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Dazed & Confused.....

Started by Number_47, January 15, 2010, 08:56:34 PM

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OK...so I'm a guitar player (Duh!) and I'm looking for a great SS amp...(can't afford to maintain tubes, besides they're too fragile for my tastes!) But I'm not sure which amp I should get, I've seen the "modeling" amps but they don't do it for me, There are also a ton of ss amps out there, but my problem is that most of them are coming with all sorts of pre-loaded effects. I "want" and amp that is simple and straightforward, with no effects of any kind, (I have a pedal board and a half of those, don't need any extras!) and would like it to have either one or two channels, and as few knobs as possible, no menus, IS there an amp out there like that or would I have to build it? And if I DO have to build it...are there any web-sites someone can point me to? It's weird because I like the sound of Fuzzfaces, and Overdrives, just not through a tube amp....and I also need it to be head/cab formatted because I will be taking it with me when my weekend warrior band hits the clubs around town....can anyone help?

'Scuse me While I Kiss The Sky"....


Hi Number_47,

I didn't see any replies so I will give a try.  Going to local live shows and see how other guitarists get their sound, along with getting their opinions, is a good way to decide what to buy.  A side benefit is that it helps them have an audience.

I have seen a lot of live shows in the past 3 years at local venues and it is rare to see an SS amp (other than the bass player's amps).  Usually the guitarist carries in a tube amp of some kind, so I guess the tube reliability & maintenance issues are acceptable to most players.   The worst SS amp I saw used by a working musician (just a local beginner) was a Line6 Spider - it was overloaded and very buzzy.  The most recent (that I noticed) was an old SG System, but the player was just using it for "clean" and his sound wasn't very prominent in the mix so I couldn't judge the amp well.  There have probably been some Peaveys and some Marshall SS in some shows but I don't know the models well so I can't say for sure if they were SS.  Probably only 5% of the guitarists in local bands & regional bands use SS at the place I go, where the music is usually alternative / classic rock / rock-rap / lite country.  I see mostly tube Fenders and Mesas, with perhaps as much investment in pedals as the amp.

The discussion, "Solid-state guitar amplifier history -thread" http://www.ssguitar.com/index.php?topic=469.0 has a good list of various SS amps, including old ones.

Try attending live shows of other bands, and when you  see and hear something that is attractive, ask questions of the guitarist after the show.  If you are settled on SS and serious about performance I would recommend buying a good quality new or used SS amp rather than trying to build.  You don't say enough about how you use the amp (effects pedals, music style, how many guitarists in the band, rhythm versus lead, reverb, whether it is miked to the house PA) to answer better.

Once I thought I saw a "home built" amp in a performance but found it was really some small company's effort - it just looked very crude.  I forgot the amp's name - it was tube amp.


Hey Neosho thanks for the speedy reply, I will take up your advice! I've never really though about it much, but I guess you're right, a lot of guitar players DO use tube amps!....I guess it all stems from the one bad experience I had way back when, I was with my Mom who traveled to Brantoford ON Canada with her church...i was the guitar player from the NY branch, and they didn't even have a guitar player up there! I didn't have an amp to play through so somebody went over to the Minister;s house, turns out he had one in his living room, it was a tube amp, and when they brought it I was elated! But after playing through it for two days I quickly became annoyed with it, it was too "mushy" when playing rhythm, it had an even worse lead sound....like a bunch of metallic bumblebees buzzing around a giant coffee can...so that one experience did it for me...but I tried throughout the years to fall back in love with tubes, it's just that after playing through some great sounding SS amps I can't go down that road anymore....as for how I use it....think: B.B.King....meets Metallica....meets Jimi Hendrix.....and that's kinda what I sound like...(at least to ME anyways!...LoL!) But I'm so jaded that I'm even willing to give tubes ONE more shot...I was checking out this amp called the VT55H made by Bugera....it looks like what I need....no menus...presets....sh*tload of effects etc....just a  two channel amp with simple controls, and reverb.....AND it's got a nice price tag too.....so I might just give it a shot. My setup is pretty sparse but it works for me....it's:

Fender Squier Strat / Xaviere Guitars Tele into a (for now!) Crate VT212B 2x12 SS combo. I run the Barber TriFecta Fuzz... Boss MT2 Metal Pedal Dunlop Jimi Hendrix Wah and GuitarFetish Chorus Pedal all through the effects loop. When I do play live I use the Line out on the amp straight to the FOH......simple but effective......
'Scuse me While I Kiss The Sky"....

J M Fahey

You might pick up a used yet excellent condition Peavey Bandit or a 65 to 100W Crate 112 or preferably 212 for pocket change.
Just buy locally and test everything works properly, that means all jacks switches, etc.
Some scratchy pots might be forgiven, since they can be easily cleaned but nothging beyond that.
You should get American made equipment, better built and stronger than "new-modern" Oriental stuff.
Of course they won't be loaded with digital effects  :lmao: