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Thread: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

  1. #1
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    Default Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Good day,

    For someone who is new to tube combo amps/heads + stacks, what is a good "general purpose" tube amp would you recommend to purchase, preferably for less than $1000?

    I have always used digital amps and pedals due to budget constraints, but now that I've settled into a career, I want to start expanding into tube-based stuff.

    I was thinking something like a Vox AC30, Marshall DSL series, or a Fender Hot Rod series.

    What are some of your suggestions?

    Thanks,
    GreatOz

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Blackstar HT-40 combo.

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    Toneologist IM4Tone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Without knowing the genre of music, I'd recommend the AC30 with a couple of pedals. One of my favorite production amps is the Peavey Delta Blues 115...check it out.
    Not a fan of the Fender HRDlx, but if you're looking for the Fender sound, the BDRI is a better choice IMO (a pedal or two for crunch or higher gain), and for a few more $$$, the Supersonic 22 is very versatile.

    Good luck in your search.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker zionstrat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Ac 15 is another great alternative on the vox side.

    But if you prefer a wider range of tones from a single amp, check out Peavy classics that also use el84s.

    it's amazing how versatile these amps are and how inexpensive they can be. I picked up a 50w 410 combo for $450!

    it really sounds nothing like it's vox brother. The clean channel is relatively open and clean, not quite as clean as a black face and a bit warmer. .. not voxish.

    The crunched channel will not get you into metal space but it will cover all other genres extremely well.

    I actually stopped using compressors when I got this amp because it does a wonderful job compressing as it is. But it also does well with effects in the effects loop... but quite often I use it just as it is cause it is so flexible.

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/det...kaAqKHEALw_wcB

    https://reverb.com/p/peavey-classic-...&hfid=15622523


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    One of Jerry's Kids Securb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    The Fender Bassbreaker series is a great sounding tube line at fantastic pricing. It really depends on what style of music you are playing but at a grand, you can pretty much get whatever your heart desires.

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    Mojo's Minions Laughing Kookaburra's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    The Hot Rods with pedals will take you many places. The Marshall DSL series is a good choice if you'd like to stay more in that range of sounds, not that you're limited to a screaming Marshall sound.

    I've used the Hot Rods, and I've heard enough of a friend's band in the last place I lived to think positively of the DSL 40 combo. I also have used the PV Classic 30 and 50, which I like, especially the 50. Maybe it's the 2x12 of the 50 I like better than the 1x12 of the 30? Not sure.

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    Super Toneologist justFred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    5E3...

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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by justFred View Post
    5E3...
    Isn't that $199 Stage Right amp on Amazon a 5E3 circuit
    Or is that a Laney Cub copy

    Or is it six of one.......
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Tweed Deluxe circuit....

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    Mojo's Minions Lake Placid Blues's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    If your coming from a digital amp you will probably find a low gain amp rather limited, unless it delivers the basic core sound that you like. You can get a wider range of tone by playing a single channel amp real loud and using your guitar volume and picking dynamics, but that might not be practical. If you don't want to go down the pedals rabbit hole, then a multi channel amp with an overdrive distortion built into the amp and a good clean is what I would recommend. And I'm partial to Marshalls. Although the DSL is not one of my favorite Marshalls the DSL40C works for a lot of people.

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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    The style would be mostly blues and classic rock.

    I'm actually coming from a Line 6 POD HD500X and a Spyder III 100 watt (lol).
    For the effects processor, I am used to just dialing the amp I want, but I am starting to crave a more real sound.

    For simplicity's sake, I would very much like a dedicated clean and dirty channel with a footswitch to go between the two.

    I will still use the POD for some of the effects, but I want most of the drive and power to come from the real amp.

    Thank you for all your help.
    Last edited by GreatOz; 05-01-2019 at 08:47 PM.

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    Ultimate Tone Slacker NecroPolo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatOz View Post
    I'm actually coming from a Line 6 POD HD500X and a Spyder III 100 watt (lol).
    What is your fav HD500X model?

    Maybe, getting a real one of that model would be the long-term solution.

  13. #13
    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    If you are going to look at the Marshall DSL’s I’d suggest looking at the DSL CR as opposed to the earlier DSL C model. The earlier model has a flubby low end which can be difficult to deal with. Especially on higher gain/low end settings.
    From what I understand, the CR model has addressed and fixed these issues.

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    Mojo's Minions Diego's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Blues and classic rock?

    Get a Vox AC15.
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Are you gigging or hobbying? Home or shuttling amps back and forth to various places?

    Does weight matter? Does longevity and standing up to abuse, if it means you pay 3x-5x more for it?

    Combo or head? 5-20w or 60-120w?

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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    I am hobbying, although I might use it for a gig at some point, but that is pretty doubtful. I was planning on using it for fun, practice, and home studio recording.

    Since it'll stay in my home studio 99% of the time, weight and size are not really issues, although a combo would be probably be more space efficient than a head + stack. Longevity depends on if sitting in a temperate room and never crazy stress tested will negatively affect it, which I doubt almost regardless of what I get.

  17. #17
    8 strings of madness! JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    I can’t get over how much I love my POD XT Live running through an old Fender Super Reverb. Don’t be afraid of combining that POD with something tubey.

    As far as straight tubes, Mesa DC series is awesome.

  18. #18
    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatOz View Post
    I am hobbying, although I might use it for a gig at some point, but that is pretty doubtful. I was planning on using it for fun, practice, and home studio recording.

    Since it'll stay in my home studio 99% of the time, weight and size are not really issues, although a combo would be probably be more space efficient than a head + stack. Longevity depends on if sitting in a temperate room and never crazy stress tested will negatively affect it, which I doubt almost regardless of what I get.
    In this case, I think you would do best with a low wattage head (no more than about 20 watts) and a 2x12 speaker cab:
    - It's very portable should the need arise
    - if you stand the cab on it's side it takes up no more room than a 1x12 combo
    - two 12 inch speakers will spread the sound around your room more
    - you can mix two different speakers and then mic one or the other up to get different tones while recording
    - 12 inch speakers tend to sound better to me than most 10 and 15 inch speakers for guitar amps
    - you should be able to crank a low wattage head for recording purposes without going deaf, but it should be just loud enough to hang with a drummer and bassist for jams if you don't care about super clean tones.


    Which particular amp, cab, and speakers you choose will of course be up to your personal tastes. If unsure, I'd try out something Fenderish, something Marshally, and something Voxish and pick the one of the three that sounded best to my ears.
    Last edited by GuitarStv; 05-02-2019 at 06:38 PM.
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    Marshall DSL 40 for great dirt and cleans
    Fender Hot Rod Deluxe for all around coolness
    Peavey Classic 30
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Beginner Tube Amp Suggestions

    A Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, Deluxe Reverb, or Bassbreaker is probably an amp you will never sell no mater where music takes you. its something you will keep for a lifetime.

    I pick an AC15 over a 30 for a 1x12 arrangement. less features and less versatile than the Fenders but that one thing it does is magic.
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