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#220721 by Paleopete
Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:53 pm
I shouldn't get into this but ok...

Tubes of course.

Fender amps are my favorites, Peavey has made a couple of very good ones. Currently I use a Fender Champ at home and fpr band practice, a Fender Super Reverb onstage and a Peavey MX now and then onstage.

I tried solid state for years, never found one that got the sound I want. After getting into tubes I find just about any tube amp can get a good sound, especially those with no "Master Volume". That's the only thing I don't like about the Peavey Butcher, it's a master volume amp. I've also played several Fender Princetons, love those...

Most people don't know it but there's a long list of pros who use low wattage Fenders in the studio, while using Marshalls and Hiwatts and such onstage. David Gilmour is one, Mark Knopfler, Clapton of course, and Johnny Winter started with Super Reverb amps then went to the Music Man equivalent, Leo Fender's company after he sold Fender to CBS. Joe Walsh used a Fender Champ and a Telecaster for "Funk 49", I've seen John Mayer on Soundstage and Austin City Limits several times, always using Fenders, Buddy Guy usually has a fender behind him, Mike Campbell (Tom Petty's guitar player) uses all Fender amps, looks like a rack of about 4 of them.

Thing is, whether it's Fender, Marshall, Peavey, Mesa, Soldano...almost all the pros use tube amps. You almost never see a solid state amp onstage at large concerts. The only time I've seen one was CSN&Y, Graham Nash was using a solid state Peavey. That's the only solid state amp I've ever seen at any concert...Rush, Jethro Tull, Heart, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, Marshall Tucker, David Bowie, Robin Trower, Bad Company, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Seals and Crofts, LeRoux, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Nitzinger, Trapeze...and a few I can't remember, all those shows and exactly one solid state amp.

#220729 by GuitarMikeB
Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:25 pm
It all depends on what you are playing, the sound you want, etc.

For straight-out hard rock or blues, valve amps will every time.

For keyboards, acoustic guitar, general purpose use solid state will give you consistent sound at any volume. SS doesn't depend on quality of the tubes (and the cost of replacing them), generally are less sensitive to damage from dropping or banging around.

#220731 by Starfish Scott
Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:46 pm
Tubes...

Fender/Marshall for cleans.

Marshall for dirty.

#220737 by sanshouheil
Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:40 pm
Tubes . . . Class A . . . low wattage ( 5watt or less ) . . . good mic ( unless the amp has a high quality cab emulation line out ) into a high quality PA system.

If were going to be opinionated, that's mine in a nutshell.

#220756 by GuitarMikeB
Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:27 am
The original question did not ask "... for electric guitar" ....

This afternoon I hooked up mic and acoustic (Shure and Taylor DI) to my mixer, dialed in just a tiny bit of reverb, and plugged the output into the MP3/CD input on my Line 6 Spider IV 75 combo amp (single 12" Celestion speaker). This input bypasses the preamp, goes straight into the amp section, so the only control that works on the amp is the volume.
It was pretty f*ing loud (and clear as a bell)! I hadn't realized I could be using this as a small PA system all along. Dare you to do that with a tube amp!

#220757 by SCReams
Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:12 am
If or when I am making rock star money to replace them, I would consider going to tubes down the road.

For now, when I don't need a kick in the wallet...Solid state. I have had so many good years with them. Yes, I absolutely love the sound of a Fender Twin or a Vox Ac30, but my main setup has always been solid state. You'd be shocked at some of the sounds you can get out of digital these days.

Choosing an amp is pretty much the same as choosing pickups. It's really down to what you want. I'm not terribly picky. I use single coils as much as humbuckers or TVJones type pickups. I will say, if I want to do a clean track, I'll pick a single coil any day.

I got better at guitar faster than most people when I was learning, because I had to try to make my crappy equipment sound as good as their expensive stuff. What really made me a better guitarist was to put down my axes, and just stick with acoustic. Jerry Reed wrote all of his songs on a classical guitar, regardless of if he was going to use an electric on the recording.

Did I ramble on, maybe? As long as it's working, I can usually find my sweet spot on any amp. I sometimes like to use something I'd never normally use, just to spark creativity. I've got a little randall practice amp that I refuse to get rid of, because when you mic it, it has such a great quack that really works for older country. Gives me that Junior Barnard sound.

#220789 by GuitarMikeB
Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:22 pm
It's funny how many people these days think learning and developing their guitar abilities on an acoustic guitar is a waste of time! I see guys who have been playing just a few years, yet have some decent electric guitars and can't play them worth a sh!t!. They can't even tune them. It's not my place to tell them "get a $300 acoustic and develop your finger strength and strumming", but what I hear is people not improving month after month because of the laziness that playing an electric has allowed them to rely on.

Sorry, got this thread off on a tangent.

I sold my old Fender Bandmaster a few years ago because it was just too big and heavy to use regularly - the 2x12 cabinet was over 90 lbs, the tubes hadn't been changed in 25 years and would cost over $120 to change all of them (twice that for primo tubes). There was no decent volume or clean sound from it because of the tubes. It wasn't hard to make the decision to get rid of it.

#220812 by jw123
Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:03 pm
I love tubes for live playing main rig Mesa Triple Rec into a 4 x12.

