Miscellaneous Rumbles

When Did You Decide The Right Amp For You?


Chasing the tone..... when I first got on the GDP back in the day I wanted to buy a tube amp. The resounding opinion at that time at my stated price point which was $250-400 (15 years ago) was the Blues, Jr. I bought one for about $250 USD and it was cool. However, I sold that Jr, and bought a Vox AC15 instead a year or so later. It is superior IMO. Anywhoo, curious about your amps of choice, my peeps! I no longer gig and am a home recorder only and also have a Blackstar HT-R5 which is a nice home amp, as well.


Been a lot of changes in the tube amp scene over the last 30 years...but for me good reverb is a must and 10" speaker is the minimum -- 12" best. 8's should be ILLEGAL 15 to 20 watts. I don't require much. Of course i have a few solid state amps for other purposes.


I’m still looking. I have had my 1966 Ampeg Gemini 2 since new and like it a lot. Probably spoiled me for reverb. But it’s bigger than I need.

In search of the perfect amp, I bought a Fender Champion 100 in order to sample various tones, some good / some meh, and also a Fender Super Champ SD with a custom cabinet and 12 inch speaker. The idea was to try to zero in on the best model and then buy that amp. Hasn’t happened yet.

I also have a Vox Pathfinder 15R to give me a taste for Vox. Like it, but still searching.

I kind of feel that a good tube amp should be the logical choice, but given the advancements in solid state amps, I seriously wonder if a Fender Tone Master will win in the end. Not that I play outside of home much, but grab ‘n’ go ability will probably factor into the decision. Time will tell.


My Blues Jr. trips my trigger, but I've heavily modded it to my tastes. My favorite gigging tube amp currently is the Princeton Reverb with a 12" '70s Greenback.

The first amp I ever built, a 5E3 Double Deluxe with 2x12" speakers (Tone Tubby alnico and C12N) and 4 x 6V6s is a force to be reckoned with. It has the Mission Volume/Tone mod so that the controls are wired akin to the brown face Deluxe. I added three-knob tube spring reverb. But 30 watts Class A is a little loud in the places I play nowadays. RedRocker Paul has a 15 watt version of this that I built 10 years ago.

I built a few old Hammond AO35 chassis into 18 watt Dr. Z Stangray type clones. A Stangray is just a 1960 AC30 with a fancy midrange sweep tone control. It's Tele tone heaven, which is probably why Brad Paisley uses Stangrays.

On my bench right now is a friend's Gibson GA-45T - 20 watts and 4 8-inch speakers. I'm floored at how good it sounds.

I am a certified ampoholic.


I figured it was the 1964 or 65 Deluxe (non-reverb) when I heard Curt’s at his shop. I was lucky enough to buy Ryan’s a few months later and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Easily runs rings around any other amp I have played through (for my ears, anyway).


Six years ago. Mesa Lonestar. Knew it the first time I heard it.


Still searching.....


Nothing store-bought is versatile enough for me. It's easier to just design & build something better. Imagine a tone, or tones....draw them on graph paper, & then build it!


Lotsa headroom, clean, some jangle, and also capable of doubling up with my piano if needed. For several years now, a JC77 has done the job very well.


Nothing store-bought is versatile enough for me. It's easier to just design & build something better. Imagine a tone, or tones....draw them on graph paper, & then build it!

– Billy Zoom

Yea. My problem is every day I imagine a different tone. Well, that’s one of my problems.


I've had all sorts of amps from a late '50s Gretsch 6163 to a '62-3 Fender Dual Showman and a Vox Super Beatle, down to a Fender Champ 600 and a small Gibson tweed. My main needs were for keyboards, so bass amps like an Ampeg B-15 and B-18X were perfect as was the Beatle. I now use powered monitors for keys. For guitar, I got by with '80s Peavey Classic 50 hybrid for years. After that a '77 Deluxe Reverb did the trick. Once I got a Gretsch tho, I tried an AC15 and never looked back. Still have the Champ as well. Can't beat 5 watts of tube goodness for quiet uses.


It's been a process for decades. Fender BF/SF tones were my point of reference until fairly recently. It took a while, but the non-scooped mids of cathode biased amps like old Ampegs and Filmosound conversions with octal preamp tubes have finally settled in my ears. Now I get what all the fuss over old tweed Fenders is about.


My dream amp was a '63 Fender Bandmaster, I just loved it, especially when you cranked it up.

Unfortunately it was a bit overpowered for my purposes in the end, I wasn't on the road and playing large venues anymore, so I sold it. I miss it though. Maybe I'll get a Deluxe Reverb as a smaller equivalent. The funny thing is I used to have a custom Deluxe Reverb but sold it because I found it underpowered for what I was doing (LOUD rock and roll) and got the Bandmaster. That's the way it goes I suppose.

