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  #61  
Old 06-19-2017, 06:18 PM
aknow aknow is offline
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Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
Yup, Zappa was one to look for different timbres and embrace them. One thing the Pignose was good for was that raspy sound, not "sweet tone" by any means, but a sweet mean tone. I liked it then.

Here's an example of him using one live

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q0nImsfMvE

I had one in my live setup during my punk years. I can remember one gig were the guy doing sound rushed up after the first song and to say "you need to turn it down, you're getting all kinds of speaker cone breakup."

Little did he know that was the point.

They were also good for playing your SG with your Pignose on your belt, serenading the freaks on Venice Boardwalk, Calif. in the '60's. Or serenading the waves from the lifeguard stands.
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  #62  
Old 06-20-2017, 01:34 AM
frankhond frankhond is offline
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There are some pretty good pedals these days which will give you the sound and feel of certain amps. You can run them into any good amp at low volume.

For example One Control Sonic Blue Twanger (Blackface), Mad Professor Twimble (Dumble), Mad Professor Tweedy Drive (Fender Tweed). Or the very expensive Dumbloid.
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  #63  
Old 06-23-2017, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by flagstaffcharli View Post
That looks really cool.

I picked up a Gibson Goldtone GA-5 Les Paul Jr. with a Jensen CR8 installed. The amp has good clean tone, and dimed it screams. But it doesn't get much growl until it is way too loud. I needed to put it behind a closed door to play it dimed. It will be a useful amp, but I'll need to use a pedal with it at home.

I think something like your little amp might be the right solution.
At 1/8 of a watt, when connected to the JBL K120, I measured a approximately 90 dB at three feet when set at 10. Once I switch over to the less efficient 10” Veteran speaker from Warehouse Guitar Speaker, I expect to produce the low volume I would like but with a very good distortion tone. A good volume for me would not overpower a rhythm backing played on an unamplified acoustic guitar.
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  #64  
Old 06-29-2017, 10:07 AM
Gemini11 Gemini11 is offline
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Speaker efficiency is a big deal. A 5 watt amp into say, an EVM12L just became about a 20 watt amp just from the speaker efficiency. It takes 10 times the power to double the volume output so yeah a 5 watt amp is still plenty loud
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  #65  
Old 06-29-2017, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by roylor4 View Post
Blackstar HT-1R

This will do everything you want. The only drawback is the small speaker. It does have the tone though.

My buddy just bought the 5 watt version and it is awesome but probably overkill for your needs.
There is a head and 12" cab version for the 1 watt that sounds better to my ears than the combo, although both are good.
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  #66  
Old 07-04-2017, 08:13 AM
Napman41 Napman41 is offline
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I realize the OP purchased an amp though I'd like to add my 2 cents. I've been researching pretty much the same amp segment and Ive narrowed it down to either a Milkman 1 Watt plus or a Half pint.
https://youtu.be/UVNiR_sW1ms


https://youtu.be/RmVuztJ-fz0
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  #67  
Old 07-04-2017, 09:52 PM
Mr Fingers Mr Fingers is offline
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Ai yi yi... I'm surprised that no one is discussing the fundamental issue here: the difference between "heard" tone and the experience of full volume playing, which has physical elements -- from mechanical feedback to force-on-body -- beyond what happens in the ear canal. The world is full of people who claim to want a bedroom volume ("heard") tone but who cannot resist pushing into the full-volume, heard/felt range. For the latter -- essentially, a "real" amp tone but with limited volume -- I totally recommend an older Fender Pro Junior, which with a speaker swap can give you full range sound. Jeff Beck has toured with them, so it's not just me. They're about 15 watts, which mean you can use them in clubs (= freaking loud) but can sound great at lower volume. Still, it's "real" amped tones. If you can settle for a very convincing "heard" tone without having to pump some air and vibrate your guitar and body, the Blackstar HT1 is your 1 watt marvel. Swap the speaker to get better lows (it's 8") and you'll have something that is not at all a full amp experience, but a super-excellent auditory (only) amp tone. It is impossible to push air and create non-;auditory playing feel at truly tiny volume levels, but the HT1 is an amazing unit with excellent heard (and recording) tone without the push.
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  #68  
Old 07-04-2017, 11:23 PM
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Peavey Classic 20 MH. Switchable from 20, 5 to 1 watt. USB out (with speaker simulation), speaker defeat switch, headphone out, real spring reverb and some other goodies.
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  #69  
Old 08-21-2017, 12:08 AM
flagstaffcharli flagstaffcharli is offline
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I thought I would update this for the curious. I ended up with three amps.