Also use a 20 watt tube combo Mesa Subway Rocket

But when Im recording a lot of times I use my POD PRO preamp, I can dial in almost any amp tone with it, and its so easy for recording.

But live there is just something about the feeling of a tube amp, that SS cant emulate to me, cant put a finger on it, spongeyness maybe, the feel of the pull on the strings, but there is some different mojo from tubes for sure.

#220814 by sanshouheil
Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:09 pm
jw123 wrote:I love tubes for live playing main rig Mesa Triple Rec into a 4 x12.

Also use a 20 watt tube combo Mesa Subway Rocket

But when Im recording a lot of times I use my POD PRO preamp, I can dial in almost any amp tone with it, and its so easy for recording.

But live there is just something about the feeling of a tube amp, that SS cant emulate to me, cant put a finger on it, spongeyness maybe, the feel of the pull on the strings, but there is some different mojo from tubes for sure.


Don't know how to describe it either JW.
It just feels "thicker" . . . to me .

#220849 by jw123
Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:52 pm
George I guess thats a great way to describe it "THICKER", I will go with that also, tubes just feel thicker, and leave it at that

#220858 by Paleopete
Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:19 pm
If or when I am making rock star money to replace them, I would consider going to tubes down the road.


I played my Peavey MX with the same set of 6L6 power tubes for 15 years. They would have lasted longer if they hadn't been stolen by a less than scrupulous amp repair guy who was supposed to just do the troubleshooting...I've had my Super Reverb for just over 10 years now, same tubes in it, used the same tubes in the Champ for almost 20 years.

Tubes don't have to be changed every 3 or 4 gigs like strings do...sometimes one won't last a year, but usually a good set of tubes is good for 10 years of weekend gigs with no problems, very often more.

It's funny how many people these days think learning and developing their guitar abilities on an acoustic guitar is a waste of time! I see guys who have been playing just a few years, yet have some decent electric guitars and can't play them worth a sh!t!.


I couldn't agree more. I've seen the same thing, practice all the time on an acoustic, learned on one, and have recommended other guitar players learn and practice on acoustic for 30 years. New, intermediate or whatever...practice on an acoustic.

Tube amps are my choice for most everything, but a good point was made earlier, solid state does do well for things like keyboards and acoustic guitar amps. I still like tubes for bass and guitar better.

But live there is just something about the feeling of a tube amp, that SS cant emulate to me, cant put a finger on it, spongeyness maybe, the feel of the pull on the strings, but there is some different mojo from tubes for sure.


That's the number one reason most guitar players like tube amps better. It's hard to describe, but tube amps have a definite "feel" especially at high enough volume/power levels to get the power tubes really working. Tube amps have a natural type of compression, a bit of "sag" or sponginess, and a type of distortion that comes from the power tubes (not the high gain "crunch" you usually think of with Marshalls) that's hard to describe too, and once you get a amp into that power tube distortion it really starts to sound great. That's where the sustain starts to come out really well, and you can "feel" the amp. Pick soft or finger pick then start hitting it hard and you can tell a major difference in the sound. Solid state won't come close to that.

Bring a solid state amp up to distortion point and it sounds nasty, tubes start sounding better once they get into distortion levels. The power tube distortion is why I much prefer a "straight" tube amp rather than a "Master Volume" type amp.

I use that effect onstage constantly to get the different feel of a guitar part. For a slow, meaningful song you want a different feel from the guitar than something like an AC/DC song. The same tube amp will do both just by changing the way you pick. You can hear it in plenty recordings. I think someone mentioned Zeppelin...Listen to Babe I'm Gonna Leave You or What is and What Will Never Be ( I think that's the name) Page does that in both songs and some others. Same amp, same guitar, same settings, just different picking style. It helps to roll back the volume knob too, I use a volume pedal so I don't lose any treble. Solid state can't match it. Picking soft and hard will produce different volume levels way better than solid state too.

All you have to do is play a tube amp a few times onstage and you'll know what we're talking about, and you probably won't be able to describe it any more than we can...

#220866 by Deadguitars
Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:55 pm
I prefer a solid state power amp combined with a tube pre-amp

:D

#220872 by jw123
Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:54 pm
LOL, last night my old bassist came over and my old drummer, our singer didnt make it.

So we kinda ll faked vocals and I really cranked up the amp for the first time in a long time, we got so loud in the practice room that I put a mic in the kick drum, LOL!

BUt man that ole Mesa was singing, could really feel that thick saggy feeling that we have been talking about. Sure felt good, but i dont think I could run my amp anywhere near that level at any places I play these days!

#220884 by sanshouheil
Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:56 pm
We ( JERICHO MARCH ) actually floor a combination of Class A tube and solid state amps. They seem to play well together, one accentuating the sound of the other. Issues with the SS amps have been finding distortion tones that growl instead of buzz or hiss
The issues with the Tube amps is when you get that crunch just right, it's LOUD.
Recently installed a TubeScreamer to my board, it makes a beautiful clean tone with a nice mid range chime at low levels on my MARSHALL
It also makes for a usable distortion tone at practice levels as well, but it's not the same as having that MARSHALL set on 11.
That is where tone and versatility live between MARSHALL & GIBSON
So I'll keep it on my board and learn to use it better.
But when I get into an venue large enough, the effects are going off, and the MARSHALL is getting cranked. :twisted:

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