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Old 01-25-2023, 08:55 PM
Quickstep192 Quickstep192 is offline
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Default Small Basic Amp Recommendation

Can I get some recommendations for a small, basic amp for an archtop?

I play mostly acoustically, but Iíd like to occasionally have a little reinforcement and maybe some reverb. Itís just for home; I donít play out.

It has an Armstrong floating pickup if that matters.
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Old 01-25-2023, 09:47 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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Lots of options, depending on how much you're looking to spend - my own criteria would be:
  • Loads of clean power, for dynamic range and headroom rather than sheer volume (FWIW I routinely practice at home levels with amps in the 45-120W range, and rarely with anything less than 22W tube power);
  • A minimum of bells-&-whistles (built-in verb/trem OK), simple WYSIWYG controls;
  • Tube or analog solid-state circuitry (although I've read great things about the single-purpose Fender ToneMaster digital combos);
  • Low-breakup 12" or 15" speaker in an open-back enclosure (to my ears anything less lacks the requisite natural upper-bass/low-mid body and warmth for jazz guitar - and Ampeg founder Everett Hull felt the same way);
  • Classic "American" voicing - think blonde/blackface Fender or blue-check Ampeg - for both amp and speaker (I like British-style tone for rock, blues, and even some country, but find it less well-suited for jazz)...
I'm an old New York boy, and while nearly all of the jazzers in my growing-up years gravitated toward (almost) hometown brand Ampeg combos, the best jazz tone I ever heard was from a solo guitarist at a catered affair in the early-70's: a 60's Gibson Johnny Smith D through a JBL-equipped, non-master volume silverface Deluxe Reverb - and I still use that as my standard for small-amp jazz tone...

"Mistaking silence for weakness and contempt for fear is the final, fatal error of a fool"
- Sicilian proverb (paraphrased)
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Old 01-27-2023, 12:20 PM
bluesphere bluesphere is offline
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Default Heriksen Jazzamp

I've been through a lot of amps and the best I've had is a Henriksen I picked up a couple of years ago. I got one used for a decent price. It has lots of power, decent reverb, it's light, it's clear, it captures the acoustic character of my Sweet 16 and it does fine in a small venue, live ensemble setting. It's the best $400 I've ever spent on an amp. Their new ones are outrageously priced if you want to spend a lot of dough, but if you're patient, old ones come up and there's not a lot to go wrong with them. I don't think people abuse these for obvious reasons.
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Old 01-27-2023, 12:39 PM
RLetson RLetson is offline
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I've been using a Roland AC-60 for a few years now, and at low to moderate volume levels* in small and mid-size rooms it's a pretty versatile performer: two channels (one with balanced input) @ 30W each; two 6.5" speakers; decent signal-shaping controls and I/O stuff; and about 24 lbs in its carrying case.

I'm usually playing an Eastman 805 with its stock pickup, and the sound I hear pretty much matches what I understand to be "classic jazz guitar."

The lead guitarist uses one of the bigger (and, I think, discontinued) Henriksen JazzAmps, which sounds terrific but is way to heavy for me to lug around. (There's a wonderful Crate 125D sitting unused in my basement because 60 lbs is more than I can manage.)

* The group I play with can include not only drums but a couple horns, so sometimes the sound level exceeds "moderate," and the Roland gets a bit buried.
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Old 01-27-2023, 02:59 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is online now
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Do yourself a favor and go plug in to a Boss Cube Street before purchasing anything else. Dual 6" drivers / tweeters and true stereo reverb, chorus, delay. Use the clean setting, if you need distortion then use a cheap pedal with it.
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Old 01-27-2023, 10:59 PM
rollypolly rollypolly is online now
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Iíve been impressed with a little Stagg brand 10w practice amp. I got it on Amazon when they had it priced stupid low. Itís actually a decent clean amp for around the house. No effects but I just use a basic reverb pedal in front of it. Sounds great. I also had a fender pro junior and can recommend that , especially if you might want something for a small gig. Itís loud.
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Old 01-27-2023, 11:12 PM
dwalton dwalton is offline
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Fender Champion 20
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Old 01-28-2023, 12:32 AM
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min7b5 min7b5 is offline
Eric Skye
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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I've had a lot of students over the years use my AER Alpha for their archtops in lessons and they always say they can't believe how great it sounds... I know Russell Malone was using one for a while. And I've used it many many gigs with my steelstring over the years and it always had plenty of power too
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