Amp advice...

Discussion in 'Amplifiers' started by JackStraw, Apr 6, 2020.

  1. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    Hi, I just got a Special Semi-hollow and am now turning my gear attention to a new amp. I am currently using my friends Blues Jr., but am returning it to him this week as I have had it much longer than anticipated.

    My use of the amp will be at home and small gigs (open mic at bars, jamming with others in a studio, etc.).

    Disclaimer: I am a huge Dead fan and will be playing Dead tunes 95% of the time.

    In an attempt to seek a bit of "Jerry tone", I was thinking about starting with a Twin Reverb, but have read that the volume it takes to reach its optimal sound is very high for home use or even small venue use. I then saw that a Deluxe Reverb with with a JBL speaker would give me some of the tone I am seeking. I also thought about building a cabinet for a JBL and buying a head.

    Any thoughts on what could be a good combo setup or head/cabinet setup for:

    • PRS Special Semi-hollow
    • home and small venue use
    • Jerry tone (I know his tone is much more than an amp)
    • Any other factors I may be overlooking
     
    #1 JackStraw, Apr 6, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2020
  2. SupremeDalek

    SupremeDalek Exterminate!

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    I use a BF Super Reverb (not a reissue). If I recall correctly, Jerry used a SF Twin so any of the old Fenders will get you in the area. You're looking for cleanliness and adding effects with boxes.

    Currently I'm shopping the idea of getting a Sonzera 20 for home use due to the presence of a master volume. I don't like the MV circuits that Fender came out with in the late 60's so that's out for me.

    My dad plays a Deluxe with a JBL. That might be the best amp ever. We play lots of Dead stuff, and it's certainly there.
     
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  3. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    I appreciate the reply. Is there something from a sound perspective that is drawing you to the Sonzera or is it strictly that it would be a good home amp based on volume?
     
  4. SupremeDalek

    SupremeDalek Exterminate!

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    Every video I've seen shows me that it has beautiful, controllable tube breakup. Thinking about that sound for something like "It Hurts Me Too" and "Little Red Rooster." It removes my need for a pedal in the chain off can use the lead channel for the crunch that it's advertised to have on tap.

    I also think that it would sound great on "Sugaree" and "Shakedown" right on the edge of breakup with my Q-Tron. Same thing but without the Q-Tron for "Deal" and "Minglewood."
     
  5. SupremeDalek

    SupremeDalek Exterminate!

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    FYI I'm also considering the Mesa Boogie DC-2/3 for the same reasons. I don't need anything high gain, but all of these options hit tones that I'm interested in.
     
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  6. Silver Sky Surfer

    Silver Sky Surfer Have you seen my baseball?

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    I love my 57 Custom Deluxe but for the tones you’re seeking I’d say Deluxe Reverb. Twin is unbelievable loud for any small venue
     
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  7. RallyFanatic

    RallyFanatic Perpetual musical mid-life crisis

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    I wonder if the solid state ‘tone master’ deluxe or twin reverb might be worth a try? I’ve seen lots of good reviews but haven’t tried one myself.

    I only play at home and primarily use a 65 deluxe reverb reissue with a creamback. It’s glorious, but LOUD. I have no problems with cleans, but to get some dirt without pedals I need to use a Tone King Ironman to attenuate a bit. Does take pedals well, though, if that’s your preferred method. I also pulled the normal channels preamp tube - gives a tiny bit more breakup on the vibrato channel.

    I should note that’s all primarily with my Silver Sky, it gives up the goods a little lower on the volume dial with my CE 24, but I usually run that through my Marshall.
     
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  8. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    I appreciate the responses. It's a lot easier just borrowing my buddy's Blues Jr. Seems like a lot to know about amps to make an informed decision. Although, I may be over analyzing.
     
  9. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    For Deluxe tones and more flexibility, look at the Mesa Boogie California Tweed. I have a 64 Super Reverb and a DR rewired to BF by Geoge Alessandro, and the Cali Tweed has that vibe covered. Very flexible, very good at getting clean and pushed tones because you can set it as low as 2 watts output, but it maxes at 40 (right about Super Reverb level). Output comes from 2 or 4 6V6s, depending on wattage setting, and the Jensen Blackbird speaker they are using sounds perfectly matched to the amp. I'm not a huge Dead fan, but if genuine black face tone with some modern control options are what you're after, I don't know of a better current amp to get you there. I am truly enjoying mine.
     
