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colder

Your favorite small amps

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For those of you who are devoted to small amps, particularly small tube amps, what are some of your favorites? 

I have been getting to know a Fender Princeton recently, and it really sounds great. I have the '68 version, which is 12 watts instead of 15, but it still puts out a LOT of sound. Cranking it up at home isn't an option if you live with or near other humans, but for clean tones and pedal-driven ones, you can get some super nice sounds and still get some of that 3-D tube sound. 

What sort of small amps do you love, Gathering folks? :)


 

(A pic of my amp, with a special guest:)

princeton.jpg

Edited by colder
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2 hours ago, colder said:

For those of you who are devoted to small amps, particularly small tube amps, what are some of your favorites? 

I have been getting to know a Fender Princeton recently, and it really sounds great. I have the '68 version, which is 12 watts instead of 15, but it still puts out a LOT of sound. Cranking it up at home isn't an option if you live with or near other humans, but for clean tones and pedal-driven ones, you can get some super nice sounds and still get some of that 3-D tube sound. 

What sort of small amps do you love, Gathering folks? :)


 

(A pic of my amp, with a special guest:)

princeton.jpg

I've had one of these on my mind too... I tried "demo-ing" one in the store new and found it was a nice clean sound.. quite expensive here in Canada (I liked the blue cover "reissue" one). Trying them out in the store is, I find, quite difficult to get to know them with all the noise and distraction. I think the best way is to take your own guitar in and play the amp there. Or rent one. 

https://www.long-mcquade.com/612/Guitars/Guitar-Amps/Fender-Musical-Instruments/65-Princeton-Reverb-Reissue.htm?ref=suggestive-search

Good thread @colder  I think there are a lot of guys who want a nice small simple tube amp for playing at home that doesn't blow the windows out, or cost a fortune. I wish more manufacturers would produce more and better choices. 

My current (and only) amp is a Fender G=DEC 30 (all digital) I bought when I first started out on guitar again. I didnt know anything about amps at the time, and the two guitar inputs, band tracks, recording clips and 99 models sounds made it attractive to a new player. It sounds pretty good, on most of the models, but I usually just play 2 or 3 of them, like "Jazzmaster"," Twin" " Fender Clean" .  I guess others found it too complicated too, because it's discontinued.

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I got to play a Princeton for while that belonged to a band mate.  Its a great "small" amp, but as you note 12-15 watts is still dang loud.

The only tube amp I currently own is a Budda Superdrive 18 head.  Not sure I'd call it small as the shell is the same size as a 50 watt Marshall and I pair it with a 2x12 Avatar cab so it makes a pretty large package for a "low wattage" amp.  Its also very loud and I don't play it much since having gone digital almost 2 years ago now.

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Wow Dave just checked our carr amps.. very beautiful and nice..

 

Has anyone tried the Bugera V22. I was looking at them for clean sound and price point. 

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I've been looking at a Bugera V5 or Marshall Origin. I'm leaning towards the Bugera V5. 5 Watt down to .1 Watt. The Marshall is too bright for my taste.

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15 hours ago, columbo said:

Wow Dave just checked our carr amps.. very beautiful and nice..

 

Has anyone tried the Bugera V22. I was looking at them for clean sound and price point. 

A long lost forum member, bob_f, had a Bugera V22 and was very pleased with it.  I haven't seen him around in a while, but he was a pretty experienced player/musician and had owned quite a bit of gear over the years.  I respected his opinions, and I would definitely look at that amp based on that if I was shopping.

Edited by Six String

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Glad you like your Fender Princeton. Great amp. I have a Dr. Z Carmen Ghia tube amp head--18 watts--and use an 8" Weber speaker. Never turn the volume up beyond halfway.  Small wattage tube amps are plenty loud for small venues, like coffee houses.

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Fender Princeton sounds really good. Got the bassbreaker 15 with a greenback speaker. Works great also. Small tube amps get louder than I thought .

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Several years ago I purchased a Fender Champion 600, which is a throwback to the Fender Champion 600 of the very late 40s, early 50s.  To be honest, I originally bought it for its nostalgic quality.  The amp is a 5 watt, one tube amp. It sat unused for a couple of years.  I recently started using it quite a bit because it has 2 inputs.  I use it when a friend come over to play some guitar, we both plug into it.  I can also play jam tracks from my Smart phone through the amp, while I also have my guitar plugged in so I can play solos over jam tracks, both playing through the same amp!  It sounds great and is compact, 12 inches high, 12 inches wide and only 8 inches deep. It has become a very useful amp!  See pictures attached.

Dan Brown   ?

Champion 600 5W One Tube amp.jpg

Back of Champion 600.jpg

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Like Six, I have gone mostly digital, but still have varied amps around that I toy with on occasion. My favorite small amp is a Swart STR. A 5 watter, beautiful crystal-like reverb and tremolo, but little headroom, so definitely a bedroom amp unless mic'd up . I have found no better clean tone, and I have been able to reproduce it with my Kemper profiler amp.

