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  #1  
Old 11-25-2017, 02:52 PM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Default Boutique Electric Guitar Amps

Anyone ever play any boutique electric guitar amps? Something like Friedman, Suhr, Soldano, etc? I never have but I'd be up for the experience.

What about you?
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2017, 03:43 PM
muscmp muscmp is online now
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the only one i own is a 58 tweed deluxe clone that i built. it is so different than any of my other amps and is fantastic, but, so are my other ones.

i have played a couple that friends of mine had-a soldano and a marshall clone, and they were great to play thru also. if the builder uses good practices with quality components and point to point or a good board, they can be better than a lot of the manufactured ones. of course, they may also cost a lot more for that reason. just ask clintj about his builds!!

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Old 11-25-2017, 04:13 PM
DanR DanR is online now
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I don't know much about the higher gain boutique amplifiers, but I do own (and have owned it for over 13 years) a TopHat Club Royale, which would be considered boutique. It's a take off of a Vox type sound that I am particularly fond of and it has a 3 way boost switch that can make it a bit Marshally. It's hand wired and the wiring job is a thing of beauty.

So, how does it sound? It's hard to describe but I love the tone. There's something about Vox AC15/30 amps that are tonally what I want to hear. The way the tone controls work seem somewhat unique (I've never owned an AC15 or 30) and take some getting used to but they allow, along with the boost switch, all kinds of very pleasing tones. The clean tones are just sublime and, although it's not considered a high gain amp, the overdrive tones are great as well.
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Old 11-25-2017, 06:56 PM
Darwin Darwin is online now
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Dru, I do have a 5 watt boutique based on the 65 Fender 5F2A. It was built by the Valve Train Custom Shop and I have the matching Valve Train Spring Thing reverb cabinet. It has an 8 " Webber Alnico and is it ever sweet. I did hook it up to my 15 JBL DF130 cabinet expecting it to sound bigger. I was surprised as there was virtually no difference from the Webber.

This combo came as a custom set with a matching Ryan Gadow custom guitar.
The woods in this set are spectacular as is the finish work. Being a guy from the 40's I love custom flames and this one did it for me. Here are some photos.

I am unable to orientate the photos, they are correct in my photo file but upload sideways. Sorry -- Darwin
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2017, 07:41 PM
Cochese Cochese is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
Anyone ever play any boutique electric guitar amps? Something like Friedman, Suhr, Soldano, etc? I never have but I'd be up for the experience.

What about you?
The amps I own are a couple of Top Hats which are high end (or boutique if you will) Marshall/Vox type of amps. A Guytron GT100 and a Fryette GPDI and a couple of old Fenders. I used to use Rivera amps and have played through a number of Mesa's and also Bogner. I've tried the Suhr Badger and liked it. With any amp you are best living with it for awhile to really get to know what's good and bad about it.

Much comes down to your application and needs. I record a bit and also have a Fryette Power Station which allows me to use any amp at really low volumes.

In the end I could probably do any gig in the world with my '66 Fender BF Bassman and some pedals.

What do you want the amp for?
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Old 11-25-2017, 08:34 PM
KevWind KevWind is offline
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Any of the the ones listed no. I have two nice amps , probably not considered "Boutique".. They are however both analog hand made in the USA at relatively smaller production facilities, if not small enough to actually be boutique., I guess one could sort of say, Bou-tweener .. The Supro Titan 1X10 combo and I have the matching 1X12 extension cab. And a Mesa Boogie Lonestar Special. 1X12 combo

Between the two of of them I can cover an awful lot of ground .

The Supro is a pretty basic somewhat high gain, 50 watt tube amp with 2 6L6 power tubes. Pretty much 60's retro. One channel.... Bass and Treble and a tube driven spring reverb and tremolo both Footswitchable in or out ..




The Mesa is kind of the opposite fairly modern with numerous options. 4 EL 84 power tubes , 2 channels footswitchable a boost solo mode also footswitchable
(clean and drive channels ) with multiple modes/tones 2 for clean channel and 3 for the drive channel. Multiple wattage selections.... 5 wt.--15wt--and 30 wt., which are independently selectable for each channel. Bass , Mid, Treble for each channel , Gain and master for each channel , tube driven spring Reverb with separate wet/dry control for each channel, also footswitchable in or out and one buffered FX loop

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Last edited by KevWind; 11-25-2017 at 09:23 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2017, 08:58 PM
The Growler The Growler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin View Post
Dru, I do have a 5 watt boutique based on the 65 Fender 5F2A. It was built by the Valve Train Custom Shop and I have the matching Valve Train Spring Thing reverb cabinet. It has an 8 " Webber Alnico and is it ever sweet. I did hook it up to my 15 JBL DF130 cabinet expecting it to sound bigger. I was surprised as there was virtually no difference from the Webber.

This combo came as a custom set with a matching Ryan Gadow custom guitar.
The woods in this set are spectacular as is the finish work. Being a guy from the 40's I love custom flames and this one did it for me. Here are some photos.