I got a Vintage 47 with 12 watts and a 12" speaker. Great classic jazz and blues tones plugging in any of my three guitars, but a perfect match more playing my ES335 clean or with mild snarl.

I also bought a used Gibson GA-5 Les Paul Jr Reissue. This little amp is loud and takes my few pedals well. I like it more than the PRRI it replaced. I hope to take this to some blues jams.

Finally, I bought a new Gries 5. I haven't had much time on it yet, but it has the huge advantage of being able to dial in credible crunch at true bedroom level volume. It's brand new and needs to be broken in.

So in typical fashion, I met my need for one tube amp with three amps. Oh, well. Thanks for the help!
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  #70  
Old 08-21-2017, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by flagstaffcharli View Post
... Finally, I bought a new Gries 5. I haven't had much time on it yet, but it has the huge advantage of being able to dial in credible crunch at true bedroom level volume. It's brand new and needs to be broken in.

So in typical fashion, I met my need for one tube amp with three amps. Oh, well. Thanks for the help!
A glance at its specifications indicates to me that the Gries 5 would be too loud for what I consider to be suitable bedroom levels (its Eminence Screamin' Eagle speaker produces 101.2 db with 1 watt at a distance of 1 meter) so I would be interested in your conclusion after you’ve had a chance to break it in.

To me, a bedroom amp is one that yields a good lead-guitar tone at volume levels that wouldn’t be too loud for a rhythm guitar player on an unamplified acoustic guitar.
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  #71  
Old 08-21-2017, 02:20 PM
flagstaffcharli flagstaffcharli is offline
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Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
A glance at its specifications indicates to me that the Gries 5 would be too loud for what I consider to be suitable bedroom levels (its Eminence Screamin' Eagle speaker produces 101.2 db with 1 watt at a distance of 1 meter) so I would be interested in your conclusion after you’ve had a chance to break it in.

To me, a bedroom amp is one that yields a good lead-guitar tone at volume levels that wouldn’t be too loud for a rhythm guitar player on an unamplified acoustic guitar.
Yes. It can do this. It has separate gain and volume, and it also has a push/pull feature that affects brightness. So the crunch can be had at low volume.

I got this right before vacation and have only an hour or so in on it, but the ability to dial in crunch at low volume really struck me as useful. It's very different from the smaller Gibson amp that won't crunch until more uncomfortable volume is reached.
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  #72  
Old 08-25-2017, 02:08 AM
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The older Champs have amazing tone, but they do need to be a bit cranked (LOUD) to get that tone. I replaced the 8" Jensen in my mid-seventies Champ with a Weber 10" Vintage speaker. What a sweet combination.



I was just able to squeeze the 10" Weber (custom ordered to match low wattage and 3.2 ohms impedance) into the cabinet:




For a while I had a JBL K-110 in the Champ - it sounded great, also, even with a bit of an impedance mismatch.


But it would be infinitely sweeter IF it had a master volume control.


The only pedal I really care about anymore is my mid-seventies vintage DynaComp Compressor - what great tone. No need for a distortion pedal, just a good amp with natural overdrive and the DynaComp compressor pedal do it for me.

Another great amp that DOES have a master, and can get awesome tones at relatively moderate volumes is the VOX AC10 - wonderful little amp for the music room, with reverb.