  10. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    To throw a wrench in the works, you could always try a Rivera. They are incredibly tweakable tone-wise and have AWESOME master volume circuits. If you can find an older model - M60, M100, R55, R30 - those have beautiful clean channels with boost functions, and the lead channels only go into 80's metal territory at the highest gain. I know, not the Jerry tone, per se, but not totally face-melting like a Bogner either.

    For something that would lend itself to more of what you want, I'd look for an M60. It's ugly as hell - black carpet covering, metal grille - BUT, it has useable tones for everything. The clean channel alone could be tweaked to give you everything you desire for covering Dead stuff, and the effects loops works as a killer boost, attenuator, or just as a loop because it has send and return controls.

    I used those amps for 25 years and was never too loud at home and had plenty of power onstage - regardless of the size of the venue. They are just really amazingly designed amps. They even have cabs deep enough for JBLs. My first combo I got from Rivera came stock with a JBL. I used to put EVMs in mine and there was plenty of room for the massive magnets to not hit the transformers or the power tubes. The R series amps I mentioned don't have the cab space for the EV of JBL - they are much shallower, just for informational purposes...
     
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  11. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    RickP and markd21,

    Really appreciate the input. I'll definitely put those on my list to research.
     
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  12. Tony M.

    Tony M. New Member

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    If you're looking for that late '60s west coast sound,
    a Fender Blackface Deluxe, Super or Vibrolux Reverb.
    (an original if it's in your budget but the reissues sound ok.)
    A twin Reverb is too loud for home use and small gigs.
     
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  13. Egads

    Egads One, Two, THIRTEEN!

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    I agree with the Deluxe Reverb comments. I have started a new (ok, not new at all) movement of people who hate having to move a Twin. Great tones, but they are all pigs. I will NEVER move mine up a set of stairs again (unless we move, then I tricking someone else into doing it)!. The Super Reverb is one of my favorite amps, but see comments about the Twin.

    I like markd21's suggestion of a Rivera, but would suggest a Chubster 40. I love my Tone King Imperial for Deluxe Reverb tones. If you need more power and flexibility, the Sky King has it in spades (and you pay for it!). I inherited mine from my dad, and it'll always be here with me.
     
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  14. JackStraw

    JackStraw New Member

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    RickP, I appreciate the California Tweed suggestion. In addition to vintage Deluxe Reverb, I have been doing some research on the CT. I am intrigued by the various watt options as I will be using this at home much more than out.
     
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  15. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    It’s a surprising amp! The ability to change wattage so dramatically, along with having a master volume, give so many options to get at the sound you’re looking for with this amp. Because it isn’t just changing wattage by turning on or off tubes, but actually changing classes as well, you get a bit of different character between the settings. Not so much different tone as different response. And, although you probably won’t see articles on the speaker cabinet alone (I have the head and 1x12 setup), I am really happy with the sound of the Jensen Blackbird speaker. Finally, the amp takes pedals in front very well, and a delay in the loop also sounds excellent.

    I’d sure check with a dealer that has a return policy and give it a go. My bet is it won’t get returned!
     
    #15 RickP, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020
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  16. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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  17. Audie

    Audie New Member

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    The Fender Twin Tone master for under a G may be the way to go. Soild state (sounds like a tube amp) and an attenuator you can go from 80 watts 40, 20 10. 5 and one watt. Sounds like what you need. Pun intended.
     
  18. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    He was driving the Macintosh with the tube preamp of a Fender Twin Reverb. I think he also used a Groove Tubes pre at some point. Later, he used and endorsed early Boogies. As I said, I’m no Dead expert, but there was always some glass glowing in his sound!
     
    #18 RickP, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2020
  19. Em7

    Em7 deus ex machina

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    His tone was tube in name only. What you hear is hi-fi solid-state. There very few artifacts in his tone. One does not need a tube preamp to get that tone.
     
  20. RickP

    RickP Established 1960, Still Not Dead

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    That’s like saying his strings, guitar, or fingers don’t matter. The power amp only magnifies what it’s given, and is part of the whole. That added to the fact he played tube amps only for years before the Macintosh power amp, and after.

    His tone, ultimately, is in his hands and mind.

    Added consideration: it’s quite hard, and quite expensive, for us average guys to score a MAC 2300. A part of my thought here was to suggest something that could emulate his Fender-flavored tones, and a touch of his Boogie period. As none of us can have his fingers, we have to search out things within our means to inspire us toward the goal.
     
    #20 RickP, Apr 9, 2020
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2020

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