Other Amps

Idiot-proof advice needed on tube sound - miniature, real & modelled

1

Would some kind soul please guide me through this comparison minefield - BluG, Fender Tube & Fender modelling amps? No affiliation with brands presented here - I just need expert opinions as related to Gretsch and/or other guitars with single-coil pickups or hum buckers. What sound am I after? The most versatile and expressive whether clean or dirty. Is there a one-size-fits-all amp for a wide variety of electric-not-acoustic amplification? Is it here amongst these few alternatives that produce warmish tube sound with some break-up as desired? I should add that I can't afford a vintage Gretsch tube amp and I lean toward digital simulation for minimum-fragility reasons.

2

What type of music do you play and is it for home or stage?

3

I lean toward digital simulation for minimum-fragility reasons

because, like...software is forever, and computers never crash!

4

I'm a tube amp guy. Tube amplifiers are basic electronics, and IMO, have a richer sound, especially at higher volume. I have a 1979 Fender 75 Watt combo tube amp with a 15" speaker, that I stack on top of an early 1980's 4x12 Fender speaker cabinet. It's a class AB push pull audio configuration. It has preformed flawlessly for me for 39 years. I believe that the new solid state amplifiers are class D amps, very light weight compared to an all tube amp. Tube amps have 2 large transformers, both input and output, which add considerable weight to the amp. Knowing what a tube amp sounds like, it was quite easy for me to pick out the tube amp in the video, it just sounded better. I own 2 modern solid state Fender amplifiers, and while I like them just fine, I hands down prefer my tube amp. The only advantages that I can see, in a solid state amplifier, is the light weight and lower cost. My 2017 Fender Acoustasonic 90 Watt amp weighs a small fraction of the weight of the 75 Watt tube amp, and cost only $300 New last year.

5

What type of music do you play and is it for home or stage?

– Suprdave

I just noodle around for my own pleasure, strumming a few chords and a little bit of simple finger-picking, Dave. After selling off my two Gretsches and a Steinberger bass, I'm just left with my Godin Multiac connected to a Roland VG-99 which goes through a Kustom solid-state practice amp because I don't need a lot of volume. But, bypassing the VG-99 in this scenario, the plan would be for the Godin to go directly into the amp which hopefully would have some of the characteristics of a tube amp without the need to occasionally replace tubes.

6

I lean toward digital simulation for minimum-fragility reasons

because, like...software is forever, and computers never crash!

– WB

True. My Mac rarely does.

7

I'm a tube amp guy. Tube amplifiers are basic electronics, and IMO, have a richer sound, especially at higher volume. I have a 1979 Fender 75 Watt combo tube amp with a 15" speaker, that I stack on top of an early 1980's 4x12 Fender speaker cabinet. It's a class AB push pull audio configuration. It has preformed flawlessly for me for 39 years. I believe that the new solid state amplifiers are class D amps, very light weight compared to an all tube amp. Tube amps have 2 large transformers, both input and output, which add considerable weight to the amp. Knowing what a tube amp sounds like, it was quite easy for me to pick out the tube amp in the video, it just sounded better. I own 2 modern solid state Fender amplifiers, and while I like them just fine, I hands down prefer my tube amp. The only advantages that I can see, in a solid state amplifier, is the light weight and lower cost. My 2017 Fender Acoustasonic 90 Watt amp weighs a small fraction of the weight of the 75 Watt tube amp, and cost only $300 New last year.

– Wade H

Your last two sentences sum up my very-basic needs quite adequately, Wade. Your gear tailored to your needs sounds awesome though.

8

I just noodle around for my own pleasure, strumming a few chords and a little bit of simple finger-picking, Dave. After selling off my two Gretsches and a Steinberger bass, I'm just left with my Godin Multiac connected to a Roland VG-99 which goes through a Kustom solid-state practice amp because I don't need a lot of volume. But, bypassing the VG-99 in this scenario, the plan would be for the Godin to go directly into the amp which hopefully would have some of the characteristics of a tube amp without the need to occasionally replace tubes.

– jeffed

Jeff, one of the modern solid state amps would probably suit you just fine. They have come a long way over the years, and since you are not gigging out, tube wattage to move large and multiple speakers is not an issue. I use my light weight class D amp for practice and rehearsal, the tube monster is strictly used for the stage.

9

To further explain my taste in guitar tone btw, I also love that understated percussiveness of the nylon-string sound for some genres but that calls for an acoustic amplifier and that's another story for another time.

10

Jeff, one of the modern solid state amps would probably suit you just fine. They have come a long way over the years, and since you are not gigging out, tube wattage to move large and multiple speakers is not an issue. I use my light weight class D amp for practice and rehearsal, the tube monster is strictly used for the stage.

– Wade H

Thanks. I understand perfectly and you get me, too. No, I don't need to push much air. What did you think of the BluG as a preamp for my purposes?

11

I'd like to have one of those myself Jeff, it sounds like a good fit. It eliminates a few pedal effects, and can be used to dial in your specific guitar and playing needs. Edit : I'd actually really like to have one of those BluG preamps! Also I should have said "The greatest advantage of the new solid state amps", not "The only advantage". I truly do like my newer solid state amps, I just prefer my tube amp.