Greg

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I'm bais'd.. the Eracer Team ET5 head.. pairs nicely with a 1x12, 2x12, or 4x12 and has power scaling of the B+ power rail. 

not just a resistive load power reduction ..

but my main amp is a Traynor YGL2 which is 30w.. and I need to add power scaling to it sometime

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I have a mesa boogie 5:50. a great sounding amp and goes from 5 watts to 25 to 50 watts. I been thinking of a princeton or a deluxe reverb.  

 

IMG_6561.thumb.JPG.f9ca5e65b349cb08a0d7ad5d226ab0eb.JPG

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On 12/10/2018 at 9:18 PM, tjmeyers said:

I've been looking at a Bugera V5 or Marshall Origin. I'm leaning towards the Bugera V5. 5 Watt down to .1 Watt. The Marshall is too bright for my taste.

tj, you were leaning.  Did you jump?  Care to share with us if you did?

I realize I am necroposting here.   I'm doing this for two reasons.  #1, and perhaps most importantly, I always wanted to say "necroposting"😉   14 month old thread?  Is that necroposting?

#2 When you posted about Bugera it completely escaped my attention.  But about a month ago a guy started a thread about Bugera amps in another forum, asking for advice.  This time it registered.  Wait a minute!  What's that little amp my jam buddy uses?  I sent him a text and, sure enough, he uses a Bugera 15.  And it sounds awesome.  15 watts of delicious tube sound and tiny.  Perfect for jamming.

I started doing a little browsing and came across this.  A Bugera G5 Infinium tube amp head.   I'm a little suspicious about the market for a 5 watt head for a practice amp.  I think most people that are looking for a practice amp are going to want a combo, like my buddy's.  But it is still interesting.  2 channels, clean and distorted, tone controls and a "morph" control to go from American to British sound?, and 1 and 0.1 watt attenuation!  Reverb.  And great tone.  I'm thinking about it. 

I recently bought a Quilter 45 Microblock (45 watt) amp.  I have no idea why.  But I bought a speaker cabinet and put a Celestion Rocket 50 12" speaker in it.  It sounds really good.  So I have the cab.  And maybe I'll do something similar with a 8" speaker to go to my jams.

And btw, if anyone else is looking for a little amp.  I mentioned the Bugera 15 of my jam buddy.  They are no longer manufactured.  But a guy on eBay is selling some factory reconditioned ones.  He has 4 of them left:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bugera-BC15-15-Watt-Vintage-Guitar-Amp-Warranty/174201333108

 

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@matonanjin   "Necroposting" ? Thats a new one on me...;-)

To pick up this thread  is kind of interesting to read what I wrote about 14 mths ago about this.

I finally did decide on the FSR (Fender Special Run) '65 Fender Princeton Reverb Re-Issue amp, in a very attractive wheat colour tweed and with a 12" Cannabis Rex (that's hemp folks... ) speaker.

@Eracer_Team-DougH Doug H helped me play several amps, back to back to decide. They other amps were the regular 65 Princeton (10" speaker), the regular 68 Princeton (10" ) and Traynor YGL-1 and a couple of other "small" tube amps. 

I was looking for a really warm, clean, "jazz" tone, but still with some versatility in tone. This model of 65 Princeton was far and away the best sounding to my ears, (and Doug's... I think he wanted one too)  delivering on all fronts.  The Eminence 12" CR speaker REALLY made a difference here. There's plenty of "headroom" and it sounds GREAT at home studio/bedroom level at about 4 on the Vol dial. It can get LOUD if you crank it up (I had a sales guy do that in the store with a Tele and it was terrific tone and plenty loud enough for a small stage!). 

It's my first tube amp, and I'm super happy with it.  I have have barely touched my "old"  amp (Fender G-DEC 30) since I got the Princeton about 5 months ago. 

I haven't really explored all the tones it is capable of yet. I just found the warm mellow "jazz tone" I wanted (bass up a bit tone rolled back a bit, a little reverb ) and barely ever touch the dials.  No pedals required for me... Maybe one day I'll dive in a bit deeper but this suits me just fine.  Highly recommended!

BTW... this amp isn't "just" a jazz amp.. any style will be very well suited.

Heres the link to the store...https://www.long-mcquade.com/71239/Guitars/Guitar-Amps/Fender-Musical-Instruments/FSR-65-Princeton-Rev-Tweed-w-12---Cannabis-Rex-Speaker.htm

 

 

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Fender EC Tremolux 12W 1X12 Amp- Tube amp based on 50's 5E3 Tweed Deluxe with Tremelo with Eric Clapton's specifications. Great tube amp with the rich lows and smooth range of mids and highs. Great for Blues and 50's & 60's rock and roll. It will crank and growl like a lion roars or play like tame kitten! All around great home amp and small venue gigs.

