Miscellaneous Rumbles

When Did You Decide The Right Amp For You?


Once I get this one to calm down the little brown jug can be a handful in the house but it's small enough. A loud 30 watts but I'm putting in the 6v6s hopefully some time today. That should be cutting it back to 18 - 20 watts We'll see.


My first amp was a Magnatone Starlighter 401. One 6V6 and Tremolo. I had it for about 3 months until it caught on fire. I replaced it with a brand-spankin' new1965 Deluxe Reverb (in 1965). It cost $249.95 less a 10% discount. That had such a beautiful tone with anything that I ran through it. I sold it for a song (pun intended) in 1972 and was without an amplifier (or an electric guitar) until the '90s.

I bought a used 1980-81 Deluxe Reverb in the late '90s and had it blackfaced and the bright "switch" clipped. Sounded wonderful but I needed a touch more power, or so I thought. I ended up with a Music Man 210-65 and a '63 Vibroverb reissue. Once I got the VV, I used it most of all on gigs. I sold it when I got an Executive.

To my ears, although I loved each and every one of them, other than the Magnatone--and I did like it--the Executive has just more of everything. A fantastic amp. That is the sound in my head. Only thing is that shortly after I got it, the band broke up and I have never played it outside of the home.


I’d LUV to be able to sonically do everything with one amp. In fact, I’m still learning what all comprises my palette. For example, last week it worked out that my LP Special and AC-30cch head and its 2x12 cab all happened to be out at once.

So down went the AC-30’s master volume and up went the preamp volume to take advantage of the LP Spec’s P-90 growl and instantly, it was pure 1973 distortion to my ear. I hadn’t tried that combo before but no other pairings that I’ve messed with even got close enough to that LPS/AC-30 pairing to remind of something similar from previous adventures. A handy tone to have, under the right circumstances.

But to other duos, I’m currently in love with my Rick 1993 Plus through my JC-120. Just feels like it wants to live through that amp. Experiments using SOME other guitars had been marginal to durn-near dismal, while others came to life. But me boyo, my Rickenbastages do like that amp.

It’s all I can do not to to check with our local hero JB Gretschguy about converting one of my ‘78 Deluxes to the specs that Rivera did for Graydon, Carlton, Lukather, etc, but it made more sense for those guys to have an amp like that than for a guy like me who’ll be spending the rest of his life just trying to get intimately familiar with what I already have,


i've never settled on one. my first amp was a silverface Twin Reverb. i still don't understand how i lugged that thing up and down 8 flights of stairs to the loft. it weasn't servicable when i had the band in Eugene in 1982-83, so i used some kind of borrowed Peavey which was simply horrid. for the 80s/90s i played through a Princeton Reverb left with me when the owner left town. it was a killer, probably over-biased so it SCREAMED. sadly, the owner reclamed it. i next got a Electar Tube 10 which i still have; two tubes, no waiting. i put a Jensen C8 in and had the boffins at Torres upgrade the output transformer. it's a great recording amp, and drives a 2x12 just fine.

by this point (early 00s) i really wanted to get away from the Fender sound. i tested a Laney VC30 and liked it so much i bought on eBay. it's mote or less an AC30 with a Marshall tone stack and great amp, but it's almost as heavy as a Twin with the 2 12" Greenbacks in. i got a Kalamazoo Bass 30 when i was stuck in Chicago in 2013 which needs a major overhaul. in order to get something schleppable i picked up an AC15CC1 which i like a lot other than the reverb. most recently i got an amp up and running which Charlie Pastorfield gave me; it's a Hammond reverb unit (TO-35 i think) which was modified and put in a rather crude cabinet which i run into a single Weber JBL D120 clone. this was the amp i took to the UG Roundup. it has a mysterious control on the back panel labelled "WHOOPASS" which drives it into Neil Young territory, and was rewired to have channel and master volumes.

i like too many kinds of sounds to ever settle on one amp. each of my amps is good, and useable, but no one of them can go from chicken-pickin' to MBV.


My brother Spencer was a sales rep for Hough & Kohler up in Western Canada and hung out some with Gar Gillies. I ended up with( and still have) a Herzog out of that. It really does do that "No Time" thing, especially with humbuckers. I learned many years later it's basically a Tweed Champ clone without a speaker, and when I had it refurbed a few years ago, my guy installed a 1/4" jack. Sounds just like my long-gone '58.

– DaveH

I know of guys who would give their left leg for one of those original doggies.

Register Sign in to join the conversation