I am unable to orientate the photos, they are correct in my photo file but upload sideways. Sorry -- Darwin
That is awesome. Very nice!
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  #8  
Old 11-25-2017, 09:51 PM
The Old Anglo The Old Anglo is offline
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Am playing through a Fender Champion 100 and the sound is so close to my old `68 Twin but a Lot of weight off. Love it AND all the different settings I can concoct with it. Super buy!!.
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Old 11-25-2017, 10:13 PM
TjthePhD TjthePhD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
Anyone ever play any boutique electric guitar amps? Something like Friedman, Suhr, Soldano, etc? I never have but I'd be up for the experience. What about you?
Dru,

I have no experience with the ones you mention, but I can give you my impressions on the few that I have owned.

My first boutique amp was a 65 Amps Li'l Elvis. I loved the tone but even with the volume scaling I had a hard time getting it down to true apartment volume levels with the best tone, and as I lived in an apartment at the time, that was a problem.

I had a Carr Mercury and a Carr Raleigh, along with a Tone King Falcon; none of them really fired me up, though the Mercury had very usable low volume tones. Carr has substantially changed the Mercury since. I also had a Swart Space Tone which I was never able to bond with.

I owned a Reinhardt 18 for a good while; it sounded great on both channels and was indeed usable at lower volumes, but it had a buzz somewhere that I simply could not find or fix (it wasn't an electronic buzz; something somewhere was loose). I traded it back to the dealer for a Carol-Ann OD3r which I really liked; being a head & cabinet setup it had a large footprint, but it had great tones clean and dirty even at lower volumes. Carol-Ann has among the best volume scaling I have heard. I had it for several years, but I fell out of love with the 6L6 tone, and with 6V6 tubes it just lacked something (the tubes can be switched without biasing).

What I have had now for the last couple of years is a Vintage Sound Amps 22sc ("single channel") - basically, the tremolo/reverb channel of a Deluxe Reverb with a few additions, like a mids control, a reverb dwell control, and a switch to "snip" the bright cap. It has the classic Fender cleans without the classic Fender noise, takes pedals very well, and cranked (which I can now do, living in a house without very close neighbors) it sounds awesome. I play a McCarty 594 with coil-splitting, and it sounds great with both. What is more, as handmade, point-to-point wired Fender clones go it is relatively inexpensive - but it still ain't cheap.

These are my tastes; what appeals to you will likely be different. I hope this helps nonetheless.
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2017, 10:46 PM
clintj clintj is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muscmp View Post
the only one i own is a 58 tweed deluxe clone that i built. it is so different than any of my other amps and is fantastic, but, so are my other ones.

i have played a couple that friends of mine had-a soldano and a marshall clone, and they were great to play thru also. if the builder uses good practices with quality components and point to point or a good board, they can be better than a lot of the manufactured ones. of course, they may also cost a lot more for that reason. just ask clintj about his builds!!

play music!
I've played a couple of what could be called "boutique". A Hughes & Kettner, which was a bit switch and knob heavy for me. I'm also working on selling a Mesa 5:50 Express+ for a friend. Fun amp, but it's easy to dial in a bad sound as easily as a good one. The typical newer Mesa distortion sound is a little too compressed and mid scooped for me. Played a couple of Victorias, which were spectacular amps. Also got to try out a Matchless Lightning, which was insanely fun (and loud). I don't think there was a bad sound to be had from that amp no matter what guitar I plugged in.

But yeah, I've got a few handbuilt amps. A Marshall 18W type by Avatar, a few clones of old Fenders, and a couple of newer amps like a Hammond conversion I designed and a 5W MOD102 I just acquired. I already did some tweaking to reduce the hum and tighten up the overdrive tone on that last one.

Back line: Tweed Bassman, BF Super Reverb, and the 18W.
Front line: Tweed Deluxe, and my Fishman acoustic amp.
Bookshelf: the MOD102 (top) and the Hammond
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  #11  
Old 11-25-2017, 10:47 PM
endpin endpin is offline
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I have an XITS X-10 which is fairly uncommon.
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Old 11-25-2017, 11:04 PM
rockabilly69 rockabilly69 is offline
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I own Victoria Regal II which is a killer take on the Fender Blackface tone...



a Dirty Girl Reverb which is the Supro sound NAILED....



and a TopHat Club Deluxe which is a English style preamp mated to an American style power amp...

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Old 11-26-2017, 07:07 AM
s2y s2y is offline
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I have a Carr Rambler. Pretty versatile as a whole. I have debated adding a Soldano for heavy distortion rock.
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Old 11-26-2017, 07:23 AM
Scotso Scotso is offline
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I owned a Milkman 5w. Great amp. But gas got me and I traded. Played a Soul Tramp 12w. Very nice. I have played a Tone King but cannot remember the model....it makes a great noise, just awesome. My problem is that after you have various amps that cover noises similar to Vox, Fender and Marshall, I sort of wonder why I need another amp. Kinda an old school way of thinking but there it is. For instance I have a Vox and a Supro. To my ears they are similar Class A amps and after I play the Supro a while I wonder why I own it. Love the sounds it makes but.......
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:09 PM
guitararmy guitararmy is offline
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Darwin, that is an amazing amp-guitar combo!!

My only semi-boutique amp is a Matchless Chieftain from the Mark Sampson era...
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