Looking at amps, seeking advice.

Discussion in 'Ampage Area' started by Crooner, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Crooner

    Crooner Friend of Fred

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hello Gang.
    I'm starting an exploratory committee for the purposes of a possible run for the office of New Ampage.

    I currently own a late 80's Deluxe and Vox AC30CC1. I do also have an early '80's Super Champ that sounds amazing but it ain't a gigging amp.

    I'm looking for something that can give me good clean headroom as well as nice, crisp overdrive that doesn't flub out in the low end. Therefore, I've been eyeballing 30W and above. I suppose I prefer a combo but a head and cab is not ruled out. With one exception, I've always owned combos so I guess I'm used to them but the idea of having the freedom of mixing a head with different cabs is intriguing.

    Here's what I've been spying...

    Carr Lincoln.
    I know... only 22W, but it sounds great. I've watched a few demos, notably those by Rodney Gene and Lance Keltner. I messaged both and they say it's got enough volume to cut through in a band before breakup, but I need to test one in person. The good news is there's one in stock nearby. The bad news is that Carr has discontinued the model, they may become scarce.

    Mesa Boogie LoneStar and LoneStar Special.
    I have to find somewhere to test them and while I've read up on both models and watched a lot of YT demos, I'm still not 100% sure of the differences.
    I do get that in a stock config, the LoneStar is 6L6 based but can be loaded with EL34's, while the Special is EL34.

    Fuchs ODS-II and ODS CLASSIC.
    Here's where enter what I guess could be called "Dumble Territory," whatever that means. They say if it doesn't sound like a Fender, Marshall or Vox, but sounds great, it's Dumble. What I do know is sound pretty darn great in the demos I've watched seem to have a unique quality of lots of tweaking options still allowing for great tone without the need to spend an exorbitant amount of time to dial in what you want. They offer tons of clean headroom with supposedly excellent punch and definition and are fabulous pedal platforms.

    Two Rock Classic Reverb Signature.
    Another Dumble style machine with plenty of headroom and cool options for light tweaking an fine tuning.

    The Wild Card.
    Wampler Bravado. Purported to be the ultimate pedal platform, this amp has thick cleans for days and supposedly allows any pedal to shine and relay the tone it was designed to produce.

    I'd love to hear what you all have to say in terms of experience/opinions of these amps.
  2. 6124Bassman

    6124Bassman Gretschie

    May 20, 2018
    Tempe, Arizona
    Out the amps you listed I have only played the Fuchs. To me it sounded like a typical boutique amp compared to others I have played.

    I’d recommend a Bassman, but I’m biased..
    Gives you great cleans with a good amount of headroom and it breaks up in a great way if you push it.

    Seems like you are looking more into the boutique area of amps though, so it may not be what you’re looking for.
    Lockupyourfatdog likes this.
  3. Crooner

    Crooner Friend of Fred

    Apr 15, 2009
    Hey Bassman. Thanks for the input. I have owned a Bassman and it was a great amp. In fact, it replaced a series of lousy amps I had back in the '80's and when I showed up to my first gig with it, two of my bandmates turned around and said, "Whoa! You sound great! What did you do?"
    "Darin bought some tone yesterday!" said my bass player, who was with me when I picked it up.

    Nevertheless, I'm leaning away from the tweed sound and some of the associated early compression that accompanies such amps when they saturate AND how early that can occur.

    I'm not going for boutique for the sake of boutique, mind you... it's the tone I'm after. Believe me, I'd like to spend as little as possible! ;-)
    6124Bassman likes this.
  4. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    The Mesa stuff is usually great. Heard only good things about the Lonestar. Briefly checked it myself and was impresed. Fine all-around amp. Swiss-army-knife equivalent of amps.
    RG7X, Waxhead and Bertotti like this.
  5. DaddyDog

    DaddyDog Country Gent

    Sep 18, 2011
    Mississauga, Canada
    Regarding a pedal platform like the Wampler Bravado (which I've never tried), I have a Pearl from Port City Amps (North Carolina IIRC). Don't be scared when I say it's 100 watts. Finally an amp with a volume pot that lets you play whisper quiet. But it's like playing your guitars and pedals in Hi-Fi! You hear everything!

    Yesterday I finally got around to trying the effects loop. Wow it's golden.

    I would guess you could find a used Pearl easily in the USA.
  6. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Well people will not be surprised to hear from your list l prefer the Lonestars. Btw the Special is el84 not 34 :)


    I suggest you also add Mesa Mark V 35 to your list.
    It has Lonestar cleans plus so much more you'll be blown away.


    Plus the new Mesa Fillmore 25 and 50 are also fantastic cleaner amps.

