Other Amps

Considering a Vox amp…

1

I’ve been having problems cutting through in our country/oldies band. I play both a 6120 with stock Dynas and a Country Club with TV Classics....through either my ‘59 Bassman RI or my Hot Rod Deluxe. The guitars and amps sound fine, but there are three of us that play guitar. The other guys both play stock Teles, one guy through a Hot Rod Deluxe, and the other through a 60-watt, solid state Fender amp.

Both me and others in the audience have a hard time hearing my guitars. It’s not really a question of volume...I’m good there, and I’ve messed around with the EQ on the amps, but to no avail. It’s just like I need a different sound to cut through with.

Pretty sure the AC15 wouldn’t be loud enough, since we don’t mic our amps, but would an AC30 do the trick? I played one years ago, but didn’t care for the sound of the Wharfdales. Maybe alnico Blues?

I don’t know, just trying to think of something that would help. There aren’t any Vox dealers around to try out an amp, so thought I’d ask here. Thanks!

2

Simple. Get rid of the other two guys.

3

Three is a lot of guitars, especially when two are Teles. Making that work takes a lot of arranging so the parts fit together and interlock without getting in each others' ways. Different tones, different parts of the neck, different chord inversions and rhythmic figures. Gotta make intricate little guitar puzzles. Unless you're all really great players who come up with complementary stuff on the fly just by listening to each other, it probably won't happen by default random chance.

A mid-pushier amp among all that scoopy Fender iron MIGHT help - but when you say you have a Bassman and Hot Rod Dlx and can't cut through - and that you're competing with Teles also through blackfaces - and an AC15 wouldn't be loud enough because you don't mic your amps...

Well, I don't mean to go off on a tangent from your request for gear advice by analyzing your band. But that's what I'm going to do.

That sounds like a brutal playing (and listening) environment. Someone ask me if I wanna go hear a band with 3 electrics where one guy with a Bassman and a Gretsch can't cut through the Tele/blackfaces, first I'm going to say no thanks, I've done enough damage to my hearing already. Then I'm going to ask if arrangements have been worked out, and whether anyone in the band listens to anyone else.

You MAY have a band problem, not a gear problem. Sounds like an arms race.

An AC15 is pretty damn loud. An AC30 is louder. All the gear you mention is loud. It's all potentially painful. It's not like you've been bringing wimpy gear.

If it was me, I'd be asking these guys, if they want me in the band...why don't they make space to hear me. Depending on the answer, I'd be asking myself if I really want to play with them that badly.

It might be time to turn everyone down till everyone can hear. Maybe lower volume on stage, mic the amps, and a little mix out front and/or through the monitors.

Or is the drummer the problem? You can't fix that with amps.

If you really want brutal artillery, you might consider a Quad Reverb - but that would be a gig I'd rather hear about than hear.

A Vox is a lovely amp, can sound gorgeous with a Gretsch. Buy it for a change of tone if you want. But it may not get to the heart of the matter.

4

I have a VOX AC30 and it sounds great with my Gretsch guitars (6120s, 6128, Billy Duffy White Falcon)), but I would add to what Proteus said -- I'm not sure you want to buy a VOX just to be heard. Telecasters have a very tight twangy sound that cuts through, and your 6120, even with Dynasonics doesn't go quite that far. You may want to try a more sophisticated EQ or even a EP type booster first.

Even so, you should be able to balance the sounds of the other guitars so yours is heard. Your amps are plenty loud. So is an AC15 for that matter. The next time you guys play, start setting the sound up with your guitar first, and then have the others turn up until you can hear them, but you can still hear you.

And just so you know, AC30s weigh a friggin ton. Just sayin... :)

5

And an AC15 is no featherweight!

6

Two Gibson can be too muddy... two Telecasters too shrill unless one guy on neck pickup. I used more neck pickup than bridge in my bygone Telecaster days.

Just keep experimenting- - costly, I know.

7

No, I appreciate the honest feedback, and you’re right, three guitars is a lot...overkill sometimes, truthfully. It’s not that the other guys are loud, but I think it’s probably more of an EQ issue with everything. The only reason we can’t mic the amps is that we only have a small, 6-channel board. So, by the time you have vocal mics for 4 of us, then mic the drummer’s snare and kick, we’re out of channels. The drummer isn’t too loud, either...which is more than I can say for other drummers I’ve played with.

I’ll see what I can do with the EQ situation at our next gig. I won’t rule out an AC30 (or AC15) just for a little variety, though. It is a nice alternative to the ubiquitous Fender amp sound. Plus they look cool.