 

 

Edited by Popeye
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I have a Fender Blues Junior Relic, can perform much more than I can deliver.  It's fun to go loud for a few seconds and hear the puppy come trotting to check on her human.....good thread

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Thanks, @NeilES335, @Popeye and @fray for your amp recommendations and contributions to this thread.  And, yes, the puppy coming to check on its human is always a good sign.  And probably one meaning good tone.

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Best thing I ever did was sell my Egenater Renegade 18/65, crappy company with shoddy quality. 

If I hadn't bought my overly powerful Traynor YGL2,  I would have bought the same amp as Neil.

(Ps 15w tube amp is not really a small practice amp, something under 12w, probably 5w is a practice amp)

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3 hours ago, Eracer_Team-DougH said:

Best thing I ever did was sell my Egenater Renegade 18/65, crappy company with shoddy quality. 

If I hadn't bought my overly powerful Traynor YGL2,  I would have bought the same amp as Neil.

(Ps 15w tube amp is not really a small practice amp, something under 12w, probably 5w is a practice amp)

Bigger isn't always better! Another contender was this "little" guy; Amazing tone, really straight up with basically no more than volume and tone knob (that's it) but what a sound! Fender Pro Junior IV https://www.long-mcquade.com/98823/Guitars/Guitar-Amps/Fender-Musical-Instruments/Pro-Junior-IV-15W-1x10-Tube-Combo-Amp---Lacquered-Tweed.htm

The Blues Junior IV is also really good too... but everyone knows that.https://www.long-mcquade.com/98825/Guitars/Guitar-Amps/Fender-Musical-Instruments/Blues-Junior-IV-15W-1x12-Tube-Combo-Amp---Black.htm

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Posted (edited)

I'm early in the guitar journey, but a longtime tone nut. I've only played my Blackstar Artist 10ae tube amp so far. It's a ten watt hybrid amp with lovely clean sound and a fun overdrive boost that effectively makes for a lead channel. I was torn when looking at tube amps between the 6L6 and EL34 sounds. The UK crunch is what I grew up with and love in so many rock songs, but my first requirement upon looking up specs of amps I liked was that sweet 6L6 clean sound. A Sweet Water blowout sale made this amp a no-brainer for me. It was that or wait longer for a tube amp.

So far I've played with the pretty cleans that I love which made it easy to start working on my "jazz tone", especially with my Starla. This amp can easily get way too loud for home use! Cool for me has been exploring pushing the amp to the edge of breakup and beyond at an ear friendly volume. My ears don't hurt and neither do those of my dog and cat. I am amazed at how the "sweet spot" makes the non-overdrive mode into a two channel amp using volume. I've read lots of talk and watched youtube, but how magical to suddenly hear it and play it on a small amp!

The game changer for my tone exploration was the only pedal I have: a Klon KTR. I had read the raves and the list of who's who in the guitar world who use Klons. I had settled on a Soul Food (Klon clone) someday, but noticed Reverb sellers with a new run of KTRs for sale at just under 300 dollars delivered. (They sold out in about a week.) I figured I could always sell it quickly at a reasonable price if I didn't like it. Wow do I ever love this pedal! That's for another thread someday, but I recommend an overdrive pedal to other newbies exploring the world of tone. The first time I got that sweet overdriven crunch out of my little amp I just about danced a jig!

Rock On!

 

Edited by pkotof
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@pkotof For someone just starting out you seem to know your stuff😊  This is all goobledygook to me😵

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Posted (edited)

Simira- Don't worry about the language. It will grow as part of your music journey! Everything guitar is a disease that spreads with knowledge and experimentation! GAS or Guitar Acquisition Syndrome along with Amps, Pedals, Strings, Mics, Recording devices, Music stands, music seats, picks, tuners, DAW, ............etc. You can see the pattern developing here! Oh yah and music books and training materials.

 

Edited by Popeye
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Simira: It all just means I spend too much time researching. I heard your fingerstyle post in the other thread. Great job! I'm not there yet. I'd say heck with all the equipment until you feel the need. You inspired me too, like the other poster said. Thanks.

 

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20 hours ago, NeilES335 said:

Neil, everyone probably does know that, the Blues Jr. does have such a reputation as a great little amp.  But I didn't realize that the current production model is Blues Junior IV.  I do love my Junior III.  It was nothing but pure  dumb luck that I ended up with it.  I got my first "good" guitar, a Les Paul, in a package deal with the the amp.  I had no idea what I was getting as far as an amp.

My only complaint on the amp is the reverb, not the tone but the reliability.  I just got it out of the shop a couple days ago, for the 3rd time, getting the reverb repaired.  I don't know if that is a characteristic of the amp or a factor of us living in the country in a very dusty environment.  Or maybe a combination.  In chatter in a couple other forums it seems it does occur with some regularity.  Others have talked about changing out the chamber.

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