    Budget appears not to be a restriction so enjoy the ride :)

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2019
    RG7X likes this.
  7. Crooner

    Crooner Friend of Fred

    Apr 15, 2009
    Thanks for the correction on the tubes! I always get that wrong. DOH!
    I'll check out the Mark V 35 and Fillmore. I have watched a few Fillmore demos and it's impressive. I've also been looking at the Triple Crown. Any thoughts on that model?

    What is it about the LoneStars that you like? FWIW, I'm interested in cleans and mid gain. I don't have much need for super high gain metal tones.

    Thanks Waxhead!
  8. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    RG7X likes this.
  9. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Los Angeles
    Love my LSS and got it for a great deal on Reverb in mint condition. The clean channel is simply beautiful with massive headroom. The 2nd channel offers a huge variety of pushed tones. For instance, you can select if you want to use drive (adjustable) for a blackface type sound or just "clean" which is more tweed. Then you can choose the type of character with another toggle (normal, thick or thickest). Adjust your dials accordingly and you get everything short of high gain metal tones. My only complaints which have been mentioned are weight and learning curve. Once you learn the character and feel of the controls, it's a great amp. I've owned many amps and this one never seems to get old with all the different sounds I can dial in. I would highly recommend reading the user manual... I know it sounds lame and boring but it's actually an interesting read and crucial to understanding the characteristics and features of this amp. I've been experimenting with a Tone King Gremlin lately (currently in my posession) and the Fillmore 25 at a local shop. More to follow on that but would be something of consideration though it doesn't fit your 30 watt criteria. All the best in your search.

    wilblee, Waxhead and Henry like this.
  10. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Have you tried the TK Imperial Mark II?
  11. RG7X

    RG7X Gretschie

    Nov 11, 2018
    Los Angeles
    I haven't tried any other Tone King offerings at the moment. Based off the sounds I'm getting from this little plain Jane amp, I could only imagine how great the Imperial would sound. I would love to have more features but obviously this has its purpose. Local shop has one I'm going to try on Thursday. Have you tried one?
    Henry likes this.
  12. Henry

    Henry Gretschified

    Apr 9, 2014
    Not yet, but I am very interested. My Mesa is perfect except it could lose 10lbs (so could I lol). The imperial seems the right balance of weight and watts.
  13. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Oct 5, 2009
    Out of this list. Lone Star hands down.
    Waxhead likes this.
  14. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Country Gent

    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Boogie for me, but I'm biassed - 'scuse the pun.
    new6659 and Waxhead like this.
  15. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Gretschified

    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    I like the Carr myself. Have a number of boutique and antique amps but I'm not sure what sound you're looking for Darin?
  16. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Yes Triple Crown is also fantastic I hear but have not tested myself yet - you should.

    Lonestar Classic and Special I know well - have gigged with both.
    Both have superb cleans/ light overdrive and reverb and almost every Boogie amp made since has cloned them.

    On the Mark amps they get lots deserved praise for their high gain tones but this is only at the extreme end of the available range. They are so incredibly versatile that no other amp covers such tonal range in such light weight. I only use it's 1st 4 voices and never go into Mark IV and extreme. But those clean, crunch and mid gain voices are so superlative and versatile with the EQ available that they poo on all other amps that are much heavier.

    So doesn't matter if you never use the last 2 gain voices in the Mark V.
    The 4 clean, fat, crunch and Mark IIC voices are still better and more versatile and than other amp I've heard. Plus you get all the extras of variable wattage, independent channel EQs, loop, solo boosters, DI out, headphones out, cab clones, superb tube reverb etc etc. All in a package lighter/smaller than any comparable watt amp.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
  17. kt66

    kt66 Gretschie

    Jan 21, 2016
    What don't you like about the AC30?
  18. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Lucky you, my Dr told me to lose 30!:confused:
    Henry likes this.
  19. dankas11

    dankas11 Country Gent

    Jul 6, 2014
    I am on similar search. I am thinking between Lonestars and Bassman 59. My friend guitarplayer will borrow me a Lonestar Special to try it.
  20. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Well I know it's sacrilege here on this forum but I'll list my issues with AC30.

    First I agree these are great classic old school amps for clean players with limited needs from an amp. But if you have versatile tastes and need a range of modern features in a light weight package then AC series amps are not ideal. Specifically their issues are

    - Not enough gain on tap.
    - Not enough EQ options.
    - Tremolo effect is rarely if ever used by most players and is superfluous imo.
    - At 71 pounds its way too heavy.
    - No variable wattage options - you're stuck with 30w.
    - Master needs to be cranked high to get good overdrive so it's not a home amp.
    - It's infamous for not pairing well with overdrive/distortion pedals.
    - Lacks headphone out, DI out and solo boosts but you get a tremolo you'll never use.
    - Not versatile enough.

    It's a great old school amp for vintage players but tube amp technology has moved onto delivering for modern players with varied needs. Please accept this without feeling offended :)
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