Sweet low volume tone:

Last edited by DHart; 08-25-2017 at 02:17 AM.
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  #73  
Old 08-25-2017, 09:01 AM
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Just for anyone else looking into the same question I'll share my recent experience dealing with the same question. My main amp is a Blackstar HT40 that sounds great, but it is big and loud even with the master volume which can be sensitive at low volumes. Big being a relative word of course as it is a 1x12 but has a fairly large enclosure, and for the size is pretty darn heavy as well. I wanted a smaller setup both for volume and convenience to play in the evenings when the family has retired for the night.

Modeling: I started out with a Line6 Firehawk FX - taking the traditional headphones route and not wanting to spend the $$ on a Helix not knowing if it would be my thing. The Firehawk FX has the HD500x models but uses a Bluetooth interface and app to tweak the settings which I liked. It is not as flexible as a Helix in terms of routing, etc... but at less than half he price it seemed like a reasonable option. Pros: the modeling is quite good - the various amp/speaker combinations particularly the HD ones work and sound great. The effects are mostly usable and quite good as well with a few misses (none of the chorus effects really hit the mark for me as I am used to a vintage Boss CE2 that is just great). Still a ton of options and tones. The MP3 input works well if you want to play along with music. It has an effects loop allowing for 4 cord use if you desire and a load of output options for recording if that is important. Cons: there are limits to how many and in what order you can place the effects which can produce a signal chain that is not always ideal, and there is only one path (the Helix I believe allows two signal paths). The biggest issue for me is that as an old school guy who often practices by throwing on some music I want to learn or that I know and just want to jam along with I've gotten used to as a quick means to get a tone that fits the song. You can do this somewhat if you just pick a specific amp and add 5 pedals of your choice but it never seemed as easy as picking from my pedal selection. And there is the inevitable fiddle factor of tweaking patches - the presets mostly were not to my taste (typical of modeling it seems as the same is true of the Marshall Code25 I have and my sons Mustang II - you can get great sounds but rarely "out of the box" - they all seem to need tweaking.) Still on the fence with this - sounds great but the fiddle factor had me wanting a more traditional small setup. I'm reasonably tech savvy - wonder if the Helix would be better suited due to the greater flexibility but they do come at a steep price.

So I started exploring small tube combos. I tried the Bugera V5, Orange Micro Terror, Hughes & Kettner Tubemeister 5, a vintage Fender Champ, Laney Cub, Blackstar HT5, Jet City Custom 5, Vox AC4. I wanted to try the VHT Special 6 but couldn't find one locally to test out. Also checked out the Blues Jr and Orange Rocker 15 which were really more amp than I was looking for given I have a 40 watt main amp I was not looking to replace.

Really none of them sounded bad and any would make a good low watt practice amp. Some excelled at different things - the Fender sounded great but even used was a bit more than I wanted to pay. The Micro Terror and the H&K both really had terrific overdrive circuits and sounds. The Laney and Bugera were solid tube combos with nice tones. I ended up picking between the Blackstar HT5 and the Jet City Custom 5 - and ended up with the Jet City.

While not two channel - the Jet City has a ton of tone shaping features. There is a mid boost or low boost toggle, a bright switch, full EQ, master volume, effects loop and an attenuator to switch between 2 and 5 watts. Mine was also modded with a JCM like tone stack. Found it used at a good price and it really is a lot of bang for the buck. It's fairly heavy for a 5 watt head - has a massive transformer. With some tinkering it has a pretty good amount of clean headroom which I like. The drive variations are really flexible - maybe not modern gain per se but plenty of crunch and with the wattage adjustment it sounds really good at low volumes. I'm using a Blackstar 1x10 cabinet because I had one around and like the portability of that setup but would like to try a 1x12 just out of curiosity to see how it sounds.

While not at the top of the conventional list - I do encourage checking out the Jet City amps - they are a lot of value for the price and quite honestly sound as good or better than anything else I tried in the same class and general price range.
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