At the moment I have a Blues Junior which I am about to do a bit of modding to and put a new speaker in, a Fender Excelsior in Surf Blue which is pretty cool and I love the 15" speaker, and a Champ clone built by a guy in Ireland.

God forgive me but I've been looking at Quilters recently, my local luthier had one in his studio and I thought it sounded really nice, plus Tommy Harkenrider gets a great sound out of one.


Fender 68 custom Princeton reverb for me


Since late '62 I've owned/used all manner of stuff -- Linear, Watkins, Vox, Carlsbro, Selmer, Peavey (tube and ss), Fender (tube and ss), Bird, Sound City, Musicman, Yamaha, Marshall, Traynor, Burman, Mesia (sic) Zoom (the 'Japanese Boogie'), a Burns and even a Gretsch. Probably some others. I wish I'd had a Hiwatt back in the day.

I loved the Musicman but panicked when someone said it used certain components I'd not be able to replace in the UK. I sold it and have regretted it ever since. My Vox AC30 was the non-top boost version. I was 18 -- what the hell did I know about amps at 18 back in 1963?

Other goodies were Peavey's Classic 50 (heavy) but not their ss amps, a Silverface Bassman head and a silverface Vibrolux which had 'issues' not of its own making.

Currently I still have the Burman (wonderful sound but weighs a ton) the old Traynor head (great sound but in retirement), a Fender Excelsior (couldn't resist it) and the current gigging amp (remember gigs?) a recent tweed Blues Deluxe. Oh, and a Roland Cube 40 for messing about at home.

A few years back I listed to a guy in a London music store playing a Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar through a 1962 AC30 head and matching cab. Fabulous sound but rather out of my price range. I'd still like a Mesa Boogie Blue Angel, but after taking into account my age, general physical state and this damn virus I'm reduced to buying just the occasional set of strings! Been great fun though.


I cleaned up the tone on my 65' Gent using Acetone.


''God forgive me but I've been looking at Quilters recently, my local luthier had one in his studio and I thought it sounded really nice, plus Tommy Harkenrider gets a great sound out of one."Tsar

Not only will he smile, but you'll be blessed for eternity. Been playing a Micro for 4-5 years now and it's my #1 go to amp. They take a little time getting them dialed in as each control is sensitive,but is well worth the effort. Not a fan of the boost selection( I prefer my pedal board) but for the roots stuff I dig it's the cats meow. I do own several flavors of 60's era tube amps and love 'em for the one or two things they do well, but for diversity with no noise ya can't beat the quilter. Your back will thank you as well!


I don't really have a 'right' amp. I can get where I need to be with pretty much anything, although Vox gets me there better.

My first proper amp was a Selmer TruVoice Bassmaster 50 which I got in '83/84 when I got my first job in a band. I was playing bass at the time. I always wanted a Vox AC30, but only because it was a classic amp that looked cool, I didn't really have an opinion on tone back then. I got mine in '87, but it's an AC50, not 30, so a little different tonally to a 30. Also, you can't wind it up so much without making your ears bleed.

The amp I've used the most has been my Music Man RP210, but it's really only a power stage for my Line 6, which is running a Vox model.

If I ever get the chance to gig again it'll be with that old AC50, newly refurbished thanks to Retnev, although the little Spark is really giving me some great tones; no reason not to at least try it on a gig.


I bought a new Deluxe Reverb in '65, still have it and I'm still happy with it.


My Peavey Classic 30 gets the job done every time, no matter what I throw at it. I'm thinking about adding a Fender Bassbreaker 15 to my arsenal.


I found a tasty combination I interchange with my Vox AC15. A couple of years ago I converted my old Peavey bass amp (TNT 130) into just a cab. It has the Blackwidow 15" and paired with my Blackstar HT-5R AND the Hotone Purple Wind I get some killer tones-naturally with HBuckers, but really mean sounds with single coils. It can be some magical crispy crunch.


It's changed over time.... went for insane power for awhile with a BF Showman 15, then a (180w RMS!) Super Twin, downsized to a Music Man 210-65. After I took up steel I went with a Peavey Session 500, then a Nashville 112. The most recent ones are a TRRI Custom 15 for gigs where I play enough six-string to need separate channels for guitar and steel, and a Milkman Half & Half (33 pounds,300w class D) for mostly or all-steel work. If I were going to play just lead guitar all night, I'd probably go with the 210-65. Hands down the best guitar amp I've ever had.


I haven't went through too many over the years,Watkins ,Yamaha,WEM,Dean Markley,that was such a nice sounding amp,and it was SS,Peavey,who hasn't had one of those at some point.

All became clear when i got my 1977 Music Man HD130 2x10,love that amp,but a bad back and 2 hernia's later i needed something more back friendly ,so i got a 65 reissue Princeton.

If i'm honest it's too much amp for home use,should've just bought a SS something or other ...

Register Sign in to join the conversation