from subtle. I personally use a low wattage VOX for home practice.
Kijanki, One of my modellers is a Vox Tonelab. It has the ability to model various amps, pedals, cabinets etc. I used to own a Line6 Pod v2, which IMHO is very limited and sounds much worse than the Tonelab. However, I have never used a modeller that really comes that close to the real thing.. i.e.,A Fender Tweed from the 50's has a tone that is to die for, the modeller's repro of this amp is really a joke when you do an AB.
I think if I were to get another amp, my #1 choice would be a Princeton or Deluxe Tweed folowed by a Black Face Super Reverb. All are amps that sound truly magnificent, IMHO.
Daveyf - I started with classical Cordoba R40 and took some lessons then bought Martin D15 to follow by used cheap Silvertone copy of Les Paul (changing pickups to Seymour Duncan Jazz and JB) plus mentioned Valvetronix and finally Ibanez Soungear SR300DX 4 string bass and 100W Carvin bass combo.
Now I don't know what to do with all this since I lost interest. I still play very simple classical a little and hope to start basic bass lessons but most likely it will all end-up in hands of my grandson (currently 5).
I agree that modeling doesn't come close to original thing. Fender Tweed was great but I thought once of finding original 30W VOX (that Beatles played). Tube amp with no feedback, Alnico magnet speakers etc. It amazes me that early rock bands played out with 30W combos while power now is often in kW.
I would suggest that you go to a local guitar shop and play a Fender Strat or a Tele or a real Gibson Les Paul; Once you pick up one of these and play a few notes, you may re-consider. If not, well so be it, you will then notice that one of the nice things about good musical equip is that it holds its value very well. I would expect that you should be able to get back most, if not all, that you paid for the Martin, as an example.
Daveyf - Martin is probably the only one that is worth more used than I paid for new - everything else would be a loss. To me Martin and Les Paul (Silvertone made by Samick is decent) are part of history and I really enjoy having them. Strats, having longer scale, have a little bit better definition but I don't mind. McCartney played this super short scale Hoffner before he got wise and switched to long scale Ricekenbacker (starting with Penny Lane).
Samick makes 500,000 guitars a year. Epiphone, Gretsch, Bennet, Washburn are made by Samick. Completely automated and pretty good quality. Often price difference is only name on the headstock. My Silvertone looks and sounds the same as Epiphone (might be same guitar). Gibson is of higher quality but for 10x the cost.
Kijanki, One of the things that I have learnt over the years of playing is that it is FAR FAR harder to get a good sound out of a poor instrument than a great instrument... Which is why I suggested that you go and play a couple of good instruments. You may be able to get a better feel for what your abilities are ( which might make you decide to keep playing) and you may also be able to hear the improvement in the sound quality that the instrument gives off. Personally, I can easily tell the difference when I put on new strings and the quality and/or the gauge of said strings. To me, even string type and gauge makes a HUGE difference in my sound. As a beginner, a good instrument is even more important IMHO ..:0)
I might a beginner but not to instrument itself. I can appreciate presence, projection, sustain, separation and tone of good guitar. My lessons were to play classical notation but I've played guitar for a long time (on and off). As for strings - the best so far I found are:
Classical: Galli Strings Genius GR45 Titanio (Incredible!)
Acoustic: John Pearse Phosphor bronze light
Electric: Ernie Ball slinkies regular (lime)
Bass: Ken Smith Rock Masters medium.
I've tried pretty much most of available strings. Galli Genius Titanio are amazing - not only incredible sounding but also not breaking and lasting forever. John Pears is always good and Ernie Ball is common knowledge between professional players. Ken Smith Rock Masters are something special - superb definition.
As for tension - It doesn't make much sense to use light for electric guitar or bass but light for acoustic often makes sense. Regular tension not always plays better. Lower tension sometimes brings more sound (too much stress lowers vibration). Light tension also minimizes effect of "top loading" (wood deformation). Best for classical is normal tension with possibility of higher tension on G,B,E if guitar sounds better (not always).
Kijanki, so are you agreeing with me and you are just tired or burnt out or ?
I don't really understand your post as to why you are on the one hand saying you have lost interest and have no ability, yet on the other hand state you are a beginner and yet have played for years? I guess if you have lost interest due to not wanting to play anymore vs. not feeling like you are progressing well, then my earlier post as to a possible remedy would probably not be of any help.
At least you can sell the Martin for what you paid for it or more.