8

The AC amps are unbelievable heavy. And loud. But the tubes cook at the top of their lungs. You'd need a hand-wired model so it can be repaired. Watch out with your choice: some got the tubes built in an unreachable manner that makes maintenance very hard. The sound is good but you must have a good tech or know your way with the technical side of these amps. The typical sound does require the blue speakers.

10

The nuclear option, on casters. To utterly flatten, sub in JBLs with aluminum dustcaps.

11

The '90s Korg AC30s were the best made of the modern reissues, and the TBX models are the ones with the blues.

12

Curious what size venues your band plays? I can’t help but think, like Proteus, that you are too loud.

If you now have a Hot Rod Deluxe and you don’t cut through, it’s a dynamics issue. My main amp is now a Vox ac10 and it is plenty loud for most gigs. It’s as loud as I played my Bassman 70 amp or my Musicman RD50.
Both of these amp will break windows out if cranked, but why would I want to do that?

I think the best think for you to do is to have someone that you resepect give your band a critical listen. Someone that knows band/ live sound.
I was in a band with a simaler problem , and now have some hearing issues.

I love the tone from my Vox. I would bet the farm that an AC15 would be more than loud enough. Actually the AC10 is loud enough and has an amazing tone that sets increadably well in the band.

Sounds like your band needs some PA upgrades and someone non biased with a critical ear to help you out. Good luck.

13

Curious what size venues your band plays? I can’t help but think, like Proteus, that you are too loud.

If you now have a Hot Rod Deluxe and you don’t cut through, it’s a dynamics issue. My main amp is now a Vox ac10 and it is plenty loud for most gigs. It’s as loud as I played my Bassman 70 amp or my Musicman RD50.
Both of these amp will break windows out if cranked, but why would I want to do that?

I think the best think for you to do is to have someone that you resepect give your band a critical listen. Someone that knows band/ live sound.
I was in a band with a simaler problem , and now have some hearing issues.

I love the tone from my Vox. I would bet the farm that an AC15 would be more than loud enough. Actually the AC10 is loud enough and has an amazing tone that sets increadably well in the band.

Sounds like your band needs some PA upgrades and someone non biased with a critical ear to help you out. Good luck.

– Hipbone

You hit on some very good points. The guy that does our sound is also our bass player and comes from a hard rock background. The vocals are always mic'd very well, but of course, not mic'ing the instruments, the bass is always loud and with two Telecasters, yeah, you know the rest. One of the guitarists (the young guy, at that) has hearing problems in one ear from being around farm and construction equipment his whole life. Again, his guitar isn't necessarily too loud, nor is the other guy's....I just think it's too much of the same frequencies, due to the similar guitars and amps with both of them. Same as if you had two guys with Les Pauls and Marshall stacks, really.

The venues we play are small to medium....no more than 100 people at any time. We always ask if we are too loud, both after setting up and between sets, but rarely does anyone say that we are. A PA upgrade is definitely in order, as is having a non-biased opinion from someone else who knows sound. I have some other musician friends who I could have observe a gig or two.

I guess not having played through an AC15, I'm not aware just how loud it really is. I had a tweed 15-watt Blues Junior that was very loud, but I just never thought it would have enough headroom for a 5-piece band. I've had my hearing checked, so I know it's not that, at least! Maybe I'll look at the AC15's. No reason to carry around a 75-pound AC30, if I don't have to. At least it has two handles, though. I used to gig with a Twin Reverb back in the day....that sucked.

14

Try a Vox Valvetronix which sounds like a tube amp and allows you to be able to set the amp to be an AC15 or an AC30 as well as 9 other amps. It also has 11 built in effects like tremolo, reverb, chorus, wahwah and 7 others. They can be found on Reverb and ebay at very reasonable prices. I don't know if new ones are available or not. I have one and I love it.

15

Another suggestion.... my guess is people are saying that they can’t really hear your solos. I’ve had this problem with the band I mentioned, the issue was everybody else was doing too much during a solo. Work on dynamics, ie. turn down the volume when you play rhythm. Have everybody else do the same. The bass player will always be heard because he controls the board “wink.” In my experience it’s usually too many people trying to do too much that makes a solo not jump out. Including the drummer.

16

We only have two guitarists and I still need to use a boost on my leads, through a Fender Hot Rod Deville. I used to get the same complaint but I'd rather they hear my other guitarist, over me.

17

Yeah, it's no wonder I've been fantasizing about playing in a 3-piece band, lately! Just a guitar (or maybe 2), an upright bass and a stripped down drum set. Sure would be a lot easier to manage.