12

I wonder if its output could go directly into a speaker cab rather than being used as a preamp. I'll look into what level of power it puts out. Also, I'll price it, of course, and report back later. Anyone else with thoughts on the subject before I head off to bed (it's nearly 5 am here in Melbourne)?

13

Here's the technical info on it, it reads 100 Watt output with 2 speaker connections, 1- 8 ohm and 1- 16 ohm.

TECHNICAL DATA Input: unbalanced jack Sensitivity: OV-15V P2P maximum Input impedance: 2 M Ω Power output: about 100 watts

Speaker connections Input jacks: 1 x 8 Ω, 1 x 16 Ω

FX Send/Return: unbalanced jack

FX Send-Output and FX-Return Input levels dependent on switching LOW: -10dBU +/-1dB or 0.7V P2P HI: +4dBU +/-1dB or 3.46V P2P FX Send-Output impedance: < 1.3kΩ FX Return-Input impedance: > 18kΩ

Mains voltage range: 100-240V +/- 10 % 50-60 Hz Power consumption: max. 150 watts Fuses: internal: 3.15 SB

Ambient operating temperature range: 0 °C to + 35 °C

Logic MIDI control system: STM 8 S

System interfaces: Upgradeable with external programming device BluGuitar® specific, asynchronous data protocol.

Dimensions: Width: 245 mm (9.65") Height: 68 mm (2.68") Depth: 192 mm (7.56")

Weight: 1.2 kg

14

Yeah, I thought it sounded like a little powerhouse. It contains a military-grade "nanotube" according to its inventor. The documentation supplied with it looks impressively detailed and understandable as well. Thanks again for the specs. Now to bed, perchance to dream...of an affordable BluG...maybe.

15

I’m interested in this idea, use a small tube amp and speaker simulation to create your sound, amplify it as needed.

It could be done cheaply, but no one is selling anything cheap.

16

Update on cheapest price of BluGuitar amp for anyone interested: $AUD999 (approx. $US740) with free local pickup here in Melbourne. In my case, add to this the cost of a medium-sized speaker cab and I’d have to put this combination on my bucket list for the time being. It’s definitely got me salivating though. Maybe the Fender Mustang is an intermediate option until I sell my spare old car, unused bike, blood, etc..

It could well be a goer for you though, hammerhands, assuming you already have the separate speaker cab. Object of the exercise being genuine tube sound and portability at an affordable price. Or you can go directly into your computer as I understand it. Alternatively, into your mixing deck with the balanced XLR outputs. Worth checking into for sure.

Here's a link to the website for a detailed explanation of the system. Link

17

jeffed, for your purposes I think a Yamaha THR is perfect. Very small, sounds great, even has an acoustic setting that's passable, and they're affordable.

I know I keep extolling the virtues of these things every time such topics come up, but they really are a wonderful bedroom, couchside or recording amp.

18

The BluGuitar amp looks pretty cool and is similar in some ways to the Vox mv50 amps (which also have NuTubes) and the Quilter line of mini amps.

You may also want to have a look at the Boss Katana Head. It's 100W, loaded with amp models and effects, has a built-in 5" speaker for home practice, and can match up with the cab of your choice for gigging. These go for $350 USD and thus are about half the price of the BluGuitar amp.

19

jeffed, for your purposes I think a Yamaha THR is perfect. Very small, sounds great, even has an acoustic setting that's passable, and they're affordable.

I know I keep extolling the virtues of these things every time such topics come up, but they really are a wonderful bedroom, couchside or recording amp.

– Baxter

Yes, I've heard great things about the Yamaha THR amps as well. I'm interested in amp heads as I have an old Thomas Vox 2x12 cab loaded with Celestion speakers that I want to put into service...

20

jeffed, for your purposes I think a Yamaha THR is perfect. Very small, sounds great, even has an acoustic setting that's passable, and they're affordable.

I know I keep extolling the virtues of these things every time such topics come up, but they really are a wonderful bedroom, couchside or recording amp.

– Baxter

I'll look into that, too, Bax. The added acoustic capability would be a valuable bonus. Appreciate the tip.

21

The BluGuitar amp looks pretty cool and is similar in some ways to the Vox mv50 amps (which also have NuTubes) and the Quilter line of mini amps.

You may also want to have a look at the Boss Katana Head. It's 100W, loaded with amp models and effects, has a built-in 5" speaker for home practice, and can match up with the cab of your choice for gigging. These go for $350 USD and thus are about half the price of the BluGuitar amp.

– Frank_NH

This is yielding a goldmine of expert advice that was sorely needed by little old me. Obliged, Frank. A few more lines of enquiry to pursue and for others to share in.

23

Fender made a SS amp series called Frontman. I had a 212R and it was great and really cut through clean and dirty. They were/are inexpensive and came in smaller 25w and a maybe 50w.

Sold it to a buddy when I got Josh's steroidal Blues Jr., which is all the amp a guy will ever need. From living room to barn to outdoor stage the JBJr does it beautifully.

24

Tubes don't have a sound.

– Billy Zoom

Er, they just amplify a voltage? (Please forgive my earlier sarcasm "Who knew?" when I can see now that you were only correcting an over-simplification in the title of this thread. Sociability is still a steep learning curve for me, I'm sorry to say, even at my age or because of it. My apologies.)

25

Before you purchase any solid-state amplifier, you owe it to yourself to investigate Quilter amps.


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