BTW, I feel slightly differently about strings, IMHO lights on an electric is usually the way to go and mids on an acoustic is also. My Taylor uses Elixir mids on it and it just BOOMS.
I'm tired of not making progress. I hope to find more time and patience (read: attention span) and move slowly forward. I have hard time to concentrate and to remember musical phrase but it will come with practice. I played more when I was young but it was time of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Now I use Sibelius to enter and play with computer small classical pieces and Band in the Box to play acoustic or electric.
Yes I should sell Martin - it is practically new (sound not opened yet) but I just love this guitar. Martin is perfection. I can find some imperfections on my hand made Cordoba but not on Martin. Taylor is also top notch but I like more Martin deep "house sound" vs Taylor's open and bright sound. Part of the sound is saddle - extra hard synthetic (Corian) on Taylor and softer synthetic on Martin. I changed Martin saddle to Walrus Ivory and pins to brass - works quite well.
I have been playing into a Crate Vintage Club 30 for 15 years now. Sweetest class A EL34 tube amp i've heard. Sustain and crunch galore. Not the most precise but who cares when you hear that tone. Real spring reverb to boot. I am currently loving my Ibanez AS93 although I do miss my 1963 (revisted )Les Paul Classic Premium Plus Cinnamon Burst.
Kijanki, I think with the Taylor vs. Martin discussion, that Martins are a little less able to bloom than Taylors but maybe do have a little more punch in the bottom end. I personally like my 810 better than say a D28, but like you say both are top notch. For my style of playing the Taylor seems a better fit. BTW, I doubt that the saddle has as much to do with it, I think it is the bracing and body shape that is the determinant as to the bottom end.
Also, if you are fed up with not making progress, i would suggest either more lessons and/or as I stated above, maybe a different guitar.
Grimace - Using home system for guitar playing is not a very good idea. Few of my friends damaged their systems that way. In addition nothing can sound as sweet as good crunch of tube guitar amp that Dpac996 is talking about. I can get some of this sound with my VOX Valvetronix modeling but it is not the same. It is pretty hard to damage tube amp and quite easy to repair (replace tube) - another reason for using tube guitar amps. Guitar thru home stereo, in comparison, sounds "sterile".
Electric guitar and amp are considered one instrument. You should be able to move them together - not the case with home stereo.
"I would suggest either more lessons and/or as I stated above, maybe a different guitar."
I've tried to blame it on guitar (I have 4) but the truth is I have to spend more time practicing. It is also possible that I don't have ears for music and whole thing doesn't make sense. I don't expect much though and have whole life for it.
I agree about bracing - that is perhaps the biggest difference. Typical guitars have top made of spruce or cedar because these woods have highest strength to weight ratio, but my D15 is whole mahogany (top, back and sides) - quite different sound.
While we're on the subject of guitars and guitar making, there is a luthier in Germany Matthias Dammann who makes world's best classical guitars. When one of the best guitarists David Russell started using his guitar everybody wants to have one. Price is average for this level - about $30k but wait period is 9 years (big demand and lot of orders). He could raise price twofold but he finds more satisfaction when people have to wait 9 years for his instrument. Something to thing about in our money oriented society.
The Blues Jr. is a great amp. Perfectly able to get great tone. I play a G & L Bluesboy and get great sound out of it. Keep in mind that your gear is only half of the equation. Great tone originates and resides in your fingertips. I've been playing blues, folk and rock for the better part of 40 years. My other electric guitars are a PRS Custom 22 and a Gibson Les Paul Studio. My other amp is a Mesa Boogie DC-2 Studio Caliber. I spend most of my time refining my tone and technique on an old Sigma/Martin DR 28 acoustic. I have also previously owned a Gibson "The SG", Fender American Standard Stratocaster, Gibson Les Paul Studio Standard, and a PRS CE. Other amps owned include a Mitchell Pro 100 (Mesa Boogie MkI clone) and a Vox Westminister. Don't worry so much about the gear. Keep your Blues Jr. Make sure you have a decent guitar and play a bunch. The biggest difference is in the guitarist not the guitar. Your tone will be great in time.
Anyone ever try this dumb trick - before you were old enough to know better, of course - cutting a guitar cable and rigging it to RCA jacks and then running it through a hi-fi amp?actually I did try it through an old receiver, and the output from the guitar is so small you barely hear it. It is a little more audible through a phono input, but still not enough.
i will say the Blues Jr can spank out a range of tones...heck, i overdrove the preamp volume (10+) and when the pickups are 8+, oh man i can get the crunch that you hear in mick ronson (david bowie) and uncle pete (townshend).
using dual P-90s by Fralin. limited in harmonics, but not in steel boot to the head crunch action. guess i need a diff guitar for diff tone.
btw, i find myself gravitating away from heavy use of distortion pedals (though i will keep my keeley TubeScreamer)...pedals i've tried all sound distorted in an unnatural way (IOW: Solid State clipping!) vs when i crank the Blues Jr into distortion (tube clipping) which rocks hard in a natural way.
