Guitarists – home practice amp

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  • Guitarists – home practice amp
  • Recommendations for a home practice amp. Drawn to a valve amp (just cos!) like the sub zero or blackstar

    Any downsides to a relatively cheap valve amp?!

    Zvex Nano Head and a good 1*12 cab.

    Need to know budget and what style of music you play.

    Don’t get hung up on wattage. How good the amps volume circuit is (if valve) is way more important than its size or wattage.
    Consider second hand to get a better amp than buying new will get you.

    Premier Icon tall_martin
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    I’ve had a vox valvetronic vt50 for ~ 10 years.

    It’s got a valve and an attenuator for valve drive at neighbour friendly volume.

    Enough sounds amp models and effects I’ve not bought any pedals.

    My bands guitarist borrowed it for a few gigs and it was Lound enough to keep up with a loud drummer, bass, keys and a second guitarist. We couldn’t tell the difference between it and his vintage vox valve amp. He said it was close in sound.

    Still ace 🙂

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    I have a Boss Nextone Artist, it has 4 Valve samples which cover most sounds.

    I like it.

    Edukator
    Member

    For home use I like a modelling amp with lots of amp models, effects pedals and boxes built in. I’ve got a Vox which is OK and several Fender Mustangs which do just about everything I want.

    When I switch on an amp it’s nearly always a Mustang, my valve amps just gather dust most of the time, even playing live the Mustang with an extension cab gets used more than the valve amps – simple (one box with two foot switches), reliable, sounds good at any volume. At the volume a valve amp starts to sound good (even a small one) I’m rumaging for the -20db ear plugs.

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
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    fender mustang

    Budget – maybe upto £200. Don’t play much anymore so hard to justify spending more than that

    Premier Icon snapperdan
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    Vox AC4 is a lovely little amp – definitely go valve if you can. Think it costs around £280.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    Budget £200,

    then a Boss Katana 50 is £180.. again programmable valve sounds and available at any volume level.

    Great amp the Katana. Got loads of rave reviews and plenty of YouTube vids to look at before buying one. I had one for a year before upping to the Nextone.

    Boba Fatt
    Member

    Might be over budget, but I’m drawn to the Marshall 1w and cab, seems to be a “usable in the home” smaller version of a Marshall stack setup

    kayla1
    Member

    Recommend what you’ve got, a Vox VT20X. Loads of amp models and you can get an ace tube crunch/chime from it.

    My Vox Valvetronic was £70 off Gumtree. Like tall_martin said, it has an attenuator so you can turn the power down then crank the volume up to a proper overdrive sound without falling out with the neighbours. Love it.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    just buy a kemper and be done with it! 😆

    Premier Icon lesgrandepotato
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    I guess it depends what you want to play. You can get a little blackstar stack for £250 or so if you need to ‘rawk’. For cleaner sounds I’d consider something fendery.

    That said the katana gets a lot of love over on the fretboard

    AdamT
    Member

    Lots of good recommendations but it’s worth checking out the Yamaha thr10. A few high quality effects and good versatility. The sound is huge for such a small box.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    I have an all-valve amp, it even has a spring reverb device in it 🙂

    Premier Icon simondbarnes
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    Marshall MS-2 🙂

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    I’ve got an old Vox VT50 too, and a little Fender Champion 600 5 watt valve amp.

    The Vox is sooo practical.
    Self contained, built in effects, headphone socket, loud enough to play with a drummer…..

    But the Fender sounds so much better, I tend to use that (with a pedal in front of it for dirt), at least when next door are out. 5 watts in a valve amp is surprisingly loud.

    I don’t understand modelling amps with attenuators?

    Why do you need an attenuator if you have a solid state power amp?

    Premier Icon lesgrandepotato
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    I always assumed it was to make them sag and bloom like you’d expect otherwise you lose the dynamics from the amp?

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Perhaps a daft question but how do a i get a nice distortion sound whilst keeping it quiet? I have a Boss Katana with some patches I’ve downloaded but even on the half watt setting its too loud and if i turn the guitar down it just cleans up. I’ll admit that i don’t fully understand guitar amps and effects!

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    With the Vox you can keep the gain at a reasonable level, turn the master volume up to get a reasonable facsimile of a driven valve power amp and control the overall volume with the power attenuator.

    The controls vary in effect depending on which amp model you choose.
    It’s complicated, another reason I usually just use the simple Fender.

    Edukator
    Member

    You should have bought a Fender, Cube or Vox instead. They all have nice Marshall type and Peavey type crunches on the appropriate amp models right down to zero. If you are using the Fender flat out you can turn off/change the cab simulator so that natural speaker break up replaces the simulated speaker break up. I’ve replace the original speakers in two Mustangs, V30s in juniors cab to give it a bit more metal honk and either a Cream back, 75/80 or V30 in my Mustang 3. Or I plug it into 4×12 greenbacks which are my personal favourite speaker.

    Premier Icon bikebouy
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    Perhaps a daft question but how do a i get a nice distortion sound whilst keeping it quiet? I have a Boss Katana

    You bought a good amp there. No need to buy any other brand unless you want the real Valve tones, then just buy a Nextone and be done with it.

    Not sure what Edu ^^ is on about, for the fact that good tones can be had out of the Katana without wrecking your eardrums or annoying the neighbours.

    Its tricky I’ll admit. Firstly distortion doesn’t really work well at super low volumes on the Katana at 5w.  Have you tried the distortion on the middle watt setting then turning the master volume down?

    Youtube is full of Katana owners who are in the same position as you.. play loud distortion or quiet clean.

    I play super clean, so can’t help further but Boss does have a good forum and decent coverage on YouTube.

    Edukator
    Member

    Here’s the Mustang 3 at a volume I can sing along to without a PA, so quiet. It’s Oasis so the gain is wound well up on “British Watts” which soulds like Noddy Holder’s Hi-Watt for the verses, on the solo (about 1:33) it’s “British 80s” which sounds much like my JCM 2000 on the crunch channel. The lack of bass is down to 1/ the camera microphone 2/ the Strat with the tone pot nearly on maximum. It’s sounds OK honest, but records badly. Edit: listening again I realise the camera is picking up a lot of the guitar sound direct form the guitar rather than the amp which is why it sounds so jangly.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
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    Rockhopper

    Member
    Perhaps a daft question but how do a i get a nice distortion sound whilst keeping it quiet

    Gain controls the level of dirt in whatever setting you are using, so gain up, volume down. Then fiddle with the EQ till you get a good sound. basically, my usual strategy there is just to turn all the EQ up to 10, then start rolling back on the bass then middle then treble if need be.

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