I guess if anything, though, the three of us at least have different enough styles, to where we're not playing over each other. Plus, we all get along well....which is a tough thing to achieve with most musicians in the area we live in.

18

Some great advice here. Only thing i would add is that it may be worth trying a preamp pedal such as the nocturne atomic brain. They help with adding clarity and punch top notes

19

everybody else was doing too much during a solo. Work on dynamics, ie. turn down the volume when you play rhythm. Have everybody else do the same. The bass player will always be heard because he controls the board “wink.” In my experience it’s usually too many people trying to do too much that makes a solo not jump out. Including the drummer.

All good practical advice. The general rule, that makes it easy and brings all the advice together, is this: everyone should do what they need to do in order to hear everyone ELSE at all times. If everyone conscientiously tries that (even if they don't completely succeed), it will amaze you how problems solve themselves.

I always want to hear the BAND I'm playing in. It's about the blend, the interaction. If I didn't want to hear the band, I'd play by myself...

20

everybody else was doing too much during a solo. Work on dynamics, ie. turn down the volume when you play rhythm. Have everybody else do the same. The bass player will always be heard because he controls the board “wink.” In my experience it’s usually too many people trying to do too much that makes a solo not jump out. Including the drummer.

All good practical advice. The general rule, that makes it easy and brings all the advice together, is this: everyone should do what they need to do in order to hear everyone ELSE at all times. If everyone conscientiously tries that (even if they don't completely succeed), it will amaze you how problems solve themselves.

I always want to hear the BAND I'm playing in. It's about the blend, the interaction. If I didn't want to hear the band, I'd play by myself...

– Proteus

Agreed. We do usually turn ourselves down if we're playing rhythm, or if not playing the prominent rhythm part....no glory hogs in this band, thank goodness. I know when the other guys play on the neck pickup, I'll switch to the middle position, and vice-versa. We give each other plenty of space....it's just tough with 3 guitars, but we'll make it work. I have two Shure 57 mics, so if we can get a slightly bigger board, maybe we can finally mic the amps. The 6-channel one we've been using is the drummer's. It's about 25 years old and is self-powered....no separate power amp.

That said, I am going to try a little something different, amp-wise. Sweetwater had a demo model AC15 with the blue alnico on sale, today, so I snagged it. I trust you guys when you say they're more than loud enough. I'll try it out for a few months and see how it goes....may be just what I've been looking for. I have been looking for a different sound than the Fender, anyway.

21

AC15 works great! I love mine. It cuts through in my group with two other guitar players. It’s lighter than my Fender... somewhat. Don’t discount them!

22

Go wireless.

Play as if there's a crowd. Go where the crowd is.

Adjust to taste.

23

Dam website dumped my post cause I clicked to see where you're located - bad 'feature' that should be corrected!!! I won't go ever it all again but IMO, your issue is dynamics and balance and dynamics.

A different sound from your amp may cure the dynamics issue, along with both Teles set up so their volume comes up to yours, not having you chase their volumes. Chasing one Tele's volume through a SS amp is enough of a trick let alone trying to fight two! And besides, your guitars have a better tone anyway!

Sometimes a different sound from an amp solves the problem, not trying to compete on a volume basis. To that end, assuming this AC 15 doesn't cure the problem, consider a vintage '60's/70's Traynor amp, built in Toronto. They're as good as any amp ever made. They can be quite the heavyweight though but built like a tank, all handwired and have a terrific sound. A head only would help with the weight but those original Yorkville speakers are as good as it gets. Here's a great article from Reverb about them, written last month. I might just get you to thinkin'.....

https://reverb.com/ca/news/...

Just curious, as I don't recall seeing a band with two Teles but your band needs two because.....?

24

Well, we originally had a lead singer that didn’t play anything and only ONE guitar player...that being me. I quit for a couple of years because of wife’s health issues, stepson issues, etc....so they got a guitar player to replace me. Then the lead singer quit (woman and booze issues), so they got another guitar player/lead singer. They’re both good old country boys, and they both have Mexican-made Teles. See, in this area (Southeast Ohio) people usually have a Strat, Tele, or one of those pointy, Floyd Rose, shred axes. Not too much in between.

25

AC15 works great! I love mine. It cuts through in my group with two other guitar players. It’s lighter than my Fender... somewhat. Don’t discount them!

– Threadkiller

Good to know...thanks! I'm looking forward to trying it out. Next gig is in 2 weeks, so plenty of time to familiarize myself with it, before then.


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