"I would suggest either more lessons and/or as I stated above, maybe a different guitar."
Maybe you should study music theory more. It really helped me. (not that i am an expert), but learning some basic theory and understanding scales, keys, time signatures, learning how to structure lead parts over rythems etc, has elevated my playing allot more than just trying to learn another Stone's song. I don't think buying another guitar will help much, as long as you dont have an instrument that is to cheap to tune or has bad frets etc. Just stay away from stuff that has been modded. Take the time to learn guitar set up on your own so you know the ends and outs. Start with a mexican strat or something so you are not fiddling with an expensive guitar.
PS. to the guy that implyed that chineese made epiphones is just as good as gibson and the only diff is the name on the head stock --- LOLOLOLOLOL NO WAY !! I tried an Epi SG, and the neck would flex as you changed chords and if you tuned one string the rest would go out of tune. 100% junk!
6550c - Epiphone is not made in China but in Korea (big difference) in largest instrument factory in the world. Samick has factories in Korea and Indonesia. I've never suggested same quality as Gibson but it is pretty good. If it is enough for Epihone (owned by Gibson) and Gretsch to build guitars there - it should be enough for me. Samick uses quality stuff - Grover tuners, Duncan designed pickups, Wilkinson bridges. As for headstock - I compared Epiphone to Silvertone and not the Gibson. Gibson is 10x more expensive.
Here you'll find user reviews of Samick Les Paul copy (4.5 of 5):
I play a Diezel VH4, an awesome amp. In addition to its plethora of great features, one can crank the master volume and turn down the channel volume to get tube distortion at a reasonable (note, reasonable not quiet, volume). I tried bogner uberschall, bogner ecstacy, boogie roadking, engl savage, peavey XXX, marshall, etc before buying the diezel. All had some pros, but the diezel could get most tones of other of the above mentioned amps.
I am unaware of a SET guitar amp that I have heard of, but I am not the ultimate authority.
I play a 1992 PRS CE24 and unfortunately had to sell my McNaught vintage single cut with korina body/neck, brazilian rosewood board, and killer quilted maple top.
Interesting comments about cables in the post. I am just starting to explore this. I had been wondering if it would be worthwhile having a guitar wired internally with audiophile cable as the first link in the audio chain and came across this http://www.analysis-plus.com/images/Luczak1.JPG
Has anyone done this? What cable company brand possesses the traits that would most well suit this purpose (i.e., in terms of capacitance, etc)
Some very cool stuff.I started playing 1975,,had a love ,hate thing for many years,,always led to trouble,,,,at least thats what my ex wife said!First guitar I had,was a trade for my Kawasaki 250.I got a fender tele deluxe and a very old GREAT sounding 100 watt marshall head,dont recall model ,had a tag inside from 64 i think,and 4x4 cab.Over the years ,ive had a couple good marshalls and electric guitars.Now I have two Larrivees I enjoy .A D-03 L-03 PS.The guy that traded away his marshall ,bought a terrible sounding peavy,,sad,he was a VERY good player
one of the things i'm finding my audiophile ears are telling me is that most pedals are absolute crap and shouldn't be used.
granted, i've tried about 4. only one i liked was a $200 modified keeley tube screamer 808. pretty awesome.
that said, i like straight into the amp (and overdrive distortion) much better.
any other pedals to watch for>? i just ordered an area 51 wah. we'll see on it.
I mostly use a Rivera Clubster, which sounds pretty decent, is very versatile, includes user friendly footswitching, and was reasonably inexpensive on the used market.
My main guitars are an inexpensive, entry level US Tele fitted with Joe Barden's "Danny Gatton" Pickups, a Veillettte Elan (a great piezo set-up), a Rick Turner Model One (the Lindsey Buckingham guitar with piezo, active electonics, one rotating magnetic pup at the neck), A Henman Bevelaqua S-1 (bolt neck, long scale, twin humbucker mashup with killer WCRs), and a half dozen or so archtops of varying design.
Pedals are like Capitalism. They suck, but they're better than anything else. Sometime you need that trem, or chorus...